Blackboard unavailable during upgrade 4th – 5th August

System maintenance icon

We will be upgrading to the latest version of Blackboard on Sunday 4th August.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable while the upgrade takes place: 

Scheduled Start Time: 16:15 BST Sunday 04 August

Estimated Completion Time: 12:00 midday BST Monday 05 August

Malaysia times: 23:15 MYT Sunday 04 August – 19:00 MYT Monday 05 August

 

Look out for details of new features available in Blackboard after the upgrade.

Blackboard Course Rollover 2019 – an update

Blackboard Course Rollover involves a number of related processes, and these are now very nearly complete.

  1. Course copying
    • Course copies requested before the main Rollover day were carried out on Saturday 29th
    • Additional requests are being dealt with as they come in.
    • All course copies carried out so far are shown as COMPLETE on the Status page at https://www.reading.ac.uk/blackboard/bbcopy/Home/Status
    • There were queries with a small number of course copies – IT contacted the relevant staff for clarification and all but a handful are now complete.
       
  2. Blank course shells
    • These have been created for all completely new modules and programmes.
    • In Reading School of Art, and the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, which have their own custom course template, new courses have been created from the appropriate template.
       
  3. Staff enrolments
    • Staff enrolments were copied forward as part of the rollover process.
    • In addition, Module Convenors have been automatically enrolled on the 2019-20 Blackboard course for their modules.

 

A few tasks remain, which will be carried out by our IT colleagues over the coming days. These include

  • Assigning courses to a School / Department category – so that Support Centre staff can use their admin privileges to access courses and enrol staff as appropriate.
  • Assigning the relevant modules as ‘child’ courses of 2019-20 Merged courses.
  • Hiding the Total column in the Grade Centre of 2019-20 courses (see this post from 2015 for an explanation of why we do this)

 

Queries?

If you have any questions about your Blackboard courses for 2019-20, please log a ticket with it@reading.ac.uk

The following information may help to answer some common queries.

Why do 2019-20 courses have a course code ending in ‘MOD’?

This is new for 2019-20. Any Blackboard course which represents one or more RISIS module occurrences will have a course ID in the format AB1XYZ-19-0MOD.

This applies to Blackboard courses bringing together multiple occurrences of the same module, as well as ‘merged courses’ which combine two or more distinct module codes.

The change has been driven by technical requirements, and should have minimal effect on end users. If you’re interested in the technical details , please see this explanation on our Staff Help site.

Merged Courses

The course name for merged courses now includes the word ‘Merged’ immediately before the academic year, so that these can easily be identified by staff.

Please note that your students will still see the name of the RISIS module they are actually enrolled on, even when in fact they are being redirected to a Merged Course.

For example, the Merged Course AP3A103-19-0MOD Horticultural Crop Technology (Merged 2019/20) pulls in enrolments from AP3A103 and AP3A105.

Students will see the course listed as AP3A103-19-0A Horticultural Crop Technology (2019/20)
or AP3A105-19-0A Global Issues in Nutrition and Health (2019/20)

but will in fact all be accessing the merged course.

Staff Enrolments

Module Convenors: you are probably seeing rather more courses at the moment than you would like. For instance if you are the module convenor for AB1XYZ you are probably seeing 2 courses,  AB1XYZ-19-0A and AB1XYZ-19-0MOD.

The former will be shown as  (unavailable – Child course of AB1XYZ-19-0MOD) and can be ignored. IT will look at removing these redundant enrolments – you need take no action.

Student Enrolments

RISIS switches to the new academic year on 1st August, and student enrolments for 2019-20 courses will start to flow through to Blackboard shortly afterwards – probably in the week beginning 5th August.

 

Blackboard Course Rollover 2019 – Course Copy Request form now available

Maintenance icon

Course rollover is the annual process whereby Blackboard courses from the current academic year are copied for use in the next academic year.

Course rollover for 2019-20 will take place on Saturday 29th June 2019

Blackboard downtime will be required, approximately 08:00 – 17:00 BST.

 

The process for 2019-20 will follow a very similar pattern to last year.

If you are responsible for a RISIS module or programme

  • which was used in Blackboard in the current academic year (i.e. in 2018-19)
  • and is scheduled to run again in the new academic year (i.e. in 2019-20)
  • and you would like this Blackboard course copied for use in 2019-20

you need take no action – the course will be automatically copied forward as part of Course Rollover.

The vast majority of Blackboard courses normally fall into this category.

You can check if your course is already scheduled to be copied by searching the Course Copy Status page.

 

In all other cases you will need to use the Course Copy Request Form to raise a request for a course to be copied.

This form is now ready for use.

 

Please see our support page for information on what action you need to take, if you are responsible for any of the following:

Modules which did not run in 2018-19

Brand new modules

Modules with a new RISIS code

Merged Courses

Supplementary courses

 

The Course Rollover page on our help site also provides information on which parts of a course are copied during rollover.

