Blackboard assignments and Safari 11.1

Appple logoApple Inc released a security update to the Safari 11 browser on March 29, 2018 ( Safari 11.1 contains a number of improvements. However, the update appears to cause problems when trying to submit assignments to Blackboard.

Blackboard Inc has identified a known issue with Safari 11.1 when it comes to submitting assignments. Students attempting to use Safari 11.1 to upload files to assignments will receive an error message – Failed to submit Assignment. Please try again.

Blackboard is working on some fixes but it appears likely the issue will not be resolved at DeSales until the switch to SaaS this Summer ( The workaround is to use a different browser – Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, for example, to submit Blackboard assignments.

The DeSales DEIT team

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New! Offline Capabilities for the Blackboard App!

Not only is there a blackboard app, the app now has offline capabilities! Blackboard has added offline capabilities to their app so that students can access course content anytime and anywhere.

Students will be able to:

– Download documents.
– View content without an internet connection.
– Automatically download content using the auto-sync tool.

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Guest Post: Strategies for Creating a Successful Online Classroom (Faculty Focus)

Check out this blog post from! This post discusses different ways to have a successful online class such as reaching out to students, giving instructions on how to get started, giving feedback, and more!

To read the full article, click here.

Thanks for sharing the article with us, Fr. X!

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Guest Post: Why It’s Almost Impossible for Fastballs to Get Any Faster (Wired, Robbie Gonzalez)

As baseball season gets underway, here’s a story (and video) for baseball fans and virtual reality fans, featuring Villanova’s baseball team and CAVE VR room. Learn why we’ve already seen fastballs as fast as they are going to get (spoiler: it’s all about ligaments) and how VR can help baseball players be better hitters.

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New annotation options in Box View

Blackboard uses an application programming interface (API) from Box, Inc to provide faculty the ability to review and annotate assignment submissions. Two features were added to the API in late March:

  • Point Annotations have been made “sticky” – after clicking on the Point Annotation button graders will be taken into “point annotation mode” that allows for multiple comments without selecting the point annotation tool for every entry.

Box view toolbar with point comment highlighted

  • A new Drawing Annotation mode – while grading, freeform drawings can be added to assignment submissions using a mouse or any touch-enabled device.  Box view toolbar with drawing annotation tool highlighted


Both options are available for new assignment submissions and can be retroactively added to earlier submissions.

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Blackboard Down! For Upgrade July 24-25, 2018



If you are a faculty member teaching or planning to work in Blackboard over the summer, be aware that the Blackboard Learn learning management system (LMS) will be unavailable for 48 hours during the entirety of July 24 and 25. Plan accordingly and make sure your students plan as well.

Note that even during the LMS shutdown, you can host synchronous Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom sessions outside of the Blackboard Learn LMS. If you wish to keep to your normal Tuesday or Wednesday night live online session, you can do that by sending your students a link to enter the session from a web browser directly rather than through the Blackboard Learn LMS.

Questions? Contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 x2290 or


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Instructor Roundtable and Dinner – June 13, 2018 – Save the Date

Back by popular demand, the 2018 Instructor Roundtable and Dinner will be on Wednesday, June 13 at the DeSales University Trexler Library. Registration and drinks beginning at 5:30. Dinner and program from 6 to 8:30 pm. All DeSales instructors and the staff that support them from all programs are invited!

This event is sponsored by DEIT, the Library, and the MBA and ACCESS programs.

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Video and Blackboard, So Happy Together – Online Workshop Tonight 3/5 at 7

Join “Swami Jim” Holton online tonight at 7 pm for:

Bb Specialty Topic: Video and Blackboard, So Happy Together


Questions or more info: 610-282-1100 x2290 or

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No DEIT evening in-office coverage on Fri 3/2 and 4/13

On Friday, March 2 and April 13, DEIT Dooling 40 in-office coverage will end at 4:30 pm (as opposed to the normal Friday time of 10:00 pm). If you require immediate assistance, please contact the Help Desk. The Help Desk can reach a DEIT on-call staff member in case of emergency.

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Guest Post: How to Deepen Online Dialog (Rebecca Zambrano, Faculty Focus)

Many faculty members express concern that discussion in their online courses is shallow or sparse. What is it that makes meaningful dialogue so elusive in online courses? Some practices in online course design and discussion facilitation can actually encourage superficial dialogue. Faculty grading and feedback that require too much formality of language can scare students into virtual silence, sticking to exactly what the text says or saying what they think the professor wants to hear. Focusing on lower-level writing issues, such as grammar, APA style, or academic language, takes students away from content issues toward format issues. Although faculty might expect students to use formal academic language in their essays and research papers, it is not ideal for discussion. (Summary from UPCEA blog).

Read the full post here. 

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