* When students click on a link in Blackboard, a warning says, "The content below is outside of the Blackboard Learn environment." What's going on?

This is not an error message - it simply means that you are going to a page that is outside of Blackboard.  If you want to avoid having this message pop up, be sure to select "Open in New Window" when adding the link to your course.

* Can I backup my own course?

Yes, you can make backups in two ways:  Archives and Exports.  Both are found under Packages and Utilities in the Course Control Panel.  

An Archive creates a zipped  backup file of all content and student related data.  Only FCLD or ITS can fully restore an archive with enrollments and student data into a new or existing course.

An Export creates a zipped backup file of content only.   It does not include enrollments or student data such as grades, assignments or discussion board posts.  You can import the exported file into a new or existing course by going to the Control Panel and selecting Packages and Utilities > Import Package View Logs.

To create an Archive or an Export file, go to the Control Panel and select Packages and Utilities > Export/Archive Course.  Select the items you would like to export, then click Submit.  When you receive the confirmation email, log back in to your course and go to Export/Archive Course to find your backup file.  To save it to your computer, right click and download the file.

* How do I submit my final grades?

Unfortunately, you cannot submit your final official course grades through Blackboard.  You will need to use the Banner Self-Service for this.  Contact your department chair or the registrar's office for assistance.

* How do I make my course available?

To change the availability within a course go to the Course Management area, under Control Panel:

  • Click Customization to reveal the drop-down menu click Properties.
  • Scroll to Set Availability.
  • Select Yes or No and click Submit.

* When I create an announcement, it says, "Students are still notified of this announcement even if this option is not selected." What does this mean?

When you post an announcement, students receive notifications about it on their Blackboard home page.  If they are using the Alerts and Notifications tool, they will also receive a notification about the announcement in their email.  Checking "Send announcement as email" automatically sends a copy of your announcement as an email to all users in the class, even if they have the Alerts and Notifications tool turned off.

Sending an announcement as an email is a good way to ensure that students are receiving your notices, especially if students are unfamiliar with accessing Blackboard just yet.

* How do I remove an instructor from a course?

To remove an instructor from a course, first you need to "demote" the instructor to the role of student, then remove the user from the course.  Here are the steps:

  • In the control panel, go to Users and Groups > Users
  • Click on the chevron next to the name of the user you want to remove
  • Select "Change user's role in course"
  • Change the user's role to Student and click Submit.
  • When you return to the Users page, click on the checkbox to the left of the username.
  • Click on the "Remove users from course" button
  • Click OK to confirm.

* I'm having trouble opening PDF documents on Blackboard with my Mac.

Recent changes to Safari and Apple are incompatible with the Acrobat plugin.  You will need to find an alternative PDF viewer.  See the links below for details.

* I teach a cross-listed course, but I only see one of the courses on Blackboard. How do I get access to the other one?

Cross-listed courses are combined under one CRN in Blackboard.  Even though you may see only one course, both sets of enrollments will be there.

* I taught a course several years ago and it is no longer available on Blackboard. Can you make it available?

We cannot make old courses available if they are no longer on Blackboard, but we can copy the course into your Sandbox course or your course for the current semester. 

To request a course copy, please fill out the following form:  http://www.hartford.edu/academics/faculty/fcld/learn_blackboard/course_requests/Course_Copy_Request_Form.aspx  Be sure to provide the CRN of the old course, as this helps us to locate the archive in our files.

* I see an option to Import Tests under the Tests tool. Can I upload a Word document here?

Not quite.  Blackboard lets you import files of questions, but only if you format the questions in a specific way.  You will most likely find that creating questions one by one will be easier.

* I lost a lot of class time due to weather cancellations. Can I use Blackboard to make up these missed classes?

Faculty are encouraged to use Blackboard to make up for lost class time due to weather, illness, etc.  For a quick tutorial on how you can use Blackboard to make up class time, you can watch this WebEx video.

* When my students click on a content area in my course, it tells them that the content is not available.

Students may have difficulty accessing course content if they are using Internet Explorer 9.  It is recommended that students and instructors use the Firefox browser to access Blackboard.  Firefox can be downloaded here:  http://www.mozilla.org.

* When I try to edit a menu button in IE9, it makes a duplicate button.

Blackboard 9 has a number of issues with Internet Explorer 9.  It is recommended that you use the Firefox browser, which can be downloaded from http://www.mozilla.org.

* How do I add my course reserves to my Blackboard course?

