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VITAL Upgrade - Summer 2019

Summer 2019 sees the latest upgrade to VITAL where a number of key features and usability enhancements are put into action. Small incremental updates are released throughout the year by Blackboard (the developers of VITAL), and our Computer Services Department monitor these updates and co-ordinate which updates go into the final yearly upgrade.

 

The upgrade will be taking place on Monday 22nd July at 7:00am (GMT).  VITAL should be considered at risk during the week as the upgrade is ongoing but will hopefully be back online by the afternoon of Thursday 25th July.  We’d recommend to students to download any materials in VITAL before this time should you need to use them and not to run any teaching activity within VITAL for this week.

 

Support for Internet Explorer removed

Please note that Blackboard are removing Internet Explorer from their list of supported web browsers from this release and beyond. You may experience compatibility issues when using  Internet Explorer and Blackboard will no longer be testing Internet Explorer or releasing fixes for issues with their software specific to Internet ExplorerFirefox continues to be the preferred browser of choice by Computing Services when accessing VITAL. Firefox is now included on new installations of the Managed Windows Service and is available in teaching centres and to install from Install University Applications.

 

Below we’ve highlighted some of the key changes that you may notice or have been looking for in the past.

 

Easily record audio and video feedback for students

Make your feedback more personalized and engaging by clicking on the microphone icon in the Content Editor to create an audio or video recording. Students will access it by clicking the recording icon which immediately launches the streamed content without the need of a browser plug-in. Record a message to your student/s within assignments, tests, graded discussions, graded wikis, graded blogs graded journals and grade centre columns. Recordings of up to 5 minutes are saved directly into Vital within having to worry about anything else.

 

Cloud storage integration

Save time by uploading documents directly from your preferred cloud storage solution when authoring content or creating assignments. Your students can also upload assignments directly from their chosen solution. Documents can be uploaded directly from OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox.

 

 

Improved responsiveness and usability

There are a number of improvements to VITAL’s interface that improve the experience for those accessing from mobile devices, or for those who use assistive technologies to navigate the structure of pages.

 

Attendance tracking

For each class meeting, you can mark whether a student is present, late, absent, or excused. The attendance record for each student appears in a single column next to other grades in the gradebook. On the Attendance page, profile pictures appear so you can easily identify students.

 


Granting grading reconciliation

You now have the authority to grant grade reconciliation permission to any or all other graders within your course, whereby it’s possible for that team member to reconcile grades (determine the final grade), thereby avoiding the need to implement additional external procedures to reconcile grades. When grading is delegated, the “Can reconcile grades” option appears. Granting grade reconciliation is now as simple as checking the box.

 

Grade Centre

Becomes a lot easier to use. You will now be able to view full titles of Grade Centre columns making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled items. You can also view as many columns as the size of your browser window will allow, and enter Grade Centre full-screen mode to make the most of your desktop experience.

 

Grading in the Instructor app

Instructors can now grade assignments in the Blackboard Instructor mobile app. They can review assignment submissions and attachments, provide comments and inline annotations, grade with rubrics, and publish grades to students.

 

Download annotated PDFs

Instructors and students can now download annotated files for permanent record using in-line grading (updated Blackboard Assessment tool) DOC, DOCX, or PDF files with annotations will download as an annotated PDF. Students can download the annotated file after their submission has been graded.

 

How the upgrade is tested and how to get help

There is a formal testing plan for every VITAL upgrade with which anyone can get involved. However, VITAL is a large and complex system and it is not possible to test everything.

 

If there is a particular part of VITAL important for your teaching and which you would like to help test in the new version this summer then please contact CIE’s Digital Education team (digitaled@liv.ac.uk) or CSD Servicedesk (servicedesk@liv.ac.uk) to discuss this further. Full support pages for VITAL can be found on the Blackboard webpage: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor