Blackboard SaaS Migration
In 2014, Learning Systems at VCU migrated our Blackboard courses from the University Computer Center to new, offsite infrastructure with Blackboard Managed Hosting. Allowing us to leverage new tools and resources that were previously unavailable to us, we decided on migration for December 2019. Although generally, we are satisfied with our new hosting arrangement, Blackboard’s SaaS (Software as a Service) solution provides benefits worth the migration.
- VCU is continuing to using the “Classic” interface (what Blackboard refers to as the “Original Experience”) that we’ve always had, so faculty and students should see only minor changes in the look and functioning of the system.
- We enabled the 2016 Theme in the original experience. The Learn 2016 theme for Blackboard Learn is a modern version of the user interface that incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language, including color, fonts, and spacing for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and the Blackboard app. The theme is the first step in improving the experience for mobile users.
- Blackboard is now delivered on a modern cloud computing architecture for increased stability, data recovery, and faster roadmap delivery. While the platform will undergo a few enhancements, there are significant benefits that may not be as obvious:
- There will be zero impact to students and faculty during updates. New features, fixes, and enhancements are delivered with no downtime or routine maintenance windows.
- Scalability - The platform easily scales during high usage periods and utilizes 2 data centers for recovery and backups.
- Monitoring - Blackboard support of the system is 24/7/365, with hosting on Amazon Web Services.
- Integrations - Utilizing industry standards, SaaS hosting allows for tighter integrations between third-party technologies, tools, and publishing content.
Blackboard still manages our systems, but they have moved from Blackboard’s data centers to Amazon Web Services data centers.