Blackboard planned maintenance – service at risk 10 pm Sunday 14 October to 9 am Monday 15 October

We can now confirm that, as previously announced, Blackboard will be unavailable during the period between 10 pm on Sunday 14 October and 9 am on Monday 15 October. This downtime is to allow us to perform an update that will, among other things, make it possible for students to download annotated copies of their marked assignments. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Blackboard planned maintenance – service at risk 9 pm Sunday 14 October to 9 am Monday 15 October

We are planning a minor update to Blackboard between 9 pm on Sunday 14 October and 9 am on Monday 15 October. We will confirm the maintenance following further testing of the update. If we can proceed with the work, there will be unavailability over this period and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. This update will, amongst other things, make it possible for students to download annotated copies of their marked assignments from Box View.

Windows update to Lecture theatres / Teaching and Study Space PCs

We have had the following communication from IT services that is of note to all those intending to use the PCs in lecture theatres this coming week, particularly if you are going to be using files from your shared drive for the lecture.  If you have any questions about this upgrade please contact IT services.

We would like you to be aware that the majority of the Lecture Theatres and Teaching and Study Space PCs have now been updated to Windows 10.

In order to simplify the structure of our network storage, which provides various benefits to the organisation, we no longer connect people to specific filestore folders (network/mapped drives).

We STRONGLY advise anyone who uses a machine of this type to check prior to use that they can access any files they need.

Various methods can be used to access files :

•             OneDrive is easily available on all Windows 10 machines

•             Network folders are available in File Explorer under : This PC / UoB network folders (you will have to navigate from here to your own area)

A USB stick can be used as a fall back, however the methods above are preferred as they are more secure.

More information about finding your files can be found at:

Make Blackboard courses available to students

As an Instructor, if under “My Courses” on your Blackboard home page  you see “not currently available” or “unavailable” after the course name, this means the course is unavailable to students. Instructors can still access and edit the course.

There are two ways to make your courses available to students

  • You can use the Quick Tools on your Blackboard Home page. Click Course Availability and turn the On/Off button next to the course to the required state.


  • Click on the course
  • Under Control Panel, click on Customisation
  • Click on Properties
  • In section 3, Set availability, select Yes
  • Click Submit

If you have any problems or queries please contact

Re/Play updates – New static cameras

As part of the continuing Re/Play extension project we are pleased to announce we have extended the coverage of cameras in rooms where a chalk or white board are used as an integral part of the Lecture.

There are now 23 rooms across the institution a full list can be located here

What is recorded?

At the current time these cameras have been installed with a static capture area and this is indicated by the Re/Play Record Area stickers in the room (see above). In larger rooms this will not be every board.

How do I request to use the camera?

 As per the Recording Educational Uses policy we do not film lectures without express permission. These cameras will not be switched on unless you request for filming to take place. If you wish to opt in please email a request to the and ask for the camera template to be used on your unit code. Please note that if this is for a jointly taught unit then it will stay in place for the duration of the teaching.

Blackboard Ally

We are delighted to announce that Blackboard Ally will be available from Monday 24th September. Ally is a new tool which improves the accessibility of content uploaded to Blackboard for all users, including those with disabilities.

This video shows how Ally works to improve the student experience, save staff time and give the University an insight into how it meets its legal requirements for accessibility.

Ally automatically converts uploaded content into a variety of accessible alternative formats, such as audio, tagged PDF and ebook. Staff will see a small colour-coded meter icon next to uploaded content; clicking this icon will provide guidance on how to improve accessibility and provide quick ways to amend the uploaded content.

Accessibility score icons

Students do not see the accessibility score icons and will only ever see links to the automatically-created alternative formats.

Having accessible content benefits all students by providing formats that meet their needs. Additionally, new legislation coming into force requires all public sector websites, intranet pages and downloadable content to have accessible alternatives after 23rd September 2018. VLEs like Blackboard are included in this legislation, so we’re pleased to provide a tool to ensure Blackboard complies with this while taking pressure off University staff to meet requirements.

Our Blackboard Ally page contains links to guides and videos. If you have any comments or further questions, please contact us via


Problems uploading files to Blackboard using Safari browser

We have had reports of the error message:  “Failed to save Content item. Please try again” appearing when attempting to upload files to Blackboard using the latest Safari browser.  It is possible to upload files using the Chrome browser however, please see here for instructions on how to install this browser on a mac.

We are working with our suppliers to remedy this error and hope to have a fix applied soon. We will update this blog with any further information and apologise for any inconvenience caused.