After a number of conversations about whether to update to Blackboard 9.1 or wait, we finally decided to update the production system for the summer terms. There are a few changes to the system but most users should adjust easily. There are changes in the menus for the content areas, more choices and, I think, more intuitive menu names. The instructor control panel now has a direct link for the Grade Center and you can add favorite smart views to the control panel for easy access. The big addition is the wiki feature. For those using wikis you can now set them up in any class without contacting IT.
We have Blackboard 9.1 installed on our test system. The new version, while not very different from version 9.0 does have some exciting new features that instructors will find useful.
First, we finally have a wiki tool built into Blackboard. This latest collaboration tool is easy to use and can be used by an entire class or can be used by groups. Group wikis can, be viewed by only group members or viewership can be opened to the entire class. Group wikis can only be edited by the students in a group. At first look the wiki is easy to use. Here’s what the wiki looks like (click on the image to see a full size image):
screen shot of wiki in Blackboard
Other notable changes include a rubric wizard that allows instructors to create and share the rubric by which they will assess student work, and changes in the content creation options. Instructors can create content items containing audio, video, images, files, and links to Youtube videos and other social media.
Since our upgrade to the test system is still being tested, I’ll be posting updates as I find other noteworthy changes.