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Ohio University will be upgrading Blackboard to Service Pack 13 for the start of the 2014 summer semester. This will be a fairly significant change from the current version.
Fall 2014: Preview available to all faculty/staff at https://bbtest.ohio.edu/
Spring 2014: Preview available to all faculty/staff, pilot for interested instructors
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.
The Blackboard system is functioning as expected.
Electrical work in the data center will occur between 4 AM and 8 AM on Sunday, March 9, 2014. After a brief network outage at the start of the window, service such as Blackboard will again become available, but the ensuing work carries a slight risk of interruption. Because of this risk, please plan grade related work around this window.
Due to the vendor's work to update the McGraw Hill Connect building block, the service will be unavailable between 5 AM and 7 AM on Monday, March 10, 2014. Please plan grade related work accordingly.
To report an issue, call (740)593-1222 or submit a request at www.ohio.edu/oitech