Blackboard engineers will perform a system upgrade and maintenance on Monday morning, December 26, 2016, from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Blackboard will be offline during this period.
The downtime window will allow UMBC to update all courses to the new Blackboard Collaborate interface, which uses a new browser-based option. More than 900 faculty, staff, and students have tested the new “Ultra Experience” in Blackboard Collaborate since SU2015.
Collaborate with the Ultra Experience opens right in a web browser, so users do not have to install any software to join a session. The tool supports a basic whiteboard, PDF and PowerPoint file sharing, audio/video conferencing, breakout rooms, and polling. Two new roles, Presenter and Captioner, are now included. The Captioner role allows faculty to provide accessible alternatives to audio content for participants who are hearing impaired, as well as for participants whose native language is different from the moderator. The Participant role is designed to allow students to present without giving them full moderator privileges.
Additionally, UMBC students will enjoy the new Bb Student mobile app. The Bb Learn mobile app will be retired at end of 2016 and we encourage UMBC students who wish to access their Blackboard courses via mobile device to download and use the Bb Student app instead. UMBC students can download the Bb Student app for free from the Apple, Google, and Microsoft app stores.
Finally, support for competency-based learning allows instructors to align program objectives to evidence-based assessments. In the future, instructors and students will enjoy improved workflows such as drag & drop files, assignment submission receipts, and assignment reminders for missed work. New course activity reports will also be available for large enrollment courses with filters for groups.
In preparation for this downtime:
Instructors: If you need access to your gradebook during the downtime, please review this FAQ for information on downloading a copy of the Blackboard Grade Center to Excel.
After Blackboard is back online, please clear your Internet browser cache and cookies before logging in using these step-by-step instructions.
The UMBC Blackboard team identified a time period that should have a reduced impact on our users. If our Blackboard site is down longer than expected due to unforeseen circumstances, updates will be posted to this news article. We appreciate your patience as we continue to improve our systems to bring you a better Blackboard experience.
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