Announcing the 4th Annual Blackboard Festival #BbFest16

Image of Galway Arts Festival

Galway Arts Festival*

We’ve enjoyed the Galway Arts Festival, including the mud at the Big Top. We’ve seen the style at the Galway Races. So what’s the next big event in your calendar?

As the new academic year approaches, we’ve been planning the schedule for the 4th annual Blackboard Festival, and we hope you’ll join us.

Scheduled to take place just before the start of teaching, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn something new about Blackboard to use in your courses this year.

We aim to cater for all staff who use Blackboard, no matter what your level of experience. So, whether you are completely new to Blackboard, a regular who would like to know a little more, or an expert, we are confident that you’ll find something of interest in our programme.

Three Days of Workshops and Demos

The festival will take place over three days at the end of August. Starting on Friday 26th August, we have a day aimed mainly at new or less experienced users. The festival will continue on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th, with workshops suitable for those who already have a little Blackboard experience.

Highlights include: a new Attendance Tracking tool from Qwickly, exploring the use of Badges in your course; and a new version of Collaborate, making it easier to create and join online classroom sessions.

The at-a-glance programme can be found below. You’ll find more details and a chance to sign-up to one, two or more workshops at our online booking form.

Festival Programme

Blackboard Festival 2016 – schedule at a glance



* flickr photo by catherinecronin shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

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Webinar: Making Blackboard Modules and Content Accessible for All

Blackboard Webinar | Making Blackboard Modules and Content Accessible for All

Making Blackboard Modules and Content Accessible for All Webinar

The webinar will provide an overview of inclusive classrooms and outline the benefits and challenges faced in implementing them. We will also help institutions towards achieving inclusivity and best practice for all learners through their online and face to face classrooms and provide a practical framework to:

  • Assess their pedagogy
  • Review their existing content
  • Evaluate their institution’s technology

Webinar Dates and Times:

Thursday 28th July, 14:00 UK (BST) Time

Making Blackboard Modules and Content Accessible for All, Removing barriers to access

JoAnna Hunt, Accessibility Manager, Blackboard

For full descriptions of each session click here:

The webinar will last approximately 60 minutes with an opportunity for live Q&A and discussion.

Target Audience:

This webinar is aimed at academic staff, course designers, e-learning teams as well as digital student champions/ambassadors, student’s union and policy makers and those who are involved in making courses accessible for all.

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Returning Results in Autumn

If you are returning results in Autumn using Blackboard, there are two possibilities:

  • You are returning first sitting postgraduate results (or first sitting undergrad results for a very limited set of modules); or
  • You are returning second sitting results for students who are repeating exams, or who may have deferred earlier in the year.

First sitting results

In the first case, where the results are the first you have returned for this module, you will follow exactly the process used in May:

There are plenty of resources available for you on our Blackboard support site.

Second sitting results

If you are returning 2nd sitting results, you will see two new columns in your Grade Centre. These will appear at the far right, so you may need to scroll across:

2nd sitting

The 2nd Sitting column indicates the students for whom you can return marks. If you see R in that column, you can return a mark for that student.

The process now is:


  • Make sure the Total column is hidden.
  • Enter the marks (0 – 100) for each R student in the 2nd Sit Mark column.
  • Perform Extract.


Posted in Assessment and Grading, Grade Centre, Grade Entry, ORE | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Summer Rollover 2016

The annual rollover and creation of new courses will take place this summer in July.

Availability of new courses for 2016-17


flickr photo by Koshyk shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

We aim to create and provide access to 1617 courses on Blackboard during the week beginning Monday 18th July.

An empty Blackboard course will be created for each module 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.

Instructor access

Instructor access to a 1617 Blackboard course will be based on the instructors listed for the corresponding module code on Akari.

If you need instructor access to a Blackboard course, an instructor can be assigned by updating the Module Teacher field on Akari. This action can be performed by the module owner or any of the module editors on Akari.

For more information see: Getting access to my Blackboard course

Cleardown of courses from 2012-13 (academic year 2012 to 2013)

All staff and students currently have access to 4 years’ worth of courses on Blackboard. In preparation for the rollover period, all 1213 courses will be cleared from Blackboard.

