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:

 

 

Students scanning handwritten work for submission to Turnitin

Who does this affect?

This is an important message for any staff who require their students to scan handwritten work – for example Mathematical or Scientific equations – and submit this to Turnitin.

This is likely to be relevant in subject areas such as Mathematics, Economics, Meteorology and the Sciences, and possibly on some Language courses.

 

When setting up a Turnitin assignment, it is possible to choose the ‘Accept any file type’ option, and students should then be able to submit files which won’t generate a Similarity Report, for instance a PDF containing only scanned images.

Recently, however, issues have arisen for

  • students attempting to submit files containing scanned work
  • staff wishing to mark such work using Turnitin Feedback Studio.

These issues have been raised with Turnitin Support, by us and by TEL staff at other Universities, and we are awaiting their response.

 

What can we do to avoid problems?

If you require students to submit scanned work to Turnitin, the key thing is to tell them to include at least 20 words of typed text in their Word document or PDF.

You may wish to provide a standard coversheet as a prompt, to make sure students do this.

We have put together this page to provide guidance to students: Turnitin: Submit Scanned / Handwritten Work 

If you, or your students, need additional guidance, please contact the TEL team via it@reading.ac.uk

Blackboard Upgrade November 2018

Blackboard upgrade icon

This weekend’s upgrade has now completed. You can log in again as normal, to access both Blackboard and Turnitin.

The upgrade was carried out primarily to enable RISIS-Blackboard integration to take place later in the academic year, but it also brings a number of bug fixes, and makes available a few new features:

Blackboard Assignments

The ability for students to download feedback from Blackboard assignments has been restored. They are now able to download an annotated copy of their work, containing all feedback added using the Box inline grading tool, as a PDF. 

Student help page: Blackboard Assignment – download marked assignment submissions

 

Grading in the Blackboard Instructor app

It is now possible to use the Blackboard Instructor app to mark work submitted to a Blackboard Assignment.

This functionality is very new, and the TEL team have not yet had the opportunity to test it thoroughly, so please use it with caution. Check out the Grading in the Blackboard Instructor app page on the Staff help site.

 

As ever, if you encounter any issues using Blackboard, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Blackboard and TEL – What’s New for 2018-19

As we start a new academic year, here’ s a summary of changes that have taken place over the summer.

Blackboard redesign

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.

Read more on the new Blackboard design

 

Blackboard upgrade

This was a fairly minor upgrade, but it brought a number of enhancements and bug fixes.

Read more on the Blackboard upgrade

 

Blackboard Ally

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.

Read more on Blackboard Ally

View Blackboard ALLY support materials

 

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.

 

Requesting support

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

You can also simply email it@reading.ac.uk or use the ASK A QUESTION link at the top of the Staff support site.

Your queries and requests for support are picked up and dealt with by the TEL team.

 

Wishing you all a successful academic year.