As we start a new academic year, here’ s a summary of changes that have taken place over the summer.
You can’t fail to have noticed that Blackboard has a crisp new look. The redesign was informed by feedback received from student and staff focus groups held in the Spring term. As well as aiming to be more visually appealing, the landing page has been designed to give prominence to those areas of Blackboard which users need to access most frequently. And we’ve used a new responsive theme, meaning that Blackboard should now display well on any device, and any size of screen.
This was a fairly minor upgrade, but it brought a number of enhancements and bug fixes.
Ally is an innovative tool which can help improve the accessibility of content on Blackboard courses. It has been enabled on all 2018-19 courses. Ally is being trialled for a year as part of the implementation of the University’s policy on Inclusive Practice in Teaching and Learning.
New support sites for staff and students
We have launched new help sites for you and your students to use Blackboard and related technologies such as Turnitin and Collaborate (web conferencing).
Staff support site: https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support-for-students
Student support site: https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support
Help articles are categorised, so you can for instance find all articles on Marking & Feedback, but the best way of finding what you want is to use the search box at the top of every page.
Preparing for the new academic year
Highlighted on the staff support site at the moment is a checklist aimed to help you prepare your Blackboard sites for a new cohort of students – see Getting ready for the new Year.
As ever, when seeking support from the TEL team – whether you have a technical query or are looking for advice or training – please contact us by logging a support ticket through the IT Self-Service Portal.
Your queries and requests for support are picked up and dealt with by the TEL team.
Wishing you all a successful academic year.