IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Uploading assignment file(s) via Safari & iOS

There is currently an issue with the latest version of Safari on Mac and all iOS browsers.

You cannot upload files to a Blackboard Assignment using the above as it will result in an error:

If you are on a Mac, please use a different browser like Firefox or Chrome.

If you’re on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod) please switch to a PC and try again.

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Edit 12th March: new annotation features temporarily withdrawn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

Edit 09/08/18

This issue has been fixed by the Summer 2018 Blackboard upgrade

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Turnitin Feedback Studio: Save Error

Turnitin logo

Update – The issue is now resolved.

 

Here is the information from Turnitin:

 

Turnitin Service Alert

 

Some Turnitin and TurnitinUk users (including those integrated with our service) may have experienced an error when attempting to leave comments through Feedback Studio from Jan 29 1:30 am PST- Feb 03 7:09 PST/Jan 29 9:30 am GMT – Feb 04 3:09 am GMT/Jan 29 8:30 pm AEST – Feb 04 2:09pm AEST. Post resolution, root cause analysis was performed and monitoring / alerting has been put in place to further mitigate the chances of similar technical difficulties from occurring.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Original post:

Over the last few days some staff have encountered an intermittent error when attempting to add Quick Marks or comments, using the Turnitin Feedback Studio.

A ‘Save Error’ message is displayed as shown below.

Turnitin 503 error

This issue is affecting users at other institutions, and Turnitin are aware of the problem. At present, Turnitin have not been able to give us an indication of how quickly the error can be resolved.

If you experience this issue, please log a support call  via the IT Self-Service portal.

When doing so, please provide details of

  • the Blackboard course
  • the Turnitin assignment name
  • the Turnitin paper ID for a paper where this occurred
  • what kind of computer are you using – Windows or Mac?
  • which browser are you using?

It is also worth clearing your browser cache – this may not prevent the problem from recurring, but should delay its reappearance.

 

Please note:

If you are simply having trouble viewing or editing previously entered comments and Quick Marks, our recommendation is to switch to the Firefox browser.

However the ‘Save Error’ described above appears to affect all browsers.

 

 

Turnitin Feedback Studio: unable to view or edit Quick Marks

Turnitin logo

Some staff have reported that, when marking student work using Turnitin Feedback Studio

  • they are not able to view previously entered comments or QuickMarks
  • they are not able to open and edit previously entered comments or QuickMarks
  • the Feedback Studio screen freezes.

Turnitin are aware of this, but the intermittent nature of the problem makes a diagnosis difficult.

However Turnitin have said that, as far as they are aware, these issues do not occur in the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Therefore, when marking student work in the Feedback Studio, we recommend that staff use Firefox.

Blackboard upgrade 17th December: planned system downtime, Talis issue resolved

There will be a Blackboard upgrade taking place on 17th – 18th December. This upgrade requires system downtime.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable to all users

from: 14:30 GMT on Sunday 17th December (22:30 MYT)

to: 12:00 midday GMT on Monday 18th December (20:00 MYT)

NOTE: We aim to make Blackboard available as soon as possible following the upgrade and it may be available before midday.

 

This update fixes the issue with broken links to Talis Aspire Reading Lists from Blackboard course menus.

If you are responsible for module reading lists, please read the guidance below.

 

Reading lists for Spring term modules – information for Module Convenors

The Blackboard upgrade at the beginning of August introduced a bug which broke links from Blackboard course menus to Talis Aspire reading lists.

To deal with this issue, these broken links were automatically hidden in course menus to prevent confusion for students.

The Blackboard software update taking place on the 17th – 18th December resolves this issue.

After this time, if Module Convenors want to use the Reading List course menu link you will need to:

  • Configure the Reading List link in the Blackboard course to point to your 2017-18 list.
    See how to do this at https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reading-lists/staff/blackboard
  • Un-hide the Reading List link on the course menu:
    • Hover over the link, click the ‘Reading List menu item options’ button that appears.
    • Click ‘Show Link’ from the menu. (See screenshot below)

      Make a course menu link visible to students

        Make a course menu link visible to students

Module convenors / list owners should not postpone the publication of their Spring Term 2018 reading lists until the Blackboard issue has been fixed.

If setting up links from Blackboard to Talis before 18th December, Tutors will need to continue to embed links in an appropriate Blackboard course content area – as shown in this user guide Setting up links to your Talis reading list.

Academic staff should continue to update 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.


Please note that the problem described affects Blackboard courses where there is a single module reading list, with a link from the Blackboard course menu.
If a Blackboard course has multiple reading lists, or module convenors have created links from Blackboard to specific sections of a Talis list, these links will be inside a Blackboard content area, and are not affected by the Blackboard bug.

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.