Blackboard 9.1 Frequently Asked Questions
The answer to my problem isn’t on this page – what do I do now?
Please put in a work order so we can start looking at it. Please give us enough information to get started, especially your user-id, the course id, what you did, what you see and what you were expecting. Thanks! http://help.mbc.edu/HelpRequest.html Fall 2012 / Spring 2013 Blackboard Information: http://www.mbc.edu/oit/end-of-fall-2012start-of-spring-2013-blackboard-notes/
ACCESS TO BLACKBOARD
Common Questions from STUDENTS:
Click here to see the many pedagogical advantages of enhancing your course with Blackboard. What Blackboard Can Do For You
MANAGING STUDENT ENROLLMENTS
BUILDING AND MANAGING A BLACKBORD COURSE
THE GRADING CENTER
My Blackboard course sends me somewhere else and I can’t get back.
If you added an external link and now when you or your students try to get into the Blackboard course you go to the external website and can’t get back, try this” Click on the Display Course Menu in a Window Icon. Then in Control Panel, Customization click on Style. At 4. Entry Point, change the Entry Point back to Announcements or Discussions or somewhere else within your Blackboard course.
I can’t sign in to Blackboard!
- Are you sure you are registered for a Blackboard Course? If not, speak to your instructors. You will not have a Blackboard user-id unless you are taking one class that is being taught in Blackboard.
- Have students been enrolled yet in Blackboard? Course shells are created in Blackboard prior to the enrollments being copied over. Check the System Announcements on the Blackboard login page for the student enrollment dates
- Try your Mary Baldwin User ID and your ORIGINAL pin.
- Call x7075 or fill out a help request form at http://help.mbc.edu/HelpRequest.html
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I am a student and I can’t see my class
Ask your instructor for help. Ensure that
- The class IS being taught using Blackboard
- The instructor has made the course available AND
- Student enrollments have been loaded.
- If all these conditions have been met and you still can’t see your course, contact the Help Desk by calling x7075 or fill out a help request form at http://help.mbc.edu/HelpRequest.html
I am an Instructor and I can’t see my class
This is the process for getting a Blackboard Course set up:
- You were asked if you need Blackboard when you made a request to list a course on the ADP COL. Therefore your course will have been “flagged” for Blackboard and will show up as soon as course shells have been created for this term.
- Check the Blackboard Log-In page or Announcements to see if the course shells have been created yet for this term.
- If somehow your course missed being created or if your use of Blackboard has changed, please notify Debby Bibens.
FOR RCW and Graduate Programs:
- Notify the registrar that you want to teach using Blackboard as early as possible.
- If it is before classes start, check the Blackboard Log-In page or Announcements to see if the course shells have been created yet for this term.
- If they have, and you cannot see your course, notify the registrar that your course is to be taught in Blackboard (Lori Johnson for GTE and Kim Robinson for RCW and other Graduate Programs)
- The program that creates Blackboard shells runs every day or two. You will get an email when your course shell has been created.
- If a few days have passed since you made the request for a course shell and you still cannot see it, email email@example.com and we will look into it.
My students can’t see my class!
- Check the Blackboard Log-In page or Announcements to see what day Students will be enrolled. If that day has not yet come, the students will not be able to see your course because they will not yet be enrolled in it.
- If it is past the enrollment date and you cannot see your students, email the Blackboard Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a cc: to either Kim Robinson (RCW), Lori Johnson (GTE) or Debby Bibens (ADP)
- If you are the instructor and you can see your course and you can see your students but your students can’t see your course, make sure you have made it Available: On the Control Panel, click on Customization, then Properties and look at section 3 to ensure the Make Course Available button is set to YES.
- Students are added every day or two throughout Add/Drop. If it is after ADD/DROP and you need to ADD a student to your course, IF THEY ARE IN YOUR MyMBC roster, you can add them by following the directions here:
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I can’t get into the Discussions or Readings or Tests / I can’t see / I can’t see the left hand side of my page!
Move your mouse to the far far far left hand side of your the screen and look for the right pointing arrow. Click on the right pointing arrow and you will get your left hand side back.
How can I print my Discussion Board post?
To print your Discussion Board Post, in the Forum (not Thread) page, click on the little box to the left of your post and then click on the Collect Button. When it shows you your post, click on Print Preview, and then Print.
I can’t see my grade!
If a student has taken a test and the test is still available in the Content Area, the student can click on the test again. They will be able to see whatever the Instructor has allowed. This may be any or all of these:
- Score on the Test
- The Answers that the Student Submitted
- The Correct Answers
- Feedback from the Instructor based on the Student’s Answer
The Instructor sets up which feedback they wish to show the student when the Test is deployed or afterwards from Edit Test Options. If a student has completed an assignment and the assignment is still available in the Content area, the student can click on the assignment again. They will be able to see the grade and any feedback the Instructor has entered for this assignment. In order for a student to see all of his or her grades after the graded item is no longer Available, the Tools or the My Grades menu item must be made Available by the Instructor. Directions here:
I have forgotten my password!
Your Blackboard password is your original MBC Pin. If you have forgotten your password, contact OIT on X7075 or go to https://academic.mbc.edu/sslscripts/password/pwreset.asp When you click on Reset Password, it will not reset your Pin, but it will reset your network password (if you have one) to your original Pin and it will tell you your Pin.
I got an error while taking a test! My test recorded the wrong response!
When you press on next question (or save answer) and then click the mouse button again before it finishes refreshing the screen, you might get the following error -In the red bar it says – “Access denied” and the message says “Access Denied – Either you are not logged in or you do not have the appropriate privileges to perform this action.” Another kind of error which just says “Error” in the red bar and the message says – An error occurred. Contact the System Administrator. For reference, the Error ID is …. Workaround: Wait a second or two after the save before clicking the mouse again. Always double check your test answers before the final submission. Because sometimes if you are working quickly, the screen might not have had time to reset itself before you click the answer. If the screen has not reset itself, the test might record the answer it THINKS you chose, rather than the answer you thought you chose. BACK TO TOP
How do I turn off the overnight emails?
You can turn OFF your notifications for each class you are in, and then you won’t get the Overnight Digest emails. Do this by clicking on My Places and clicking on Edit Notification Settings. If you want to turn off the overnight emails from ALL your courses, click on Bulk Edit Notification Settings and Courses I am Teaching and/or Courses I am Taking. Leave the Default to ALL and go to 3. Settings and Unclick the box to the left of On/Off so that there are no little check marks in any of the boxes below. Click on Submit. To turn off the settings from a certain course or courses, click on Edit Individual Course Settings. Click on each course one at at time and in the little box at the top left click on the On/Off button so that all the boxes below are Unclicked. Then click on Submit. If, when a professor creates an announcement in their course, they click on Override User Notification Settings, Blackboard will send an email to the student even if they have set their Notificaiton Settings to NOT receive the overnight digest.
My test “froze” or I got “kicked out” of my test
If your students are taking a test from a wireless device they may have this experience. Please NEVER use Forced Completion when you are setting a test, because if the test freezes or the network connection fails, the student will be unable to complete the test even if it is within the time limit. If you do not choose Forced Completion, your student will be able to re-enter a frozen test and finish it. If you must make a Forced Completion test, please inform your students that they must use a wired device to take the test.
How long do I have to finish my Assignment before I get kicked out of Blackboard?
The Blackboard timeouts for Assignments is set to 60 minutes. If you are working on a long assignment, it is better to create it using WORD or Notebook so you can save as you go along, then you can paste into Blackboard when you are finished. In our previous Blackboard it was not advisable to paste from word but it works fine now.
The student clicks on a link and gets a red “Not Found” banner
If a student gets a red banner and an error that says “The specified resource was not found, or you do not have permission to access it” but the instructor can access the file with no problem, then this is probably because of a known bug in Blackboard that they are fixing. In the meantime, the instructor will need to do this:
- Go to Control Panel, Files and then click on the course name.
- Find the file that is giving the error
- Click on the little down triangle to the right of the file name and choose Permissions.
- If Student is not one of the course roles that has Read permissions, click on Add Course User List and then click in the Student box and then click on Submit.
- This should enable the students to read this file.
My Blackboard Home page is so cluttered – how can I make last semester’s courses not show up?
First, make last semester’s course UNAVAILABLE. Go to Control Panel, Customization, Properties and change Make Course Available to NO. Then, go into your Blackboard @ MBC tab and on the My Courses pane there is a little wheel at the top right. Click on the wheel and then UNCLICK the boxes next to the old courses. This will remove the course from your view but it is still in the database until it is archived. BACK TO TOP
How do I save my course so I can use it again? How does my course get archived?
Courses are always Archived and Exported by OIT before they are removed from Blackboard. Archiving saves the entire course, including all student records, student work and grades. Exporting saves the course content, tests, discussion board forums, etc. but not student assignments, grades, tests. Exporting does not change the course you are teaching, it just takes a snapshot of the course the way it is now. There are two ways to save your course for the next time you teach it. 1) Export the course and then Import the course when you teach it next. This is the preferred method. To do this:
- Go to Control Panel, Packages and Utilities
- Click on Export/Archive Course.
- Click on Export and then click in all the little boxes or click on Select All.
- Make sure you click on all the Content areas that you want, the Grade Center Columns and Settings if you are saving any Assessments (Assignments or Tests) and Tests, Surveys and Pools if you are saving any tests or quizzes. Click on Submit. You will get a message that says “The operation has completed. The file may be downloaded from the Control Panel.”
- Wait a few minutes. Then go to the Export/Archive Course page again. You will see a file name that starts with ExportFile and ends with .zip
- Click on this file and OPEN to SAVE or COPY it to a safe place where you can find it again later. This safe place may be your U: Drive, your C: Drive, an external Flash Drive, your Google Docs or Google Drive, or a Digital Dropbox. In Chrome, when you click on Open, the .zip file will go to your Downloads Folder:
In Firefox, when you click on Open, you will be asked whether to Save or Open the file. Choose Save the File. The file will be saved in your Downloads Folder.
In Internet Explorer, when you click on Open, you will be asked whether to Open or Save the file. Click on the down triangle next to Save and choose Save As. I/E will ask you where you want to save it.
If the file was Saved into your Downloads Folder, copy the file to a safe place.If you are using a MAC, the default settings in both Safari and Firefox on the Mac may automatically ‘open’ or unpackage these .zip files. This behavior can be changed in the browser: Safari | Preferences | General — UNCHECK the “Open ‘Safe Files’ after downloading” option – this allows the browser to download the .zip file archive intact. There is a similar setting to change in Firefox on the Mac.
- Do NOT double click on the .zip file, that might expand it and it needs to stay zipped so it can be Imported later.
- To Import this course into your new blank course shell the next time you teach it, follow the directions here:
To save content files from your Blackboard Course so you can access/update them between semesters: (This will not save Tests, Assignments, Discussions, Wikis)
1) Go to Control Panel, Files and click on the name of your Course 2) Go to the bottom of the page where it says Displaying 1 to 25 of XX Items. 3) If the XX is greater than 25, click on Show All. You should now be seeing all the Folders/Files in your course. 4) Click on the Top Left little box (to left of File Type) to put check marks in all the Folders/Files on the page. 5) Click on Download Package 6) Save the file in a place where you can find it again.
