Assignment Inline Grading Issues (RESOLVED)

Update: The vendor has rolled back the changes, and the Assignment tool should be functioning as expected.

Problem: The vendor that provides the inline grading, commenting, and annotation service to Bb has pushed out changes that affect how inline grading displays and functions. This update has included some bugs, which Bb is working with the vendor to address.

Solution: This document outlines workarounds for this issue. We are waiting on further word from Bb regarding a fix for these problems.

Resolved: Guests seeing error when attempting to access announcements

This issue is resolved.  If you continue to experience trouble, please contact us at blackboard@uvm.edu.

Problem: Users entering a course with guest access see an error when they attempt to view a course announcements page.

There is currently no workaround for this issue.  We are working with Bb to find a solution to this as soon as possible.

Resolved: Grade Center columns using a running total may display blank or incorrect values

This issue is resolved.  If you continue to experience trouble, please contact us at blackboard@uvm.edu.

As part of a recent security update, the below bug was  introduced in the grade center.

Problem:  Weighted Total columns using a running total may display blank or incorrect values.  This is reported to only happen when the calculation results in an infinitely repeating decimal.  For example: if the total points for your weighted column was 3 and the only value being included in the running total was a 1,  then the resulting “0.33333333…” value would not display correctly in the Weighted Total column.

Solution: The workaround for this is as follows.

  1. Make sure the weighting adds up to 100.
  2. Set Running Total to “No”.
  3. If you must use running totals, be sure to turn it off after all grades are in, as this will ensure the correct grades are displayed to you and the students.

This bug would only have been introduced as of 11/21/17.  A future update – to be installed 12/20/17 – will resolve this issue.

Resolved: Grade center only lists one assignment attempt

Problem: There is only one attempt listed in the grade center for an assignment with multiple submissions.

Solution:  To view all attempts in the Grade Center,

  1. Go to Control Panel > Full Grade Center
  2. In the upper right corner select filters.
  3. On the filters menu check the box next to “Show attempts that don’t contribute to user’s grade”

Resolved: Respondus Update Failure

Problem:  When updating Respondus on Windows 10, an error appears and the update fails to proceed: “This app has been blocked for your protection. RPUPDATE. EXE. An administator has blocked you from running this app.”

Solution: Downloading the most recent version of Respondus from the UVM Software Archive will allow future in-app updates to proceed.

Resolved: Exit, Save and Exit, Back and Next buttons not working when grading tests

This issue has been resolved. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience further trouble.

Problem:  When entering an assessment attempt, only the “Save and Next” button is working. All other buttons, including Exit, Save & Exit, previous student and Next student are not functional. This is happening in all browsers, and in multiple courses.

Solution:  A fix has been identified, and we are working to test, evaluate, and deploy it.  In the meantime, there are some workarounds available, such as using the browser’s back/forward buttons, and clicking on the course navigation links to get back to the grade center.

Resolved: Cursor and screen jumps to the last question on test

This issue has been resolved. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience further trouble.

Problem:  When composing and answering items on a test that is presented with questions all at once, the cursor and screen jump to the last question, on the bottom of the screen, while the user is only partially complete with the test.

Solution:  This is an identified bug in Bb.  While a patch is being evaluated, instructors can prevent this from happening to students by delivering a test one question at a time.  Students can alleviate some of the frustration by composing essay questions offline in a word or text processor and pasting into the text boxes of essay questions.

Resolved: Last Access, Retention Center, Performance Dashboard inaccuracies

This issue has been resolved, following a patch from Bb. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you continue to have trouble with this feature.

Problem:  The “Last Access” column entries for some students are appearing blank or inaccurate in the Grade Center, Performance Dashboard, and Retention Center however those students have recorded activity in the course.

Solution:    We are working with Bb to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible, and have been told a patch is in development.  In the meantime, instructors can check student activity by using the course reports feature. This can be done by going to Control Panel -> Evaluation -> Course Reports, clicking on “Overall Summary of User Activity”, and selecting all students and a date range. There is a section of that which that shows a student’s access per day.

Resolved: Publisher tools unavailable, displaying error

This issue has been resolved. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience further trouble.

Problem: Publisher tools, such as Macmillan and WileyPlus, are currently experiencing issues which are causing them to be inaccessible.  We are working with Blackboard to find a solution to this issue, and hope to have this resolved shortly.

Resolved: Error appears when attempting to add a question to an assessment.

Problem:  When attempting to add a question to an assessment, an error is presented saying “Unable to parse provided PkId string.”

Solution:  This has been resolved.  Users experiencing this issue are encouraged to contact blackboard@uvm.edu.  A workaround to this issue can be found by editing the test, then clicking on “Question Settings” to the upper right, then unchecking the “Question Metadata” box on section 3 of that page will prevent the error.

Resolved: Delay in enrollments/data updates to Bb

[This has been resolved.] There is currently a delay in the data feed that updates Blackboard with enrollment information from the Registrar’s system.  Currently the feed is running once daily Monday through Friday, rather than every two hours.  ETS is working on a resolution to this issue.  In the meantime, updates to Blackboard enrollments and TA additions can be expected on the morning of business days.

Resolved: Guest Access not working in some browsers

This issue has been resolved.  Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you continue to have problems accessing Bb as a guest.

Problem:  When entering a course as a guest (non-authenticated user), users are redirected to the login page or see an error message.

Solution: Some browsers have been reported to work better than others when accessing a course using guest access.  While we await a solution from Blackboard, it is recommended that users attempt to enter the course using Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Resolved: Discussion board subscriptions not sending out emails for some users

Problem:  Some users have reported that when subscribed to a discussion board forum, they are not receiving emails as expected when someone posts a message in that forum.

Solution:  Blackboard has confirmed this as a bug, in which some users in a course have their subscriptions erroneously disabled when another user is removed (i.e. drops and/or withdraws) from a course. This is fixed in the next version of Bb, however there are no workarounds available.

Resolved: Bb Grader mobile app won’t connect

Problem: Blackboard has released a new mobile application that allows instructors to enter grades via an iPad or tablet. However, connecting to UVM via this application does not currently work.

Solution: UVM does not yet support mobile grading using this application. This is expected to change sometime in mid-December, however there is no guarantee that this timeline is accurate. In the meantime, instructors can grade assignments and other student work via the standard web interface in a supported browser. Please note that Blackboard is not the official place for final grade submission – final grades must be entered into the Registrar’s system.

Resolved: Blackboard login/performance issues (resolved)

This issue has been resolved. If you continue to experience performance issues, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu.

Blackboard is experiencing performance issues – these are actively being investigated and we hope to have a solution soon. In the meantime, one quick troubleshooting step is to try deleting your browser’s cookies, and then logging in again directly to https://bb.uvm.edu.

Resolved: Assessments causing NullPointerException errors

This has been resolved.  If you continue to see this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu as soon as possible.

Problem: Deploying an assessment in a content area displays a “NullPointerException”. The test can be seen and previewed when edit mode is off, but no other content in the content area is visible. Further, attempting to access the “Tests” or “Surveys” area of the “Tests, Surveys and Pools” section of a course displays a similar error.

We are working directly with Blackboard to find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, please note the following work-arounds:

  • Students can still access and submit deployed exams. Results of these exams can be graded and feedback provided via the Grade Center and My Grades, respectively.
  • Tests can still be deployed, just not in areas where another test is currently deployed.
  • Deployed tests/quizzes can be edited by going into the grade center, clicking on the grey icon next to the column name for the test, and choosing “Edit Test”. From there instructors can add/edit the questions, or edit the options by selecting from the grey button to the right of the test name in the edit test screen.
  • Content that shares a content area with a deployed assessment will be inaccessible to the instructor, however students may in some cases be able to access that content.
  • Instructors can access sub-folders that exist in the same area as a deployed test by clicking the folder icon at the top of the course menu and navigating from there.

