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Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM, Spring 2014 February 21, 2014

Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM Spring 2014


Distance Learning and Faculty Development (DLF) Division Prepared by: Joel Kinison, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Overview Blackboard Learn, the course management system utilized by College of Southern Maryland faculty, staff, and students, continues to be an important platform for facilitating teaching at learning at CSM, with all courses having an online element in Blackboard. Over the past several years, there have been significant upgrades implemented to the system which have added many new features as well as an improved overall user experience. Purpose The purpose of this document is to propose an upgrade the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) from Service Pack (SP) SP9 to SP13 Released: 6/19/13 Supported until Oct 2014. The main benefit of this decision to upgrade to SP13 vice SP14 is that we keep Outcomes intact for a few more months (See Outcomes section). Project Objectives and Goals The college has not upgraded the Blackboard LMS for a couple years and is several SPs behind. It is a critical project for CSM to improve the overall online experience of CSM students. The goal is to upgrade

between the end of the spring semester, and the beginning of summer I semester time-frame. Project Success The project success resides on the successful testing and evaluating by faculty and staff of data migrated from the live server to the test server during the testing phase (March 17 April 7). Outcomes Jason Sparks (by phone) confirmed that with SP14 we won't be able to use Outcomes the way we use it now. Bb has a change management document; however they do not offer support for migration. All our work will have to be recreated in a separate tool if we decide to continue this subscription. There is much concern that the new Outcomes package is Blackboard-driven not faculty-driven. It requires faculty to use it in a much more standardized one-size-fits-all way and is more appropriate for course-level, not program-level, evaluation. The main benefit of this decision to upgrade to SP13 vice SP14 is that we keep Outcomes intact for a few more months so that all involved parties can make good decisions about how to archive the data we already have in Outcomes and how we proceed with the Outcomes subscription. Starting with SP14, we would have to move to the new Outcomes platform. Daphne Morris is the Blackboard Outcomes contact person. Dave Howard and Daphne Morris will discuss how to create an archival copy of Outcomes.

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Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM, Spring 2014 February 21, 2014
Project Organization Leader: Kimberley Donnelly, Chair, Distance Learning and Faculty Development (DLF)

Information Management: Dave Marek, Associate Director Network Project Team, Information technology Services Department (ITS) Barry Hamilton, Network Manager, Information technology Services Department (ITS)

Project Coordinators: Joel Kinison, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Distance Learning and Faculty Development (DLF) Leah Geiger, Instructional Designer, Distance Learning and Faculty Development (DLF) Keisha Patterson, Instructional Technology Assistant, Distance Learning and Faculty Development (DLF)

Testing and Evaluation: CSM faculty and staff (30-40) selected to test and evaluate all critical components including; navigation, content, assessments and assignments, discussions, rubrics, Safeassign, NBC Learn, Intelecom, building blocks, system admin, outcomes, content collection, communities, retention center and enterprise survey.

Key Schedule Milestones Deploy SP10 13 on the CSM Blackboard test server by spring break, March 17, 2014 Performance testing and evaluating by a group of faculty and students, March 17 April 7, 2014 Final evaluation and development of training and communication, April 7 May 2, 2014 Deploy SP10 13 on the CSM Blackboard live server, May 15-16, 2014 Continue to evaluate and produce final training and communication plan for the fall semester 2014

Communication Plan Project Coordinators will provide announcements, resources, and training for CSM faculty, staff, and students. An upgrade notice will be provided through Friday Report and Blackboard MyInstitution Tab: The college plans to upgrade Blackboard 9.1 from SP9 to SP13, Thursday, May 15, 2014 through

