Blackboard developments summer 2021

This summer, our Blackboard system will be developed in two significant ways: the software will be upgraded to the latest version, and the whole system will be migrated onto cloud servers. Blackboard will be performing this work, supported by IT Services and the Digital Education Office, between 9 pm on Friday 30 July and 9 am on Tuesday 3 August. Our Blackboard system will therefore be unavailable during this time, and we apologise for any inconvenience this will cause. The developments will bring several benefits, which are outlined below.

Software upgrade

The software upgrade will bring many incremental improvements and bug fixes, along with big changes to the Content Editor – the ‘text box’ tool that you see whenever you are creating or editing an item in Blackboard. These enhancements include:

A new feature in Bb Annotate, the Content Library, allows individual markers to have a bank of reusable comments which they can use when marking assignments in any of their Blackboard courses.

Cloud migration

The cloud migration will move our Blackboard system from its current location on Blackboard’s servers in Amsterdam onto a 'cloud' infrastructure based in Frankfurt, provided by Amazon Web Services. This will allow our system to automatically scale to meet demand and will also enable us to receive bug fixes and upgrades regularly throughout the year, rather than having to wait for the summer upgrade. Consequently, you may occasionally see small changes to Blackboard during the academic year, but the Digital Education Office will test these before they go live and provide supporting materials and guidance in advance of any changes. Finally, the migration will also eliminate the need for any scheduled downtime in the future, as upgrades and fixes can be performed without taking our system down.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email