Blackboard Upgrade FAQs

In order to maintain support for the Blackboard Learning Environment, IT Services will be undertaking an essential upgrade of Blackboard between June 14th and July 1st.

This specific disruption period is immediately after June Field Boards and has been chosen in consultation with Faculties and Senior University Stakeholders to limit disruption to teaching and learning. If you have any questions regarding this upgrade, please call the ITS Learning and Research Team on 0117 32 85735.

The detailed schedule is shown below:

17:00 on Friday 14th June through to 09:00 on Saturday 15th June

  • Blackboard will be completely unavailable.

15th June through to 1st July

  • Blackboard service will be available in a ‘read-only’ mode and some limitations will apply.
  • Students will be able to access learning materials.
  • Online assessments and marking during this period will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Staff will be able to upload revision materials.
  • Grade Mapping will remain available.
  • Any essential marking will need to be carried out using Spreadsheet Marking during this period. Guidance on the use of this tool can be found on the Blackboard support website.

1st July onward

  • Upgrade process completed and Blackboard fully available.

Will staff be able to access learning materials in their Blackboard modules during the upgrade?

Between 17:00 on Friday 14th June through to 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, Blackboard will not be available at all.

From 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, staff and students will be able to access their Blackboard modules to view content.

Will staff be able to add course materials during the upgrade period?

If the content is not essential for students at this point in time i.e. it is not needed for July resits or teaching and learning within the upgrade period, please wait until the 1st July to upload.

If this is not possible, you may upload the course materials to the read-only Blackboard between 15th June and 30th June. We will endeavor to transfer any course / revision materials added to the read-only Blackboard onto the upgraded Blackboard. We would appreciate your help in only doing this where necessary.

Important please note: The transfer of materials only includes content, files and text. Use of any tools, for example announcements, assignments, tests etc, cannot be transferred to the upgraded Blackboard.

Will staff be able to use the email function to contact student groups during the upgrade period?

Yes, the Send Email tool within Blackboard will still work during the read-only period.

However, if an announcement is added during this period, it won't exist in the Upgraded Blackboard.

Will it be possible to carry out marking during the upgrade period?

Marking started before Friday 14th June, must be completed and released by 17:00 on Friday 14th June. Marking will not be transferred to the upgraded Blackboard and therefore cannot be resumed. Old Marking tool data (pre-upgrade) will be available in an archived system once the upgrade is complete - please contact the Learning & Research Systems team if you need to retrieve marking data.

During the read only period, student submissions for ISIS fed assignments can be downloaded via Spreadsheet Marking (Marks and Feedback tool).

The online marking tools will not be available to use during the read-only period.

For marking that will not be completed by 17:00 on Friday 14th June but needs to be released before the upgrade is complete:

Please mark using Spreadsheet Marking (Marks and Feedback tool ). During the read-only period, you will be able to download submissions to ISIS fed assignments plus upload and release your marking using the Spreadsheet Marking tool. To access this tool during the read-only period, go to Course Tools > Marks and Feedback.

After the upgrade, the Learning & Research Systems team will download the marking package that you released during the read-only period, and upload and release in the upgraded Blackboard.

Please be aware that from the 1st July, students will no longer be able to see any marks and feedback that you released during the read-only period. Re-uploading your marking in the upgraded Blackboard will be carried out by the Learning & Research Systems team as a priority once the upgrade is complete.

Will it be possible to carry out grade column mapping during the upgrade period?

Grade Column Mapping will be available during the upgrade period. However, where possible grade mapping should take place either before 17:00 on Friday 14th June or after 1st July. To access this tool during the read-only period, go to Course Tools > Grade Column Mapping

On the 1st July, students will no longer be able to see any marks and feedback that you released to them during the read-only period. Re-uploading grade mapping marks into the upgraded Blackboard will be carried out by the Learning & Research Systems team as a priority once the upgrade is complete.

Will it be possible for students to use collaboration tools such as wikis, blogs, journals and discussion boards during the upgrade period?

