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. 

 

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

Edit 22/09/18: it should no longer be necessary to clear browsing data before logging on to Blackboard

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:

 

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.  Continue reading

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. 

 

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

Edit 22/09/18: it should no longer be necessary to clear browsing data before logging on to Blackboard

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:

 

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,  Continue reading

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.

Blackboard upgrade summer 2018 – complete

Blackboard has been upgraded to the latest version – for those of you who like to know such things, we are now running Blackboard 9.1 Q2 2018 Cumulative Update 2.

 

New features

  • Blackboard Tests: Students are now able to clear their selection on a Multiple-Choice question. This is useful in a test where negative scoring is in place, and they would prefer to submit no answer rather than one which they’re not sure about. 
    More on clearing multiple choice selection

  • Blackboard Assignments: you can now grant an additional attempt to a specific student, even when anonymous marking is enabled.
    To do this

  • Blackboard Collaborate: when setting up groups within a course, you are now able to enable a Blackboard Collaborate room.
    More on group tools
     
  • Turnitin: we’ve updated the building block which integrates Blackboard. We’re now on the Blackboard Basic integration version 2.7.5.
    This version improves the way marks are synchronised between the two systems – if you edit a grade in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, the change should automatically be reflected in the Blackboard Grade Centre (although we’d still recommend that you press ‘Sync Grades’ before releasing marks to students).
    The most obvious change staff will notice, is that when you access Turnitin via the Control Panel there’s a search box. This should make it much easier to locate the correct assignment on a course which has many submission points.

 

Blackboard Math Editor

Edit 09/08/18:

The Blackboard Math Editor was unavailable immediately after the upgrade, but Blackboard Support have now restored access to the tool. 

Those needing to insert Chemical symbols into content items will find that the Math editor has been upgraded to a later version of WIRIS, and now supports some chemistry specific content.
More on the Math Editor

 

Technical issues?

We will be introducing changes to the visual design of Blackboard in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime, if the Blackboard login screen or some courses are displaying incorrectly, please clear your browser cache, and the issues should disappear.

For details of supported browsers and operating systems, please see Browser Support for Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018 and Turnitin System Requirements.

If you encounter any problems using Blackboard or Turnitin, please log them via the IT Self-Service Portal.

 

Bug fixes

Blackboard + Safari

Previously mentioned issues using Safari with Blackboard have now been resolved – all file submissions will work as expected.

Original Article: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/tel/2018/04/06/important-information-uploading-assignment-files-via-safari-ios/

Blackboard Assignments – save as draft

Issues with students who overwrote a previously-saved file with another, which had the exact same filename, are now resolved.

Original article: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/tel/2018/03/08/changes-to-blackboard-assignments/