Using Blackboard Journals

Update (13/11/2020)

Blackboard have announced improvements to the Journal tool coming to My Dundee early December, including a change to the journal limit to 1000 students.

It has recently come to our attention that Blackboard Journals don’t currently support more than 50 users (including enrolled staff members). 

If you are currently using Journals and have more than 50 users on your course, please contact Help4U and include ‘FAO CTIL’. If you haven’t yet decided on a Journal tool, please look at our blog post on the best tools for student reflections. 

Blackboard have addressed the limitations of the Journals, you can read this in full below:

Blackboard Learn Ultra Journals

Earlier this year, we released an initial limited version of the Journals tool in the Ultra course experience in order to support institutions, ahead of the new academic semester in September, in building and including this capability within their courses. This was a decision made based on some direct client feedback around the importance of having this functionality available, and although some limitations existed in this release in which we were apprehensive and ultimately concerned about, we made the decision to respond to these requests and release.

One of the limitations that was communicated as part of the release surrounded grading, as the full grading and participation workflow was still in active development, only up to a maximum of 50 users could be graded within the interface. Our guidance has been that this feature should be used as new courses are built, and to limit the teaching and grading usage until the further enhancements are available. We do acknowledge that although these limits were communicated within the release notes and help documentation, that not all institutions and users will have seen or understood these, and we agree that the current imposed limit for grading does not make sense, especially when academics want to use this capability in their teaching.

We have continued to enhance and refine the Journals tool since this initial release in July, providing some enhancements as part of the September SaaS update to course copy workflows, and continuing to improve and develop the full grading and participation view which we are in the process of finalising and targeting early January 2021 for release. We are continuing to work with the engineering team to see if we can reduce this timeframe and deliver in the final SaaS release of 2020. 

Blackboard is continuing to evolve our approaches around feature creation and delivery, and we have learnt considerably from this experience with Journals, that releasing something that does not meet the ‘perfect slice’ definition should not happen again. One of the highest priorities that we have for development as we move into 2021, is that of a robust feature flagging framework that will allow us to put new and significant user-facing features behind a feature flag, and provide institutions with control over when and how to enable any features. The outcome from this being that, should Blackboard release an ‘experimental’ feature going forward, this will then be hidden behind a feature toggle, and an institution will then be able to decide themselves whether to enable or not.
 
Posted by Dominic Gore on Oct 21, 2020 8:04 AM America/New_York

You can read the above post on Blackboard’s Community site here. Please note you have to register and create a Community account to access that page. 

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