Information Resources and Technologies Blackboard Support announces:
- Blackboard service pack update – Aug. 3-5
- Increased course-size quota – Starting fall 2012
- Course archiving – Late fall 2012
Details are listed below.
Blackboard updates coming
IRT will install the latest Blackboard updates starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. The planned outage will start at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, and will last until noon Sunday, August 5. During installation, Blackboard will be unavailable.
Last summer, UST moved to the next generation of Blackboard – Blackboard Learn 9.1. This update builds upon the enhanced functionality and improved user experience delivered with 9.1. After this update, UST will be on the most current version of Blackboard.
What’s new for faculty?
This update includes a number of enhancements and bug fixes. Enhanced usability, based on extensive user feedback, is the major theme of this upgrade – overall functionality hasn’t changed significantly. The major enhancements include:
- Cleaner, more streamlined interface. The most noticeable change is a less-cluttered interface. Menus are displayed, on mouseover, only when needed.
- Course-to-course navigation. You can quickly jump from one course to another course. Blackboard retains the course location context so you can perform the same task (such as grading) across multiple courses with just a couple of clicks.
- Quick setup guide. You can choose to use a course setup wizard that will make recommendations for a course structure based upon a selected instructional focus (activity focus, communication focus, content focus, time focus). You have the option to include sample content and hints within the course for additional guidance.
- Other enhancements. Other enhancements include improved student reporting, automated regrading of tests and assignments, negative grading and a new instructor and student notification dashboard.
What’s new for students?
Students will adjust easily to the new interface; it provides a more streamlined look and feel on top of familiar Blackboard tools and functionality.
For more information and a preview of what’s new in Service Pack 8, go to blackboard.com.
Starting fall semester, 2012, IRT is increasing the quotas for Blackboard courses and organizations from 250 MB to 1 GB. Requests for increases beyond 1 GB should be submitted to the IRT Tech Desk.
Starting in late fall, IRT will archive and will delete older courses and course content from Blackboard. The general policy is to include two full years of courses in Blackboard. The purpose of this policy is to maximize the performance of the Blackboard system, prevent unnecessary server and storage costs, and to reduce the large number of courses listed on the “Courses” tab.
IRT recognizes that many faculty reuse course materials from previously taught courses by copying or otherwise moving content to a current course. If you plan to access materials in courses beyond this two-year window, IRT recommends that you archive these courses between now and late fall. Academic technology consultants can help with this as needed.
IRT will send several reminders and specific dates in the fall.