What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 9

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 Mobile Learn 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which browsers work with Blackboard 9.1 SP9?

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

Please note that instructors who use Internet Explorer will need to upgrade to version 9 or later in order to be able to view Blackboard’s top frame and tabs or open zipped files containing assignments to grade.

To determine which version of Internet Explorer you are currently using:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Press ALT+H.
  3. Click About Internet Explorer.

Links to Browsers

To download recent browser versions that work with SP9, click one of the following links.

Where can I learn more about Blackboard 9.1 SP9?

For a more in-depth look at Blackboard 9.1 SP9, check out the “What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 SP8 and SP9” chapter of the “Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors” at lynda.com.

Lynda.com is an online training provider offering more than 1,200 video-based courses on a broad range of computing and technology topics. Free access to lynda.com is available to all current USC faculty, students, and staff.  To login, visit http://itservices.usc.edu/lynda/.

If you have questions regarding the upcoming upgrade or if you want to schedule a departmental demonstration of Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 9, please send an email to cst@usc.edu.