Blackboard downtime for system upgrade – Monday 31st August

Blackboard will be upgraded to a new version at the end of August.

In order to complete this, Blackboard will be unavailable OR at risk as follows:

From To Status
11.30 BST

Monday 31st August (Bank Holiday Monday)

09.00 BST

Tuesday 1st September

Blackboard and Turnitin unavailable
09.00 BST

Tuesday 1st September

12.00 BST

Tuesday 1st September

Blackboard and Turnitin available but at risk. 

This means Blackboard and Turnitin can be used and will work as normal, but you may notice some changes to the interface being made during this period.


This upgrade will update existing tools and introduce 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 in line with University branding.  This will give much greater consistency in how Blackboard appears to students.

Viewing students’ Turnitin submissions in the Grade Centre

If your students submitted work to Turnitin while the recent Blackboard migration was in progress (i.e. between 6th and 16th August) these submissions may not show up in the Blackboard Grade Centre. This is because Turnitin has not yet synchronised data with our new Blackboard system.

The students’ submissions are certainly not lost, however. You will see them if you go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments and then into the relevant Turnitin Assignment. If you then grade the paper using Turnitin GradeMark, the mark you enter there should transfer to the Blackboard Grade Centre.

Or you can use the Turnitin ‘Sync Grades’ tool to push details of all student submissions into the Grade Centre.

To do this, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments and click on the Sync Grades button next to the relevant Turnitin Assignment.

Turnitin Sync Grades tool

Blackboard migration completed

The migration of Blackboard Learn to a new, externally-hosted platform, is now complete.

All users, staff and student, can now log on to the system and use it as normal.  This includes the ability to submit work to Blackboard Learn or Turnitin assignments, mark work submitted by students, upload new content, and prepare 2015-16 courses for the new academic year.

You should continue to access Blackboard Learn at the same web address as previously:

If you do encounter any technical issues, please report these as usual to the IT Service Desk: email  or telephone 0118 378 6262.

No upgrades or other software changes have been introduced during the migration. We shall be moving to the latest version in a few weeks’ time, over 31st August-1st September. Further details of this upgrade will follow in due course.

Thank you for your patience while the migration was taking place.

‘Social Media for Teaching & Learning’ Event @ UoR, Thursday 30 July 2015

Social media event pic of delegates

UoR staff gathered, last Thursday, at the Innovation Works for an event kindly organised by Botany Associate Professor, Alastair Culham (@BotanyRNG) examining our use of social media in teaching and learning.

Delegates from around the university were treated to a keynote from James Kieft (eLearning Manager at Reading College, @James_kieft) who reflected on how technology can enrich learning and engage students, and how Reading College has engaged in its practice Google Apps for Education.

James shared his resource-rich blog: – a useful resource providing access to a plethora of tools for all sorts of aspects of teaching and learning. He concluded his presentation with a fun, interactive logo quiz made using

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