What’s New in Blackboard?

Over the 2012-2103 Winter break, USC upgraded Blackboard to version 9.1 Service Pack 9 (SP9). This upgraded version of Blackboard includes many instructor-requested improvements, as well as a more streamlined design. Six of these improvements are featured below.


Blackboard’s default interface, also known as its theme, was updated to enhance usability. You will find the same tools, features, and overall layout that you have come to expect. The only significant difference is that SP9’s theme provides a more streamlined experience, making it easier for instructors and students to navigate and complete tasks.  For more information, please watch the Blackboard Learn 2012 Theme tutorial.

Push Notifications to Mobile Devices

By downloading the free Blackboard Instructor app, students can also now elect to receive automatic, personalized course notifications delivered straight to their mobile devices whenever instructors post course content, announcements, graded items, tests, and many other course activities.

Course-to-Course Navigation

SP9 allows users to jump from a page or tool in one course to that same page or tool in another course. For example, instructors are able to jump from the grade center of one course to another course’s grade center, and students can jump from one course’s announcements page to another. For more information, please watch the Course to Course Navigation tutorial.

Automated Regrading

Automated Regrading gives instructors the flexibility to easily rekey assessments. Drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct on a Blackboard test and the system will automatically regrade submitted assessments and provide notification about what has changed. For more information, please watch the Automatic Grading tutorial.

New: Negative Marking

SP9 allows instructors to apply a range of negative point values for incorrect answers on test questions. For more information, please watch the Negative Points tutorial.

Course Themes

SP9 offers instructors 50 different pre-built course themes to choose from, so that courses may better match instructors’ design preferences and teaching methods.

Which browsers work with Blackboard?

To have the best experience with Blackboard, upgrade your browser to its most recent version.

Need Help?

  • Call our Blackboard Help line 24 hours a day, every day at (213) 740-5555 and choose option 2.
  • Faculty can request help and training from USC’s Enterprise Learning Technologies group by submitting a request to blackboard@usc.edu.