2) We used to use a “Master Course” for people to use in between semesters when the course was being taught. But because it is tricky to copy things back and forth between courses without creating duplicate content and duplicate grade center columns AND it takes up space which we pay for AND most faculty preferred to work from a copy of the course the last time they taught it, we are moving away from Master Courses and towards the Export/Import process described above. If you have a compelling need to retain a Master Course, please send an email to the Blackboard Administrator specifying which course to copy and your reasons for needing a Master Course. To copy from your Master Course into your new course shell the next time you teach the course, you would follow the directions here.
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How can I import a course that I used to teach in Blackboard and have saved?
If you Exported your course the last time you taught it, you can Import the content to your new course shell the next time you teach it.
- Go to Control Panel, Packages and Utilities, Import Package/View Logs.
- Click on Import Package
- Browse for the file you saved of the exported course.
- Make sure you click on all the little boxes at the left.
- Wait a few minutes. Sometimes the email saying the copy has completed arrives before the copy actually HAS completed.
- When the course has been Imported, you will need to clear out the Discussion Boards just as you would after a course Copy.
How do I see the students who are enrolled in my course?
The easiest way to see your students is to click on Control Panel, Users and Groups, Users and change the search drop-down boxes to Username and Not Blank and click on Go.
My enrollments in MyMBC do not match the enrollments in Blackboard – which is correct?
The enrollments in the registrar’s system (which you can view MyMBC) are the source of the enrollments in Blackboard. During Add/Drop, new ADDS flow into Blackboard every day, but DROPS do not. Therefore, if someone is in your MyMBC classs list and they are not in Blackboard, they will most likely be added to Blackboard overnight. If this happens after Add/Drop, please contact the Blackboard Administrator or fill out a help request form at http://help.mbc.edu/HelpRequest.html If there is someone who is NOT in your MyMBC class list and who IS in Blackboard, it is probable that they have dropped the course. If this happens during Add/Drop, or before the student has posted any graded work in Blackboard, you may remove the student from your Blackboard course (Users and Groups, Users, click on the box to the left of their name and then click on Remove Users from Course). The registrars have requested we not drop a student from your Blackboard course if they have withdrawn from your course. Please don’t remove a user from the course after Add/Drop as there will be no record of them in your course, and their work will be deleted and will not be able to be recovered. If a student withdraws, you can make them Unavailable to the course. Click on the down chevrons next to the user name and Edit, then go down to 4. Available and change the Yes to a No. This will make the course not available to the student but their work will not be deleted.
How can I easily combine enrollments from two sections of my course?
- Go to the Course you want to copy enrollments FROM.
- Click on Control Panel, Packages and Utilities, Course Copy
- At 2 Destination Course ID, type in the Course ID you want to copy TO or Browse for the Course, click in the little circle to the left of the course you are choosing and then click on Submit. You may have to scroll down to find the Submit Button within the Browse pane.
- Click on something that you are not using (Glossary for Example)
- At 4, click on Include Enrollments in the Copy. Click on Submit.
This will copy your enrollments from the FROM course to the TO course. Please note that you will need to do this through Add/Drop to make sure you get all the students who are adding your course. If you want to share course content, but have each section of the course also have its own content (for example, a different syllabus for ADP and RCW), you do that with GROUPS and ADAPTIVE RELEASE – see below. GROUPS: Create the two groups for the two separate types of Users, using Control Panel, Users and Groups, Groups. Click on Create Single Group, Manual Enroll. Name the Group (RCW) and at 4. Membership, add all the RCW Students to the RCW group. Click on Submit. Repeat for the ADP Group. ADAPTIVE Release: Where you have loaded your two syllabi (or assignments, or tests, or whatever), click on the down chevrons next to the RCW Syllabus and choose Adaptive Release. Under 2. Membership, Course Groups, move the RCW Group into the Selected Items and click on Submit. Repeat for the ADP Syllabus. GRADING CENTER: In the Full Grade Center, choose Manage, Smart Views. Create a Smart View for Each Group, and click on Favorites. This will enable you to choose just one group at a time to view in the Grade Center.
What’s the procedure for dropping students from my course?
When you know from the registrar that students have dropped your course, if it is still within Add/Drop and there is no student work that needs to be preserved, then you drop the student manually by going to the Control Panel, Users and Groups, Users. Find the student using the search boxes, then click on the box to the left of the student’s name and click on Remove Student from Course. The registrars have asked us to leave in students who withdraw from the course, so when we archive it there is a record that they were once enrolled. So, that’s why an instructor can’t delete students after Add/Drop.
How do I withdraw a student from my course after Add/Drop?
To withdraw a student from your Blackboard course you will click on the down chevrons to the right of the student ID and choose Change Users Availability in Course and change Available to No and click on Submit. From now on this student will not be able to access the course, and will not get any “All Student” emails you might send. The student will remain in your Gradebook. If withdrawn students are cluttering up your gradebook and you want to not look at them any longer, one way you can do this is to create a Smart View: In the Full Grading Center, click on Manage, Smart Views, Create Smart View. Under 1, call the Smart View Current Students and click on the Favorites box. Under 2. Type of View choose User. Highlight the Current Students (hold down the Ctrl key to just highlight the ones you want) and Submit. Now when you click on Grade Center, Current Students will come up as a choice underneath Full Grade Center and you can click on that and instead of getting the Full Grade Center with all the students in it, you’ll only get the current students. BACK TO TOP
To add someone to your course as a Student, Instructor, Course Builder or Teaching Assistant / Teaching Partner:
- Go to the Control Panel, Users and Groups, Users.
- Click on the Blue Find Users To Enroll button
- If you know the Username, (bstudent9999) enter the name where it says Username.
