Blackboard was upgraded 18th-19th December (to Blackboard 9.1 2016 Q2 release, Cumulative Update 3, if you like to know such things).
The upgrade did not introduce any significant new functionality, but it did bring a number of bug fixes – for instance, emails sent from Blackboard with a file attachment should now display correctly for Apple users.
The upgrade also allowed us to introduce some other enhancements:
Blackboard Assignment Receipts
We are now able to customise the receipt which students receive when they submit to a Blackboard assignment. We have added some explanatory text for students, to reiterate that
- they should retain the receipt in case they need to provide proof of submission
- proof of submission is not proof that they submitted the correct file, nor that the file(s) uploaded and can be viewed successfully.
In addition, where you have set up a Group Assignment, when one member of a group submits to the assignment, all members of that group will now be notified.
See Blackboard assignment submission receipts for further details.
Reusable Objects allow you to store in a central location (the Blackboard Fileshare) pieces of content which you regularly use on a variety of Blackboard courses. Moreover, you can update the Reusable Object in the Fileshare and the content will be updated in every course where it has been made available.
Reusable Objects are thus a good way to maintain and update content which needs to be made available on multiple courses – perhaps even on every course in a Department or School – but which might need to be updated at various points during the academic year. Examples might include Health and Safety guidance, School and Support Centre staff contact details, or information from central teams such as Careers and the Library.
This functionality is likely to be of most interest to colleagues who manage or support a large number of courses. For details, please see our guide Reusable Objects, and log a call with firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further assistance or advice on making use of this feature.
The Blackboard upgrade required us to update our Turnitin plug-in, but this should not have affected any Turnitin functionality.
However, in an unrelated change, Turnitin introduced a welcome update to their Feedback Studio just before Christmas, which should remove an issue where some staff were finding themselves logged out while marking. Details in this earlier blog post: Turnitin enhancement: Timeout setting revised