Blackboard Upgrade November 2018

Blackboard upgrade icon

This weekend’s upgrade has now completed. You can log in again as normal, to access both Blackboard and Turnitin.

The upgrade was carried out primarily to enable RISIS-Blackboard integration to take place later in the academic year, but it also brings a number of bug fixes, and makes available a few new features:

Blackboard Assignments

The ability for students to download feedback from Blackboard assignments has been restored. They are now able to download an annotated copy of their work, containing all feedback added using the Box inline grading tool, as a PDF. 

Student help page: Blackboard Assignment – download marked assignment submissions

 

Grading in the Blackboard Instructor app

It is now possible to use the Blackboard Instructor app to mark work submitted to a Blackboard Assignment.

This functionality is very new, and the TEL team have not yet had the opportunity to test it thoroughly, so please use it with caution. Check out the Grading in the Blackboard Instructor app page on the Staff help site.

 

As ever, if you encounter any issues using Blackboard, please contact the IT Service Desk.

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/

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.

New look Blackboard – coming September 2018

Following consultation with staff and students earlier this year, we are working to improve Blackboard’s look, feel and ease of use. We currently plan to launch this more user-friendly Blackboard in early September.

What’s changing?

Alongside Blackboard’s annual summer upgrade, this year we are making changes to its design and appearance to help make it a more user-friendly, visually engaging and accessible tool for staff and students to use. The image below gives an idea of roughly how it is likely to look. Please note that this is a work-in-progress and the final interface may look slightly different (the images and headings may change, for example).     

Proposed Blackboard interface (work-in-progress)

Why?

Results from staff and student surveys, along with anecdotal feedback, suggested that people were finding Blackboard ‘cluttered’, text-heavy and challenging in places to navigate. A need was identified to work with staff and students more closely to unpick this and to engage them in contributing to the re-design of a more user-friendly and accessible tool.   

When?

Work is taking place over the summer to implement the identified changes. It is planned to launch this new look Blackboard in early September. 

What will this mean for you?

These changes are designed to give an improved user experience for our staff and students. All the same functionality will still be available and Blackboard will work in the same way. 

If staff are planning to create any resources that require use of Blackboard imagery, it would be advisable to wait until the new look is available before doing so. 

Support/resources 

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team will be creating a short video suitable for staff to use to support students, new and returning, in getting started with (the new look) Blackboard. Details of this will be communicated towards the end of the summer.

If you have any questions relating to these improvements, please feel free to reply to this blog post or email me: l.j.mccann@reading.ac.uk

Lauren & the TEL CQSD team

 

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.