This weekend Blackboard will be upgraded to the latest version. A number of exciting new features will be available along with an updated interface. Initial load testing suggests our new Blackboard installation will be the fastest yet. This page summarises what staff and students at the University of Southampton need to know.
Do you have the right web browser?
The biggest change to Blackboard will be that Internet Explorer 8 is no longer supported.
As previously notified, Staff who use University Desktop Environment (UDE) Windows computers will need to install Firefox or Chrome if they have not done so already whilst they await iSolutions rolling out a newer version of Internet Explorer this summer. IE11 has already been rolled out to iSolutions staff machines for testing prior to rolling out to the wider University community.
A full list of compatible web browsers is at the bottom of this page.
When you first login after the upgrade
Following the successful upgrade Blackboard will tell you about the most important new feature to get to know. This is called the Global Navigation menu. Blackboard will point out where this can be found.
Blackboard’s “Global Navigation” is an area that is always shown at the top right corner wherever you are in Blackboard. Beside your name a number appears telling you how many notifications there are for you to view regarding news about and changes to your Blackboard courses. You can read more about it in our blog post:
First look: Blackboard’s Global Navigation
Blackboard user interface has been updated to reduce clutter. Rather than seeing icons all the time, you see them when you hover over items you can change. This is more relevant to staff than students.
To find out more watch the videos available from these two links:
First look: Updated Blackboard Interface – The Action button
First look: Updated Blackboard Interface – The Drag and Drop “Handles”
New Text Editor
The text editor has been updated to use “true HTML” and have much better handling of tables and other elements. A “full screen” mode is also available. The text editor also supports copy and paste from Word without requiring the special “Paste From Word” mashup.
To find out more read our blog post:
First look: New Blackboard Text Editor
Another benefit of the new text editor is that it allows you to create videos using your web cam and post them within the text you are writing. The system does this by linking into your YouTube account and using this to create an “unlisted” video that is only known to you and those with whom you share it, e.g. other people on your Blackboard course.
To find out more read our blog post:
First look: Blackboard Video Everywhere
You will be able to upload a picture to be used as your Blackboard avatar (150×150 pixels). This is shown at various parts of the course.
More exciting features
There are many more new features that will be available after the upgrade. Get a taste of these by reading out blog posts:
Blackboard Retention Centre a tool that could assist course instructors to take action to help their students succeed.
New Blackboard Assignment Features Blackboard has added some new aspects to this feature, namely online marking, delegated marking, anonymous marking and rubrics.
Updated Blackboard Discussion Board The look and feel of the discussion board has been refreshed and looks much more contemporary. User avatars are shown beside discussion board posts.
Student Preview Student preview is a feature that allows Blackboard course instructors to review their course in the exact same way as a student.
Instantly change the colour scheme of your Blackboard course With the new version of Blackboard, instructors will have the opportunity to change the colour scheme of their course from a preset selection
Improvements to Blackboard quiz features A number of improvements to the quiz engine, including staggered feedback.
Improved Group Administration create Grade Centre smart views based on group membership, and upload group members via a CSV file.
It’s this weekend!
Remember that the upgrade is taking place from midnight on 14 June and should be finished by the end of the day on 15 June. However if we need more time we reserve 16 June to spend more time on upgrading the system.
OS and Browser Compatibility
|Internet Explorer 11||Internet Explorer 10||Internet Explorer 9||Firefox Extended Support Release||Firefox (Final Release Channel)||Google Chrome (Stable Channel)|
|Windows Vista (32-bit)||Unsupported||Unsupported||Certified||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows Vista (64-bit)||Unsupported||Unsupported||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows 7 (32-bit)||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows 7 (64-bit)||Certified||Certified||Compatible||Certified||Certified||Certified|
|Windows 8 (32-bit)||Compatible||Unsupported||Unsupported||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows 8 (64-bit)||Certified||Unsupported||Unsupported||Certified||Certified||Certified|
|Safari 7||Safari 6||Firefox Extended Support Release||Firefox (Final Release Channel)||Google Chrome (Stable Channel)|
|Mac OSX 10.7||Unsupported||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Mac OSX 10.8||Unsupported||Certified||Certified||Certified||Certified|
|Mac OSX 10.9||Certified||Unsupported||Certified||Certified||Certified|