There will be a scheduled Blackboard outage May 17 – 18. During the outage, Blackboard Learn will be upgraded to Service Pack 11 and will include new features like a survey tool and the on-the-fly embedded video tool, Video Everywhere. At the same time Google Apps for Education will also be expanded from its current set of core apps—Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc., — to a broad selection of new consumer apps: YouTube, Google+, Maps, Books, Picasa, etc. These new apps will provide VCCS students, faculty, and staff with access to an even more powerful suite of teaching, learning, social, and communication tools that can be used both inside and outside of the classroom.
However, there are some crucial steps that all students, faculty, and staff need to take to successfully access any Google Apps, including Gmail, after the upgrade. These steps are easy to accomplish and will only be required once.
- First, after the scheduled outage (May 17th-18th) everyone must click through and agree to a new consumer Terms of Service (TOS) when you next login. No Google Apps can be accessed until users agree to these new TOS. To see these TOS, click here: http://www.email.vccs.edu/terms-of-service.
- Second, when setting up a profile in Google Plus (G+), a Facebook-like social networking service included in the upgrade, it is especially important that you enter a correct date of birth (or at least a date of birth that will make you 13 years old or older). If you enter a date of birth indicating you are younger than 13, you will be permanently locked out of all Google services. This cannot be undone without significant effort and additional costs.
More information about VCCS Google Apps for Education can be found at http://www.email.vccs.edu/extra-apps (a Google Site, by the way).