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The biggest benefit of the changes is that the new system makes it easier for professors to add material for their courses, said Donna Wicks, a senior system administrator at Kettering University, which has also been testing Blackboard 9. "They're not having to dive down four layers to add content," she said. "Before, you literally had to do four clicks and wait for that page to load" to add something, she added. Chronicle of Higher Education

Example of new user interface

New features include:

  • a completely new look and feel (user interface)
  • class blogs, group blogs, personal journals
  • improved group features, such as multiple group creation and group assignment grading
  • notification capabilities (email notification regarding course site changes)
From Blackboard, Inc.'s Release 9 Website:

Engage faculty and students with new user interface

The new user interface makes it easier to combine information from different sources and arrange it in ways that are meaningful to the learner. This updated Web 2.0 look-and-feel includes drag-and-drop ability, drop-down menus and contextual help options.

Drive active and collaborative learning with class blogs, group blogs, personal journals

Blackboard Learn™, Release 9 puts the student at the heart of the learning process with the addition of blogs and journals. These powerful new learning tools enable public reflection with peer review and private reflection with teacher review. Students engage more by voicing their thoughts and responding directly to teacher-added content.

Increase student interactivity and collaboration with improved group features

Blackboard Learn™, Release 9 provides a simple and efficient central group workspace where groups can organize, share and communicate. Students and instructors can see discussion forums, group files, group blogs, e-mail, membership, tasks, assignments and more in one place. This focuses group work while improving student-instructor interactions.

Improve visibility and support for students and teachers with notification dashboards for instructors and students

Notification dashboards are essential for saving time and keeping teachers and students informed. Blackboard Learn™, Release 9 will tell users what's current, what needs attention and make them aware of alerts. Teachers can stay on top of classroom activity while students see what is new and what is due - all in one location.

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Upgrade Questions

When will the upgrade occur?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How will the upgrade affect my existing course and organization sites?
The only effect will be the new user interface. All course materials, communication tools, and grades will remain the same.

How do I use the new features?
Details will be posted here after the upgrade.

Why are my students not receiving my announcements by e-mail?
Check the box to override user settings to ensure that all students receive e-mail. Otherwise, students receive messages based on their notification settings.

How do I access my files in the Digital Drop Box?
The Digital Dropbox tool has been removed from version 9. To access files in previous courses, go to:

How do I modify or remove my course content?
To the right of the item name is a double drop-down arrow. Click on it to see the shortcut menu.

How do I download files using IE on PC?
1. Right click the item
2. Select "open in new tab"
3. Go to new tab
4. Click on the security warning message and select "Download File"
5. Select Save on the pop-up menu

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