Blackboard has successfully moved to an externally-hosted service

We are pleased to announce that Blackboard is now running as an externally-hosted service. If you experience any issues, refreshing your browser cache (http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/home/), completely closing your browser and restarting it, or rebooting your machine should fix the issues. Please let us know if you experience any persistent issues: tel-help@bristol.ac.uk.

Find out more about the changes at our project page.

For Blackboard support, training and advice, please contact us: tel-help@bristol.ac.uk.

Blackboard now read-only until Tuesday 25 July

Blackboard is now available as a read-only service, until Tuesday 25 July at 7:30 am, as we complete our move to an externally-hosted service. The move will bring improved resilience and reliability. Staff and students can access materials on Blackboard while it is read-only, but changes should not be made until the full service returns on 25 July at 8:30 am.

Find out more about the changes at our project page.

Blackboard unavailable Friday 21 July between 1:00 am and 12:00 noon, then read-only until Tuesday 25 July 7:30 am

This is a final reminder that Blackboard will be unavailable on Friday 21 July from 1:00 am up to 12:00 noon. This is to allow a final copy to be made for the new externally-hosted service. A “read-only” version of Blackboard will then be available until Tuesday 25 July at 7:30 am.

Find out more about the changes at our project page.

Blackboard – improvements to design and mobile experience (note: changes to course menus and themes will be restricted)

As part of the move to external hosting project, we will be upgrading Blackboard to version Q4 2016. This brings many improvements and increased functionality as well as a new visual theme. Accessibility and mobile improvements will remove course themes and course menu colour customisation options.

The Learn 2016 Theme is cleaner and has ‘responsive design’ elements, allowing it to resize and reorder content to take best advantage of the screen size. It will give users a more consistent experience across devices and is optimised for delivery over mobile. Many functions that previously did not work well on mobile devices, such as discussion boards and tests, are much improved.

This theme has been created to follow accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 principles [link: https://www.w3.org/2004/10/wcag2-nav/wcag20princ.html]) which results in a clearer design that works for all users. Good practice such as keyboard navigation and suitable colour contrast are built into the theme with no need for users to enable them prior to use. To further improve accessibility, legacy ‘course themes’ and colour customisation features have been removed. Course differentiation can be achieved using banners and images, we will provide guidance on how to create and upload graphical content using free online tools. Contact us at tel-help@bristol.ac.uk to arrange support/training. We can run bespoke sessions for a school or teaching team on request.

The screenshots below show a course with the old theme (top) and new theme (bottom):

Blackboard will be:

  • Unavailable between 1:00 am until 12:00 pm on Friday 21 July
  • Read-only between 12.00 pm on Friday 21 July and 7:30 am on Tuesday 25 July (any changes/uploads made will be lost)
  • Unavailable for an hour between 7:30 am and 8:30 am on Tuesday 25 July. Blackboard will return as a full service at 8:30 am
  • Unavailable between 7:00 pm on Sunday 6 August and 2:00 pm on Monday 7 August for upgrade.

 

 

TurningPoint Upgrade – July 2017

In the week starting Monday 3 July, we will upgrade TurningPoint to the latest version, which allows students to vote using their own devices, such as smartphones or laptops, as well as the usual keypads or clickers.

This upgrade will take place in conjunction with the University move to Office 2016, as the version of TurningPoint that we are currently using is not compatible with Office 2016. The new version is very similar to the current version, but it does have one significant difference – in order to run a poll, a licence is required. We have purchased a number of licences to cover the anticipated use of TurningPoint this year. Each licence will have a University email address associated with it and a password, used to log in when running a poll.

Each school that uses TurningPoint will have a general licence to be loaned out to staff for use in teaching sessions, much as the handsets are currently. Please contact your school office for details of the school licence, or to request having an individual licence assigned if you use it very regularly.

The TurningPoint receivers will also require an upgrade to the new version. The first time a receiver is plugged into a PC running the new version, a message will appear, stating that the receiver requires an update. If this happens, you should proceed with the update, which will mean that the receiver will no longer work with the old version of TurningPoint.

A short video showing how to get started with the new version is available here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2GAIVb3X8byNFBJUHZONzBZejg

For further information, please contact the TELED Team: tel-help@bristol.ac.uk.

Blackboard summer improvements information

This summer, in response to user feedback, we are improving the resilience, reliability and scalability of Blackboard, as well as introducing new tools and features.  This means that there will be changes to the availability of blackboard between Friday 21 July and Tuesday 25 July, full details of the move can be found here.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will keep our blog updated with any further information.