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Faculty of Humanities Teaching & Learning Office

Bb9 Service Pack updates

The latest Service Pack (SP11) was applied over 4-7 April 2013.

There have been some changes to the way things look, and some of the functionality, as a result. The list below covers the key changes you may notice on a day-to-day basis.

Text Editor

The text editor has a new look. The icons and layout will appear slightly differently.

  • The first time you go into it, you may not see all the available icons. Click on the down arrows [down arrow] to the right to reveal the full set of icons.
  • The icon you use to access the html code has changed from <> to 'html'. Html code view is commonly used for pasting 'embed' code for videos, for example from the Video Library Service, Box of Broadcasts, and YouTube. Some people also prefer to use the html view for writing their pages, or formatting etc.
  • The text editor now handles 'copy and paste' text from Word more efficiently. This means that you can now do this directly from Word, rather than pasting from Word into a basic text editor like Notepad or Wordpad, and then re-copying and pasting from there into the Bb9 text editor. [This is good news. However, you may notice some unwelcome changes to the appearance of your text. For example, large spaces between paragraphs. This is because previously, the style sheets which were used to format the text were designed to compensate for some of the problems which existed in the text editor, or rather the html coding. Now that these problems have been removed, the effect is an 'over-compensation', which results in some strange looking formatting. We expect that the style sheets will be updated to improve the formatting issues, so you don't need to do anything. However, if you wish, there are ways you can improve the appearance now, for example you could convert the paragraph spaces into a bullet point list, or you can change them from paragraphs into single line spaces by backspacing from the start of the text, to join it with the text above, and then with your cursor positioned where you want the line break to be, use ctrl+ enter.]

Interface - My Places, Help etc

The Bb9 interface has changed, so you will no longer see links to My Places, Help or any other links at the top of the page. Instead, there is a drop-down box on the top right-hand side, with increased functionality. Here you will find:

  • Links to all Courses and Organisations you are enrolled on
  • A link to the Knowledge Base (previously 'Help'). This can now be found at the bottom of the drop-down box. It's an icon with a question mark.
  • Also at the bottom there is the 'home' page link, an icon with a house, which takes you to the University home page. This opens a new browser tab or window, so you will still have Bb9 open.
  • A series of quick links along the left (entry point to 'My Blackboard'). Each of these will show recent activity and current status across all the courses you are registered for:
    • Overview page collates today imminent events and recent course update information
    • Recent posts pulls together recent discussion posts from all enrolled courses.
    • Recent updates to all enrolled courses.
    • My Grades provides a single place for available Grades from all enrolled courses
    • Calendar tool quick link

Interface - Tool/Area specific

If you use any of these tools or functions, you may wish to get in touch with the eLearning team or come to one of our drop-ins to explore the changes.

Discussion Forums redesign:

  • All posts in a thread are nowvisible at the same times on one page.
  • Inline replies - responses appear on the same page in the context of the discussion
  • Role highlighting - posts made by forum managers and moderators now contain the user's course role and forum role


  • There is now a consolidated view of all institution, course, organisation and personal calendar events for a user
  • Calendar events are colour coded by course
  • Clicking on calendar items provides direct links through to view or edit the item, or grade attempts on the associated item if it's assessed

My Grades:

  • Straightforward visual improvements

File Picker redesign (this refers to when you are browsing the Content Collection from a content area, eg when attaching a file, NOT to when you go directly into the Content Collection from the Control Panel):

  • Improvement to file searching options
  • Clearer navigation
  • You may miss the Create Folder button when you use the new design, it now shows under the Upload Files option, above 1. File Information and below the tabs.


  • Question configuration (fill-in-the-blank evaluation by regular expression; increased number of possible student answer choices from 20 to 100)
  • Item analysis (statistical information; evaluation of effectiveness of test questions)
  • Embedding images in questions - issue appears to be fixed



  • You may encounter performance issues when loading the 'Find Questions' dialogue
  • Question sets - exporting and importing tests containing 'question sets' may lead to an error. Use couse copy instead.
  • There are some continued issues with certain question types.

Text/content Editor

  • Heading styles are poorly defined. Sub-heading styles are displayed with smaller text than normal paragraph text. However, you can manually set the font point size instead.
  • Live video 'Recorder' tool - this links into a YouTube flash based live video recording tool to record short clips direct from your webcam. It's very dependent of your system setup and hardware and may fail for some users.
  • Wimba Voice authoring messages, whilst embedded into a page, cannot be played back.
  • Mac users - Chrome: Copy and paste within the content editor does not work; Firefox and Safari: Mixed results for copy and paste within the content editor. Keyboard shortcuts may work, other methods may fail.