Revised date for Blackboard upgrade: 6th – 7th August

Colleagues will be aware that we had previously scheduled this summer’s Blackboard upgrade for 25th June, but this had to be postponed when Blackboard’s quality checks identified a software defect. This bug was quickly resolved, and we are currently testing the revised software version on our Staging system.

We are keen to take advantage of new features offered by the latest version, and have provisionally rescheduled the upgrade for 6th – 7th August.

The upgrade requires system downtime.


Blackboard and Turnitin  will be unavailable

from 7.20 p.m. on Sunday 6th August

until no later than midday on Monday 7th August

We will endeavour to complete all post-upgrade checks, and have Blackboard back online, by mid-morning on Monday 7th, but the whole of the morning should be considered as being “at risk”.


This downtime window has been planned to minimise disruption, and particularly to avoid any disruption to those resitting exams.

Our apologies if the revised schedule does cause any inconvenience for you and your learners.

Blackboard course rollover 2017: advance notice of timetable and downtime

Course rollover is the annual process whereby Blackboard courses from the current academic year are copied for use in the next academic year.

This post contains notice of this year’s rollover timetable and planned downtime, plus some preparatory information on how different types of courses are rolled forward, and what you will need to do for this process to go smoothly.

This year Course Rollover will take place on Saturday 8th July 2017

 Saturday 15th July is being held in reserve in case of technical issues, or further work needing to be done.

Blackboard will be unavailable to users while course copying is taking place.

We anticipate that Blackboard will be unavailable during the morning on 8th July (and 15th July if required), but Blackboard should be considered “at risk” for the whole of the day.


If you have a RISIS course that is running again with the same module/programme code

The default position is that any RISIS module or programme

  • which was used in Blackboard in the current academic year (i.e. in 2016-17)
  • and is scheduled to run again in the new academic year (i.e. in 2017-18)

will be automatically copied forward as part of Course Rollover.


If your Module meets these criteria, then no action is required to ensure that the course is included in the rollover process.


An opt-out will be available for staff who do not want their entire course to be copied, and would prefer to upload or copy course materials to a new blank course shell.


If your Module did not run in 2016-17, you can request that the 2015-16 Blackboard course is copied forward for use next academic year.


There is no need to do anything at present – the request forms for staff to use are currently being updated. A further communication will be sent out, specifying what actions are required (if any), in early June.



If you have a new RISIS course or an existing course where the module/programme code is changing

If you are the Module Convenor for a brand new module, or if your module is getting a new course code in RISIS there are some checks you can carry out now to ensure that these changes will be properly reflected in Blackboard.

Please see the Course Rollover page for further details.



If you have a shared course or non-RISIS course

If your Blackboard course is not directly linked to a RISIS programme or module code (e.g. if you use a Shared Course or Non-RISIS course), you will need to submit a request to have a 2017-18 course created and to have course content copied forward.


There is no need to do anything at present – the request forms for staff to use are currently being updated. A further communication will be sent out, specifying what actions are required (if any), in early June.


More detail on all of this is available on the Course Rollover page of this Blog.

Advance notice: Blackboard downtime for system upgrade 25-26 June 2017

We are currently testing the most recent Blackboard release, with a view to upgrading to this version in the summer.

Subject to our tests being successful, the upgrade will take place on 25th – 26th June.

Blackboard and Turnitin will be unavailable while this upgrade takes place:

FROM Sunday 25th June, 10:30 a.m. BST

TO Monday 26th June, 12:00 noon BST

It is likely that the system will be back online by mid-morning on Monday 26th, but the whole morning should be considered as being “at risk”.

Further details and reminders will be posted nearer the time.

Blackboard unavailable from 9pm on Friday 16th October for essential maintenance

Blackboard Learn and Turnitin will be unavailable for around 4 hours, from 9 p.m. this Friday evening, while essential work is carried out.

Scheduled Start Time: 21:00 BST on Friday 16th October

Estimated Completion Time: 01:00:BST on Saturday 17th October


Now that term is underway, Blackboard are better able to judge the demands which our users make on the system, and are adjusting technical settings accordingly to improve performance.

This work will be carried out by Blackboard support engineers, as part of our support contract with Blackboard, at a time when we expect demand on the system to be low.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.