Gradescope User Summit 2021

University of Alabama has a Gradescope license available for all faculty to use and is integrated with Blackboard Learn. If you aren’t yet using Gradescope to collect and grade assessments, we invite you to try it out in your courses.

Gradescope recently hosted its Gradescope User Summit. Instructors presented on a variety of topics including:

To learn more about how you can use Gradescope with your existing assignments, sign up for a Get Started with Gradescope Workshop.

Unavailable assignments/tests do not show in My Grades on Blackboard Mobile App

When accessing My Grades as a student in the Blackboard app, assignments, tests, discussion boards, etc will not show if they are made unavailable.The points awarded for the Test still count toward the student’s total grade.

When accessing My Grades from a web browser, the student can view their grade, attempt, and written feedback from the instructor for all graded items.

UPDATE: This issue will be resolved in the next mBaaS update, which is targeted to be released to production on 4/21/21.  mBaaS fixes do not require any action by end-users or system administrators.  The result of this fix will be that the scores for unavailable Tests will be visible in the Blackboard app.  Students will still be unable to tap on the Test item, which prevents them from viewing their attempt and instructor feedback.

Instructional Tech News – April 5

We’re excited to announce that in August UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn will move from being hosted in in the Blackboard Data Center to being hosted in the cloud, also known as software as a service (SaaS). This move will provide flexibility, scalability and new opportunities for innovation.

Blackboard Learn Saas: What you need to know.

We’ll be in touch with more details as the migration approaches, but for now, take note Blackboard Learn will be unavailable Aug. 5 – Aug. 13.  We know there is never a good time to bring down a critical system like Blackboard Learn, but we’re looking forward to this migration and the capabilities it will offer. Some awesome new features are coming your way, and we’re excited to share them with you.

LMS Course Retention Policy

Remember – we will be conducting routine Blackboard Learn course clean up at the end of the spring 2021 semester. The Course Retention Policy states that any materials more than 2 years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep. More information is available on the CIT website. And yes, this will make our migration to Blackboard Learn SaaS a much lighter move.

Turning Webinar Series

Turning Technologies is more than clickers. Turning Technologies provides classroom engagement and assessments that allow students to participate in real-time using mobile apps. Interactive polling options are often used for participation points, class quizzes and surveys. We’re partnering with Turning Technologies to offer weekly webinar trainings every Wednesday at 12pm in the month of May! Details about each training can be found on the CIT website. We hope to see you there.

Instructional Tech News – March 30

Faculty Roundtable – A Year in Review 

Join the CIT for a faculty roundtable to share your experiences teaching in the 2020-2021 academic year. Let’s learn from one another. What worked? What didn’t? Share strategies that you successfully implemented in the classroom – whatever that looked like for you. Join us to share it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, and no we aren’t just talking about Zoom filters. Save the date, May 7, and we’ll be in touch with meeting details soon.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Maintenance

Thursday, April 8 Blackboard will be releasing a new version of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Users can expect intermittent availability during the maintenance window, 1am – 5am on Thursday, April 8. Details about the new version, and its features, are available on the CIT website.

Update Zoom

Keep your Zoom software updated to receive the latest security patches and feature enhancements.  Visit the Zoom website for instructions on updating to the newest version.

Zoom Recordings

Remember – Zoom cloud recordings auto-delete after 60 days. Be sure to download recordings you wish to keep before they are deleted.

Blackboard Webinar Series

Blackboard offers free, ongoing webinars to help instructors make the most of teaching with Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate. Topics include “Blackboard Collaborate Basics” and “Grading in Blackboard Learn” as well as an “Ask the Experts” series. Learn more on Blackboard’s website.

Collaborate Ultra Maintenance: 4/8 1-5 AM CDT

Blackboard will be deploying Collaborate Ultra v21.06 release to US (AWS Virginia). Collaborate Ultra customers will experience intermittent availability during the maintenance window, Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:00 AM CDT-Thursday, April 8, 2021 5:00 AM CDT.

See release notes for new Collaborate Ultra features and upgrades, such as:

  • See more students with Gallery view
  • Whiteboard editing tools are easier to see
  • Update to the “Clear whiteboard” tool. Clear is now a trash can to better represent that the tool clears the entire whiteboard and not just a selected element. To delete just one thing off the whiteboard, select the item and press Delete on your keyboard.
  • Moved the Remove attendee option so it is now the last option in the Attendee controls menu. The option is now also red to make it easier to see. We made these changes so that moderators don’t accidentally remove people from a session when trying to mute them.

Important Respondus Monitor Announcement

Dear colleagues,
Due to concerns with Respondus Monitor’s facial detection functions, Respondus has disabled those functions for all UA users. While instructors will continue to see the face detection options in settings, they are turned off by default and cannot be enabled. Students will still be prompted to ensure proper camera positioning before starting the test, and will then be allowed to proceed into the exam. All other exam security features of Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor remain unchanged. Please remember that exam session videos are flagged for further review for various reasons, many of which may not have anything to do with academic misconduct. Please contact with questions or concerns about these changes or Monitor results.
Dr. Rachel Thompson

Resolved: Delays with prescheduled messages in Blackboard due to time change

3/16 @ 11:21 AM CDT – Currently there is an issue with prescheduled messages being sent an hour later than expected due to the time change. Messages appear to be sending at the correct time in the user interface but actual delivery is delayed by one hour. The Development team is working towards a resolution. All messages that are scheduled to send immediately are processing as normal. See incident status report at

3/16 @ 2:12 PM CDTResolved – This incident has been resolved.

Resolved: Emergency Turnitin Maintenance

Turnitin is currently undergoing Emergency Maintenance. The Turnitin integration in Blackboard may be intermittent or inaccessible during this period. See more about the status of this issue:

Update 1:28 PM CST 3/12:

Update 4:04 PM CST 3/12: Incident Resolved

Resolved: Users Unable to Submit or View Similarity Reports in Turnitin

Turnitin users are currently experiencing an unexpected service disruption when viewing similarity/originality reports. During this time, users  may find they are unable to make a submission or view their Similarity Report.  For updates on this Turnitin issue:

Resolved by Turnitin March 1 – Reported outage duration, March 1 9:00 am – 1:00 pm CST

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