During the Summer 2017 term, UMBC will migrate its learning management system currently hosted by Blackboard to Blackboard’s new cloud infrastructure known as Software as a Service (SaaS).
DoIT expects increased quality of service with this transition to the cloud. Our current delivery model through managed hosting ensures 99.9% uptime, but we still had to schedule Blackboard downtime for upgrades and essential fixes. With the new SaaS model, Blackboard can update our system with little to no downtime. Further, the new platform allows UMBC and Blackboard to scale the system in response to load, increasing services when demand is high.
The migration also prepares UMBC’s Blackboard infrastructure for the new Ultra Experience (UX), a completely redesigned Bb Learn system. Optimized for desktop and mobile devices, the Ultra Experience features a personalized activity feed and streamlined workflows to reduce clicks and increase efficiency.
All UMBC users can get a visual feel for the Ultra Experience whenever they access the new browser-based version of Bb Collaborate through their courses and students can experience the Ultra aesthetic now by using the Bb Student mobile app. Although the Ultra Experience is available as soon as we migrate to the SaaS infrastructure, UMBC will continue to evaluate the new Learn as more tools and features are released.
In preparation for this transition, the UMBC campus community should be aware of two key factors:
- Summer courses will be hosted on a separate server during the transition, similar to UMBC’s previous delivery model for hosting winter courses during system upgrade periods.
- The main Blackboard site will be offline for up to 7 days during the summer transition, which will allow DoIT and Blackboard to migrate the entire system to the new infrastructure.
Key dates and other frequently asked questions will be posted to our SaaS migration FAQ in early April.
As always, if you have any questions, please consider the following options: