What’s new in Blackboard? Summer 2016

Following the Blackboard upgrade (scheduled from 6pm on Friday 5th to midday on Sunday 7th August 2016), there will be some changes to functionality and in the way in which help and support is provided and presented in shuspace and Blackboard.

Help and support

The Bb support ‘tab’ has moved to the right-hand side of every page in Blackboard (and the MySHU tab in shuspace). It opens a page with a list of context sensitive help articles. This means that you’ll be shown only those help and support articles that are relevant to your role and to the page you are on, though you can search for other articles if you do not see one that answers your query. Read more about changes to help and support.

Collaborate Ultra

A new version of Blackboard Collaborate called Collaborate Ultra will be available through all Blackboard sites. Collaborate Ultra offers a number of benefits to users (e.g. it is quicker to launch than the original Collaborate as it no longer requires the need to install Java or a launcher before user, and provides support for multiple video streams and the embedding or more file types on screen). However there are some limitations, including lack of participant level control over audio and video, lack of breakout rooms and the inability to schedule sessions – though it is anticipated some of this functionality will be added soon. Access to the original Collaborate can be requested via IT Help. Read more about changes to Collaborate.

Other enhancements and changes

In addition, this year’s Blackboard upgrade will:

  • provide full support for Microsoft Edge and Chromebook users
  • provide HTML5 support for short video and audio clips – greater compatibility with most web browsers and devices
  • allow easy movement between separate threads in a discussion forum, via ‘thread-to-thread’ navigation tools available whilst viewing or posting within a discussion thread
  • no longer default to date restricting new announcements
  • automatically configure a number of assignment and grade column options (to reflect the practical recommendations presented in Sheffield Hallam’s Implementation Principles and Procedures for Summative Assessment and promote good practice in the management of online assessment and feedback more generally), including hiding all new grade columns from student view, displaying points possible as 100, defaulting due and availability times to 3:30pm, setting the number of assignment submission attempts to 2, and simultaneously creating smart views when student groups are created
  • introduce the ability to batch upload feedback file attachments to the Grade Centre for assignments submitted online

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