If you have any content contained (only) within a 1213 course, it is important that you take a copy of this content before Monday 18th July. Individual items can be saved locally, or you may choose to export your course as a package suitable to re-use in another Blackboard course. For assistance, please contact

If you have any student submissions contained within a 1213 course, please ensure that you have saved these locally as they will no longer be accessible on Blackboard after Monday 18th July.

The good news is that this will help to clear up your MyCourses list when you login. For more information on how you can manage this list, see the following link – .

Training and Resources

For information and resources on using Blackboard (and other technologies) for teaching, please visit our Teaching with Technology website.

We are also currently planning our annual Blackboard Festival, a week of training opportunities on various aspects of Blackboard, including drop-in sessions, information sessions and workshops. Details will be announced soon.

You may be interested to learn that the CELT Learning Technologies team is now on Facebook. Follow us there for updates on our activities and information about upcoming events and workshops. We hope you’ll comment on our activity, ask questions and offer your suggestions.

Posted in Manage Courses, Manage Users, Rollover, Staff Training | Leave a comment

Innovate&Educate – monthly newsletter

Are you interested in keeping up with new developments, trends, best practice case studies and information about events? Blackboard has launched a monthly newsletter for international customers (i.e. non US) and you can sign up here.


The April issue focused on mobile learning, including a case study from Liverpool John Moores University. The next issue will be about Institutional Analytics.


Posted in Bb Student app, Mobile Learn, Newsletter | Leave a comment

Blackboard Mobile 2015/16

Since the Blackboard Mobile Learn app was first made available to students in March 2012, it has been a popular way for students to access course materials. We have been tracking basic usage statistics, which shows steady use during term time, almost no use during the summer months, and a peak at the end of January, when provisional semester 1 results are released.

The figures for the academic year 2015/16 show no difference in the pattern:

mobile 1516

During this period, from the beginning of September to the middle of May, the stats report more than 67K unique logins, though I’m not sure how that’s counted. In semester 1, logins per weekday were between 5 and 10 thousand, more in the first few weeks of the semester. On September 28th (Monday) there were 12.31K logins.

Access decreased in semester 2, with a clear gap over the two weeks of the Easter break. I suspect, as well, this might be due to the launch of the new Blackboard app – Bb Student – the numbers for which (I believe) are not included in the available stats.

As in previous years (see stats from 2012/13) there was a spike at the end of January (29th January) when there were more than 22K logins to Blackboard from a mobile device. This coincided exactly with the release of provisional results for semester 1 modules.

Some reflections

  • It is clear that mobile access to Blackboard is important for students, and that the mobile app is being used.
  • I understand (please correct me if I’m wrong) that these stats are for use of the Mobile Learn app only, and do not include the new Bb Student app. In that case, currently we have no way of tracking the usage for Bb Student.
  • The stats only track logins, and not what students were using within the app. Clearly, students are looking at results, but what else are they doing?
  • 67K unique logins seem like a huge number, particularly when we have only 17K students. It begs the question – what is being counted? Does it reflect the fact that students may be accessing on more than one device?
  • It seems that iOS users make up almost 75% of all logins. Does this mean that we have a lot of students with iPhones, or is it because of students and staff with iPads?
Posted in Mobile Learn, Monitor Activity | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Online Results Entry – new training dates announced


flickr photo by flippinyank shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Returning Grades webinar – covering the essential steps of final mark return, this one hour online session is suitable for all staff. The online format will be useful for anybody who is off campus, or who would prefer to get a live demo from the comfort of their office. There is no need to sign up in advance, just use the link below to join the session.

Dates for webinars: Tuesday 3rd May  @ 10am, Tuesday 10th May @ 10am, Monday 16th May @ 3:30pm, Thursday 19th May @ 3:30pm


Returning Grades workshop/drop in – similar to the webinar but offered onsite in the Arts Millennium building. This format will be useful for those who would like some hands-on support. Staff are encouraged to sign up in advance using the online registration form.

Dates for workshops: Wednesday 4th May @ 10am, Monday 9th May @ 10am, Thursday 12th May (Gaeilge) @ 2pm, Tuesday 17th May @ 10am.


Service Desk – individual support will be available via the servicedesk (email  for those with particular issues.


Please note that these general workshops and webinars will not be able to cater for individual School/Discipline/Programme procedures or workflows. However if support is required to help identify how the Grade Centre can work with internal workflows, we are happy to schedule a bespoke workshop for any group. Just email to request such a session.

Posted in Grade Entry, ORE, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment