Blackboard update

The Blackboard service disruption on May 24 had a major impact on many staff and students at the university. This post outlines some of the ongoing activity in response to that incident.

Blackboard has a range of ways to continuously monitor our system. Since the incident, they have been providing us with twice-daily performance updates. These have shown that our Blackboard system has been performing extremely well, with very high responsiveness and no notable issues. This matches with our ongoing monitoring, and indicates that the additional capacity we added to our Blackboard system before the assessment period began has been effective. An investigation by Blackboard has identified the root cause of the incident as a flaw in the underlying database, which has been reported to the database supplier, Oracle. Blackboard and the Digital Education Office have put measures in place to ensure that the issue cannot recur, and Blackboard’s monitoring reports have shown that these have been successful.

All scheduled exams since last Monday morning have run successfully. The DEO is collating data on exam activity daily to check that exams are being completed and is working closely with IT Services and the Exams Office to provide timely and consistent support to students.

Once again, please accept our apologies for the distress that this incident caused.

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]

Issue bulk downloading assignments affecting some staff (including for file upload exams)

A small number of staff have reported an issue downloading Blackboard assignments using the bulk-download tool in Course Tools > Download Assignments.  Having selected the relevant assignment and students, when clicking ‘Submit’ the expected zip file download does not appear. Blackboard have been informed and are investigating as a matter of urgency. 

What to do if you experience this

Clearing Blackboard cookies has been shown to resolve this issue.  Please follow the instructions below to clear cookies, then try downloading again. If you continue to experience problems, please contact digital-education@bristol.ac.uk.

Chrome 

  1. On your computer, open Chrome. 
  2. At the top right, click the three dots and then Settings. 
  3. Under ‘Privacy and security’, click Cookies and other site data. 
  4. Click See all cookies and site data. 
  5. At the top right, search for ole. 
  6. To the right of ‘www.ole.bris.ac.uk’, click the bin icon. 
  7. Close all instances of Chrome and Edge. 
  8. Reopen Chrome, log in to Blackboard and try the download again. 

 Edge 

  1. On your computer, open Edge. 
  2. At the top right, click the three dots and then Settings. 
  3. Under ‘Cookies and Site Permissions’, click  Manage and delete cookies and site data. 
  4. Click  See all cookies and site data. 
  5. At the top right, search for ole. 
  6. Click the down-arrow next to ‘bris.ac.uk’. 
  7. To the right of ‘www.ole.bris.ac.uk’, click the bin icon. 
  8. Close all instances of Edge and Chrome. 
  9. Reopen Edge, log in to Blackboard and try the download again. 

Apologies for any disruption caused. We will provide updates on this blog as soon as we have them.

Re/Play connection issues – 20 May update

We are now experiencing problems with staff accessing the ‘My Re/Play’ tab in Blackboard. We would like to confirm that this has not further affected student playback – students can still view content embedded into Blackboard, but not content added using Blackboard tools.

If you need to share recordings with your students urgently, it is possible to log directly in to Re/Play

If you are not logged directly in to the Re/Play (Mediasite) Service, click on the grey ‘Authenticate’ button. You will be taken to the University’s Single Sign On page where you can log on using your normal UoB credentials. Once you have located the presentation you wish to share, click the ‘title’, then ‘share presentation’ and then the green ‘copy’ button next to ‘quick link’. You can then share this via email or as a direct link in Blackboard.

We are working with Blackboard to fix this issue overnight tonight, and we will be testing to check the fix has worked before 9 am tomorrow.

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.