Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

Blackboard Upgrade

Save the Date for a Blackboard Upgrade!

LMS, EdTechRobyn Reese

Academic Technology will be performing a required upgrade to our Blackboard Learning Management System on August 25, 2018 beginning at 8:00 p.m. We expect to have a system outage for approximately 12 hours, and anticipate a complete restoration of all services at 8:00 a.m. on August 26, 2018. 

While we do not expect this system upgrade to result in a loss of courses or materials, we recommend that faculty export any courses that they are working on developing, as well as any course from past terms that they would like to save. Exported courses can be saved on a professor's own computer, external hard drive, or cloud storage service so that they are accessible at any time. This is a good routine practice to complete at the end of each year or term. 

While this upgrade is required to ensure that we continue to receive product support from Blackboard, we are excited about the new features that it will provide for our faculty, staff, and students, as detailed in the chart below. 


An instructor or grader can create personalized feedback recordings for tests, assignments, discussion board postings, and blogs. Each recording can be up to 5 minutes long and can include both video and audio.

Creating Recorded Feedback

 

When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments. Content can also be moved directly from a cloud storage location. Cloud storage that is supported includes OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Google Drive including G suite accounts, Dropbox, and Box.

Drag and Drop Files & Cloud Storage Integration

 

Instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. Students can receive emailed submission receipts, and can also access them from the "My Grades" page.

Assignment Submission Receipts

 

 

 Instructors will now be able to: View full titles of Grade Center columns (making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled items), view as many columns as the size of their window will allow (this is a BIG improvement for Apple users), and enter into Grade Center full-screen mode to make the most of their desktop experience. Instructors will be also able to delete multiple columns from the grade center at once. 

The grade center also now should display all grades and averages with five decimal places. According to documentation provided by Blackboard, this is somewhat of a buggy feature at this time, however, and is unpopular with users (especially since it is a default that cannot be changed or overridden), so it is our hope that it will be patched and changed soon. 

Grade Center Improvements


We will continue to provide updates and reminders as the upgrade date approaches. If you have any questions regarding this update, please email EdTech@fscj.edu.

Blackboard Upgrade in the Works!

News, EdTechBrandi Bleak
blackboard logo

FSCJ is planning to upgrade Blackboard on May 10, 2017, with outages certain on May 10, and possible throughout the day on May 11. 

Why Upgrade?

Blackboard releases version updates twice a year, in order to introduce new features and address bugs that are problematic in old ones. Currently, we are a bit behind in adoption of Blackboard versions, and will be making a larger leap from Version 9.1 CU 5 2014 to Version 9.1 Q2 2016.

What to do to Prepare for the Upgrade

There is very little that needs to be done by instructors or students to insure that the upgrade is successful; the Academic Technology Department will work with Blackboard to complete the transition as seamlessly as possible. 

We are asking, however, that professors export any summer courses that you are working on now and store them locally for backup purposes. For more information on how to do this, visit the FSCJ Knowledge Base. 

What to Expect after the Upgrade

Though the Blackboard interface will not change substantially as a result of this upgrade, and most things will look and function the same, users will notice some small changes, detailed below. 

Announcements

When creating an announcement, "Not Date Restricted" is now selected by default.

Email

This release fixes an issue with email sent from Blackboard. Some email clients do not use the reply-to header of emails sent by BbLearn to populate the "To:" field when the user replies to an email. As a result, some students were confused when they received email from do-not-reply@<bblearn_domain> instead of their instructor's email address. This update will fix that problem.

Discussions

Users can navigate from thread to thread without having to return to the main Discussions page.

Browser & HTML5 support

Learn 9.1 now supports the Microsoft Edge browser. The Content Editor now supports HTML5 Audio and Video playback in Chrome and Edge browsers.

VALUE rubrics

As part of the Association of American Colleges & Universities' (AAC&U’s) Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, the VALUE rubrics contribute to the national dialogue on assessment of college student learning. Educational professionals from over 100 higher education institutions collaboratively developed 16 VALUE rubrics to use the most frequently identified characteristics for measuring success in key learning outcomes.

For users who are interested in using these rubrics, Blackboard has made them available for download and import. Each rubric has been built and formatted appropriately so it can be imported to your courses and used anywhere you can align and evaluate with rubrics today. The downloadable rubrics are available in US English only because this is how they were authored by AAC&U.