July Release and Enhancements

We are excited to announce that Connect had a successful platform upgrade, and we truly thank you for your patience and flexibility during that time. Here are just a few of the release highlights:

Course Creation – It’s now easier to add courses, download section info and share with colleagues.

Free Trial Improvement – Your Connect roster will stay organized with a new status column that tells you whether a student is licensed or using Free Trial.

Ask Instructor – You can keep only the messages you need and delete the rest, without your students losing them.

Ask Publisher – Report content and technical issues more efficiently.

LearnSmart – Greater access to modules means more opportunities for your students to understand the material.

Question Editor – A clean look and navigation make it simple to customize assignments with your own questions.

ADA Compliance – Changes to formatting, labeling and navigation make Connect more accessible to all students.

Also keep an eye out for improvements in assigning, like the ability to incorporate fractions of a point and allowing students to start and submit after the due date using the “allow for late submittal” policy. Grading, grouping assignments and the student homepage were also tweaked to make using Connect that much easier.

Certain disciplines have new features of their own. English now has Peer Review, and World Languages has an enhanced Gradebook and new Blackboard Voice tools.

Course Creation – Save time and effort by copying and sharing with as many as 10 colleagues at once; navigate the book finder faster with a new scroll bar; and download your registration to PDF for easy printing and sharing.

Free Trial – Students get email reminders and clearer instructions on how to upgrade from their free trial. You’ll be able to check each student’s status in your roster.

Ask Instructor – Students’ messages with you are automatically saved for them, so you’re free to delete messages without affecting your students.

Ask Publisher – Pre-populated forms for content and technical issues save you time when you need to get in touch with the
McGraw-Hill Customer Experience Group.

LearnSmart – You can now assign different topics from a LearnSmart module to emphasize the right concepts at the right time.

Students can also access modules after the due date, allowing them to continue using LearnSmart for review and practice whenever they want.

Question Editor – Creating and editing questions in the question bank is much easier with a fresh look and simplified design. Customize questions with ease to create the perfect assignment for your students.

ADA Compliance – An important part of the release is increased ADA Compliance, with enhanced formatting for disabled and handicapped learners.

These changes include alternate text for selections, labels for text fields and improved keyboard navigation.

Keep an eye out in future releases for the ability to give students with disabilities standard extensions on timed assignments.


By kevin  |  July 29 2012
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Coming Soon: Good news for grading!

Mid-semester grading got you down?

We’re adding some great new grading features, and fine-tuning existing ones, to help cure the grading blues. In April, your grading workflow will be even more efficient and easy than it is right now.

Grading screenshot

Here are some highlights

After the April release you’ll be able to:
  • ● Zero-in on students who are ready to be graded, and get started immediately, with the always-available Grading Queue
  • ● Grade more efficiently by scoring a student’s entire assignment at once
  • ● See everything in context with the newly expanded, full-page grading area
  • ● Start and stop grading file attachment assignments and questions at your leisure

Stay tuned for more details!


By kevin  |  March 21 2012
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New Features and Enhancements Arrive on January 21!

Here are the great new features and updates that will be available January 21, in Connect:

The Connect Success Academy

Your one-stop, full-service learning and support center. The new Success Academy is the place to go to learn more about Connect’s features and to view suggestions and tips to help you get the most out of everything you use in your class. The CSA will be available throughout Connect – just look for the helpful icons, and explore!

Connect Success Academy

The Newly Redesigned Policy Page

Simplifying your experience, without changing what you love.

We introduced you to the redesigned policies page earlier here on the blog – setting up assignments and applying the policies you want is now easier than ever.

The New Policies Page


Developmental English

A suite of new assignment-types and features will be available with the launch of Developmental English and in several other disciplines.

Writing Assignments – Centralized submissions, feedback, and grades without additional software.
Blogs – Bring real-world applications to any writing assignment.
Discussion Boards – Engage the entire class and keep track of activity.

