As many of you already know, we at the Office of Information Systems have been hard at work preparing for the SaaS migration of our Blackboard Learn (BbLearn) system during our upcoming planned maintenance, August 3rd 11:59pm to August 11th. We are also using this extended maintenance period to deploy several upgrades to the system.
What should instructors know?
Course Development Freeze – August 3rd 11:59pm – August 10th 11:59pm
The first thing we should address is the course development freeze. To facilitate a clean transition of Fall 2018 course shells from the old system to the new one, access to the old system will be disabled for all instructors that are not actively teaching a Summer II course. Any planned course development to courses shells will need to be done before August 3rd, 11:59pm or after the new system becomes available to the public on August 11th. This is the only way to ensure course content is correctly preserved when moved to the new system. If you are teaching a Summer II course and end up still having access to the old system, please make sure not to make any changes to any Fall 2018 courses. The changes will not carry over to the new system.
If a situation arises that you must have access to the old system during this time, please contact the Campus Support Center.
Improvements & New Features
We’re using this opportunity to make improvements to our BbLearn environment, including Qwickly, ShareStream, Respondus Monitor and upgrading to the newest version of Blackboard.
Easier Availability & Attendance Settings with Qwickly
Instructors will no longer have to make courses available through the Course Properties. For an even easier method (or to make multiple classes available at once) you can use our Qwickly module. A quick how-to can be found here.
New features with ShareStream Next
ShareStream has added numerous features and improvements in their new version “ShareStream Next”.
- Student Submitted Video Assignments – After enabling this option in your course, students will be able to easily submit their own videos in your assignments using the Mashups tool.
- ShareStream Capture app– Instructors and students with Apple devices can download the ShareStream Capture app by clicking here. This allows users to record and upload videos from their iOS devices directly to their class in BbLearn.
- New Interface – ShareStream Next sports a new, updated interface to facilitate ease of use. More information on ShareStream Next can be found here. User guides and manuals can be found at T Data (T Drive) >> OIS – Faculty Documentation >> ShareStream.
Video Review with Respondus Monitor
Respondus LockDown Browser’s proctoring feature, Monitor, has a new feature that allows instructors to quickly assess which recordings should be reviewed in more detail. In the Respondus LockDown Browser Dashboard the ‘Video Review’ option is now named ‘Class Results’. This menu will display a ‘Review Priority’ column that helps instructors identify recordings that have multiple flags. A video demonstrating this new feature can be found here.
We’ll be moving to the newest version of Blackboard Learn, 3400.0.9. This update includes a myriad of bug-fixes and improvements including (but not limited to)
- Several performance improvements that provide a faster and more stable experience.
- Better course copy – Content links copied from courses should be more resistant to broken links.
- Better student communication – Students will see clearer informative messages when accessing assignments that meet certain criteria (items past the due date, allow multiple attempts, etc.)
- Grade center fixes – Several bugs have been fixed in the grade center. This includes the ‘students having up to 5 numbers after a decimal point’ bug and the ‘students have a -0 for the assignment’ bug.
- The global My Grades tool now works for students as it should.
- ORG- courses will now appear in a Communities tab instead of being mixed in with academic courses in the Courses tab.
These are just some of the improvements that users can look forward to in Blackboard for Fall 2018. As always, helpful information on the use of Blackboard Learn can be found at Blackboard Learn Help for Instructors. For any questions you may have please don’t hesitate to contact the Campus Support Center (Phone: 479-968-0646, online service request: https://support.atu.edu/support/tickets/new, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who will put you in contact with our Course Management Systems team. We look forward to hearing what you think!
The Course Management Systems team