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Blackboard News

News about the UO's Blackboard course information system from the UO Libraries

SafeAssign Maintenance Wed Aug 13 11pm-Thur Aug 14 5:30am

August 5th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

SafeAssign will be unavailable from Wednesday August 14 starting at 11:00pm PDT until 5:30am PDT Thursday August 14. During this time students will not be able to submit SafeAssignments and instructors will not be able to view origionality reports. The rest of the Blackboard services will still be available during this time.

The maintenance bulletin follows:

The SafeAssign service will be unavailable on Thursday August 14, 2014 from 2:00 AM US Eastern (GMT-4) until 8:30 AM US Eastern (GMT-4). SafeAssign is being taken offline for a database upgrade. Upon completion of this upgrade, this bulletin will be updated.

During this outage SafeAssign functionality will not be available. End-users will not be able to submit papers through SafeAssign during the planned downtime and will receive an error message if they attempt to do so.  Use of SafeAssign can continue as normal after the planned downtime is complete.
Please contact Blackboard Learn Client Support if you have any questions.

Changes to withdrawn student display

August 1st, 2014 by Nargas Oskui

Originally if a student withdraws from a class, the Blackboard system removes their records/hides them, without notice to the faculty.  Faculty are entitled to retain/have access to the records of ALL students in their classes via the course sites, and in fact are required to retain these records per the Records Retention Policy, regardless of if the student withdrew or not.  Faculty are also required to report last date of attendance/participation for students who withdraw, and need access to all the course site information in their Bb course sites.

Many faculty would like the option of grade averages to represent all the students who took a test including those who withdrew.

On behalf of the faculty, and with full endorsement from the Director and Associate Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships the changes have been made to the Blackboard data protocols so that:

  1. those records of students who withdraw are preserved and remain accessible to the faculty teaching their courses;
  2. the students no longer have access to the site once they have withdrawn as occurs now;
  3. the faculty members should be able to see which students have withdrawn in certain areas of the course.

Under the new changes, when a student withdraws from a course instead of being removed from the course as before, they are instead marked as being “Unavailable” in the course.
They will still be seen in the course roster that the instructor can view in “Users and Groups”->”Users” where they will be list under the “Available” column as “No”.

In addition as users are marked as being “Unavailable” they will be marked to not show in the grade center.
If an instructor needs to view information for a withdrawn student in the Grade Center, they can unhide them by going to the Grade Center, then “Manage”->”Row Visibility”, check the box by the student that they want to view again and then click on “Show Rows”.

If they want to make all withdrawn students visible they can click on the box by “Last Name” to select all of the rows and then click on “Show Rows” to make all students visible in the Grade Center. The rows for withdrawn students will be automatically hidden again when Blackboard is updated from Banner twice a day.  If there is a preference for the hidden students selected by faculty to be visible in the Grade Center, please let us know.

Blackboard Maintenance Saturday, Aug 23 8am-6pm

July 29th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

On Saturday, August 23 the Blackboard system will be down for maintenance from 8am until no later than 6pm. During this time the Blackboard system will be upgraded to the April 2014 release.

The April 2014 release is an important update that includes such new features as a full student preview for instructors as well as integrating SafeAssign into the existing Blackboard Assignments feature enabling Crocodoc (inline grading) and Rubrics.

There are also a number of important bug fixes. Refer to the table below for more information.



To Learn More

Assessments: Significant Figures In calculated formula questions, instructors can select the number of decimals or significant figures for the correct answers generated by the system. Calculated Formula Questions
Financial Aid Reporting Generate reports of student academic contribution within a single or multiple courses in Blackboard Learn 9.1. Course Reports
Grading: Anonymous Grading Instructors can hide student names from submitted assignments for anonymous grading. Anonymous Grading
Grading: Delegated Grading Instructors can delegate grading to specific users. Delegated Grading
 Profiles  The Enhanced Cloud Profile provides users with their first professional profiles. The added features help users demonstrate competencies they have developed through their educational journeys in a visual and uniquely /compelling way. If you do not see this update, your institution has not turned it on. Profiles
SafeAssign Integration SafeAssign is integrated into regular Learn assignments. Use SafeAssign in AssignmentsBest Practice: Plagiarism
SafeAssign Originality Report Changes The SafeAssign originality report has been changed in the following ways:

  • The report has been updated with a new look and feel. The report now displays multiple attachments.
  • The email option has been removed. While viewing the report, you can “print to pdf” either natively or using a plug-in based on the operating system and browser combination that you are using to create an accessible PDF. Then, you can share the PDF in multiple ways, including secure email.
  • Each source now has a color unique to the source. Text matching the source is highlighted in the unique source color. There are a maximum of 30 different colors. This matches the maximum of 30 different sources.
  • By default, all citation source highlighting is on. Instructors can click Show/Hide All Highlighting to turn source highlighting off and on for all sources at once.
  • The report layout has been improved for narrow screens. The report information and citations now appear at the top of the submission when instructors reduce the width of the viewing area.
  • Instructors click Select Sources and Resubmit to determine which sources they want to include in the next report. By default, all sources are included. Instructors can clear the check box for each source to exclude from the results. This behavior is the reverse of previous releases.
  • The page instructors are redirected to after resubmitting a paper has been updated to be more in line with the styling of the new report.
  • During the redesign of the SafeAssign originality report, it became clear that the mixed script count was potentially showing misleading and confusing information. The mixed script count identifies the potential of multiple scripts used in an assignment to hide acts of plagiarism. It was discovered that the count was based on the number of words or sentences in the text and was only triggered by Cyrillic. The count should be based on all of the ways multiple scripts can be used to avoid plagiarism detection. Also, the areas where each script was used were not identified in the document and had to be manually located. For these reasons, while the originality report continues to alert you to any use of mixed-script characters within individual words anywhere in a submission, the word count will not be available until it can be accurate for all script combinations and all instances can be highlighted in the report.
SafeAssign Originality Reports
Student Preview Instructors can view their course exactly as a student does by using a student account the system generates for them. Student Preview
User Interface: Frames Removed Frames have been completely removed from the Learn application and replaced with HTML5 compliant DIVs and iFrames. This change improves page printing, accessibility, and page navigation. Administrator
(in English only)
Mobile Learn All Learn 9.1 Releases This update includes resolved issues.
My Grades All Learn 9.1 Releases The look and feel of My Grades has been updated. Students now view feedback by clicking View Feedback.


We set the date for the upgrade to happen on August 23rd in accordance to the Registrar.

Update: Maintenance Complete – Database maintenance July 29 5am-7am – short downtime

July 9th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

Update: the maintenance has been completed.

During the July 29 5am-7am database maintenance period the DBAs will be making a configuration change that will require that the database servers be rebooted. This will happen at around 5am and will result in a short downtime for Blackboard. The change is to allow for more connections to the database servers for when we add additional application servers.

Blackboard Maintenance July 12, 2014 8am-12 noon – no down time expected

July 9th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

There will be some maintenance done on the Blackboard system this Saturday July 12 from 8am until noon. No downtime is expected.

During this time Cumulative Update 4 for 9.1 SP14 will be installed which includes a number of bug fixes including a fix for the Item Analysis reports not being available. There will also be a patch installed to allow the Flickr mashup to work which was broken due to a recent API change in Flickr, and an updated Software Updates building blocks.

The Panapto integration will also be turned of at that time since our Panapto license expires on July 13.

Fixes in Cumulative Update 4:

  • Poor performance is experienced when students are taking exams loaded from a learning module, Article 35868
  • Pages rendering without intended styles after upgrading to SP14
  • Overdue notification sent after timely submission, Article 33320
  • User with enrollment in disabled course that contains blogs encounters “Error getting notifications” when loading What’s New module, Article 18636
  • Manage Module Settings page does not list unavailable courses, Article 32786
  • Global Navigation Menu and Course to Course Navigation shows courses under Recently Viewed that user has never accessed, Article 32545
  • To: field is set to Course Name in Send Email instead of to Course ID, Article 26963
  • HTML files uploaded in Learning Module content areas become stretched, Article 32705
  • Recently navigated courses are shown through Course to Course navigation even if disabled or unavailable, Article 34675
  • SIS: too many Buffer Gets against DATA_INTGR_ID_MAP_TMP during snapshot complete refresh has imported, Article 27752
  • New Course Copy feature includes files from all content areas, not just the content areas selected, Article 34077
  • JAWS issue: when using up/down/right/left arrows after attaching a file does not work as expected
  • Page hangs/freezes when selecting questions to reuse, in both IE and Chrome, Article 34949
  • Default course quota is doubled when a course is copied, Article 34035
  • A course role containing a hyphen causes an error when personalizing Course Module settings, Article 32915
  • Test and Pools: advancing to see additional pages causes IE and Chrome browsers to stop responding, Article 35472
  • Performance Dashboard associates anonymous posts with users, Article 28926
  • “A valid numeric value must be entered: Points Possible” pop-up is displayed when enter 4 digits in the grade center, Article 34696
  • IE11 browser crashes when accessing a course as an instructor when Edit Mode is enabled, Article 35821
  • Performance issues due to heap exhaustion, Article 36041
  • When using IE11, “false” is displayed when trying to delete a course menu item in a course, Article 35927
  • Load balanced environments display the IP address of the load balancer under the access logs, Article 35358
  • Prior update causes Class Path issues in Cengage building block, Article 37413

Some accounts temporarily disabled

June 24th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

Due to a processing error some user accounts were temporarily disabled for part of the evening. All accounts have now been re-enabled and you should be able to log in without any further problems.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

McGraw-Hill maintenance June 27 9pm PDT-June 29 8am PDT

June 23rd, 2014 by Tim Boshart

McGraw-Hill Connect will be down for maintenance starting at 9PM PDT June 27 until 8am Sunday PDT. During this time any McGraw-Hill content in Blackboard will be unavailable.

The rest of the Blackboard system will be unaffected by this maintenance.

Most campus web services including Blackboard unavailable 11:30pm June 18-2:45 am June 19, 2014

June 19th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

Blackboard and other campus web services were unavailable between 11:30pm June 18-2:45am on June 19, 2014. For more information please see the Service Status Page.

Blackboard is now back online.

Update: Maintenance completed: Blackboard maintenance June 19 8am-noon – no down time expected

June 13th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

Update: The maintenance has been completed. There was no downtime during this maintenance.

There will be some maintenance on the Blackboard system on June 19 from 8am until noon. No downtime is expected during this time.

There will be some minor configuration changes made during this time along with some updates to some of the building blocks including updates to the Mobile Web services building blocks along with the YouTube mashup and assignment building blocks that contain various bug fixes.

Blackboard and other campus web services unavailable between 12:00pm-12:40pm 5-28-2014

May 28th, 2014 by Tim Boshart

Blackboard and other campus web services were unavailable between 12:00pm-12:40pm on May 28, 2014. For more information please see the Service Status Page.