Author Archives: longm

Summer 2014 Blackboard Upgrade starting on 5/12 redirect page

5/12/2014 7:31am

Updates

  • 5/12 – 3:36pm – on schedule.

Hello ECU Faculty, Staff and Students – 

You have been redirected to this page because ECU’s Blackboard system is currently down for a minor feature refresh upgrade.  The planned downtime window is from 5/12 – 5/16.  During this downtime anyone who attempts to access https://blackboard.ecu.edu will be re directed to this blog post. That is why you are here.  :-)

During this planned downtime, we will be upgrading the Bb platform and then testing all Bb tools and building blocks to ensure that they are working as expected.

To learn about the new features that you will see after the upgrade is complete  please visit this blog post.

If you have any questions at all regarding the downtime feel free to email longm@ecu.edu .  If you have any general Bb questions or other questions I would encourage you to enter a helpdesk ticket at https://ecu.edu/9866

Summary Information

  • We understand that upgrades are stressful.  We will do our absolute best to have Bb running as quickly as possible once the upgrade is complete.
  • If you would like to discuss the upgrade or ask questions you can do by enrolling in the Yammer Blackboard 9 public group space.  You can ask questions and add comments regarding the upgrade there.
  • Blackboard downtime for this upgrade will start on 5/12 around 8am.  Bb could be down thru 5/16.
  • New Service Pack 9 features are HERE.
  • Questions or concerns about the upgrade?  Email longm@ecu.edu

Bb Support Team

New Lockdown Browser Feature – How Students are Locked out of Exams

A change has been made to how LockDown Browser locks students into an exam. Students were previously locked into an exam until they submitted it for grading. This will now be an optional exam setting for LockDown Browser, with the default set to “off.” The new default setting will require students to submit a reason for exiting the exam early, which can then be viewed by the instructor. Here is how it works.

Go to the LockDown Browser Dashboard (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser) and select “Modify Settings” for the exam.  Take a look at the link listed below for more details and screenshots.  This is a nice little feature addition.

>>>>>> http://www.respondus.com/products/lockdown-browser/studentexit.shtml <<<<<<

 

Blackboard Refresh – New Features in May 2014

March 4, 2014
Hello Everyone –
We are hard at work getting ready for the May 12th 2014 upgrade to Bb SP15. The core features are still going to be in the same place and work the same way so no need to stress. :-) The new features that will be in place are meant to enhance how you use Bb.  We are excited about this upgrade and plan to make this as painless as possible.  Take a look at some of the new features you will see after the May upgrade.

Upgrade downtime: 5/12 – 5/16

New Features

FOR INSTRUCTORS
New Features for May 2014
SP 12 & 13 Help Page

 

(Our upgrade to Service Pack 15 includes feature updates/patches/bug fixes from service packs 10-15; do not let the SP numbers confuse you.)

FOR STUDENTS
SP 10 & 11 Help Page
SP 12 & 13 Help Page

FOR ALL USERS
What’s New in Blackboard Learn? – Short Video and Slides
Blackboard On Demand Learning 

Training Information

We are going to be offering training sessions on the new features. The sessions on the training calendar (“Blackboard New Features”) are March 18th, April 2nd, and April 30th. To sign up for one of these session please to go http://www.ecu.edu/cs-itcs/cornerstone/ .  Then, do the following

  1. Sign into CORNERSTONE
  2. Click on the Learning tab at the top and choose Events Calendar
  3. Find the Bb New Features training by date (dates listed above)
  4. Click on the Request button (Cornerstone lingo for “enroll”)

***Another option is to simply type Blackboard in the search button (top right) and find the appropriate session.***

FAQ’s

  1. What should I do to prep for the May 2014 upgrade ?  Nothing unique.  Set your course up as you normally would. All course content will migrate over during the upgrade process. Once the upgrade is complete, the new features will be available for you to use.
  2. Should I build/develop my site before the upgrade or wait? DON’T WAIT.  Again, build your site in Blackboard like you normally would.
  3. What is the exact date of the May 2014 upgrade/downtime?  May 12th. (Spring semester grades will be submitted by that date.) Bb will be down 2-3 days.
  4. What do I need to do to prepare for the upgrade?  We suggest that you attend a group training, or at the very least review some of our web resources. (See information above about the training dates in Cornerstone.
  5. Will you be offering  a demo or training within my unit on the new SP15 features? Yes. Please coordinate this training through your unit ITC.
  6. Who do I contact if I have any questions about the upgrade? Send a note to either Matt, Cindy, or Allen:  longm@ecu.edu, bowersc@ecu.edu or dennisa@ecu.edu

