Blackboard Upgrade 2014

The 2014 Blackboard upgrade has been successfully completed.

The familiar interface remains in the new version (which is known as SP14), but there are improvements in the student and staff experience, particularly in relation to online submission and marking.

New and improved features

These include:

  1. Inline assignment grading , saving markers time and greatly simplifying the workflow, as they do not have to download work to mark and then upload feedback. Work can be marked within Blackboard itself  (3 minute video)
  2. For students there is an improved "My Grades" interface. Access is quicker with all courses available from the same page. Students can order their grades e.g. by due date, and filter e.g. to see only work that has been marked (further information)
  3. There are improved group management tools, including the ability to import and export group data, more easily add students manually to groups, quickly see who is in each group and which group tools are available, and quickly create and view Grade Centre Smartviews for one or more groups  (3 minute video)
  4. The new date management tool allows Instructors to quickly adjust multiple dates in a course  (3 minute video)
  5. Campus Pack have updated their wiki, podcast, blog and journal course tools in Blackboard, as well as the Personal Learning Space. Information on new features is on the Campus Pack website

Course rollover

Once again, the content of this year's unit courses will be copied into 2014-15 versions from 1st August. This means that you may see 2013 as well as 2014 courses on Blackboard. Historic and current versions are clearly identified by a year suffix. 

The default availability of Blackboard courses for units from previous academic years will change from 2014-15. In the past, previous year's courses have by default been unavailable to students, with staff able to make them available.  Following this summer's course rollover, 2013-14 units will by default be available to students, with staff able to make them unavailable if they wish. This change follows an endorsement by University Undergraduate Studies Committee of the suggestion that learning materials on units that a student has already taken should remain available to them for the duration of their studies, unless academic staff opt for this not to be the case. The rationale for this is to encourage students to think more holistically about their studies.

Staff wishing to make multiple courses unavailable after resits have finished, can do this easily using the Qwickly tool on their Blackboard home page. 

Staff and students can organise courses by year using the "Terms" function. 

Further help and support

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a demonstration for your team, Department, School or Faculty please contact

Other TEL developments