Blackboard Learn down the week before fall semester

Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, News Editor

Blackboard Learn, TurnItIn, Panopto and Collaborate will be unavailable from Aug. 5 to Aug. 13 while the UA Center for Instructional Technology installs major updates. The final entry grade deadline for summer courses is Aug. 3, so the window for longer-duration Blackboard Learn maintenance is small. 

TurnItIn, Panopto and Collaborate will be unavailable throughout the maintenance period because they are exclusively accessed through Blackboard Learn. External tools like Zoom and Box will be unaffected. 

“We certainly understand that there is no good time to bring down a critical system like Blackboard Learn, and we only plan for such downtime when the system is not in use for active courses,” said Meagan Bennett, director of customer relations for OIT. 

CIT announced in April that they would implement software as a service (SaaS), which will move Blackboard Learn hosting to the cloud to minimize the risk of load-based outages. Bennett said Blackboard doubled the server allocation for the Capstone when the University transitioned to remote operations, which prevented any load-based outages. 

“An outage for maintenance is fine with me,” said Patrick Kung, the Faculty Senate co-chair for information technology and strategic communication. “The duration is longer than what we have seen in the past, but my expectation is that the resulting upgrade of Blackboard would be enough justification.”

In addition to cloud hosting, the update will also support Blackboard Ultra, a new user interface that Blackboard touts as efficient and flexible. The new interface has been used on the mobile app and in Collaborate for more than a year. CIT has a library of tutorials on its website.

Correction: Meagan Bennett is the director of customer relations for OIT.