Yes, during the read-only period it will be possible for students (and staff) to see and access to tools such as wikis, blogs, journals, discussion boards etc. Even though the read-only service will also permit students to make contributions to these tools, any contributions made to these tools during this period will not exist in the upgraded Blackboard from 1st July.

Will students be able to access revision materials?

Between 17:00 on Friday 14th June through to 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, Blackboard will not be available at all.

From 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, staff and students will be able to access their Blackboard modules to view content.

Will students be able to submit during the upgrade period?

Neither students nor staff will be able to access Blackboard between 17:00 on Friday 14th June through to 09:00 on Saturday 15th June.

From 09:00 on Saturday 15th June up to 1st July, a read-only service will be available. Even though the read-only service will permit students to make submissions, Students should not submit during this period as their submission will not exist in the upgraded Blackboard.

Student submissions should only be made in the upgraded Blackboard from the 1st July.

Will students be able to access and submit to Blackboard tests during the upgrade period?

From 09:00 on Saturday 15th June up to 1st July, a read-only service will be available. Even though the read-only service will permit students to make submissions to Blackboard tests, Students should not submit during this period as their submission will not exist in the upgraded Blackboard.

Student submissions should only be made in the upgraded Blackboard from the 1st July.

Will staff be able to create Blackboard test submission points during the read-only period?

Yes it is possible for staff to create Blackboard tests whilst in the read-only period, however, these tests and any submissions made to them, will NOT exist in the upgraded Blackboard and cannot be transferred across.

Will students be able to access and submit to DEWIS tests during the upgrade period?

Yes. Any existing links in Blackboard modules to DEWIS tests will be accessible to students and any submissions to DEWIS tests during the upgrade period will still be available once the update is complete.

Will students and staff be able to access and upload content to Pebblepad during the upgrade period?

Yes. Any existing links in Blackboard modules to Pebblepad will be accessible to students and staff. Any content added to Pebblepad during the upgrade period will still be available once the update is complete.

Will students be able to view Event Capture (Panopto) recordings during the upgrade period?

Between 17:00 on Friday 14th June through to 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, Blackboard will not be available and therefore students will not be able to access links to Panopto.

From 09:00 on Saturday 15th June, students will be able view Panopto recordings via the links in their Blackboard modules.

Will staff be able to use the Panopto auto-scheduling opt-out function during the upgrade period?

No. The Panopto auto-scheduling opt-out function will not be available from 17:00 on Friday 14th June until Monday 1st July.

Will data changes made in ISIS still feed into Blackboard e.g. enrolments, staff attachments, Blackboard assignments?

ISIS data changes e.g. users, courses and enrolments etc, will still feed into the read-only service during the upgrade period.

Assessments will not feed during the read-only service - any assessments due to feed in this period will be fed into the upgraded Blackboard after the 1st July.

Will students be able to respond to Module Feedback Surveys?

No. The Module Feedback Survey tool will not be available during the upgrade period until the 1st July.

If your Module Feedback Survey is due to end during the upgrade period, you can extend it to have a later end date. You can edit this before the 14th June if the survey has already been created by then, or you will be able to re-open the survey and extend the date after the 1st July.

Can I get access to Module Feedback Survey results during the read-only period?

You won't be able to access the Module Feedback Survey tool yourself until the 1st July.

If you need to see/access the results before this, please send a request to the Learning & Research team who will endeavour to retrieve the results for you.

Can the Course Copy tool be used during the upgrade?

No. The Course Copy function will not be available during the read-only period.

Can External Examiners access sample packages during the upgrade?

Yes. External Examiners will be able to access sample packages during the read-only period.

Should I expect any changes to my module after the upgrade?

Any differences will be minimal - your course should look and behave as it would in the existing version of Blackboard.

However, all left hand course menu‘s will change to have a white background with black text. Also if you currently use buttons in your left hand course menu, these will change to text - buttons are no longer used in this version of Blackboard.

If you wish to change these default colours, you can do this by going to the course Control Panel and selecting Customisation, then Teaching Style. The course menu background and text colours can be set under the Select Menu Style area.

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