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.

 

 

 

 

 

Help us improve your experience of using Blackboard – staff workshops, 26/27 Feb (with coffee & biscuits!)

Have you used Blackboard and thought things like “this interface could look better”, “there’s too much information on this page” or, perhaps, “it would be better if THIS was THERE”? Do you think Blackboard’s look, feel and ease of use could be improved?

We are pleased to let you know that the TEL team will be undertaking an important piece of work with Blackboard Consulting around improving your experience of using Blackboard as a resource in teaching and learning here at UoR.

Blackboard logo

We will be running some workshops on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 February to give Blackboard users like yourself an opportunity to share your experience of using it and to suggest what improvements could be made to help it better meet your needs. Whilst we can’t currently change the functionality and features, we can improve the look and feel – the layout, branding, the organisation and presentation of information (the usability, if you will). We’d really like people who use Blackboard to help us to do this and would be delighted if you could be involved.

 

As a user of Blackboard, we’d like to invite you to attend one of the following workshops:

Monday 26 February

  • 11:30-13:00
  • 13:30-15:00
  • 15:30-17:00

Tuesday 27 February

  • 09:30-11:00
  • 11:30-13:00
  • 13:30-15:00
  • 15:30-17:00

*Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available at all sessions!*

Pic of cup of tea

 

 

 

 

 

I’m interested – what shall I do?

If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to help improve Blackboard, please complete this short online form by close of play on Friday 16 February, indicating which workshops you would be available to attend. Please indicate ALL sessions you would be available for and hold this availability in your diary – you will then be allocated to one workshop.

We will confirm your attendance by email by close of play on Monday 19 February, along with details of the workshop you’ve been allocated to join.

Will I need to do anything else?

Having analysed the feedback from these workshops, Blackboard Consulting will create some prototypes for the new look and layout of Blackboard. We will then invite you to preview and comment on the proposed improvements (likely to be sometime during April – June), and then to feed back on the improvements once they’ve been implemented (September-October).

We hope this is something you feel able to help us with and we look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks in advance for your help,

The TEL team 

 

Dates for forthcoming Blackboard upgrades and course rollover

The following dates have been scheduled for the 2018 Course Rollover, and for Blackboard upgrades over the next twelve months.

Course rollover

Saturday 30th June 2018

downtime required approximately 08:00 – 17:00

 

Summer Blackboard Upgrade

Sunday 5th – Monday 6th August 2018

downtime required, probably from Sunday afternoon till Monday lunchtime

 

Winter Upgrade

Sunday 6th – Monday 7th January 2019

downtime required, probably from Sunday afternoon till Monday lunchtime)

 

These dates have been agreed by CQSD and IT after consultation with Support Centres, the Examinations Office, ISLI and other staff both at Reading and in Malaysia. While we appreciate that there is never an entirely convenient time to make Blackboard unavailable, these downtime windows have been scheduled to avoid inconvenience to most users.

 

Further, more detailed information on Course Rollover and these Blackboard upgrades will of course follow in due course.

In the meantime, if you are aware of any assessment deadlines or other activity which might be affected by one of these downtime windows, please take steps to reschedule the activity.