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Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM, Spring 2014 February 21, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014. During this period, faculty, staff, and students may experience considerable system downtime. The system should be fully restored by May 16, 2014. Faculty should take this into consideration when preparing for summer session that starts May 19, 2014. Be sure to copy or work on courses before or after the installation period. Resources and training material will be provided under the Instructor/Student resources tab in Blackboard and the Announcement module. What does this upgrade mean for faculty? Faculty will benefit from the enhanced workflows and more effective user interface and an extended tool set of capabilities to improve their teaching with Blackboard. The upgrade will eliminate errors, such as access denied for assessments and the messaging tool, along with other access denied problems. Since, JAVA has been a main concern with operating certain interactive tools in Blackboard (i.e. Chat), JAVA will not be a determining factor if it is updated or not because the new version will not require the use of the JAVA applet to use multimedia tools. The look and feel of Blackboard will not change but some new tools will be available. Faculty will be able to view resources and attend training on the upgrade. The Project Coordinators will prioritize assisting the summer I faculty prior to the initial deployment. What does this upgrade mean for students? Other than adjusting to minor cosmetic changes, students should be able to seamlessly move from SP9 to 9.1 SP13 without any significant additional training. The upgrade will eliminate errors, such as Access Denied for assessments and the messaging tool, along with other access denied problems. The look and feel of Blackboard will not change but some new tools will be available. Students will be able to view resources and attend training on the upgrade. The Project Coordinators will provide orientations for students. Training All Blackboard training throughout the summer and fall will occur in Bb 9.1 SP13. Additional, a 1.5 hour content specific training sessions on Whats New in SP13 will be offered. Check the DLF Online Training Calendar for upcoming sessions. Blackboard 9.1 Releases included in the upgrade: SP10 Release Date: 11/5/12 SP11 Release Date: 12/27/12 SP12 Release Date: 4/24/13 SP13 Release Date: 6/19/13 SP14 Release Date: 10/23/13

Looking ahead Blackboard is switching to an April and October release schedule for upgrades -- no more numbered service packs. If the move to SP 13 goes smoothly, we recommend upgrading to either SP14 or the April 2014 release (aka SP 15) in Dec. 2014. Blackboard only actively supports the current release, plus 2 prior releases, so our SP 13 will be supported until October, 2014.

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Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM, Spring 2014 February 21, 2014

Blackboard Quicklook Release Highlights


Featured Highlights SP10 QUICKLOOK Assessment Item Analysis: Item Analysis provides statistics on overall test performance and on individual test questions. Enterprise Surveys and Course Evaluations: Enterprise Surveys and Course Evaluations are integrated in Blackboard Learn making it easy to send surveys to courses, departments, institutions or the public. My Blackboard Global Navigation: Global Navigation refers to the set of links that appears at the very top right of the Blackboard Learn frame. New Content Editor: The newly designed Content Editor vastly improves the user experience for adding text and other forms of digital content to Blackboard Learn.

Featured Highlights SP11 Maintenance QUICKLOOK Video Everywhere - Video Everywhere is a feature of the Content Editor Building Block providing faculty and students with the ability to record and reuse videos in Blackboard Learn Accessibility - Blackboard is fully committed to ensuring that our platform contains no barriers for users with disabilities and is both usable and accessible by everyone.

Featured Highlights SP12 QUICKLOOK Calendar - Calendar is significantly enhanced in Blackboard Learn. Retention Center - The Retention Center is an instructor-only tool that enables instructors to give focused attention to students who need it. It replaces the Early Warning System feature with easy workflows, while retaining all existing Early Warning System data and rules Discussions - The Discussion Board user interface has been updated in two primary ways: the thread detail page has been thoroughly redesigned while maintaining all of its current functionality and instructors can now require students to first post to a forum before they can see other students posts. Inline Assignment Grading - Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, instructors will now be able to view student-submitted files inline, i.e. in the web browser. Tests and Surveys - The updates include group and user deployment exceptions, granular feedback control for Tests, improved handling of late submissions and more.

Featured Highlights SP13 Maintenance QUICKLOOK Tests - Teachers can verify student activity during a test using the new Access Log. The Access Log provides detailed information on student's test attempt interactions. All questions are now retained in exported and imported tests, including questions that originate outside the exported test, such as Question Sets

Featured Highlights SP14 QUICKLOOK Grade Center Improvements - Blackboard redesigned the My Grades page providing a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.

