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
    • 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)



If you have any questions about your Blackboard courses for 2019-20, please log a ticket with

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 Ally Road Tour visit and Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD 2019)

Thursday 16th May 2019 marked the eighth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion.


In recognition of GAAD 2019, the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team welcomed the Blackboard Ally Road Tour for a day of knowledge sharing. Members of the University were recorded discussing accessibility issues for broadcast at the 2019 European T&L Blackboard Conference.

Watch highlights from students and staff participating in the event:

Summary of the day

  • 30 UoR staff participated in a talk and an interactive workshop, exploring Universal Design for Learning. See #inclusiveRDG for coverage.
  • Round table discussions highlighted how the university is responding to challenges and opportunities presented by inclusive teaching practices.
  • UoR students and academic staff shared their individual experiences using assistive learning technologies and exploring digital accessibility in STEM subjects.

For more information or ideas on developing inclusive teaching and learning approaches, visit the CQSD Engaging Everyone webpages or browse the T&L Exchange for case studies.

Colleagues are invited to book a short Blackboard Ally consultation with a member of the TEL team. These 1 2 1 meetings provide an opportunity to discuss the online accessibility of your Blackboard teaching resources and receive support to make adjustments. Schedule your check-up via email:


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




Don’t Get Caught: Phishing emails impersonating a Blackboard System Account

We’ve received a number of reports from users who have received phishing emails from an account claiming to be “Blackboard”. Some have had a notification of a Voicemail message attached.

If you do receive a message like this, please delete it immediately and do not click on any links.

We have reported these messages to the University’s spam filter so there shouldn’t be more of them coming into university inboxes.

What does a genuine email from Blackboard look like?

  • Blackboard Learn does not have a Voicemail function.
  • Any genuine emails from Blackboard will come from
  • The Blackboard notification emails will have the Blackboard Logo


If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at



Finding Feedback made easier for students using NEW BUTTON in My Grades

One of the main ways that students can access the marks and feedback provided for online assignments is via the ‘My Grades’ tool in Blackboard.

The TEL team have modified the design and layout of the ‘My Grades’ screen to make it easier and clearer for students to use. Improving the ability for students to recognise where and how to access to their feedback when looking at the ‘My Grades’ screen has been the key objective of this enhancement.

This revised design is now live in Blackboard and available to students.

This improvement means that:

  • Greater prominence has been given to the link a student clicks on to access their feedback for an assignment, reducing the dominance of the mark.
  • The availability of feedback is highlighted to a student by a large clickable button, clearly labelled ‘Title of assignment – View Feedback’.
  • The details and status of assignments are more visible, having increased the size of the text and adjusted line spacing.

The functionality of the ‘My Grades’ screen has not changed but the re-design should improve usability for your students.

When a student clicks on the ‘View Feedback’ button for an assignment they will be able to open a view of their submitted work that shows all the feedback that the marker has provided.

The ‘My Grades’ screen is also responsive, allowing it to resize appropriately when students view it on the smaller screens of mobile devices.

Students have been notified of this enhancement in a news article on the me@reading portal.

Existing support materials on how to access and view feedback, currently highlighted to students on the ‘My Blackboard’ page, also include this information.