Blackboard will be down from 5:00 pm on May 6 through 5:00 pm on May 8 while we upgrade to the October 2014 release for the start of the 2015 Summer semester. This version will not include any significant interface changes from the current version, though it includes a few improvements on the features. Log into https://bb-preview.ohio.edu/ to preview the changes.
Spring 2015: Preview available to all faculty/staff at https://bb-preview.ohio.edu/
5:00 pm May 6 - 5:00 pm May 8: Blackboard will be down to apply the upgrade.
Summer 2015: New version in production for all courses
Blackboard made very few changes to its interface for this version.
Blackboard introduces a few improvements, including:
Starting last year, the days between the close of Spring grade submission and the opening of Summer semester are reserved as an annual maintenance window. This is when version upgrades are applied. Some years, those changes may be fairly minor. Other years, the changes may be more substantial. In all cases, we will follow this pattern:
IT systems are constantly evolving, and Blackboard is no exception. Upgrading is not only a question of new features but also one of security and reliability. As a company, Blackboard only provides bug fixes and security patches for supported versions. Every time a new version comes out, a corresponding older version stops being supported.
OIT's goal is to remain in the center of Blackboard's support window. Brand new releases tend to have a lot of bugs, while older versions nearing the end of the support window often have known issues that can only be fixed by an upgrade. Given the current pace of change at blackboard.com, staying in the center means one upgrade every year. Some of those upgrades will have little noticeable impact. Others will include more significant interface changes.
While we cannot control Blackboard's rate of change, we can make sure that its implementation is predictable. Annual updates always will be announced in Fall, previewed/piloted in spring, and implemented in the days between when Spring grades are due and when Summer opens.