Blackboard What Is New – 9.1 SP4 and 9.1 SP5

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 Service Pack 5 on 05/24/2011.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 5

Highlights of Bug Fixes in this Release:

There were 120+ fixes in this release. Here are a few issues that had a high client impact which are now fixed in Release 9.1, Service Pack 5:

  • Course Files Issues – This Service Pack is a key element of the Course Files Issue Resolution Plan, which is comprised of a series of fixes over three Service Packs (Service Pack 3, Service Pack 4, and Service Pack 5).With Service Pack 5, we are renewing our recommendation to use the Move Course Files Utility. Course Files migration is an integral part of the recommended upgrade path to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1.Problems related to files moved using the utility after upgrading to Release 9.1 were discovered. This Service Pack provides a more stable Move Course Files Utility that allows you to move all course content from the legacy storage area into the Course Files directories and take full advantage of the Course Files functionality.
  • Security Focus – This Service Pack further hardens Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 from Cross-site Request Forgery and Cross-site Scripting attacks. Cross-site Request Forgery is an attack that attempts to execute actions on behalf of a user authenticated into Blackboard Learn. This release protects key parts of the product, such as the Grade Center. Cross-site Scripting is an attack where malicious scripts are injected into Blackboard Learn. This occurs when specially crafted values are entered into a variable of a web page or stored and displayed by the application. Oftentimes, an attacker would need to convince an authenticated user to access a malicious web page, record, etc., in order to attack the authenticated user. In addition, this release resolves authorization vulnerabilities in the Address Book, Calendar, Grade Center, Portfolio Comments and Display, and Tasks.
  • YouTube Mashup not working – When attempting to add a YouTube video to a Content Area within a course, the course builder was confronted with an error, rendering the video unwatchable. The failure was due to changes in the Google/YouTube API. Blackboard updated our Blackboard Building Block with the additional libraries and resolved the issue.
  • Cannot run Course Report (Could not initialize class) – When instructors attempted to run a Course Report from the Course Control Panel, they were experiencing a “Could not initialize class” error. We were able to correct this issue in Service Pack 5 and successfully generate detailed Course Reports.
  • Index out of bounds error access Grade Center attempts – This‘Index out of Bounds’ error was generated when instructors attempted to access a student’s assignment from the Grade Center that was locked in the “In Progress” state. This issue and allowing ‘Force Submit’ for ‘In Progress’ assignments were fixed and no longer generate errors in Service Pack 5.
  • Access Denied error in Grade Center when clicking “save” and “next” – This issue was only reproducible using Internet Explorer as your browser. When utilizing the ‘Save’ and ‘Next’ button in the Grade Center resulted in an “Access Denied” error message for instructors. This along with several other Grade Center issues were all addressed in our latest release.
  • Course Copy to Existing Course does not copy across course files that are not linked. –  When attempting to copy a course into a new or existing course, the course files that were not linked to Content Items (or pages) within the source course were not being copied over. This issue was resolved and all links, content, and items can successfully be copied from one course to another.

As with all Service Packs, Service Pack 5 includes all the issues corrected in previous Service Packs, hotfixes, and all but the most recent patches.

Note: as we upgrade to SP5, we implicitly also get enhancements from SP4.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 4

Highlights of Enhancements in SP4:

  • Support for Basic LTI: This is an IMS derivative of the full Learning Tools Interoperability specification that provides a simple integration for instructors to link to external learning tools and applications that also conform to the specification, enabling single sign-on, from within their courses. This capability provides instructors greater choice when it comes to their instructional tools and resources.
  • Support for Common Cartridge 1.0: Support for Common Cartridge 1.0, an IMS specification, is now available in the Blackboard Learn platform. Course content packages saved in this standard can be imported into the Blackboard Learn application and course content created in the Blackboard Learn application can be exported as Common Cartridge packages, enabling greater sharing of learning content between learning management systems.
  • Module Enhancements in Community Engagement: Blackboard Learn software administrators can now assign categories to modules in the Community Engagement module. This enhancement provides improved searching for the end user and allows administrators to better manage their portal content. In addition the interface where end users select modules to personalize their Blackboard Learn software environment has been updated to create a more intuitive experience.