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Proposed Blackboard Upgrade for CSM, Spring 2014 February 21, 2014
Groups Management - Groups Management significantly improves the experience of managing Groups with large numbers of students in a course. It adds capabilities to the existing workflows for Group creation and management. Course Messages Notifications - Notifications for Course Messages fill a gap in the Notifications framework. Prior to this release, when Messages were sent inside the Messages Course/Organization tool, there was no way for users to know that they had new Messages. Adding Course Messages to the Notifications framework provides visibility and notification in My Blackboard, and in the "What's New" module on both the institutional and course module pages. Inline Assignment Grading - This update to the inline grading experience improves the user experience of the recently introduced Inline Assignment Grading feature. Instructors now have the ability to expand the grading window to full screen. Inline Grading for Tools - The sidebars for grading Blogs & Journals, Discussions, and Wikis have all been updated to present an experience consistent with the Inline Assignment Grading sidebar.

Blackboard Upgrade Detailed Highlights


A quick overview of all the new tools and product enhancements are listed below by service pack:

Blackboard Release 9.1 SP10

My Blackboard New Feature-Set for All Users


My Blackboard tools that make up My Blackboard Profile, Posts, Updates, My Grades, and People.

New Global Navigation Menu New Feature for All Users


The entry point to My Blackboard is a new Global Navigation Menu. This new menu is available all the time in the top right corner of the Learn interface and provides one-click access to your Courses, Organizations, Settings, Blackboard Help, and the new My Blackboard tools. If theres something thats new or needs your attention it will be indicated in red. With this new Global Navigation menu, you can access everything you need quickly and easily, from wherever you are in the Blackboard Learn platform.

My Blackboard: Profile & Profile Card New Feature for All Users
You now have an identity in Blackboard Learn, a profile, so you can share academic information about yourself with others at your school. Your profile includes your picture, your area of study or focus, and an about me description. The about me description can be used to share anything you want about yourself for example, the activities youre

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involved in at school, future career goals, where youre going to be studying for the Biology midterm coming up, or a status update. When you create your profile, you have the option to start by pulling in information from Facebook or Twitter like your profile picture or the about me description. Profiles also have privacy options, so you can keep your profile hidden, make it available to just the people who are in your Courses and Organizations with you, or make it available to everyone at your school. Once you complete your profile, your profile picture will appear in multiple places throughout the Blackboard Learn platform where your name appears: in the new People tool (see the next section), the Roster, the User Directory, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals, and Wikis. Plus, when you hover over someones profile picture, a profile card automatically pops up so you can see their profile information and learn more about them (see an example profile card below). One additional capability with profiles is the ability to report inappropriate content that you may come across when viewing profiles. All you have to do is simply click on the gray flag you see in the bottom right corner of every profile card and choose what content youre reporting and why.

My Blackboard: People New Feature for All Users


Now that you have a Profile in Blackboard, the People tool enables you to discover others in your academic network. This is where you can see who is in each of your Courses and Organizations as well as everyone across your entire school that has made their profile visible school-wide. With the People tool, you can search for people in your network and view their profile cards to learn more about them (by simply hovering over their picture).

My Blackboard: Posts New Feature for All Users


The Posts tool in My Blackboard makes it really easy to stay up-to-date and engaged with all the conversations going on across Blackboard Learn. The Posts tool consolidates posts from all of your courses and organizations so posts from Discussion Boards, Journals, Wikis, and Blogs as well as the comments and replies to those posts. And to make it easy to manage the posts, theyre presented in a familiar, chronological stream interface and there are filter options. Additionally, with Journal, Wiki, and Blog posts, you can comment right from within the Posts interface or you can click to see the full context of the post in the course environment. With Discussion Board posts, you can click right into the interface in the course environment where you can type your reply. So its simple to both stay up to-date and involved in the conversation.

My Blackboard: Updates New Feature for All Users


This tool updates you on course announcements, when new content or assignments are added to a course, when an assignment or assessment is due, and much more. And educators can also see when assignments and assessments need grading. To make it easy to manage this information, there are filters so you can look at all Notifications at once, only those from one particular Course or Organization, or just all Course Announcements. You can also change your notification preferences and pick exactly what you want to show up in this tool.

