Update for students re the Blackboard technical issues impacting exams

Shortly before 10 am this morning Blackboard had a technical problem. While some students could access Blackboard, for many it was either slow or unavailable for up to 45 minutes. We apologise for the inconvenience and upset caused by this and would like to reassure all students that no student will be disadvantaged by this morning’s events.

This morning’s issue has been resolved. You should expect all your remaining assessments to run to their scheduled dates and times

Tansy Jessop

PVC Education

[This message has also been emailed to UG and PGT, added to MyBristol Portal, internal comms screens and social media]

Re/Play connection issues – how to make video materials available to students

Due to technical problems, some Re/Play presentations that were added to Blackboard courses using Blackboard’s  “Link to Presentations” tool cannot currently be viewed by students.

If you need to give students access to materials which have become unavailable, you can share Quick Links (URLs) for important presentations. To get a Quick Link, follow the embedding guidance through to step 6, then copy the Quick Link. This can be emailed directly to students or added to your course content.

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.

Guidance on recording teaching and hybrid teaching

The DEO have drafted two new guides to support staff planning teaching and timetables in TB2. The first guide is a summary of options for recording online and face-to-face teaching. This guide also includes options which could be used instead of recording (which might be useful for all students on a unit). The second guide summarises some questions and considerations which might be useful for any staff considering hybrid teaching (teaching online and face-to-face students at the same time) to enable self-isolating students to join on-campus sessions. Hybrid teaching can be complex and difficult to do well, and teaching rooms are not currently designed to support it. This guidance considers some of the areas you may need to address before you choose to adopt it.

Important information on email from Blackboard

In the last week an issue was identified where emails sent from University systems – like Blackboard, or MyBristol – may have been wrongly identified as spam and automatically consigned to individual Gmail account spam folders. This could mean that important information may not have reached all of the intended recipients.  The issue has now been resolved but you may wish to check your spam folder, and also advise your students to check theirs. On a more general note, checking spam folders regularly to ensure emails have not been incorrectly identified as spam is recommended.

Access Denied or prompted to re-enter username and password – full fix

If the quick LOGOUT fix to resolve Access Denied or the prompt to re-login has not worked you should clear out your cookies and browser history.

In Firefox: Tools/Options/ Privacy/Clear recent history & remove individual cookies (remove all or just the Blackboard ones.)

In Internet Explorer: Tools/ Delete Browsing History. Ensure you delete History, Cookie and Favorites information (if Blackboard is one of your favorites.)

In Chrome: Options(Spanner Icon top right)/Under the Bonnet/Clear Browsing Data/Change timescale to ‘Beginning of Time’/Click Clear Browsing Data

Figure 1: removing browser history and cookies in Internet Explorer.

With Firefox, Safari and Chrome you should then have no further problems. Internet Explorer may continue to ask for your username and password when you open Microsoft documents, simply click Cancel and the documents will still open.

The TEL Support team in the ESU are investigating whether there is a fix we can apply to resolve this browser issue, however the simple steps outlined above should solve the problem. N.B. as this is an issue with browsers you may need to do it on any PC you use.