Botched Blackboard upgrade leads to inadvertent emails

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant Summer Editor

Students’ inboxes were filled Monday with email notifications from Blackboard after a routine update to the course management system was bungled.

The unexpected messages told students about updated content in classes they took in past quarters, causing some confusion. Northwestern University Information Technology accidentally left a default setting on when it upgraded Blackboard to its latest version, said Wendy Woodward, NUIT director of technology support services.

“They were sent out inadvertently,” she said. “We apologize for the oversight.”

Woodward said the default setting is unchecked now, and users will only receive automatically generated messages from Blackboard if they have signed up to do so.

The update will not have an impact on future notifications for students, she said. Faculty members will be primarily affected by the upgrade, and students will notice very few changes.

Some students called NUIT and asked why they were receiving notifications about classes they recently completed, Woodward said. Others complained about the emails on social media.

“I think generally most students figured it out,” Woodward said. “All students have to do is hit the delete button.”

— Cat Zakrzewski