Blackboard Connect for Learn

Blackboard Connect for Learn is a tool that you and your instructors can use to ensure you get up-to-date course information.

When you opt-in to receive notifications through the Connect for Learn system, you can receive automated alerts for a variety of course changes including assignment due dates and grade posts by voice, text, or email.

Your instructors can also send messages via SMS or Text-to-voice to ensure that you get up-to-the-minute information related to your courses.

How to sign up for Notifications

Go to the UAB e-notify page:

BbConnect1
NOTE: It could take several hours for this update to propogate to the Blackboard system.

Next, log in to Blackboard and select My Places:

BBConnect2
BbConnect3


If you have not provided a number for Bb Connect for Learn to use through the e-notify page, or that number has not yet been imported into the Blackboard LMS, you will not be able to select these options, and the following message (yellow boxes) will display:
BbConnect4



Blackboard Learn Student Tutorial

Click on the image for a walk-through on logging in, navigating your course, assessments, and communication tools.
You can also find additional video tutorial help here.
whiteboard



This tutorial walks you through accessing the Blackboard system, navigating your courses, and working with tools, assignments and tests. You'll also learn the major communication features available. Although your courses could look considerably different depending on how your instructor intends to use the system, the basics will be the same, so this tutorial will help orient you in any course.

You can help avoid problems by ensuring that you are using a supported browser and you follow a standard naming convention when uploading files. Also, if you run into problems related to how your browser displays, try clearing your cache, as this can help clear up temporary rendering problems.

To help ensure a smooth ride through the system, you should also keep the following in mind:

  • BBLearn uses browser windows to deliver requested content. Some pop-up blockers interpret these windows as pop-ups and block them. If you have installed a pop-up blocker, turn it off while using the Learning System.
  • If you are prompted to accept a Java Security Certificate., you must click Yes or Always to ensure that BBLearn functionality using Java will work properly in your browser.
  • Avoid using a wireless network connection when taking tests. Wireless connections can be interrupted by interference from other devices or because the public wireless access point where you are is saturated.
  • If you experience problems with the chat tool, uploading files, or opening the text editor, verify or update the Java Certificate on your computer.

And if you run into trouble, the AskIT help desk is always there to support you.

How to download the Blackboard App to your:

android   Android
  • Access the Android Market on your Android
  • Search for Blackboard Mobile Learn
  • Download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn app
  • Open the app and enter University of Alabama at Birmingham in the search field
  • Login using your Blazer ID and password
  • Informational PDF
  vv
blackberry  
BlackBerry
  • Go to the BlackBerry AppWorld on your Blackberry
  • Search for Blackboard Mobile Learn
  • Download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn app
  • Open the app and enter University of Alabama at Birmingham in the search field
  • Login using your Blazer ID and password
  • Informational PDF
  vv
ipad  
iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad
  • Access the iTunes App Store
  • Search for Blackboard Mobile Learn
  • Download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn app
  • Open the app and enter University of Alabama at Birmingham in the search field
  • Login using your Blazer ID and password
  • Informational PDF
Note: If you download the app onto a laptop, sync your iPhone with your laptop
  vv
palm2   Palm
  • Access the Palm App catalog
  • Search for Blackboard Mobile Learn
  • Download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn app
  • Open the app and enter University of Alabama at Birmingham in the search field
  • Login using your Blazer ID and password
  • Informational PDF





File Names

A consistent naming scheme will help to ensure that you can locate your files and that your students can open and view those files in Blackboard. You name a file when you go to Save, Save As, or if you rename a document manually.

The best approach to naming your files is not very flexible, but it is very easy to remember:
Use letters, numbers, and an underscore and nothing else

This will go a long way toward ensuring that different browser versions and types can read and render your document appropriately.

