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Blackboard unavailable Thursday 19 July to Sunday 22 July

09 Jul 2018

Blackboard will be unavailable from 8pm on Thursday 19 July to 9am on Sunday 22 July for its annual upgrade

Who is affected?

All staff and students.

What is happening?

The annual upgrade to our VLE (Blackboard) will be taking place in July. The upgrade will improve current functionality, and incorporate performance improvements and bug fixes.

In order for this work to be undertaken, Blackboard (including Turnitin and Grademark) will be unavailable to staff and students from Thursday 19 July (20:00 BST) until Sunday 22 July (09:00 BST). Blackboard (including Turnitin and Grademark) should also be considered to be at risk until 09:00 BST on Monday 23 July. Updated information will be provided on the Knowledge Base, after the downtime.

As part of this year’s upgrade, we are introducing 2-factor authentication to the Blackboard login process for anyone who has a teaching or administrative role in Blackboard (around 9,300 people – mostly staff, but some postgrads and a small number of undergrads too). If you are affected you will be sent an email from IT Services (planned for Thursday 12 July) with information about what you need to do. 

Why is it happening now?

The functionality and reliability of our VLE is a high priority for the University. In response to feedback from staff and students about the scheduled downtime for Blackboard upgrades, the Online Learning Strategy Group (OLSG) agreed to this timing in order to maximise the availability of the system to students. Your co-operation and efforts to accommodate this work are appreciated.

What does this mean for you?

You will not have access to Blackboard (including Turnitin and Grademark) from Thursday 19 July (20:00 BST) until Sunday 22 July (09:00 BST). Blackboard will be available for teaching from Monday 23 July 2018.

What do staff need to do?

Please remind your students of the downtime and ensure that any online activities you are asking students to do take into account this downtime. Please adjust any deadlines as appropriate.

We will be giving students the following advice: Plan your work to take into account the downtime and ensure you download any materials you will need during the period Blackboard is unavailable.

Follow-up

We will let you know about the status of the upgrade, and any new support documents developed to help you get the most out of the new features, via eUpdate and StaffNet.

Updates to existing documentation and documentation about new features, which you might wish to incorporate in your teaching for next year, will be available as soon as possible after the upgrade.

Contact for further information

Please contact your eLearning team: