Blackboard database backup – 17th/18th/19th January

Following the move of Blackboard to the new SAN hardware, IT Services need to make an additional backup of the underlying database. This process can take up to 10 hours, during which time the responsiveness of Blackboard is significantly reduced.

Significant work has already been undertaken, and will be restarted at 21:00 tonight (Friday 17th). If the additional backup only requires a short time to finish it will be left to complete tonight. If the process could take up to 10 hours to complete it will be rescheduled, and start on Saturday 18th at 21:00.

While the additional backup is being made Blackboard users will notice performance degradation. If the backup process is still running at 07:30 on Sunday morning, Blackboard service will be withdrawn while it completes. This will make the backup quicker and will ensure that it finishes as soon as is possible on Sunday. As soon as the backup has finished, Blackboard will be brought back online.

If you or your students need access to Blackboard on Sunday morning please let us know by emailing

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this necessary maintenance causes you.

Drag and drop upload of files to content system – not working due to java version

Dear All

Recently Java released a new version for all webbrowsers, it has some security updates and one of these prevents people from uploading multiple files to blackboard content system.

Everything works fine while you open the upload and drag the files over.  However when you click the submit button nothing happens.  Blackboard corp have designed an update to resolve this problem – we will apply this update as soon as practical.

There are however ways that you can get around the problem now

  1. using single file upload (look in the top right when you are uploading and you can toggle from multiple to single file)
  2. Reduce the security level of your java (and then next week return it to its normal setting)

If you wish to reduce your java security level, click start, all programs, java, configure java.  A box should appear called “Java Control Panel”, click the security tab and set the security level down to medium.  Obviously this leaves your computer less secure and so you should return the setting to high when you have finished working with Blackboard.

Update – our Chrome browsers are set to auto update  the workaround using the lowering of security setting might not work with Chrome version that was released Friday afternoon, however if you use IE it will work fine


Joseph Gliddon – Learning Technologist

Mobile Authentication improvements

Dear Students and Staff

We are happy to announce the following improvements to the Blackboard mobile app:

  1. You will now login to Blackboard using the Blackboard Mobile app, which means the login boxes will be the proper size (no more zooming in on your phone, just type in your username and password)

  2. The app can remember your login (removing the need to login on your phone over and over again).  One small caveat, if you are using a mobile device that you share with others (ie a tablet) you should disable this – click Settings, Privacy, Remember password

  3. Push notifications which alert you when … will work more effectively.  When you get a mobile notification and click on it – you will be taken to the app, and directed to the part of Blackboard that generated the notification (until now clicking on a notification took you to the main menu of Blackboard.)

If you are able to edit Blackboard courses or organisations you will now be able to add announcements and items to your course using your mobile.

Announcements – Simply click “Add”, give it a subject and description, then click “Post” to submit it to the course.

Items – exactly the same as Announcements but you can also click attach to add files (you have lots of options of where to get things to attach – your phone, dropbox, google drive etc.  It copes with most files and will convert unusual things (Google docs etc) into a pdf.


eReserves now available to all Faculties

Dear All

We are pleased to announce that eReserves are now available to all Faculties within the University.  More details can be found on the library pages

To request an eReserve you need to log into Blackboard and click on the eReserves tab at the top of the page.

Academics in the Faculties that have just been added will receive an email outlining the service from the library.


Course Rollover and Adaptive Release

Regrettably the course copy process for the summer rollover did not copy the adaptive release rules for materials in Units.  There are about 200 Units affected we have now reapplied the rules for them.  This only applies to SITS Units.

One thing to be aware of, a lot of the adaptive release was simply to be visible after a particular date – as all of these dates were last year the items were visible so we have not re-applied these rules.

Adaptive Release is a useful function in that it allows things to be visible to students if they meet the requirements (normally getting a particular score in a test or being part of a group).