News and Updates From 2020

November

MyAberdeen Updates

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen in November 2020. You can also access an overview of these updates as a PDF document with screenshots

 

Overall

  • Icons Changing for Accessibility in the Activity Stream & Ultra Courses: Icons in the Activity Stream and in Ultra Courses will be larger and more distinctive. Further information is in the large icons update.

 

Ultra Course View

  • Gradebook > Students: Send messages to students and give accommodations from the Gradebook and not just from the Class Register.
  • Show/Hide Overall Grade To Date: Based on our feedback, you can now toggle to Show or Hide the Overall Grade item to students.
  • Test Countdown: Students will now know how much time they have left down to the last second as the timer will change from minutes to seconds when less than 1 minute remains.
  • Details & Actions Fixed – Now Loads in One Go: The “Details & Actions” list (left hand side of the content page) now opens in one go. No more frustration at hitting the wrong item when the second wave of details appears and you hadn’t waited for the full list.

 

Original Course View

  • Content Editor: A cleaner look with slightly different ways of adding certain types of materials. There is a Content Editor Quick Tips Guide and a Content Editor Video outlining key enhancements. Enhancements include improved accessibility and usability, better copy and paste from MS Office files, video embedding and the ability to display Computer Code.
October

Designing and Tutoring Online Course (DTOC)

On Monday 26 October 2020, the five week online course ‘Designing and Tutoring Online Course’ will commence once again.  This is open to all staff within the University and is delivered entirely online over the five week period via MyAberdeen using the Ultra Course View. Further information about the course is on the course booking system and our web pages.

If you miss the October cohort there is the shorter five day version running at the end of January and another five week cohort running in April 2021.

DTOC has been running since 2018, with over 245 participants signing up for the five week cohort and 142 successfully achieving a certificate of participation.  DTOC is usually offered at the end of April and October and is accredited by Advanced HE giving participants the option to apply for Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Since April 2020, we slightly adapted DTOC to offer DTOC LITE over five days, in total there have been 247 participants, with 87 successfully completing all the activities and receiving a certificate.

 

Staff Volunteers

Since July, a group of staff volunteers has been supporting the move to Blended Learning by helping to provide Closed Captions for videos. They have now captioned over 150 videos which is a huge achievement. The project is in its closing stages as the volunteers return to their primary role, however a new process is being developed with Schools to ensure work to caption videos for the following term can continue.

 

New Toolkit resource: MyAberdeen Admin

Our newly created Toolkit area houses resources on using the School Admin Role in MyAberdeen. The resources include guides on grade management, reporting and analytics, administrative processes, and user management on MyAberdeen.  

They can be accessed through the following link: Staff Tools for Blended Learning 

 

MyAberdeen Updates

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen in October 2020:

Ultra Course View

  • Expanded access to Ally in Ultra documents: staff and students can download Ally alternative formats for the Blackboard document item when they are in the expanded view, by clicking the Ally icon in the top menu, next to the conversations icon.

 

Collaborate

  • Recording processing status: Collaborate now shows the status of recording processing. You can see if a recording is still processing or ready to watch from the Recordings page.
September

Updated Toolkit Resources

On Toolkit you can find our recently updated supporting resources, quick guides and videos on using MyAberdeen, Blackboard and Turnitin Assignments, Collaborate Ultra, Panopto and Accessibility. Use the following links to access curated selections of Toolkit resources:  

 

Free Blackboard Webinars

Over the next week Blackboard are offering free webinars on Blackboard Learn Ultra & Original and Blackboard Collaborate.

eLearning is still offering their own webinar sessions via the course booking system, but you may prefer accessing some of these different sessions as well.

 

MyAberdeen Updates

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen in September 2020:

Ultra Course View

  • Send course announcement by email – Staff can now choose to send an email copy of announcements to recipients. Instructors also receive a copy as the email is sent to all course members.
  • Protect assessments with access codes – Staff can now add a system-generated access code for assessments in the Ultra Course View.
  • Automated test question feedback – Staff can enter feedback for correct and incorrect answers on auto-graded question types.
  • Student list view in the gradebook – A new view, called student list view has been added into the gradebook. It gives staff quick access to individual student’s submissions and displays their last access date. The update also improves gradebook performance in courses with very large enrolment numbers.
     

Collaborate

  • Secure recording links – To improve security of recordings, public access to recordings is now off by default for recordings made after 10th of September 2020. Only session owners and students enrolled in the course can see the recording. Instructors can choose to allow public access in the Recording Settings.
  • Recording reminder – Staff will now see a recording reminder when they enter a Collaborate room.
August

Accessibility Guidance Update

This summer, to help staff make learning material more accessible, colleagues across the university have been working to pull together advice around designing, developing and delivering courses online.  This has been combined with information on how to make your course more inclusive.  The guidance now includes a checklist that staff can refer to along with specific advice around video captioning in Panopto.  The new guidance is grouped together on the Inclusivity and Accessibility StaffNet page.

MyAberdeen Updates


Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen in August 2020:

Ultra Course View

  • Additional sources for embedded media in the text editor: The Insert video from web option is now called Insert media from web. Users can add media from a variety of sites. Full list of sites can be found on the Blackboard Release Page
  • Journal support for course copy and conversion: journals and their prompts can be copied from one course to another, regardless of the course view.
  • Text editor added to course announcements: the text editor in the Announcements is now the same enhanced text editor available throughout the course, with the ability to fully format the text added.
     


Collaborate

  • Chat profanity filter: the new profanity filter is available for English and Spanish terms. Now, if someone uses inappropriate words in the chat those words are filtered out. The words are replaced with a series of stars. The chat profanity filter is off by default and moderators can turn it on in Session Settings.
July

Additional Support for the Move to Blended Learning

This summer, to support schools in the move to blended learning, staff across the University have been volunteering to help build and quality assure courses ahead of start of term.  The initial focus has been to support the quality assurance of video captions.  Twenty volunteers have received training so far and to have captioned 30 videos out of 130 submitted.

MyAberdeen Updates

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen in July 2020:

Ultra Course View

  • Course discussions improvements: By default, students won't be able to create discussions. the plus sign and the menu now appear in the upper-right corner of the Discussions page along with the new settings icon. 

Collaborate

  • Browser support updates: As of July 1, 2020 Collaborate will no longer support the browser versions listed below. Update your browser to the latest version. 
    • Native Microsoft Edge ®  
    • Google ChromeTM 78 and earlier 
  • Whiteboard updates: It's now easier to select and rotate items. 
  • Download poll results report: Now moderators, instructors, and administrators can download a session's Poll report. This report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded. 
June

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since June 2020:

Ultra Course View

  • Discussions added to Copy Content: You are now able to copy discussions from one Ultra course to another by using the Copy Content tool.
  • Journals in Ultra: The journal tool has been added to Ultra courses. Students are able to use the journal to leave entries in the same way as in discussions. Each journal can only be seen by the individual student and staff in the course. The journal can be graded or not. Full grading functionality and support for course copy and conversion are expected later this year. Continued enhancements are also coming for the Participants panel.
  • Show question scores setting in Ultra tests: It is now possible to control whether students see the points they got per question, or if they only see the total points for the whole test.

Collaborate

  • Whiteboard improvement: it is now easier to select and rotate items
  • Download poll results: it is now possible to download a session's Poll report. This report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded.
  • Updated create and edit session panel: the settings in the panel for creating and editing sessions are now divided into tabs. This improvement also prevents unintended changes to a session from being accidentally saved.
  • Share camera: The Share camera option has been added to the Share Content panel. This allows you to share a camera connected to your computer in full screen.
  • Session owners and admins can always download recordings: Course coordinators can now always download recordings even if the option to download recordings is clear in the session settings. Use the Allow recording downloads check box to let everyone else download the recording.
May

Considering the challenges posed by these difficult times, the importance of accessible online content for teaching and learning is more pressing than ever before. In order to fulfil new legislation requirements for September and to uphold the Universities commitment to inclusivity, the eLearning Team is releasing weekly micro documents covering guides and best practices for improving the accessibility of online content. These will be available weekly in StaffNet News. All the guides are also available in this Instructor Package.

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since May:

Ally

  • Blackboard App: Blackboard Ally alternative formats can now be accessed directly from the Blackboard App.

Blackboard Collaborate

  • Webinar mode: It is now possible to turn on webinar mode from the settings of a Blackboard Collaborate session. This is required to allow more than 250 participants to attend. In webinar mode only moderators and presenters can share their audio and video. Chat is turned off by default, but can be enabled within the session. Breakout groups are also not available.
  • Security update: All newly-created Collaborate sessions are now secure by default. The Guest Access check box is clear when a new session is being created. The check box must be selected to allow guest access.

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page.

Known issues

There are some know issues we would like to draw your attention to, and on which Blackboard are currently working on:

  • Fixed – July 2020: In Ultra courses, when a Blackboard assignment is created with anonymous grading enabled and more than 1 attempt allowed for the students, the students will be able to see grades before they have been posted. As a workaround, please hide the assignment while grading is taking place, or ensure that only 1 attempt is allowed when using anonymous grading. 
  • In Ultra courses, if course level groups are reused to create the groups for an assignment, staff cannot see the group working spaces (the group discussion and the group Collaborate room). If staff need to be able to see the private group working spaces, please create the groups within the assignment, or reuse groups from another assignment or discussion.
April

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since March:

Ultra Course View 

  • Rich text editor: new improvements include a strikethrough font option, quicker access to the file attachment option and changes to that make the editor easier to read
  • Course-level group self-enrolment: self-enrol groups can now be created at course level for any graded content within a course

Ally

Ally is now using BeeLine Reader, which makes reading on screen easier and faster. Instead of using plain black text, BeeLine Reader displays text using a subtle colour gradient that helps pull your eye through your readings. Find out more about it on the Ally Blackboard pages.

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page. 

Known issues 

None at the moment.

March

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the updates for March have been posted late.

Please visit our Teaching Remotely page for help and advice on delivering teaching remotely. 

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since February:

Ultra Course View 

  • Text editor word count: a word count has been added to the text editor, when creating Documents and when students respond to the Essay question within assignments
  • Submission collected offline: students will not see overdue notifications for Ultra Assessments that use the Collect Offline Submission setting
  • Gradebook sorting: students are now sorted by last name in the Gradebook
  • Discussion posts: the line spacing of discussion posts has been increased, making them easier to read
  • Calculated formula questions are now available within the Ultra Course view

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page. 

Blackboard Collaborate

In order to prepare for an increase in Collaborate usage due to the COvid-19 outbreak, some features have been temporarily switched off. These are:

  • The Timer tool (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator pf connection quality next to each user)

Known issues 

None at the moment.

February

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since January:

Ultra Course View 

  • Group self-enrol: students can now change between self-enrol groups themselves, within the specified enrolment period.

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page. 
 

Known issues 

None at the moment.

January

Panopto

Panopto has been updated to version 8, which came with some of the following features:

  • Embed configuration options: ability to customize size of an embedded video and modify options such as autoplay and start time
  • PowerPoint and Keynote slides download: PowerPoint and Keynote slides can now be made downloadable within the interactive. This feature is opt-in and needs to be turned before it can be used

MyAberdeen

MyAberdeen update delayed until February.

News and Updates From 2019

December

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since the November release: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Course-level groups: groups created at course level can now be re-used within assessments and discussions 
  • Multiple answer prompts: the prompt for multiple choice and multiple answer questions is now the same, so as to not give students unintentional clues 
  • Grade pill colour: for the student view there is now the option to turn off the grade pill colour. The colours are still visible in the instructor view. 

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page. 
 

Known issues 

There are some know issues we would like to draw your attention to, and on which Blackboard are currently working on: 

  • Some students might receive Overdue notifications for assignments they have already submitted. We are trying to identify why this is happening, so please forward any such student queries to eLearning. 
November

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since the October release: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Empty learning modules removed: the empty learning module that appeared on a blank course is now removed. This caused issues with users accidentally creating a learning module when trying to add other content to their courses. 
  • Document description: Ultra Documents now have a Description box which can be populated. Populating this can improve the student experience and prevent any unnecessary clicks. 
  • Assessment settings panel update: The previous Done button in the Assessment settings panel has been replaced by two buttons: Cancel and Save. This should improve the experience of using these settings and makes it clearer as to what will happen when exiting the settings panel. 
  • Error message when deleting: three new error messages have been added to provide more details as to why users cannot delete some items. 

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page. 
 

Known issues 

  • When trying to submit to Turnitin, some students are receiving the following error message: Invalid or missing state.  See the Turnitin quick guide for troubleshooting advice. 
  • Some students might receive Overdue notifications for assignments they have already submitted. We are trying to identify why this is happening, so please forward any such student queries to eLearning. 
October

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since the September release: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Bulk download submissions: it is now possible to bulk download submission for Blackboard assignments 
  • Decimal points for assessments: the option to assign decimal points is now available.  
  • Regrade questions in question pools: this change now allows users to regrade individual questions within a question pool.  
  • Select all and clear all questions for question pools: the option to select all and clear all when using questions from a question pool is now available. 

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page.

