Blackboard and shuspace upgrade this weekend: 26-28 July

This is a reminder that there will be a software upgrade for Blackboard and shuspace this weekend, from 6pm on Friday.  We expect it will be completed within 24 hours but it is possible it will take longer and may last through Sunday.  Note that Blackboard and shuspace will not be available during this time, but there will be a shuspace replacement page which provides access to other pages like email, library services, timetable and FAQ information.  We apologise for any inconvenience this upgrade may cause you and will try to minimise the downtime as much as possible.

After the upgrade you will probably notice one feature in particular (shown below), which is a menu at the top level of shuspace that highlights activity across your Blackboard sites.  Much like facebook notifications, it will display a number when there is a change to your Blackboard sites, including new content, discussions or announcements being added.  This should allow you to quickly see what changes have happened in your Blackboard sites.  It also provides links to the most recently visited sites and a consolidated calendar which can show you due dates for assessments that are recorded in Blackboard sites. Note that unfortunately it will not show you all assessment due dates yet (such as hand-ins at faculty reception points) but we hope in the future it will be able to show those as well.

Screenshot of the new dropdown menu in shuspace to notify students of new content

In a future upgrade we expect this feature will allow you to see your provisional grades and feedback across your modules but this is not working currently unfortunately.  Of course, you can continue to access your provisional grades and any online feedback in specific module sites using the My Grades tool.

Example of the new discussion board view

Sample discussion posts

Another slight change for students will be in the discussion board tool.  The message viewing interface has been improved so it should look more like other discussion forums and the discussion board post viewing in SHUgo, the mobile app.

Screenshot of the new announcements channel in the Home Page

Example of new announcements

The Announcements tool is also getting a tweak, and will now allow you to see the text of an announcement by clicking the + next to the announcement without having to visit a new webpage.

We hope these changes, along with recent hardware upgrades to improve system performance, will result in a more user-friendly experience with Blackboard and shuspace.

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