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Blackboard unavailable from 10 to 13 April

13 Mar 2014

Due to the upgrading of Blackboard 9, the service will be unavailable from Thursday, 10 April at 4pm until Monday, 14 April at 12.01am

Blackboard logo

Who is affected?

All staff and students.

What is happening?

Blackboard 9 upgrade to SP14 will be taking place to fix issues and introduce a number of enhancements. Full details of new features of this upgrade are available from Blackboard. Please note however, pending testing and decisions by the Online Education Strategy Group not all features will be available, e.g. Achievements will not be implemented. Enhancements include improved inline grading for Wikis, Blogs, Assignments, Journals and Discussions; significant increased functionality to manage large groups; and automatic adjustment to adaptive release/due dates when copy a course

In order for this work to be undertaken Blackboard (including Turnitin and Grademark) will be unavailable to staff and students for approximately three days from Thursday 10 April (4pm) until Monday 14 April (12.01am). All times BST.

More information will be provided about these new features and articles will be available on the Knowledge Base, after the downtime.

Why is it happening now?

It is difficult to identify a time for such significant upgrades, with the consequent downtime, that is convenient for the whole institution. The Easter vacation period is one of the dedicated maintenance windows identified for work on the University's eLearning applications. 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 4pm on Thursday 10 April 2014 until 12.01am on Monday 14 April 2014. Blackboard will be available for teaching on Monday 14 April 2014.

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 and deadlines as appropriate.

We have given 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.

Create a calendar entry for the Blackboard downtime if prompted to Open or Save, choose Open

OR click  Save, save in My Documents, locate the file and double click it

  1. Make sure Microsoft Office is selected
  2. Click OK
  3. The event will open as a calendar item
  4. Click Save and Close

The event will be added to your Calendar. You may also want to set a reminder at 2 weeks to give you time to remind all your student groups.


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 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.

We are also organising an event to showcase some of these new features, and will be in touch to confirm the date.

Further information:

Please contact your eLearning team at: