As we move towards the holiday break, we have a few key items to update you on:
Scheduled Downtime for Maintenance – Tuesday, December 21st (12:01am-9:00am)
We have completed testing of Blackboard Service Pack 3 (SP3) and are ready to install it into production. To ensure minimal impact to our user community, we will be waiting until after grades are submitted to take the system down for the updates. This process should take nine hours to be completed, so the system will be back online by 9am Tuesday 12/21/10. This is the only planned downtime which will have that impact our Blackboard 9.1 users before the end of the year.
Why upgrade now?
This product update will resolve some key issues/bugs that our Blackboard users have been eagerly awaiting. Some highlights include:
o Discussions. Students cannot view attachments posted by instructors in Discussions (fixed in SP3)
o Copied Courses. Copied Courses containing links to original courses which gives students an error message stating they don’t have permission to access content (fixed in SP3)
o For a more comprehensive list of resolved and outstanding issues, please check out http://bit.ly/BBBugList
In addition, this update will provide our end-users with some time-saving enhancements, which include, but are not limited to:
o Announcements. New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list.
o Early Warning System. Instructors will be able to set up Early Warning System reports based 3 different criteria to identify students: by date of last access, due date of a particular gradebook column, or by searching for grades listed in a gradebook calculated column.
o Needs Grading Page. Need to find out what you need to grade quickly? After the SP3 installation, Instructors will be able to access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page located in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. In this page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
o For a more comprehensive list of SP3 enhancements, visit http://wp.me/p10K47-7n
What does this mean to Faculty Teaching in Blackboard?
Please continue to prepare for your courses for the Spring Semester:
1. Make sure your courses are coded for Blackboard 9 in Banner (check with your administrative assistant)
2. Copy the content from your Fall Courses (or Development Spaces) to your Spring Courses.
As always, please remember that you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-582-5600 if you have any Blackboard – or WebCT – related questions.
Have a great finals week!Angelique Smith, M.Ed. Director, Learning Technology & Alternative Delivery