New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for students)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

In response to staff and student feedback, we’ve been working to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility and the experience of our staff and students when using it. We’ve also been keen to make it more responsive and give a better experience when using it on mobile devices. 

*Please be advised that Blackboard will be unavailable on Thursday 30 August from 16:45 – 19:00 GMT to allow for the new look Blackboard to be made available.*

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab (shown below) where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and module evaluation surveys.  

Image of student view of new My Blackboard tab

You will also see three other tabs:

  • Your school portal tab – with information posted for you by your school.
  • Blackboard Help – for help on using Blackboard, including submitting assignments online and accessing your marks and feedback.
  • My Files – a file-sharing area where you can store documents and share with others inside Blackboard.

Students in Henley Business School will see a slightly different image once logged in. 

Will it work differently?

Blackboard’s functionality remains the same – it will work in the same way, but now it is optimised for use on smaller screens and mobile devices.

Use the hamburger menu in the top left to navigate top-level tabs:

Use the Expand button in your course to reveal the Course Menu:

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

 

What if I need help?

If you experience any difficulties or need any help as a result of these improvements, please contact IT by emailing it@reading.ac.uk

Wishing you a successful academic year!

 

New-look Blackboard live this Friday (info for staff)

Blackboard will look a little different from Friday morning (31 August), and there are a couple of things you will need to do before logging in for the first time.

As you may remember from previous communications, we’ve been working, in response to staff and student feedback, to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility, responsiveness and the experience of our staff and students when using it. 

*Please be advised that Blackboard will be unavailable on Thursday 30 August from 16:45 – 19:00 BST to allow for the new-look Blackboard to be made available.*

How will it look?

The new log-in screen will present like this (use your university user-name and password to log-in):

Image of new Blackboard log-in page

Once logged in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab (shown below) where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and ‘Qwickly’ tools (quick ways of doing things on Blackboard, e.g. posting an announcement on several Blackboard modules).   

Image of new look Blackboard's My Blackboard tab (staff view)

You will see your school portal tab and a tab called My Files – a file-sharing area where you can store documents and share with others inside Blackboard. As a member of staff, you also have access to Blackboard Help tabs for both staff and students.

Staff and students in the Henley Business School will see a slightly different design, once logged on.

Will it work differently?

Blackboard’s functionality remains the same – it will work in the same way, but now it is optimised for use on smaller screens and mobile devices.

Use the hamburger menu in the top left to navigate top-level tabs:

Use the Expand button in your course to reveal the Course Menu:

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time?

Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – just click for guidance on the link below for the browser you use: 

*You are advised not to use the Internet Explorer browser when using Blackboard*

Mobile browsers:

What if I need help?

If you experience any difficulties or need any help as a result of these improvements, please contact IT by logging a job via the IT Self-Service Portal or by emailing it@reading.ac.uk.

What if I need help to use Blackboard in my teaching? 

A reminder that the TEL team run bookable staff development sessions as part of CQSD’s T & L Programme to help staff make the most of Blackboard to enhance their teaching.

I have feedback on the new interface, what should I do?

If you have any feedback on this new-look Blackboard, please feel free to post your thoughts in response to this blog post – this will be periodically monitored.

Wishing you a successful academic year!

 

2018-19 enrolments now being created in Blackboard

We are now into the 2018-19 academic year, and from Monday any 2018-19 course enrolments already registered in RISIS will start to flow into Blackboard.

Module Convenors on Part 2 and 3 modules: if you want your students to be able to access your Blackboard course, simply make your course available.

You’ll also want to email them to alert them that the course is available, as they’re probably not checking Blackboard on a daily basis just now!

 

Please note

This applies only to returning students (e.g. 2nd and 3rd years). 

New students (i.e. Part 1 and new PGT students) will not have full access to IT systems until they complete their enrolment in late September, and it is only at that point that they will be able to log on to Blackboard and access their courses.

Blackboard upgrade summer 2018 – complete

Blackboard has been upgraded to the latest version – for those of you who like to know such things, we are now running Blackboard 9.1 Q2 2018 Cumulative Update 2.

 

New features

  • Blackboard Tests: Students are now able to clear their selection on a Multiple-Choice question. This is useful in a test where negative scoring is in place, and they would prefer to submit no answer rather than one which they’re not sure about. 
    More on clearing multiple choice selection

  • Blackboard Assignments: you can now grant an additional attempt to a specific student, even when anonymous marking is enabled.
    To do this

  • Blackboard Collaborate: when setting up groups within a course, you are now able to enable a Blackboard Collaborate room.
    More on group tools
     
  • Turnitin: we’ve updated the building block which integrates Blackboard. We’re now on the Blackboard Basic integration version 2.7.5.
    This version improves the way marks are synchronised between the two systems – if you edit a grade in the Turnitin Feedback Studio, the change should automatically be reflected in the Blackboard Grade Centre (although we’d still recommend that you press ‘Sync Grades’ before releasing marks to students).
    The most obvious change staff will notice, is that when you access Turnitin via the Control Panel there’s a search box. This should make it much easier to locate the correct assignment on a course which has many submission points.

 

Blackboard Math Editor

Edit 09/08/18:

The Blackboard Math Editor was unavailable immediately after the upgrade, but Blackboard Support have now restored access to the tool. 

Those needing to insert Chemical symbols into content items will find that the Math editor has been upgraded to a later version of WIRIS, and now supports some chemistry specific content.
More on the Math Editor

 

Technical issues?

We will be introducing changes to the visual design of Blackboard in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime, if the Blackboard login screen or some courses are displaying incorrectly, please clear your browser cache, and the issues should disappear.

For details of supported browsers and operating systems, please see Browser Support for Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018 and Turnitin System Requirements.

If you encounter any problems using Blackboard or Turnitin, please log them via the IT Self-Service Portal.

 

Bug fixes

Blackboard + Safari

Previously mentioned issues using Safari with Blackboard have now been resolved – all file submissions will work as expected.

Original Article: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/tel/2018/04/06/important-information-uploading-assignment-files-via-safari-ios/

Blackboard Assignments – save as draft

Issues with students who overwrote a previously-saved file with another, which had the exact same filename, are now resolved.

Original article: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/tel/2018/03/08/changes-to-blackboard-assignments/

Blackboard Course Rollover 2018 – complete

Annual course rollover took place on Saturday 30th June, with work continuing on related tasks throughout July. 

Many thanks to our colleagues in the IT TEL/AV team who are principally responsible for ensuring that rollover is carried out successfully.

 

Blackboard courses have now been created for all 2018-19 modules and programmes which are scheduled in RISIS, and staff enrolled onto them.

 

 

How have 2018-19 courses been created?

RISIS modules

  • If your RISIS module ran in 2017-18, the 2017-18 Blackboard course was used, and the module is scheduled to run again in 2018-19
    then the 2018-19 course will have been created as a copy of the 2017-18 course
    (unless the Module Convenor chose to Opt Out of course copying).
     
  • If your module last ran in a year prior to 2017-18, as long as you have submitted a course copy request, the course will have been copied forward for use in 2018-19.
     
  • Modules in Fine Art have been created as copies of a standard Departmental course template created by the SDTL in consultation with the TEL team – please contact your SDTL if you need further information about this.
    Module Convenors and key staff in the Department have been enrolled onto these Blackboard courses. 
     
  • Modules in the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences have been created as copies of a standard School course template created by the SDTL and DTLs, in consultation with the TEL team. Please contact your SDTL or DTL if you need further information about this. 
    Module Convenors and key academic and administrative support staff have been enrolled onto these Blackboard courses. 
     
  • Any other RISIS modules – for example, brand new modules, or modules where the code has changed – will have been created with the default Blackboard course menu. Module Convenors have been enrolled onto these courses.

 

Shared courses

As long as you submitted a course copy request by the deadline of 26th June, your shared course will have been copied forward for 2018-19.

  • Where the shared course replaces individual RISIS modules, a Merged Course will have been created.
  • Where the shared course is run in addition to individual RISIS modules or programmes, a Supplementary Course will have been created.

Please see Merged Courses and Supplementary Courses for further detail on these.

If you requested a completely new Merged or Supplementary course, this should now have been created, and appear in the courses list on your Enrolments tab.

 

 

What content has been copied?

  • Where a 2017-18 course has been copied forward for use in 2018-19, all course content will have been copied.
  • Links to Talis online reading lists will have been copied, but need to be configured for the new academic year – see the Library’s guidance on configuring Talis links.
  • Announcements, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals and Wikis will not have been copied.
  • The Grade Centre and Assessments have not been copied.
  • Tests have been copied, but you will need to set them up with the correct settings for your 2018-19 students. Please see our guidance on Tests and Surveys.

Further details can be found on the Course Rollover page of this site.

 

I missed the deadline – what can I do?

If you missed the 26th June deadline, but still have content you would like copied from a 2017-18 (or earlier) course, please fill out the Course Copy Request Form which you can find at http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/vle-support/.

That page also has links where you can 

Please submit your request as early as possible, to make sure you have plenty of time to set up your course for the new academic year.

Needless to say, if you have any queries, just log a support ticket with IT.

 

Staff enrolments

As part of the course copy process, most staff enrolments will have been rolled forward – all Instructors, Teaching Assistants and External Examiners.

