Category Archives: Blackboard

Technology Enhanced Learning Drop-ins

Academic and professional services colleagues: Have you got a question about a particular learning technology? Do you want to find out if technology can enhance an existing teaching and learning activity? Do you have a great idea and want to know if technology can help you deliver it?

There is no need to book, just turn up and our learning enhancement and technology advisers will be on hand to help you. No question is too small!

Come along on:
Wednesday 5 December
Courtyard entrance, Old Library Building

No need to book, just turn up on the day.

If you can’t make this one, don’t worry,  there will be more over the next few months at locations across campus. Further details will be published here.

If your questions relates to School (or Faculty) specific software we may not be able to help, but we hope we can signpost you to the correct support.

Any questions? Get in touch

Parent-Child Modules

Many staff often request for modules to be joined together on Blackboard where the content delivered on those modules is the same. When this happens, we create what is called a parent-child module. The existing modules become child modules of a newly created parent module. Combining the modules in this way means that the content only has to be added to the parent, but students continue to see the content via the child module they are enrolled in.

For example, a lecturer requests modules K1819-ABC2000 Introduction to Newcastle and K1819-ABC2004 Introduction to Newcastle (Erasmus Study Abroad) to be combined as all Continue reading Parent-Child Modules

Blackboard summer upgrade 2018

This is a reminder that Blackboard will be unavailable tomorrow, Saturday 4th August 2018, between 7am and 5pm in order to upgrade the system from the 2017 Q2 release to the 2018 Q2 release.

The update will fix a number of bugs as well as introduce a small number of helpful features such as:

  • Full screen grade centre view
  • Ability to view full titles of Grade Center columns, making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled items
  • Ability to make courses unavailable via one button
  • Ability for students to de-select multiple choice answers in tests
  • Additional question types for use on mobile compatible tests

We will update you once the upgrade has completed but if you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with

Blackboard module rollover 2018-19 – Update

The annual rollover of Blackboard modules completed on Friday so you should now be able to see your 2018-19 modules in your course list.

If your school has chosen to adopt a new template for the 2018-19 academic year, then your modules will have been held back from the normal rollover process. You will need to copy content from your 2017-18 modules into the new empty 2018-19 modules that have already been created.

If your modules did rollover last week (week commencing 23rd July), you will no longer need to delete Turnitin assignment submission points from your new modules. This is something you will have had to do in previous years but colleagues in NUIT have successfully run a script which has stripped these out for you.

If you have any questions about rollover or using your new Blackboard template, then please contact

Blackboard Rollover 2018/19

It’s getting closer to  Blackboard module rollover which will be taking place week commencing the 23rd July 2018.  All 2018/19 modules will be available from Monday 30th July 2018.

Schools who are adopting a new template for 2018/19 may already have had their 2018/19 modules created. Finalised templates should have been confirmed to LTDS by Friday 6th July 2018. If your school wants to move to a template but did not have it finalised by the 6th July, then please contact as this is still possible.

We have a Blackboard rollover document that lets you know what happens with the different areas of Blackboard during rollover including; module content. ReCap recordings, Turnitin assignments and more. This hasn’t changed from previous years, unless you have adopted a new template,  but might be a useful reminder.

Finally to ensure you meet the Blackboard Baseline all schools or subject areas should have a consistent layout and easily navigable structure. Further information about how you can ensure you meet the baseline can be found in the Blackboard Baseline document. We have also produced a checklist that you can work through to check if your module meets recommendations.

Please get in touch with if you have any questions

Celebrating even more success

Lisa Fishburn, Learning Enhancement and Technology Adviser, was also invited to the  Celebrating Success event as a result of her fantastic work with the School of Dental Sciences transforming 15 years of unmanageable Blackboard content into the accessible, consistent structure that is in place today.

The self named ‘crack task force’ of both dental academics, Lisa and colleagues in LTDS worked together to ensure that the changes had a hugely positive impact on both the student and staff experience.

Christopher O’Connor, Clinical Fellow in the School of Dental Sciences was the lead academic member of staff for this project and you can read about his experience in this blog post

For more information or if you have any questions about Blackboard get in touch with 

VLE Review Course Build Focus Group Update

Another Course Build focus group took place on Thursday 2nd February at the Business School. This session was primarily attended by staff from the HaSS Faculty with representation from the Careers Service.

As with the other focus groups that have taken place over the past few weeks, many requirements were gathered and discussions covered topics such as version control, system navigation and ease of uploading content, setting up and managing groups and content availability (e.g adaptive release). Continue reading VLE Review Course Build Focus Group Update

How to ensure Turnitin grades and feedback are not leaked

When creating a Turnitin assignment, there are two areas we need to check to make sure the grades and feedback are not leaked to students.

Turnitin Assignment Settings

If this setting is not correct, students will be able to see their marks and feedback ahead of the post date, from the same location they initially submitted their work.

When creating the assignment, in the Additional Settings, there is an option for “Do you want to only release marks on the post date”. This needs to be set to “Yes”. One issue we have is that it defaults to “No”, even if you have changed your defaults.

Blackboard Grade Centre

If these steps are not taken correctly, marks or feedback may be released to students through the “My Grades” functionality in Blackboard.

There are three steps you need to take to ensure this doesn’t happen.

  1. Once your assignment has been created in your module visit the relevant area in the Grade Centre (Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre)
  2. Now navigate to the relevant column heading for your assignment and select Edit Column Information. See the corresponding image(click on it to see a larger version)
  3. On the “Edit Column” page scroll down to section 3, Options. Turn all of the options to NO and then click submit. See the corresponding image, click on it to see a larger one.


When you are ready to release the marks and feedback to students, we recommend you unhide the grade centre column.


Bug affecting student access to feedback in Blackboard and Turnitin

Update 06.02.2018

This issue has now been fixed

Who is affected?

There is  a bug in My Grades which is affecting students being able to access feedback from Turnitin, Blackboard Tests and Blackboard Assessments.

Usually students should be able to click on the name of the assignment or test and this will open up the feedback.

Screenshot of My Grades

However, if a student is using a window that is 1410 pixels wide or smaller they are unable to click on this link.  This means that most tablets and many laptops with smaller screens are affected by the bug. Continue reading Bug affecting student access to feedback in Blackboard and Turnitin

VLE Review Focus Group Updates

Since my last post we have held three more focus groups to gather requirements for the University’s future VLE provision.

A group of Professional Service staff from across the University met on the 24th January and had a very productive discussion which resulted in a lot of requirement gathering. This was a more general focus group spanning all themes; course build, assessment and feedback and communication/collaboration. It was very important to hear about the features in our current provision that staff feel are essential. We need to ensure that these are not lost through the procurement process.

On the 25th January we ran the only communication and collaboration focus group as the first session was cancelled due to low numbers. Unfortunately, only half of the staff who had signed up were able to attend but we were still able to gather many requirements. A big focus of the session was on discussion boards which were seen as an essential tool within the VLE, particularly on modules that have online elements.  Improving the interface and user experience across many of the collaboration tools was a common feature of the discussions.

Yesterday, 29th January, the second of the assessment and feedback focus groups took place. This was a well attended focus group with very lively discussions. The session had representation from staff who use Blackboard and staff who use the LSE, the VLE used on the MBBS programme. It was interesting to hear about the functionality currently available on the LSE and how this would be useful on other courses outside of the MBBS programme.

We are running one more Course Build staff focus group on 1st February and then two student focus groups with a more general theme on the 15th February and the 21st February. Please encourage your students to sign up by sharing the links below:


There will be free pizza!!!

The next stage of the consultation phase will be to invite suppliers in (March-April) to present their product to us based on the outcomes of the survey and focus groups so look out for invites to these events soon.