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Blackboard annual upgrade this August

15 Jul 2020

Blackboard will be unavailable from Tuesday 4 August (17:00 BST) to Monday 10 August (09:00 BST) due to a planned annual upgrade.

Blackboard and chalk image

The annual upgrade of Blackboard is confirmed to take place this August.

Access to Blackboard and its in-built tools, including Turnitin and Grademark, will be unavailable for all staff and students while the upgrade takes place.

The upgrade window is slightly longer than in previous years because we are also moving our managed hosted instance of Blackboard to a new cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) hosting environment. This provides many benefits including the ability for future updates to be applied without any interruption of service (downtime) – a welcome benefit for all.

The essential upgrade will improve current functionality, incorporating security enhancements, performance improvements and bug fixes.

A great deal of work has already taken place to get ready for the upgrade and to minimise the impact on any online exams or resits. Whereas there is never a ‘good’ time to schedule planned maintenance that spans a number of days, collectively with the University’s Teaching and Learning Group executive we have agreed on the dates as being the ‘least worse’ option for all concerned.

Blackboard WebDAV users

A small number of colleagues use the WebDAV method to directly access the Blackboard file store. Following the upgrade this will no longer be possible as the LDAP-Duo proxy is being removed. This was agreed by the Online Learning Strategy Group (OLSG) in January.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work to deliver this essential upgrade – we all look forward to the performance benefits that the cloud-based hosting environment will bring.

If you have any questions, please contact your eLearning team.