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Blackboard Key Features

Student Preview is an exciting new tool in Blackboard that allows instructors to preview a module exactly as the student will see it. As an instructor you can turn Student preview on and off and use it to experience first hand activities previously limited to students, such as:                

  • Submit assignments                    
  • Take tests                    
  • Create blog and discussion posts                    
  • Create journal and wiki entries                    
  • View student tools, such as My Grades                    
Turn Student Preview on by clicking on the rotating arrows with the dot in the top right corner of your page.                        

Student Preview On Button

Student preview creates a student account and logs you in as that student.                

The student preview bar appears at the top of every page. The bar displays the text "Student Preview mode is ON" and has Settings and Exit Preview functions. Image illustrating associated text Student preview mode is active only in the courses where you enabled it.                

Student Preview bar

You are still an instructor in the rest of Blackboard Learn. However, the same preview user account will be used when you enter student preview mode in more than one course.                

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You can now use built in marking tools when students submit assignments using the Blackboard Assignment tool. This means that if the students submit a file which is not a Word document, for example a PowerPoint or Excel file, you now have tools which you can use to mark the work online. Students will continue          to see their mark and your annotations from the My Grades area.                

Find out more...

Image of the Blackboard Inline marking tool

The Retention Center gives you a quick, visual overview of how your students are performing against rules that you set. It helps you quickly identify and communicate with groups of students according to particular criteria, for example students who are far above or below class averages in terms of marks or        even time spent using Blackboard.            

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Notifications Centre gives staff and students control over how they receive notifications from Blackboard. The University has set the default for Notifications to Off. Students and staff can opt-in to receive a daily digest at 16:30, which will give you an overview of activity in your modules, such as        new posts to blogs or discussion boards and upcoming due dates.            

Staff and students have some control over their own settings and can choose to change how they receive each piece of information, including mobile notifications.            

Find out more...

Collaborate now automatically creates a virtual room for every module in Blackboard. Rooms are permanently open meaning you no longer need to create a room for each class, you can simply meet in the same virtual room every time. Getting the guest link to rooms has also been made easier.            

Find out more about what is new...

Using Blackboard Collaborate at Salford...

Instructors can now share test questions across modules without having to export and import them.            

Fill in the blank: pattern match
If you use fill in the blank questions, there is a new pattern match tool to improve        the        automated marking of these questions.            

Item Analysis

The new Item Analysis feature helps you easily refine your tests and quizzes by evaluating the quality and validity of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. If you decide to change or update that question, you                can edit the test and use the automatic regrading feature to either update or delete the question and regrade it – even if students have already completed the assessment.                            

Image of the Blackboard Item analysis tool

The Test Access Log

This tool gives you a time stamped log showing exactly what students did during a test, including exactly when they saved each question.                            

Image of the Blackboard Test Access Log

Blackboard has thoroughly redesigned the Discussion Board interface and increased functionality. Highlights include:            

  • New Posts: are communicated as part of the notifications daily digest                
  • All posts on one page: the entire discussion thread appears on a single page, maintaining the relationship between posts and replies                
  • Avatars: user avatars appear next to their posts                
  • Highlights instructor posts: making it is easier for students to find posts from instructors in a sea of other posts                
  • Respond to posts inline: when you reply, the content editor appears in the context of the discussion so as not to disrupt the flow of the user. The full content editor is available for the user to write a reply                
  • Post first feature: instructors can specify that students must enter their own thread before viewing other threads in a forum                

Find out more...

Other Improvements


Upload a picture, which will display next to your name in areas such as Blogs and Discussion Boards. This is a useful tool for getting to know students and helping them get to know each other. Find out more...


The calendar has been completely rebuilt, giving users a much more modern tool – both in terms of look and functionality. Find out more...

Text Editor

The Text editor has been improved. This means that when you copy and paste text in from Word or elsewhere, it should retain the formatting because it is now uses HTML and you can use a new Preview button to check how content will look before you submit it. You can also continue to use the built in mashups to add content from YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare. Find out more...

Equation Editor

There is a new math editor in Blackboard Learn that simplifies creation and delivery of equations by enabling editing directly from the Content Editor. The new math editor supports saving and copy/paste of equations using mathML. Find out more...

Group Management

Organise, monitor and manage your groups more easily. You can quickly add students to a group using tick boxes next to their names and groups are visible to students by default. Find out more...