Archive for the ‘Blackboard’ Category

Server maintenance Dec 28th

Blackboard may be the last thing that you are thinking of  in the early morning between semesters, but just in case here is the full text from Blackboard:

“Subject: Upcoming System Maintenance (Service Impacting)

Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time: 12:00 AM to 08:30 AM US Eastern Time

Services: Clients hosted at Northern Virginia Data Center 2

As part of the Managed Hosting team’s initiative to improve our environment and take advantage of new technologies, we will be undergoing a project to swap out our existing core switches in both the VA2 and VA3 datacenters. This swap will enable us to upgrade to our vendor’s latest technology switches while expanding our capacity so that we can better support your growth.

The maintenance work is scheduled to happen on Tuesday December 28th from 12:00 – 8:30 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Why is the maintenance window 8½ hours instead of the usual 4 hours?

This project is larger in scale than most of the maintenance work we do during our regular windows. Our standard maintenance generally requires adding or replacing a card or upgrading code whereas this maintenance requires the replacement of both the A & B side switches. While the work itself should not take the full 8½ hours, we have built a buffer into the window to resolve any problems that might arise and/or enact a rollback plan if needed.

Why is the work being done on a Tuesday and not during the Friday morning window?

Based on our maintenance policy, any scheduled non-emergency maintenance that requires more than the four hours allotted during a regular Friday window will be performed during a more appropriate window.

Will my site be offline the entire window?

The Managed Hosting Engineering Teams will take all necessary steps to minimize the impact to clients. However, because the maintenance requires redirecting traffic in addition to physically removing equipment, clients may experience extended periods of latency and/or packet loss at anytime during the entire window. Our recommendation is to notify your end users to prepare for the site to be offline for the full eight and a half hours. They may find the site available sporadically but users should not plan to do any work as it may not be saved if the site becomes unreachable.

Does my institution have to be included in this maintenance?

Yes. As the maintenance is datacenter wide, it will include all clients hosted within the facility.

Will I need to make any changes on my network?

No, there is nothing that needs to be done by your institution and no changes need to be made to your network. There will be no modifications to our current configurations or IP schema during this change.

Sincerely,

Blackboard MH Change Management”

Server Maintenance Dec 18th

On Saturday December 18th, 2010 between the hours of 12:01 am to 08:00 am US Eastern, the Managed Hosting Infrastructure Team will be performing essential maintenance at our VA2 and VA3 datacenters. The work involves upgrading of certain infrastructure network devices.

Please take note that this is an extended 8 hours service impacting maintenance being performed on a Saturday. This work is larger in scale compared to typical work handled during our regular weekly Friday maintenance windows. Please plan accordingly.

Blackboard Maintenance

As part of our routine maintenance, we will begin to remove courses from the Summer and Fall 2009 semesters on December 6th, 2010. If you have courses from either of these terms that you require to remain available on the Blackboard server, please contact the Blackboard Manager, Jonathan Gallaway at jgallawa@loyno.edu or at 504-864-7168.

Again this only concerns courses from the Summer and Fall of 2009. While no other courses are affected, please take time to look through your courses from all previous semesters, and if there are some that you no longer need to have live on Blackboard, please indicate to us which can now be removed.

While we take system backups, we encourage all teaching faculty to archive their courses for later use. For a tutorial on how to take an archive of your course visit the Blackboard Center on the Monroe Library Website at here.

Courses for the Spring of 2011 will be created on Fridady, Dec 17th, and students will be enrolled into them on Monday, Jan 6th.  If you need assistance copying material from previous semesters, combining multiple sections of courses that you are teaching, or have any questions about Blackboard or course procedures, you can, as always, contact Jonathan Gallaway or the Monroe Library.

Tips for taking an Online Test

We are coming up to the end of the semester and I just wanted to share some best practices when it comes time to take an online test.

The following tips will help you prepare yourself and your computer for taking a test in Blackboard. While this information is not guaranteed to prevent all technical issues, you can minimize your chance of experiencing a problem if you employ the tips below.

Before You Begin

  • Take your test in a quiet area that is free from distractions.
  • Set aside enough time to complete the test.  Do not wait until the last minute.  Plan enough time to contact your instructor if anything goes wrong.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time before the closing time of the test.  If you enter the test ten minutes before the closing time, you will be locked out.
  • Use a computer plugged in directly to your internet router.  Do not use a wireless or satellite connection if possible.
  • We recommend using Firefox to take all tests.

