Student Lifecycle Support Programme changes 2019

Blackboard courses converted into organisations (23 September)

As previously announced, Blackboard courses that are not linked to a unit (or programme) code in SITS have been changed into Blackboard organisations. The content and functioning of these are unaffected, but staff and students will now find them in the My Organisations area rather than My Courses. If you believe that one of your courses should not have been changed into an organisation (eg because it is a master/child course, or otherwise closely tied to taught units), please let us know by filling in the form here. Additionally, if any of your Blackboard organisations are no longer in use, please let us know by filling in this form and we will deactivate them in Blackboard for you.

Going forwards, please do not create any new courses yourself - contact us if you wish to have a new course created. Note that graded assessment should always take place in a Blackboard course that is linked to a SITS unit.

Updated online submission and marking workflows (22 August)

In response to feedback from staff, and to support the implementation of SLSP for 2019-20, we have published updated guidance on recommended and supported online submission and marking workflows, with accompanying support materials for staff and students. Workflows with Blackboard and Turnitin are supported in order to:

  1. support diversity in assessment, for example portfolios, group assignments and peer assessment
  2. support a range of feedback practices, including feedback forms (rubrics), annotation, audio and video, attached files, inline feedback, and reusable comments
  3. allow markers to mark offline or online (a new Blackboard extension allows markers to batch upload feedback files - see this video).

Further information is available on our website. If you have any queries, please contact

Changes to Blackboard for 2019-20 (16 August)

New tool in Blackboard to batch upload feedback

In response to suggestions from staff users, we have worked with Blackboard to develop an extra tool to make marking quicker by batch uploading feedback documents. To find out more about the tool, see this three-minute video: For further information, or to arrange a demonstration, please contact us.

New assessment, submission and feedback area in all Blackboard courses

The new assessment, submission and feedback area in all Blackboard unit courses is now available. It provides students with a consistent one-stop-shop for assessment information, online submission, and access to marks and feedback on each of their units. Information can be added and updated at faculty, school or unit level. Where added at faculty or school level, the information needs only to be updated in one place and will then be visible in all units within a faculty or school. If you wish to start using this facility, FEMs, SAMs or GAMs should please nominate two colleagues in the school or faculty to be editors, informing the Digital Education Office, who will then provide training and assign permission to edit.

Non-SITS courses changing to organisations

In order to support the introduction of the Student Lifecycle Support Programme, Blackboard courses that are not linked to a specific unit in SITS are being changed into Blackboard organisations. The content and functioning of these are unaffected, but staff and students will now find them in the My Organisations area rather than My Courses.

New Assessment, Submission and Feedback area in Blackboard courses (1 August)

A new Assessment, Submission and Feedback (ASF) area will shortly be imported into all unit courses in Blackboard. This is required as a standard location for automatically-created assignment submission points for SLSP. It must not be deleted, as it is essential to enable data transfer from and to SITS, and will provide a standard location where schools can add assessment information. 

Previously you may have used a different area in your Blackboard course for submission information, eg "Submit work here". The ASF area will replace any such areas, which will be automatically removed or hidden where possible. Please do not add information to any remaining old areas - you must use the new ASF areas this year, when these become available. Guidance will be provided within each ASF area on how to populate these with relevant information.

Changes to your Blackboard courses (units) for 2019/20 (29 July)

The Student Lifecycle Support Programme is delivering changes to assessment and feedback this year, including the following areas in Blackboard:

To enable this, we will be rolling over Blackboard courses with blank Grade Centres this academic year. This means that any settings currently in Grade Centres, as well as test deployments, will be deleted and will need to be set up again after roll-over. If you have Blackboard courses with complicated Grade Centre settings that need to be copied over, you can opt to have these courses rolled over with the Grade Centres intact; however, you will then need to manually delete parts of the new course in order to make them ready for the new link with SITS. The DEO will advise you on what needs to be done. Please fill in the Non-standard Grade Centre form as soon as possible if you have any courses like this.

Blackboard course rollover and planned changes (23 July)

Each year, we copy existing course materials into new Blackboard courses (units) for the following year through a process called ‘rollover’. Rollover will take place in the first week of August, with two changes from previous years:

There are several implications of the rollover without the Grade Centre:

Student Lifecycle Support Programme and Blackboard (21 June)

The Student Lifecycle Support (SLS) Programme is implementing changes that will impact the use of Blackboard. For September 2019, the programme aims to deliver:

To realise these benefits, courses in Blackboard must align with unit and assessment information in SITS eVision so that data can flow successfully between them. Marks will be entered in the SITS-generated Blackboard courses and then pass from Blackboard to SITS eVision.

It is essential that student marks are entered into the SITS-generated Blackboard course. If marks are entered into the wrong Blackboard course, they will not be transferred to SITS eVision.

We will support you in:

The SLS Programme team will be providing further information and training in the coming months.

For more information about the delivery of assessment, marks, tutorials and attendance, please contact or

If you would like more information on the SLS Programme in general, please contact

Please contact with any other queries.