Bb Course Purge – Spring 2012 sites

Blackboard Course Purge – Spring 2012 Course Sites

Every year we purge old Blackboard courses. We do so to stay within our storage goals and business policy of keeping only two years of Blackboard sites in our production system.  In a few short weeks, we will be purging the following courses (all of them) unless you submit a request to have your courses saved.

>>>>> The purge date is  March 14th, 2014  <<<<<

  • 2012 Spring Course Sites

You have 2 choices for saving your course site.

1 – Request us to save your Bb sites in Blackboard. If you choose this option you will need to list all FULL COURSE ID’s in your request submission. Here is the link to submission site
—>>>   https://ecu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_39FlLJTxKpWM40l

2 – Export or Archive your Bb courses offline.  This is a suggested best practices for all used Blackboard courses at the end of every semester. Make sure you save all exported or archived sites on your ECU Piratedrive.

If you’d like to export or archive your own courses, it is easy.

Export: Only course content
Archive: All course content, student interactions and gradebook data

** As a general best practice we  always suggest that you export and archive all courses at the end of each semester as your personal backup. **

In both an export or an archive you will be saving a .zip offline for your records. Please save these files in a secure location like Piratedrive.

  1. Go to the Control Panel in your Blackboard course, click Properties and Utilities.
  2. Click Archive course.
  3. Include Grade Center History if you want to save student work.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Wait for an email confirming the archive process.
  6. Once you receive the email, go back to Export/Archive Course under the Control Panel. Click to download to a secure location (e.g., Pirate Drive).

Please download the one-page PDF, How to Archive Your Course for further details, including FERPA and HIPAA regulations regarding privacy. Note: The .zip file is only useful once uploaded to the Blackboard environment.

Questions? Contact Matt, Cindy, or Allen

longm@ecu.edu or bowersc@ecu.edu or dennisa@ecu.edu

Blackboard Chat workaround

Chat Problems in Blackboard

Java was recently updated to version 1.7.51.  This update is causing the chat program in Blackboard to break.  The fix is the remove that version of Java and do one of the following things.

1 – Remove the 1.7.51 version of Java and use an older version of Java that is ALREADY installed on your computer.  For some of you this will not be an option.  If this is an option make sure you uninstall the 1.7.51 version and disregard all Java update attempts this semester.   (directions below on how to remove programs on both PC’s and Mac’s)

2 – Remove the 1.7.51 version of Java and install an older version.
(links below for both PC and Mac)

How to unistall a program on a PC –
 http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uninstall-change-program#uninstall-change-program=windows-vista
or…
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uninstall-change-program#uninstall-change-program=windows-7
How to unistall a program on a MAC
http://www.wikihow.com/Uninstall-Programs-on-Mac-Computers

 Java Version 6 – download and install this version after removing the 1.7.51 version of Java from your PC or Mac. You will need to create an Oracle account before the download will be available.
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/java-archive-downloads-javase6-419409.html#jre-6u45-oth-JP

 

Blackboard course purge – 2011 Summer and 2011 Fall courses

Every year we purge old Blackboard courses. We do so to stay within our storage goals and business policy of keeping only two years of Blackboard sites in our production system.  In a few short weeks, we will be purging the following courses (all of them) unless you submit a request to have your courses saved.

>>>>> The purge date is  October 23rd, 2013  <<<<< 

  • 2011 Summer #1 semester 2011 Summer #2 semester
  • 2011 Full Term Summer semester
  • 2011 Fall semester

You have 2 choices for saving your course site.

1 – Request us to save your Bb sites in Blackboard. If you choose this option you will need to list all FULL COURSE ID’s in your request submission. Here is the link to submission site
——->>>  https://ecu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6fDLG6V2h2F9lLD  <<<——–

2 – Export or Archive your Bb courses offline.  This is a suggested best practices for all used Blackboard courses at the end of every semester. Make sure you save all exported or archived sites on your ECU Piratedrive.

