Blackboard has a new look

The Blackboard upgrade to the new Ultra Base Navigation has been successfully completed. You will see the new-look Blackboard the next time you log in. Your courses haven’t changed, but the way you navigate around Blackboard should now be easier and more intuitive, whatever device you’re using.

We’ve been working with our Student Digital Champions on some of the decisions around the look and navigation – thank you to everyone who contributed!

“I really like the ease of navigation of the updated Blackboard.”
– University of Bristol student

You can find more information and guidance in our Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation guide.

Screenshot of the new Blackboard log in page


Digital Education service improvements planned over the summer 

Each year, the Digital Education Office delivers a summer plan of work on our digital education environments and systems. This plan includes any significant system changes or software upgrades, which are done at a time that will least affect staff and students. However, it also includes more minor changes to systems and processes, ensuring everything works well for the next academic year.  

To keep everyone updated on the work taking place, we update a Service Improvements page over the summer, documenting and advertising expected and completed work. If you are interested in keeping up to date, it is worth bookmarking the Service Improvements Page. Anything that we think you need to know will also be communicated out from your schools, or via usual channels and bulletins, so don’t worry about missing anything important! 

We’ve worked in various ways to talk to students and get their views on your Digital Learning Environment, including surveys, workshops, focus groups, and of course ongoing co-creation and consultation with our Student Digital Champions. A lot of the Re/Play improvements this year will be a result of suggestions directly from students, so thank you to everyone who has given us their views and ideas.  

Now resolved – Blackboard access disruption

This issue is now resolved. IT Services has restarted the University’s DNS servers, which has fixed the on-campus Blackboard access issue that was persisting this morning. If you are still experiencing any issue, please contact IT Services.

The Blackboard access issue from yesterday, which was fixed by Blackboard at source, is persisting for some users today – notably, people attempting to access Blackboard on campus. IT Services is investigating why this is the case, supported by Blackboard.

In the meantime, you may be able to access Blackboard using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or by using a mobile phone as a hotspot. If you are still encountering problems on your own device, you can attempt to resolve them by flushing your DNS, using the instructions found on the IT Services status page.

We understand that many students might have had submission deadlines yesterday or today. The Schools are aware of the problems affecting Blackboard access. If this situation applies to you, your School or Faculty will be in contact with further instructions. If you have any urgent concerns, please contact your School Admin team for the best localised support for you.

Now resolved – Issue concerning submission receipts not being received is being investigated

This issue is now resolved

Today (20th April 2023), Blackboard reported an issue which may have prevented some students from receiving submission receipts for Blackboard assignments, or which may be causing a delay to them being received. The Digital Education Office is working with Blackboard to investigate this issue and ensure it is resolved.

Update: Between around 12.00 and 1.15 today, a global Domain Name Server issue affected the domain, meaning that some services that need to access this domain were unable to. These included accessing Turnitin and Qwickly Attendance through Blackboard, and there was also a delay in submission receipts arriving (due to domain checks in mail servers). This issue has now been resolved, and all services should be working normally.

Clear your cache to prevent possible equation display issues

Occasionally, you may find equations do not display correctly in Blackboard. If this occurs, you should clear your browser cache, then refresh/reload the Blackboard page or tab. Clearing the cache can also be done in advance as a preventative measure, once you have logged into Blackboard, eg if you are taking a test which includes equations.  

Firefox is unaffected by these occasional equation display issues.  

How to clear your cache


  1. Click on the group of three dots in the top-right corner of the Chrome window to open the menu.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ from the menu.
  3. On the ‘Settings’ screen, scroll down until you reach the ‘Privacy and security’ section.
  4. Click on ‘Clear browsing data’.
  5. On the ‘Clear browsing data’ screen, tick the box next to ‘Cached images and files’, set the time range to ‘All time’ and click ‘Clear data’.
  6. Close down the Settings tab and refresh/reload the Blackboard page.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the group of three dots in the top-right corner of the Edge browser window to open the menu.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ from the menu.
  3. On the ‘Settings’ menu, select ‘Privacy & security’ from the list on the left side of the menu.
  4. Under the ‘Clear browsing data’ heading, click ‘Choose what to clear’.
  5. Set Time range to ‘All time‘ then tick the box next to ‘Cached images and files’ and click ‘Clear now’.
  6. Close down the Settings tab and refresh/reload the Blackboard page.

Digital Skill – What is a cache and what happens when you clear it?

A ‘cache’ is used by internet browsers when loading a page, to help make the page load faster. The browser essentially remembers small bits of the webpage – like images, logos, buttons etc – so that it can load them again much faster. However, sometimes this can be a problem, if the website is updated and the saved ‘cache’ is no longer the same as what’s actually on the page. A cache won’t contain information like passwords, or your browsing history.

Knowing how to clear your cache is a really important digital skill to learn, and it’s worth spending a few minutes practicing how to do it. Clearing your cache is one way you can check whether any issues you are experiencing are actually something wrong with the website, rather than something that is caused by your browser. If you need to contact IT services about an issue, they may well ask whether you have tried clearing you cache, so doing so in advance is a good way to speed up getting the help you need.

Re/Play – timeout errors (now resolved)

This issue is now resolved.

We are aware of a timeout error message when students are accessing Re/Play from a Blackboard course menu link (eg to the unit collection of all recordings). The supplier has identified the issue is related to search based functions in their systems, and is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Recordings added or shared by other methods – eg those added in course folders or other sections – are currently unaffected.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause; we are working to restore access as soon as possible.

Re/Play – getting the most from the video player

Suzanne Collins
Digital Education Office

If you’re a returning student you may have noticed that the video player for Re/Play recordings in your Blackboard course is a bit different. Over the summer we upgraded the player, and the new one is packed full of new features – it’s much more accessible too!

For full information, go to our Student Essentials Re/Play page.

New features include:

Personalise your captions

Change the font, size and colour of your captions so they work for you and your device.

Screenshot showing caption settings

Player in window

Pop out the recording on top of your browser window, so you can keep slides, make notes or other study materials on the same screen. Adjust the size of the player to work with your screen size.

Screenshot of Player in Window

‘My Marks’ link on Blackboard homepage unavailable

If you are used to using the ‘My Marks’ tool on the Blackboard homepage, you’ll notice it’s currently unavailable. An issue has been identified with the ‘My Marks’ homepage tool, and Blackboard are currently working on fixing it.
The best way to access your marks is always to go to your courses, and look for ‘My Grades and Feedback’ in the ‘Assessment, submission and feedback’ area. This is still working as usual.
For help in accessing your marks and feedback, contact your School Admin Office.

Access to Re/Play recordings – Update

This post is a further update to the issue first identified on 07 February, where students were seeing an error message when trying to use the Re/Play link in the Blackboard left-hand menu.

As reported yesterday, all students should now be able to access Re/Play materials shared via left-hand menu links in Blackboard. Automated recordings have not been affected, and no recordings have been lost. Recordings will be available after 48 hours or when published by the academic staff member, as usual.

However, we are still applying fixes to some pre-existing problems with Re/Play which might affect whether you can view some videos in Blackboard. Yesterday, there were some sporadic reports of videos being unavailable if added into Blackboard so that they appear as a thumbnail image and a link within a course page.

If this is affecting you, first try to access any unavailable videos via the Re/Play link in the left-hand menu of your course, if that is available to you. If the problem persists and you need urgent access, please contact your school, or the IT Self Service site Home / IT Services Self Service (

We hope to have this issue resolved as soon as possible and are still actively working on solutions.

Access to Re/Play recordings now restored in Blackboard

From the afternoon of the 7th February 2022 to 11.30 am today, the 8th February 2022, there was an error in the connection between Re/Play and Blackboard, meaning that you may have been unable to access your videos from the Re/Play link in Blackboard courses.

We believe this issue has been resolved, and you should now be able to view your videos as normal. We are now in the process of thoroughly testing this fix, so there is a possibility some access is yet to be restored in all instances.

We sincerely apologise for any disruption this issue has caused you. Please be assured we have been doing all we can to resolve it as soon as possible.

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