To deploy a new tests, deploying each test in its own folder will allow tests to be delivered to students without interfering with instructor access to the rest of the content areas. For example, one might create a new content area on the left hand menu entitled “Quizzes 2”, and structure it like so:

  • Quiz 1 Folder
  • …..> Quiz 1 (inside Quiz 1 folder)
  • Quiz 2 Folder
  • …..> Quiz 2 (inside Quiz 2 folder)

 

Resolved: Emails sent from announcement tool may contain HTML tags in message body

Problem:  When creating announcements and checking the “send email” box, the resulting email message body may contain HTML tags.  This has been confirmed to occur when using “Smart Text” with the text editor off, but may happen with the visual editor as well.

Solution: There is no solution available at this time, however Bb has indicated that this is resolved in a future release.  The workaround is currently to avoid using HTML formatting where possible when creating announcements that need to be sent as emails.

Resolved: Emails sent from grade center arrive without message body

Problem:  When sending an email to selected students from the grade center, and including a BCC or CC address, the message body arrives empty.

Solution:  There is no resolution for this issue at this time. Blackboard has indicated that this is fixed in the next version of blackboard.  The workaround when sending email from the Grade Center is to turn the Text Editor OFF, and not use BCC option or Include list of recipients option.

Resolved: “Alignment” settings appearing in various areas of course

Problem: Settings appear in tool creation and other areas (such as when creating a Discussion Board forum) that pertain to an “Alignments” function.  However, these alignments settings don’t do anything.

Solution: Fields referencing “Alignments” can be ignored – they are remnants of a Blackboard feature that is not currently being deployed (but which is being evaluated).  Their presence has been identified as a bug, which is fixed in the next release of Blackboard.

Resolved: Linked text created in text areas is not underlined

This has been resolved.  Please report any further problems to blackboard@uvm.edu.

Links created in the visual text box editor in Blackboard display with no underline and in some themes are not differentiated by color.  A patch is forthcoming from Blackboard, however a temporary fix is being pursued to address this in the short term.

Resolved: Intermittent delays in page loads, application performance

This issue has been resolved.  If you continue to experience these symptoms, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu to report them.

Problem:  Users have reported sporadic delays in page loads.

Solution:  ETS has identified a possible cause for these performance issues and is working to apply a solution. Users who experience these problems should attempt to log out and then log back in again. There is no other workaround identified at this time.

Resolved: Students unable to see menu links to course tools

This issue has been resolved.  Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if the problem persists.

Problem:  Menu items for certain course tools do not appear for students, even when they are shown as available and visible to the instructor while edit mode is “Off”.

Solution:  We are waiting on a bug fix for this from Blackboard.  In the meantime, instructors can make sure these tools are available to students by following these steps:

  1. Click the green “+” button at the top of the course Menu, and select “Add tool link”
  2. Enter “Tools Area” in the name box, and select “Tools Area” from the list.  Click Submit.
  3. Click on the new Tools Area link on the course menu.
  4. If a tool is hidden, it will have “Show Link” next to it.  Click the “Show Sink” button next to it to ensure it’s available to students.

 

Resolved: Guests cannot access uploaded files (401 error)

Problem: Guests cannot access files in a course, and are prompted with a login box followed by 401 “forbidden” error after trying to access the files. This occurs for files that have been uploaded to a course after May 22nd 2011.

Solution: To make a file available to guests,

  1. Click on the grey chevron button next to the file name, and choose “Edit”.
  2. Click on “Select a Different File”. (see image)
  3. Click on “Browse Course”. (see image)
  4. Check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box. (see image)
  5. Select the file from the list, and click on “Submit”.
  6. Click on “Submit” to complete the process.

To prevent this from happening with newly uploaded files,

  1. Upload a file to the “Files” area before putting it in a content area
  2. Then add the file to the content area by choosing Build -> File, not Build -> Item
  3. Be sure to select Browse Course, and check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box when selecting the file.

This is an identified bug that is fixed in the next version of Blackboard. There is no patch available for the current version.

Resolved: “My Calendar” module has been turned off

This has been resolved, and the Calendar tool has once again been made available.

Due to a critical bug in the Calendar module, this tool has been turned off.  A fix for the bug is expected in the next release of Blackboard, but a timeline is not available for when this will be patched.

The normal course calendar tools should work as expected.

Resolved: Pronto contacts not listed

Some users have reported that when signing into the Pronto chat application on their computer, they don’t see contacts listed for classes that are using Pronto.

