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
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
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.
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:
Come along to the Michael Sterling atrium between 11:30 and 3pm today to learn more about the Blackboard Mobile app (now available to Brunel staff and students) and other services the LTT can offer you.
This is the third event we’re running and the first two were very successful!
Hope to see you today…
Staff and students at Brunel can now download the Blackboard Mobile app to access the VLE on an iOS, Android, or Blackberry device.
Head to the App Store, Google Play, or Blackberry App World and search for ‘Blackboard Mobile’.
Once the app has downloaded, open it and search for ‘Brunel University‘.
Enter your usual Blackboard login details and, as if by magic, you should see your course content.
Email email@example.com to tell us what you think!