Blackboard Server Errors

Over the weekend, you may have received numerous email notices of announcements from old courses in Blackboard. This was a campus wide issue. Our Blackboard administrators have been in contact with Blackboard support to resolve this issue. We will keep you posted with a resolution.
Thank you for your patience.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Help Desk at 610-660-2920 or helpdesk@sju.edu

Blackboard Workshops

IT is offering the following workshops:

All workshops will be held in Science 129 (On the ground floor of the Science Building)

Workshops will be repeated on the following dates.

Please rsvp: labonis@sju.edu

Bb Getting Started

Feb 23, 5:00-6:30

March 1, 5:00-6:30

Bb Grade Center

Feb 11, 10:00-11:30

Feb 22, 5:00-6:30

March 2, 5:00-6:30

Blogs and Wiki

Feb 18, 10:00-11:30

March 15, 1:30-3:00

Wimba

Feb 25, 10:00-11:30

March 16, 3:30-5:00

Wimba notes:

Wimba can be utilized by those instructors that need to communicate with their students online in real time.

Wimba takes Blackboard’s “Virtual Classroom” tool to the next level by adding voice, video, and application sharing

Upon successfully completing this course, attendees will be able to:

· Have a general knowledge of how to communicate with students online using tools in Wimba.

· Have a working knowledge of how to synchronously share content and web sites with students online.

Blogs and Wiki notes:

This training session will focus on how students can use blogs and wikis to communicate and collaborate in class. You will learn how to create wiki, blogs, and journals for your students. You will also learn the appropriate application of each of these tools.

Upon successfully completing this course, attendees will be able to:

* Create Blogs, Wiki, and Journals in a Blackboard class space

IT Training Opportunities: Fall 2010

Want to create professional-looking Word documents?
Want to get more out of your Excel spreadsheets?
Want to create PowerPoint presentations that pop?

The Office of Information Technology is offering free day and evening Microsoft Office workshops for all SJU faculty, staff and students.

Topics for these workshops include:
• Understanding the Basics of Microsoft Word
• Creating Spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel
• Creating Presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint
• And MANY more
Check out the current IT Training schedule for a complete list of workshops, course descriptions, and information on how to register at http://it.sju.edu/training.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? SJU’s IT Training department will also develop custom training to suit the needs of your department, class or student study group.

IT Training has worked with admins, professors and directors to produce quality and time-sensitive training geared toward their specific needs.

Many students have also taken advantage of custom Microsoft Word and PowerPoint training to help them produce professional-quality papers and eye catching PowerPoint presentations for their classes.

For further information, or to talk about YOUR training needs, contact Ben Jezierski, IT Training Coordinator by phone at (610)660-3386, or by e-mail at bjeziers@sju.edu.

Blackboard 9.1

Introduction to Blackboard 9.1 – Getting Started:

All Blackboard courses from previous semesters have been imported into Bb9.1.

Any faculty teaching over the summer will continue using Bb7.3

To begin preparing faculty members for the move to Bb 9.1, ITDL is offering workshops to introduce the new platform.

This workshop will provide an overview of Bb 9.1 and will cover the “Student View”, Creating Content and Control; Panel.

Upon completing the workshop, attendees will be able to perform some of the basic operations in the new platform.

The Bb9 “Getting Started” workshop will be repeated on the following dates and will be held in Science Center 129.

August 24 2:00-3:30 Getting Started

August 25 10:00-11:30 Getting Started

August 26 2:00-3:30 Getting Started

The Bb9 “Grade Center” workshop will be repeated on the following dates and will be held in Science 129.

Blackboard 9.1 Grade Center

The Blackboard Learn Grade Center is more than just a way to record students’ grades; it is a dynamic and interactive tool. The Grade Center can record data, monitor student progress and communicate information to students. Use this valuable tool to help understand student progress and make informed decisions on how to improve educational performance.

August 24 10:00-11:30 Grade Center

August 25 2:00-3:30 Grade Center

August 31 10:00-11:30 Grade Center

Please reply to labonis@sju.edu to schedule.

Blackboard Update Friday, April 23, 3:00 p.m.

Since upgrading to the new server early Tuesday morning, the Blackboard (Bb) system has needed to be restarted at least once each day. The most recent restart occurred Thursday evening at 8:30pm and, at that time, new configuration changes were applied to the system as recommended by Blackboard Inc, our software provider. In monitoring the system for the past 16 hours, we have noticed that the system has been running more efficiently than previously observed. While this is a positive sign, it is not proof that the problems have been resolved, so we will continue to actively monitor the Bb system around the clock.

