Unable to create or edit some Turnitin assignments

We have received several reports of the Submit button not working when creating or editing Turnitin assignments. Through testing, we have determined that this error occurs when the post-date is more than two weeks after the due date. We have contacted Turnitin and have asked them to look into this as a matter of urgency.

The error does not appear to affect certain non-Chromium browsers such as Firefox and Safari. If you have access to these, please use them to set up your Turnitin assignments.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us at digital-education@bristol.ac.uk

Scheduled Maintenance – Blackboard Collaborate Ultra 12th August

Blackboard Collaborate has advised us that there will be scheduled maintenance taking place on Thursday, August 12tth, between midnight and 4 am. During this time, users will experience intermittent availability. The purpose of the maintenance is to update Collaborate to version 21.14. You can read about improvements to functionality on the Collaborate Release Notes page.

During the maintenance, you can check Blackboard’s service status page.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Please check the IT service status page to see how the University’s systems and services are working and for planned maintenance information.

Blackboard courses for the new academic year (2021-22)

Shortly after the University’s central systems switch over to the new academic year, on August 1, new Blackboard courses will be created for the 2021-22 taught units. These will generally be a copy of the previous year’s course, where that exists, with the summative assessments and Grade Centres cleared ready for the coming year’s assessments. The copies will include the course template structures that were adopted last year by most schools, but the content will need refreshing and resetting for the new academic year. In particular, staff should make sure to remove any of the exam “packages” that were added for the summer assessment period, to avoid confusion.

Students across the University really liked the structure, clarity and consistency provided by the Blackboard course templates, and said how much these helped them with their studying. Carrying this structure forwards, with refreshed content, will help to continue this enhanced student experience of learning.

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Mentimeter Pro online polling now available to staff

Mentimeter allows you to create polls, quizzes, word clouds and Q&As to be used in live or asynchronous settings. Polling is anonymous and students can download the app, or complete polls from their browser on a laptop, PC or mobile device.

Mentimeter Pro is now available to University staff. The pro version allows poll results to be downloaded, as well as giving you more colour and layout options, introducing the option of creating and sharing presentation templates, and more. Take a look at our Mentimeter page for information on creating your account, or upgrading your free account. If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Important changes to Re/Play videos in Blackboard

As part of essential work to ensure the security of our systems, the authentication for Re/Play recordings is changing. This security update will break links to videos embedded using the Re/Play embed code in Blackboard courses. 

For content added before 19 July 

The DEO and IT Services are undertaking remedial action to change existing embedded Re/Play videos into links to ensure that students retain access. This work will take place on 19 July. 

For content added after 19 July 

See options for adding videos to your course. 

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk 

Blackboard migration summer 2021

This summer, our Blackboard system will be migrated onto cloud servers. Blackboard will be performing this work, supported by IT Services and the Digital Education Office, between 9 pm on Friday 30 July and 9 am on Tuesday 3 August. Our Blackboard system will therefore be unavailable during this time, and we apologise for any inconvenience this will cause.

The cloud migration will move our Blackboard system from its current location on Blackboard’s servers in Amsterdam onto a ‘cloud’ infrastructure based in Frankfurt, provided by Amazon Web Services. This will allow our system to automatically scale to meet demand and will also enable us to receive bug fixes and upgrades regularly throughout the year, rather than having to wait for the summer upgrade. Consequently, you may occasionally see small changes to Blackboard during the academic year, but the DEO will test these before they go live and provide supporting materials and guidance in advance of any changes. Finally, the migration will also eliminate the need for any scheduled downtime in the future, as upgrades and fixes can be performed without taking our system down.

For further information, please see our project page for Blackboard developments or email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Questionmark scheduled maintenance 17 July 09:00-15:00

Dear colleagues,

Questionmark Scheduled Maintenance: 17 July 2021 09:00-15:00

The purpose of the maintenance is to deploy system updates to ensure the ongoing reliability, security and up time of the platform.

During this time all users may experience service disruptions. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk

Reusable comments – new feature for marking in Blackboard

As part of this summer’s Blackboard upgrade, a new feature will be available for marking in Blackboard. The Content Library, part of Bb Annotate, allows individual markers to save time by having a bank of reusable comments.

You can keep a master comment bank, use these when marking in any of your Blackboard courses, and edit individual comments once added to assignments, if required.

Screenshot of reusable comment tool in Blackboard

The Blackboard upgrade will take place between 9 pm on Friday 30 July and 9 am on Tuesday 3 August.

More information about summer 2021 Blackboard developments.

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Teams for teaching update

Teams will be part of our supported digital learning environment in 21/22. Teams offers tools for collaboration, discussion, teamwork and community building and will complement Blackboard. Blackboard remains the appropriate location for teaching materials, reading lists, learning activities, assessment activities and assessment-related information and data.

Through interviews, a short survey,focus group and our new project advisory group DEO and IT Services are establishing requirements for Teams in 21/22 and future years.

For 21/22 the project aims to create Teams:

  • for each taught unit, with students added from SITS. The spaces will be unavailable to students by default, with the option for Team owners to make them available.
  • with teaching staff added. Team owners will be able to add additional UoB staff as owners and guest users external to the University.
  • with a simple integration between Blackboard and Teams. We will work with schools to ensure this link aligns with their plans for Blackboard template and course development.

We are working with an advisory group made of of academic and professional services staff, to prioritise and deliver these requirements for Teaching Block 1, while also collating additional requirements to continue to develop and extend Teams for teaching. Examples of requests for longer-term development include functionality to:

  • enable staff to include students in addition to those enrolled from SITS (eg for co-taught units).
  • automatically create Teams for Programmes(for example for year group or all years on a programme).
  • better support activity groups (e.g. for a tutor group or other teaching activity).

As part of the project we will develop training and support materials for staff and students, as well as case studies and exemplars.

For further information, please see our project page  or email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.