All posts by brunelblackboardupgrade

Happy Valentine’s Day: our irresistable new interface

You may have noticed a difference in Blackboard Learn this Valentines day as we have launched a new theme!

To find out more about the exciting new changes that this offers, take a look at our guide

You’ll be using a more modern interface, with controls appearing when you need them rather than taking up valuable screen space. The new design is also more in keeping with other Brunel sites and resources…

valentine

 

Blackboard Learn – give us your thoughts!

I hope that 2013 is already living up to even your wildest expectations.

I wanted to share some survey results with you, and then give you a couple of links you can use to help some of our own research students here at Brunel, as well as have your voice and thoughts on technology at Brunel, and Blackboard in particular, heard.

We recently asked what our users  – staff and students – thought of the Blackboard Mobile app. Up to now, we’ve had 1832 responses, which is a decent sample! 1448 of those users have downloaded the Mobile app.

Of those 1448, 76% think the app is either very useful or useful.

 

Only 9% deem the app ‘disappointing’. I think this says a lot about the choice we made to invest in the Mobile app to enhance the VLE we had just put in place.

Two research students here at Brunel, who have worked closely with us to understand how the project has progressed, are offering staff and students the opportunity to provide their views and inform the research.

If you are a member of staff, click here to take a staff survey, set up by Latefa Bin Fryan.

The student equivalent is here.

Alison Bulbeck is running some focus groups and would love to get students involved: if you’re interested in finding out more, email alison.bulbeck@brunel.ac.uk

We are currently planning how best to take forward the new features available to us in Service Pack 10 so watch this space for some exciting developments!

 

Service Pack 10: What’s it all about?

Yet another guest post from me (Anu, Learning Technology Team)… (I could get used to this!!)

So, now that we have Service Pack 10 in place, here is a reminder about some of the new features and tools that are available…

- better access to notifications, updates and tasks across your set of modules; you’ll find all of these in one place, rather than having to go to each module individually

- better reporting on how a cohort has performed in tests and quizzes over time

- more opportunities to run University-wide surveys and evaluation; we can also set up surveys and share them

- an updated text and equation editor

- some improvements to test questions and other minor changes

There are some additional social networking options available in Service Pack 10 which should be released soon. Watch this space for further information!

Blackboard Learn is back!

Anu from the LTT here, writing a guest post to let you know that the new and improved Blackboard Learn is back up again. We have spent the last few days working hard to upgrade to Service Pack 10… that too 72 hours ahead of schedule!

It is worth noting that the service remains ’at risk’ until 6th January, but it is back to normal service from Monday 7th January onwards.

The Computer Centre and the LTT have been working hard to get the upgrade completed as soon as possible, with minimal disruption to our users, so thanks to all for their hard work :)

Happy holidays and an upgrade tip for students

We are wrapping up for the Christmas break so I hope all our students and staff have some great time off.
 
Remember that we’ll be making the VLE unavailable from Wednesday 2nd January through to Friday 4th, with an ‘at risk’ service over the weekend, before normal service resumes on Monday January 7th.
 
This is so we can provide you with our gift of Service Pack 10- take a look at my previous post for more details.
 
We have had some students point out that they’ll be preparing for exams and assignments during the week of the 7th- the best thing to do is to download any materials you will need from the VLE to your own devices. Because the system will be down for staff too, nothing new will be added between the 2nd and 4th.
 
As such, the content in the VLE on January 1st (and in many cases, the content in Blackboard right now, actually) is a perfect snapshot if how it’ll look in the morning of the 7th.
 
In future, our winter upgrade will take place late in December; this year, special events like the Olympics pushed term dates back a bit.
 
Happy holidays and see you next year!

New features for our VLE: Service Pack 10 coming soon!

We’re currently upgrading our Blackboard test system from Service Pack 8 to Service Pack 10. We’ll be doing the same thing to the live system just before the start of term 2. If everything goes to plan, the important dates are below. Past experience suggests we will be able to complete the upgrade in this time window, but Brunel as an institution is still relatively new to these Blackboard Service Pack upgrades. As such, we want to take the time to complete this upgrade properly. Doing so, carefully, on the test system first is a vital step in preparing for the live upgrade. We also have a thorough testing plan.

- from Wednesday January 2nd through to Friday January 4th, Blackboard will be unavailable as we complete the upgrade

- on the weekend, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th January, we intend to label the service ‘at risk’ in case we need to continue any technical or testing work

- Blackboard should be operating as normal from the start of business on Monday 7th January. We are aware of assignment deadlines on this date so understand that assignments will be submitted into the VLE as soon as we’re up and running again

SP10

Some of the new features that come in Service Pack 10 won’t be available until the Windows 7 rollout across the University (which, crucially, includes a more up-to-date version of Internet Explorer). More information will be provided nearer the time, but once Service Pack 10 is fully installed and initiated, here are some of the new features and tools you can expect to see:

- more options to integrate your existing social networking site accounts

- a social networking-like experience in the VLE. You can create a profile, set up a study group with friends to share resources and enter into discussions; academics will be able to collaborate and share research; in  general, the sense of Brunel as a community will be enhanced within the VLE

- better access to notifications, updates and tasks across your set of modules; you’ll find all of these in one place, rather than having to go to each module individually

- better reporting on how a cohort has performed in tests and quizzes over time

- more opportunities to run University-wide surveys and evaluation; we can also set up surveys and share them

- an updated text and equation editor

- some improvements to test questions and other minor changes

When all this is activated, some of the layout of the VLE will look a little different, though the fundamentals remain the same. We will of course provide training and resources to make sure everyone is comfortable with the upgraded system, so watch this space!

As usual, get in touch if you have any questions. Additionally, I am quite aware that I’ve overused the word ‘upgrade’ in this post. And I’m choosing to be ok with that.

BB Mobile update and Android issue fixed

At the time of writing, around a third of our student population have downloaded the Blackboard Mobile app, and we’ve heard nothing but good things so far.
We’ve also fixed an Android issue that was affecting some of our users – if you were getting an ‘SSL error’, re-download the app, try again, and you should be fine :)
Our focus will now shift to supporting staff in designing good, mobile-friendly, easy to navigate content…

 

So we can all smile like this:

smile
Awwwwwwwww.