Some sunny updates

It seems like a while since I posted, but after having a look I realise it’s only been a week! Perhaps it’s this gorgeous sunny weather making everything drift along slowly, or perhaps I actually have sunstroke. That’d certainly explain my strange behaviour – the noserings, silly haircuts – oh, wait a second…

I just wanted to let everyone know what we’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks, because it’s been non-stop!

Contented, not concerned, about content: u-Link migration

As I posted last week, we’ve managed to get most u-Link content into Blackboard Learn. We’re currently working on migrating some of the larger sections, which involve a slightly different procedure. Some are very large, and we may need to contact the owners of these sections to plan a way forward. I’ll be making this information available through a variety of channels, so you’ll know if you’re affected.

Now it’s nearly next year – nooo!!!!: 12-13 courses in Blackboard

What we’re working on now is creating the 12-13 ’empty’ courses in Learn, so that you can actually get cracking on building next year’s course materials, or pulling things over from your 11-12 teaching. You’ll be in control of this process, so you can actually choose how to start building next year’s course. Once it’s all ready to go (sometime next week, I hope) we’ll be publicising various resources that make it clear how you do this. I’ll also be notifying staff across campus via School managers and project Champions. Remember, we’re always around to help! …and I really am sorry to remind everyone how close September is…;)

Super, slick SITS-VLE tricks: our new integration

We’re also busily testing the data that’s going to be passed from SITS into Learn. As some of the administrative teams we’ve trained know, the integration between SITS and the VLE is all-new – for the most part, changing data in Learn is something you won’t need to do. For example, if a student changes modules, we’re hoping for the change in eVision/SITS to be passed over to the VLE in minutes. This is still work in progress, and wasn’t in place for SISCM, so they’ll enjoy the benefits of this new integration too. It is a big piece of work, and a lot of time and effort is going into it, on the part of the LTT, SDM and the Computer Centre. We want to make sure we take the time to get it right.

Beyond busy with our bits and pieces: what else is next?

There are various other things in the works: more of the ‘Tech Zone’ branding, more targeted training, enhancing the online submission tools in Blackboard Learn, an upgrade to Service Pack 8…written out like that it all looks so easy. (Easy?! There’s that sunstroke again!)

We have a Project Board meeting next week and I’m looking forward to updating my esteemed colleagues on how the training is proceeding (steadily and positively) and about these next steps for the transition.

And remember…

The next Blackboard Banter session will be at 3pm on July 5th. You’re all welcome, as usual, and by then I should have lots of progress to update you on. Venue TBC…

Additionally, we were aware of some problems with the authentication system for Blackboard Learn on Monday evening, which resulted in about 4 hours of downtime. Blackboard Learn itself was functioning properly, but that’s no good to anyone if they can’t log in! The LDAP server was suffering from some problems, but the Computer Centre worked hard to resolve them, and we’ve learned some important lessons. In light of this, the whole SALT department are discussing how best to communicate when these important systems (eVision, SITS, Blackboard Learn, etc) aren’t available. Thanks for the patience of all involved on Monday!

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