Unlike in previous years, there will be no summer downtime (when a system is out of action or unavailable for use) for Blackboard this year. This is because, last summer, we moved our Blackboard system onto a ‘cloud’ infrastructure. This means our system can automatically scale to meet demand, and can also receive bug fixes and upgrades more quickly, without any downtime.
The Digital Education Office.
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 (ivanticloud.com).
We hope to have this issue resolved as soon as possible and are still actively working on solutions.
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.
Suzanne Collins: Digital Education Office
From the 31st of January, we’re making a change to the way captions get added to video content in Re/Play. Instead of lecturers having to add captions manually, Re/Play will now add them automatically. This is good news for all of you who have said that having captions on video helps you to learn, and it also means that we will be working towards making your learning material as accessible as it can be.
“I use captions whenever I am watching a video. I find it really helps me to process what someone is saying. The Powerpoint slides help me to clarify any inaccurate captions.” UoB Student, Autumn 2021
The software that will add the captions does so using a computer, not a human, so there will inevitably be mistakes in the captions. Therefore, it’s really important to see captions as a way to support your learning, not as a replacement for the video content. They will not be accurate enough if you rely on captions to learn for accessibility reasons. If this is your situation, there is a separate support route in place where human written captions can be provided for you – get in touch with Disability Services who will be able to help further. For recordings of in-person lectures (lecture capture), captions will be added once the recording is published. If you don’t immediately see captions available, check back in an hour or so.
“When there are no captions, I am much more likely to need to keep rewinding to listen again.” UoB Student, Autumn 2021
If you use captions as a support to your learning, you’re adding to your set of study skills, as well as your digital skills! If anything doesn’t look right, especially terminology or names, double check against what’s on the slide, in handouts or reading materials, or listen to that section if you can. Captions should never be used as the sole source of information, especially for assessments and revision. Always check with your lecturer if you don’t understand something important.
To turn the captions on or off on a video, look for the small ‘CC’ icon at the bottom of the video. Captions will appear at the bottom of the video.
If you play the video full screen, you’ll also see a small magnifying glass icon. Here, you can search the captions and go straight to where a key word is mentioned by selecting the caption you want to see.
The Digital Education Office (DEO) is aware of a new, infrequent issue where some people are receiving 404 errors when attempting to open certain documents in Blackboard when using Edge. This error is currently being investigated by Blackboard and will be fixed in a future update.
To access the documents, please use an alternative browser, or right-click on the document link and select ‘Save As’ to download a copy of the document.
Our apologies for the inconvenience.
If you are submitting work to Turnitin through Blackboard, please ensure your Edge or Chrome browsers are up-to-date, or use a non-Chromium browser such as Firefox or Safari. If you don’t, you may find your ‘resubmit’ button doesn’t work.
Knowing how to keep your browsers, software, and apps up to date is a really important digital skill. Often, updates fix known problems, improve security, and give you a better experience. As in this example, sometimes older versions of software experience bugs or problems, which can impact you at important times like when you’re submitting assessments. Most of the time, you’ll find the option to update your software in that software’s settings. If you follow the links in the post above, you’ll see how to do this in Edge and Chrome.