Author: Meagan Bennett

RESOLVED – Known Issue: Unexpected Blackboard Learn Downtime 9/7/2021

CIT has received reports of Blackboard Learn being unavailable in early morning hours, ranging from 4:30am – 5:45am, on Tuesday, Sept. 7. CIT is working with Blackboard Learn to obtain more information about this unexpected outage. More details will be posted as they become available. If instructors need detailed information or have questions, please contact the CIT at 205-348-3532 or cit@ua.edu.

RESOLVED – Known Issue: Section Maintenance Tool

Update, Tuesday, August 17 at 4:15 PM:

The Blackboard Learn Section Maintenance tool is now functioning. Instructors wishing to combine two or more Blackboard courses should clear their browser’s cache before using the tool and contact CIT with any remaining questions or issues (please include the course registration number (CRN) of each course you are attempting to combine in your request). Note that there may be a delay in assigning newly created supersections to the correct term.


Update, Monday, August 16 at 4:25 PM:

The Blackboard Learn Section Maintenance tool typically accessible via the Faculty/Academic tab in myBama is not functioning correctly. Until this issue is resolved, instructors wishing to combine two or more Blackboard courses must contact CIT to request the creation of supersections. Please include the course registration number (CRN) of each course you wish to combine in your request.


As of Monday, August 16, at 8:15 AM, CIT is aware of ongoing issues with the section maintenance tool, particularly with the combining of Blackboard Learn sections. Instructors may not be able to combine courses right now. We are working on the issue and will update this notice once the issue is repaired.

Continue Learning While Blackboard is Down

Looking for ways to prep for the fall semester while Blackboard is unavailable for scheduled upgrades? Check out the following resources to connect with other instructors and get inspired!

Flipgrid Intro Workshop

Thu. Aug. 5, 10am – 11am

UA is transitioning from VoiceThread to Flipgrid during the Blackboard Learn upgrade. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously. Learn more about it in this CIT-led webinar.

Webinar information and access

Zoom Basics Webinar

Tues. Aug. 10, 10am – 11am

Learn the basic features for conducting a Zoom meeting in this CIT-led webinar.

Webinar information and access

Panopto Webinar:  Discover the Future of Learning, 31 Million Recordings Later

Tues. Aug. 10, 1:15pm – 1:45pm

The pandemic challenged our understanding of how and when learning takes place and because of that, we can’t simply go back to the way things were. Panopto has gathered millions of data points from over 31 million recordings over the last 18 months and analyzed them to uncover what students and faculty foresee as the future of learning.

Register Now

Outlook + One Drive Workshop

Tues. Aug. 10, 12pm or 4pm

Make plans to join a live webinar for an overview and best practices of both OneDrive and Outlook. UA’s Microsoft partner, Kristi Collins, will be offering two sessions (12pm and 4pm) on Tuesday, August 10.

Learn more and register for the webinar through the UA Events Calendar.

Adobe Digital Literacy Café: Low-lift, High-impact Digital Teaching and Learning

Wed. Aug. 11, 10am – 11:30am

Adobe pros share their insights on easy-to-implement strategies for potentially high-impact digital teaching and learning. They will discuss successes with digital storytelling platforms such as Adobe Spark that have flat learning curves and wide accessibility.

Register Now

Zoom Advanced Webinar

Wed. Aug. 11, 10am – 11am

This CIT-led webinar will cover cloud recording, recurring meetings, breakout rooms, polls, and reports.

Webinar information and access

People.ua.edu Workshop

Thu. Aug. 12, 10am – 11:30am

Create a professional faculty or graduate student website. Pre-registration required at http://people.ua.edu.

Register Now

Blackboard Instructor Webinar Series: Teaching with Blackboard from Basics to Advanced

Various dates and times, August – September

Join or register to receive a recording of one or more sessions in this series of free webinars and “ask the expert” open office hours presented by Blackboard Academy. Note: UA users have the Ultra experience with the Original Course View.

Register Now

LinkedIn Learning Courses via UA LMS

UA LMS provides access to LinkedIn Learning, an online content provider with thousands of courses in software, creative, and business skills, including Lynda.com content. Search for topics of interest or browse categories across the Full LinkedIn Learning Catalog.

UA LMS LinkedIn Learning Catalogs

Our team is hard at work upgrading Blackboard and moving it to the cloud, we’ll be in touch on August 13 when Blackboard Learn service resumes.

Instructional Technology News – June 10

Blackboard cleanup to begin July 15.

