Blackboard upgrade 17th December: planned system downtime, Talis issue resolved

There will be a Blackboard upgrade taking place on 17th – 18th December. This upgrade requires system downtime.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable to all users

from: 14:30 GMT on Sunday 17th December (22:30 MYT)

to: 12:00 midday GMT on Monday 18th December (20:00 MYT)

NOTE: We aim to make Blackboard available as soon as possible following the upgrade and it may be available before midday.

 

This update fixes the issue with broken links to Talis Aspire Reading Lists from Blackboard course menus.

If you are responsible for module reading lists, please read the guidance below.

 

Reading lists for Spring term modules – information for Module Convenors

The Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links from Blackboard course menus to Talis Aspire reading lists.

To deal with this issue, these broken links were automatically hidden in course menus to prevent confusion for students.

The Blackboard software update taking place on the 17th – 18th December resolves this issue.

After this time, if Module Convenors want to use the Reading List course menu link you will need to:

  • Configure the Reading List link in the Blackboard course to point to your 2017-18 list.
    See how to do this at https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reading-lists/staff/blackboard
  • Un-hide the Reading List link on the course menu:
    • Hover over the link, click the ‘Reading List menu item options’ button that appears.
    • Click ‘Show Link’ from the menu. (See screenshot below)

      Make a course menu link visible to students

        Make a course menu link visible to students

Module convenors / list owners should not postpone the publication of their Spring Term 2018 reading lists until the Blackboard issue has been fixed.

If setting up links from Blackboard to Talis before 18th December, Tutors will need to continue to embed links in an appropriate Blackboard course content area – as shown in this user guide Setting up links to your Talis reading list.

Academic staff should continue to update reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.


Please note that the problem described affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.
If a Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or module convenors have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and are not affected by the Blackboard bug.

#LTHEchat this week – “Warning! May or may not include technology” (Wed 11 Oct, online, 8-9pm)

LTHEchat logo

This weekly online hour long #LTHEchat event, scheduled for this Wednesday 8-9pm, might be of interest:

The next #LTHEchat takes place on Wednesday 11th October at 8pm BST and is led by Sue Watling @suewatling and Patrick Lynch @thebigparticle (University of Hull). The title is: “Warning! May or may not include technology”. 

From Sue Watling and Patrick Lynch (and for further info: https://lthechat.com/2017/10/08/lthechat-no-92-warning-may-or-may-not-include-technology-with-sue-watling-suewatling-and-patrick-lynch-thebigparticle/)

A Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) approach to supporting learning and teaching can have limited impact and reach. Like attracts like and as TEL Advisors we tended to see the same faces at TEL themed workshops and events. Wanting to shift from Technology First to Pedagogy First, we looked for a topic which would be common to all staff involved in teaching and supporting learning, and felt the answer was the design of learning experiences.

Calling this Design for Active Learning (D4AL) put the stress on students being active participators. This aligned with the concept of students as self-regulated learners as well as moving away from traditional lecture style transmission of content models. The next question was how to sell it to staff who are already change fatigued and time poor. In these data driven times, full of red flags drawing attention to survey and evaluation responses, we wanted to move from a potentially deficit model to a more positive approach.

For us [at Hull], Design for Active Learning is about building a sustainable and scholarly approach to curriculum development and innovation by empowering staff to enhance their own teaching practice.  It lies at the heart of the university’s commitment to an ‘excellence agenda’ in learning and teaching through development of curricula and co-curricular learning.

This #lthechat will be opportunity to share thoughts on adopting a Design for Active Learning approach to enhancing the student experience, which may or may not include technology (although in 2017 is this a binary which is breaking down?)

Talis links in Blackboard – an update

Blackboard are still working on a patch to fix the issue which has affected course menu links to Talis.

In the meantime, Blackboard engineers have located all 2017-18 courses where the menu includes a link to a Talis reading list (these are the links which are currently broken), and made the links unavailable i.e. not visible to students.

This should help to to avoid student confusion, and removes the need for you to do this on your Blackboard course.

However, if you have not already done so, please do create a new working link from Blackboard to your Talis module reading list.

 

See this guide for instructions on creating a link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.

More Welcomes

…to our two new TEL Support Officers, Sev Raychev and Peter Moll.

These are new roles in the CQSD-TEL team. Along with TEL Applications Manager Andy Turner, Sev & Peter will be working closely with the TEL Advisors, and with IT, to help and support staff and students using all of the university’s digital learning tools – principally Blackboard and Turnitin.

Sev: Hi, I’m Sevastiyan (Sev) and I’ve been working at the University for a few months as an IT Support Analyst where I became familiar with the university’s systems. I have a BSc in Computer Science and am currently doing an MSc in Business Informatics part time.

I’ve previously worked at Aberystwyth University’s IT Department supporting their IT systems including Blackboard and Turnitin. I am very passionate about technology and education, so I am very excited to be here.

I look forward to working with all of you to make the most out of the technologies we have!

 

Peter: I have used virtual learning environments from different viewpoints.  My background of an Ancient History degree ironically prepared me for the role, using Blackboard as a student.  I have recently supported the Directors of Teaching and Learning within the School of Politics, Economics, and International Relations.  This has given me an overview and exposure to the university, as well as specific knowledge of Teaching and Learning processes.  I feel Sev and I will complement each other in our background and knowledge base.

 

Linking to your Reading Lists from Blackboard – action required

You will be aware that the Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links on Blackboard course menus to Talis reading lists. Initially Blackboard seemed optimistic that they would have a resolution for this problem before the start of term. However, to date, no solution has been forthcoming.

With Welcome Week fast approaching, we wanted to ensure that Module Convenors were aware of the situation, and of the workaround which you can put in place to allow students to access their module reading list from Blackboard.

Please see this guide for instructions on creating a working link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.

New TEL staff – Jackie Fairbairn

Welcome!

…to our newest staff member Jackie Fairbairn,
our new TEL Advisor.

TEL staff Jackie Fairbairn

“Hello, I’m the newest member of the TEL team and I’m really looking forward to working with staff at Reading University.

Before joining the University I worked in FE colleges, as a lecturer in Creative Technologies and in a support role providing staff development sessions and mentoring PGCE students. Within these roles I covered a variety of eLearning tools; I have a particular interest in blended learning and deploying new technologies in the classroom.

I am keen to share the benefits of technology in learning. My degree is in Graphic Design and I started my career in education by working for an educational app provider, which sparked my interest in teaching and learning. Alongside working in the TEL department, I am completing a part-time MA in Education.”