- If you don’t know the exact user name, do not type anything in the UserName box. Instead, click on the Browse button and when the Browse pane comes up, enter a portion of the user name – or – change the drop down box from user name to Last name and enter part of the last name and click on Go to search for the user.
- When the user you want comes up after the search, click on the box to the left of the correct user and click on Submit
- Change Student to Instructor or Teaching Assistant or Course Builder as required.
- nb. if you HAD typed something in the Username box before you clicked on Browse, the Username box will now say something like bstud,bstudent9999 – This will not work and it will give you an error, so delete the part (bstud,) that does not have a complete MBC ID.
- Click on Submit again.
- You should get a green bar at the top of the Users page that tells you the enrollment was successful.
- If you CAN NOT FIND the user id, please fill out a help request form at http://help.mbc.edu/HelpRequest.html asking for the user to be located and specifying the course and Blackboard access they require. See note below regarding the difference between TA and Course Builder.
What can a TA / Course Builder do in my course?
A TA can do anything in the course that the Instructor can do.
A Course Builder can add course content, send emails, add and remove users, but cannot access the Grade Center. A Course Builder does not see student work submitted such as tests, assignments or grades but they can take and submit the tests and assignments as though they are a student except that these never go anywhere (the Course Builder will not be in the grade center).
The Course Builder can see and contribute to Discussions just as though they were a student, whether or not they are “graded” discussions, but when the Instructor goes to grade the Discussions, the Course Builder does not show up as a Student to grade.
The Course Builder cannot see things that have not yet been made Available to students via date or Adaptive Release.
How do I copy content from one course to another?
To copy an ENTIRE COURSE, for example, SampleFA2010 into SampleSP2011 do the following:
- From the SAMPLEFA2010 course (COPY FROM), go into the Control Panel, Packages and utilities, Course Copy. At Destination Course Id click on Browse, and choose the course you want to COPY TO and click on Submit.
- Click in the boxes next to the things you want copied.
- If you have tests or assignments in your course, make sure you click on BOTH Grade Center AND Tests, Surveys and Pools
- Click on Submit.
- Wait a few minutes. Sometimes the email saying the copy has completed arrives before the copy actually HAS completed
NOTE! You must be careful copying partial courses or you may end up with duplicate columns in the grade center. Click here for more information
What if I have an ET or Incomplete?
If you have a student with an ET or IN in your course that is otherwise completed, there are several ways to handle that:
- Finish up the course outside of Blackboard (for example if you are just awaiting one paper.) If you are going to do this, you can leave the course Unavailable. – OR -
- If you are teaching the same course this semester, you can add the student to your current course and let them finish up there. Transfer any grading information into the Full Grade Center of the current course. Then you can leave the previous course Unavailable. – OR -
- Make the previous Blackboard course Available (Control Panel, Customization, Properties, 3:Make Course Available = Yes) and make all the OTHER students (who have completed the course) Unavailable to the course. To do this you would go into the Control Panel, Users and Groups, Users. For each student who has completed the course you would click on the down chevrons next to their name and choose Change User’s Availability in Course. Change Yes to No and Submit.
My copied course changed my discussion posts author to “Anonymous” or “Blackboard Administrator” – How can I put my name back on them?
If you have copied or imported a course the author of your discussion posts may have changed from your name to Anonymous. This is Blackboard “working as designed”. To get a discussion thread in your own name, copy the content and create a new Thread and paste the content in. Then delete the old Thread. BACK TO TOP
How can I tidy up my Blackboard course to get rid of unused files?
- Click on Control Panel, Files and then the Course Name. You will get a list of all the content files in the course. See if there are any duplicates, or folders with Imported Content that might have duplicate content.
- If there are two files that look similar (for example, Syllabus.doc and Syllabus(1).doc then it is MOST LIKELY that the one that your course is currently linked to is the one with the (1) and the one without the (1) is the duplicate.
- If you think something might be a duplicate (or no longer needed in the course) click on the down chevrons next to the file name and choose 360 view. This will pop up a new tab with the 360 View.
- Check the section called Links. If it says No Links Available then you know there is nothing in a Content area pointing to that file and you can remove it.
- Remove the unneeded item by going back to that list of course files. Make sure the file you want to delete has a check in the box and then click on Delete.
What’s goes into the What’s New, Alerts, Needs Attention and To Do Panes?
Since you want the entry to the course to be welcoming and clear not busy and confusing with features we don’t need to use, please delete the Needs Attention and Alerts panes from your Announcements or Home Page so as to not confuse your students. Delete these by clicking on the X on the upper right of the pane and then confirming. The Needs Attention and Alert panes will still be visible from the Instructor Notifications Module Page, which is not visible to students.
How can I make a .pdf from my Word or Powerpoint document?
If you have Word 2010, you can Save As a .pdf file. If you have an earlier version of Word, the easiest way to do this is to print to a .pdf printer. This will copy your document into a file instead of printing it. Many MBC workstations have a doPDF printer, but if you need to install one go to http://www.dopdf.com/download.php and download the pdf printer from there. Click on “Run” after you click on download. It will run the install file on your computer. If you are on Word 2003-2009 and your student sends you a Word 2010 document (.docx), you might need to download a converter in order to be able to read it. You should only have to do this once. Go to: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=3 and download and run the installer after accepting the agreement. You will then be able to open documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created in versions of Microsoft Office that are newer than yours. BACK TO TOP.
How do I add my faculty contact information?
There are two ways to do this:
- In a Content Area called Faculty Information you can Create Item and add your faculty contact information; office hours, phone number, email address etc.
- You can add a Tool Link by hovering over the plus sign at the upper left hand corner of your Content Navigation Menu and click on Create Tool Link, then name your tool link something like Faculty Contact Information and change the Type from Announcements to Contacts. Then click on Create Contact to add your contact information.
How can I put a banner on my course?
Create a PPT slide. Use Design, Page Setup and make the page 12.5″ wide and 1″ high. Then make the banner and save it as a .jpg (JPEG Interchange Format) and choose Current Slide Only. In your course, under the Control Panel, Customization, Teaching Style, #7 – browse for and select the .jpg and click on Submit.
How can I embed a YouTube video in my course?
Either from Build Content, Mashups, YouTube video, or from Build Content, Create Item and then click on the Add Mashup Icon at the right of the lowest row above the Visual Edit Box.
My student can’t see the Discussions – Blackboard says “No Items Found”
If your student can see that there are items to be viewed for the forum or the thread, but Blackboard returns a “No Items Found” message, tell them to click on the DISPLAY button at the upper right side and make sure it is set to SHOW ALL. If they were working with a Draft, it might still be set up to Show Drafts. Also, they can try switching from List View to Tree View.
My Discussions won’t stay where I put them!
I am trying to move my Discussion Forums/Threads with the up and down arrows and they won’t stay where I put them! This seems to happen with some browsers. Try this:
- Move them where you want them.
- Click Edit mode OFF (button on upper right hand side).
- Leave the discussion.
- Come back in again and see if they are where you want them.
- If they are then don’t forget to click Edit mode back ON again.
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How can I clean up my cluttered course index for myself? For my students?
If you DO NOT HAVE A STUDENT WITH AN ET or Incomplete:
- Go into your OLD courses and on the Control Panel under Customize, Properties change Make Course Available to NO.
- Go into the Blackboard @ MBC tab and the My Courses pane and look for a little wheel at the top right.
- Click on the wheel and then UNCLICK next to the old courses the display and show announcements option. This will remove the course from your view but it is still in the database until the Blackboard Administrator can get it safely archived.
If you need to leave the course open because of students with an ET or Incomplete: You need to see the course and so does your one or two students, but the rest of your students don’t.
- Go into Users and Groups, Users and click on the down chevrons next to each student who has FINISHED the course and choose Change Users Availability in Course and change the Yes to No. If you do this the course will show up for you and for the student who still needs access, but it will not show up for the other students. They will thank you for helping keep their Blackboard page uncluttered.
I pasted text into a Visual Edit Box and the formatting has changed / My Discussion entries look strange.
The new Paste from Word icon in the Text Box Editor is great, it means you can paste content from Word without confusing Blackboard. Please us it yourselves and encourage your students to use it. To access the Paste from Word mashup, look at the far right of the bottom row of icons above the Virtual Text Box Editor. If you hover over it, it says Add Mashup (see attached). Click there and choose Paste From Word. Paste your Word text into the little box that comes up and then click on Submit.
My students can’t edit their Discussion Board posts
If you have set up the Forum to “Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts” then your students will be able to do this. They will have an Edit button when they click on their post. The default is NOT to allow this, presumably to prevent someone posting something offensive or inflammatory and then changing it afterward. A deliberately benign example: Jane posts: Elephants are stupid. They are big and gray and I don’t like them. People who like elephants are stupid too. I hate this class Anne replies: Why are you even in this class then? Maybe you should change your schedule. Jane changes her first post to: I am concerned that my lack of prior knowledge of elephants will impede my success in this class. Can anyone suggest additional reading that will help? and makes Anne seem unsympathetic. And there is no audit trail tracking what Jane originally said.
That said, if you want to allow editing, click on Discussion Board and hover over the forum you wish to change, click on the down chevrons and choose Edit, then click the Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts box and Submit.
How can I keep my assignments/announcements to stay where I put them?
Sometimes when you put announcements or content items in one place they don’t stay there. Try putting them where you want them and then click on EDIT MODE = OFF. Then when click away from that pane to somewhere else and click back again to see if they stay put, even when you put EDIT MODE back to ON. BACK TO TOP
How can I order my Blogs the way I want them?
Blackboard sorts Blog entries in alphabetical order. To ensure your blogs end up where you want them, you could name them: 10. First Blog Entry 20. Second Blog Entry etc… That should give you room to add new blogs later and post them in between without having to re-number everything.
How can I see what my students see? / How can I add a Test Student?
The easiest way to find out what your students can see is to go to Course Tools and Add Test Student. Your test student will be your Blackboard ID with _s appended. To make it easier to remember, set the test student pin to your pin. Then you can sign on to BB as the test student and see your course the same way your students do. Full instructions at http://www.mbc.edu/oit/fac-blackboard-how-to-documentation/#AddTestStudent If you want to be signed on as the instructor and as the student at the same time, to try something out and then test it, use two different browsers, like Chrome for one and Firefox for the other. If you are experimenting with learning Blackboard, use the Master Course and register your Test Student there. Then you can make the course available and test things without confusing actual students.
SpellCheck crashes my Firefox!
This is a known issue with Blackboard and Firefox 15. At the end of spellcheck if you click Finish, Replace, or Ignore the small window just gets darker and darker until Firefox Crashes. The workaround for this issue is once the last misspelled word in the paragraph is reached , use the red X to close the spell checker.
How can I allow one student a late exception on a test after the rest of them have completed it?
Make a Group called “Late Exception” and then make this student a member of that Group. Then go to where you deployed the test and click on the down chevrons and choose Adaptive Release. Change the Adaptive release rules FROM the date limitation TO only allowing members of the Late Exception Group to take the test. Then go back into where you deployed the test in the first place and click on the down chevrons and Edit Options and make sure the previous date restrictions are OFF. You can test to see if it works by trying to take the test as your Test Student who is NOT a member of the Late Exception Group (and then you shouldn’t be able to) and then enroll the Test Student as a member of the group and you should be able to. BACK TO TOP
How can I put a picture in a test question?
