De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.



Blackboard Upgrade Summer 2014

The preparations of the Blackboard upgrade are ongoing. We will be upgrading to the new version starting on Friday evening July 18th and hope to be back online Sunday afternoon July 20th. The Blackboard courses for 2014-2015 will be available in the first week of August.

This new version of Blackboard will give us new functionalities, and bugfixes. The most important new functionalities and improvements are:


  • Security improvements and bugfixes
  • New portfolio’s – Portfolios are now accessed from the global navigation (top right corner) and have a new authoring canvas. Instructors can create portfolio assignments.
  • Content editor Math formulas – the equation editor is replaced by the mathML equation editor (WIRIS) so simple Latex is possible directly in the content editor.
  • Profiles – You can share your avatar and study with other users, just for now. We are looking into the more advanced options, but have to make sure this will not cause performance issues before turning those extra social options on.

For instructors:

  • Student Preview – Instructors can view their course exactly as a student does by using a student account the system generates for them by clicking on the icon next to the Edit Mode. (The first time opening the student preview will take some time)
  • Delegated Grading – Instructors can delegate grading to specific users.
  • Date Management – After a course is copied, it is possible to speed up the transition of old dates to new ones relevant for the new course using Date Management. From Date Management, instructors can adjust all availability dates, due dates, and adaptive release dates. Instructors can choose to update dates automatically or manually from one convenient location.
  • Safe Assignment improvements – SafeAssign is integrated into regular Learn assignments. You do not have to choose between an Assignment and a SafeAssignment anymore. Just create an assignment and choose SafeAssign in the assignment options. The SafeAssign originality report has been changed as well.
  • Grade Center improvements – Blackboard has made several improvements to grading and Grade Center.

For Students:

  • My Grades – The look and feel of My Grades has been updated. Students can now view feedback by clicking View Feedback.

Unfortunately a new version does not only fix bugs, it usually means new bugs as well. We have been testing this new version the last couple of months and did not run into any critical bugs. For security reasons it is important that we keep our Blackboard version up to date. We will keep you informed about the existing bugs and will help you and provide a workaround if possible.

In August there will be an open office by E-Learning Support (ELS). If you have any questions or issues, please come by, we will make time to sit down with you and help you as best as we can.

Due to the upgrade Blackboard is not available from Friday evening July 18th until Sunday July 20th. We will do our best to be back online again as soon as possible. Osiris can be reached during the Blackboard upgrade. The new Blackboard courses for 2014-2015 will be available the first week of August. They are created according to the data from CourseBase.

Please check this weblog if you would like to be informed of the upgrade progress or follow us on twitter @TUDelftBb

For questions about the upgrade or Blackboard please contact E-Learning support (ELS@TUDelft.NL of 89194 )

Internet Explorer Security Update Causes IE11 to Crash when an Instructor Accesses a Blackboard Learn Course

Microsoft has released  a new version of Internet Explorer (IE), which is causing Internet Explorer 11 to crash when an instructor is accessing a Blackboard Learn course that has Edit Mode turned on.

Browsers are developing faster; they release new versions every month. Application like Blackboard get access to these new version the same time as we do. Blackboard has acknowledged this issue and is working on a solution.

BB Article summary:

On February 11th, 2014, Microsoft released a Cumulative Security Update, MS14-010.  This security update causes Internet Explorer 11 to crash when an instructor accesses any Blackboard Learn course that has Edit Mode turned on.  This security update was pushed to all Windows users with IE11.  More information about the security update can be found here:

Please be assured that Blackboard is currently investigating this issue and developing patches to correct it.

Browser Support for SP 11

The following link highlights the new platform and browser configurations tested for SP 11 using the following support terms:

  • Certified: Fully supported technology with highest level of testing before release.
  • Compatible: Fully supported technology with minimal level of testing before release.
  • Unsupported: Unsupported technology because it is either impossible or not tested.
  • Provisional: (Client Technologies ONLY) future technologies considered supported by Blackboard Support.

New features in Blackboard 9.1 SP11 as from 17th of July

This summer we will upgrade Blackboard to version 9.1 SP11. Due to the upgrade Blackboard is not available from Sunday evening July 14th up to and including Wednesday July 17th.  The new blackboard contains bugfixes and some new features of which the most important are summarized in the following sections.

Global Navigation & My Blackboard

The navigation menu accessible through My Places is replaced by a new and more comprehensive navigation menu. The new Global Navigation Menu  is a gateway to My Blackboard and provides an one click access to other important places in Blackboard. This navigation menu can be accessed from anywhere in Blackboard and includes:

  • Links to recently visited courses and organizations
  • Links to other courses and organizations
  • Links to Retention Center
  • Personal settings
  • List of posts (in Discussion Board, Blog, Journal or Wiki)
  • List of updates in courses (newly added content)
  • My Grades (for students)
  • Home and Help links

See video for look and feel.

Retention Center

The Retention Center is an instructor-only tool that enables instructors to get early insight into student performance and give focused attention to students who need it. It replaces the Early Warning System feature with easy workflows, while retaining all existing Early Warning System data and rules. With the Retention Center instructors can:

  • Check the overall academic health of their class.
  • Find out which students needs their help and drill in to see their specific areas of difficulty.
  • Contact the most at-risk students immediately and flag those you want to monitor closely by looking into:
    • Missed Deadlines
    • Grades
    • Course Activity
    • Course Access
  • Use course activity information to prioritize which areas of the course to attend to first.

See video for look and feel.

