Course rollover now complete

The Blackboard course rollover is now complete, and 2017/18 courses are available for editing.

Blackboard will be upgraded this weekend, and will be unavailable between 7:00 pm on Sunday 6 August and 2:00 pm on Monday 7 August. This upgrade will introduce visual changes that improve accessibility and the experience of Blackboard on a mobile device. See our previous post for further information.

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.