Blackboard Open LMS 3.1
Blackboard Open LMS is pleased to announce the recent release of Blackboard Open LMS 3.1. Each semester, Blackboard Open LMS works to deliver an updated release according the community’s needs. This release is packed with many user-requested features such as full support for Competency Based Education (CBE), an improved interface and user experience, easier retrieval of deleted files, and enhancements to several activities such as assignments grading, forums, and lessons.
Major new features:
- Competency-based education (CBE): Support for CBE and learning plans.
- Improved Mobile support – including offline: Offline support for additional activities in Moodle Mobile, including quizzes, assignments and more.
- LTI provider for all content: The ability to publish a course or part of its content as a Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) resource for remote consumption.
- Improved interface and user experience: Snap user experience and usability improvements, as well as design changes to make the interface more flexible to customization.
- Discussion forum updates: Support for pinned posts and easier sharing using permalinks and post highlighting for Advanced Forums.
- New Recycle Bin option in courses: Instructors can easily restore content that was deleted by mistake.
Moodle 3.1 introduces a new competency-based framework, which improves and streamlines the design of customized learning plans for students.
This framework allows standards and competencies to be created and imported. These imported standards (CSV, ASN (RDF), Academic Benchmarks, RDF, and XML based files) or competencies can then be assigned to courses and activities. Competencies can easily be tracked and marked as completed by an instructor for a student or through a new setting in activities that marks a competency as being met once the student meets the completion requirements. Students and teachers can also track student progress against standards at the course level.
Additionally, the Learning Plan templates allow institutions to assign a set of competencies or standards to a student as something they must achieve to move forward. The student can then track their progress on their learning plan.
Improved mobile support
Learning on the go is easier than ever with the Moodle mobile application that now supports various offline features. Students are able to perform a number of course activities offline such as creation and completion of messages, course notes, surveys, forum posts, wiki pages, and assignments. Students can also use the mobile app to view their learning plans and track their progress within a course.
You can share your learning content with external systems by using the Publish as LTI Tool feature. This allows instructors to share individual activities and resources, as well as the entire course. Other systems using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) can easily connect to a Blackboard Open LMS site that has published course content as LTI. Users in the external system are launched into your Blackboard Open LMS site and interact with the Blackboard Open LMS content as if they are enrolled in the course.
Improved user interface
Modern, streamlined, and enhanced – Blackboard Open LMS ’ Snap course sections have received a facelift. Based on your feedback, various design changes were implemented to create an even more attractive interface with less white space and smaller, better icons, which were designed by our user experience group. Also, the new professional and neutral look of the interface provides more flexibility to work with different brand guidelines.
To better facilitate course communication among instructors and students, the Advanced Forums have been updated. Blackboard Open LMS worked to incorporate the core pinning feature into advanced forums and instructors can now pin discussions to the top of an Advanced Forum with this release. Additionally, Posts in advanced forums can now have permanent links to them that users can copy and use in external systems like email to send a user directly to the post they are talking about. When users access the link, the post will be highlighted to show the user the exact post that was shared.
Easier restoring with the recycle bin
The recycle bin is a powerful new feature for teachers. The recycle bin works like the recycle bin on your desktop computer. It stores any activities or resources a teacher has deleted from the course for a number of days before the activity or resource is permanently deleted. Teachers can easily restore activities or resources that they accidentally deleted.
New features & benefits spots
Administrators can now add up to three columns of information under the page banner image in Snap. Use this area to advertise features or benefits of the site to your users and prospective users.
To create a feature spot add a title and some text (with an optional image). Adding one feature displays one feature, two displays two features and three displays three features. You can also add a heading to the feature spots, which will only display if you have created a feature spot.
Social media links
Snap now allows administrators to add Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram links in the footer automatically. Add the URL to pages on each service through Snap’s administrative settings and the icons and links appear in the footer.
Now you connect socially with your users without needing to add HTML to the Site footer area of Snap’s settings. The location of these icons is predetermined and assigned in the footer and can only be changed via CSS.
Interactive HTML5 content creation capabilities
The H5P module makes it easy to create interactive content by providing a range of content types for various needs.
Integration with Blackboard Collaborate
Blackboard Collaborate is now supported by Moodle Mobile, which allows access to sessions and recordings directly from the app. The participation tracking feature will be included in the Blackboard Collaborate activities, as well as the automatic information report directly from Blackboard Open LMS , which will make it easier for teachers to grade students according to their participation in the course sessions. Finally, separate group sessions will be included in order to assist managers who handle courses with several groups that include a large number of users.
Support for Open Badges
This support allows users to import Badges from other contexts, such as Mozilla Open Badges, and to create and give medals for certain actions in the course. This helps create a unique gamification strategy as part of the organization, being consistent among platforms.
HTML5 media player
By replacing the Flash media player, the new HTML5 media player provides better experience and support for mobile devices. Users have the possibility to access video and audio content from any device they may be using. Multimedia formats supported by this new media player include mp4, mp3, .oga, and .ogv.
Tagging was traditionally performed manually and with no help at all. Because of these improvements, there is now a selection tool automatically displayed as part of the contents to make tag suggestions and speed up the tagging process.
The rating icon can now be changed, which makes it possible to choose the used symbol, the number of symbols within the scale, and their color. This makes it possible to customize the content and post rating experience according to the user requirements and brand image.
This feature allows users to embed external contents safely across the platform. This avoids any complications resulting from the use of HTML items such as iframes, which may be unsafe. Embed.ly offers the possibility to embed contents quickly and safely in an effort to be consistent with the visual component used in Blackboard Open LMS .
As always, we’ll continue to listen to our community’s requests and ideas to improve and enhance the entire Blackboard Open LMS experience and the e-learning community as a whole. Look for many great things coming from Blackboard Open LMS to help you deliver a customized, integrated, and engaging teaching and learning experience.
To get more information, please read the Blackboard Open LMS 3.1 Release notes.
Click here for the previous Blackboard Open LMS 3.0 release information.