Instructors can add a link to their library course reserves in two ways:  by adding a button to their course menu or by adding a link to any content area.

To add a button to the course menu:
  • Point to the red + button at the top of the course menu and select Create External Link.
  • Fill out the name (e.g. "Electronic Reserves" or "Course Readings") and the URL (address) of the link provided to you by the library.
  • Click on the box next to "Available to users" to make the link available to students.
  • Click Submit. 

To add a link to a content area (e.g. “Course Documents” or “Assignments”):
  • Enter a content area of your course.
  • Point to Build Content on the action bar and select URL.
  • Fill out a name and URL for the link.
  • Click Submit.
For help with electronic reserves, please contact Alison Rusczyk in Mortensen Library at (860) 768-4965 or rusczyk@hartford.edu.

* When I create my blog/wiki/journal in Blackboard, it tells me to "Reduce the size of the input" even though I haven't written that much.

Blackboard has a limit of 3800 characters for the instruction box.  If you write your instructions in Microsoft Word and then cut and paste them into Blackboard, the formatting code from Microsoft will add extra characters to your total.

To avoid this, you can do one of two things:

1.) In the toolbar above the text box, click on the brackets (< >) button that says Toggle HTML Source Code.  From there, you can cut and paste your text.  Click on the brackets again to turn on the text editor again.

2.) If you would like to post longer instructions, you can attach your Word document using the Attach File button.

Both buttons are highlighted in the image below.

* How do students see their grades for a course?

To view their unofficial grades for a course, students can click on the Tools link in the menu of their Blackboard course and then select My Grades.

To view the official final grade for a course, students need to log in to the Self-Service Center, which can be found here:  http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/www/grades.html.

Instructors who need help submitting final grades or students who need help accessing final grades should contact the Registrar's Office at (860) 768-5589, (860) 768-4460 or (860) 768-5565 Monday-Friday, 9 am - 4 pm.

* How do I find the Course Reference Number (CRN) for my course?

To find the 5-digit CRN for your course, go to the Control Panel and click on Files.  Your Blackboard course ID will appear.

The first number that appears before the dash is your CRN - this is the number that the registrar's office uses to identify your course.

* Where did the Digital Dropbox go?

The Digital Dropbox is no longer available in Blackboard 9.  We recommend using the Assignment Tool to receive and grade assignments electronically.

* I set dates for when I wanted my content to be visible, but the items still don't show.

If you are using the "Limit Availability" options when adding an item, the item must be set as "Available."

If this still does not work, be sure to check the dates you set for your availability.  If you copied the course over from a previous semester, it may still have last year's dates on it.

* I added a button to my course, but my students can't see it.

When you add a button to a course, by default it is created as "unavailable."  Be sure to click the "available to students" checkbox before clicking "Submit" when creating the button.

If you are creating a content area, students will not see the button until you add your content.  Click on the button to open the content area, then click on "Build Content" to add items.

* How do I add a co-instructor/guest speaker/TA to my course?

You can add a colleague, guest speaker or TA to your course as long as the person has university email.  If the person does not have university email, contact ITS at (860) 768-5999 to have a guest account created.  You can search for a person's university email address here:  http://ned.hartford.edu/whitepages/white_pages.html

Adding a User If You Know the Person's Username
  • On the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section.
  • Click Users.
  • On the Users page, select Find Users to Enroll.
  • Enter the username you want to enroll in the course.  (This is the person's University of Hartford email username without the @hartford.edu).  Do not click Browse.
  • To add an additional user, put a comma after the first username you entered (without any spaces) and type in the next username.
  • Select a Role and Enrollment Availability for the users. 
  • Click Submit.
  • You may need to click the Refresh button on the right side of the screen to see the user appear in your course.
Adding a User If You DO NOT Know the Person's Username
  • On the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section.
  • Click Users.
  • On the Users page, select Find Users to Enroll.
  • Click on the Browse button to search for users. 
  • Click on the dropdown menus to search for the user by last name.
  • Select the name and click Submit to enter the name into the Username textbox.  YOU STILL HAVE TO CLICK SUBMIT A SECOND TIME TO ENROLL THE USER.
  • Select a Role and Enrollment Availability for the users.
  • Click Submit to add the user.
  • You may need to hit the Refresh button on the right side of the page to see the user appear in your course.
IMPORTANT:  Be careful when removing instructors from a course - if you accidentally remove an instructor who was supposed to be in the course, you will need to contact FCLD to re-add the instructor.  Instructors should not use this process to add students, as it interferes with the automatic add/drop process.

* When I log into my course, I get a red box with a message that says: "Error: The specified object was not found."

This is a known issue, and can be fixed by clicking on your announcements button in your course menu.  If the problem persists, please contact fcld@hartford.edu.

* I filled out the "Forgot Your Password?" page, and the confirmation link I received did not work.

When you fill out the information on the "Forgot Your Password?" page, you will receive a link in your University email to change your password.  If your email does not let you click on the link, or if you receive an "Access forbidden" error message, try cutting and pasting the link into your browser instead.  (The link is very long, so you will need to ensure you are pasting the entire link into the browser.)

* How can my students get help with Blackboard?

Students can click here for access to video tutorials and quick guides about Blackboard:  http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/fcld/bbhelp/bb9help_student.html.  They can also contact the Computer Support Center for assistance at (860) 768-5999 or its@hartford.edu.  The Computer Support Center has evening and weekend hours.

* Can I still send out an announcement as an email to my students?

As of January 2012, the Send Announcement as Email feature was restored in Blackboard.  When you create an announcement, click "Send a copy of this announcement immediately" to send it as an email to all registered users in the course.  They will receive the email in their University email account.

* Is there a way I can see if a student has accessed content in my Blackboard course?

Yes.  You can enable “Track Number of Views” when you add a content item.   To view quick statistics on who accessed your course and when, select View Statistics Report from the dropdown menu next to the posted item.  You can also run an overall usage report using the Course Reports, which can be accessed by going toControl Panel > Evaluation > Course Reports.

* I see an option to add "Echo Content" under "Add Interactive Tool." What is it?

The University is currently running pilot programs on both WebEx Web Conferencing software and ECHO 360 Lecture Capture.  Lecture Capture is currently installed in five classrooms and anyone teaching in these classrooms can arrange to have their class video recorded.  In addition to the instructor, the recording also captures and records any computer applications you may be using during class, for example, PowerPoint.  You can add a link to the recording into your Blackboard course so students can review it.  This makes them better listeners in class and also lets them review specific course content they may not have understood the first time.

For more information, contact R.J. McGivney, Dean of University Programs, at (860) 768-4401.  WebEx accounts can be requested at the following website: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/mts/webex.html    FCLD is available to answer questions, share best practices, and help you understand how these two tools can be harnessed for student learning.  Email fcld@hartford.edu for more information.

* My students are having trouble taking my online test. Why is this and what should I tell them?

Using an uncertified browser, losing an internet connection or starting a test and then using the back arrow to back out of it are some of the many triggers that cause problems with Blackboard tests.  Many instructors give a low stakes practice quiz so that students who have never taken a Blackboard test get a chance to ‘mess up’ once.

* I have a Sandbox course listed under My Courses. What is it?

All Blackboard instructors have a “sandbox” course.  This course is a private space that can be used as a practice course by you. You are also provided with a second Blackboard user account that can be enrolled as a student in your sandbox course and your other Blackboard courses in order to see them the way students see them.  To enroll this ‘practice student’ account into a course, from the Control PanelUser Management area, select Enroll User. In the box, type in your own last name, then select Search.  Select the box to the left of your practice student account. You will need to log off from your instructor account and log in with your student account when you wish to see course from that point-of-view.
Your test student’s username is your own username with an underscore in front of it (_jdoe if your username is jdoe) and the password is initially set to the last 4 digits of your University ID.

* Can I see email sent from Blackboard?

Blackboard does not have a sent folder, although you can have a copy of anything you send copied to your University email inbox.  Recipients must log into a regular email program like Outlook or Webmail to read it.  Another Blackboard tool, Messages, is a simplified email that is self-contained in your course.  Both you and your students access Messages through your course and it does have a Sent folder. To access Blackboard’s email tool, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Send Email.

* Will I always have access to my Blackboard courses?

While students can only access courses for the duration of the term the course is taught, instructors have access for at least a full year.  If you teach a course in Spring 2010, you will have access to that course until the end of Spring 2011.  FCLD keeps archives of all Blackboard courses – only content, not student-related data like grades – so you can always request that a course be brought back at any time.

* How much space do I have in Blackboard?

Blackboard 9 does have a course quota, but it is large enough that most instructors will never have to worry about space.   If you are over quota, FCLD will meet with you to suggest ways to keep your overcall course size smaller, for example, by showing you how to compress images in PowerPoint or helping you movie large audio/video files the campus streaming server, Ensemble, instead of having them reside directly in Blackboard.

