Blackboard Upgrade and Known Issues

Blackboard module rollover and system upgrade June / July 2016 information:

SALT would like to bring to your attention the following in regard to the annual Blackboard (MyStudies) module rollover and system upgrade which will take place soon.

Module Rollover

Towards the end of each Academic year it is necessary to populate Blackboard with academic modules for the forthcoming Academic year; this is known as the module rollover process. This is planned to take place during the week beginning the 20th June 2016 and will be completed by the 24th June 2016. This process rarely impacts on Instructors other than the 16/17 modules will become available to you during this week, and we ask that you check the content has been correctly copied to the new modules. This process has no impact on students.

Please Note: Only standard academic modules (those found on the module catalogue) will be rolled over

System Upgrade

As with many systems and services here at the University new updates, patches and upgrades need to be applied from time to time. Those applied to Blackboard are added only when necessary to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. The way that Blackboard Inc. (the company who licence the software) provides support for their product is such that the University needs to ensure the version we deploy is supported by the Company. Therefore an upgrade of the current version of Blackboard is necessary this Academic Year.

The system upgrade is planned to take place on the following dates: Begin on Friday 1st July 2016 and will be completed by the Tuesday 5th July 2016.

During this time the system will be READ ONLY, meaning staff should not add any new resources or materials, create any new discussion boards, set quizzes/tests or Blackboard Assignment submissions. Similarly staff should not ask students to submit any assignments to Blackboard, contribute to discussion boards or sign up to seminar groups etc. If any new content is added or students contribute or submit work during the READ ONLY period this will be lost.

Turnitin and GradeMark 

Turnitin submissions and GradeMark are not affected during these periods and thus students can continue to submit work to Turnitin submission points and staff can continue to use GradeMark during the READ ONLY period as these are not part of the upgrade process specific to Blackboard.

Current Year Module Switch Over 

A number of colleges and departments have modules that run across the Current Year Module switch over on 1st September, such as March Entry Nursing, ELTS Pre-sessional Programmes and Taught Masters Programmes across all colleges. Staff in these areas will need to ensure students know what will be happening on 1st September 2016. A pop up message for all users will appear when first signing on to Blackboard after the Current Year module switch on 1st September 2016. This will remain for two weeks and explain where to find modules. Please let us know if this affects you and you would like further information.

Therefore the key dates related to the Blackboard module rollover and system upgrade are:

  • Monday 20th June – Friday 24th June              Module rollover –  16/17 standard modules become visible to staff
  • Friday 1st July 7am – Tuesday 5th July 5pm    System upgrade – Blackboard will be READ ONLY
  • Thursday 1st September                                       Current Year Module Switch Over
  • Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th October                 Possible service disruption only if updates need to be applied

If you have any questions about the module rollover process or system upgrade please contact us as soon as possible:


Information relating to previous years Blackboard rollover and upgrades:

Blackboard module rollover and system upgrade completed for 2015/16 Academic Year

We are pleased to inform you that the Blackboard module rollover and system upgrade has successfully completed. 2015/16 Modules are now available to staff and are located in the 2015/16 Modules tab on Blackboard.

Upgrade fixes:

Colleagues in the College of Engineering and College of Science will be pleased to know that calculated formula question creation is now working in the upgraded version.

Further information detailing the new features and known issues can be found here.

Reminder of the Current University Minimum Requirements for Blackboard Modules

In order to enhance the information provided to students and develop the use that the University makes of Blackboard, a minimum requirement has been set for Blackboard module sites by the University Learning & Teaching Committee.

All new Blackboard module sites will be created with a course template matching the list below:

  • Home
  • Module Information
  • Module Content
  • Assessment & Feedback
  • Staff Contacts
  • Staff Support (this menu item is for staff only and is not viewable by students)
  • Tools
  • Help

Additionally all lecture materials should be made available on Blackboard in advance of the lecture (at least 24-hours in advance).

New Features & Known Issues

TurnItIn File Limit Increased

All newly created TurnItIn submission points will allow files up to a maximum of 40MB in size (increased from 20MB).

It is not possible to retrospectively change previously created submission points.

Instructors are Unable to Input a Score in a Grade Centre Cell for Multiple Assignment Attempts

This issue is targeted to be fixed by Blackboard. There is a workaround which is as follows:

Access the grade details page for the users attempt, then click on the Manual Override tab. From there the Instructor can enter the grade manually. Remember to click Save when completed.

Blackboard Assignment Grading – New Options

Anonymous Marking

Anonymous Marking hides student names from submission attempts in Inline Grading and the Grade Centre, making them anonymous. At any time, you can disable anonymity and show student names by unchecking the checkbox. You also can automatically disable the grading anonymously option by completing one of the following:

  • On Specific Date: This begins to disable anonymity before the end of the selected date.
  • After All Submissions Are Graded: This option requires a due date to be set for the assignment. Once the due date has passed, if all submissions have been graded, anonymity will be automatically disabled.

Note: Once submissions have been made to an assignment, you cannot enable or re-enable anonymous grading.

Delegated Marking

Delegated Marking allows you to delegate grading responsibilities to multiple graders in the course. Graders may be assigned to grade:

  • None
  • All Submissions
  • Random Set. The grader is assigned to grade a random set of the selected number of students. If multiple graders are assigned to grade a random set, students are distributed evenly before any student is included in multiple random sets.
  • Groups. The grader grades all students who are part of the selected course group(s).

YouTube Mashup Tool

The YouTube Mashup tool is designed to embed YouTube videos directly and easily in to a Blackboard course. On May 1, 2015 Google changed the way that YouTube videos can be searched, which has caused an issue when searching for a video using the tool in a content area and in the text editor. Searching for a YouTube video returns:

Error: An error was returned by YouTube: No longer available

There are two ways to include YouTube content in a Blackboard course until this issue is resolved. The easiest method is to provide a link to the video instead of embedding it. It is also possible to manually embed a YouTube video using the html editor in the text editor. These are temporary workarounds to replace creating new embedded videos using the YouTube Mashup. Any YouTube videos already embedded in Blackboard courses will continue to work properly. Blackboard is targeting a fix during the last quarter of 2015.

Blackboard Suggested workaround:

  1. Copy the YouTube video URL
  2. Go back into the editor in the Bb environment
  3. Select Insert/Edit Embedded Media
  4. Paste the URL into the File/URL
  5. Change ‘Type’ to “Embedded Audio”
  6. Insert
  7. Submit

Internet Explorer Inaccurately Records Student Responses to Hot Spot Questions on Tests

When students respond to Hot Spot questions on tests, the browser uses built-in tools to determine the coordinates of the point where students clicked on the image. Internet Explorer does not record these coordinates accurately when in compatibility mode. Depending on the version of Internet Explorer, either the student’s response will not be recorded (nothing will happen when the student clicks the image), the marker that indicates the location of the student’s response will appear somewhere other than where he or she clicked, or the coordinates will be recorded with decimals. In all cases, the answer is marked incorrect.

These issues affect Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11. To avoid it, please inform students to use Firefox, Chrome, or Safari to access Blackboard when taking tests/quizzes that include Hot Spot question types.

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