When you are Building the test, click on Question Settings and in Section 2 click on Add Images, Files and External Links to questions. Then, when you are adding a question with a picture, click on the Browse button to find the picture file you want to add, and then under Action click on the down triangle and choose Display Image within the Page. Fill in the question (and the answers if applicable) and Submit.
I keep getting Blackboard errors when I’m building a test!
Sometimes, especially if you are building a test and changing the correct answer, your fingers move faster than Blackboard can. If you get random errors when you are building a test, just SLOW DOWN and see if that helps. It often will!
I created and deployed a Test but it does not show up for my students in the To Do pane
If you put the Due Date in WHEN YOU FIRST DEPLOY THE TEST, it will show up in the To Do pane when you make the test Available. (either immediately if you clicked on Yes to Available, or later when you edit the test options to make the test Available) If you change the date it will put the corrected date in the To Do pane. But….. if you did not put a Due Date in the first time you deploy the test, it will never get in to the To Do pane and the only way to get it there is to delete it and deploy it again this time with a Due Date. It will show up in the What’s New pane regardless.
My student gets kicked out of a test!
Blackboard suggests the following to minimize this issue.
- Make sure your students know to ONLY CLICK ONCE ON SUBMIT or SAVE and SUBMIT.
- Turn off the “force completion” option. Doing this allows the user to persist his/her answers. In case of any issues with the session timing out, the user will be able to re-enter the exam from the last point he/she saved, allowing them to submit the exam with minimal data loss. In addition, the save button will also function the same as the solution above, allowing the java session to persist for a longer period of time.
- Don’t using randomized tests unless necessary. The reason randomization is a problem is that each version of the exam in a randomized test is created in java memory only. So, a randomized test, should the java session for the user die, will not persist anywhere, and will be unrecoverable. Removing randomization will use a version of the test from the database, so at least the user would get the same test with the same order the next time he/she took the test.
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How can I best control the testing environment?
There is no way to prevent students who are taking tests online from looking things up either online or in their textbooks while they are taking a test in Blackboard. The best you can do if you are hoping to re-create the equivalent of a closed book proctored test is to craft your test so that there is no “correct answer” to google, and to set the test options to encourage the student to sit down and take the test in one sitting, allowing for the possibility that their network connection might fail. These instructions for test options might help:
- -Do not allow multiple attempts: The student only gets one shot at the test and can only submit it for grading once. They only see the one set of questions even if they go away and come back. Setting the test to only allow a single attempt without forced completion means the student can START the same attempt at the test as often as they like, but they can only SUBMIT it for grading once.
- Do not set Force completion: Make sure this box is unchecked. If your student chooses or is forced to exit the test before they have finished, they can resume the test exactly where they left off. This ensures they can recover from connection problems. The counter continues counting while they are gone from the test, the questions they see and the answers they provided are still the same when they return.
- Set Timer: set to desired time period like 1 hour. The key is that the timer starts from the first time they start the test. If they log out the timer is still counting down. If they log back in, they still lost the time they spent logged out. So they can’t beat the clock by logging out and coming back a few hours later. The sytem will auto-save every 5 minutes or so as the student is taking the test, so their answers will not be lost if their connection is lost.
- Auto Submit: Set this to “on”. That forces the “pencils down” at the end of the one hour time period. If you leave it “off”, then students can take more time but you have to manually grade them and possibly take off late marks. Don’t confuse auto submit with “force completion”. Auto Submit submits the test as it is when the test timer expires.
If you use the settings as above, then from a security / cheating perspective, if a student logs off and then logs back in to finish the test it is no different than if the student just stayed in the test for the same time period. BACK TO TOP
A student submitted her test by accident. Since I am using a test pool, how can I allow the student to take the test (with new questions) again?
Go into Grade Center, Full Grade Center, find the cell that has the grade for this student’s test, click on the down chevrons and choose View Grade Details. Then click on Clear Attempt. This will remove the student’s attempt at this test. If the test has “expired”, i.e. the dates available for the test to be taken have past, and you ONLY want to let this student re-take the test, you will also need to do the following:
- Open the test up again so only this student could take it. Find the test in the Content area where it is deployed, click on the down chevrons and choose Adaptive Release. Then go to 2. User name and Browse for the student. Click in the box to the left of the student’s name, then click on Submit. That will put the student id into the Username box. Then click on Submit.
- Click on the down chevrons next to the test again and choose Edit Test Options and at 2. Test Availability take the date range out and at 3. Due date (if you have set this) take the Due date out.
What is the difference between a Question Set and a Random Block?
The question set lets you pick a certain set of questions to be presented randomly. That way you can use different questions types from the same pool. For instance if you got a pool from a publisher, you could do a question set of 10 multiple choice questions, another with 10 true-false questions, and a third containing 5 essay questions. With a random block you can only use the pool once. If you need 2 or more questions to stay in a specific order, then use Find Questions. Select the appropriate questions and they will come in individually and you can adjust the order and they will stay in that order. (Just don’t select those same questions when you create a question set question in the same test.)
There was a power outage while my student(s) were testing – what do I do now?