* I teach 2 sections of the same course. Can I combine them in Blackboard?

Yes  you can combine two or more courses on Blackboard.  To do so, you need to fill out a Multiple Section request form found on FCLD’s website: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/fcld/CoreReq.htm.

When you request a Multiple Section course, a new blank course will be created for you that contains the enrollments from all the sections you requested.  If you added content to one of your single-section courses, you will need to copy that content over to your multi-section course.

Your single-section courses will still be accessible to you should you decide to use those instead.  It is advisable that you keep those courses unavailable to students so as not to confuse them.

* What if I don't want to use University email? Can I change it in Blackboard?

You can forward your University email to another email account.  For information on forwarding your email to another address, go tohttp://uhaweb.hartford.edu/www/qanda/19971001-2.HTML.

* How do I email my students?

To send an email to your students, click on the Tools button in your course menu and select Send Email.  From here, you can send an email to all members of the course, or select specific members to receive the email.  Students can also use this tool to email their instructor or other members of the class.

You can also send emails to the entire class from the announcements page.  When you create an announcement, click on "Send a copy of this announcement immediately."  This will post the message on the announcements page as well as send it to all students.

Your email address in Blackboard is set to your University of Hartford email.  Although you can send email from your Blackboard course, you need to read it using your regular email program (e.g., webmail, or the email program to which you forward your webmail).  To access webmail, go to http://webmail.hartford.edu and login using your email username and password.

* I added something to my course by mistake. How do I change/remove it?

To remove an item from a content area, click on the chevron next to the item name and select Delete.

To remove a button from the course menu, click on the chevron next to the button name and select Delete.

* What's the difference between "Course Information" and "Course Documents"?

“Course Information” and “Course Documents” are both content areas in your Blackboard course.  You can put files, links, assignments and other materials into any content area.

You can change the name of an existing content area to make it easier for students to find your content.  To do this, click on the chevron next to the button name in your course menu, and select Rename Link.  Type in a new name for the button (e.g. “Course Readings,” “Lab Assignments”) and click on the green check mark to submit it.

To add a new content area to your course, click on the red + button at the top of your course menu and select “Create Content Area.”  Check the box next to “Available to users” and click Submit.  You can then use the arrows to the left of the button to move the button anywhere you like.

* Which browser should I be using to build my course?

Typically, Firefox is a better bet on both PCs and Macs.  Other browsers tend to work fine as well, but please note that Internet Explorer 9 has significant difficulties with Blackboard 9.

Please visit this link for a list of certified browsers for both PCs and Macs:http://kb.blackboard.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=72810639

* I teach 2 sections of the same course. How do I tell them apart in Blackboard?

You can modify the name of your course slightly to identify the different sections of your course.  To do this:
  • Enter the Blackboard course and go to Control Panel > Customization > Properties.
  • Look at the Course ID for your course to find your CRN.
  • Under Course Name, you can change the name of the course to identify the section (e.g. “ENG140 Introduction to Literature – Monday, 2:30”).  Be careful not to change the name too drastically, as this is how students find your course on their Blackboard homepage.

* I copied material into my course, and when I click on it, nothing is there.

Blackboard creates duplicate buttons when it copies a course.  Check the bottom of your course menu for another button with the same name – this is usually where the content is located.  To delete extra buttons, click on the chevron next to the name of the button and select Delete.

The course copy process takes time, especially if you have a lot of content to copy.  You will receive a confirmation email when the course has copied.  Please do not add any content or try to copy again until you receive the confirmation email.

* Can I copy a colleague's course materials into my course?

If you would like access to a colleague’s course material, ask your colleague to add you as an instructor in the course.  You will then be able to copy the material forward into your own course.

Please note that FCLD cannot copy another instructor’s course materials into your course without written permission from the instructor.

* Can I copy material from my old course?

Instructors can copy material from previous courses into their current Blackboard course.  Instructions can be found here: http://hartford.edu/academics/faculty/fcld/data/documentation/bb9/Maintenance_Customization/CopyingContent.pdf.

If the course you want to copy is no longer on Blackboard, please fill out this form to have FCLD copy the course for you: http://hartford.edu/academics/faculty/fcld/learn_blackboard/course_requests/Course_Copy_Request_Form.aspx.

* I have too many courses on my homepage when I log in to Blackboard. How do I hide my old courses?

