Learning Systems Announcements

Put Some Tech in Your T&L

Greetings Blackboard Faculty,

We hope your Fall 2019 is finishing out nicely and Learning Systems would like to extend a heartfelt Happy Holidays. Here are some reminders of events, Blackboard system updates, and procedures that we’d like you to be aware of while you’re finishing out the Fall 2019 term. Also notice that you still have one more opportunity to learn all about the Blackboard Grade Center in our final TEA Session of the year!


Blackboard Migration to SaaS – Planned to take place From December 19, 2019 at 8am to December 21, 2019 at 8pm. This will mostly consist of a back-end (infrastructure) change and will include the introduction of the 2016 theme. We have identified 2 new features that are of note, following the upgrade:

  • When students open an assessment, the Submit button is disabled until they add content or answer at least one question.
  • When a student or instructor uses Box View in an assignment, it opens by default and displays using more screen space.
  • Facilitator Role – The Facilitator role has default privileges related to course materials, gradebook, calendar, announcements, discussions, and groups to assist instructors in the progress of a course.

Third Party Tool Integration Requests – As we prepare for the SaaS upgrade, Learning Systems will be implementing a freeze on all requests for new third party tool integrations the entire month of December.

Kaltura Video

Moderation option for Blackboard Media Galleries – When editing options for your Media Gallery in Blackboard, you’ll find the new option “Moderate content (media will not appear in media gallery until approved by the gallery manager”:

  • Those using lecture capture will find this useful as either checked or unchecked, depending on whether you choose to view or edit the content prior to making available to students in your course.
  • For student contributions, the instructor may want to moderate the content before making available for viewing by the rest of the class.

Closed Captioning – On December 3rd, Learning Systems will be rolling out an improved machine captioning service: Reach V2. Features of REACH v2 machine-generated captioning include:

  • Captioning at no cost to users or media owners
  • Quick turnaround
  • Improved accuracy
  • Improved captions editor

Lecture Capture Updates

Please note that we have updated our Lecture Capture Transition Timeline, as we move away from Echo360 as our centrally-supported Lecture Capture system. Moving forward, the available options for Lecture Capture are as follows:

Personal Capture – Kaltura Capture (personal Desktop/Laptop capture)

In-class Capture (Cattura hardware option) – Cattura CaptureCast (fully automated / scheduled capture that records what is being projected in the room, support audio, video, and computer display capture)

Classroom Capture (Software option) – Kaltura Classroom (fully automated / scheduled capture that records what is being presented from the podium PC).

VCU CTLE / Learning Systems Partnership – TEA Sessions

Blackboard Grade Center Mastery Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 12:30-1:30PM Location: ALC room 4100

Description:  Does Blackboard’s Grade Center seem a mystery to you? Is that “Total” column confusing?  Do you keep your gradebook in Excel? Do you want a sleek gradebook that matches your syllabus, with weighted columns that automatically calculate to a weighted total?  This workshop’s for YOU! In this workshop, you’ll work with a Blackboard specialist who can demystify the Grade Center and help you have a simple, easy to navigate page that matches your syllabus.

Register Here


Blackboard Course Retention  – In order to maintain system integrity and efficiency, Bb courses and user accounts are archived, deleted and/or made unavailable on a regular basis throughout the year. This maintenance is based on State and VCU-defined procedures and guidelines.

Note: Fall 2019 Courses will be set to “unavailable” status in early January 2020. Instructors will still have access to their courses, but students will not. Click here for instructions on how to make your course available to students if needed.

Final Grades and Downloading the Blackboard Grade Center

  • Bb’s Grade Center is NOT the official source for grades. Grade sheets are available on faculty eServices. Final grades are due by noon on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019.
  • Downloading the Bb Grade Center can be done at any time, but we strongly recommend faculty download the Grade Center in their Bb courses at the end of the semester, to retain the most accurate data for future grade references.  Click here for download instructions.

Thank you, VCU Learning Systems

Categories Bb News, Blackboard Notice, Faculty, Private

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