Semester 2 Training

We are beginning to post our training sessions from the upcoming semester.  Our January sessions will include: Introduction to Blackboard, Managing the Blackboard Grade Centre, and Qwickly Attendance recording in Blackboard.  Keep an eye on our calendar for registration and more of our upcoming events.



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Interactive Lesson for Blackboard Instructors at NUI Galway

We have just published a new, interactive lesson on our Teaching with Technology site for instructors looking to learn more about getting started with Blackboard.

Blackboard is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at NUI Galway. It allows you to share learning materials or lecture notes with your students, communicate and collaborate online, develop assessments, provide feedback and return marks.

This guide covers the basics of getting started with Blackboard, how to manage content and users, how to use key tools, along with detail on useful resources, our Blackboard training schedule, and how to log a ticket to request help or report an issue.

This lesson will prove useful for new staff, and those looking for a refresher.

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Qwickly Jot Assignments in Blackboard


Qwickly Jot is a new assignment tool available to users at NUI Galway.  Instructors can create assignments with diagrams, maps, charts, and more and students can write or annotate directly in Blackboard.

Students can write using devices with a pen, such as the Microsoft Surface or an iPad Pro, or their cursor using a mouse.

The assignments can be graded like any other Blackboard assignment and be seen in the Blackboard Grade Centre.

You can learn more about Qwickly Jot in the video below.

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Announcing #BbFest17

170731 Blackboard Fest - email banner

Today we are announcing a week of workshops to  help you get the most out of Blackboard at NUI Galway.

Taking place from Wednesday 23rd to Tuesday 29th August, for our 5th annual Blackboard Festival we have an exciting line up of events based on four themes: getting your course prepared; assessment in Blackboard; student analytics; and student engagement. As well as offering some hands-on technical sessions, we also wanted to focus on user stories – sharing your experiences and learning from peers.

The festival schedule (below) includes a number of lunchtime panel sessions, aimed to support conversation around each of the themes. Lunch will be provided and the format is informal and relaxed. All are welcome.

So that we can anticipate numbers, please sign up for any sessions you would like to attend using the online registration form. Numbers in some sessions may be limited.


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Summer 2017 Rollover

New Blackboard courses for the academic year 2017/18 will be available soon.

An empty Blackboard course will be created for each module code and course instance code that exists on the Akari module manager. You will then be able to create or copy content as necessary for the start of the new academic year.

If you do not have access to a course, and think you should, please consult our guidelines on how to access a Blackboard course as instructor.

Copying content

Before you copy any content from previous years’ courses, please take a look at our updated guide. In particular, we strongly recommend that you copy only content and not assessments. DO NOT copy grade centre settings, since these can cause problems with online grade entry.

Virtual Classroom

Every new Blackboard course will now have a menu link to a Virtual Classroom. This supports live synchronous online learning, collaboration, and communication. It can be used for blended teaching and learning, office hours, online collaboration, guest speakers, and much more. For more information see our webconferencing guide.

New Grade Return column

As part of the second phase of the Online Results Entry project, a new grade return column will appear in your grade centre. This will allow you to more easily copy provisional marks for official return, or to use your grade centre for calculating marks based on continuous assessment. More details will be available soon.

Access to 1314 courses

All staff and students currently have access to 4 years’ worth of courses on Blackboard. As part of the rollover, all 1314 courses will be cleared from Blackboard.


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Blackboard Summer Upgrade (June 2017)


As time marches on, so too does our Blackboard system. On Monday, the 12th of June 2017, we will move a little bit further into future, with our upgrade to Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016.

So, what changes and benefits does this bring for staff and students at NUI Galway? Well, several! We will highlight the top four here:

More Responsive

Most importantly, this release includes a new theme that provides a more modern look and feel and it significantly increases the responsiveness of the interface for small devices. This makes it easier for you to view Blackboard materials on any device, or screen size-  the content will automatically resize to fit.

> More on the Learn 2016 theme

Drag and drop files

Another key benefit is that the system now allows users to drag and drop files. When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the “hot spot” in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.

> More on how instructors create content items

Submission receipts

Instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.

A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.

> More on submission confirmations

Support for Accessibility

The Learn 2016 theme was designed with WCAG 2.0 principles in mind and follows accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation.

> More on Accessibility

We look forward to you getting the most out of Blackboard, and welcome working with you over the coming months. Our annual Blackboard Festival in August promises to be a great event to engage and find out more from taking to us in person. Meanwhile, contact us at any stage through the usual support channels.

Read all release notes of this new version on Blackboard

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Collaborate Ultra Workshop

We are delighted to announce that we are hosting a Collaborate Ultra workshop on May 31st.  Registration for the event is available on Eventbrite.


Are you developing or teaching an online or blended course next semester? Would you like to be able to hold live teaching sessions with your students online? Do you need a tool to support collaboration and virtual conferences with students or research colleagues who are not co-located?

Collaborate Ultra is a webconferencing tool that utilises audio and video and provides functionalities such as chat, application sharing, presentation mode and an interactive whiteboard. The platform is intuitive for the user and allows for synchronous online learning, collaboration and communication.

At NUI Galway, Collaborate Ultra is embedded in Blackboard and a meeting room is ready for all instructors and students to use. You can also invite guest users to Collaborate Ultra rooms. Sessions can be recorded and archived for future use.

It’s easy to use and can support up to 250 participants in a session. There is no software to be downloaded, it all just works in your browser.

This workshop will be useful for those who:

  • Wish to explore the varitey of uses for Blackboard Collaborate
  • Are already using Blackboard Collaborate for teaching and learning, but would like to explore its full potential
  • Wish to collaborate remotely with others on research and projects


Gillian Fielding from Blackboard will be on campus to run the workshop on using Blackboard Collaborate for teaching, learning and collaboration. She will focus on use cases, based on her knowledge and experience with clients around the US and Europe. All are welcome.

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