Scheduled Maintenance – Blackboard Collaborate Ultra October 14, 2021

Blackboard have advised us that there will be scheduled Blackboard Collaborate maintenance taking place on Thursday, October 14th, between midnight and 4 am. During this time, users will experience intermittent availability. The purpose of the maintenance is to update Collaborate to version v21.18. You can read about improvements to functionality and features on the Collaborate Release Notes page.

During the maintenance, you can check Blackboard’s service status page.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

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

Duplicate groups appearing in Qwickly Attendance by Course Groups

An issue has caused activity groups from last year to appear alongside this year’s groups in Blackboard courses. If you have set up Qwickly by Course Groups, in many cases the result is duplicate activity groups appearing in the Qwickly Attendance tool. You may therefore find two instances with the same name, one containing students and one empty.

If you are taking attendance by group in the Qwickly Attendance tool, you may need to click on both instances of a group to find the one that contains students – if a group contains students, they will be listed on the page as soon as you select the group.

To resolve this issue, we are working on removing timetabling groups that do not contain any students.

There are two options you can take in Blackboard to manage this issue while we are working on a fix.

  • Option 1 – rename empty groups to start with {S}Z rather than just {S}. This should move them down the group selection list in Qwickly, making it easier to find and use this year’s groups to take attendance. However, this may mean your groups page is still slow to load (link to how to rename groups).
  • Option 2 – delete the empty groups. Please note that this carries risks, for example if a group with students is deleted in error it may not be possible to retrieve information already entered for that group.

The DEO will blog again when we have more information on an institutional fix. Please be assured that this does not impact the use of Qwickly to take attendance from the start of term.

How to rename or delete empty groups

As mentioned above, to manage this issue while we are working on a fix you can rename or delete the empty groups. To do this:

  1. Go to your Blackboard course and navigate to Users and Groups > Groups
  2. Step through the pages by clicking the arrows under Group Settings until you can see the S+ groups (these start with the {S} symbol)
    Screenshot showing the navigation arrows beneath Group Settings
  3. Find the duplicate (empty) group, as in this example
    Two groups are listed with the same name, the second is highlighted as it has 0 students

Option 1 – rename the empty group

  • Click on the down-arrow next to the group name with 0 students and click on Edit
  • Change the name by adding Z to the name starting with {S} (for example, {S}ZPSYC…) and click on Submit

Option 2 – delete the empty group

  • Click on the down-arrow next to the group name with 0 students and click on Delete
  • You will be prompted with ‘This action is final and cannot be undone. Would you like to continue?’ Click on OK

H5P is now available to staff – create quizzes and learning materials

H5P is now available to all staff through Blackboard. H5P uses attractive templates to create quizzes, interactive learning resources and presentations. H5P content can be embedded into Blackboard or added as a standalone link to pass marks into the Grade Centre.

H5P provides examples and tutorials for its various templates, you can read more in our guide to creating and embedding H5P resources.

Take a look at our H5P page for an overview of the tool. If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Issue affecting some videos in Blackboard

We have been made aware of an issue whereby some videos embedded in Blackboard will not play. This issue only affects a particular type of video – those embedded directly into Blackboard using an older, deprecated method – and doesn’t affect videos that are hosted in Re/Play. We are updating the broken videos we know of with a working link, and are also working with Blackboard on addressing the root cause of the issue.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

Blackboard deep link generators – old links may need updating

Our Deep Link Generator and External User Deep Link Generator allow you to create direct links to Blackboard Course and Organisation pages, which will send people to the correct page even if they are not already logged in to Blackboard. These are primarily used for emailing links to specific pages in Blackboard to students and staff. 

We have had to update these tools, following a recent change to the authentication method used by the University.  Please note that you may need to refresh your browser cache to see the updated version of the tool. 

Any links created prior to the August 3rd using these tools will need to be updated. You can do this by recreating the links using the updated tools: Deep Link Generator, External User Deep Link Generator 

If you are not sure whether a link needs updating, you can test it by clicking on the link (broken links will always result in an error). If you don’t have the original link, you can find it by following the simple steps in this video:  

Text Version of Guide

If you have a large number of links that need updating, or have any questions, please contact us via digital-education@bristol.ac.uk