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December 3, 2009 / dlitgroup

Blackboard Team Meeting – December 3

Eric and Garry met.  Szymon was on vacation.


1. Project Updates
2. Current Issues
3. Planning for Upgrades
4. Development and Customizations


1. Project Updates:

A.  December 7th  Course Creation – Courses will be created for the upcoming Winter semester on Monday December 7th.  Enrollments will also be processed.  Courses are setup as unavailable.

B. December 7th Course Deletion – The following semester based courses will be deleted on Monday, December 7th: Fall 2007, Summer 2007, Winter 2008, Summer 2008  (Bb policies are located at

C. Fall Bb Content System Usage Data – A report was shared with Deans regarding the use of the Bb Content System since deployment this Fall. See:

D.  NBC Video Content Pilot –  The NBC Pilot of content has been successful so far, with more than 16 faculty using video from NBC.  A request has been submitted with Blackboard to continue the pilot next semester with a budget proposal to be generated with input from faculty.

E. Xythos WebDAV Client Pilot – Working with Blackboard to test, pilot, and deploy the Xythos Drive for faculty so that accessing the Content System is easier.

F. Blackboard 9 Upgrade will be updated to reflect a target date of Fall 2010 for Bb 9.

Priority of Upgrade:
Our upgrade for 9 is high priority for our upcoming work in the winter and summer semesters.
Summer Pilot:
Summer is our ideal time frame for managing and upgrading to a new release.  It just works very well since the load is lighter and we have time to pilot and train.  Bb 9 has many exciting enhancements, important bug fixes, and improvements that have been requested by faculty.  We have already collected a team of more than 37 faculty that are willing to pilot, test, and train on the new version in preparation for summer.
Winter Semester:
Looking forward, we believe it would work best to take the Winter semester to plan and prepare the infrastructure so that we have what we need in place well before the start of the first Summer session.  This first Summer session would be where we would run a series of live classes on the pilot server.  Using this pilot method, as we have done in the past, provides us with excellent testing that cannot be replicated by other means.
So to sum up, we really need to have the Bb 9 pilot server up and running before most of the faculty leave for Summer so we can effectively communicate and meet with the departments and Deans to prep them about the upgrade. AND so that we can run a live pilot for the first Summer session.  May 3 is when classes begin for Summer. So working backwards, we suggest we target March 29th as the latest date that the pilot server should be ready to go.
In the short term:
Since we are part of the Blackboard early release program, we recommend and suggest that if we have test hardware already available, we place 9.1 (which is available for download now) on a test environment as soon as possible.  From there, we can work to evaluate, test, and begin engaging our pilot/test faculty.
Finally, as we then approach the Winter semester and the March 29th target date, ensure we have a stable pilot server acquired and running so that our selected small group of pilot faculty can build and prepare their courses for the 1st Summer session.  This pilot server needs to be treated as production since students and faculty will be using it for live teaching and learning.
G. Bb Snapshot Automation Enhancements – Szymon and Eric will work together to enhance automation to include Department, Tutorial Lab, and special organization sites related to Student Academic Codes in Peoplesoft.
H. Starfish Deployment – If agreement is signed for the Early Warning System CAP, we will be involved in deploying Starfish’s Building Block and workflow definition.

2. Current Issues

A. Security Update/Patch Required for Campus Pack LX Building Block

We received the following email from LOI, and we need to plan to upgrade to this release level.

Campus Pack 3.0.10 is available for download. This release fixes a privacy issue in Expo LX, Teams LX and Journal LX. This issue was reported by a user and there have been no known exploits of this vulnerability. The details are below:

  • CP-2729: Documents uploaded into non-public wikis can be downloaded using a document link (Expo LX, Teams LX, Journal LX).  A user can download a document from a blog or wiki that is not shared with public if the user already has the direct link to the document.

You can review the release notes for Campus Pack 3.0.10 on our website. To keep the potential of a privacy breach to a minimum, please keep this bulletin confidential to give our other users a chance to upgrade their systems. We have omitted references to this privacy issue from our release notes to prevent dissemination of information about these issues to a wider audience.

B. SafeAssign Outages

We have received feedback from faculty and also have been made aware via RSS feed from Bb Support that there were 2 outages of SafeAssign this week.  We have communicated with faculty regarding the outages, and the issues have been resolved.  We will continue to monitor the Bb Support RSS Feed to be aware of issues as the final exam period approaches.

3. Planning for Upgrades

See above for the Bb 9 upgrade plans.

4. Development and Customizations

A. Faculty Absences – A direct request from the Provost Office has been made to target the Faculty Absence process, both on the faculty reporting end, as well as a Student Congress request for text messaging as an opt-in method to receive notifications.

B. Discussion Forums & Announcements to public RSS/HTML – is still on the GO list.

C. Additional Projects – Defined in:


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