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Major updates coming to Blackboard through December 2023

Important updates are coming to Blackboard over the next few years that may require instructors to rebuild some course content, as vendors begin retiring an outdated technology supporting some publisher content and add-ons. The changes will take place between semesters beginning in May 2022 and concluding in December 2023. The changes are spaced over a period of two years in order to minimize disruption and reduce the amount of content instructors need to rebuild at one time. 

Beginning in summer 2022, instructors using Top Hat, Turnitin and VoiceThread may be affected. The VoiceThread and Top Hat changes will be minimally disruptive, but instructors using Turnitin in Blackboard Original should begin planning to rebuild assignments by May 4. 


All instructors using Turnitin in an Original Blackboard course will need to rebuild all of their Turnitin assignments for future semesters or switch to using Blackboard Assignment and Peer Assessment features. Any Turnitin assignments that were created in an Original Blackboard course will be inaccessible after May 4 at 6 p.m. When building future courses, please note that any Turnitin assignments that are copied from an old course (pre-Summer 2022) will need to be deleted and recreated in new courses. 

To view a list of assignments that need to be rebuilt in Blackboard Original, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignments. If you would like assistance preparing for this change or have concerns about the timeline, please contact the IT Service Desk

Instructors using Turnitin in a Blackboard Ultra course will not need to rebuild courses, and all existing assignment links will continue to work. When creating new Turnitin assignments, the name of the tool will display as Turnitin after May 4, instead of Turnitin for Ultra Courses.  Ultra instructors are also welcomed to switch to Blackboard Assignment and Peer Assessment features.

Top Hat 

The process to pair Top Hat and Blackboard courses will change for some users. After May 5 at 6 p.m., all users must initiate the sync process from within Blackboard rather than Top Hat. A demonstration of this process is available in the video How to Pair a Top Hat Course with a Blackboard course. The new process will sync Blackboard and Top Hat rosters, allow instructors to invite students to a Top Hat course, and send grades from Top Hat directly to the Blackboard Grade Center. This option is compatible with both Blackboard Ultra Courses and Blackboard Original. 


The VoiceThread update is not expected to require rebuilding any content. Instructors should only experience a 30-minute window when VoiceThread is unavailable. The date of the upgrade and any changes will be announced later this spring. 

If you have questions or concerns about any of these updates, please contact the IT Service Desk. 

March 18, 2022
Staff reports