My Blackboard: My Grades New Feature for Students


You can quickly see a stream of the latest grades youve received, so you never miss a new grade that was posted. When you click on a grade in the stream, you will see additional detail like your instructors feedback and the class average if your instructor has made it available. You can also click into a Course view if you want to see your grades by course. For each Course, you can see your current overall grade (if your instructor has made it available to you), as well as graded items in the course, submitted items that havent been graded yet, and upcoming assignments and assessments.

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Text and Text-to-Voice Notifications Enhancement for All Users
You can now opt in to receive automated course notifications and system wide announcements through texts and/or text-to-voice calls. From course announcements, to an assignment thats due, you can stay updated anytime, anywhere from your mobile device.

New Content Editor Enhancement for All Users


The new and improved Content Editor enables simple content creation through an easy to use interface. The editor reads, writes and renders modern HTML so the content you created in Microsoft Word and the course pages you designed so carefully in Dreamweaver will render with great fidelity within Blackboard Learn. Weve made sure that the essential functions you need are there the ability to resize images, find/replace, and simple icons in the toolbar for everyday tasks. And you can easily add rich content by pulling in mashups from YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and more. Another great feature of the new Content Editor is that you can expand it for full-frame editing, giving you a lot more real estate to build rich content. Additionally, there is a new math editor in Blackboard Learn that simplifies creation and delivery of equations by enabling editing directly from the Content Editor. The new math editor supports saving and copy/paste of equations using mathML.

Item Analysis New Feature for Educators


The new Item Analysis feature helps you easily refine your tests and quizzes by evaluating the quality and validity of each question and that questions ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Ineffective questions can be easily identified and then you can quickly correct them with the Automatic Regrade feature. As an educator, you will be able to access an at-a-glance summary of your Blackboard assessments. This summary provides insight into student performance on that assessment and how the question items performed. If you decide to change or update that question, you can immediately take action right from this page by clicking the Edit Test button. You will be taken directly to the assessment where you can use the automatic regarding feature to either update or delete the question and regrade it even if students have already completed the assessment. File Picker Enhancement Enhancement for All Users We are introducing a new and improved File Picker that will be available everywhere you attach files. The goal with Service Pack 10 was to de-clutter the page, remove unnecessary functionality and make the primary action of choosing a file as easy and simple as possible. The new File Picker will be available for both direct file attaching, as in Assignments, or attaching files via the Content Editor.

Blackboard Release 9.1 SP11

About Service Pack 11


SP 11 is a maintenance service pack that includes minimal new features along with a number of fixes and improvements.

Video Everywhere Enhancement for All Users


Video Everywhere is a feature of the Content Editor Building Block. Once installed and activated, a new icon is added to the Content Editor that controls a users webcam. When activated, users can record video and upload it directly to YouTube. The feature provides the ability for faculty and students to:

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Record a video on the fly using a webcam and have it seamlessly embedded in course materials, interactions, and feedback through the content editor. Reuse previously recorded videos by choosing from ones own library of videos.

Accessibility Enhancement for All Users


Blackboard is fully committed to ensuring that our platform contains no barriers for users with disabilities and is both usable and accessible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation.

Blackboard Release 9.1 SP12


Discussions Feature Enhancement for All Users
With this enhancement, Blackboard has thoroughly redesigned the Discussions interface while adding some new functionality as a direct response to instructor feedback. Highlights include: All posts on one page: The entire discussion thread appears on a single page, thereby maintaining the context of posts and replies to one another. Avatars: The user profile avatars are more prominent in the new Discussions. Conditional highlighting of instructors posts: It is easier for students to find posts from instructors in a sea of other posts. Respond to posts inline: When clicking Reply, the content editor appears in the context of the discussion so as not to disrupt the flow of the user. The full content editor is available for the user to write a reply. When finished, submitting the post adds it directly into the page without losing context. Post first feature: In addition to the user enhancements described above, we have also introduced a new setting that permits instructors to specify that students must enter their own thread before viewing other threads in a forum. (Note that initially this capability only applies at the forum level, not the thread level. This means that post first is not an option when students are not permitted to create threads.)