 

Blackboard Course Rollover 2019

Blackboard maintenance icon

Course rollover is the annual process whereby Blackboard courses from the current academic year are copied for use in the next academic year.

This post is to provide advance notice that

Course rollover for 2019-20 will take place on Saturday 29th June

Blackboard downtime will be required, approximately 08:00 – 17:00 BST.

The process for 2019-20 will follow a very similar pattern to last year.

The default position is that any RISIS module or programme

  • which was used in Blackboard in the current academic year
    (i.e. in 2018-19)
  • and is scheduled to run again in the new academic year
    (i.e. in 2019-20)

will be automatically copied forward as part of Course Rollover.

The vast majority of Blackboard courses normally fall into this category.

There are some circumstances where course copying will only take place on request – this applies particularly to Merged and Supplementary courses.

Full details will be circulated shortly, once the Course Copy Request Form has been updated for 2019.

Providing Exam feedback in Blackboard

Generic exams feedback is now being rolled out across the University following a successful pilot and approval by UBTLSE. Details of how this process works were highlighted in a recent staff portal news article: Provision of generic exams feedback approved by UBTLSE for 2018/19 onwards.

The exam feedback is being provided to students through Blackboard. To facilitate this and ensure consistency in how the feedback is made available, a new menu area has been automatically added to the Blackboard courses for all 2018-19 modules. 

Colleagues from the Programme Administration teams will be working with Module Convenors to populate this new area with the correct content.

The area is labelled ‘Past Exam Papers and Feedback‘.

By default, this area appears at the bottom of the course menu.

example course menu

You can easily move it to a different position, so that it sits with other assessment-related menu items, by dragging and dropping it.

What do I need to do if my Blackboard course does not have the new menu area?

All Blackboard courses for single RISIS modules, and all Merged courses will have the new menu area added automatically. If your course is in a different category, you can still provide exam feedback but need to add the menu area manually. You can do this by adding a new content area to your course menu

 

 

 

Marking online – hints and tips

Are you marking coursework and returning feedback to your students online? Use the following tips and advice to make sure you make the most effective and efficient use of the tools.

This post includes some advice based on recent queries that we have received.

 

Read ‘e-Marking Essentials’

The e-Marking Essentials page in the staff help site provides key advice on what to do and how to avoid common pitfalls.

It includes advice on both the Blackboard Assignment and Turnitin tools and will be particularly useful for colleagues who are new to marking online.

Find out about:

 

Using Turnitin Assignments by Groups

Navigating between student papers

The Turnitin Assignments by Groups feature can be used where there are multiple markers, to allocate markers to student papers (even when Anonymity is turned on).

Do not use the navigation arrows to scroll through papers when you have a student’s paper open in the Feedback Studio.

Close the Feedback Studio window for that student’s work and open a new paper from the View Assignments by Group screen in Blackboard.

Screenshot of the top of the Feedback Studio window, indicating that you should not use the right and left arrows to scroll between papers.

NOTE: Using the left or right arrows at the top of the screen, will take you to the next student in the class as a whole and not the next student in the group you have been assigned to mark.

 

Anonymous marking and Turnitin Assignments by Groups

When anonymity is enabled,  the tool can still be used to filter the class list by Group, but you will not see any student names or the grades entered on the View Assignments by Groups screen.

 

Submitting scanned handwritten work to Turnitin

For Mathematical and Scientific notation that is marked online.

If your students need to submit scanned copies of handwritten work for you to mark online in Turnitin they MUST submit a file that includes at least 20 words of typed text in either their Word docx or PDF. This allows the file to be uploaded into Turnitin. You may wish to provide a standard coversheet template with the 20 words included to make sure students do this.

We have put together this page to provide guidance to students on submitting this type of work: Turnitin: Submit Scanned / Handwritten Work. It includes instructions on how to add selectable typed text into a PDF.

Advice for staff: Setting up assignment submission points for scanned work.

 

The Grade Centre and anonymous marking

When Anonymous Marking is enabled, whether in Turnitin or on a Blackboard assignment, no information about grades or submissions is visible in the Grade Centre.

  • You cannot see which students have / have not submitted,
  • And you cannot see the grades that have been entered.

You cannot mark submissions for an anonymous Turnitin assignment from the Grade Centre. You should go via the main Turnitin assignment inbox. In your course, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments (or Turnitin Assignments by Groups).

We recommend using this route to mark all Turnitin assignments, regardless of whether they are being marked anonymously.

 

Internal Moderation options

The way work is to be moderated may affect what first markers need to record, and where.

Module Convenors: please make sure you are familiar with the workflow and ensure that first markers have clear instructions on what you expect from them. The following pages offer guidance on a the different marking and moderation scenarios: