Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: July 2015

Blackboard improvements – downtime in August

The University’s Blackboard VLE is being moved to a platform hosted by the Blackboard company. This will improve the reliability and performance of Blackboard, and enable us in future to introduce new features with minimal disruption (or even no downtime at all).

In order to complete this move, Blackboard will be unavailable OR available as ‘read-only’ for periods of time in August as outlined below.

Note that these are indicative and may be subject to minor change. All times are British Summer Time (BST).




Thursday 6 13.00 Friday 7 19.00 (approximate) Blackboard and Turnitin unavailable
Friday 7 19.00 (approximate) Friday 14 09.00 (approximate) Blackboard available as “read-only” (see below)
Friday 14 09.00 Friday 14 12.00 (approximate) Blackboard and Turnitin unavailable
Friday 14 12.00 (approximate) New hosted Blackboard becomes available


“Read-Only”: During the “read-only” period (7 – 14 August) any changes made to Blackboard WILL be lost. This includes submissions made using the Blackboard Assignment tool.

You will be reminded of this both on the login page and inside Blackboard.

Access to Turnitin: Because Turnitin is a separate system, you will still be able to access and submit work to Turnitin even when Blackboard is in a “read-only” state.

On courses where there is a submission deadline during this period, staff have been advised to inform students if there are any changes to submission arrangements. If in doubt, please contact your lecturer or course administrator.

Building for the future: Inevitably, these changes will cause inconvenience for some users. However this disruption will pay dividends in the long run – not only will the new platform be faster and more resilient, but maintenance and system updates will be easier to schedule and quicker to implement in future, with far less impact and downtime for Blackboard users.

Advance notice – Blackboard upgrade: Proposed timings: Blackboard will be unavailable from mid-morning on 31 August (Bank Holiday Monday) until approximately 10.00 on Tuesday 1 September. Further details of this upgrade will follow in due course.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused while these improvements are taking place.

Coping with the hot weather

During this hot weather, please follow these practical and common sense solutions.

  1. Use desk or pedestal fans if you have them.
  2. Open windows where possible to allow ventilation and shade them with blinds to reduce the heating effect of the sun.
  3. Drink water regularly (two to four cups of water an hour; water is preferable to caffeine or carbonated drinks).
  4. Take sufficient breaks to get cold drinks or to cool down.
  5. Ensure your PC’s power settings (in the Control Panel) are set to put your computer to sleep after no more than 15 minutes of inactivity as PCs can add significant heat to a room over the day. Switch machines off when not in use for prolonged periods.
  6. Turn off other electronic devices, if not in use.
  7. Switch off your lights when not required as they can give off a lot of heat.
  8. Prop open fire doors to rooms to help with ventilation but use a wedge that can be removed easily if the fire alarm sounds. Do not leave the door wedged open if the room is unoccupied.

In laboratories

You must wear laboratory coat and sensible shoes (no flip flops/ sandals or open toed shoes) whilst working in the lab.  As drinking is prohibited in the lab, you should take regular breaks in order to cool down and refresh yourself.

Please note that fans cannot be used near fume cupboards or microbiological safety cabinets as the turbulence in the air can prevent the cabinets from working properly to protect you.

Wedging or propping open lab doors is not allowed.


Wear a hat, sunglasses, suntan lotion (SPF 15 or higher) and a top at all times and take regular breaks in the shade.

Further information

See HSE advice

Read NHS heatwave guidance

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén