Next fall, with the start of the 2010-2011 academic year, UDM will be upgrading to the latest version of Blackboard. This update will bring with it significant changes to how you set up and maintain your online course sites. In addition to providing some new course tools — such as journals and blogs — this upgrade streamlines course management, letting you access Blackboard’s features more quickly.
You will still be able to use archive files created in the current version of Blackboard after the update.
For a quick look at some of these changes, check out our quick look video:
To help you prepare for these changes, the Instructional Design Studio will be providing plenty of opportunities for you to try out the new Blackboard before the official switch-over date. In addition to an ongoing series of introductory videos to be posted on this blog, IDS will be offering Blackboard 9 workshops through the end of the term. This workshop series will begin with Introduction to Blackboard 9 sessions in the end of February. Faculty who attend our Blackboard 9 workshop will be provided with a Blackboard 9 login and development shell so they can experiment with new software on their own.
Beginning in mid-March, IDS will begin loading Summer Term accounts and courses into the Blackboard 9 preview environment as well as in our current Knowledge environment. As a result, if you’re interested and teaching this summer, you may test drive Blackboard 9 with students during the summer term.
In early July, IDS will begin loading courses and accounts for the Fall Term in Blackboard 9. Fall courses and accounts will not be loaded into the current Knowledge environment. July 12-23, IDS will offer a Blackboard 9 boot camp to help you get ready for fall. This intensive two-week program will consist of workshops in the morning and supervised hands-on sessions in the afternoon. The topics to be covered in the morning sessions will largely depend on faculty feedback. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered, please let us know!
The official switch to Blackboard 9 will be August 25, 2010. At that time, the now-current Blackboard environment will be taken down, and the Blackboard 9 preview environment will be moved to http://knowledge.udmercy.edu. Any course content created over the summer will be provided at the knowledge.udmercy.edu address, including both summer and fall courses.
If you have any questions or concerns about this process, or if you have any ideas about how we might make the transition smoother, please don’t hesitate to contact the Instructional Design Studio directly (by phone at 313-578-0580 or via the Ask IDS helpdesk), or post a comment on this blog.