Calendar New & Improved Feature for All Users


The calendar has been completely rebuilt. This new version allows personalization and customization. Users can select views (month, week, day) and color-code the events to differentiate courses and personal items. Items with due dates automatically appear on the new Blackboard Learn calendar. If an instructor changes a due date, the calendar gets updated as well. On the flip side, moving a calendar item (by clicking on the item or drag and drop) simultaneously changes a due date for an instructor. Users can also create recurring events by selecting the repeat checkbox. Calendar events may be viewed at once or filtered to show only the desired mix of class and personal events. Users can select which calendars to view, ranging from personal to institution to individual course listings. These calendar items can also be exported via an iCal feed to Outlook, Google or other 3 party calendars.
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Retention Center New Feature for Educators


The Retention Center is a new feature for educators who use Blackboard Learn. The Retention Center highlights retention factors and student engagement, quickly alerting educators to potential risk and allowing them to take immediate action. Easy-to-understand views and pre-configured rules make it simple to identify at-risk students within a course, and it requires no set up on the part of the instructor or administrator. However, instructors can also modify these rules to suit their individual teaching methodologies and approaches.

Inline Assignment Grading New Enhancement for Educators


Inline Assignment Grading is an improvement to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, instructors will now be

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able to view student-submitted files inline, i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plug -ins, applets, or additional applications. Supported document types that can be converted are Word (.doc, .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), Excel (.xls,.xlsx), and PDF (.pdf). Files that have been uploaded and converted for display in the inline viewer can be annotated directly within the browser. The tools available for annotation are: Comment, Draw, Highlight, Text and Strikeout. The Inline Assignment Feature introduces a new sidebar for inline grading. This sidebar provides assignment details, previous attempts, the grade, rubrics, grading notes and grader feedback.

Test Enhancements Feature Enhancement for Educators


A new rule-based method for adding availability exceptions to tests has been added to the Test Options page. Using this new capability, instructors may select one or more groups or users, and make a number of exceptions to the already established delivery settings for other students. Specifically, the exceptions that can be made for users or groups are: Number of attempts, Time of test, Auto submit on/off, Availability start & end date and Force completion on/off. Weve implemented a new event-based method for releasing test feedback. Weve also added additional feedback options to provide instructors with more control over what kinds of feedback students can or cant see. Events can be specified to trigger specific feedback settings.

Quick Links New Feature for All Users


The Quick Links tool will help significantly improve the navigation experience for sighted, keyboard-only users. This tool can be quickly accessed on any page using a link at the very top of the page or a keyboard shortcut (Control+Alt+L). It will aggregate a list of all of the landmarks and headings on a page and allow a user to select one and jump directly to that location within the page. It will also collect and highlight any keyboard shortcuts that exist for the current page or tool, providing another method for quickly completing key tasks within the application.

Content Editor Math Formulas New Feature for All Users


WIRIS provides the Math formula editing capabilities of the Content Editor introduced in SP10. In SP10 the WIRIS plugin came in the form of a Java Applet. This meant that math editing was not available to all platforms as Java virtual machine capabilities were required on the target platform. SP12 brings a new WIRIS editor that is based on JavaScript. This removes dependence on Java and as a result enables full math-editing capabilities on platforms that cannot run Java in browsers such as iOS.

Blackboard Release 9.1 SP13


Rubric New Feature for All Users
Align Rubric Row Criteria to Goals - Instructors can now align individual criteria listed in the row of a rubric to course goals, providing a more granular level of aligning a specific criterion to course goals using a rubric.

Exporting Test Questions New Feature for Educators


All questions are now retained in exported and imported tests, including questions that originate outside the exported test, such as Question Sets, Random Blocks, and Question Links. When the user exports a test and imports it back into a different course, all questions are now imported irrespective of their origin.

Progress Tracker New Feature for All Users


When Learn is processing large sets of data such as copying a course, the process takes place in the background so that users do not have to wait until it is completed before going on to another task. It is difficult to know when the process is complete without some type of indicator.

