Fall Challenges #;& for Notre Dame Faculty

And you thought I was cussing in print, didn’t you?…

No, literally. Literally- according to some reports, the AP2 upgrade that fixes SO much, actually may break the display of pages if the page contains a Web Link whose description (title) of a Web Link (URL) contains a number sign, a semi-colon or an ampersand. Thus:  # ; &   (!!!!)

Please comment on this site if you’ve observed this phenomena or, even better, if you’ve found a workaround.

We will be testing here at Notre Dame this coming week. I’ll post our results.

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4 responses to “Fall Challenges #;& for Notre Dame Faculty

  1. Hi Laura,
    Yeah, our Bb Vista Course Administrator over here at found that bug as well.
    We haven’t found a work-around for it yet, other than to refrain from using those signs — and that’s especially difficult with the pound sign since our faculty love to use it.
    Our TSM eventually confirmed that it was a bug after a lengthy period of us trying to prove that we could reproduce it on his server…
    Our big issue now has to do with a growing number of problems with assignment submissions. A number of students would display in the assignment dropbox with submissions that had no attachments. The system logs reported them as Null exceptions. When we select (checkbox) all or some of the students who had no attachments and then click on the “Create Printable View”, all of a sudden those attachments appear. (Although sometimes we would get the “System Exception” message on the screen instead.)
    Very strange stuff…

  2. Eric…
    This is not inspiring confidence, is it? Stay in touch. I think we have no choice but to go to 4.2. The question then becomes, how do we handle these problems? What workarounds do we find? I don’t know about you, but we can’t send bulletins around to Instructors every time we find one of these. a) They don’t read it; b) If they do, then the hassle isn’t worth it to them, and they abandon using the CMS. And who can blame them?

  3. Hi Laura,
    We’ve confirmed the bug as well and we don’t have a workaround. It was a popular topic of discussion during a Bb AP2 Webinar this morning. The Bb folks said that their developers are working on a solution that would probably be available in the next service pack (let’s hope it’s sooner than that!).
    There was also a mention of a script that could comb through the database and identify the sections that have these problematic links. I don’t know if such a script is available or if someone was just hypothesizing, but we’re going to ask our TSM about it.
    Best of luck.
    Kevin

  4. I just found this blog while researching other institutions’ approach to a upgrade/launch.
    I have to say we feel your pain. We just finished a year long migration from CE 4.1 to Vista 4.1.
    We ran a small summer pilot of about 12 sections, 10 faculty, 140 students. Right before we launched the pilot, they updated Java. This was our main support issue throughout the pilot.
    Imagine our joy when we found that 4.2 would solve that issue. Imagine our heartbreak when we found out about the special characters bug 2 days before we upgraded the production servers.
    We are 6 days away from loading students and starting the Fall term. We decided to scrap the upgrade to 4.2 until this issue is fixed.
    Now we have to face a fully migrated Fall term, our biggest online enrollment ever… limping along having users rollback their Java.
    Kevin mentioned:
    “There was also a mention of a script that could comb through the database and identify the sections that have these problematic links. I don’t know if such a script is available or if someone was just hypothesizing, but we’re going to ask our TSM about it.”
    The script is real. Blackboard gave us the script with a list of caveats that rule it out as an option for us.
    Keep fighting the good fight.
    Brian

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