Blackboard upgrades require action steps
We continually work to upgrade the tools available to our faculty. One upcoming change is our Blackboard hosting arrangement. Starting Summer 2018, Blackboard will be hosted in the cloud (also known as Blackboard Software as a Service or SaaS). Currently, Blackboard is hosted on our servers here on campus. This change will allow us greater flexibility in supporting our faculty and students. It will also provide a more stable, better performing system overall. You should see little difference in day-to-day use. But, we need to make a few changes in how things operate to best use our resources.
Changes to Blackboard course shells
Previously, Blackboard course shells were created for you automatically, based on the course listing in Banner. However, not all faculty use Blackboard for their courses, so this process created wasted space with unused course shells. As we will be paying for the space we use in the cloud, we can use our resources better. So, Computer Services has created a new request process for Blackboard course shells. As a faculty member, you can now request your own Blackboard course shell. You can also combine versions. You will need to request your course shells for each semester starting with Summer 2018.
This process is now available for Summer 2018 and Fall 2018. On your Teaching and Advising tab, under Rosters and Evaluations, you will see a Class Dashboard link. Here, you can request your Blackboard course shells for each of your class sections. You also have the option to combine courses in Blackboard. You can find more information about requesting courses on Missouri State Experts.
Course requests are pushed through every few hours during the standard workday. If your course has not appeared after one business day, contact Computer Services. Eventually, this process will be fully automated, but we appreciate your patience as we get started.
Course content migration
Computer Services will automatically copy courses from the last year into the new Blackboard cloud environment. Fall 2017 and Summer 2017 courses have already been copied, Spring 2018 courses will be copied after the close of the semester. Once copied, you can move and copy content between courses as you normally do. The cloud system retains courses for a year. Then they are moved to the Blackboard archive server. Master courses with “Master” or “MST” in the course ID have been moved to the new cloud environment as well. Use the Blackboard Course Migration Request form to ask for your courses to be moved to the new system. Please note, this process may take some time.
The new cloud Blackboard has some small interface changes. Some icons may look a bit different than they did before. Also, the color themes for Blackboard courses are no longer available. Some other customization options may be more limited. Functionally, there is very little difference in how the new system operates. The benefit to these changes is mobile responsiveness. You’ll find that Blackboard is more accessible on different device screen sizes, including phones and tablets.
Accessing the new system
Currently, you can access the new Blackboard system, for Summer and Fall 2018 courses. After the end of the Spring semester, the existing Blackboard URL (BlackBoard.MissouriState.edu) will direct students and faculty to the new system. At this time, the prior system will be archived, so you won’t lose access to any prior course materials.
- Help Desk Blackboard SaaS Information
- Experts Knowledge Base: Class Dashboard
- Experts Knowledge Base: SaaS Articles
Demo and overview opportunity
We will be providing a Blackboard cloud demo and overview to distance faculty on April 27 at 10:00 a.m. You can attend the event in person at Meyer Alumni Center, Room 314, or you may attend remotely through Zoom. If you have questions about the training, you can contact us at MSOnline@MissouriState.edu. We will record the session and we will post the video here after the event.
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