Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is Blackboard Enhanced?

Blackboard Enhanced is CUNY’s name for our ongoing efforts to upgrade Blackboard on a regular schedule. This project allows us to bring all of the latest enhancements to Blackboard.

2. Why is CUNY upgrading to this new service pack (or these new features)?

CUNY is upgrading to the April 2014 Service Release in order to keep pace with the update and expansion of Blackboard’s services. The new version will provide us with many new features such as a student view for instructors, e-Portfolios, new anonymous and delegated grading functions, and improved SafeAssign functionality.

3. When will the upgrade occur?

The upgrade is scheduled to begin on December 29, 2014 and is expected to be completed on December 30, 2014. Unfortunately, the system will be unavailable during this time.

4. How will this upgrade affect faculty?

The main effects on faculty will be learning how to use the many new features and getting accustomed to the new look and feel that is part of the features enhancement. In addition, faculty members wishing to submit their grades while the upgrade is occurring will have to plan ahead. We recommend that faculty download their Grade Center from Blackboard before the upgrade begins. CUNY CIS is meeting with the Council of Registrars to discuss what accommodations can be made for the submission of grades, especially at colleges at which the deadlines fall around the upgrade dates.

5. How will this upgrade affect students?

Other than the ability to build e-Portfolios (if selected by their home campus), this upgrade has no direct impact on students.

6. How will information about this upgrade be communicated to faculty?

A task force of Blackboard Administrators from across CUNY has been formed. Members of CUNY-CIS are also on the task force. The job of the task force is to provide information to the individual college campuses. Information at the campus level has been and will continue to be provided on several platforms: e-mail, posters, workshops and training seminars for both students and faculty.

7. How will information about this upgrade be communicated to students?

A task force of Blackboard Administrators from across CUNY has been formed. Members of CUNY-CIS are also on the task force. The job of the task force is to provide information to the individual college campuses. Information at the campus level has been and will continue to be provided on several platforms: e-mail, posters, workshops and training seminars for both students and faculty.

8. Should faculty participate in training courses and workshops even if they already use Blackboard?

Yes! Training courses and workshops are being offered at your college now or will be offered soon. You will learn about some of the new features of Blackboard that will make building your course easier and more efficient. Please check with your school’s Blackboard Administrator or http://www.cuny.edu/blackboard for dates and times at your school.

9. How will the previous features of Blackboard be affected by this upgrade?

The University community will have all the features of Blackboard before the upgrade is performed plus an entirely new set of enhanced features which will provide a better experience for both students and faculty.

10. How can faculty learn about the new features of the Blackboard system upgrade?

There are several ways faculty can learn about the new features of the Blackboard upgrade. First, the user community can visit: www.cuny.edu/blackboard to view User Guides and even short video tutorials. Members of the university community can also visit: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor(please see the notes for the April 2014 Release). Finally, please contact your Blackboard System Administrator on your campus. Your Blackboard Administrator will be able to address your concerns and assist you.

11. How can students learn about the new and improved features of the system upgrade?

There are several ways students can learn about the new features of the Blackboard upgrade. First, the user community can visit: www.cuny.edu/blackboard to view userguides and even short video tutorials. Members of the university community can also visit: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Instructor/000_Product_Updates/SP13_New_Features. Finally, please contact your Blackboard System Administrator on your campus. Your Blackboard Administrator will be able to address your concerns and assist you.

12. What are some of the new features available to faculty with the system upgrade?

Among the new enhancements and features of the CUNY Blackboard Learning Management System April 2014 Release Upgrade are:

  • Student Preview - The new Student Preview feature provides the capability for an instructor to see the course exactly as a student would see it, including course assessments such as assignments and tests.
  • E-Portfolios - Following the upgrade, CUNY Blackboard will have built-in e-Portfolios, available both at a systemic level and within courses as Assignments.
  • Anonymous and Delegated Grading - Blackboard has implemented a robust Anonymous Grading feature to add another layer of fairness and impartiality to grading capabilities.
  • SafeAssign - Blackboard has enhanced the SafeAssign service to provide a more seamless integration with native Blackboard Learn Assignments and updated the SafeAssign Originality Report interface. With this update, SafeAssign becomes an additional feature available when an assignment. Please note: SafeAssign services are not available for e-Portfolio submissions.

To read more about the new and enhanced features, please visit: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor

13. How can faculty learn about the new features of the Blackboard system upgrade?

There are several ways faculty can learn about the new features of the Blackboard upgrade. First, the user community can visit: www.cuny.edu/blackboard to view userguides and even short video tutorials. Members of the university community can also visit: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Instructor/000_Product_Updates/SP13_New_Features. Finally, please contact your Blackboard System Administrator on your campus. Your Blackboard Administrator will be able to address your concerns and assist you.

14. What building blocks will be available with the new system upgrade?

In addition to Blackboard Blogs and Wikis, Safe Assign, the university community now has access to WileyPlus, a building block that is specifically geared to science courses (Chemistry, Biology and Anatomy and Physiology). There are also building blocks that are licensed by specific campuses and only available to faculty on those campuses.

Please see the Building Blocks page for more information.

15. Where can faculty obtain assistance with questions on the new system upgrade?

Please contact your Blackboard System Administrator on your local campus. Your Blackboard Administrator will be able to address your concerns and assist you with the transition to the new and upgraded system.

16. What measures are being taken to ensure a smooth system upgrade?

A team consisting of representatives from CUNY CIS, CUNY’s Blackboard Subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Technology, CUNY’s Blackboard Management Council and Blackboard Inc.’s Managed Hosting group have been planning and executing the Blackboard 9.1 Upgrade Project activities. CUNY is working with Blackboard Inc. to ensure the system is fully tested and will perform to specifications. CUNY Project Task Forces for Training and Communications are also working to update Blackboard training materials and get information out to the CUNY community about the upgrade to Blackboard 9.1. New learning material and system updates will be posted on a regular basis to: www.cuny.edu/blackboard Please check this website often to obtain the most current information on the Blackboard System Upgrade.

17. Where do students and faculty turn to resolve problems logging into CUNY Portal and Blackboard?

Please contact your local campus Blackboard Administrator or Campus Help Desk. On the web, please visit: http://cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/CIS/functions/bb/helpsupport/difficultyloggingin.html This website will provide you with some basic technical information.


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