Blackboard Open LMS 3.2
Blackboard Open LMS 3.2 includes several new features from the 3.2 Moodle Core upgrades, as well as some unique ones to Blackboard Open LMS. Upgrades in Moodle Core 3.2 enhance the Moodle user experience by adding a new Boost theme, including updates such as a new media player, the option to choose a course end-date, various LTI improvements, forum locking and much more. Additionally, Blackboard Open LMS now integrates with Blackboard Ally, helping to create truly inclusive experiences in education. New web services have been added to allow institutions to pull learner and course activity data. Finally, Mahara 16.10 has been released and includes exciting new improvements such as SmartEvidence and Mahara Mobile. Here are some of the new features and updates included in Blackboard Open LMS 3.2.
Upgrades to Moodle Core 3.2
Boost is Moodle’s new responsive theme based on Bootstrap 4. This theme focuses on improving the user’s ability to navigate within the LMS, especially between courses with a new side menu in the upper left corner. It also helps to simplify editing content by placing a visible gear icon on the course page which provides a teacher with access to course editing and administration tools.
New media player
Moodle has included a new media player, which allows instructors to upload videos that include subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters, and metadata.
Moodle is now compliant with LTI 2. Along with this, it has included improvements to the user experience when adding an LTI component. Administrators can now determine the location of an external LTI plugin to be shown in the Add activities menu. Moodle also supports the content item message standard for LTI, allowing deeper integrations with external tools.
Other great improvements from Moodle Core 3.2 include:
- New messages and notifications separated display at top navigation bar.
- The option for instructors and administrators to assign an end date to a course.
- Forum locking configuration after a certain period of inactivity.
- The functionality to allow instructors to override assignment dates for individual students or groups, providing more time to submit their assignment to those students who need it.
- The option to restrict the types of files learners are allowed to submit.
Blackboard Open LMS’ new features and updates
Introducing: Blackboard Ally
Blackboard Ally is a revolutionary product that focuses on making digital course content more accessible. Using automation, inclusiveness, and sustainability as its key pillars, Blackboard Ally helps instructors understand and tackle accessibility in a way that benefits every student.
Blackboard Ally allows institutions to:
- Regain ground on the accessibility of digital course content.
- Measure and address accessibility with actionable insights.
- Simultaneously save resources while efficiently reaching more people by using automation.
IntelliBoard for Blackboard Open LMS has been updated to version 4.7, which introduces new and exciting features such as new reports and a new Competency dashboard for CBE or CBT strategies. Blackboard Open LMS and IntelliBoard have also been working together to bring code optimizations and performance improvements to the plugin.
New Activity Data Web Services
Looking to improve the integrations that Blackboard Open LMS offers, we have added three new web services that allow institutions to pull learner and course activity data:
- Overall Progress Web Services: Provides the total number of activities, excluding hidden activities, that count towards the progress, current course total grade, course completion date, and course last access date for all learners based on a course short name.
- Course User Progress Web Service: Provides information about activities in a course for a particular student such as the grade creation date, last grade modification date, last submission/attempt date, raw grade, calculated grade, and completion status.
- Activities and Resources Web Service: Provides information about activities in a course such as due dates, submission timelines and cut-off dates, maximum grade possible, and the expected completion date.
Updates to Mahara 16.10
Mahara now has an official mobile app, Mahara Mobile (replacing MaharaDroid and PortfolioUp), available on Android and iOS devices. The app allows learners to collect and create learning evidence from their mobile device, even when they are offline. This evidence is synced with the Mahara environment when the user has internet access.
New media formats
Learners now have more options to upload audio and video files in the embedded media block. The new supported formats are:
- OGG audio
- WEBM video
Other great improvements to Mahara 16.10 include:
- The implementation of SmartEvidence, which allows learners to work with frameworks in Mahara and associates their portfolios to certain competencies, skills, and attributes.
- Improved group administration, allowing admins to copy groups. This is particularly useful in the scenario where they have several learner groups with the same set of pages and instructions and just minor changes need to be performed.
- Improvements in Mahara Web Services, now supporting the new mobile app.