Blackboard: move to external hosting, software upgrade, Blackboard Collaborate.

External hostingBlackboard Learn Logo

We are delighted to announce that Blackboard will be moved to an externally-hosted service this summer. Benefits of external hosting of technical support include:

The move to external hosting is scheduled to take place between Friday 21 July and Tuesday 25 July. Blackboard will be unavailable between 1:00 am and 12:00 noon on Friday 21 July.

A read-only Blackboard service will be available from 12:00 noon on Friday 21 July, until the new service is ready to come online (this will be on Tuesday 25 July, by 4:00 pm at the latest). No changes should be made on this read-only service, as they will not be retained after the migration is complete. Some of the tools integrated into Blackboard (eg Mediasite, Turnitin and the TALIS library reading list tool) will be unavailable for a short period when the new service is first brought up on Tuesday. All existing courses and data will be migrated to the externally-hosted service.

The move to an externally hosted service means that upgrades and other maintenance work can be scheduled out of hours, starting with our upgrade this summer.

 

Software upgrade, course rollover

The Blackboard software upgrade will take place between 7:00 pm on Sunday 6 August and 2:00 pm on Monday 7 August. The upgrade will introduce some new features (including a quicker way to add content to courses). The upgrade will also introduce improvements to the design and layout of Blackboard.

Course rollover will take place on Tuesday 1 August, after the 2017-18 unit and programme information is available. .

New online teaching tool - Blackboard Collaborate‌‌Screenshot of Blackboard Collaborate

From August 7th all staff will have access a completely new online learning and teaching tool - Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate is an online classroom environment which can be used for activities such as online classes, office hours and guest lectures (using video, audio, text chat, a shared whiteboard and application sharing). For more information see the Blackboard Collaborate web pages.

For Blackboard support, training and advice please contact us.

Why are we making this change?

This is an important first step in improving our digital learning environment (DLE). We will have a scalable, reliable infrastructure in the short to medium term. This will help deliver key dependant strategic projects and services (SLSP, Mediasite, Library Reading lists and electronic management of assessment). Next steps will include work to address course design and consistency. In the longer term, we can integrate new features and evaluate alternative options for the core DLE.

FAQs

Why are you doing this?

This is an important first step in improving our digital learning environment (DLE). We will have a scalable, reliable infrastructure in the short to medium term. Next steps will include work to address course design and consistency.

Will my course be transferred across to the externally managed course?

Yes, your 2016-17 course will be transferred across to the externally-hosted service.

Will my course/organisation look the same?

The course structure of the previous course will still be there. The new Blackboard theme will bring an improved design and added functionality. Blackboard will look cleaner and work across more devices and platforms.

Will I still be able to access my old Mediasite recordings?

Yes, Mediasite will work in exactly the same way as you've used it before.

What does ‘read-only’ view mean?

The ‘read-only’ service shows a copy of Blackboard made Thursday 20th July. Any changes made during the move period will not appear when the service goes live Tuesday 21st July.

Will I be able to do any marking during the changeover?

If you need to mark work you should take steps to download submitted work. Your school should have 'offline marking' guidance, but if unsure please contact TELED.

Will my students still see the same course view?

Yes, there will be a few changes to how Blackboard looks, but the structure you have created will remain the same.

Will students have access to their My Grades?

Yes, students will still have access to My Grades. The functionality of Blackboard will still work in the same way. Any changes made during the move will not appear in the service when it launches.

Which version of Blackboard are you Upgrading to?

We will be upgrading to Q4 2016 SP2. You can view guides and support on the Blackboard Instructor pages.