Blackboard VLE - Managing Access issues, Account issues, Module Assignment issues or Module Enrolment Issues
This web page provides technical information about the setup of the Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard) and provides guidance and support for School Administrators and other Administrative staff in Schools managing access to the VLE. The VLE is integrated with a number of other IT systems in the University with multiple parties involved in its management including eLearning, Academic Registry (AR), IT Services, Human Resources and Administrative and Academic staff in the Schools. This web page highlights known operational issues and outlines support routes for various operational issues that arise.
How staff and students gain access to the VLE and their modules
In order to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the Virtual Leaning Environment, and to ensure compliance with existing Trinity policies, it is essential that all stakeholders adhere to the follow general rules:
- All staff wishing to access the VLE must first be setup in the staff HR System (Core HR) with a pay scale or visitor code that entitles them to access Blackboard and other IT services - see Appendix 1 below;
- All students wishing to access Blackboard must first be setup and registered to a course in the Student System (SITS);
- All people acting as Teaching Assistants on a module should be manually enrolled onto that module in Blackboard by their School Bb Admin or other module instructor;
- All postgraduate students teaching on a module need to be enrolled as an instructor onto the relevant module using one of the processes outlined below (see 'Postgraduate students teaching on a module');
- All administrative staff, course directors/co-ordinator/administrator, module co-ordinator, and head of discipline, (i.e. staff not teaching on, but who need access to, the module) can be enrolled onto modules using the VLE Enrolment form (Excel). This form is available under the Administrative Staff Module Enrolment Form heading in the Blackboard help pages. They are enrolled as 'instructors' to modules;
- All Blackboard modules (credit and non-credit bearing) must first be setup in SITS;
- All Blackboard lecture module assignments (i.e. people teaching on a module) must take place in the timetabling system (CMIS). It's important that lecturers are correctly timetabled to events in CMIS to ensure that they are associated with their module(s) in Blackboard;
- All Blackboard student module enrolments must take place in CMIS.
Staff access to the Virtual Learning Environment
All Trinity staff who are entitled to use the VLE gain access to Blackboard by logging in using their Trinity computer account username and network login password. All staff are enrolled as instructors to modules. These staff are split into two categories:
- Staff directly employed by Trinity College Dublin who are in teaching/lecturing positions or who are in administrative roles in Schools supporting teaching/lecturing automatically have access to the Virtual Learning Environment.
- Visiting and casual staff in Trinity College Dublin who are setup in Human Resources with a visitor code that entitles them to access to the VLE, see Appendix 1 below
Staff Module Assignment
- All lecturing staff (staff directly employed by TCD and visiting/casual staff) gain access to a module in Blackboard automatically when they are assigned to a timetabled event for this module in the timetabling system (CMIS)
- Module Administrative staff (administrative staff, course Director/co-ordinator/administrator, module co-ordinator and Head of Discipline) gain access to a module in Blackboard by completing the VLE Enrolment form (Excel) and submitting it to the IT Service Desk - email@example.com. The VLE Enrolment form (Excel) is available under the Administrative Staff Module Enrolment Form heading in the Blackboard help pages. One representative from each School will be recognised to carry out this role on behalf of their School.
Postgraduate students teaching on a module
As outlined above, all people acting as Teaching Assistants on a module should be manually enrolled onto that module in Blackboard by their School Bb Admin or other module instructor. However, there are a number of postgraduate students who are teaching on modules, require access to Blackboard and need to be enrolled as instructors on those modules.
These postgraduate students are split into two categories:
- Postgraduate students who are in receipt of a stipend and setup in HR on pay scale 184.
- Other postgraduate students who are normally paid for lecturing work on the casual payroll.
1. Postgraduate students (pay scale 184):
- Access: These students can log in to Blackboard using their existing student network login and password.
- Module Assignment: At present, these students can’t be setup in CMIS and must be manually assigned to their module. These students must go to their School Administrator who will complete the VLE Enrolment form (Excel) and submit it to the IT Service Desk - firstname.lastname@example.org. The VLE Enrolment form (Excel) is available under the Administrative Staff Module Enrolment Form heading in the Blackboard help pages. One representative from each School will be recognised to carry out this role on behalf of their School. Schools must ensure that these students’ sign up to these terms and conditions and keep a signed copy on file.
2. Postgraduate students (casual payroll):
- Access: These students should be setup in HR with visitor code VVLE (see table of visitor codes below). These students are provided with 'staff' privileges and a separate staff role to access Blackboard.
- Module Assignment: These students, in their staff role, are available in CMIS to be time tabled to their teaching module which automatically assigns them to their module in Blackboard.
Student access to the Virtual Learning Environment
- Access: All Trinity students entitled to use the VLE gain access to Blackboard by logging in using their network login username and password (their Active Directory credentials)
- Module Enrolment: All Trinity students are enrolled onto their modules in CMIS by their School Administrator. This data is passed to Blackboard.
Student access - Exceptions
There are a small number of programmes with students from other Universities using Blackboard. These are:
- UCD students of the Innovation Academy
- Partner students in the German Speakwise module
- National Programme for Dental Hygiene
These non-TCD students do not have Trinity network login accounts and need to be manually enrolled to modules in Blackboard. These three courses are managed by Teaching & Learning IT - contact email@example.com.
Visiting and International students who wish to take modules in Trinity College should contact Academic Registry.
Schools who have been using Community Engagement should continue to do so. Support for Community Engagement is available from the Teaching & Learning IT team - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting help & quicklinks
Where students or staff are having issues accessing Blackboard, or specific modules, please read through our Blackboard VLE Frequently Asked Questions. Please also read through the section below regarding 'how staff and students gain access to the VLE and their modules'.
If you have questions or require support on using Blackboard for teaching and learning, instructional design and development of modules, academic professional development, and any activities associated with the discipline of teaching, please contact the Teaching & Learning IT team at: email@example.com.
For CMIS timetabling issues technical support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you require assistance relating to the process of timetabling e.g. guidance on the process of timetabling, clash resolution, room availability etc. please email the Examinations and Assessment Team at email@example.com or phone +353 (0)1 896 4501.
If you have technical or data integration issues on accessing Blackboard, please contact the IT Service Desk.
Technical background - about the VLE and integrated systems
The Virtual Learning Environment is integrated with and dependent upon five other IT services, Core HR, SITS, CMIS, FIM/AD and IdP. Below is an outline of how these systems interact with Blackboard.
VLE - Blackboard
The Current Virtual Learning Environment in Trinity College Dublin is Blackboard Q2 2016. Blackboard is provided as a managed hosting service, currently hosted in Amsterdam.
Blackboard Community Engagement
Blackboard Community Engagement is an enhancement to Blackboard which offers Faculty and Schools more flexibility in teaching, learning, design and development of modules within the VLE.
Blackboard Collaborate allows the creation of virtual classrooms for online tutorials and meeting spaces. For information on using Blackboard Collaborate, visit the Help tabs once you log in to mymodule.tcd.ie.
Blackboard Mobile Apps
The Blackboard Mobile apps offer access to Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate via mobile devices. Visit mymodule.tcd.ie for more information on how to download these apps.
Core HR is the staff HR system and is the source system of record for staff records. Staff should not gain access to any IT systems with staff privileges until they are entered into Core HR and signed up to a contract of employment or engagement with the University.
SITS: The Student Information System
This is the source system of record for all student records and for all course modules. Students should not gain access to any IT systems until they have successfully registered for their course in SITS. Course modules are created in SITS.
CMIS: The Timetabling System
This is the source system of record for all timetables (lecturer module associations) and for all module enrolments (student module associations). A lecturer is automatically associated with a module in Blackboard once they are timetabled to a module event in CMIS. Where multiple lecturers are providing/contributing to teaching on a module, additional lecturers can be added to the timetabled event in CMIS and this data is passed back to SITS and then to Blackboard.
Is the source system of record for a users’ IT identity within the University for all IT services. FIM receives data on a daily basis from Core HR (for staff) and from SITS (for students). FIM feeds Active Directory which provides staff and students with their “network login account”. Active Directory provides “AAA” (authentication, authorisation and accounting) services. Staff and student access and authorisation to access IT systems and services should always be provide by Active Directory of associated federated Identity Services.
IdP is a Federated Identity Services which allows services in the cloud, such as Blackboard, to securely authenticate and authorise access to IT services against Active Directory. It is a policy decision of the University that all authentication and authorisation to all IT services is provide via Active Directory or a federated Identity Service.
The flow of data between the various systems described above is shown in the diagram below.
Appendix 1 - HR Visitor codes that allow access to the VLE
|Visitor Code||HR Code||Gets an ID card||Appears in people finder||Gets a network login account||Gets a staff email account||Appears on mailing lists||Has Access to SITS||Is timetable in CMIS||Has access to Bb|
|ASSISTANT JUNIOR DEAN||VAJUN||Yes||N||N||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|THE COLLEGE VISITOR||VCOLL||Yes||N||Y||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|THE LIR ACADEMY||VLIR||Visitor||N||Y||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|THE LIR ACADEMY||VLIR+||Visitor||N||Y||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|NURSING & MIDWIFERY||VNRS||Yes||Y||Y||Yes||Academic||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|VISITING RESEARCH FELLOW||VRESF||Visitor||Y||Y||Yes||Academic||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Occasional Lecturer/Res Stud -VLE access, no email||VVLE||Visitor||N||Y||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|VISITING RESEARCH ASSISTANT||VRESA||Yes||N||Y||Yes||Academic||Yes||Yes||Yes|