Blackboard Course Rollover 2018

Creating and populating Blackboard courses for the 2019-19 Academic Year: advance notice of schedule and actions required.

 

The essentials

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 2018-19 will take place on Saturday 30th June 2018.

Blackboard will be unavailable while course copying takes place, approximately 08:00 – 17:00 BST.

Rollover this year will follow a very similar pattern to in Summer 2017.

The default is that any RISIS module or programme

  • which was used in Blackboard in the current academic year (i.e. in 2017-18)
  • and is scheduled to run again in the new academic year (i.e. in 2018-19)

will be automatically copied forward as part of Course Rollover.

The vast majority of Blackboard courses fall into this category.

If a course you are teaching or supporting meets these criteria, and you are happy for the 2017-18 course to be copied forward, NO ACTION IS REQUIRED at this time.

Module Convenors will be automatically enrolled onto the 2018-19 Blackboard course, regardless of whether

  • the module ran in 2017-18
  • a Blackboard course copy has been requested

 

Exceptions

ACTION IS REQUIRED in the following cases – click on the link for further details.

I’m redesigning my Blackboard course and would like to start from scratch

Module Convenors can choose to opt out of course copy

My RISIS Module did not run in 2017-18

…but I would like content to be copied from a previous Blackboard course.

I am teaching a Module with a new RISIS code

…and would like content to be copied from an existing Blackboard course.

I want to use a Blackboard Shared Course

We are introducing some changes this year so please read this section carefully if you currently use a Shared Course in Blackboard.

We will be distinguishing between

  • Merged Courses
    Used when you have a set of closely related modules, and you want to administer them as a single course in Blackboard.
    A Merged Course always replaces the individual Blackboard courses.
  • Supplementary Courses
    Used when you want a shared Blackboard space in addition to individual RISIS modules or programmes.

I use a Non-RISIS course in Blackboard

 

Further information

Full details of Course Rollover 2018

The Course Copy and Opt-out request forms are currently being updated. You will be notified as soon as these are ready for use.

If you have any queries, please log a ticket via the IT Service Desk, and a member of the TEL team will respond.

Blackboard downtime for essential system maintenance: overnight Sun 8th – Mon 9th April

Blackboard maintenance image

Our Blackboard VLE requires an important system update to be applied. This update will be carried out overnight Sunday 8th – Monday 9th April.

As a result, Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable 

  • from Sunday 8th April 22:00 BST (time in Malaysia: 05:00 MYT on 9th April)
  • to Monday 9th April 12:00 BST (time in Malaysia: 19:00 MYT on 9th April)

Please note: TEL staff in IT and CQSD will endeavour to complete post-upgrade checks as quickly as possible, and will aim to make the system available to users well before midday on Monday 9th.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

More Turnitin enhancements

Turnitin logo

 

 

 

The Turnitin developers have been busy recently, with a number of enhancements now available to users – here’s a summary.

(Incidentally, you will see notifications of all new features if you follow @TurnitinProduct on Twitter).

Improved document resolution

Documents submitted to Turnitin are now displayed in the Feedback Studio as PDFs, rather than PNG image files. This has not changed Feedback Studio functionality at all, but has introduced a marked improvement in the clarity and readability of student papers – so a significant boon for markers.

Easier access to Turnitin classes for iPad App users

The way staff can gain access to Turnitin assignments via the iPad app changed recently and now sends an email to users – see our post Marking using Turnitin on your iPad? Time to update your app.

There are some scenarios in which markers might not be able to access their institutional email on the iPad they are using. To accommodate these users, Turnitin have made it possible to view the required ‘class access URL’ on any device – for details see the Turnitin Release Notes.

Text-Only Similarity Reports

The Feedback Studio is not fully accessible for those who need to use assistive technology, such as a screen reader. The Text-Only version is fully accessible, and access to this version has been improved – there is now a link to the ‘Text-only Report’ at the bottom of the Feedback Studio window.

See this Turnitin Feedback Studio guide for details.

Link to the Text-only Similarity Report

 

Turnitin Community

When you are viewing a Turnitin Assignment Inbox within your Blackboard course, you will now see a link to Community.

Link to the Turnitin Community site
This takes you to a recently launched online space at https://turnitin.forumbee.com where academics and other staff involved with Turnitin can ask questions and share experiences:

The Turnitin Educator Network (TEN) forum connects educators with a shared commitment to academic integrity. Members support one another by sharing learnings to grow as a global network of leaders in education.

It will be interesting to see how this forum develops. It could become a valuable space in which to share good practice, gain inspiration, and make your voice heard about all of the additional features you would dearly love to see added to Turnitin.

 

 

Marking using Turnitin on your iPad? Time to update your app

Turnitin iPad app logoTurnitin have just released a new version of their iPad app: Turnitin Feedback Studio for iOS.

Actually, it’s no longer strictly an iPad app, as you can also install it on your iPhone or iPod Touch – although we don’t recommend marking student essays on a really small screen.

 

 

Existing iPad app users

Important:
Please ensure that you have finished marking and sync’d all downloaded papers before updating your app.

If you are already a user of the app, and have added one or more Blackboard courses to your ‘Class List’ in the app, you can for the time being continue to mark submissions on those courses without updating the app.

However you will need to update to the new version before you can mark work submitted to any other Blackboard courses.

 

What’s New

There is a revised method for connecting up Turnitin assignments in Blackboard to the App.

Instead of generating an Access Code in order to access a Blackboard course via the app, you now request a link to be sent to your email address.

To make use of this link, you must be able to access that email on your iPad.

This process is a more practical solution. It replaces the need to have your iPad to hand when generating the code on your desktop, and then having to type in the long letter code.

For full details of the revised method, please see our updated guidance, (or the instructions on the Turnitin support site.)

The Release Notes also list a number of bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Changes to Blackboard Assignments

Additional features in the New Box Viewer

If you make use of the Blackboard assignment tool, you will be aware that the interface for leaving comments directly on students’ submissions changed in January this year. Our guidance for staff on using the new Box interface can be found on this page: Marking a Blackboard Assignment online using the in-built tool (Inline Grading).

Please be aware that the Box Viewer runs as Software as a Service – that is to say, new features and improvements are added on a continuous basis, and do not rely on us upgrading the Blackboard system as a whole. A number of improvements requested by Blackboard users have already been introduced, with more promised for the coming months.

As of yesterday. the ability for markers to draw on the student’s submission (available via the old marking interface) has been added. And fewer clicks are required when adding multiple drawing or text comments on the page. These updated features are now included in our PDF guide: Marking a Blackboard assignment online using Inline Grading (New Box View)

Box drawing tool

We have also updated our student guidance on submitting to Blackboard Assignments, and locating and viewing marks and feedback, following our transition to the New Box Viewer.

 

Edit 12th March: new annotation features temporarily withdrawn

Box have discovered that the new annotation mentioned above were causing performance issues, and have temporarily removed them. We understand that the drawing tool and other features should be restored later this week, once Box have resolved their technical issues.

 

Important: Known issue for students Saving as Draft

Blackboard have identified an issue which could have serious consequences if a student

  • uploads a file to a Blackboard Assignment
  • selects Save Draft
  • uploads a later version of the file, with the same filename, before submitting the attempt.

In this situation, the later version of the file will be successfully submitted to Blackboard, but the earlier version still displays on screen – i.e. the marker will inadvertently mark an earlier draft of the work.

Fortunately, this sequence of events is probably fairly rare, and it will always be possible to download the later file from Blackboard.

We have provided a warning about this on the Blackboard assignment submission screen, with a link to our guidance for students on how to avoid the issue.

Blackboard Assignment submission help text

Blackboard are working on a fix for this, which we expect to be available in the next week or two. However, with many assessment deadlines coming up, if you are using the Blackboard Assignment tool, please make your students aware of this serious, but easily-avoided, problem. Please direct them to the relevant information on the Student Support site, and tell them to contact IT if they have any issues.