Blog Post Assignment


Personalized Learning Plan (Adaptive Diagnostics)

Enabled titles will deliver a comprehensive adaptive study plan, or individual study activities, through unique adaptive diagnostic and learning tools. Adjust the content that’s available to your students by relevance, and select important materials, or let students explore.

Personalized Learning


LiveInk [Pilot]

LiveInk integration provides an alternative reading method, which will be available in select titles this spring, that will improve the experience and comprehension for many online readers. Easily switch between the eBook and LiveInk views.



Publisher-Provided Media: Audio Files

Now, students in disciplines like Music will have access to audio files even when they’re not part of an assignment. Students can view and play the files anytime from their Connect Library.

Audio Files


APR and NutriCalc

Now you and your students can launch Anatomy and Physiology Revealed and NutriCalc Plus right from your section home page.

Newsflashes and Quick Tips

We’re making some great improvements to the notifications and messages you receive in Connect, including creating separate space for important news and quick-tips.


By kevin  |  December 23 2011
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Introducing the Redesigned Policies Page

The upcoming winter release will bring some exciting changes to the way our policies page looks and feels.

With the growth of the Connect community we did our best to accommodate all of the different individual needs, teaching styles and preferences that you find important and we built onto the policies page to the point that some key features and options ended up being hidden or hard to find. We felt (and heard) that we should return to the simplicity and efficiency that drew you to Connect in the first place.

All of the improvements we’re making to the policies page will help make sure that you can find exactly the settings you want in less time, and have a better experience while you’re there.

Here’s a preview of the brand new layout:

The new polices page in Connect.

We’re excited about the changes, but we know that many of you have mastered the current policies layout and already customized policies for your assignments. We want to put your minds at ease and assure you of two really important things: first, all your saved policy settings will rollover with the new design – nothing changes for your students or your assignments, and second, each policy setting will work the same way it always has. So, when it comes time to set up for next semester, your assignments and policy settings will be exactly as you left them—just a whole lot simpler to set up!

As we move forward into 2012 and beyond, we’ll continue to simplify and improve Connect, and present you with brand-new features. We think we’re off to a great start, but let us know what you think after the redesigned policies page goes live!

By kevin  |  December 16 2011
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Get Ready for Our Winter Release

Happy Thanksgiving to the Connect Community! We wish you a warm and joyful day.

The holiday season is officially upon us and, in the spirit of giving, we’re giving you a new Connect release! We will be upgrading Connect with usability improvements and new features. Connect will be unavailable during this time, so please avoid scheduling assignments to be due on these dates.

A big “thank you!” to the Connect Community for your invaluable feedback and suggestions as we work to make Connect even better.

Check back for updates on what’s coming this Winter!

By kevin  |  November 23 2011
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October Release and Enhancements

We will be releasing several key usability improvements along with key features in several course areas this coming Saturday, October 22nd. We want to thank everyone in the Connect community for your suggestions and helpful feedback as we work to make Connect even better. Check out just a few of the highlights below!

At-Risk Student Report (Pilot)
Instructors and institutions have an easy way to improve student retention. Quickly find and help the students who need you most. The report will identify at-risk students and help you reach out to them to request a meeting during office hours, provide words of encouragement and get them re-engaged.

Section Switcher
An easier way to navigate your course. With the improved section-switcher, getting between your MWF and TuTh sections is a breeze. Just click “switch section” and you will see a list of all the sections in your course. Select the one you want, and you’re there.

And/Or Filter
See all of the content available to you, in any combination. We’ve updated the filtering in Connect so that you never have to choose between options like question type or learning objective again. Narrow the field by selecting your favorite filtering options and assign your homework knowing you’ve picked the very best content for your class and your goals.

We have helped clarify some of the key policies so that you get exactly what you want for your students each time you create an assignment.


By kevin  |  October 18 2011
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The Connect Team

The Connect Team