What’s new in Blackboard?

Spring 2020

1. The Attendance tool (Qwickly Attendance) in Blackboard was updated. While there are no major changes in functionality, the tool is now called “Attendance” (instead of Qwickly Attendance) and therefore will appear alphabetically towards the top of the Course Tools and Tools menu in Blackboard courses. Additional information: https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/how-to-add-the-qwickly-attendance-tool-to-blackboard/

2. Blackboard ended ending the My Profile tool where many users uploaded their photo. An alternative photo uploading option is available – the photo will display in the same places in courses (like discussion boards). However, all users will need to upload a new photo. Instructors should update any instructions for students. Instructions for the new photo upload method are available here: https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/blackboard-photos/

This change does not affect the “Photo Roster” tool which allows only the instructor to view student Mason ID Card photos (Blackboard course > Control Panel > Course Tool > Photo Roster).

3. Spring 2020 is the last semester the original version of Blackboard Collaborate will be available (this is the old version that requires a launcher application). This does not affect the current Collaborate Ultra tool.

4. All faculty, staff, students will be able to enter their chosen first name in PatriotWeb starting in January. The chosen name will automatically populate the user’s first name in Blackboard. More information is available: https://registrar.gmu.edu/updating-chosen-name-pronouns/

5. On February 15, 2020, we will be removing all 2015 courses from Blackboard. Instructor options to download the gradebook or a complete copy of your course are available: https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/learning-management-system-course-retention-guidelines/. Email reminders will be sent to faculty closer to the date.

Fall 2019

  • Kaltura Capture is a Mac and PC application that allow users to record their screen, along with webcam and audio. Great for recording PowerPoint presentations. Capture replaces “CaptureSpace” and is a new download. To install and for more information, see https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/kaltura-capture-new/
  • Capture Express- immediately open your webcam in your browser and record audio and/or video. Great for faculty feedback to students or video discussion boards.
  • Interactive Video Quizzes allow you to add quiz questions on top of existing videos. Grades can be sent to the Blackboard Grade Center. Recent additions include:
    • New question types: Multiple Choice, True and False, Reflection Point (video pause with text), Open Question (free text answer)
    • Multiple Attempts (2-100) now an option
    • Accessibility keyboard shortcuts
  • Hotspots: Add text on top of existing Kaltura videos. Create clickable object in a video, that allow you to customize what happens when a viewer clicks.
  • Playlists: build and embed playlist players directly from media published or added to a course media gallery.
  • Additional video editing features include chop and splice, show or hide audio, real time marker with quick action and time code.
  • Download: easily download original source video now located on the player controls available only to media owners in their MyMedia, not a course.
  • When adding Kaltura videos to courses, the video is larger for improved viewing when not full screen.
  • Unmute: Videos will begin play muted - user must click Unmute. Most browsers now require videos to begin muted.
  • More sharing options: in your My Media, choose to share a video with another person as a co-editor, co-viewer, or co-publisher
  • Change ownership: hand over ownership of a video to another user


Blackboard Courses

Instructors now have access to additional student and course statistics. In any Blackboard course under Control Panel > Evaluation the Course Analytics reports allow instructors to compare their usage of Blackboard to their department’s average, plot the distribution of student activity against their grades in this course, and more. Instructors can choose to turn on (it is off by default) a student tool which shows a student how their activity, submissions, and grades compare to the class average, week by week.

The Mobile Compatible Test Tool is no longer available. All test questions will now display properly on mobile devices. Any tests built using the tool were converted into regular Blackboard tests.


Blackboard Help Pages
All Blackboard help pages have moved from coursessupport.gmu.edu to the new ITS Knowledge. Please look through your course and update links as needed. Contact us with help finding pages.
Respondus Monitor
Respondus Monitor, the tool that uses a student's webcam to prevent cheating during non-proctored Blackboard exams, has greatly improved its algorithms in order to rank and prioritize the recordings which instructors may need to review.
Linkedin Learning
Lynda.com is now Linkedin Learning. All existing links to Lynda.com will forward the the video in Linkedin Learning through the end of the Fall semester. Faculty should begin to edit links during the semester. More https://lil.gmu.edu/lilupgrade/
Collaborate Ultra
Collaborate Ultra (web conferencing) has added a number of new features:
  • Collaborate sessions are fully supported on mobile devices (Safari for iPhones/iPads, Chrome for Android)
  • A guest phone number is available for those only joining via phone
  • Browser pop-up notifications allow users sharing their full screen to still receive notifications such as new chat messages
  • Instructors/Moderators can share files to breakout groups
  • Instructors/Moderators can view students/attendees connectivity strength
  • Instructors/Moderators can add questions to polling

Spring 2019


Kaltura CaptureSpace is now Capture!

Kaltura CaptureSpace, the free Mac and PC software to create audio and video recordings, is now replaced by Kaltura Capture. The name is similar, but Capture is much easier to use. Kaltura Capture download and usage instructions are available in the ITS Knowledgebase.

IMPORTANT: All recordings made in CaptureSpace should be uploaded to Blackboard by the end of May. To check for recordings not yet uploaded, open CaptureSpace on your computer and click Library. Recordings not uploaded to Blackboard MyMedia will say “Not Uploaded” and provides an upload option.

Fall 2018

Feedback Box

The Bluepulse feedback tool has been replaced with Feedback Box.


Instructors and students can now download instructor annotations papers. Previously, annotations were only visible in the browser. The download option available for papers submitted in DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, and PPTX formats.

Course Customizations (Instructors)

Instructor Grade Center improvements: The full text of column names are now displayed and instructors can click a full-screen button to see a larger version of the grade center.

Instructors can change the color of the course menu (Control Panel > Customization > Properties).

Respondus Monitor

The Respondus Monitor report, which allows instructors to review students' online test attempts, is improved. The new dashboard includes a ranked Review Priority scoring system (Low, Medium, High) that provides instructors an easy way to identify exam sessions that require deeper scrutiny.


Kaltura Webcam recording, which allowed users to record their webcam in the browser, is no longer available. The tool was Flash dependent which is no longer supported. Users can also use the Kaltura CaptureSpace application to record their webcam. Users could also record webcam using another program on their computer or record on their smartphone, and upload to Kaltura.

Kaltura video editing – additional editing options are available including clipping and trimming videos in your My Media.

Kaltura quizzing – additional question types are now available. They include True/False and Inflection Point (pause the video and add text to the screen).