My Dundee will be upgraded between 20 December 2018 and 7 January 2019. During this time there will be limited, reference-only access to modules and some service disruption will occur. Users who are planning to use the My Dundee service over the upgrade period should read the below information and look out for further updates and information.
*Note that this post has been re-published to reflect the recently announced change of schedule.
** We have now published this detailed guidance for users intending to access My Dundee during the upgrade **
What is happening?
Over the winter closure, we will be migrating My Dundee to a new home in the cloud. Blackboard, which is the platform on which My Dundee* is based will take our data and migrate it to a software as a service (SaaS) provision. Once complete, My Dundee will look and work in much the same way as it always did, with all your modules, data, assignments etc. exactly where you left them.
*If you hear people using Blackboard and My Dundee interchangeably, that’s why 🙂
The below schedule summarises the key events to look out for:
|Thursday 20 December 2018 @ 17:00||My Dundee Taken Offline: The service will be taken offline at the end of the day on the Thursday. There will be no access to My Dundee until the interim provision is brought online by 5pm the next day (Friday).|
|Friday 21 December 2018 @ 17:00||Interim Access Switched On: Access to a restricted version of My Dundee is brought online to cover the full migration period: Reference-only access to module content (changes will not be transferred to the new system); No access to connected services e.g. Turnitin.|
|21 December – 7 January||Migration Performed + Interim Provision: Blackboard performs conversion and migration of our data to new SaaS provision. Interim provision remains in place.|
|Sunday 6 January||Config & Testing: CTIL and UoD IT will be handed our newly migrated service and perform all the required configuration and testing.|
|Monday 7 January||Deadline for Full Service: Users will be given notice that the interim provision will be taken down there will be a short period of downtime before|
|7 January – 11 January||At-Risk Period: As with any major change or upgrade there is a higher than usual chance of service disruption immediately following the work. We do not anticipate any problems but during this week, users need to be aware of of this ‘at-risk’ period.|
Following the schedule summarised above, there will be a period of complete downtime from 5pm on the 20th December lasting until the interim provision is switched on by 5pm, 21st December. This interim provision will remain in place until the new system is ready to be brought online on the 7th January 2019, with a small period of downtime required to switch between the systems.
The basic rule for this interim period is all users should consider My Dundee to be read-only in this time – any changes, interactions,submissions etc. will be lost once the migration is complete.
Access to My Dundee and basic module content will continue. However, the system must be viewed as read-only. Any changes made to modules during the interim period will not be transferred to the new system and will effectively be lost on the 7th January 2018. The interim provision should be used for reference only. For example:
- Students will be able to access content, information, links, historical activities etc. to support coursework and ongoing assignments. They should not attempt to interact with any forums, submit any work/assignments or make any changes to existing work.
- Staff will be able to access modules in the same way as students e.g. access content, historical grades. However they should not try to edit the module, post new content etc. including preparing any modules for the next semester. Such changes will be lost.
Tools like Turnitin or Panopto are connected services i.e. they are not part of Blackboard, only connected to it. These service will all be switched off to one extent or another in order to avoid any problems once we connect them to the new service on the 7th. The following is a list of the key services that will be affected, though there are many more smaller services that will also be switched off:
- No marking of any kind
- No submission by students
- No Similarity checking
- No access to feedback
- Blackboard Assignments (including Safe-Assign)
- Questionmark On-Demand
- Maple TA
- Campus Pack
Any activities requiring access to unavailable services will need to be rescheduled or an alternative provision put in place e.g. submission by email.
Our default advice is to avoid all learning and teaching activities using My Dundee over the migration period beyond basic access to existing content.
Over the migration period there will be a number of scheduled messages sent out to users. These emails will be distributed through My Dundee and will appear from email@example.com:
- 17th December: A final reminder of the upgrade.
- 20th December: Warning that My Dundee will be taken offline at 17:00 and that users should save work and log off in good time.
- 7th January If all has gone according to schedule, you will receive an email announcing the exact time that the interim provision of My Dundee will be taken down and again be advised to log off in good time.
- 7th January Once the interim provision is turned off and the new service put in its place, you will receive a final email announcing that full service has been restored and that users will be able to use My Dundee and all connected services as normal.
We will also use the main My Dundee landing pages to communicate:
- Notices will be posted on the login and landing page in the run up to the 20th.
- The interim version of My Dundee will be significantly changed to ensure users are in no doubt that they are using a limited service.
Finally, we will provide specific guides for staff and students who wish to use My Dundee during the migration. These guides will contain much of the information from this post, as well as details of what they can and can’t do with the interim service and what support is available before, during and after the migration.
Why is this happening?
There are a number of benefits that will come from this project, some immediate, some long term. Here are some of the headline reasons for this move:
- No more extended downtime.
In the past, in order to upgrade or patch My Dundee we have had to take the service completely offline for up to a week at a time. This new mode of delivery (SaaS) means that such work can work in the background with either no or minimal service disruption.
- Immediate access to the latest features
Instead of waiting 6-12 months to catch up with the newest Blackboard features, we will receive the updates immediately as they are released. Blackboard has adopted a new, continuous development approach that regularly builds, tests and released improvements.
- Faster, flexible and more robust
Moving to SaaS means that My Dundee will be hosted on on a modern infrastructure, supported directly by Blackboard. This new service means that our service should be faster, more reliable and can grow to fit our needs.
In addition to these benefits, this move opens up a new roadmap for improving My Dundee:
- The Ultra Experience
We’d spoken about Ultra in a previous post but it is basically a complete redesign of the Blackboard user interface. It’s been acknowledged for some time that My Dundee is in need of new coat of paint: Ultra is a whole new house. Our current roadmap aims to turn Ultra on after the end of semester 2 2018/19 and we will be engaging with the user community from January to prepare them for this new look.
Ally is a tool that supports academics to ensure the content they provide is accessible to all of their students. It will be embed in My Dundee and provide a range to tools for assessing and fixing accessibility issues. We’ll be talking more about Ally in the first half of 2019, aiming to switch it on in the summer.
If you you have any questions, concerns, issues with this migration, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.