If this happened the affected students’ Test Attempts will show up in the Grade Center as “In Progress” If you did not set the test to Forced Completion AND you did not have a timer on the test, then the students can resume the test when power comes back on. All the questions they have answered will have been saved, and they can complete the questions they have not yet answered. If you set Forced Completion then the student can only begin the test once. If you want the student to complete the test, you would have to Clear the Attempt and let them try again. If you did not set Forced Completion but you set the test to be Timed and the Auto Submit to ON, then the test will have been submitted if the student tried to enter the test again (after the power outage) because the time ran out, and if that happened and you want the student to complete the test, you can delete the attempt and let them take it again. If the student has NOT yet re-entered the test, you can Edit the Test Options and set Auto Submit to OFF, and the student can proceed as below. If you had not set Forced Completion, had set the test to be Timed and you had left Auto Submit OFF, then the student will be able to resume the test after the outage, and the attempt would say that it took 10 hours to finish it or whatever. It will go into Needs Grading status, even if it was a forced choice test, because it went over the time limit. And, you would not be able to tell the difference between a test that the student spent 10 hours taking and the one a student spent 15 minutes taking before the power outage and other 15 minutes taking after the power came back up 10 hours later.
How can I print my test?
Printing a test out of Blackboard is a several stage, complicated process. It is documented below. You might wonder, how can you prevent students from copying their tests and sharing them with others? There are three things that will help discourage this practice:
- Set the Timer. If your students are concentrating on successfully finishing the test within the timeframe, they will not want to waste time copying the test for someone else’s use.
- Use Test Pools. If your tests are drawing randomly from Test Pools, the test that Student A is given will not be the same test that Student B will be taking.
- Set the options to Display the Test Questions one at a time and Prohibit Backtracking.
To print a test:
- Go to Tests, Surveys and Pools, Tests. If you are using questions from a Pool, create a new Test and choose Find Questions to bring all of the Pool Questions into the Test.
- Edit the Test.
- With your cursor, start at question 1 and highlight all the questions. Ctrl C to Copy
- Go into EXCEL and create a new spreadsheet. At Cell A1, Ctrl V to Paste the questions into the spreadsheet. Then highlight columns A and B. Create a NEW Excel spreadsheet and at Cell B1, Paste Special, Values into the New Spreadsheet.
- Type 1 into Cell A1 and 2 into Cell A2 and then highlight those two cells. Drag the bottom right corner of the highlighted area (where there should be a little black square) down to the bottom of column A. This should number all the cells in Column A with the current row number. You need to do this so you can sort later and get everything back in the right place.
- Sort on Column B. Remove all the rows that are labeled: Answer, Points, Correct Feedback, Incorrect Feedback, and any question type (True/False, Multiple Choice, Essay, etc).
- Sort on Column C and take out all the blank lines.
- Sort on Column A to put everything back in the correct order.
- Copy Columns B and C. Create a Blank document in Microsoft Word and Paste Special, Text Only into the Document
- Ctrl H to replace. Type ^pQuestion^t into Find what box and nothing into the Replace with box. This will line up your numbers with your Questions.
- Add extra lines where you need to leave room for the student to write answers – essay questions, for example. Save the Word Document
How can I put a student’s emailed essay into SafeAssign?
An instructor can directly submit an assignment to SafeAssign. Go to Control Panel, Course Tools, SafeAssign and click on Direct Submit. From there Browse for the file you want to check and click on Submit. If you are only interested in the plagiarism report and do NOT want to add the paper to the database, make sure to click SUBMIT AS DRAFT. Also, if you will be submitting a Final Draft of the same paper to SafeAssign and this IS the Draft, make sure to click SUBMIT AS DRAFT, otherwise the final paper will come up as plagiarized from the Draft. When the SafeAssign report is ready there will be a green check in the SA Report column. Click on the green check to see the SafeAssign report.
When I click on View Attempt, nothing happens!
View Attempt should work fine from I/E8 and 9, Chrome and Firefox, but it may not work from Internet Explorer with Compatibility Mode turned ON. To make sure compatibility mode is turned OFF, in your Internet Explorer browser click on Tools, Compatibility View Settings and if mbc.edu has been added to the list of websites there, Remove it.
How do I make the content items available to my students?
How do I make items in my Content Menu available to students? I click on Show Link but the little square with the line through it is still there. At our current level of Blackboard, some menu items may show as hidden when the course is Unavailable. When you make the course Available, the show link and hide links will work as expected. If you can’t click on Show Link, it means the link is already showing.
How do I enable Journals / Blogs / Wikis for my students?
From the + Mark at the top of the menu, click on Create Tool Link. Type in Journals (or Blogs or Wikis). Choose Journals (or Blogs or Wikis) from the Drop Down Menu. Click on Available to Users and Submit. This will add the item to the bottom of the Content Item menu. If you want to move it, click on the up and down arrows to the left of the item and drag it up or down. BACK TO TOP
How do I make my course Available to students?
On the Control Panel, click on Customization, then Properties and look at section 3 to ensure the Make Course Available button is set to YES. Click on Submit.
Not everyone shows up in the Grading Center
The Grade Center might be set up to only show you the first X rows. To show all the rows, click on Edit Rows Displayed (lower left) and change X to 25 or however many you need to see everyone.
My student has 98% as her final grade, but the Grading Center shows 95%
It’s possible your grade column is set up to be “Letter” not “Score”. The default Score for an A is a 95, so a manually entered Grade of A will turn into a score of 95, whereas a manually entered score between 97 & 100 is an A+, 94-97 is an A, etc. Best practice is to show your student EITHER the Score or the Letter, not both, so as to avoid confusion. So, your Secondary Display will likely be None.
I can’t see the Scroll Bar in the Grading Center in Firefox
- Go to Control Panel
- Select Appearance and Personalization
- In top right-hand search box, type “windows color”
- It will bring up Personalization and a list. Select “Change window colors and metrics”.
- Click on the Item Dropdown (default says Desktop) and select “Scrollbar” and change to 19.
- Go to the Control Panel.
- Click on Display Properties.
- Click on the Appearance tab.
- Select the Advanced button.
- Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list.
- Change the setting to 19.
