User Support Services Newsettler

User Support Services Fall 2015 Newsletter

Blackboard SP 14 New Features

Information Services will be upgrading the Blackboard Learning Management System from the current 9.1 system to Service Pack 14 from August 7th at 8pm and ending on August 8th at 10pm. During this time Bb will be unavailable to all users.

What are the new features in SP 14?

Will this affect my current course?

No, the upgrade to Service Pack 14 will not affect any of your previous courses or your current courses. The upgrade will also not affect any previous courses you plan on copying over to Summer Session II.

Will Blackboard look the same?

Yes, the look and functionality will stay the same with the exception of some new features.


Kaltura "Our Audio and Video Hosting/Streaming Solution within Your Blackboard Courses"

User Support Services is announcing an easier and more integrated way to include media in your Blackboard courses!

With Kaltura, a streaming video and audio service within Blackboard, faculty can upload videos, audio and images into Blackboard courses and have them play on any device. This eliminates the need for different formats and the program is seamlessly integrated into Blackboard. Kaltura is currently replacing the video and audio streaming portion of the FDR (Faculty Data Repository).

For more information on how to upload video please visit If you have any question about Kaltura or need help implementing it, please don't hesitate to send a request to


Have your students needed a place to go over their presentation or needed to practice using e-classroom technology?

User Support Services has opened Horace Mann 140 as a learning space for Rhode Island College students. Students will be able to reserve HM 140 to practice their individual or group presentations and to practice using common e-classroom equipment. This room has the following equipment and software:

  • SMART Board
  • Document Camera
  • Projector
  • Computers
  • SMART Notebook
  • Office 2013 (Fall 2015 Semester)
  • Same software that you find on all of the computers in any of the open labs


What is the Blackboard Student Orientation Course?

Blackboard is Rhode Island College's online Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard allows instructors to post course material along with course assignments. Blackboard allows students to take tests, post on class discussion boards, submit completed course work, and even check course grades. Since Blackboard is online, students and instructors are able to access Blackboard courses anywhere they have access to the internet. Rhode Island College has designed an online Blackboard Student Orientation course so that incoming freshmen will have a head start in learning how to use it. The Blackboard Student Orientation course will be made available to all incoming first-year students and will give them a basic introduction as well as a review of what online learning is all about.

If you have any questions about the Blackboard Student Orientation course, please contact the HelpDesk at or 456-8803.


Blackboard Mobile Learn Offers Anytime, Anywhere Access to RIC Courses

Features include:

  • Push notifications - the app notifies users if anything new happens in the course. If a new assignment, grade or announcement is posted, users will be notified automatically;
  •  Interactive communication tools - users may post and reply to blogs, journals and discussion boards;
  • Faculty announcements - faculty can post announcements "on the go";
  • Student access to grades through the "My Grades" tool;
  • Viewing of Word, PDF and PowerPoint files;
  • Dropbox integration.

For a full list of features, visit:

Here's a link to our Blackboard Mobile Learn quick guide:

Ideally, Blackboard Mobile should be used by students to:

  • Access their grades;
  • Read and contribute to discussions boards, blogs, and journals;
  • Read announcements.

We recommend that you download and install this app on your own device to get the student experience and understand the app's capabilities and limitations.

Please direct any questions to the Help Desk at or 456-8803.


Respondus (The Quick and Easy Way to Get Your Tests into Blackboard)

While a quiz can be created in Blackboard, odds are you have already created your test in Microsoft Word. If you would like to learn how to use Respondus to import your test into your Blackboard course, instead of re-typing the test within Blackboard, please contact the Help Desk at or 456-8803.


Office 2016 Now Available to RIC Students Using MACs

Matriculated students who have registered for the fall 2015 semester will have the ability to download the latest version of Microsoft Office for a MAC online free of charge which is available through their Office 365 account. Currently, the newest version of Microsoft Office for MACs is 2016.
Depending on which operating system is loaded on their MAC computer or laptop will determine which version of Microsoft Office they will have access to.

  • Mac OS X 10.8.x or 10.9.x
    • Microsoft Office 2011 (available through your Office 365 account)*
  • Mac OS X 10.10 or higher
    • Microsoft Office 2016 (available through your Office 365 account)*

Note: Matriculated students who have registered for the fall 2015 semester will have the ability to download the latest version of Office for a PC online free of charge which is available through their Office 365 account. Currently the newest version of Microsoft Office for PCs is 2013. Microsoft Office 2016 for PC student users will be available through their Office 365 account in the near future.