Blackboard Migration to Cloud-Hosting (SaaS)

Blackboard Migration and Learn Ultra

Over winter break 2018 IT will migrate Blackboard from USD's current self-hosted platform to Blackboard's cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment.

  • Blackboard will be offline for migration from December 26th - 30th
  • Blackboard "go-live" date is January 1st, 2019 
  • Blackboard's URL will be the same 

After the migration Blackboard users will experience a new modern landing page, no change to course view or data, and all the benefits of cloud hosting. Please note: this will not impact the course experience. 

This web page will provide information on the migration timeline and changes to expect, news updates, and links to faculty events. 

Note: The migration to SaaS will allow ATS to conduct an early pilot of Learn Ultra, a next generation product. Refer to the Learn Ultra Pilot web page for details.

Upcoming Events

View All Events

Discover the new modern base navigation and benefits of cloud-hosting. 

After the migration to Blackboard's SaaS environment users can expect to find:     

  • At first log on, users will see the modernized landing page, a new Activity Stream feature, and accessible USD support links. Users will find the same course list and organization lists as before. 
  • After selecting a course from their list, users will find the familiar 'original' course view with the same course navigation, interface, and features. All content and student data will be intact. 
  • Less obvious, but appreciable over time will be the subtle improvements to this 'original course experience' and no downtime for product upgrades and support. 

USD Blackboard will be automatically updated according to the SaaS continuous delivery Product Release schedule, along with 60+ educational institutions in our new SaaS community.


The current dashboard landing page displays your Courses and Organizations list as Modules, with support information in the upper right.  

this is an animated gif showing the current welcome page and highlighting the support link, courses list and organizations list

After migration, using the same log on and USD credentials, you will land on the new system page. The left-hand 'base navigation' links to your profile, and your Courses and Organizations lists. New to all users will be the Activity Stream, a pipeline view of all course activity. 

this is an animated gif showing the new landing page. the course list, support resources, activity stream are highlighted.




After selecting a course from your Courses list, you will find the original course view with the same instructor interface, navigation, features, and tools.   

a screen shot of the instructor editing mode after migration it is exactly the same

Moving Blackboard to the Learn SaaS platform offers USD a similar Blackboard experience but delivers on a modern cloud computing architecture for increased stability, data recovery, and faster roadmap delivery. While the look and feel of our platform will undergo a few enhancements, there are significant benefits to the end-user that may not be as obvious.

These benefits include:

  • Zero impact to students and faculty during updates. New features, fixes, and enhancements are delivered with no downtime or routine maintenance windows. 
  • Scalability- The platform easily scales during high usage periods and utilizes 2 data centers for recovery and back-ups.
  • Monitoring- Blackboard support of the system is 24x7x365 with hosting on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Integrations- Utilizing industry standards, SaaS hosting allows for tighter integrations between third-party technologies, tools and publishing content.
  • Faster Roadmap Releases- SaaS allows USD to pilot Blackboard's next generation course experience, Ultra. With consolidated workflows and integration of data, faculty and students can experience the latest in this streamlined user experience. 

Timeline and Important Dates

migration timeline graphic - see text below for dates and descriptions

  • September 1, 2019 - All courses prior to SP16 to be archived
  • October 2019 - We will move an "instance" or "copy" of our Blackboard to the cloud to begin extensive testing.
  • Fall 2018 - users will not experience any difference in Blackboard. The iTeam will undergo training and testing exercises.
  • October 2019 - We will move an "instance" or "copy" of our Blackboard to the cloud to begin extensive testing.
  • Fall 2018 - There will be no change to the Blackboard Ole interface and no downtime during Fall 2018. The iTeam will undergo training and testing exercises.
  • December 21-25 - Faculty to complete their FA18 courses, download their grades, and archive their (FA18) courses.
  • December 25 - Last day of access to Blackboard.
  • December 26 - Blackboard will be taken off-line and a copy of production will be moved to the cloud. This will take 5 days to complete.
  • January 1 - All users logging in to USD's Blackboard site ( will immediately experience a new base navigation that will replace the dashboard navigation. After selecting a course from the base navigation, users will return to the classic Blackboard course structure and navigation. The course view will be exactly the same as before migration. Blackboard will be operating from the cloud and the landing page, or Institution Page, will have a new and updated look. *Courses, however, will not change.
  • January 4 - FA18 Grades are due.  
  • Spring 2019 - A small group of faculty will pilot Blackboard Ultra.

FAQs about the Migration

  • Will we be moving to 'Ultra' after migration?
  • Will I be able to grade during winter break? Can I use the Grade Center offline?
  • How do I archive a Blackboard Course?

Migration Communications Archive

  • Nov. 14th, 2018: Reminder! Blackboard to be inaccessible 12/26/18 - 1/1/19
  • Nov. 8th, 2018: Faculty Considerations for Blackboard Migration
  • Sept. 19th, 2018: Blackboard Migration and Ultra - Get Started!
  • Sept. 1st, 2018 Grace Period Added! Blackboard archive extended to 9/7/18!
  • Aug 23, 2018: Blackboard Migration - Archive your courses and Orgs by September 1, 2018
  • August 15th, 2018: Blackboard Migration - Archiving your Org is Needed
  • August 2018: ATS Newsletter - Technology Updates
  • July 27th, 2018: ACTION IS NEEDED: Please Save and Archive your Blackboard Courses
  • May 18, 2018: ATS Newsletter - Technology Updates