Blackboard Next Generation Upgrade Completed

Date posted: 05/29/2011

On May 29, 2011, the upgrade to Blackboard Next Generation (NG) was completed at NIU. This upgrade was the most significant since Blackboard was first introduced at NIU almost ten years ago.

The new version of Blackboard delivers a new set of social learning and teaching tools, as well as a more intuitive and easy-to-use interface. In addition to delivering a redesigned, updated interface, the Blackboard NG upgrade simplifies the process of creating and editing courses, facilitates classroom collaboration, allows for better organization of course materials and assignments, streamlines the notification system of course updates, and allows you to better customize the course to meet your needs.

Blackboard NG introduces many new exciting features, some of which include:

  • Course Wikis: Enable active collaboration around course content and group projects
  • Blogs and Journals: Promote conversation and reflection
  • Group Tools: Simplify group communication and collaboration
  • Web 2.0 User Interface: Create and deliver content with a more intuitive user interface
  • Mash-ups: Integrate resources from, and
  • New Notification System: Revamped notification system to help students better manage academic priorities and course deadlines
  • Increased Accessibility: Advanced Accessibility Options certified by the National Federation of the Blind for Non-Visual Accessibility
  • New Assignment Tool: Facilitates group assignments by assigning a grade that is automatically given to all group membersl NOTE: This new tool replaces the existing Digital Drop Box tool.

To see a complete listing of all upcoming features, visit

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the ITS Helpdesk at 815-753-8100 or

It is strongly recommended that current faculty, instructors, teaching staff and teaching assistants attend any of the upcoming May, June and July training programs on Blackboard NG. For information on workshops and programs for Spring and Summer 2011, please visit

New Blackboard workshops for summer will include the following:

  • Hands-on workshops for new users
  • “Tune-up” workshops for experienced users
  • “Blackboard Boot Camp” days of in-depth advanced sessions
  • Open lab sessions every day of the first week of summer and fall semesters for individual assistance

A complete list of upcoming Blackboard workshops covering the new futures now available since the upgrade is available at

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Need Technical Assistance?

Call the IT Service Desk at 815.753.8100, email, or submit a ticket at

Need Assistance Teaching with Blackboard?

Call the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at 815.797.2477 or email

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