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Blackboard unavailable from 5pm on Thursday 27 July for annual upgrade

19 Jul 2017

Blackboard, Turnitin and Grademark will be unavailable from 5pm on Thursday 27 July to 9am on Sunday 30 July for an upgrade

Who is affected?

All staff and students.

What is happening?

As previously communicated throughout the last academic year in StaffNet, eUpdate, and via local faculty routes, the annual upgrade to our VLE (Blackboard) will be taking place in July. The upgrade will improve current functionality, incorporate enhancements, 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 27 July (5pm BST) until Sunday 30 July (9am BST). Blackboard (including Turnitin and Grademark) should also be considered to be at risk until 9am BST on Monday 31 July. Updated information will be provided on the Blackboard front page when work has completed.

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 last year to change the timing for this year and future years in order to maximise the availability of the system to students. The downtime period is also shorter than in previous years. Your co-operation and efforts to accommodate this work are appreciated.

What does this mean for you?

You will not have access to Blackboard, Turnitin or Grademark from 5pm BST Thursday 27 July until 9am BST on Sunday 30 July. Blackboard will be available for teaching from Monday 31 July 2017. 

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 are 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.


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. 

Further information

Please contact your eLearning team for more information or support: