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Frequently Asked Questions

The following list may be revised or appended as more questions are submitted. If you have a question, please ask.

How do I get a Blackboard account?

Students and faculty must have an active relationship to a Blackboard course to gain access to the system. This means a student must be enrolled in a course and an instructor must be assigned to a course to teach it. If a student drops a course or is dropped from a course for any number of reasons, the account may be disabled automatically by the system. Instructors will not get access until all steps of the hiring process is complete.

Why can't I log into Blackboard?

There are several reasons why you might not be able to log into Blackboard:

  • Your account is not yet available
  • You typed your password incorrectly
  • You need to reset your password
  • The University's authentication database is not working

If Blackboard itself is actually down, there will be a large blue notice on the site that tells everyone there is an outage. Issues related to passwords and logging in must be resolved by going to the DIT Help Desk.

I am a new instructor -- why don't I have access to Blackboard yet?

If you are brand new to BSU, there are a number of steps that must be completed before a Blackboard instructor account will created. First, a contract must be signed and processed through the department, College, and Provost's offices. The contract must also go through a budget check and it must be finalized by Human Resources. Additionally, an instructor must fill out a security form (pdf) from the Division of Information Technology to gain access to PeopleSoft for checking rosters, advising students, and submitting grades. After all of these steps are checked off, then Blackboard receives the information it needs to create the user account and enroll you in the course shell as the instructor of record.

When are course shells created?

Course shells are created around 1-2 weeks after early enrollment begins. During the fall semester, we try to target November for the spring courses. Winter course shells are created in December and summer course shells are created in May. The exception are fall course shells when we wait until mid-July after the Bb World conference to modify the course template based on new features and functionality that Blackboard releases.

When can I access my Blackboard course?

Accounts and enrollments are processed daily. However, student enrollment is only processed about one week before the semester starts. Faculty access is generally available as soon as course shells are generated.

I am a student -- why don't I see this course added or dropped from my Blackboard account?

We run the enrollment file daily, more often during the add/drop period. This effort is yet automated, but we are collaborating with the Division of Information Technology to streamline the process. As a result, there may be a delay of 24-hours during the week and up to 72-hours if you add or drop a course on a Friday afternoon or over the weekend.

Additionally, the course you are enrolled in may be already be attached to your Blackboard account, but your instructor has opted to make it unavailable until a desired date or the start of the semester.

How do I correct/change my name or username in Blackboard?

Students must go to the Registrar's Office and submit a change of name form. Faculty and staff must go to Human Resources to submit a change of name form. Name change information should be automatic as long as the information is processed into PeopleSoft. However, username changes require that you also notify the DIT Help Desk. Your old username must be locked so the new username can take over in Blackboard.

Can I change my password in Blackboard?

No, Blackboard uses your BSU network username and password. If you wish to change your network password, contact the Help Desk.

Can I change or update my email address in Blackboard?

Your BSU email address is loaded from PeopleSoft, the University's institutional database. No other email address is used.

Why can't I see all of the content or quizzes when I click on a link.

You may need to disable your pop-up blocker. Many of the features in Blackboard, such as submitting attachments and links, require pop-up windows to open. If your browser uses a pop-up blocker, you will not be able open those windows (when you click on the button/link, nothing will happen). You will need to enable pop-ups for Blackboard. Don't forget to check other programs such as toolbars (e.g., Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.), antivirus software and firewall software.

Why did I receive an invalid file error message when uploading a file/assignment?

Blackboard will not properly upload files that have spaces in the title or that contain special characters ( # ? ! @ $ % & , *). Using spaces or special characters will result in an error message when trying to open and view attached files in Blackboard. Rename your file without spaces or special characters and try again. Hyphens and dashes are acceptable. For example, instead of Smith Essay #1.doc try SmithEssay1.doc or Smith_Essay1.doc.

What is the maximum file size to upload to a Blackboard assignment?

When uploading assignment files, there is a file size limit of 10MB for each individual uploaded file. If you get this error message, you will need to try to reduce the file size of your assignment. If your assignment contains images, you should use an image editing software to resize the image files before inserting them in your assignment. Image files can be very large and will often cause your assignment file to be over the file size limit. You can also try to compress your file. For more information on how to do this, please review this tutorial.

Why did I get locked out of a quiz?

Blackboard will lock students out of tests for many reasons.  One reason may be that you have not saved your test for more than 90 minutes and Blackboard has timed out.  Another reason may be that you lost your internet connection during the test.  Some students experience problems with Blackboard if they have malware or viruses on their computer. Finally, you may have gone past the duration of the exam as set by your instructor, you may be kicked out. You should also ensure that you are using the most recent versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Here are some tips to consider when taking a test in Blackboard:

  • Once the assessment begins, do not click the back button, refresh or close the browser.
  • Save your attempt every 10-15 minutes (but avoid too-frequent saves, which overload Blackboard).
  • In many cases it is a result of double clicking during the assessment, so move slowly while navigating the assessment and be sure to click only ONE time on the next question button.
  • Make sure you are on a reliable internet connection -- wireless is not considered to be as reliable as a wired connection.
  • Do not resize the test window.
  • Turn off virus scans, Instant Messengers or any other programs that may cause your computer to restart or popup windows or browser windows to open.

If you have been locked out of your exam, contact your instructor and request that the test be reset. Be sure to include the name of the quiz and the problem you are experiencing. Your instructor may be able to clear the attempt in some cases, but you should review your syllabus for any course policy about this kind of issue. The Help Desk cannot reset any assessment unless the instructor specifically requests assistance for the issue.

Why did I receive an error message when I click on an assignment or discussion in my class?

The primary reason this issue occurs is due to viruses or malware running on your computer.  Attempt the same actions from another computer to identify if the same result occurs.  If it the error message happens on multiple computers, contact your instructor of the course.  If it the assignment/discussion works fine from another computer, it is possible that you have a virus or malware program running on your PC. Scan your system to remove any viruses or malware applications.

Why does my discussion post look weird after pasting my response from Word?

Sometimes, it makes sense to write your content or discussion forum thoughts in Microsoft Word, then highlight, copy and paste the text into Blackboard. This can pose a problem, however, because MS Word has a great deal of coding behind the scenes. When Word text is pasted into other software programs such as Blackboard, that coding can corrupt the text. Words may appear on the edge of your screen, or you may see a series of strange letters and numbers. It's better to copy/paste into into a plain text editor before copy/paste into Blackboard to remove the hidden code.

Why does my reply to a discussion post disappear?

Sometimes tags in the HTML of the parent post can cause the replies to not display any text. This can occur after a user has copy and pasted content from another source or utilizing a browser with nonstandard coding. This is known to occur with Safari, but can occur in other places as well. Empty DIV or P tags in a discussion board reply cause the reply body of future replies to the thread to not display. To avoid this issue in future posts, first paste any content into notepad, copy it from there, and then paste it into Blackboard.

If other students are unable to respond to your posts, you can fix this issue by editing your post. Click the HTML button to display the HTML view. Remove any extra tags from the bottom, specially DIV and P tags. Click Update. Click Submit. Refresh the page.

What is Blackboard Mobile Learn?

Blackboard Mobile Learn takes interactive teaching and learning mobile, giving students and teachers access to their course content on a variety of mobile devices, including Android and Blackberry phones and iOS powered devices, including iPads.

Students and instructors can access documents in multiple formats, post announcements (instructors), create threaded discussion posts, upload media as attachments to discussion boards and blogs, create content items within the course map, and comment on blogs and journals, all on the mobile devices they love. You can view video demos showing how Mobile Learn works on variety of mobile devices.  Also available are PDFs with a general overview and features summary, as well as a comparison of features by device.

Bowie State University does not charge to use the Bb Mobile Learn app. All fees are collected by Blackboard.

What is Blackboard Collaborate Mobile?

The Blackboard Collaborate Mobile app allows you to participate in web conferences or watch recordings. You can participate by voice, watch desktop sharing and presentations, participate in polls, engage in chat, and resond to polls. It is available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices. This app is free.