New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for students)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

In response to staff and student feedback, we’ve been working to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility and the experience of our staff and students when using it. We’ve also been keen to make it more responsive and give a better experience when using it on mobile devices. 

*Please be advised that Blackboard will be unavailable on Thursday 30 August from 16:45 – 19:00 GMT to allow for the new look Blackboard to be made available.*

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab (shown below) where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and module evaluation surveys.  

Image of student view of new My Blackboard tab

You will also see three other tabs:

  • Your school portal tab – with information posted for you by your school.
  • Blackboard Help – for help on using Blackboard, including submitting assignments online and accessing your marks and feedback.
  • My Files – a file-sharing area where you can store documents and share with others inside Blackboard.

Students in Henley Business School will see a slightly different image once logged in. 

Will it work differently?

Blackboard’s functionality remains the same – it will work in the same way, but now it is optimised for use on smaller screens and mobile devices.

Use the hamburger menu in the top left to navigate top-level tabs:

Use the Expand button in your course to reveal the Course Menu:

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

 

What if I need help?

If you experience any difficulties or need any help as a result of these improvements, please contact IT by emailing it@reading.ac.uk

Wishing you a successful academic year!

 

New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for staff)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

As you may remember from previous communications, we’ve been working, in response to staff and student feedback, to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility, responsiveness and the experience of our staff and students when using it. 

*Please be advised that Blackboard will be unavailable on Thursday 30 August from 16:45 – 19:00 BST to allow for the new-look Blackboard to be made available.*

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log-in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab (shown below) where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and ‘Qwickly’ tools (quick ways of doing things on Blackboard, e.g. posting an announcement on several Blackboard modules).   

Image of new look Blackboard's My Blackboard tab (staff view)

You will see your school portal tab and a tab called My Files – a file-sharing area where you can store documents and share with others inside Blackboard. As a member of staff, you also have access to Blackboard Help tabs for both staff and students.

Staff and students in the Henley Business School will see a slightly different design, once logged on.

Will it work differently?

Blackboard’s functionality remains the same – it will work in the same way, but now it is optimised for use on smaller screens and mobile devices.

Use the hamburger menu in the top left to navigate top-level tabs:

Use the Expand button in your course to reveal the Course Menu:

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

What if I need help?

If you experience any difficulties or need any help as a result of these improvements, please contact IT by logging a job via the IT Self-Service Portal or by emailing it@reading.ac.uk.

What if I need help to use Blackboard in my teaching? 

A reminder that the TEL team run bookable staff development sessions as part of CQSD’s T & L Programme to help staff make the most of Blackboard to enhance their teaching.

I have feedback on the new interface, what should I do?

If you have any feedback on this new-look Blackboard, please feel free to post your thoughts in response to this blog post – this will be periodically monitored.

Wishing you a successful academic year!

 

Known Issue: Blackboard Learn styling error on small screens

There is currently a known issue with Blackboard Learn where users using small screens, ones set to a low resolution or users on mobile devices will not be able to navigate Blackboard Learn as the top level tabs will not render properly.

 

We are aware of the issue and are looking into this. If you need to use Blackboard on a mobile device, please download the “Blackboard” or the “Blackboard Instructor” app from the AppStore, Google Play or the Microsoft Store.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at it@reading.ac.uk .

 

Introducing ALLY: Accessible Blackboard course content

The ALLY Technology

Available in all Blackboard Courses 2018-19 from August, ALLY is an innovative technology (short video) that can help with the accessibility of your Blackboard course content:

  • Automatically checks course materials against WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards
  • Provides students with accessible alternative formats such as audio and electronic braille
  • Delivers step-by-step guidance to instructors to improve the accessibility of their course content
  • Integrates seamlessly with Blackboard Learn

We are inviting all staff and students to look at this new tool.

Find out how it works!  Watch these short videos: ALLY for staff Video | ALLY for students Video

TEL Support 

To find out more about ALLY and to get started,  access our resources  and participate in the staff development sessions during the Autumn term as part of our TEL programme.

Book on to these now:

TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT 13/09/2018 10:00 11:30
TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT 18/09/2018 10:00 11:30
TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT (RETREAT) 17/10/2018 15:00 16:30
TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT 09/11/2018 15:00 16:30
TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT (RETREAT) 19/11/2018 10:00 11:30
TEL: ACCESSIBILITY: ACCESSIBLE BLACKBOARD CONTENT (RETREAT) 05/12/2018 15:00 16:30

The Evaluation

Within the context of  the University’s Policy in Inclusive T&L, during 2018-19, we will assess the benefits of using Ally to improve the accessibility of digital course materials for both students and staff. We hope Ally will help our institution with providing: 

  • students with a choice of accessible formats to meet their needs and
  • staff with the knowledge and skills on how to author more accessible course content

We will be collecting feedback from staff and students during the Spring term.

2018-19 enrolments now being created in Blackboard

We are now into the 2018-19 academic year, and from Monday any 2018-19 course enrolments already registered in RISIS will start to flow into Blackboard.

Module Convenors on Part 2 and 3 modules: if you want your students to be able to access your Blackboard course, simply make your course available.

You’ll also want to email them to alert them that the course is available, as they’re probably not checking Blackboard on a daily basis just now!

 

Please note

This applies only to returning students (e.g. 2nd and 3rd years). 

New students (i.e. Part 1 and new PGT students) will not have full access to IT systems until they complete their enrolment in late September, and it is only at that point that they will be able to log on to Blackboard and access their courses.