Blackboard 9 Update

Below is information sent out from Information Technology on the rollout and training for Blackboard 9 – it is reprinted here for your convenience.

Additional online tutorials for BB9 can be found at: http://ondemand.blackboard.com/

Members of the SJU Faculty,

As many of you know, we will be moving to a new version of Blackboard, version 9.1, this coming fall.  In preparation for the launch in late August, we have the new system installed and much of the setup complete.  So, we’d like to take this opportunity to share some information regarding this transition.

New Features

Version 9.1 of the Blackboard software brings a number of new features.  There is an enhanced Grade Center that should make it easier for you to grade student assignments and view the grades you’ve given. There is also a new improved file management feature that should allow you to more quickly access documents and files you place in your courses. And, there is an overall improvement in the user interface that should make Blackboard easier to use.

Fall 2010 Courses Available Now

All of the Fall 2010 courses have been created and are now available to faculty. You can go to your classes in Blackboard 9.1 to check out what the new version looks like and begin building out course materials for the Fall.

To access your new courses, login to MySJU at http://my.sju.edu and go to the My Courses tab. You’ll now see a new channel titled My Courses Fall 2010 with links to the courses you are teaching.

Availability of Old Courses

We are currently in the process of moving the content of old courses over to the new version. This is a time-consuming process and is not yet complete, but a large number of courses have been moved.  To date, all of the courses from previous terms have been migrated except for all 2009 courses and Fall 2007 courses. The current summer sessions will not be moved until after the start of the Fall semester.

When a course is moved, it will no longer be available in the old version. So, until we go fully live with Blackboard 9.1 in the Fall, you may need to access both versions of Blackboard to access all of your courses.

Additional Work to be Done

Although we have opened the new version up to you, there is still a significant amount of work to do before we fully launch at the start of the Fall semester. In addition to moving old content as mentioned above, we have some fine tuning to do with the system and network configurations, course settings, and design, just to mention just a few.  So, please be patient if you run into any issues with the new system.

Maintenance Window

Some of the work we need to complete will require the system to be offline. In order to minimize unexpected interruptions, we will restrict such work to a pre-defined maintenance window each Friday from 8 AM to Noon through the rest of the summer. So, please do not plan on using the system during this time in order to avoid any loss of data.

Training Available

To begin preparing faculty members for the move to Blackboard 9.1, IT is offering workshops to introduce the new platform. These workshops will provide an overview of Bb 9.1 and will cover the “Student View”, Creating Content and Control; Panel.  Upon completion of a workshop, attendees will be able to perform some of the basic operations in the new platform.

These workshops will be held in Science Center 129 on the following dates and times:
July 7      10:00-11:30     2:00-3:30
July 8      9:00-10:30       3:00-4:30
July 20    10:00-11:30     2:00-3:30
July 21    9:00-10:30      3:00-4:30
July 22    10:00-11:30     2:00-3:30

To register, contact Al Labonis
labonis@sju.edu.

Blackboard 9 is Coming!

The university will begin upgrading to Blackboard 9 this summer.  It will be implemented in the classroom in Fall 2010. According to David Lees, Executive Director of Instructional Technology and Distributed Learning, the learning curve is similar to going from MS Office 2003 to 2007 – the functionality is the same; items are just in different places.

Differences Include:
Gradebook – in-cell editing allowed
Interface – Changes no longer made through control panel , “behind the blackboard”. Instead,changes are  made on the surface screen, using Edit mode button

David Lees and Al Labonis will present an overview of the new features in Blackboard 9 at the HSB Council meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.
ITDL will be offering workshops through Spring and Summer on all new features of BB 9.

Zimbra Training Manual

Ben Jezierski, University I.T. Trainer, held a Zimbra Training session geared to the needs of the HSB Administrative Assistants. As a result of this, a Training manual was developed to answer the most frequently asked questions from this group.  This document can be accessed here:  Zimbra FAQs

If you or your department would like to schedule training with Ben for Zimbra or other university licensed software, please contact him at bjeziers@sju.edu .