Known issues 

  • When trying to submit to Turnitin, some students are receiving the following error message: Invalid or missing state. See the Turnitin quick guide for troubleshooting advice. 
  • Some Turnitin assignments in Ultra might display the following error message: The membership service failed to initialise Error fetching memberships URL. If you see this error message please contact the eLearning team. 
  • Some students might receive Overdue notifications for assignments they have already submitted. We are trying to identify why this is happening, so please forward any such student queries to eLearning. 
September

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since the August release:

Collaborate

  • You can now create Collaborate sessions in Ultra courses before you open the course to students. This allows you to pre-schedule sessions in your course at any time
  • Attendees can now get a browser pop-up notification when someone joins or leaves a session 

Original Course View

  • If you delete a course folder that contains graded items with no attempts, then the corresponding columns are also deleted from the Grade Centre

Ultra Course View

  • Needs grading: In order to help the grading process in Ultra Course View there is now the option to filter by Needs Grading. Within the Gradebook, click on an assignment to see all the submissions made and use the new Filter option to display only the submissions that need grading. This option does not currently appear for graded discussions or group submissions
  • Group self-enrol: group assignments and discussions now have the option to use self-enrol groups

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page.
 

Known issues

There are some know issues we would like to draw your attention to, and on which Blackboard are currently working on. We will update this once these issues have been fixed, so remember to check back:

  • No major known issues at the moment
August

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen since the July release:

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

  • Renaming session files: files uploaded into a Collaborate session can now be renamed, by going to Share Files in the Collaborate panel, opening the File Options menu of the files needing renamed, and then selecting Rename File
  • Sharing/saving content in breakout groups: files can now be shared with one or more breakout groups. Sharing files this way will display the first slide/page in the breakout group. Group files can now also be saved back to the main room.
  • Default recording name: default session recording names are now numbered sequentially, so they can be found more easily. Recordings can still be renamed.
  • Browser pop-up notifications: previously, moderators or presenters that were sharing a file or an application within a Collaborate room were unable to see new chat messages popping up. This can now be enabled by each individual user, allowing browser chat push notifications to alert them of new messages in the session, even when the application is minimised. This is not selected by default, and each user needs to tick the box to allow browser push notification from their browser’s settings tab. In Chrome for example, a pop-up appears at the top of the screen, next to the padlock where the URL is.

Ultra Course View

  • Show answer options in Ultra Assignments/Tests: it is now possible to decide if students see the answer to questions that were answered incorrectly. Answers can now also be hidden until all students complete their submissions. This new option can be found in the Assignment/Test Settings panel, just below Anonymous grading
  • Question pools: you can now add question pools to Ultra course areas, which allow students to receive different sets of questions to answer. This is similar to the random blocks and question sets functionality in Original courses. Questions can be added to pools from all existing tests, assignments and question banks in the course.

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Learn Ultra page.

Known issues

There are some know issues we would like to draw your attention to, and on which Blackboard are currently working on. We will update this once these issues have been fixed, so remember to check back:

  • Performance of Ultra Course pages: some users are experiencing poor loading time performance when accessing their Ultra Course, with some course areas taking 1-2 minutes to fully load. This issue has been reported to Blackboard, who are currently trying to provide us with a fix. ** A workaround has been provided in the meantime: when working in the Ultra Course View, trying to keep folders and learning modules closed when not needed, as the entire page has to be loaded and this can cause delays.
     
July

Below you can find a list of some of the updates applied to MyAberdeen over the last few months:

Base Navigation

  • Grid Views: from the Courses and Organisation pages, you now have the ability to view the page as either a list or a grid, where banner images are displayed. 

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Ultra experience

  • Student preview: student preview is now available in Ultra Course View.
  • Improvements to the gradebook: grading workflows now support the ability to filter based on merged courses. If your course area is a merged one, you will now be able to filter your students in the Gradebook based on which child courses they are coming from.
  • Individual feedback for group assessments: you now have the option to provide students undertaking group activities individual, and not just group feedback.
  • Parallel grading: double, parallel grading is now possible within Blackboard Assignments. 
  • Question banks: this new feature allows instructors to import question banks in Ultra Courses, including question pools that have been exported from Original courses. As with any conversion from Original to Ultra, any question types that are not supported are dropped during the upload process. Access to question banks now appears under Details & Actions on the course content page.
  • Panopto: our lecture capture software has now been fully integrated into the Ultra Course View. Help on using this new functionality can be found in the Panopto Quick Guide on Toolkit.

For a comprehensive list of all the updates and fixes applied to MyAberdeen, please visit the Blackboard Release Notes page.

Known issues

There are some known issues we would like to draw your attention to, and on which Blackboard are currently working on. We will update this once these issues have been fixed, so remember to check back:

  • Performance of Ultra Course pages: some users are experiencing poor loading time performance when accessing their Ultra Course pages, with some course areas taking 1-2 minutes to fully load. This issue has been reported to Blackboard, who are currently trying to provide us with a fix.