800+ Bug Fixes and Some Not So Welcome Enhancements Too

Yes, I’m still talking about Application Pack 2 for Blackboard Vista.

I want you all to know I’m appreciative of the enhancements. I really am. It’s just that the ramifications for Notre Dame are HUGE.

After some initial testing, it looks as though our Banner SSB method of allowing Faculty to grant access to students when an Instructor has the individual section ready … is broken. [How? In Vista 4.2 the checkboxes at the section level for student access before and after the start/end dates – are gone. The effects of manipulating these values in the database seems to have moved to somewhere else in the database.]

It looks like our custom cpip SSO between Luminis and Vista is also broken in Vista 4.2. [We went this route because we didn’t want to expose/train on the controls in the Luminis built-in “My Courses” SSO tool to Vista].

We also have custom Content Transfer of section content between old semesters and current semesters, and we have a custom “Supersection” process to cross-list multiple sections of the same course.  I don’t know yet whether these are going to work under Vista 4.2. (They are built as a combination of DB links, Perl scripts, XML and database triggers).

What it looks like is that Blackboard, although late to the party on this product they bought, is becoming more responsive to how it should’ve worked in the first place. But the timing is awful. We had to build customizations to make up for administrative processes that weren’t there. Now, in 4.2 the processes are finally in!

I should be rejoicing, I know, but instead we’re caught between a rock and a hardplace because we can’t not implement this version by fall (bug fixes, you know), and yet, we don’t have the resources to rework all our backend processes… But we have to rework our backend processes so that Instructors -who were just introduced to the new Vista 4.x interface- won’t have to undergo two successive changes in the space of a single year!