This is a reminder that an upgrade to Blackboard is scheduled to take place during the weekend of 18-20 January 2019.
The upgrade will begin at 5 pm on Friday 18 January and continue throughout the weekend. We anticipate that Blackboard will be available again during the afternoon of Saturday 19 January but it is at risk of being unavailable Sunday as well if the upgrade takes longer than planned.
MyHallam information pages will remain available during the upgrade, but staff and students will not be able to access Blackboard or any Blackboard sites. Please do not schedule teaching and learning activities in Blackboard during this time, including online submission of assessments.
We are aware that the marking of student work or the delivery of teaching programmes may be affected by the downtime and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause. The timing of the upgrade was chosen to minimise the impact on students working on and submitting assessments.
As always, the upgrade team will strive to minimise any downtime. If you wish to continue marking during the downtime, consider downloading any student work submitted online prior to the upgrade commencing and adding the feedback in Blackboard once the upgrade is complete.
There are a number of improvements being introduced as part of the upgrade which we hope will benefit you and improve the user experience for you and your students in Semester 2:
- Download Box View comment feedback as a PDF – a feature strongly requested by staff and students
- Staff can do online marking in Grade Centre/Box View using the Instructor app
- Introduces an attendance monitoring tool (fairly simple at this point but integrated with Grade Centre)
- Blackboard Collaborate sessions can be launched by student groups without staff needing to set them up if the tool is enabled for groups
- Grade Centre viewing improvements such as the full name of Grade Centre columns display (beneficial for the reassessment ones) and a full-screen view of Grade Centre (the number of grade columns and rows of students expands to fit the resolution of screen)
- More tools made mobile-responsive (Blogs, Tests and Learning Modules)
- An alternative way of making Blackboard sites available (and a useful indicator of a site’s availability)
- An updated student organisation enrolment tool that instantly enrols students on (or removes students from) an organisation site
We delayed the summer upgrade to ensure we could bring these new features to you as their release was delayed by Blackboard Inc., and apologise for the inconvenience of a January upgrade instead. This upgrade will also ensure we have the latest in bug fixes and security patches for Blackboard.
If you need any support with Blackboard or advice about marking offline during the downtime, you can contact your Faculty TEL team for support