Over the break, KCTCS testers--which means folk who work in distance learning who have agreed to spend some time helping troubleshoot--will be examing new features in Blackboard Service Pack 3 (SP3). Those features are described below. The KCTCS Distance Learning Peer Team will be meeting on December 8 to talk about about whether or not to upgrade to SP3. What do you think?
See my earlier post on this here.
Instructors can now set Adaptive Release rules using a calculated column. Categories for each item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list.
New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list. Students do not see the bar.
Early Warning System
Instructors can now set Early Warning System rules using a calculated column. Categories for each item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list.
Instructors now have the ability to view question numbers while building and editing assessments. Questions can be referenced by number throughout the assessment and can be used to sequence questions in an assessment.
Several features in the Grade Center have been enhanced to improve communication between the instructor and students and make navigation easier.
Feedback and Comments
To augment the existing ability to download columns from the Grade Center and grade offline, Instructors can now include comments in the download. Comments can be added or edited offline, and are associated with the grade when the column information is uploaded to the Grade Center.
The full features of the Text Editor are now available for Feedback to Users and Grading Notes from the Grade Details page and within the Grade Center grid. The Text Editor can also be used for feedback on Tests, Assignments, Group Assignments, Blogs, Wikis, Journals, and posts to the Discussion Board. Incorporating all the features of the Text Editor allows Instructors to leverage the full range of functions for formatting text and adding external links, attachments, images, Mashups, and multimedia to Feedback and Grading Notes.
Students are able to view the Feedback added using the Text Editor on their My Grades page.
Needs Grading Page
Instructors can access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
Smart Views added as Favorites appear as an indented list in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel.
Column Delete Alert
When groups with graded Blogs, Journals, Wikis, or Discussion Boards are deleted, an alert appears prompting the instructor to save or delete the corresponding Grade Center columns. Managing columns for groups becomes part of the same process as deleting groups.
The symbol font is removed from the Text Editor and a symbol picker has been added.