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Upgrade of Blackboard environment planned prior to Summer 2015

03.26.2015 | By: Texas Wesleyan University

IT Academic Services at Texas Wesleyan is working with Blackboard (Bb) Managed Hosting in order to upgrade its environment from Bb Learn 9.1 – Service Pack 14 to Bb Learn 9.1 

When will this upgrade happen?

Plans are to upgrade the production Blackboard environment prior to the official start of the Summer I 2015 semester.

To accommodate this, Texas Wesleyan’s Blackboard environment will be unavailable to all users from 5:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Why upgrade?

Upgrades are a part of almost every software program, and are intended to provide increased security and improved functionality based on end-user feedback. Upgrades also address current problems with applications.

Periodic upgrades also ensure that an officially supported version of an application is in use. With this in mind, upgrading is less a matter of if, but when.

What is a Blackboard release upgrade?

Blackboard regularly releases upgrades to the Bb Learn 9.1 learning management system during the year (formerly referred to as service packs or “SPs”).

These upgrades consist of bug fixes as well as feature enhancements. These feature enhancements are driven by feedback from Blackboard end-users across the globe. 

What does this upgrade mean for Faculty?

Core tool functionality within Blackboard Learn 9.1 remains largely unchanged, though faculty will benefit from improved features new to the April 2014 and October 2014 releases as well as fixes to known issues in SP14.

What does this upgrade mean for Students?

There will be a few minor cosmetic and functional changes to certain tools, but students should be able to seamlessly move from version 9.1 SP14 without training.

Blackboard Course Life Cycle Moving Forward

In accordance with Blackboard recommended best practices, plans are in place to start purging older course data from Texas Wesleyan’s Blackboard environment. Specifically, plans are to retain courses in Blackboard for a period of one full calendar year plus one term. Courses older than this will eventually be purged from the live Blackboard environment after first having been archived outside of Blackboard.

Faculty will be notified ahead of time when courses from specific terms are scheduled to be removed from the Blackboard live environment. This course life cycle management will help to keep Blackboard disk usage within contracted limits, it will help to ensure site performance and stability, and it will reduce the number of inactive courses that instructors are faced with managing in the My Courses module in Blackboard.

For concerns related to this message, contact David Raykovitz, draykovitz@txwes.edu.

To report service disruptions or performance issues occurring during normal business hours, contact the Help Desk at 817-531-4428.

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