To hide old courses, click on the gear icon next to My Courses on your Blackboard homepage.  From here, you can check or uncheck which classes you want to show on your homepage, then click Submit.  This does not delete old courses; it simply hides them from view.  You can access your hidden courses by clicking on the Courses tab at the top of the screen.

* I am taking over a course for a colleague. Can you add me into his/her course?

If the change happens prior to the start of the semester, contact the Registrar’s office to be listed as the instructor for the course in Banner.  A new course will be created for your CRN automatically, and students will be enrolled in it.

If you are taking over for a course mid-semester, have the original instructor (or the department chair, if the original instructor is unavailable) contact FCLD to have the new instructor added into the course.  FCLD cannot add users to a course without permission of the instructor.

* Why does my course say "unavailable"?

All courses are created by default as ‘unavailable’ to students (hidden from students, but accessible to the instructor).  To change the availability within a course go to the Course Management area, under Control Panel:
  • Click Customization to reveal the drop-down menu click Properties.
  • Scroll to Set Availability.
  • Select Yes or No and click Submit.

* I don't see any students in my course. Can you add them in?

It is possible that the students have only registered recently and have not been added to the Blackboard course yet.  Also, if you are teaching a Freshman course, it is possible that they have not been assigned their Blackboard usernames yet.  If your Blackboard roster is markedly different from your Banner roster, please contact FCLD (860) 768-4661 for assistance.  FCLD does not recommend adding students in manually, as this interferes with the automatic add/drop process.

* My students can't see my course.

  • The student should check with the Registrar to confirm that s/he is officially registered for the course.  Only students who are officially registered will see Blackboard courses listed on their Blackboard Home Page.
  • There is a delay of a day or two from when a student registers for a course and when the student appears in the Blackboard course.  If the student is logging in immediately after registering, he or she should check back in a few days.
  • If the instructor for the course is listed as “Staff,” the course will not appear in Blackboard. The instructor should contact the Registrar’s Office to be listed on the Banner roster which will transfer to Blackboard.
  • The instructor should check that the course is set to “Available” for the students.  To do so, go to Control Panel > Customization > Properties and make sure that “Yes” is clicked after “Make Course Available.”

* I can't see my courses.

Courses are created automatically based on data in Banner.  If you are not listed as the instructor for the course in Banner (i.e. your course is listed as “Staff”), your course will not appear in Blackboard.  Please contact the Registrar or your department to get assigned to that course in Banner.

* I can't log on.

  • You need to have a University of Hartford email account in order to access Blackboard.  If you do not have University email, contact ITS at (860) 768-5999.
    • Note:  If you are a recent graduate of the University who is now an instructor, you do not need to apply for a new email account.  Contact ITS to have your email switched from student to instructor status.
  • Your Blackboard username is the same as your University email username.  If you do not remember your email username, you can search for it here:   http://vax.hartford.edu/www/white_pages.html.
  • There is a one to two day delay between applying for University email and being able to access Blackboard.  If you are brand new to the University, you may need to wait a day or two before accessing Blackboard.
  • Be sure you are entering only the first part of the email address as your username (e.g. jdoe if your email is jdoe@hartford.edu).
  • Your password is the last 4 digits of your University ID only.
  • If you can’t remember your password, click on the Forgot My Password link on the logon screen.   A link will be sent to your University email, allowing you to reset it.
  • If you are using letters in your password, remember that passwords are case sensitive.  Be sure that Caps Lock is not turned on.
  • Try switching browsers.  Blackboard works best in Firefox and Internet Explorer 8.
  • Be sure cookies are enabled in your browser and that popups are allowed in Blackboard.
  • Firewalls may cause problems.
  • If you have checked all of these items, contact FCLD for assistance:  (860) 768-4661.

* How can I get help with Blackboard?

FCLD offers seminars on Blackboard and other technologies throughout the year.  For a current list, go to http://hartford.edu/academics/faculty/fcld/workshops/default.aspx

Once logged in to Blackboard, the Help link in the top margin of Blackboard links to many helpful resources, including video tutorials, for both students and instructors.

Help is also available from any Control Panel in the Help area:
Blackboard Help – The Blackboard manual provided by Blackboard.
Contact Support – generates an e-mail to FCLD.
Video Tutorials – Video tutorials created by Blackboard.

If these resources do not solve your problem, email fcld@hartford.edu.  If FCLD is unavailable to help, Google it.  Answers to common Blackboard questions may be found on other University websites, but be sure they are using Blackboard 9.1.