What’s new in Blackboard after the move to SaaS?

The move to SaaS is now complete!

Over the course of three days, everything was moved from Managed Hosting, over to the new SaaS environment.

That means we will always run the latest version of Blackboard – that means no more finding a bug in September and having to wait for the next summer’s upgrade for it to be fixed. As soon as the fix is released by Blackboard, it will be available to us.

Also, just as important, there there will be no downtime at all to install new releases – taking Blackboard down for anywhere between six and 16 hours is a thing of the past!

Now we’re on the latest version, there are a lot of bug fixes/improvements, and a few things to highlight as a move to the new version. We’ll also have more information during the summer on some new features that are not yet available.

! SignUp Lists

Unfortunately, the open source SignUp List tool is not compatible with SaaS.

You will be unable to create/modify any lists that exist in courses, and students will be unable to sign up or remove themselves from any lists.

The SignUp list tool will not be available in 2019 courses, which will be made available to instructors by the end of next week.

! Internet Explorer

Blackboard no longer supports Internet Explorer.

You will still be able to use this browser, but any issues you run into will not be resolved if they only occur in Internet Explorer.

You are much better using a more modern browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

You can visit Blackboard’s Browser Checker to see if you’re using a supported version, and you can read more about Blackboard’s browser support policy.

Content Item Availability

You don’t have to edit an item to change its availability any more – you can now toggle it via the context menu.

New SafeAssign Originality Report

The Originality Report is redesigned, and now includes information about a submission’s overall risk for being copied from another source. Read more.

! Respondus LockDown Browser

For each course that has one or more Respondus tests created prior to the SaaS migration (i.e. created before 29 July), you will need to refresh the link between Respondus and the course on Blackboard.

To do that, you will need to do the following in each affected course

  1. In Control Panel, click Course Tools then Respondus LockDown Browser.
  2. If you see the About LockDown Browser screen, click on Continue to LockDown Browser
  3. A Respondus confirmation messageYou will see a confirmation message that the settings have been updated

Release notes

Detailed release notes are available on help.blackboard.com. Click on Experience: Original on the right hand side to filter them to updates applicable to Aston.

Upcoming releases

Blackboard Learn SaaS sees new versions released monthly, the next one will be on 8 August 2019.

Weekly maintenance window

While there is no downtime to install new versions of Blackboard Learn on SaaS, Amazon Web Services (where Learn SaaS is hosted) has a weekly maintenance window – Tuesday mornings between 0100-0130 UTC.

Work may or may not happen during this window. If work does happen, it may cause Blackboard to be briefly unavailable.

Behind the Blackboard has more detailed information.

Contact us

You can get in touch with the Technology Enhanced Learning Team if you have any questions on the SaaS move, new versions of Blackboard, or any of the other tools we support.


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