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If this is the first time you have installed Blackboard Learn, make sure to read the Release Notes for the release that you are installing, and then read this section carefully. After reading the Release Notes and this section, you should be able to make informed decisions about the configuration of Blackboard Learn at your institution. The next step is to read the configuration and installation instructions and install Blackboard Learn.
If you are an experienced Blackboard Learn administrator, you will find some helpful information in this section. After a quick review, proceed to the configuration and installation instructions appropriate for your host environment.
About the installation process
If you are an experienced Blackboard Learn administrator, you will find some helpful information in this section. After a quick review of this document set, proceed to the Install section.
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Blackboard Learn, see the Upgrade section.
As you read through the provided Install and Upgrade documentation keep the following question in mind:
"What is the desired system architecture - Learn-Only, Learn with Webserver (external authentication required?), Load balanced(High Availability), TSL-Offloading?"
The answers to these questions will enable the decision making process behind your post-installation or upgrade decisions.
Planning the installation
This section covers some issues that may need to be addressed while planning and preparing for Blackboard Learn. Each institution that uses Blackboard Learn is unique and will require specific and detailed planning to implement Blackboard Learn. The information in this topic should not be viewed as standard and comprehensive but rather as a set of items that should be considered and adapted to each institution.
Develop a learning model
Before installing Blackboard Learn or making it available to users, it is important to define how it will be used at the institution. Having a sound plan for how Blackboard Learn will be used helps ensure that configuration and security decisions are aligned with the goals of your institution. Some items to consider include:
- Define a naming convention for courses and users on the system.
- Determine what information and areas of the system are accessible to each set of users (instructors, students, guests, and so forth). If your institution licenses community engagement, administrators have the flexibility to present different brands and content to users depending on their assigned Institution Roles. Institution Roles are defined by institutions to match their organization.
- Identify the other information systems will interact with Blackboard Learn. Define which system owns the data.
- Build a team to manage the system, support users, and develop tools and content.
These are just a few examples of the decisions that go into developing a learning model. Each institution will have a unique approach appropriate for its users.
Create a test environment
Creating a test environment is a critical step in the process. A test environment allows system and database administrators to tune the software for maximum performance based on the needs of the institution. Developers use the test environment to build System Extensions prior to rollout as well as developing tools for integrating with other information systems at the institution.
Finally, a test environment helps resolve potential issues with hardware or software before rolling out Blackboard Learn to users.
Establish a support infrastructure
Having qualified, trained staff to support users is important to operating smoothly with little interruptions to users. Define what level of support is required and when it should be available to users. Some institutions may require 24/7 support while others can operate with less. After training staff and defining support availability and expectations be sure to communicate this information to users.
Run a pilot program
After the software is installed, configured, and tested and the support staff is trained, it is a good idea to launch a pilot program. A pilot program lets a few users on the system to work with the software in the context of the learning model. This is a good time to spot roadblocks or issues that may impact users when the software is rolled out. Also, the pilot program participants (especially the Instructors) can take a leadership role among their peers when the software is rolled out. These users can train other users on the software and help them successfully adopt the learning model.
When Blackboard Learn is ready for users, it is important to communicate key information to users. Make sure that the user base has access to training sessions, support, and other resources to help them begin using the system.