Cloud Profiles Deletion Emails

We’ve had a number of enquiries from people who have received an email from Blackboard with the subject Blackboard profile inactivity.

The body of the email reads:

Hi YourName,

You are receiving this email because you have not used your Blackboard profile in almost a year! If you do not access your profile by doing one of the following it will be permanently deleted in 30 days:

  • Log into your school’s Blackboard site and visit your profile.
  • If you no longer have access to your school’s Blackboard site, create a free account on CourseSites and use this email address when setting up your profile. You will be given the option to connect your CourseSites Blackboard profile to this one.

If you do not want your profile to be saved, you can ignore this email. This will only affect your Blackboard Cloud Profile. Any Blackboard accounts at your institution that are still active will not be affected. Please refer to the help page for more information about Blackboard Cloud Profiles.

These emails are not spam, though they might appear that way, and Blackboard has not been hacked. Please don’t panic if you get one of these emails. It just means that you haven’t accessed your social profile on Blackboard within the past year. It does not mean that you are locked out of Blackboard.

You can choose to completely ignore and delete the email, without any affect to your Blackboard account.

If you’d like to access your social profile (just to see what it’s all about), see more about profiles in the short video below, or visit the Blackboard help pages.

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Blackboard Feedback Survey 2015

Survey_WhiteWhy take the survey?

As you end your studies in NUI Galway this year, we hope you will take the time to tell us about your experiences in using technology as part of your learning – both what you liked and what you think could be improved. We will use this information to better understand your experiences, and use it to help inform change.

NUI Galway Students

Take our survey here:

NUI Galway Staff

Take our survey here:

The survey is run by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and you and your answers will remain anonymous at all times.

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Known Issue – Comments on blogs and journals can’t be read

Some users are experiencing an issue when using graded journals and blogs on Blackboard.

When an instructor posts a comment on a student’s post, the student is unable to view the comment. A “loading” message appears, but the comment never loads (see image).

Comments loading

Blackboard has identified this as a “Known Issue”, but there is no target date (as yet) for a fix.

Instructors are advised to use the Feedback area to the right of the journal to give comments to students. This can be read by students.

Alternatively, the issue does not appear when using ungraded blogs or journals. So, if you are creating a new blog or journal, consider using the ungraded version, and create a separate column in the Grade Centre to track grades.

For advice, instructors should contact us by emailing blackboard @

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Grade Centre workshops announced

Exams to grade

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by lordsutch:

To assist in returning provisional semester 1 results to students, CELT is offering the following workshops:

Workshop: Returning Provisional Grades to Students in Blackboard

It is possible to return grades to students, in a secure manner, using the Grade Centre on Blackboard. Students will only have access to their own grades; it is not possible for them to see the grades for other students in the class.

This hands-on workshop will bring you through the steps necessary to ensure that you can securely return grades to students.

Tasks that will be included:

  • Setting up the Grade Centre to ensure secure return of grades
  • Creating a new column for provisional grades
  • Releasing results
  • How the student access grades

Depending on the group, we can look at more advanced tasks:

  • Downloading the Grade Centre to work offline (in Excel)
  • Uploading grades from whitesheets [new tool]
  • Returning letter grades instead of percentages
  • Exporting grades from Grade Centre to whitesheets [new tool]

Participants should be comfortable with the basic functionality of Blackboard.


  • Tuesday 20th January 2:30 – 4:30 OR
  • Wednesday 21st January 10:00 – 12:00 OR
  • Tuesday 27th January 2:30 – 4:30 OR
  • Wednesday 28th January 10:00 – 12:00

Numbers in each workshop are limited, so it is essential to reserve your place in advance. To book a place, please complete the form available online. Bookings will be taken on a first come basis, so early registration is recommended.

All workshops take place in AM102, Ground Floor, Arts Millennium Building

Further workshops on using Blackboard to enhance teaching and learning are planned. For an up-to-date listing of our events during the year, visit the CELT website at

Posted in Assessment and Grading, Grade Centre, Staff Training | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Mobile Learn at NUI Galway – stats for semester 1, 2014

Blackboard Mobile LearnTM has been in use at NUI Galway since March 2012. We’ve written some previous posts about its use, based on the limited statistics provided by Blackboard. Apart from a period earlier this year, when we had to switch off access to the app completely, usage stats for the app have been very healthy.

Today I took a look at the pattern of logins for semester 1, which has just completed. During that time, there were more than 18,000 unique logins on mobile devices. Compare this to the figure of 8,446 unique logins during the academic year 2012/13. This means that the majority of our students are accessing their Blackboard courses using smartphones or iPads.

A view of the number of logins per day over the semester shows a typical pattern with decreased use at weekend, and a drop off as the exams are completed and Christmas approaches:

Mobile stats S1 2014_V2

It’s interesting to compare this with the picture from two years ago, semester 1 2012:

BB mobile sem1 May 2013

In that year, there was a slower start (the app was relatively new) and a definite increase in use in the final 4 weeks of teaching. Otherwise, the patterns are very similar, apart from one thing – the number of logins. In 2012, number of logins on a weekday was just over 1000, with a maximum of 1.81 thousand on Monday 19th November. In 2014, logins dropped below 2000 only at weekends. The maximum was 7.56 thousand on Tuesday 23rd September.

I don’t know if Blackboard is counting logins in the same way as they did 2 years ago, but this seems to be a threefold increase on our usage.

As in previous years, just over one third of logins come from iOS devices, which includes iPhones and iPads, while BlackBerry users have almost disappeared from the picture:

Unique Users device S1 2014This is not particularly consistent with results from a student survey earlier this year, where more than 1700 students at NUIG responded to a question about which smartphone they used. Just over half use an Android phone, while the numbers of iPhone users is just over one third.

StudentSurvey Device 2014Perhaps the discrepancy is in the additional iPad users – or maybe the iOS app is more popular.

Whatever about the accuracy of the stats, mobile learning is definitely happening, and we’re hearing more stories and anecdotes about the use of the app. Mobile Learn is primarily for students to access their Blackboard courses. When we upgrade next month, a new app for instructors, allowing them to grade using mobile devices, will be available. We’re looking forward to trying that out.

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We’re upgrading!

I’m pleased to let you know that our Blackboard Learn system will be upgraded early in January before the start of the new semester.

To facilitate the upgrade, the Blackboard service will be unavailable from 5:00am Tuesday, January 6th to 11:00am Wednesday, January 7th.

Why upgrade?

Blackboard is an increasingly important tool in the academic and student life on campus.   Since Blackboard became a mainstream, fully supported service in September 2007 its uptake by teaching staff and students has been astounding. This upgrade is relatively minor but has some welcome new features including:

  • Student Preview – allowing instructors see all aspects of a course from the student’s perspective, including the submission of assignments and feedback/results.
  • Anonymous and Delegated Grading – allowing instructors to hide student names while grading, or to delegate grading of particular assessments to multiple graders.

More detail on these features will be available during the month of January. Check out a previous post for some more information about the Student Preview feature.

How this will affect your courses

When you log back into Blackboard after the upgrade you should not notice any changes to your courses or content. There will be some small changes to the interface, including the new Student Preview button, and some improvements to grading areas for journals, blogs and wikis.

Support and Training

Please visit the Blackboard help resources for staff, for useful guides and videos.

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