Category Archives: Upgrades and New Features

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 LTDS@ncl.ac.uk.

Blackboard Essential Update – Saturday 16th December 2017

Blackboard Downtime

On Saturday 16th December Blackboard will be unavailable between 8am and 5pm in order to install a critical update.

Why is this necessary?

Bug Fixes

Firstly the update will fix many system bugs including notifications of discussion board posts and a Grade Centre scroll bar fix where the scroll bar obscures a Grade Centre column.

Change to Blackboard Assignment Feature

Blackboard has two assignment handling features: Turnitin and Blackboard assignments. The Blackboard assignment tool uses third party software licensed by Blackboard which enables assignments to be viewed and graded online and this will no longer be available from 15th January 2018. A replacement document viewer and online grading tool will be available following the Blackboard update.

Once the update is completed on the 16th December, you won’t notice any changes to the Blackboard assignment feature. We can make the decision when to change to the new tool up until the 15th January. We plan on moving to the new tool w/c 8th January and we will communicate an exact date prior to then.

Turnitin assignments remain unaffected so if you use Turnitin assignments rather than Blackboard Assignments then this change will not affect you.

What changes can I expect?

When we move to the new document viewer and online marking tool all assignments using Blackboard Assignments will switch over to the new interface. Any annotations carried out using the old grading tool will be burned in to the document and will no longer be editable. You can make additional annotations on the assignments if necessary. New assignments created will use the new viewer and marking interface.

There are some changes in functionality:

  • The new assignment feature will have much better support for file types and fonts
  • It includes the option to print the assignment
  • It no longer supports free hand drawing
  • Assignments can no longer be downloaded with annotations and comments displayed. Blackboard are reviewing this functionality.

We will keep you updated about this over the coming weeks but please note this DOES NOT affect Turnitin assignments.

Any questions about this please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk.

Blackboard Module Rollover and Upgrade 2017/18

Module Rollover

Once again it is time for Blackboard module rollover to take place. This will happen week commencing the 24th July and your 17/18 modules will all be available from Monday 31st July. You will not experience any downtime during this process. Any new modules for 17/18 will be created at the same time. Your new modules will proceed with an L, for example, L1718-DEN1102. Continue reading Blackboard Module Rollover and Upgrade 2017/18

Bb Staff Survey 2013 – Myth Buster #1

A joint Blackboard, ReCap and EvaSys staff survey took place during the summer and we received 743 responses relating to Blackboard use. There was a range of constructive feedback received and for this we are very grateful. Among the comments posted were a range of issues/frustrations that can already be resolved, but perhaps staff are unaware of some of these features. Here is a sample of comments relating to the re-ordering of module lists.

“..The order in which modules are displayed in "my courses" seems to be arbitrary, I would like to have more control in which module appears at the top of this list…”
“…That the course lists are not organised with the most recent at the top of the list. New academic year modules always appear down the screen..”

It is possible to re-order and (un)hide specific modules within your Course List in Blackboard. Here is the blog post explaining how you can do this:

 https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/blackboardfaq/?p=81