Media files in Blackboard and Re/Play

As a consequence of the move to blended learning, a vastly increased number of media (video/audio) files are being made available to students (recordings of seminars and tutorials, demonstrations, etc). These files should all be made available in Re/Play, rather than Blackboard, following the steps laid out in our web guide (which includes instructions for embedding the Re/Play video in Blackboard). This is for a number of reasons, including:

Media files in Re/Play can now be made available for students to download, as well as watch directly, giving students two ways to access recordings in Re/Play.

DEO will be working with course leads to move media content into RePlay over the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please email

Re/Play now enables student download

Staff can now opt to make individual recordings downloadable from Re/Play – see the instructions in our Re/Play FAQs. No content will be downloadable unless the owner of a recording gives permission for their students to download it.

We have set the file size of these downloads to be as small as possible, to support students who have limited bandwidth. This will not impact audio quality, but images may lack some of the very fine detail. For recordings with finely-detailed images, you may need to make associated presentation files or images available to students in addition to the recording.

The Recording Educational Activities Policy sets limits on how long students are allowed to keep such recordings. Students are breaking the policy if they share the recordings with others.

If you have any questions, please email

Blackboard partial service disruption

Blackboard is currently experiencing an unexpected partial service disruption. During this time, you may experience an error when attempting to upload materials to Blackboard. Blackboard is investigating.

We apologise for the disruption and will provide an update when we hear anything further.

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

Re/Play Service Update

During Teaching Block 1, we have seen a huge shift not only in the use of Re/Play – 1,000,000 views of content in October this year, compared to 180,000 last year, which equates to over 18 years of video watched in a 30-day period – but in the way we have created content.

Previously, 95% of our content came from equipped rooms and 5% was uploaded, but that is now switched round. This shift has meant that the DEO has been working with the supplier, Sonic Foundry, to review how our system is set up to absorb and stream content. Based on the feedback we have received, we are making some changes to the service to improve the experience of using it.

  1. We are monitoring playback and, in particular, buffering problems for students, and are looking to improve how the system delivers uploaded content to them.
  2. We have made some small adjustments to the way video is uploaded, so that this will be quicker for staff. These changes will also improve playback for students.
  3. Where students are reporting problems with playback, we are updating the video player to enable staff to give students permission to download content. We are currently testing this to ensure it will work, but are hopeful this will be in place in the next week.

If you have any questions about any element of this service, please email

Digital Insights Surveys launched today

Digital Insights Surveys live from November 16th

The University will be running surveys with staff and students on their digital experience using the Jisc Digital Experience Insights survey.

The three surveys, which will run between November 16th and December 7th 2020, are:

  • A student survey
  • A teaching staff survey
  • A professional services staff survey

The surveys will be managed by Education Services with input from other stakeholders, including IT Services.

The Digital Experience Insights survey allows us to collect and analyse data about the digital environment and how digital technologies are used in learning, teaching and support activity.

The surveys capture user expectations and experiences of technology, based on concise question sets which have been intensively trialled within higher education. The surveys will allow us to gather data on the digital experience of staff and students and benchmark our provision with other HEIs. The information generated will inform our decision-making and resource allocation, and demonstrate where we have made improvements.

Please encourage your colleagues and students to complete the survey. As a direct result of last year’s student survey, we have:

  • Improved the consistency of Blackboard courses through new templates and core standards
  • Developed a new range of direct support for students (including the new digital induction, guides and contextual help)
  • Recruited 12 Student Digital Champions to inform the development of the digital environment and improve our support for students
  • Introduced new tools to support teaching and learning

More information and project updates will be posted on the DEO website.

Digitally Ready course: an update

After the course ran successfully during the digital induction week, the DEO is updating ‘Digitally Ready’ with new content in November and January.  In this update, we tell you a bit more about what students thought of the course so far and what’s coming up.

‘Digitally Ready’ is available under your list of ‘My Organisations’ on Blackboard. If you can’t access the course, follow this link where you can self-enrol onto Digitally Ready.