UNCG has upgraded to Blackboard Learn (version 9.1), which replaces Blackboard Academic Suite (version 8). Most features from the previous version of Blackboard are still available to students and faculty but there are a number of noticeable changes. For example, while setting up my Fall classes, I realized that my Blackboard menu structure could be updated to increase efficiency–this makes my courses a little simpler to navigate. In this regard, the new version of Blackboard might not change the way courses are taught but it may change how they look. If you haven’t taken time to explore your Fall classes in Blackboard, you may want to navigate through Blackboard so you can see what is there and how the instructor has set up the course. You might also look at Blackboard’s help page, video tutorials for students, or contact the help desk.
One change I noticed immediately is that blog and wiki tools are now native to Blackboard. UNCG had previously purchased add-on blog and wiki utilities but now that these tools are standard Blackboard features, the old blog and wiki tools are not needed. Students and faculty who have previously used blogs and wikis will certainly find that the look and feel of these tools is very different from the old tools. Getting acquainted with the new tools won’t take long but the difference is notable. I’m sure there are other new or revised tools that will also require some adjustment. You can read about some of the changes here. I’ve only taken advantage of a few new features in my courses–some instructors may have adopted even more features.
What changes have you noticed? Does the new Blackboard feel any different to you?