Below are some steps that have been identified as a possible workaround to this issue.

  • Sign into Blackboard
  • Go to the course
  • Click on the Pronto Chat Tool menu item (if this is not there, contact your instructor)
  • Then click on the Go to Pronto link (it may open up a new browser window)
  • Choose I already have pronto account (or, if this is your first time, create a Pronto account)
  • Sign in with your pronto ID
  • Unfold the list of courses you are taking so you can see the course listed there.
  • Start up Pronto on your computer

 

Resolved: Problems downloading attachments from blog/journal entries

Problem: There is an identified bug that prevents downloading attached files from a blog/journal post.  This only happens if the file has a title with special (non-alphanumeric) characters in it.

Solution:  The author of the post can rename the file so it only contains letters and numbers, and then re-attach (re-upload) the file.

Resolved: Occasional disappearing menu items

This has been resolved.  If you continue to encounter this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu.

We have received reports of inconsistent course menu behavior where links on the menu will simply disappear and reappear. We (and other institutions) have submitted this problem to Blackboard. They are aware of the problem, and are researching the cause and a solution. In the meantime, a work-around that has been effective is switching to “Folder View” for the course menu. See a screenshot and directions.

This is a most troublesome (and elusive) issue and we are trying to provide Blackboard with additional information regarding this problem. If you are experiencing this issue with your course menu, please fill out this brief form.

Please include the following information:

  • The 5-Digit CRN of the course you are seeing the issue happening in
  • Date and time of the occurrence.

Resolved: Discussion board text overlaps when viewing threads in “maximized view”

When viewing a discussion board thread with a significant number of entries, the text overlaps with the entry listing, causing the entry to be difficult or impossible to read.

This is an identified bug. A resolution has not been identified yet for a future release. To prevent this from happening in the meantime, switch out of “maximize” view when viewing threaded discussions. This can be achieved by clicking the “minimize” button to the upper right of the discussion thread:

Resolved: Problems downloading assignments from the Grade Center

Instructors have reported problems downloading assignment files from the grade center. This problem will occurr if the assignment has a title with special (non-alphanumeric) characters in it.

Solution: To resolve this error, rename the assignment so that it has no characters other than letters and numbers (i.e. no #’s, &’s, etc). As always when making changes to your course, please remember to save a backup first.

Resolved: Students being logged out of Blackboard prematurely; errors during exams

UPDATE: A fix has been put in place to address a Blackboard bug that caused users to be prematurely logged out of the system. Additionally, a fix has been applied to prevent Blackboard from logging a user out when their myUVM session ends. If you are experiencing these problems and it has not been resolved after 24 hours, please contact blackboard support at blackboard@uvm.edu, and include the information described below.

Errors encountered during tests and quizzes might include messages when saving answers indicating that the answer could not be saved, or a warning when submitting an exam which erroneously suggests that a number of questions had not been answered.

Blackboard has also suggested that for longer exams (i.e. around 50 questions or more), the exam be delivered one question at a time, and to uncheck the “Force Completion” setting in the test options. This is to prevent the application from being overloaded, and to prevent user’s sessions from timing out.

If you continue to see this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu with the following information:

  • The NetID of the student that experienced the problem
  • Specific description of the behavior that was encountered
  • Any error messages the student might have seen while experiencing the problem (in as much detail as possible)
  • The date and time that the problem/error occurred (as specific as possible)

Resolved: Assessments become inaccessible after end date if no start date was specified

Instructors are prevented from re-opening their tests after the end date has passed, if they didn’t originally check the start date box. Blackboard now recognizes this as a bug, and software fix (a “patch”) may be available soon.

UPDATE: A fix has been put in place at the system level to correct this problem as it occurs. If you are experiencing this problem and it has not been resolved after 24 hours, please contact blackboard support at blackboard@uvm.edu, and include the 5-digit CRN of the course containing the assessment.

Important: If you are using a date restriction on the test availability (such as the “Display Until” feature), you must have BOTH the “Display After” and the “Display Until” boxes checked. The error seems to happen when only an end date (Display Until) is checked, but the start date (Display After) is not.