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:


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

Blackboard downtime, 7 am – 2 pm, Friday 24 February 2017

Please note that Blackboard will be unavailable from 7 am on Friday 24 February for essential maintenance work; it should be available again by 2 pm that afternoon. Following the recent incidents affecting the availability of Blackboard and other University services, IT Services have identified essential work which will improve the resilience of these services, reducing both the likelihood and the impact of any incidents in the future.

We are, of course, aware that any significant period of Blackboard downtime will be disruptive, and are doing our best to minimise the impact. If you have any concerns or questions about this work, please get in touch with us at tel-help@bristol.ac.uk, and please accept our apologies for the inevitable inconvenience it will cause.

Blackboard “hub” courses for Teaching Block 2, 2016-17

Blackboard is based around taught units, with a single Blackboard course being created for every taught unit that is running in the current year. Occasionally, staff may require a Blackboard course that has students from more than one taught unit on it (in addition to the normal courses). If you had a course like this – called a “hub” course – in the previous academic year (2015-16), and you will need it again this year, please fill in a hub course roll over request form. If you have a definite need for a new course like this, please fill in a new hub course creation request form.


Once the form is completed, your new hub course will be created in 3-5 working days. You will be sent an email when it is ready.

Students: Those who are registered for any of the units identified on the form will be automatically enrolled into the hub course. Students that register for those units later will also be enrolled onto the hub course, 3-5 working days after their registration in SITS.

Staff: As the hub course requester, you are automatically added to the hub course as an Instructor, along with any other staff that you list on the form.


The hub course will be a copy of the “main” unit course in the list you submitted via the form (unless you specify otherwise). In future years, the hub course will be a copy of the previous year’s hub course.

Single-unit courses

Your normal single-unit courses will still be on Blackboard, and you may make them available to your students in addition to your hub course. There are a number of University tools that only work (or work best) in the single-unit courses, which include:

  • eReserves
  • Mediasite
  • Library reading lists
  • Online submission of essays (particularly when this is part of a school-wide process)

Tidying up your single-unit courses

If you make the single-unit courses available, and if they contain content, then you need to hide that from your students to avoid confusing them with duplicate materials. The easiest way is to hide whole menu items is:

  • Move your mouse over the menu item and click on the drop-down arrow
  • Click “Hide link”

It is also good practice to add an announcement to the single-unit courses, telling students that the materials are held in the hub course and letting them know what you will be using the single-unit courses for (eg accessing eReserves).

Switching on the courses

Finally, you will want to make the courses available for your students. Use Qwickly to do this.