Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bb 9 - Your Questions Answered

It seems everywhere I go these days, I get asked questions about the transition to Blackboard 9.  Here is a list of the questions I get most often and the answers.

1. When will the upgrade to Bb 9 happen?

Sometime between June 2 and June 14, 2010.  The exact date for the upgrade hasn't been set yet, but we want to do it between the Spring and Summer semesters.

2.  Will I have to completely redo my courses for Bb 9?

No.  Your courses from this semester will work the same in Bb 9 as they do now.  Course copy will work the same, so you can copy your courses from this semester into future semester containers without any problems.

3.  What has been removed from Bb 9?
  • The DropBox. The more robust Assignments tool allows students to submit their assignments to their instructors.
  • The Electric Blackboard.  This tool isn't used much.  Let me know if you need an alternative.
  • Student Homepages will not be available.  The new Blogs tool enables students to express their thoughts and reflect on learning within the course.

4. What changes will there be in Bb 9 that I may not like?

Other colleges have expressed frustration with the following items.  They are controversial and many people already on Bb 9 have requested they be changed.  By the time we're on Bb 9, these may work better.
  • If you select a Display Until date, you must select a Display After date as well.  This one is a real gotcha. 
  • Students need to click an extra "Attach File" button when submitting assignments.
  • Announcement emails link to the announcement, rather than give the actual text of the announcement. 

5. What's good about Bb 9?
  • Fewer clicks!! 
  • Drag and drop on the course menu and other areas
  • Quick way to see the course from a student perspective
  • Multiple attempts for assignments, each can be graded separately
  • Improved group features, such as multiple group creation and group assignment grading
  • New "Home Page" in courses allow instructors to add modules that show students what is due, the calendar, and announcements in the same place
  • Class blogs, group blogs, personal journals

6. If the Digital Dropbox goes away, where will work already submitted to it go?
You will need to download any files you want to keep that are in the Digital DropBox to your hard drive before we do the upgrade.  These files will not be accessible in Bb 9.

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