What's New in Blackboard - Spring 2020

Over the winter break, the Instructional Technology Lab performed an update to Blackboard. Check out some of the new features that will be available to instructors in the Spring 2020 semester.

Collaborate session attendance now integrated with Blackboard's Attendance tool

Let Collaborate take attendance for you. In this Collaborate release, instructors can host a Collaborate session without tracking attendance manually.

Based on criteria you can set, Collaborate tracks if a student is present, late, or absent from a session. Collaborate then sends that information directly to the Attendance tool in your Blackboard course.

Attendance from the Collaborate session is counted in each student's average attendance in the course, which can also be used in calculating student grades.

More on Collaborate attendance reporting.

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New Originality Report available for SafeAssign

Blackboard has updated the design of the SafeAssign Originality Report. The new Originality Report has a new look and includes some new information about a submission's overall risk of being copied from another source. This new report interface is also more responsive to mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design.

More on the new Originality Report.

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Calendar items and due date notifications are now available for additional content types

The Calendar and To-Do modules show the due dates of course items, but this was previously limited to activities and assessments using just Blackboard tools. With this upgrade, the capability is expanded so that more content types are now incorporated into these areas.

Users see these due items in their Course Calendar, and due date notifications appear in the To-Do module and through other notification subscription channels.

All of the following create calendar items and due notifications:

  • Assessment items such as assignments and tests
  • Interactive tools including graded discussions, blogs, journals, and wikis
  • Grade Center columns created manually and not linked to content items such as an observation or offline assignment
  • SCORM packages
  • Content items generated from building blocks when a linked Grade Center column has a due date
  • Add-on tools, such as Voicethread, when a linked Grade Center column has a due date

More on the Calendar.

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Expanded ability to reconcile grades in Delegated Grading

Delegated grading lets an instructor oversee grading by assigning teaching assistants or other instructors to grade sets of submissions. Grading and feedback from more than one person can promote reliability, improve consistency, and remove bias. The instructor can reconcile grades and settle on final scores after everyone has graded their assigned submissions.

The ability to reconcile grades was previously limited to instructors. However, in this release, instructors can also grant this permission to teaching assistants. A “Can reconcile grades” option appears when the instructor delegates grading. Instructors can choose to grant permission to any or all teaching assistants who are delegated submissions.

More on Delegated Grading.

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Improve the accessibility of your course content with Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally works seamlessly in a Blackboard course to gauge the accessibility of your content. 

  • Automatically checks course materials against WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards.
  • Delivers guidance and tips to instructors to improve the accessibility of their course content.
  • Provides students with accessible alternative formats such as audio and electronic braille.

To start using Blackboard Ally, contact the Instructional Technology Lab at [email protected] or (202) 994-0485.


Internet Explorer is no longer supported

Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser for Blackboard. It is recommended that you use another browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge to access Blackboard.

Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer in January 2016, and after this upgrade, many aspects of Blackboard will no longer work as intended when using it. Additionally, reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer won't be resolved by Blackboard Support.

Run the browser checker to see whether Blackboard supports your browser.

Supported Browsers


Desktop Browser Versions

Chrome 63+
Edge 42+
Firefox 57+
Internet Explorer Unsupported
Safari 12+ (Mac OS only)

More on Blackboard's Browser Support.

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