Blackboard assignment display issue for Word files saved in Pages/LibreOffice

We have had a very small number of reports of issues with Box view incorrectly rendering and displaying some files, especially tables. The file itself can still be downloaded without issue.

We have carried out testing and confirmed with Blackboard that the issue only occurs when the student uses a non-Microsoft application such as LibreOffice or Pages to write/edit their work but then saves as a Microsoft Word document.

Depending on the marking workflow there are two ways around this issue.
1. If using B1 or similar workflows which downloads the file, the Box view can be ignored as the download is functioning correctly. The student may need some reassurance that their file has uploaded correctly – they can download from the Review page and check the file is correct there.
2. If using B2 or similar workflows which mark using the Box view, the student can be instructed to save as a PDF (rather than as a Word document) which, when uploaded, will render correctly in Box view.

Due to the very specific circumstances in which this occurs, we anticipate this only affecting an extremely small minority of submissions.

Turnitin service disruption restored: Sunday 31st May

Please be advised that Turnitin services encountered an issue on Sunday 31st May between 11:48 – 14:18 BST. Users may have had problems with loading Turnitin assignments and submitting papers. All services  have now returned to normal.

Please see the Turnitin Status page for more information.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please contact

Blackboard maintenance, 7am-8am Sunday 31 May

UPDATE: Blackboard have informed us that this maintenance is not required on our system, so there will be no downtime.

In order to ensure the stability of Blackboard during the exam period, essential maintenance will be carried out on the system between 7am and 8am (BST) on Sunday 31 May. During this time, Blackboard will not be available, so please plan accordingly.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this downtime causes.

LaTeX and Maths Editor now working correctly

Rendering error

The rendering error with LaTeX has been resolved (Friday 29th May) and all new LaTeX/Maths Editor formulas will now display properly.

Any items users created in the past week while the problem was present, should be corrected by editing the items and submiting them without making changes, this should correct how the formula displays.  If problems persist then it may be necessary to recreate the formula.

We appoligise for any inconvenience this has caused.

We will continue to monitor this.

Turnitin service disruption: 19th May

Please be aware that Turnitin is currently experiencing a service disruption. During this time users may encounter errors with submitting work and accessing the feedback studio. We will update you when we hear anything further.

Please see the Turnitin Status page for more information.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please contact

Questionmark scheduled maintenance (Saturday 16th May) and scheduling error update.

Scheduled maintenance.

Questionmark have advised us that there will be scheduled maintenance taking place on Saturday 16th May from 9:00 – 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. 

Scheduling error update.

Questionmark have informed us that they have fixed the issue affecting scheduling, which re-occurred when the clocks changed. Previously, as a workaround we recommended setting your schedules back an hour to allow them to appear at the correct time.

Testing by DEO confirms that this has been corrected, so you will no longer need to set schedules an hour behind. Schedules can now be set at the correct time.

We recommend that you double check this by scheduling a test for yourself to ensure it is working correctly. Any future schedules will then need to be updated.

Thank you for your understanding on this matter and we apologise for any inconvenience.

If you have any questions, please contact

May Blackboard Collaborate Update


Collaborate use in the University has been incredibly successful since the lockdown created the need to teach online. In April Collaborate has facilitated 2.88 million cumulative minutes of online learning and been used by just under 9.5 thousand users.

Staff created 5728 individual sessions. 2468 recordings were made, with over 1253 hours length in total. A total of 8488 individual recordings were viewed.

Blackboard have made some changes to the Collaborate tool to maintain quality and make scheduling large sessions for 250 to 500 users easier for instructors. A new ‘Large scale session (250+)’ option is available in Session Settings. Previously larger sessions would require liaison with the Digital Education Office and would be created on a separate server. To improve performance, they have disabled some functionality for students in large scale sessions, such as sharing audio/video, drawing on whiteboard and Breakout Groups. Chat functionality is also off by default but can be turned back on during a session.


Turnitin service status

Turnitin have told us that they “are committed to delivering reliable and consistent service to our customers across the globe who are now faced with new and unprecedented challenges.” ( ).
Unfortunately, however, there has been some recent service disruption. The Digital Education Office monitors Turnitin service status and will notify our users, via the Digital Education Office blog, of any planned maintenance, or when significant disruption is occurring. You can also view Turnitin’s own service status and opt to subscribe to their status updates at: