mdeeprose

New announcement email behaviour in 2018 Q2

Discussion created by mdeeprose on Jul 18, 2018
Latest reply on Oct 4, 2018 by eb0071065

Hi All

 

I had not noticed any posts about this so far.  We were very surprised to find that the behaviour of "non-immediate" announcement emails has changed in 2018 Q2.

 

Today we installed 2018 Q2 on a dev server (self-hosted RHEL/Oracle) and as part of our post upgrade test we checked the announcement feature, both with "Send a copy of this announcement immediately" ticked and with it un-ticked.

 

When the box is un-ticked, the format of the announcement notification email has changed.

Background

When we started using Blackboard the default behaviour when creating an announcement was that the subject and text of the announcement would be sent to all course users by email.

With the release of Blackboard 9.1 a "notification system" was introduced, this allows notification preferences to be set centrally and per user.  We set the announcement notification to Default On in order to maintain the behaviour our users had been used to after many years using Blackboard.

 

How it works in Blackboard 9.1 2017 Q4

When an instructor creates an announcement they are shown this option:

announce_setting.png

If "Email Announcement - send immediately" is ticked Blackboard uses the send email function to send the announcement subject and text immediately to all course users and it appears to come from the person who made the announcement.

live-immediate.png"Immediate announcement email" on 2017 Q4 CU3.

 

If "Email Announcement - send immediately" is not ticked Blackboard uses the notification system to send the announcement subject and text within about an hour to all course users and it appears to come from the address set under "System Admin -> Notification -> Send email notifications from..".

live-notimmediate.png

"Not-Immediate announcement email" on 2017 Q4 CU3.

 

How it works in Blackboard 9.1 2018 Q2

When an instructor creates an announcement they are shown this option:

announce_setting.png

If "Email Announcement - send immediately" is ticked Blackboard uses the send email function to send the announcement subject and text immediately to all course users and it appears to come from the person who made the announcement.

dev2-immediate.png

"Immediate announcement email" on 2018 Q2 CU1.

 

If "Email Announcement - send immediately" is not ticked Blackboard uses the notification system to send the announcement subject and text within about an hour to all course users and it appears to come from the address set under "System Admin -> Notification -> Send email notifications from..".

dev2-notimmediate.png

"Not-Immediate announcement email" on 2018 Q2 CU1.

 

The Changes to non-immediate announcement emails in 2018 Q2

The changes are:

 

  1. A massive Blackboard logo is shown
  2. A link to www.blackboard.com is shown
  3. The text contained in the announcement is no longer shown
  4. You have to click on the View button to view the announcement (requires a login)

 

We hadn't seen any communication to the community about this change and we don't think our users will appreciate these changes.

 

  • the Blackboard logo is massive and should be removed/replaced with institutional branding.  Some insuttions remove the word Blackboard from the site and give their environment a localised name such as DUO (Durham University Online), NILE (Northampton Integrated Learning Environment), Learning Edge (Edge Hill) etc so the name Blackboard will not necessarily mean much to the students and staff who receive the emails.
  • having to click on a link to view the text represents an increased inconvenience to users and is a undocumented change in behaviour.  It seems this cannot be configured.  For example we have students on placement who have limited access to the internet who may get their emails on their phone but not be able to get online to open Blackboard.  Instructors are used to the announcements generating emails with the full text of the announcement enclosed.  They could use the send email feature but that means a change of behaviour and user re-education, and the send email feature does not have a log / audit the instructors can see of what emails were sent to students and when, whereas announcements appear both on the site and up to 2017 Q4 in the emails sent to users.
  • Users will think this is some kind of generic spam, particularly since it is encouraging users to click on a link.  It reminds me of those fake paypal emails that say they have detected fraud with your account and ask you to click a dodgy link to login and find out more.
  • This implementation cements the preconception that many of our users have that Blackboard will happily revoke existing functionality without a care nor replacement e.g. the crocodoc to box changes, the removal of the virtual classroom feature etc.
  • The www.blackboard.com link will seem meaningless to our customers and should be customisable.

 

I think we could live with all the changes except for the text of the announcement not being included.

 

Has anyone noticed these changes?  Have you found a way of getting back the previous behaviour?  How have your users/customers responded?

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