- Go to the Control Panel.
- Click on Personalization.
- Select the Window Color and Appearance option.
- Click on the Advanced button.
- Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list.
- Change the setting to 19.
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How can I delete a column in the Grade Center?
You can delete a column in the Grade Center if there is not an assignment or test or other graded item associated with it. In the Grade Center, click on the top of the column on the Down Chevrons and choose Delete Column. If there IS an item associated with this column, you won’t be able to delete it but you can make the column invisible to students and yourself:
- In the Grade Center, click on the top of the column on the Down Chevrons and choose Edit Column Information
- In 3. Click on No for Include column in Grade Center Calculations and No for Show this Column to Students.
- Return to the top of the column and click on the down chevrons again and then Hide Column so you won’t see it either.
I ended up with Multiple Columns in my Grade Center!
I added a new test in my Master Course, tested it and then copied Tests, Surveys and Pools over to my real course, along with the Content Area where I deployed the test, and the Grade Center. Now I have multiple columns in my Grade Center. Why? Blackboard has no way to decipher what grade center columns already exist AND WILL ALWAYS bring ALL grade center columns over upon copying. In order to avoid this follow the following directions:
- Create your test in the Master Course
- Deploy the test in the Master Course so you can test it
- When copying the course, do not choose to copy the grade center columns, only choose the Tests, Suveys and Pools area to copy.
- Give the copy a few minutes to finish.
- Go into your new course
- Deploy the test
- Now that the test is deployed it has created 1 grade center column for that test and you avoid copying over all those unnecessary columns that cannot be deleted and must be hidden.
There is also another way to do this:
- Create your test in the master course
- Deploy the test in the master course so you can test it
- Now go to control panel > course tools > test pools and surveys
- Find the test you created and click the little chevron next to it
- Choose Export
- Save to your PC
- Go into your live course
- Now go to control panel > course tools > test pools and surveys
- Click the Import Test button at the top
- Find the export file you just saved and import it
BUT What do I do about the duplicate columns!! First you need to identify which is the “good” column and which is the “duplicate” column.
- Go into the Content Area and find the Test or Assignment and Edit the Test Options or Edit the Assignment and change the Name – for example change Assignment 1 to Assignment 1*. Now the column in the grade center with the * is the “good” column, the one attached to the Test or Assignment.
- In the Full Grade Center, click on the down chevrons on the top of the “duplicate” column. Choose Edit Information and find Show this Column to Students and Include Column in Grade Center Calculations and change both of those to NO and Submit.
- Then go back up to those down chevrons at the top of the “duplicate” column and choose Hide Column.
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I can’t grade the last student!
For some reason I can’t click on the grades for the last student in my Grade Center. There are two possible workarounds for this. 1) Use another browser such as Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer 2) Sort the Grade Center to change which student is on the bottom to one you have already graded.
Why don’t SafeAssignments show up under To Do or under the Assignments View of the Grade Center?
Safe assignments are not Blackboard Assignments, they are created with what Blackboard calls a Building Block. They are incompletely incorporated into the Blackboard product, and therefore won’t show up in the To Do list or the Assignments View of the Gradebook. You can see them from the Full Grade Center. From the Full Grade Center you can put in a Due Date, by Editing the SafeAssign assignment columnn, and that Due Date will show up for the student’s My Grades.
How can I download the Grade Center?
In the Full Grade Center, click on Work Offline and Download. Then click on Submit and the Download button. The grade center will be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet.
How can my students see their Test/Assignment Grades?!
If a student has taken a test and the test is still available in the Content Area, the student can click on the test again. They will be able to see whatver the Instructor has allowed. This may be the:
- Score on the Test
- The Answers that the Student Submitted
- The Correct Answers
- Feedback from the Instructor based on the Student’s Answer
The Instructor sets up which feedback they wish to show the student when the Test is deployed or afterwards from Edit Test Options. If a student has completed an assignment and the assignment is still available in the Content area, the student can click on the assignment again. They will be able to see the grade/feedback the Instructor has allowed to be viewed for this assignment.
The “My Grades” Tab
In order for a student to see all of his or her grades after the graded item is no longer Available, the Tools or the My Grades menu item has to be made available by the Instructor. If there is a box with a strike through it next to an item, it is hidden from the student. In order to make this item available to the student, the Instructor should hover over My Grades, click on the down triangle and choose Show Link.
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How can I hide grades from my students?
If you don’t want your students to see any grades at all you need to do the following:
- In the Content Menu, click on the down chevrons next to My Grades and click on Hide Link. Then click on Tools and next to the My Grades item click on the Hide Link button. Otherwise you are giving them the impression that they can see their grades when they can’t.
- If the grade is a Test, in Test Options, do not click on the box that says Score in 5.Test Feedback
- In the Grade Center, go to the top of the column of the Assignment or Test or Graded Discussion or whatever you want to hide and click on Edit Column Information and where it says “Show this column to Students” choose No. If you don’t do this step they can still see their grades when they click on the test or the assignment after they have completed it.
You may just want to hide a column while you are grading all the student submissions for an assignment or test. In this case, just do 2 and 3 above for a Test or just 3 above for an Assignment. When you are ready to release the grades so students can see them, you can go back into the Full Grade Center, click on the top of the column, Edit Column Information and change “Show this column to Students” back to Yes.
Where are the Grading Notes?
With the new Inline Grading, the Grading Notes (Notes that only instructors can see) can now be entered by clicking on the Grading Notes icon. See Green Circle, below. In order to enter Grading Notes, you must enter a Grade for the Attempt. BACK TO TOP
I am getting TWO emails overnight – why is that?
If you have a Test Student registered in a course that has activity, your test student will have your email address and will get an email as well! That’s why you get two emails.