As part of our work improving and updating NILE, we are making some changes to the way that you log in to NILE, with the aim being to make accessing NILE both simpler and more secure.
You will still use your current University of Northampton username* (your student number, or staff ID) and password to login to NILE; these will not change. In fact, most of the changes will be made behind the scenes as we upgrade to the latest and most secure method of authentication, but there are one or two changes that you will notice.
Firstly, once you have logged in to the Student Hub or Staff Intranet** you will no longer have to log in to NILE again. Just click on the NILE link, and you’ll be taken directly into NILE without having to enter your username and password again.
Secondly, if you access NILE directly via nile.northampton.ac.uk, then for a limited time you’ll see that you have two login options. You’ll have the regular username and password option, but you now also have an option to use the new ‘Log in to NILE with your UON ID’ option. If you prefer to access NILE directly, rather than going via the Student Hub or the Staff Intranet, we encourage you to start using the new ‘Log in to NILE with your UON ID’ option.
When you use these new NILE login options, then when you come to log out of NILE you’ll see that you are presented with two choices: you can either log out of NILE only (which logs you out of NILE, but keeps you logged in to other University systems, including the Student Hub, Staff Intranet, and your University Office 365 and OneDrive accounts, etc); or you can securely log out of NILE and all University systems at the same time.
*Your University username will be in one of the following formats:
- Students: this is your 8 digit UON student number;
- University of Northampton Staff: this is your UON staff username, usually comprising your initial(s) and the first few characters of your last name;
- Staff working at partner institutions: this is your ARMS account ID, and is an 8 digit number beginning 999.
**Please note that only University of Northampton staff can log into the Staff Intranet. Partner staff will always need to access NILE by going directly to nile.northampton.ac.uk
The University of Northampton’s chosen software for virtual classrooms, Collaborate Ultra, is deployed by the vendor Blackboard via a ‘software as a service’ method (SaaS). One major benefit of this deployment method is that users receive improvements soon after they are developed and released by the company, which can be as frequently as every month. Other software deployment methods can leave users waiting for annual or bi-annual major releases.
Below are details of two minor-but-useful feature updates scheduled for release on 12th March. LearnTech hope you enjoy these new features. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Download poll results
Anyone making use of the polling feature with their students or attendees will be able to download a report after the session. The report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded. It will be available to moderators and instructors from the same location as the attendance report.
The use of a whiteboard in the virtual environment continues to improve for all users. This very minor update makes it easier to select and rotate individual items, removing frustration for those users who like to be a little more creative with the content editing tools on the whiteboard.
From Weds 5th Feb, the Kaltura Mashup for Blackboard is going to change by the smallest amount. Almost every single part of it will remain utterly unchanged except the Select button will now be labelled Embed.
That’s it. Nothing else will change.
This means when students submit video for assessment they use the same set of steps they’ve always done. Nothing will change except the name of the button. If any student is unsure, the FAQ guide has been edited to reflect the new button name. The process for submitting video for assessment remains the same.
The process for staff embedding video in their Blackboard modules also remains 99% unchanged, it is only the name of the button which has changed.
The reason the button name is now Embed is because behind the scenes the Mashup tool is preparing for new and exciting features which I’ll post on when they’re ready to be unleashed.
For now, this is the end of the momentous news that the Select button in the Kaltura Mashup is now called Embed.
NILE will be down for scheduled maintenance. Between the 28 December and 29 December you will be unable to login to NILE to access resources or submit any assessments online. Other University systems should not be impacted by this work. [Detailed information about the nature of the maintenance is shown at the bottom of this posting.]
If you were planning on making use of the Christmas vacation to get a lot of work done that involves NILE, please make sure that you log-in and download any resources that you need before Saturday 28 December.
Students – If you are due to submit assignments during this time, please be assured that your deadline will be extended to reflect this downtime. Please check with your Module Leader for more information relating to assignment deadlines.
If you have any questions about the NILE downtime, please contact Rob Howe, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Detailed information on the nature of the maintenance.
