Timetable for the move to Blackboard Managed Hosting

As you will be aware from earlier communications, the University’s Blackboard VLE is being moved to a platform hosted by the Blackboard company (See blog post about why we are moving to managed hosting).

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

Please note these times are subject to minor change.  All times are British Summer Time (BST).

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

 

“Read-Only”:  During the “read-only” period (7th – 14th August) staff and students should refrain from making any changes on Blackboard. Any changes made to Blackboard in this period WILL be lost.  This includes submissions made using the Blackboard Assignment tool.

This will be very clearly signposted, both on the login page and inside Blackboard.

Access to Turnitin

If you have students who need to submit to Turnitin during this period, please read the following guidance carefully.

  • When Blackboard is unavailable (for example on the morning of 14th August), neither staff nor students will be able to access Turnitin.
  • When Blackboard is in “read-only” mode, students WILL be able to access and submit work to Turnitin (because Turnitin is a separate system, and submitted work resides outside Blackboard). This will allow students to submit drafts and formative work. For summative assessment see the recommendations below.

Recommendations for summative assessment:

  • On any modules where students are required to submit summative work to Turnitin during the period 6th – 14th August, and this online submission is used to record the date and time of submission, it is strongly recommended that the due date should be extended into the following week. Please make these changes now.
  • For assignments where late / on-time submission is determined by the physical hand-in of student work, and Turnitin is used purely for originality checking, we recommend that you extend the due date of the Turnitin assignment, in case some students experience technical difficulties in submitting the work by the official deadline.
  • Please ensure that your students are made aware, via Blackboard and email, of any changes you are making to specific assignments.
  • While staff will be able to download papers from Turnitin during the “read-only” period, in order to begin marking, you should not enter marks or feedback online until the migration is complete (i.e. after 14th August).

 

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 31st August (Bank Holiday Monday) until around 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday 1st September.   Further details will follow in due course.

The upgrade fixes a number of bugs or limitations in the current version, and introduces some new features – please see our blog post for details.

At the same time, the user interface will be improved and updated. You will also notice a change of colour scheme, with much greater consistency in how Blackboard appears to users, regardless of their School.

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