Differences between Vista and Bb Learn
- It's a new LMS. The Differences page documents some of the important differences in functionality that a former Vista user will find helpful to know. The Known Issues document, on the other hand, highlights things that aren't working properly.
Known Issues, Missing Functionality, and Recommended Workarounds
- Messages: In Vista there was a green asterisk that notified you when you had new, unread messages. Bb Learn does not notify you, so you will need to go to the Messages area regularly to check for messages if you have enabled this tool. We have submitted a "Feature Request" to Blackboard on this one. Update: As of Nov. 2011, we have installed a new module in Bb Learn called "My Messages" that provides similar functionality. This box appears on the same screen with your My Courses list.
- Preview Pages: A nice feature in Vista was the ability to give students information about a future class before the student enrolled. We are attempting to re-create this missing piece in Blackboard.
- Links to PDFs: Always select the "Open Link in New Window" option. Otherwise your Mac users may get a "missing plug-in" error.
- Links to websites outside Bb Learn: Always select the "Open Link in New Window" option. Otherwise, students may have difficulty returning to the course after visiting the link.
- Quizzes and Tests: Under Test Options, do not use Force Completion because a student who accidentally closes the test window won't be allowed back in. We have recently installed a patch (October, 2011) that addresses the "One Question At a Time" problems so this former issue is now, we think, resolved.
- Assignment and Assessment Due Dates vs Adaptive Release: Check assignment and assessment due dates and visibility/availability dates carefully against document availability dates set under Adaptive Release. Conflicts are possible. If for example, the test is open on Monday only, but in Adaptive Release, it is available on Tuesday only, the two settings in conflict would prevent the test from being available on either day.
- Learning Modules: At this time, we recommend creating Content Folders and Files instead of using Learning Modules. Unlike other tools, deleting a link to a Learning Module can delete not just the link but the Module itself. This is too dangerous so we don't recommend this feature.
- Discussions: We recommend turning off the "Allow Members to Create New Threads" option at least for your first discussion in Bb Learn so that everyone posts in the correct place. You can, in later discussions, explain how Threads can be used effectively and then introduce this feature. (Note: If you do decide to turn of thread creation at the Forum level, you will need to create a seed thread in that forum for the students to respond to because they are not allowed to create threads.) When reviewing posts, we recommend you select all (or all new) posts and then click the "Collect" button so you can see all posts at once. Otherwise, you can only read them one at a time, which can be tedious.
- Copy/Pasting text from Microsoft Word: Use the new Paste from Word tool in Bb Learn to avoid embedding lots of Microsoft formatting junk in the page code.
- The Visual HTML Editor:
- Be careful not to turn off the HTML Editor or to navigate away from the page you are editing because if you haven't clicked "Submit" your unsaved work will be lost.
- After creating a table, you can add/remove rows and columns in Firefox but, in other browsers, you may not be able to do so.
- After inserting an image, you can re-size the image by dragging from a corner of the image in Firefox but, in other browsers, you may not be able to do so.
- You can copy/paste text directly from Microsoft Word into the Visual Editor using the Paste from Word tool. Most text formatting will come through, but images will need to be added manually. See our Creating Content tutorial for information on inserting images.
- Problems with imported Vista courses: We have encountered a number of serious issues with some imported Vista courses, particularly those that were built using an external HTML editor such as DreamWeaver. If you encounter issues with permissions, broken images and broken links to other content pages inside the course, please contact us for assistance or consult this troubleshooting document for suggestions.
Questions and Follow-up Support
If you have any basic questions about Bb Learn, please review our tutorials and videos and/or contact the e-Learning Center's Faculty Support Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more in-depth assistance, you can also schedule an appointment with an Instructional Technologist.