Xerte Upgrade Thursday 10th March

Following advice from the Xerte Development Team, IT Services will be upgrading Xerte to version 3.10.5 between 7pm and 9pm on Thursday 10th March. During this time Xerte and resources hosted on the service will be unavailable, e.g. some learning resources will not be accessible on Blackboard.

This upgrade contains important and essential security updates. We apologise for the late notice and timing; however, the upgrade is essential to ensure Xerte remains a safe and secure tool for staff and students.

Questionmark scheduled maintenance Saturday 19 March 2022 09:00- 15:00

Dear colleagues,

Questionmark Scheduled Maintenance: Saturday 19 March 2022 –  09:00-15:00

The purpose of the maintenance is to deploy system updates to ensure the ongoing reliability, security and up time of the platform.

During this time all users may experience service disruptions. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If you have any questions, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk

[Resolved] No access to Re/Play materials added via the “Build Content” menu option

We are pleased to announce that the issue preventing Re/Play materials being uploaded to Blackboard using “Build Content” has been resolved. This means that all Re/Play material impacted by the incident on Monday 7 February is now accessible to students.

Please accept our apologies for any difficulty this issue has caused you.

If you encounter any further issues, please contact the IT Service Desk or email the Digital Education Office.

[Update] Re/Play Service Status Update February 2022

This post summarises the current status of the Re/Play service giving details of what is working, what has been fixed and any open issues.

Open issues are listed below and provide details of any workarounds that can be used and when a fix will be applied.

Background on this week’s incident and current status

A problem with access to Re/Play recordings was identified around midday on Monday 7 February. The issue involved students losing access to Re/Play materials accessed via the left-hand menu in Blackboard. This was resolved on the morning of Tuesday 8 February and has been working without incident since that time.

Please note the following features of Re/Play are currently working normally and being used intensively:

  • lecture capture and automated recordings of teaching
  • creation and upload of new materials
  • streaming of live lectures
  • student access to video content through channels, the Re/Play course menu item and via URL links to content.

Outstanding issue: Now Resolved – see the update on 11 February

  • No access to Re/Play materials added via the “Build Content” menu option

Since 10.30 am on Tuesday 8th February materials uploaded to Blackboard using “Build Content” have not been usable. There are five common ways materials from Re/Play are added into Blackboard. ‘Build Content’ is one of the less frequently used methods.

*Update*: work to resolve this problem was completed on Friday 11 February.

Workaround: DEO has posted instructions on how to make materials available to students who need them urgently.

Other issues currently identified

  • Staff access to some TB1 2021 materials removed

From Monday 31st January staff may have been unable to access some TB1 21/22 materials housed in Re/Play. No content has been lost or deleted and student access is unaffected.

Work to resolve this problem is planned for the week commencing 14 February 2022.

Workaround: DEO can restore access to materials if they are needed urgently.

  • Links to materials copied from old courses not working

There have been a small number of reports of issues when re-using content from previous years courses.

Work to resolve this issue is substantially complete. A final review and institutional fix will be applied in week commencing 21 February 2022. We will also update guidance for staff on how to re-use materials.

Workaround: Simple instructions can been used by DEO and school staff to resolve this issue.

  • Student access to materials embedded using iframes – resolved

In the summer of 2021, there was a change to the way University systems authenticate users online. Following this change, videos embedded in Blackboard using an iframe need to be set to ‘Everyone can view’ in the Mediasite permissions in order to play.

Resolution: this was resolved in archived courses and for existing materials in 2021/22 Blackboard courses by DEO and IT Services work over the summer to replace embedded content.

For content added this year, updating permissions is a simple step which can be done by school staff. DEO have now resolved the issue for all new 21/22 content in Blackboard and will be running weekly reports to check that permission settings have not been changed.

Current situation and support

Despite the issues listed above, our use of Re/Play continues to be very strong; for example, between 20 September and 22 November 2021, almost 253,000 hours of materials were watched by our students. This data underlines the potential impact of issues and the criticality of the Re/Play service, and we sincerely apologise for any stress and disruption to colleagues and our students.

As you might expect, the DEO Helpdesk is very busy at the moment. To ensure we maintain good response times, the number of staff responding to inquiries to digital-education@bristol.ac.uk has been significantly increased while we work through the backlog of inquiries.

[Update] Access to RePlay from Blackboard Menu

This post is a further update to the issue first identified on 07 February, where the Re/Play link in the Blackboard left-hand menu was displaying an error message, and students could not access materials.

As reported earlier today, all students should now be able to access Re/Play materials shared via left-hand menu links in Blackboard. Automated recordings of teaching have not been affected by the technical bug and will still be available after 48 hours or when published by the academic staff member.

However, we are still applying fixes to some pre-existing problems with Re/Play which might affect the ability of some students to view some videos in Blackboard.

We have Blackboard and Sonic Foundry engineers working to resolve these issues and plan to apply another fix tomorrow. If your students are being affected and you urgently need them to be able to access a recording, please email digital-education@bristol.ac.uk so that we can assist.