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The progress tracker is an enhancement to the user experience that provides a visible indicator that shows processes taking place in the background. This visual indicator automatically appears (there is nothing to turn on or activate) to show the progress of activities such as installing a building block. Progress trackers can take different visual forms, but the intention is to let users know a process is taking place and when it is complete.

Test Access Log New Feature for Educators


A source of frustration for students, instructors, and test proctors is the inability to confirm whether students began a test or ran into problems during a test. SP 13 addresses this issue by providing detailed information on student test attempt interactions. The access log shows a detailed list of every interaction that students engage in when taking a test. If a student claims to have started a test the log will show the time the test was started. If a network or internet disruption occurred during the test for example, the log would show an unusual gap in the time.

Blackboard Release 9.1 SP14 (Fall 2014?)

Achievements New Feature for All Users


The Achievements tool allows instructors and course designers to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. Students can see which rewards theyve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. In this release, three Achievement types are supported: Course Completion The Certificate reward is required; an additional Badge is optional. Milestone The reward can only be a Badge. Custom Badges, Certificates, or both are allowed.

Students can see earned Achievements as well as any unearned Achievements with the visibility enabled. They can also click on an Achievement to see information about the criteria for earning the Reward and their progress toward unearned Achievements.

Groups Management Feature Enhancement


Creating Groups Its simple to create groups in Courses and Organizations. With a new Add Users interface, weve made it very easy to choose the students you want to add to a group as well as distinguish among students by viewing their picture and Profile Card. Grade Center Smart Views When you create a group, you can now simply click a button to create a Smart View in the Grade Center that corresponds to that group. A Smart View is a focused look at the Grade Center that is saved for continued use. One Place to Manage Your Groups The All Groups management page is a one-stop-shop for managing your groups. It provides bulk actions for deleting groups and creating Smart Views, quick actions on individual groups, and sortable columns. You can also view and manage tool availability for each group right from this page.

Date Management New Feature for Educators


Date Management is a new utility that allows instructors to have the system automatically shift content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way. After the system makes this shift, the instructor is able to see all the dates

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in one place due dates, adaptive release dates, test dates theyre all pre-populated based on your previous course setup.

Course Message Notifications Feature Enhancement for All Users


By adding messages to the Notifications framework, its never been easier to stay o n top of your communications. You can receive alerts via email, manage your preferences in terms of delivery, frequency and more. These notifications show up in a number of places including your Whats New module and My Blackboard In summary, you can now: View notifications for Course Messages as part of the "Updates" area in My Blackboard View notifications for Course Messages as part of the "What's New" module, both on institutional module pages and on course module pages View notifications for Course Messages via individual email View notifications for Course Messages via daily email digest Users can manage notification preferences for Course Messages Admins can include Course Message notifications as part of notification cleanup

Inline Assignment Grading Updates Feature Enhancements for Educators


First released this feature in March of 2013 and have added two enhancements. The first adds a full screen view, allowing you to slide the sidebar out of the way and maximize the converted document, so you'll have plenty of room for commenting and annotating. Second, weve taken the new assignment grading sidebar design that we introduced and added it to all the other tools where we support inline grading (Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Discussion Boards). This creates a more consistent and user-friendly grading experience for you.

Test IP Address Filtering New Feature for All Users


With IP Address Filtering you can now restrict student access to tests by indicating a specific location during the setup process, like a proctored testing center or computer lab.

My Grades Ordering & Design Update New Feature for All Users
Based on your feedback, weve redesigned the My Grades page for students. Now you can control the presentation of scores by last activity, due date or Grade Center alignment. Other improvements make this view easy on the eyes and easy to comprehend including: New Order By option in the top-right The All, Graded, Upcoming, and Submitted filters allow the student to narrow down the numb er of rows they see The text size and row spacing have been reduced, resulting in more information being displayed on the page at once Feedback is included right in-line, so the student doesnt need to click on anything to view it it just shows up on the page

Grading Schemas greater than 100% New Feature for All Users
Previously, the grading schema in the Grade Center had a maximum value of 100%. In Service Pack 14, this is no longer the case and percentages can be greater than 100%.

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