These rules just restate that last paragraph in a more long-winded manner:

  • Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names.
  • Don’t use spaces, commas, the pound sign (#), question marks, equal signs, dashes, at signs (@), or other special characters in your filenames.
  • Don’t use periods in the file name unless it’s used before the file extension – i.e. .txt, .ppt, .xls, .doc, etc.
  • File names are case sensitive. We recommend that you use all lowercase letters in file names.
  • It’s worth repeating: Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names:
  • Appropriate file name:
    • coursemodule1 OR
    • course_module_1
  • Problematic file name:
    • Course module #1


Some additional tips on good file names
These you can take or leave, but they are generally recognized as sound practice, and can also help you organize content prior to uploading to Blackboard:

  • Use lower case - Some operating systems read file titles in a case-sensitive manner
  • Make your title Descriptive BUT
  • Try to keep you title short
  • conflicting advice, right?
    • This applies mostly to efficient design for the web, but for blackboard it also helps student navigation. Try to use key words from the document to name your file so that students can quickly identify what's in there (and so you can quickly identify it when you're building your course).





Checking Your Version of Java

What is Java?

Java is a programming language and is critical for running a number of web-based programs and utilities. The java run time environment (which is commonly shortened to JRE, or Java) allows java-based applets to run in your browser.

Why do I need Java
A number of Blackboard tools require java to run: the text editor, collaboration tools such as the chat window and whiteboard, and other tools such as the Wimba live classroom, all run using Java applets. A lot of web-based content that you can link to from your course will also require Java to run.

How to Check your Version of Java
You can check the supported Java version on the same page that identifies Blackboard's supported browsers.
To check the version you have on your computer:

  1. Click on the Start menu (lower left corner of your screen)
  2. Click Control panel
  3. Double-click Java; then click About in the Java control panel.
  4. Click Close.

How to clear Java Cache

Windows

  1. Close all browser windows.
  2. Go to Start, then choose the Control Panel.
  3. Click on the icon named Java. On the General Tab, under the section labeled Temporary Internet Files click the button Delete Files.
  4. Then choose to delete all the types offered.
  5. Close the control panel by clicking OK and restart your web browser.

Mac OSX

  1. In Finder search for Java Preferences.
  2. Open Java Preferences and click on the Network tab.
  3. Click the Delete Files button.

About Browser History and Caching

A cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be retained for rapid loading. A web browser cache holds copies of pages that pass through it - all items you have accessed or downloaded from the Internet, including images, sounds, Web pages, and cookies. These items are stored on your computer, usually in the Temporary Internet Files folder.

Why clear your cache?
You may occasionally encounter an error message, a "Page Not Found" display, a "Momentarily Unavailable Message" etc. This could be due to a problem with the system, maintenance, or a number of other reasons. If you decide to go back to this url later, you may see this same message even though the problem is corrected because your browser has pulled the page from your cache.

How to clear your cache:

  1. In Internet Explorer:
    1. Click on the Tools menu, click Internet Options. The Internet Options box should open to the General tab.
    2. On the General tab, in the Browsing the Internet section, click the Delete button. This will delete all the files that are currently stored in your cache.
  2. In Firefox:
    1. Click on Tools, Options, then select the Advanced panel. In the Offline Storage section, click Clear Now.
  3. In Safari (Mac OS X):
    1. Click on the Safari menu, select Reset Safari. Select the items that you want to reset, then click Reset.


You can set your browser to automatically clear cache, and you can re-size your cache storage to maintain more cached files to speed up performance; this, however, increases the likelihood that you will access stale content.

How to set your browser to automatically clear cache:

Internet Explorer

  1. Click on the Tools menu, click Internet Options. The Internet Options box should open to the General tab.

Checking Your Browser

Browsers change, web content changes, and frequently pages don’t render exactly the way a developer wants them to in different browsers or browser versions.
Blackboard maintains a list of browsers that are supported, compatible and certified.
Here’s how to check your browser version:

1. Open your browser:
2. Click on the following:

  • Explorer:
    • Click Help, then About Internet Explorer, the version number that you are using (e.g. Internet Explorer8) appears in the dialog box
  • Firefox:
    • Click Help, then About Mozilla Firefox, the version number that you are using (e.g. Firefox version 3.6.13) appears in the dialog box.
  • Safari:
    • Click on Safari in the Safari menu
    • Select About Safari from the drop-down menu, the version number (e.g. Safari 5.0.3) appears in the dialog box.

Known Issues and Solutions in Blackboard Learn

There are some as yet unresolved technical issues with the Blackboard Learn 9.1 system. This page will be updated as additional tests are completed. If you find an issue with the system, please let us know.

Browsers
Blackboard's list of supported browsers includes Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6.
Although not listed among them, Chrome also seems to work satisfactorily, and some higher education institutions explicitly recommend it. If you encounter issues using a specific browser, you may switch to an alternate browser and check performance (different operating systems, java versions, and other system configurations can all result in different issues on disparate systems).

For committed users of Explorer, you may want to access Blackboard in compatibility mode to clear up potential issues:
In the horizontal tool bar at the top of the browser, click Tools, select Compatibility View Settings, Check Display all websites in Compatibility View at the bottom of the dialog box and then hit Close.
You will need to close IE8 and reopen the browser before this change takes effect.

We will list additional known issues affecting tools and functions that may be important to you as test and develop workarounds. If you encounter an issue please forward that to us so we can pass that information along to Blackboard and develop a workaround until it is resolved.

System Area Issue Solution or Workaround
Adaptive Release The What's New module provides students access to blogs and discussions for students not in that group TBD
Collaboration A User's virtual classroom Window freezes if another user enters the session We recommend not using the collaboration tool until this issue is corrected by Blackboard in an upcoming service pack
Content: Course Files Internet Explorer may interpret the request to open and download a Microsoft Word file as a security threat, and serves a dialog box asking for login and password information. Close the dialog box asking for login and password information and the word file will open; upload content as .pdf files where possible
Early Warning System The notifications tool can does not send emails for assignments built within a learning module; emails can contain garbled messages We recommend not using notifications until this issue is corrected by Blackboard
Early Warning System The due date rule may send a notification that an assignment is past due even if the student has submitted the assignment We recommend not using notifications until this issue is corrected by Blackboard
Early Warning System The notifications History filter will not filter based on notification, rule name, or user We recommend not using notifications history until this issue is corrected by Blackboard

Computer Setup

UAB's Department of Instructional Technology recommends the following for optimal performance of Blackboard Learn on your computer. If your computer is not set up correctly, you will experience errors in feature functionality.

    1. You should use a browser that is fully certified by blackboard.  Check for supported browsers here. To learn how to check which version you are using click here.
    2. You should have the recommended version of Java installed.

NOTE: Multiple versions of Java installed on the same computer can cause errors to occur. It is highly recommended that you remove all Java versions and only have the UAB-recommended version of Java installed.

To learn how to check your Java version click here.
To learn how to determine and remove multiple versions of Java click here.
To learn how to install Java click here.
To learn how to turn off automatic updates click here.

  1. Disable all pop-up Blockers. To learn how to disable your pop-up Blocker click here.
  2. Your Microsoft Office must be up to date with the latest patches. To learn how to check and update Microsoft Office click here.
  3. Plug-ins that must be installed: RealPlayer, Adobe Reader, Flash Player. To learn how to check for Plug-ins click here.
  4. You must Accept/Run the Security Certificate when prompted at logon. To learn how to Accept/Run Security Certificates click here.

UAB IT Announces VMWare Academic Program Access for UAB STEM Programs

The VMware Academic Program, provided as a service to the UAB STEM Community through UAB IT, accelerates instruction and research in the rapidly expanding area of virtualized infrastructure by providing faculty and students involved with science, technology, engineering, and math courses (STEM) with access to the virtualization technologies most widely used in commercial production environments. Access to the VMWare Academic Program is through an external webportal managed by UAB IT.  

For more information about the program guidelines/licensing and logon instructions click here.

Published in Announcements
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