In addition, staff identified in RISIS as Module Convenor for a 2018-19 module have been enrolled on the corresponding Blackboard course.
This applies equally to courses which were copied, and to courses which have been set up as a blank shell.
If you are a Module Convenor for a module which runs both in Reading and Malaysia, you will see all 2018-19 occurrences of the module in Blackboard.

 

If you do not see all of the 2018-19 Blackboard courses you need

  • If the course has run before: 
    Ask a colleague to enrol you. This could be

    • the Module Convenor
    • another colleague who is already enrolled on the course
    • the programme administrator in your Support Centre.
       
  • If the course has never run before (or has a new RISIS code):
    Ask Support Centre staff to enrol you. This could be

    • the Programmes Manager
    • the Senior Programme Administrator

You could also fill out this form – Request enrolment on a course – but it will probably be quickest just to contact colleagues in the Support Centre.

 

Preparing your 2018-19 courses for the new academic year

Course menu

If your course was created as a copy of a previous course, the menu will be exactly the same on the new course.

If your course was created as a blank shell, it will have the default course menu.

default Blackboard course menu 2017

In either case, please spend some time considering if the menu and underlying course structure

  • meet the specific requirements of your course
  • will be easily navigable by your learners

and then make any changes required.

Please see our guides on this:

The Blackboard course menu

The default menu for new modules/programmes, with suggestions for what each section should contain.

Customising a course menu

How to customise the course menu to include essential features & make it easy to navigate for students.

Course content

Courses which have been copied forward will include all course content except for announcements, discussion boards, and Blackboard blogs, journals and wikis.

Naturally, before you make the course available to students in the new academic year, you will need to ensure that preparation should include ensuring that all course materials, such as

  • module / programme handbooks
  • assignment briefs
  • lecture and seminar material

are up-to-date, and in the appropriate section of the course.

Talis reading list links 

whether as part of the menu, or in a course content area – will have been copied, but you need to configure them for use by students in the new academic year. Please see http://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reading-lists/staff/blackboard

Module Evaluation 

this was a new content area added to all 2017-18 RISIS modules, and is part of the current default Blackboard course menu.
If your 2018-19 course is a copy of last year’s course, it will already have the Module Evaluation area, including any documents which were uploaded to this area.

Module Convenors please note:
On the 2018-19 course you should remove any comments and/or files relating to student feedback which have been copied forward from 2017-18.

To do this, simply Edit the item

Removing old Module Evaluation responses

Delete any cohort-specific text entered into the Text field then click Mark for Removal next to any attached files.

Mark file for removal

You can also set this content item to be unavailable until later in the year, when you upload your response to the 2018-19 cohort.

 

Assessment

Blackboard Tests and Surveys will have been copied, and you will find them listed under Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools. However they will NOT yet be deployed to users  (made available for students to take). You will need to deploy them with appropriate settings on the new course. Please see our guidance on Tests and Surveys.

Blackboard and Turnitin Assignments – these will not have been copied at all, and new submission points will now need to be created with appropriate settings on the new course. This work will be carried out by programme administrators in the Support Centres, who are receiving all required training this summer.

 

When will students be able to see their new Blackboard courses?

Returning students (i.e. those progressing to Part 2 and 3) will already have made their 2018-19 module selections. These enrolments will be pulled through from RISIS to Blackboard once

  • RISIS has switched to the new academic year (2nd August)
  • IT have updated and tested all of their import scripts (by mid-August).

After that, they will see any Blackboard courses which staff have made available.

New students (i.e. Part 1 and new PGT students) will not have full access to IT systems until they complete their enrolment in late September, and it is only at that point that they will be able to log on to Blackboard and access their courses.

 

What do I need to do with the 2017-18 course?

The short answer is “absolutely nothing”.

Please DO NOT SET OLD COURSES AS UNAVAILABLE – it has been agreed by DELT that students should continue to have access to all of the Blackboard courses relevant to their programme of study
i.e. a final undergraduate student should still be able to access their Blackboard courses from Parts 1 and 2.

This is so that they can access course materials and all feedback received from staff.

 

Any Questions?

Please log a support ticket with IT and depending on the nature of your query, you’ll get a response from either the CQSD or IT TEL team.

Reminder: Blackboard upgrade this Sunday evening

As previously announced, we will be upgrading to the latest Blackboard version on Sunday 5 – Monday 6 August.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable while the upgrade takes place

from 19:00 BST Sunday 5 August

until approximately midday BST on Monday 6 August

(02:00 – 19:00 MYT)

 

This is a fairly minor upgrade and you won’t see a great change to the system or how it looks. However, the upgrade does bring some additional functionality, and fixes a number of known issues which are currently affecting us.

Further details on Monday, once the upgrade has completed.