Course Rollover 2018 – what do I need to do?

Annual Course Rollover takes place on Saturday 30th June.

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

All the relevant forms have been updated, and can be accessed from http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/vle-support/

 

No action is required…

if you are responsible for a RISIS module or programme

  • which was used in Blackboard in the current academic year (i.e. in 2017-18)
  • is scheduled to run again in the new academic year (i.e. in 2018-19)
  • and you are happy for the 2017-18 Blackboard course to be copied forward

In this case, the 2017-18 course will be automatically copied forward as part of Course Rollover.

 

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 Rollover.

Why might I choose this option?

Last year the academics who chose to opt out of rollover were taking over as new Module Convenors, and wanted to reorganise their Blackboard sites

  • to make them easier for students to navigate
  • to better reflect the way that they planned to deliver the module.

This year one entire School and one Department have chosen not to have their Blackboard courses copied forward. This is so they can respond to student feedback by introducing a standard course menu and navigation across all of their courses.

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 to shared spaces in Blackboard.

Full details can be found here:  Merged and Supplementary Courses.

If you need a shared Blackboard course which replaces two or more RISIS modules, then IT can create a Merged Course.

You can

 

If you need a shared Blackboard course for use in addition to a number of RISIS modules or Programmes, then IT can create a Supplementary Course.

You can

Please note: Supplementary Courses should not be used to deliver summative assessment, as this is not supported by the forthcoming Blackboard-RISIS integration.

 

The deadline…

for submitting any requests in time for Rollover is the close of play on Tuesday 26th June.

 

If you have any queries please check the more detailed information on Annual Rollover on this site.

If you still need further advice, please log a call with it@reading.ac.uk

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Changing the focus: Accessibility in Blackboard

When thinking about accessibility and inclusive teaching practice, technology is often cited as a solution. Technology can certainly assist students with disabilities but well designed online learning provision can benefit all learners.

Central to this is a shift in focus away from the ‘deficit’ model of perceiving disability, where Universities respond to a ‘need’ and adopting a ‘social’ model that addresses the structural barriers to students’ ability to participate, and succeed in learning. This is where technology can play a key role in levelling the learning playing field by designing systems that optimise access for all (JISC Quick Guide, Getting started with accessibility and inclusion).

The University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, is fully compatible with internationally recognised accessibility standards and has in-built features that allow students with different impairments to engage with digital content.

Turnitin is working towards full compliance. A text based PDF version of students’ work can be downloaded to work with screen-readers.

There are also things you can do to when producing your learning materials to ensure students have the best experience.

Find out how to make the most of the accessibility features in Blackboard and Turnitin.

Find advice on making your documents and screencasts accessible in the Creating accessible teaching and learning resources blackboard course. (Log-in and click the +Enrol button.)

The Library guide to Inclusive Technology provides advice on accessibility features that students can use including Windows, Microsoft and Office365.