Blackboard 7, an upgrade of the system previously used by students, has been installed online over recent weeks. It is hoped that new features including Blackboard Backpack will “give students anytime anywhere Blackboard access”, according to a university spokesperson.
Under Blackboard Backpack, students will now be able to download course material, in order for them to view it while offline. New functions will also enable students to auto outline lecture notes, capture and organise online research, annotate and draw diagrams.
Students will also have access to a faster search option, when looking for past notes. University authorities also believe that the new system will aid students in time management and assigments. Students can now also scan their assignments through an anti-plagarism service.
Additional features to the online service mean the lecturers are now about able to determine if course content can be copied by students. There is also an Adaptive Release function, enabling instructors to choose the amount of time information is displayed online for.
The upgrade to Blackboard Backpack followed an upgrade of UCD Connect, which included improved email capabilities.
The Blackboard environment was frozen from Friday July 4th until Sunday July 13th, in order for the upgrades to take place. As the upgrade took place over the summer weeks, no reports of inconvenience or disruption have been reported.
The Backpack feature is a utility which must be downloaded and installed onto staff and students’ computers. It is available for download from the UCD IT Services website, along with an installation guide. The Backpack feature is only available to users of Microsoft Windows.