As I write this, the Fall 2012 semester is going through finals week. All around, I see students either frantically studying or getting ready for the semester break. As such, this seems a good time to emphasize what will be happening with Blackboard throughout the semester break.
On Monday, December 17th, the Fall 2011 semester courses will vanish from Blackboard. So, if you haven’t archived something from way back a year ago, this would be the very last chance to do so! (Please note this is the two thousand eleven course sites, not the ones just ending.)
According to the normal Blackboard course lifecycle, students lose access to the course sites fourteen days after the official class end date. That means, for most classes, students won’t be able to get in after January 4th, 2013. (Unless your class end date isn’t a match with the “end of semester”, in which case your mileage may vary.) Bear in mind that tech support here at the college goes on holiday after Friday, December 21st, and we aren’t back in the office until January 2nd. So any help requests you or your students put in during that time will not be addressed until the new year.
Starting on Monday, January 7th, Palomar’s Blackboard system will be offline for maintenance and upgrades. As per normal, we expect the system to be offline until the evening of Thursday, January 10th. After the upgrade is complete, we will be running Blackboard version 9.1, Service Pack 10. I’ve been blogging on some features of SP10 for the last month or so:
Of course, either before or after the upgrade window, you can do the typical “between semester” tasks of archiving your course or copying material into a new semester’s course site. Just remember that you have to save the Course Archive file onto your own computer, and that course copies need to be run from within the older course into the new and empty course site.
If you do have any questions, you may want to take a look at the faculty information stored in our Knowledge Base, and if you run into any technical problems you may first want to think about trying another web browser, since Browsers and Blackboard sometimes don’t get along all that well.
As I mentioned above, the Blackboard support team is back in the office starting January 2nd, so please do try to take advantage of that fact, and avoid leaving your essential Blackboard tasks until right before the semester begins on January 22nd. For fairly obvious reasons that’s crunch time at the support desk, so avoiding that rush hour is advisable. Of course, if you have lingering questions about Blackboard once the new semester is in progress, you’re more than welcome to join us at our first Blackboard with Cream and Sugar session, on Wednesday, January 23rd from 7:30 to 9:30 AM in room LL-111. Or, should you have questions that can’t wait, submit them to our helpdesk system right away.