Blackboard Inc. has continued to assist the University in trying to resolve the problem with their software. In fact, Blackboard has assigned three additional technical resources to assist us. In the past week, we have learned that other Universities have encountered issues with Bb in the recent past and their symptoms have been similar to ours. Blackboard assisted these Universities in resolving their problems but the path to resolution took time. The complexity of the Bb system makes it challenging for Blackboard to easily pinpoint the root cause of their software failures.

For the rest of the Spring term, faculty and students will continue to use the current Bb installation. However, a contingency plan is being prepared for the Summer term if problems persist throughout the last two weeks of the Spring term. This contingency plan for the summer calls for Blackboard Inc. to host our Bb system at their hosting facility using their hardware and their technical staff to install and support the system. If we move in this direction, all course content for summer courses will be migrated to the Blackboard hosting facility. IT will work closely with Blackboard to make this transition as transparent as possible so that our faculty and students can easily access their course information. We will keep you apprised of the status of the contingency plan and will provide detailed instruction for our faculty and students so everyone is well prepared for their summer course activities.

Whether the system is hosted here at SJU or at the Blackboard facility for the summer term, our faculty and students will continue to use the 7.3 version (i.e. our current version) of the Bb system. The Bb 9 system just cannot be fully implemented by the time summer classes begin on May 10. But, by June 15, the new version of Bb, 9.1, will be made available to faculty so that they can begin preparing their course sites for the Fall term. Bb 9 will be fully launched for all faculty and students at the start of the Fall term and, at this time, the plan is to host Bb 9 using our campus facilities.

As mentioned earlier, we will continue to monitor the system 24-hours a day and will restart the system as soon as a problem occurs to minimize downtime.

Thank you for your continued patience.

The Latest News on Blackboard

Since our last Blackboard communication, Information Technology (IT) has applied a software patch (April 14 at 3:15am) and made Bb configuration changes (April 15 at 3:45pm) based on recommendations from Blackboard Inc., our software provider.  Despite the changes, the Bb system remains unstable and it has had to be restarted on three occasions in the past 35 hours.  With each failure, IT provides Blackboard with the relevant data for their system analysis.   

It should be noted that IT has received reports from faculty and students who have encountered problems using the Bb discussion board even when the Bb system is responsive.  IT is working with these users to better understand what they are experiencing. 

In addition to troubleshooting the problems with the Bb system, IT continues to prepare a fresh release of the current Bb environment (version 7) on a new server.   By early next week, the new server should be fully configured and ready for deployment.  If Bb problems persist, then IT will likely migrate our user community to the new server for the end of the Spring and Summer terms. 

Over the summer, the Bb system will be updated to the latest version of the software (i.e. version 9) and our faculty will build their Fall 2010 courses using Bb 9.  Students will begin using this new version of Bb at the start of the Fall term. 

In the meantime, IT will continue to monitor the system and respond to system failures as quickly as possible.

If you have further questions, please contact the Helpdesk at x2920.

Intermittent Internet Problems-Monday, April 12.

On the evening of Monday, April 12 between 7:00PM and 8:45PM, the
university network periodically lost connectivity with the Internet.  
Upon detection, we immediately notified our Internet Service Provider
(ISP) of the problem and have been informed that a wide area has been
affected.  Our ISP continues to work on the problem, and while they do,
intermittent outages may persist.  These outages will affect all types
of communication between the university and external users and sites.  
As we learn more, we will share that information with the university
community.

We apologize for this interruption.

Thank you.

Blackboard Update Friday, April 9, 2010 1:00 pm

The Blackboard (Bb) system has been stable for approximately 30 hours. Yesterday at 7:45AM, IT applied a configuration change as recommended by Blackboard Inc, our software provider, and since that time Bb’s performance has improved and the system has not crashed. We are not prepared at this time to say that the problem is fully resolved but the indications are positive. We will continue to closely monitor the system today and throughout the weekend and will keep you apprised of things.
*** Please note that IT will take Bb down on Sunday at 3:15am for its scheduled backup. ***

Blackboard Update April 8, 2010 9:30am

In the past 24 hours, Information Technology has applied several new configuration changes to the Blackboard (Bb) system as recommended by Blackboard Inc., our software provider. While these changes have improved certain aspects of Bb system performance and we’ve experienced fewer system crashes in the past day, Bb continues to remain unstable. With each system failure, IT has sent updated analytics to Blackboard for their review and, in turn, Blackboard has responded with new recommendations for change. The latest configuration change was applied at 7:45AM. Also this morning, Blackboard Inc has assigned additional technical resources to help us resolve the problem.

We clearly understand your frustration with this situation and continue to ask for your patience as we work with Blackboard toward a resolution.