faq bnr

General Blackboard Questions



Computer Setup


 

Content and Course Tools


 

Blackboard Tips

Here are some general do's and don'ts for using Blackboard Learn

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Use the Computer Setup Guide to be sure you have the correct browser, Java, pop-up settings, etc.


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Don't use special characters, spaces, or long file names in assignment files or other files to be uploaded/downloaded. A good rule is to only use letters, numbers and underscores ( _ ). file_naming


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Don’t copy directly from Word to Blackboard discussion boards or other areas - hidden embedded characters from Word may make discussion posts or other content not display – especially in Internet Explorer. If you need to write a lot of text that you will need to copy and paste into a discussion board, use Note Pad (Windows) or Text Edit (Mac).


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Don’t use Google to get to Blackboard - just go to login using the side bar on the right hand side of this page! Google or other search engines may use old information and direct you to an incorrect URL.


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Don’t have multiple browser windows or tabs open when in Blackboard.


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Don’t use the mouse scroll wheel while taking a multiple choice test. It can change your answer without your realizing it.


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Save your answers frequently when taking tests- this will help prevent time-outs, especially on long exams.


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Don’t use the beta or pre-release versions of browsers. Click here for a list of compatible browsers.

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What is Blackboard Learn?

Blackboard Learn (also referred to as just Blackboard) is the UAB Campus Learning System. All distance accessible courses are available in Blackboard. Blackboard is a virtual learning environment that allows students to access course content, discussions, and assessments and allows them to participate in real time collaboration just as if they were present in a tradition classroom.

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When can I access my Blackboard courses?

Students can access their online courses in Blackboard on the first day of the semester in which they are enrolled in the course. The course will remain open to enrolled students for 10 days after the last day of the semester.

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What is Blackboard Mobile?

Blackboard Mobile is a way for students and instructors to access their courses anywhere, anytime using native mobile applications built specifically to facilitate Blackboard course access on a number of devices. Mobile applications are available for iPhone/iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Palm.

Features and Benefits
Mobile Learn is an excellent way to stay in touch with what's going on in your courses and as a means to communicate with your instructor and classmates. Mobile Learn will allow you to:

  • Access the latest announcements posted by your instructor
  • Track and manage your course tasks
  • Post to a discussion board, blog, journal, or wiki
  • Upload content
  • Access your grades
  • Listen to MP3s


What you can't do
Although Mobile Learn is a great communication tool and facilitates access to large portions of your courses, it is not a complete substitute for desktop access. There are certain file types that you may not be able to open without additional apps installed; and access to audio and video files will be constrained by the capabilities of the device you own.
It is always inadvisable to take a test using a Wi-Fi connection, and this advice holds true for your cell phone or tablet - don't attempt a test using a mobile device.

A summary of things you won't be able to do through blackboard mobile learn:

  • Submit an assignment
  • View Flash-based or Java-based content
  • Participate in Wimba Classroom sessions
  • Take a quiz or test

To download the Blackboard Mobile App on your device, click here.

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What is a BlazerID?

All UAB faculty, staff, and students must have a BlazerID to access Blackboard Learn. When you log in to Blackboard Learn, you will be asked for a Username and Password, enter your BlazerID and password in these fields. Remember that your BlazerID and password are case sensitive.

You can check your BlazerID in the UAB Electronic Phonebook. If you do not have a BlazerID, you may create one by visiting the BlazerID Central Website. You should be able to access Blackboard Learn 24 hours after registering your BlazerID.

Note: Do not share your password with anyone. If you believe someone has stolen your password, please contact the AskIT Help Desk.

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I forgot my password, how do I reset it?

You can reset your password by going to BlazerID Central.

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What browser should I use?

Blackboard Learn requires a modern browser that has certain features enabled so that the tools will function properly. The UAB supported browser is Internet Explorer 8.

  • To check your computer setup, click here.
  • For a list of supported browsers from Blackboard, click here.
  • For a list of common browser issues, click here.

Note: Internet Explorer 7 is no longer supported for Blackboard Learn.

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Are there tests I can perform to verify that my system is ready to work with Blackboard?

Most problems in Blackboard arise from incompatibility issues with your browser or software on your computer.

  • To check your computer setup, click here.
  • For a list of supported browsers from Blackboard, click here.
  • For a list of common browser issues, click here.
  • For information about Java issues, click here.

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What is Java and how do I install it on my computer?

Java is a programming language and software platform that is required for certain features of Blackboard to function properly. In order for Blackboard to run properly, it is important you have the latest version of Java installed on your system.

Be aware that when downloading a new version of Java, any previous Java installations on your computer are not overwritten. This causes problems when trying to run Java on Blackboard. You will have to manually un-install any pre-existing versions of Java on your system. For more information on verifying, installing and troubleshooting Java on your system, visit the Java Support page.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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What should I do if I see a message that says “Java has discovered application components that could indicate a security concern”?

When some PC users login to Blackboard, they may encounter a pop-up that says “Java has discovered application components that could indicate a security concern”.

Java added a patch in Version 6 Update 19 that added protection from applets that contain both signed and unsigned components, which often results in this security warning. Blackboard has at least one such applet and Blackboard users will need to click “No” on the pop-up window to allow the applet to run.

If the user clicks “Yes” and stops the applet from running, most of Blackboard will continue to function, but Java applets such as chat and the file browser will not. To avoid having to deal with this pop-up repeatedly, users can change a setting in the Java Control Panel to run the applets with protections.

To change the security settings in the Java Control Panel

  1. Go to the Start menu and select Control Panel from the list.
  2. Inside the Control Panel dialog box, find the icon that says Java.
    Note: You must be in Classic View to see the list of icons.
  3. Inside the Java Control Panel, click the Advanced tab and expand Security to access the Mixed Code options.
  4. Select the option that says Enable – hide warning and run with protections. The code executes as if the user had clicked No from the warning dialog without showing the warning message.

Note: This is a global setting and will run mixed code from any website without displaying the message.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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Every time I work with Blackboard, I get a Java security warning. How do I stop these windows from popping up repeatedly?

When some PC users login to Blackboard, they may encounter a pop-up that says “Java has discovered application components that could indicate a security concern”.

Java added a patch in Version 6 Update 19 that added protection from applets that contain both signed and unsigned components, which often results in this security warning. Blackboard has at least one such applet and Blackboard users will need to click “No” on the pop-up window to allow the applet to run.

If the user clicks “Yes” and stops the applet from running, most of Blackboard will continue to function, but Java applets such as chat and the file browser will not. To avoid having to deal with this pop-up repeatedly, users can change a setting in the Java Control Panel to run the applets with protections.

To change the security settings in the Java Control Panel:

    1. Go to the Start menu and select Control Panel from the list.
    2. Inside the Control Panel dialog box, find the icon that says Java
      Note: You may have to be in Classic View to see the list of icons.
    3. Inside the Java Control Panel, click the Advanced tab and expand Security to access the Mixed Code options.
    4. Select the option that saysEnable – hide warning and run with protections”. The code executes as if the user had clicked Nofrom the warning dialog without showing the warning message.

Note: This is a global setting and will run mixed code from any website without displaying the message.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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I do not have a left menu bar to access my course content, what do I do?

When some users login to Blackboard, the left course menu is minimized by default. To see the left menu just click on the exapand tab (a small tab about a third of the way down the page with an > arrow). This will expand the menu and you will be able to navigate to the course content that your instructor has made available to you.

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I cannot attach files to my assignments, what do I do?

Most problems with adding an attachment is related to either File Naming conventions, Java or Popup Blocker programs. Below you will find the solutions for each of these common issues.

File Naming:
For best results in Blackboard, file names should only use numbers, letters, underscores ( _ ), dashes ( - ), periods ( . ). Files uploaded into the Content Collection Area should not include any special characters or spaces in the file name. Files uploaded into Blackboard Learn with names that include special characters (such as ^?*<>/\:|&,) or spaces will not behave correctly.

Java:
Blackboard requires a program called Java in order to run on your computer. The recommended version of Java to have installed is Java 1.7.21. It is possible to have multiple versions of Java installed on your computer, but it can cause problems. For more information on verifying, installing and troubleshooting Java, please visit our Java Support page.

Popup Blockers:

Pop-up blockers work in the background while you browse the Internet. When they detect a pop-up window that may be an unwanted advertisement, they automatically close the window. This can prevent Blackboard from performing properly.

While using Blackboard, if you are unable to view discussion postings, quiz windows, and download links, then you need to disable pop-up blocking. For more information about turning off pop-up blocker on your machine, please select your current web browser:

 

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Why do my Word files change into .lnk files when I upload them for my class?

The .lnk file extension refers to a shortcut link on your computer, not the actual file. This occurs when you upload the document while the file is still open or if you load the file from the Recent Files folder instead of My Documents, My Computer, or the Desktop.

Be sure to close out of the file before attempting to upload the document into your Blackboard course and never upload files from the Recent Files folder because the files stored in that folder are all shortcut links to the actual files on your computer.

Any file that does not have a file extension at the end is a shortcut link and will come up with the .lnk extension when it is uploaded.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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I’m having problems hearing or recording sound on my Mac, but when I change the sound settings they do not stay selected after I restart my computer. What should I do?

This appears to be a bug in the Snow Leopard system. When you set your sound preferences, the settings will reset to default when the system is rebooted. To fix the problem:

  1. On your computer’s hard drive (Macintosh HD), go to the folder that says Library
    Note: Macintosh HD is the default name for the system’s hard drives. If you have renamed the hard drives on your Mac, you will want to locate the main hard drive.
  2. In the Library folder, find the Preferences folder.
  3. In the Preferences folder, find the folder labeled Audio.
  4. Delete everything in the Audio folder
    Note: If you do not have an Audio folder, find the files that say com.apple.audio.DeviceSettings.plist and com.apple.audio.SystemSettings.plist and delete them.
  5. Restart your system and set your sound preferences.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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Why can’t I see some files when I use Internet Explorer 8?

Security updates made to the IE8 browser can prevent some Blackboard content from functioning. One example is when you see the security warning “Do you want to view only the web page content that was delivered securely?” Because video files often contain a combination of secure and non-secure information, saying “Yes” will prevent the files from functioning properly.

To prevent this, answer “NO” to this security question when you open video files in the Internet Explorer 8 browser.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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Wimba Classroom is lagging and choppy when trying to play audio and/or video content. How do I fix this?

Wimba Classroom’s streaming audio and video content requires a consistent connection to the Internet in order to play clearly. Even if your connection appears to be working normally, the connection may still experience delays and interruptions.

Wireless connections are typically more inconsistent than Ethernet (wired) connections and may experience lagging or choppy audio more frequently. RED Netstat bars may indicate this occurrence. If there are significant delays in the Internet connection, it may also cause the audio connection to drop — indicated by RED or GRAY Netstat bars.

Wimba Classroom will attempt to reconnect, but if the connection continues to have delays, even after Wimba reconnects, the audio may continue to be choppy or drop.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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I am trying to view a narrated presentation in Blackboard, but I can’t get it to play or it will only play the audio or video but not both.

Our courses use a few different methods to create the narrated presentations of course lectures and content and depending on which format the presentation is in will determine how to solve the issue. If none of the recommendations below solve your issue, please contact the AskIT Help Desk at 205-996-5555 or \n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Impatica
Impatica for PowerPoint is a software tool that allows Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to be played over the Internet, at low connection speeds (such as dial-up or satellite service). The Impatica file (with the extension “.imp”) uses a Java player applet (“ImPlayer”) and plays in real time while the file is streaming over the Internet.

The most common issues are related to Java. For more information on verifying, installing and troubleshooting Java, please visit our Java Support page.

The lastest update, has added extra security to Blackboard Learn which now requires you to enter your BlazerID and Password when viewing Impatica files. If you see a Java Authentication message when attempting to view the narrated presentation, you MUST enter your BlazerID and Password for the presentation to play. If you cancel of close this dialog box, you will have to close all browsers and then log back in to have it give you the option again.

Adobe® Presenter
Adobe® Presenter easily converts PowerPoint slides into Flash based rich media presentations and eLearning content. These are self-running presentations that are loaded into your course for viewing anywhere, anytime.

The most common issues are related to the Flash Player plug-in. Please make sure that you have the latest version installed so that files will play properly. You can download the latest version here.

Mac Users - There is an issue that happens on Macs where the presentation loads, but displays No Audio on the bottom of the presentation. If this occurs, we have found that just click the refresh button at the top of the page normally corrects this issue.

Again, if none of the recommendations above solve your issue, please contact the AskIT Help Desk at 205-996-5555 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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Why did my session time out while I was typing a Discussion Post/Assignment/Assessment answer?

Text boxes for inputting type in Blackboard use a Java Applet to allow you to type in text. When you are typing in these fields your activity is not recognized as activity by Blackboard. Blackboard is set to time out after 15 minutes of inactivity, so if you are typing a lengthy message or answer in one of these fields, you may time out.

We recommend that if you are composing a lengthy response that you type it in a separate program, such as Note Pad (Windows) or Text Edit (Mac), and either copy and paste the text or use the attachment feature to attach the other document.

In the case of Assessments, we recommend that you periodically click outside of the text field and perform an activity such as scrolling up and down the page so that some activity is registered. Please be very cautious in the activity that you perform while in Assessments, so that you do not accidentally close or submit your assessment.

Used with permission from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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I was kicked out of my Assessment, what do I do?

The stability of the internet can sometimes be sporadic; therefore there is always a possibility of encountering some type of error while taking an online exam. If this happens to you please contact AskIT ( \n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 205-996-5555) and your instructor immediately via email and inform them of your situation (be sure to include the time, course ID, and assessment title in your email). However, below are some precautions that you can take when taking your online exam:

  • Make sure there is only one Blackboard session open at a time. In other words, do not have one window open while you are taking an exam and another open for course navigation. The multiple logins may cause an error.
  • If possible please have only the browser window where you are taking the exam open. Closing all others unrelated browser windows will give you the best chance of completing your assessment without errors.
  • While you are taking your exam you should also close any other programs or applications that are not essential for completely your exam (e.g. RealPlayer, MusicMatch, Adobe Photoshop, QuickTime, Microsoft Outlook, MSN Messenger etc.)
  • If you have a firewall and or anti-virus software installed on your system, you may want to disable it functions while you are taking the assessment only.
  • Please do not press the “Backspace” (or the “Enter”) button on your keyboard or click the "Back" button on your browser during your assessment.



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