2022/23 Blackboard courses are now available to access

The annual “rollover” of Blackboard courses is now complete, and the 2022/23 Blackboard courses are now available to access.  

The courses are copies of the previous year’s courses, where those exist, including any template. New units, or units that have had a change of unit code, will be generated as copies of the school’s template, or as a generic template if your school does not have its own template. Please contact the Digital Education Office if you are interested in adopting a school template for the 23/24 academic year.  

Students are automatically enrolled onto the courses for the programme and units that they are registered to in SITS. Instructor enrolments are copied from the previous year’s courses; instructors will need to be manually enrolled onto any new courses. Please contact your school office if you to be added to any new Blackboard courses.  

Programme-level courses and organisations are persistent and do not roll over.  

The Assessment, Submission and Feedback areas of the new courses will be cleared of assessments, along with the Grade Centres, ready for the coming year’s assessments. Guidance on setting up assessments can be found on BEAM.

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

Xerte upgrade 11th August

IT Services will be upgrading Xerte to version 3.11 between 8am and 1pm on Thursday 11th August. During this time, Xerte resources will be unavailable to staff and students. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

This upgrade brings security updates and improved functionality, including:

  • Accessibility enhancements and responsiveness.
  • Improvements to Bootstrap Template.
  • Access codes (password protect sections to add elements of gamification, e.g. Escape Room style content).
  • Improved WYSIWYG editor for text areas.
  • Spellchecker improvements.

We will update the blog when Xerte is available again. If you have any questions, please contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk

Questionmark scheduled maintenance Saturday 20 August 2022 09:00- 21:00

Dear colleagues,

Questionmark Scheduled Maintenance: Saturday 20 August 2022 –  09:00-21:00

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

Questionmark essential maintenance – Wednesday 27th July 7.15 – 7.45 am

IT Services and the supplier need to perform essential maintenance relating to University user authentication to enable sign in to Questionmark. The maintenance work will be carried out on Wednesday 27th July from 7.15 to 7.45 and may result in a short interruption of service. There may be further service disruption until 10am.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

[Closed]Formula rendering issue in Blackboard tests

This issue has now been resolved.

Blackboard have identified a problem with the rendering of some formula questions in existing Blackboard tests. A partial fix was rolled out on Friday 15th July which means that all newly created questions (from the 16th July) are displaying without a problem. Blackboard are now working on a fix for existing questions.

As for now, the only workaround available for this issue would be using Firefox browser, as it renders MathML natively, so the images will look well there. The WIRISplugin converts that MathML to image so browsers like Chrome that don’t support MathML can render it. You may use this option as a workaround while we wait for the fix.

Blackboard integration changes

The way that tools such as Turnitin and Re/Play integrate with Blackboard is changing. From 2022/23, Blackboard integrations will move to a new, more robust approach (LTI/API replacing ‘building blocks’). All major changes will be implemented during the summer, in time for the next academic year, ahead of the older integration methods being deprecated by the suppliers and turned off. Making these changes during the summer will allow us to maintain access to all the tools currently integrated with Blackboard. In some cases, there will be improvements to the user experience; in others, the change will not be noticeable to you. For a few tools, the new integration will mean some changes to the way the tool works, or where you find it in Blackboard. Support and information for affected tools will be made available on the DEO Service Improvements page.

Stream is changing

Microsoft is updating Stream on 10 July, moving from Stream Classic to Stream (on SharePoint). This will affect anyone using Microsoft Unit Teams to record teaching sessions.

The main changes are:

  • Recordings will now be stored directly in OneDrive or SharePoint
  • There will no longer be the ability to edit your video directly in OneDrive/SharePoint, but you can download it for editing in other tools, such as Camtasia
  • It is no longer possible to create an embed link to your recording, but you can get a link to the recording to share with people within the University.

Added features

There are some additional features to this update that may be useful to you in your teaching, including:

  • Support for chapters, to make it easier to move through a video
  • The ability to add and reply to comments alongside the video
  • Improved analytics – weekly viewership (unique & total) and viewership retention
  • Improved video thumbnails, with any point of the video able to be used as a thumbnail.

The Microsoft roadmap for Stream has more detailed information on the additional features.

Please note:

  • One-to-one or group calls and scheduled meeting recordings will be saved in the OneDrive account of the University attendee who started the recording. In order to make sure that this is not one of your students, you can set access and presenter options.
  • Unit Teams meeting recordings and files will be automatically stored in the SharePoint folder for the Unit Team.

Folder permissions:

  • All Unit Teams have been configured so that only owners can share files or recordings both externally and internally. Any attempt to share files by members of the team will send a request to the owners for approval.
  • Non-Unit Teams have been configured so that sharing files or recordings externally can only be done by an owner, but members can share files within the organisation.
  • Please also see the IT Services instructions on how to manage permissions.

Further information on the Stream changes can be found on the IT services web pages.

Questionmark scheduled maintenance Saturday 16 July 2022 09:00- 15:00

Dear colleagues,

Questionmark Scheduled Maintenance: Saturday 16 July 2022 –  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

Re/Play: updates and improvements summer 2022

This summer, we’re moving the Re/Play service to a new kind of integration with Blackboard, called Re/Play LTI. This is because Blackboard will no longer support the old ‘building block’ method of integration.  

There are a number of benefits of this new kind of integration. Re/Play will be more stable, with fewer outages. It will also improve the way Re/Play content is authenticated, so there should be far fewer incidents of students being unable to view materials you share with them. 

Alongside the LTI integration, additional updates and improvements will be introduced. These include a new media player which incorporates accessibility improvements – including the ability to change the font, size and colour of captions. The search engine should also be much better to use when finding and adding Re/Play videos to Blackboard using the ‘Add Content’ tool in the text editor.  

None of this work will require downtime of the Re/Play system. 

We have also re-designed the Re/Play guidance on our webpages, following feedback from and consultation with staff and students. We hope you will find it easier to find the information you need, when you need it.  

For updates on the summer work for all of our key tools, see the DEO Service Improvements page.