VITAL December 2011 upgrade – features and fixes

The VITAL technical team have successfully applied the latest upgrade to VITAL, which has brought some interesting new features and welcome bug fixes. Following the recently established, twice-yearly upgrade schedule, the work to the software and hardware was carried out in the week beginning Monday 19th December 2011, which we believed to be a time that would cause the minimum of disruption to teaching and learning activities. The downtime for VITAL was, over the course of the maintenance week, less than four hours.  We would welcome your feedback on this if the upgrade did cause any problems.

The service packs for VITAL consist of bug fixes and new features and the main highlights of our latest service pack are described below.

Fixes

  • Multiple files upload by ‘drag and drop’ now works.
  • Calendar ‘widget’ date picker alignment problems in some browsers no longer an issue.
  • SCORM content problems resolved by brand new SCORM player (see below).
  • Multiple URLs created in text editor and set to open in new window now work as expected.
  • Announcements sent as emails no longer contain long footers.
  • Assignment tool – accidental creation of duplicate copies of assignments set to allow only one submission now fixed.
  • Viewing permissions of content in Course Files area resolved.

As ever, we would ask if  that you encounter any problems with any of the above fixes, or to report any new problems that you encounter then please do get in touch either with us or with CSD helpdesk.

New Features

  • ‘Rubrics’ criteria marking facility – allows you to create interactive criteria cards for marking student work and then calculating grades automatically. Similar to the Rubrics’ card in Turnitin, this card can be attached to Blackboard assignments, blogs, wikis, journals and discussion boards. (NB cannot be used with Campus Packs or Turnitin items.) There are three short, introductory films (listed below – all clickable links) which should get you up and running with Blackboard Rubrics.
  • New SCORM player. Completely new SCORM engine replacing the previous problematic version and you can read more details here. If you have SCORM content currently uploaded in your VITAL module through the old player it is advised that you reupload using the new player. The new player has many more display and set-up options and integrates well with the Grade Centre for assessed items.
  • Timed assessments – new automatic ‘save and submit’ option when timed test ends.

If you would like any further advice on how these work,  how to set them up and how to use them then we will be very happy to meet you or talk them through with you on the ‘phone. Any feedback on the new features would also be much appreciated – contact the team.

NB The date for the next upgrade to VITAL is currently scheduled to be w/b Monday 30th July 2012.

Dan Roberts

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