Blackboard course rollover 2020 complete

The annual “rollover” of Blackboard courses into their 2020 versions is now complete, and staff can access the courses. As always, staff are not automatically added to courses for units that are new this year – please contact your school office to be added to a new course.

This year, many schools have adopted a new Blackboard course template, in preparation for blended teaching and learning in 2020-21. Guidance on how to make use of these templates can be found in the Blackboard courses themselves – there is a “Help for staff” area in each course created from a template. If you have any questions about the adoption of these templates, please consult your school in the first instance.

Blackboard upgrade 2020, 5 pm today (5 August)

This is a final reminder that the Digital Education Office will be upgrading Blackboard from 5 pm today, Wednesday 5th August 2020. Blackboard will be unavailable until midday on Thursday 6th August.

This update is part of essential service maintenance. The core Blackboard functionality and interface will remain the same, but the upgrade will allow us to explore integration with Microsoft Office 365.

New marking tool in Blackboard from 10th August

Bb Annotate is a new tool in Blackboard for feedback annotations. It will replace the current tool, Box View, from 10th August 2020, and has a much wider range of functionality. The change to Bb Annotate will not require downtime, and it will work immediately for new submissions. Previously submitted assignments and feedback will be converted in the background, or when first accessed after the switch. This change does not affect Turnitin assignments.  For more information see Bb Annotate – new Blackboard inline marking tool.

Questionmark scheduled maintenance: Saturday 15th August

Questionmark have advised us that there will be scheduled maintenance taking place on Saturday 15th August from 08:00 – 20:00 BST. 

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. 

Some Blackboard submission points not currently available to students

Last week, the data in Syllabus+ was changed from the 19-20 to the 20-21 academic year, ahead of the August 1 rollover. Consequently, the student groups automatically created in Blackboard courses from this data were also updated. This means that any submission points that were controlled by adaptive release for these groups will no longer be available to the 19-20 students. We are working on resetting these groups. In the meantime, to make the marks and feedback in any affected submission points available to students in Blackboard, please make the relevant column in the Grade Centre available to students, and provide them with a link to “My Grades” in the Blackboard course.

Please accept our apologies for this unexpected issue.

UPDATE: This issue has been fixed. The 19-20 groups in Blackboard have now been reset with the correct student enrolments.

Blackboard 2020 courses delayed, new templates available

The annual Blackboard course rollover is being delayed in order to allow as many schools as possible to take advantage of the new standard Blackboard templates. Therefore, your 2020 courses may not be available to you until the week beginning August 10th. For schools that have adopted the templates, their 2020 courses are already being made available. If you have any queries, please contact

Blended teaching and learning tools requirements gathering

The Digital Education Office is leading work to document learning and teaching activities which are not easy to do, or do well, with our current digital tools. If you have a suggestion for a new tool please let us know by adding it to the software request form. On the DEO website, the form is housed in a web page which highlights tools which are in the process of being purchased. We will also update this page with tools which have received a high number of requests (in case you want to keep abreast of what might be available or upvote something).

If you have already submitted a request to the DEO, BILT or IT Services we will add it into the requirements gathering for you.

This is part of a co-ordinated effort by IT Services and the DEO to collate requirements for software and hardware that will be needed to support teaching next year. There is also a separate form to request access to specialist teaching software – all forms are available from the blended learning Sharepoint site.