Talis links in Blackboard – an update

Blackboard are still working on a patch to fix the issue which has affected course menu links to Talis.

In the meantime, Blackboard engineers have located all 2017-18 courses where the menu includes a link to a Talis reading list (these are the links which are currently broken), and made the links unavailable i.e. not visible to students.

This should help to to avoid student confusion, and removes the need for you to do this on your Blackboard course.

However, if you have not already done so, please do create a new working link from Blackboard to your Talis module reading list.

 

See this guide for instructions on creating a link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.

Linking to your Reading Lists from Blackboard – action required

You will be aware that the Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links on Blackboard course menus to Talis reading lists. Initially Blackboard seemed optimistic that they would have a resolution for this problem before the start of term. However, to date, no solution has been forthcoming.

With Welcome Week fast approaching, we wanted to ensure that Module Convenors were aware of the situation, and of the workaround which you can put in place to allow students to access their module reading list from Blackboard.

Please see this guide for instructions on creating a working link to Talis from your Blackboard course.

 

Please note that the problem affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.

If your Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or you have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and should not be affected by the Blackboard bug.

 

Please continue to update your reading lists for the 2017/18 session, and remember to publish all lists that are still in draft. Until published, a list can’t be seen by your students. For further information please contact your Liaison Librarian.

Repositioning items within a course content area

If you want to rearrange folders or items within a course content page, you should be able to do this simply by dragging the item to the desired position – see How to rearrange content items on a page.

However, if you have a large number of items on the page, you may find that this is impossible to do. In which case you can use “keyboard accessible reordering” to place items in the desired position – here’s how to do it.

Issues with links to Talis from Blackboard courses

We have been made aware of an issue with links to Talis reading lists in Blackboard.

The issue affects Reading List links on the course menu – these are no longer pointing to the correct module reading list in Talis.

Blackboard are working on a fix for this issue. We do not have a timescale as yet, but we certainly hope to have the matter resolved before the start of term.

 

In the meantime

  • Please do not delete the Reading List link (if you do, you’ll need to recreate it once Blackboard have released a fix for this issue).

 

If you need to make the reading list available to your students before the start of term, you can

  • Create a link inside a course content area
    There is no problem creating Talis links inside course content areas (as you would do, for instance, if you need to link to more than one reading list for your Blackboard course).See Linking to multiple lists on the Library help page, or this guide: Linking to your reading list(s) on Blackboard.
  • Provide students with the URL of the reading list
    Go to your reading list in Talis, copy the URL, and paste this in as a Web Link in Blackboard (or paste it in an email).Talis URL

 

Apologies for any inconvenience, we will of course let colleagues know of progress in resolving this issue.

 

Update 5th Sep

Please see Linking to your Reading Lists from Blackboard – action required

What’s new in the latest Blackboard version

Blackboard has now been upgraded to the most recent software release, Q2 2017.

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the changes you’ll notice in the new version.

Drag and Drop files

When you want to attach files to a course content item, the Browse button is still present, but if you prefer you can now drag and drop files from your computer.

This functionality is available in most places you see the Browse button. Students will be able to take advantage of it in blogs, journals and wikis (although not, as yet, in Discussion Forums). It is also available to students when uploading files to a Blackboard assignment.

Users of the Blackboard Fileshare will also find this a boon, as it restores the ability to upload multiple files in the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Read more about Drag and Drop and uploading multiple files.

Submit button always visible

It’s a small thing, but very useful: you should now find that on any page which is too long to fit onto your screen without scrolling, the Submit button is always visible, at the foot of the screen.

Submit button visible

 

Blackboard Assignment  Submission receipts

Last year we paid Blackboard for a custom building block, so that students submitting to a Blackboard assignment would get a submission receipt emailed to them. With the latest release, this has become part of the core functionality.

For every submission to a Blackboard assignment a receipt is generated. This receipt is

  • emailed to the student
    (on Group assignments, all members of the Group are sent a receipt)
  • available for the student to view via My Grades
  • available for staff to view via the Grade Centre.

Blackboard Assignment receipt

more on Blackboard Assignment Receipts

 

 

Assignment Submission Reminders

Staff can send email reminders from the Grade Centre to students who have not yet submitted to a specific assignment. Students receive a system-generated email listing the course, coursework, and the assessment due date.

Staff can use this tool to send reminders for assignments even where anonymous marking is enabled. To protect anonymity, students’ names and attempt statuses are not revealed in this situation – so you will not know which students have been sent an email reminder, only how many.

Please note – you have no control over what the reminder email says, The text at present reads as in this example:

You currently don’t have a mark or submission for the following coursework: Title: Anon June 2017 Course: 2016 Q4 Test course 04Apr2017 Course ID: RDDEV_2016Q4_04Apr17 Please log in to review the instructions for this coursework and check the calendar for all due dates.

More on how to send reminders for missing coursework (Blackboard help site)

 

You can use the Send Reminder feature with Blackboard assignments and Blackboard Tests.

This tool should not be used for Turnitin assignments – especially not for anonymous Turnitin assignments. For Turnitin Assignments please use the Email non-submitters option available in the Turnitin assignment inbox.

 

Marking Anonymous Blackboard Assignments

On assignments where multiple attempts were allowed, and which were set up to be marked anonymously, staff would previously see all submissions in Needs Marking – even those which had been superseded by a later attempt. That is no longer the case – only the most recent attempt will appear in Needs Marking.

Please note, there are other issues associated with managing anonymous Blackboard assignments, and where anonymous marking is essential, we recommend either that you use Turnitin, or adopt a less rigid approach to anonymity (e.g. “Grade with usernames hidden).

More on grading multiple attempts on the Needs Grading page  (Blackboard help site)

Blackboard Instructor app

Following the upgrade, staff will be able to access the new Instructor app.

Initially the app provides limited functionality, but the range of features will increase over the coming months. In this first version you can

  • preview course content, including tests and assignments – this could be really useful to check how well students are able to view your course content on a mobile device
  • post announcements
  • post and reply to discussion forums
  • launch Collaborate Ultra sessions

Future releases will allow tablet users to view, mark and provide feedback on assignment submissions.

You can get an idea of what the app can do from this short video

 

and on the Blackboard Help site: https://help.blackboard.com/Blackboard_App/Instructor

New Blackboard Instructor app

You may see notifications from Blackboard about Instructor, their new mobile app for staff.

Blackboard Instructor logo

This is part of a revamp of Blackboard’s mobile provision. Mobile Learn is being discontinued in favour of two “persona-based” apps:

  • a student app simply called Blackboard – see our guidance for students on the Student Help site
  • Blackboard Instructor for those with a staff role (e.g. Instructor or Teaching Assistant) on their Blackboard courses

Students are able to use the Blackboard app right now, but staff eager to try out Blackboard Instructor will have to wait until 7th August, after our system upgrade.

We will make sure we have some guidance material ready by then.

In the meantime you can get an idea of what the app can do from this short video

and on the Blackboard Help site: https://help.blackboard.com/Blackboard_App/Instructor

 

Initially the app provides limited functionality, but the range of features will increase over the coming months. In this first version you can

  • preview course content, including tests and assignments – this could be really useful to check how well students are able to view your course content on a mobile device
  • post announcements
  • post and reply to discussion forums
  • launch Collaborate Ultra sessions

Future releases will allow tablet users to view, mark and provide feedback on assignment submissions.