Blackboard is currently hosted with Managed hosting in Amsterdam. As part of updating contracts, there is a move of the physical hosting from Amsterdam to Amazon Webservices (AWS) in Frankfurt. There will be a full data migration from Saturday 28 December and then the NILE service will continue to be unavailable until Sunday 29 December for quality checks and to allow web services redirections to take place. This blog will be updated if there are any changes to timescales.
The key benefits of this move will be:
- Updating of all patches and fixes since August 2019.
- Higher uptime (99.99%).
- Continuous release which means less time needed for downtime during the year.
- Quicker implementation of patches (Currently we have to take the service down to implement any patch or fix).
- Features implemented quicker (Currently we only schedule major feature implementation once a year).
- Ability to stage move to Blackboard Ultra – the latest release of Blackboard – with higher levels of accessibility and usability.
We’ve added a new Home tab to MediaSpace, to sit alongside the existing Getting Started tab. The new Home tab will display a rotating carousel of videos from the Getting Started tab. Beneath the carousel, MediaSpace will display videos you’ve recently watched, which can also be accessed via the My History link under your log-in username. The Home tab also has a Continue Watching playlist, for videos you started but didn’t get round to finishing.
Please keep in mind the My History feature may only track what you’ve watched since it was switched on earlier today and won’t show every video you’ve watched.
This summer has brought a number of new features to Collaborate Ultra. The main points of interest are listed below and the full list is available to view here: Collaborate Ultra Release Notes
LearnTech hope you enjoy these new features. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Share video in a Chrome tab
Now when moderators and presenters share a video in a session, all attendees can hear the audio. From a Chrome browser, select Share Application and use the Chrome Tab option when you share your screen. Select Share audio.
Rename session files
Moderators can now rename files uploaded to a session. From Share Files in the Collaborate panel, open the File options menu of any file and select Rename file.
Browser pop-up notifications
Previously, moderators or presenters that were sharing a file or an application were not able to see new chat messages. This is because the Collaborate Ultra application was minimized and so moderators and/or presenters missed new chat messages. This is no longer a problem. Moderators and/or presenters can now enable browser chat push notifications to alert them to new chat messages in the session, even while the application is minimized.
New and improved emojis
More emojis to choose from!
The upgrade during summer 2019 has brought with it some new features. Please find a summary and links to further information below. If you are interested in any of these features and would like more support to use them, please get in touch with your learning technologist
Create a voice recording as feedback
Similar to the voice recording in Turnitin Feedback Studio, instructors can now also use a voice recording feature when marking submissions in the Blackboard assignment type. Please note that if you wish to use a voice recording for feedback, the tool native to the assignment type should be used, i.e. Turnitin Feedback Studio for Turnitin submissions and Blackboard grade centre feedback for other assignments. More details can be found here: https://help.blackboard.com/node/25091
Record attendance in NILE
Please note that this new feature is not linked to any other University system. Instructors wishing to record attendance are able to do so in their NILE module and export a spreadsheet for records. https://help.blackboard.com/node/25071
Blackboard Learn (NILE) is being upgraded on Saturday 18th August 2018 and will be unavailable from 22:30 BST until 10:30 on Sunday 19th.
The upgrade is necessary to maintain performance, stability, and security. This upgrade will also bring a new look to NILE, designed to work better on small screens and mobile devices. Some of the colours and layout will be slightly different and there will be standardised colours across all sites. If you have previously used fontawesome icons in your NILE sites, these will no longer be displayed after the upgrade, but the surrounding content will be preserved.
- Make NILE more accessible this May 20th.
- NILE Design Standards 2021/22
- Blackboard Collaborate introduces the new Gallery view
- Student Guidance on finding the emergency virtual rooms that staff are using during March 2021
- Staff guidance on setting up a temporary open Collaborate link
- Reflecting on the development of an introduction to NILE for new students
- How long does it take to build an Ultra course?
- Update to Kaltura Video Storage and Archiving
- Ultra courses for Foundation and Level 4 modules now available
- What do UON staff think about Blackboard Ultra?
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