Portal Upgrade and Thanks

Dear Colleagues,

As most of you know, this weekend we will be doing an upgrade to the core software that underlies the University’s Portal (referred to by some as “blackboard”).

First, I want to thank everyone who has been working on planning and testing for this upgrade. There are, of course, the staff in our own group from I+TS and CTSI. But we are joined by many more of you – from every campus and from practically every division of the university.

I would mention specific names, but there are so many that I’m afraid I might forget someone.

We are very grateful for the assistance and collaboration of our colleagues – it speaks to the wonderful nature of our school that we can work together on such important projects. Thank you.

As for the upgrade itself, we are planning for success. The new version of software will allow us to really build out new services and new user experiences that will enhance teaching and learning. It really is an exciting opportunity.

But as we all know, such endeavours are not without risks, and we are reaching out to you, our colleagues, to help us identify any problems that might arise, and to help us communicate with the community.

If you see or hear of any problems or issues in the days ahead, please do not hesitate to contact us via portal.help@utoronto.ca – we are fully committed to responding and fixing things, should any issues arise.

Likewise, if you hear from any of your faculty, students or staff, please remind them that they too can reach out to us, and that we want to hear from them.

So, again, many thanks for your ongoing collaboration, and here’s to a successful upgrade.



PS – as Jeremy posted earlier, you can read more about upgraded features at:

Turnitin Integration in Portal Courses to be Discontinued May 9, 2014

The Turnitin Direct Assignment tool that is integrated in Portal courses will be discontinued as of Friday, May 9, 2014.

We have encountered a technical difficulty with the tool that is causing interference with the overall functionality of the Portal. To avoid disruptions to the smooth functioning of the learning management system, we are disabling the tool until the issue can be addressed by Turnitin. The tool will remain unavailable until further notice.

While the tool is disabled in Portal, instructors and TAs can still access the plagiarism detection tool via the Turnitin website: http://www.turnitin.com <http://www.turnitin.com> .  Detailed instructions on how to access the tool through the website are available on the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation website: http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching/academicintegrity/turnitin.htm <http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching/academicintegrity/turnitin.htm> .

Instructors and TAs will need an account to access the tool—for assistance creating a Turnitin account, please email your request to portal.help@utoronto.ca . Note that instructor accounts created prior to June 2013 should still be active, and you should be able to login via the Turnitin website with your email address and password.

For more information about the disabling of the Turnitin Direct Assignment tool and for updates on the status of the tool, please visit the CTSI website: http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching/academicintegrity/turnitin.htm <http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching/academicintegrity/turnitin.htm>