Discussion Board

The new Discussion Board is more user friendly and easier to manage than the current Discussion Board. Some of these improvements are mentioned below:

  • Discussion Board structure is immediately clear:
    • All posts belonging to a thread can be seen at one once resulting in fewer clicks.
    • Less meta-info that diverts attention from discussions.
    • Get an easy overview all posts with the Collapse All feature.
    • Much larger textboxes for discussion texts.
    • The use of background colours to emphasize the difference between original post and reply posts.
    • Control buttons can be found and used more easily:
      • Less buttons and the buttons appear only when you want to use them.
      • New Posts in discussion board can be seen at once. Users are informed about new discussion board posts through their course homepage in the What’s new module.
      • Avatars: user profile avatars are more prominent in the discussions.
      • Post First Setting – instructors can use a new forum setting to require students to post to a forum before they can see other students’ posts.

See video for look and feel.

Inline grading

The new blackboard offers a way for instructors an easy and time saving way to assess uploaded work of students without the need to download submitted files. When an Instructor views a document submitted through an Assignment, that document is converted to a format that is viewable inside the web browser. The converted document is displayed in a viewer on the Grade Assignment page. The viewer has a toolbar with following features:

  • Comment – Shows a menu of all annotation tools.
    • Annotation tools enable instructors to provide feedback — comments, highlights, and even drawing — directly on the inline view of the document
    • Can be combined with rubrics.
    • Download – Downloads a copy of the document. If annotations have been made, there is an option to download the copy in the original format or in a PDF version that includes the annotations. This feature is also available to students when they view their submission.

See video for look and feel.

New Content editor

The new content editor allows you to add and format text, insert equations and hyperlinks, tables, and attach different types of files to content. It contains the following features:

  • Text: align full, find/replace, block quote, CSS editing, insert non-breaking spaces, anchors, symbols, and emoticons.
  • Tables: set row and cell properties, insert and delete rows and cells, split and merge cells.
  • Help button shows a full legend of the content editor functions
  • Automatic HTML validation
  • Full screen editing
  • Automatic clean-up of code when copying and pasting from Word (choosing Mashups > Paste from Word is no longer necessary, you can paste the text directly)
  • Supports copying and pasting of MathML formulas and equations directly in the editor.
    • Basic operations, Matrix calculus, Calculus and series, Logic and set theory, Units, Greek alphabet, and more.
    • Automatically converts formulas and equations to images so that users do not need download an applet to view them. The formulas and equations remain editable by the author.

See video for look and feel.

Video everywhere

Video Everywhere is a feature of the content editor and very suitable for distant learning. Once installed and activated, you will see a new icon in the content editor that accesses your webcam. The feature provides the ability for instructors and students to:

  • Record a video on the fly using a webcam and have it seamlessly embedded in course materials, interactions, and feedback through the content editor.
  • Reuse previously recorded videos by choosing from one’s own “library” of videos.

See video for look and feel.

In August there will be an open office by E-Learning Support (ELS). There will be a daily presentation with various subjects. One of the presentations will give you an overview of all changes within Blackboard. The first week of August, the courses for next academic year will be produced.

Due to the upgrade Blackboard is not available from Sunday evening July 14th up to and including Tuesday July 16th. Osiris can be reached.

Please check this weblog if you would like to be informed of the progress of the upgrade.

Blackboard System Requirements SP9

December 8th and 9th we will upgrade to Blackboard 9.1 SP9.

For Blackboard 9.1 SP9 to work properly, your computer has to meet some software requirements. Some of the errors that occur may be caused by for example using the wrong version of Java or an older browser version.

For Blackboard to work properly you need to use Java 6 or 7. There is a catch: Java 6 Update 29 causes trouble, so you need Java 6 Update 30 – 33.

Blackboard no longer supports:

  • Internet Explorer 6, 7
  • Firefox 1.x, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5
  • Safari 2.0, 3.x and any version on Windows
  • Mac OSX 10.3, 10.4 “Tiger”
  • Java 5, although it may continue to work

Windows users
Blackboard supports Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32 & 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit) in combination with the browsers: Internet Explorer (IE) 8, 9 Firefox (FF) 3.6 and the Final Release Channel and Google Chrome (Stable Channel).

Mac OSX users
Blackboard supports Mac OSX 10.5 “Leopard”, Mac OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” and Mac OSX 10.7 “Lion” in combination with the browsers Safari 4.0, 5.0 and 5.1, Firefox 3.6 and Final Release Channel and Google Chrome (Stable Channel) except for the combinations “Leopard” with Safari 5.1 and “Lion” with Safari 4.0 and 5.0.
Also Firefox 8 and Mac OS are not compatible with the drag and drop functions on Blackboard.

What Browser to use
Since some of the problems that occur in Blackboard are browser depend, we can not advise one specific browser. If something does not work the way you expect, please try using another browser.  We keep you informed about known issues and workarounds.

TU Delft purchased a license to use Browse Aloud

TU Delft purchased a license to use BrowseAloud for the content on Blackboard. BrowseAloud makes it easier to read
and understand online texts. Just select text and it will be read out aloud.
Also, BrowseAloud offers other adjustable settings. To use BrowseAloud, a single
one time download is required. This download is free and can be saved locally.

Download BrowseAloud

After having downloaded
BrowseAloud, you can adjust several personal settings, such as reading speed,
language and voice. Also, you can make personal pronunciation alterations, wich
will be saved to the same location where you saved BrowseALoud, and will thus
only be available to you. If there are pronounciation adjustments you think are
applicable to all Blackboard users, you can fill out a request-form. These
requests will be taken for consideration, before they become available to all
Blackboard users. See Also:

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