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Blackboard will be down from 5:00 pm on May 7 through 11:59 pm on May 11 while we upgrade to Service Pack 13 for the start of the 2014 summer semester. This will be a fairly significant change from the current version. Log into https://bbtest.ohio.edu/ to preview the changes.
Spring 2014: Preview available to all faculty/staff at https://bbtest.ohio.edu/
5:00 pm May 7 - 11:59 pm May 11: Blackboard will be down to apply the upgrade.
Summer 2014: New version in production for all courses
Blackboard makes some fundamental changes to several aspects of its interface for this version. A few are highlighted below:
Blackboard introduces a number of improvements, including:
Starting this year, the days between the close of spring grade submission and the opening of summer semester will be reserved as an annual maintenance window. This will be when version upgrades will be 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.