If you’d like to export or archive your own courses, it is easy.

Export: Only course content
Archive: All course content, student interactions and gradebook data

In both an export or an archive you will be saving a .zip offline for your records. Please save these files in a secure location like Piratedrive.

  1. Go to the Control Panel in your Blackboard course, click Properties and Utilities.
  2. Click Archive course.
  3. Include Grade Center History if you want to save student work.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Wait for an email confirming the archive process.
  6. Once you receive the email, go back to Export/Archive Course under the Control Panel. Click to download to a secure location (e.g., Pirate Drive).

Please download the one-page PDF, How to Archive Your Course for further details, including FERPA and HIPAA regulations regarding privacy. Note: The .zip file is only useful once uploaded to the Blackboard environment.

Questions? Contact Matt, Cindy, or Allen

9/20 Emergency Downtime: Blackboard

Emergency Downtime: Blackboard

When: Friday, Sept. 20 / 3:00pm

Blackboard will be unavailable beginning at 3:00pm today, Friday Sept 20, while we perform emergency maintenance to address an issue with the system. We expect the downtime to be brief, and will notify campus when service is restored.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank for your patience as we work to resolve the issue.


 

Firefox 23 Mixed Content Blocking

Bulletin/Advisory Information: Mozilla introduced Mixed Content Blocking in the latest version of Firefox (23).  Intended as a security response to “man in the middle” attacks, this feature blocks mixed content by default unless  specifically allowed during each page visit.  This specifically impacts non-https content loaded into a https page.  For more information about this security feature, please visit following Mozilla support article:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-does-content-isnt-secure-affect-my-safety?as=u&utm_source=inproduct

While other browsers like Chrome and Internet Explorer implement Mixed Content Blocking in similar fashions, in most cases they allow the user to add exceptions or permanently allow access to mixed content from a particular page.  Firefox 23 requires this content to be allowed on each page visit without a method to permanently allow content within that page only.

In Bb , content “link” types load within an Bb frame (even when set to open in a new window).  Bb  does this purposely so that when user tracking is enabled, it is possible to run activity reports on which students access those links, as opposed to a straight href external link where Bb cannot track any of that.  Therefore, Bb customers using SSL and linking to non-SSL content will see this manifested most often in blank frames with the “grey shield” icon represented in the browser’s address bar as described in the Mozilla post, although this could impact other application areas as well.

The solution if you are linking to non SSL content from within Bb is to add the link and ask Bb to “open in a new window”.

Course Copy Slowness

Update: Blackboard Course Copy delays
When: Friday, Aug 23rd / 3:30pm

As reported yesterday, the course copy process in Blackboard is still experiencing a long delay between submission and completion.  Our Blackboard administrators are working diligently with the company to resolve this issue, but currently the lag time is approximately 9 hours.

If you have already gone through the content copy process and are still waiting for the content to show up please just check your email inbox.  Blackboard automatically sends an email out once a course copy is complete.

The confirmation email will contain the following message:

  • The following Course Copy process has completed: Source XXXXXXXXXX  | Destination XXXXXXXXXXX
  • The results of the process are shown below.
  • Operation successful.

Blackboard Assessments – Auto Submit Feature

As you all know, Blackboard has an “auto submit” feature available to choose on any Bb assessment/exam.  Any test will save and submit the users work automatically when the time expires – if this feature is enabled.

It has come to our attention through a vendor support ticket that this feature SHOULD NOT be used in conjunction with the “force completion” exam option.  You should use one or the other but not both.  In some cases, using these tools together causes exams to not submit normally to the gradebook.  Secondly, it’s normal that the Auto Submit timer vs the actual exam window be a little different.  Bb has stated that a 5 minute buffer is added to this tool.

For example, if an exam is available from 1pm – 2pm in the gradebook you may see Auto Submits as late at 2:05pm.

If you have any questions please let us know.

Matt Long / longm@ecu.edu
Cindy Bowers / bowersc@ecu.edu
Allen Dennis / dennisa@ecu.edu