During the Test

  • Do not double-click any of the buttons in the test. Blackboard uses single-clicks only. Double-clicking will not make the server process your request faster – it will only cause you to get kicked out.
  • Once you have entered the test, do not click the “back” button on your browser or other areas on the screen.
  • Read the Test Instructions section at the top of the test. This area tells you the time limit (if any), how many attempts you are allowed, and if you are able to backtrack (for one-at-a-time question presentation).
  • If your test is presented one question at a time, do NOT click the “back” button on your browser to go to a previous question.  If backtracking is allowed, the test will provide a button to go to previous question.
  • Use the scroll wheel on your mouse as little as possible, or find a mouse that does not have a scroll wheel.  If you scroll the wheel right after clicking an answer choice, you may inadvertently change your answer on a question.  Click the answer choice and then click some blank space on the page to make sure your answer choice was marked correctly.
  • Do not rush through the test and click several buttons at once. Always wait for your browser’s status bar to say “done” whenever you click a button to move to another question or save your answers.
  • Do not switch between multiple windows or tabs, or open other programs. If your instructor allows you to use your notes, print them out before taking the test.
  • If all the questions are presented at once, save your answers every 15 minutes.

Pre-Semester Blackboard Workshops

By now you probably know that Loyola will be upgrading Blackboard later this week. Since the new version will be significantly different from the current one, we strongly encourage faculty who plan to use Blackboard in the fall to attend a training workshop.

We will be holding Workshops August 23rd to 27th so that Faculty will have a chance to preview the new system and understand the new features and changes. There will also be workshops concentrating on Blackboard Basics, for those new to Blackboard and Assessment, which will cover using tests, surveys and assignments. Workshops will be held in the LI classroom on the second floor of the Monroe Library at the following times:

Aug 23rd

  • 10am – What is new in Blackboard 9.1
  • 12pm – Blackboard Basics

Aug 24th

  • 12pm – Assessment
  • 2pm – What is new in Blackboard 9.1

Aug 25th

  • 10am – Blackboard Basics
  • 12pm – What is new in Blackboard 9.1

Aug 26th

  • 12pm – Assessment
  • 2pm – What is New in Blackboard 9.1

Aug 27th

  • 10am – Blackboard Basics
  • 2pm – What is new in Blackboard 9.1

Anyone planning on using Blackboard in the fall for their courses is encouraged to attend.

Yet more Blackboard Maintenance

It is that time of year again when we try to make all of the changes to the system to make sure next year goes as smoothly as possible.

On Sunday, June 20th, Blackboard will be unavailable from 2:30am until 10:30am, while our server is migrated to a new data center. Once this is complete, blackboard should see faster performance and greater reliability.  Please plan for this outage accordingly.

Blackboard on Your iPhone

Did you know that you can now access your Blackboard account using your iPhone or iPod touch? Just yesterday the Blackboard Learn app became available at the app store.

Just download the app (its free), enter in the url for loyola’s blackboard server (loyno.blackboard.com) and your username and password, and you are well on your way to seeing what’s new, viewing class readings and keeping up with your classes even when you are away from the computer.

Don’t have an iPhone? Look for the Blackboard Sync app on Facebook and stay connected that way too.

More information on Safeassign

For more information on the anti-plagiarism service from Blackboard, Safeassign, and how to use it in your course see the Instructor’s Manual here. Information about Safeassign for students is also available, they should follow this link.

Session '"Z" classes

With Spring semester in full swing, It is time to start thinking about the second eight week (or “Z”) classes. Session Z courses officially begin, with some exceptions, on March 4th, 2009. If you are teaching one of these courses, it should already be listed in your course list on Blackboard. If you don’t see it there, contact me so we can be sure that you have the access you need.  Students will be enrolled into these classes on Monday March 2nd.

Blackboard Maintenance

Some of you may have noticed blackboard was not available for a short time this afternoon. Because of some Database errors we were forced to perform an emergency restart of the service which took about five minutes.

I apologize profusely for any inconvenience, but I believe that database errors should stop now. If you happen to see any in the future, please let me know as soon as possible.

Thanks

Jonathan Gallaway