Beginning July 15, the Center for Instructional Technology will remove old course content from the Blackboard Learn system. This is in accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, which states that materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep.  Visit the CIT website for more information on how to back up Blackboard content.

Blackboard is moving to the cloud!

August 5 – 13, Blackboard Learn will be unavailable while UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn moves from being hosted in Blackboard’s data centers to being hosted in the cloud, also known as software as a service (SaaS). Moving to the cloud allows for flexibility, scalability, resilience and innovation. With this move, Blackboard will get a new look – Ultra Base navigation.

If you’ve used Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, you’ve already experienced a taste of the Ultra look. The Ultra base navigation offers a modern, intuitive and personalized look characterized by simple workflows and an accessible fully responsive design. For more information, visit our website. As we approach the SaaS migration in August, we will post additional tutorials, guides and information.

Flipgrid to replace VoiceThread.

UA is transitioning from VoiceThread to Flipgrid as our video discussion and collaboration tool. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously. By using Flipgrid, instructors can increase feelings of social connections and community among students while providing students with the opportunity to develop their voices. All UA students, faculty and staff have access to Flipgrid through UA’s Microsoft license agreement. Learn more on our website, and start using Flipgrid today!

Flipgrid to Replace VoiceThread

Flipgrid is available to UA students, faculty and staff. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously.

By using Flipgrid, instructors can increase feelings of social connections and community among students while providing students with the opportunity to develop their voices. All UA students, faculty and staff have access to Flipgrid through UA’s Microsoft license agreement.

Flipgrid can be embedded in a Blackboard Learn course or viewed from a browser or the Flipgrid app, which is available on mobile devices. Instructors can create welcome videos with the tool, and students can use it for presentations. Instructors can create Flipgrid assignments and allow students to…

  • Verbalize their thinking process
  • Create and deliver short how-to videos
  • Create or participate in a digital video scavenger hunt
  • Verbalize goals or reflect
  • Provide digital or oral reading responses
  • Collaborate on projects
  • Provide feedback through peer reviews
  • Summarize and highlight student work or discussions
  • Plus, so much more!

Get started with Flipgrid at flipgrid.com. Click the Educator Sign up button and choose to login with a Microsoft O365 account. Enter your myBamausername@ua.edu email address, or Crimson email address, and password to sign in. More information and guides for using Flipgrid is available on the CIT website.

UA is transitioning to Flipgrid as our video discussion and collaboration tool. Effective for the Fall 2021 semester, VoiceThread will no longer be available to UA students, faculty and staff. If you previously used VoiceThread for recorded lectures, you can export that content and upload into Panopto, then share it as a link in Flipgrid. We have step-by-step instructions on how to export VoiceThread content on our website.

Blackboard Learn SaaS

Blackboard Learn is moving to the cloud August 5 – 13.

In August, UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn will move from being hosted in Blackboard’s data centers to being hosted in the cloud, a hosting strategy otherwise known as software as a service (SaaS). Moving to SaaS allows for flexibility, scalability, resilience and innovation.

  • Flexibility – system updates without downtime
  • Scalability – ability to balance based on load and demand
  • Resilience – comprehensive monitoring to ensure quality and consistency
  • Innovation – small, frequent updates with new features and enhancements

System Downtime

The move to SaaS will require a few days of system downtime. Blackboard Learn will be unavailable beginning August 5 and will resume service by 5pm August 13. Our teams will be working diligently during this time window to perform the upgrade as quickly as possible to resume service.

Base navigation

Ultra Base Navigation

Moving UA’s Blackboard Learn instance to SaaS allows us to deploy Blackboard Ultra Base navigation. If you’ve used Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, you’ve already experienced what Ultra looks like. Ultra offers a modern, intuitive and personalized look characterized by simple workflows and an accessible, fully responsive design.

Ultra provides a new way to navigate course content that will save you time and help you stay on top of what’s important. The personalized interface enables quick access to relevant information. It highlights what’s new, what’s due and offers valuable insights into performance.

As we approach the SaaS migration in August, we will post additional tutorials, guides and information. Several awesome new features are coming your way, and we’re excited to share them with you.

Internet Explorer no longer supported by Panopto

Effective June 26 Internet Explorer 11 will no longer be supported by Panopto. This means that Panopto will no longer fix any issues that users experience while using Panopto on IE11. Users on IE11 will see a message requiring that they upgrade to Microsoft Edge, or another modern browser, in order to continue to use Panopto features. This is necessary as it allows Panopto to continue to innovate on newer browser technology and prevents our users from having a severely degraded experience. Visit Panopto’s website for more information.