A new and improved version of Blackboard is on the way! Blackboard Learn is being upgraded to the Software as a Service deployment option — commonly referred to as Blackboard SaaS. Currently, the University of Houston-Downtown hosts and manages Blackboard on servers located on campus, but with SaaS, Blackboard will be hosted and managed remotely on cloud servers. This equals better service and infrastructure for our learning management system. This upgrade is the same Blackboard you already know and use delivered on modern cloud computing technology.
Zero Impact to Faculty and Students - All content prior to the migration will be available in the cloud environment. There should be little to no changes in the look and feel of the system or existing processes.
Less Downtime - With a cloud-computing environment, faculty and students benefit from continuous updates (new features, enhancements, fixes, etc.) with zero or minimal downtime.
High Quality Delivery - A SaaS model allows us to deliver maintenance, updates, and fixes to production faster than ever before, and the cloud platform easily scales during periods of high usage.
Fast Access to New Features - A SaaS model allows us to deliver enhancements and new features faster than ever before. This allows UHD to have the latest and greatest features versus having to wait longer periods of time for scheduling maintenance.
Single Environment - No more "Bb1" or "Bb2"! All courses, organizations, and reviews packages will be in one centralized location with one web address.
IMPROVEMENTS & NEW FEATURES
Modern Look & Feel - With updated colors, fonts, and spacing, enjoy a more modern experience while using Blackboard.
Consistency Across Devices & Tools - There are many ways to access Blackboard – your computer, a mobile browser, or one of Blackboard's apps – now you’ll experience more consistency, regardless of how you choose to access Blackboard.
Improved Mobile Experience - We understand that anywhere, anytime access to Blackboard is critical. With more features and tools optimized for your mobile browser, expect a better experience using Blackboard on your phone or tablet.
Grade Center Improvements on Desktop - Blackboard has decreased the cell padding in the Grade Center for desktop users so that more Grade Center data will display.
Course Copy Performance Improved - The time to create copies, exports, and archives are all improved.
Attendance Tracking - A gradebook column is added when the instructor begins taking attendance. The Attendance column provides the overall attendance score in the gradebook, where it can be included in the student’s overall grade. For each class meeting, instructors can mark whether a student is present, late, absent, or excused.
Open File Upload Warning for MS Edge Browser - Due to a known Microsoft Edge issue, some users who access Blackboard through the Microsoft Edge browser have encountered problems attaching and submitting open Microsoft Office files. These files attach to submissions but appear to be blank. To help prevent file submission problems, Blackboard now warns users that they should close files before uploading them.
Needs Grading Filter Remembered - With this release, Blackboard will remember instructors’ preferences for the Show Attempts that don’t contribute to user’s grade filter on the Needs Grading page.
TIMELINE FOR PROJECT
September 30, 2020: Blackboard admin team works with Blackboard Inc. to plan for Blackboard Learn migration to SaaS
October 12 - 26, 2020: Blackboard admin team will conduct multiple TEST migrations of data to SaaS
November 16, 2020: Winter courses will be available on
December 28 - January 1, 2021: Blackboard 1 will be UNAVAILABLE for full migration to The Cloud and will
NOT be available to users.
January 4, 2021: Blackboard 1 and Spring courses available to faculty
January 4, 2021: Course activation and combines available
January 19, 2021: Spring semester begins
HOW TO PREPARE
Remember the Following Bb1 Services Will Not be Available During the Migration:
- Blackboard Ally
- Blackboard Mobile App (for Bb1)
- Publisher Content
- Respondus Monitor and Campus Wide Test Creator
Remember there will be a new way to login to Blackboard once the migration is complete:
- Starting Spring 2021, when logging in to Blackboard you will want to use your UHD O365 Login versus typing your username and password in the login fields as you have done previously.
- Starting Summer 2021 there will only be one Blackboard environment with one URL. No more "Bb1" and "Bb2".
Get a Head Start by Taking a Look at the New Blackboard SaaS Features:
- Contact Bb Support via email (Bb@uhd.edu) to gain access to our TEST environment.
Consider a Course Clean Up:
- To aid in the migration, you will want to clean up your course(s) and Content Collection. You will want to remove unused/duplicate files and ensure all videos are on a streaming service, such as MediaSite or in your UHD OneDrive. Videos should not be loaded directly into Blackboard.
- Make an appointment with Blackboard if you need help or if you have questions.
For assistance or questions about the migration, please feel free to reach out to