Service announcements and essential information from the Technology Enhanced Learning team

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Blackboard: move to external hosting, software upgrade, Blackboard Collaborate

External Hosting

We are delighted to announce that Blackboard will be moved to an externally-hosted service this summer.  Benefits of external hosting of technical support include:

  • A reliable and resilient infrastructure with less unplanned service unavailability
  • Less planned downtime (eg some essential maintenance will be possible without downtime, upgrades take less time and can be completed overnight or at weekends)
  • A highly scalable technical infrastructure with capacity to respond quickly to new requirements
  • Quicker resolution of technical issues, due to 24x7x365 support, monitoring and problem resolution
  • More rapid deployment of new software versions to resolve issues and respond to new requirements
  • Improved performance, giving a better user experience.

The move to external hosting will take place between 4:30 pm on Friday 21 July and 4:00 pm on Tuesday 25 July. A read-only Blackboard service will be available over that period. All existing data and courses will be migrated to the externally-hosted service.

Software upgrade, course rollover

  • The Blackboard software upgrade will take place between 7:00 pm on Sunday 6 August and 2:00 pm on Monday 7 August.  The upgrade will introduce some new features (including a quicker way to add content to courses). The upgrade will also introduce improvements to the design and layout of Blackboard.
  • Course rollover will take place in early August, after the 2017-18 unit and programme information is available.

New online teaching tool – Blackboard Collaborate

  • From Monday 7 August, all staff will have access a completely new online learning and teaching tool – Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate is an online classroom environment which can be used for activities such as online classes, office hours and guest lectures (using video, audio, text chat, a shared whiteboard and application sharing). For more information see the Blackboard Collaborate web pages: http://www.blackboard.com/online-collaborative-learning/blackboard-collaborate.aspx  

Please refer to our  external hosting project web page for updated information, where we will add answers to frequently asked questions.

For Blackboard support, training and advice, please contact us: (tel-help@bristol.ac.uk; 0117 33 17605).