Bb 9 FAQs
- Why does my course say "unavailable" and have a red X?
When the course shells are created, they are made unavailable by default. That means unavailable to students, so that they don't click on links to empty courses. If there is a Library Resources page, or library reserve content, the courses will be made available by the librarian. Otherwise, the courses remain unavailable until the instructors make them available. Instructors (or TA’s or Course Builders) can always access the course. Just click on the link.
To make the course available when you're ready, click directly on the red X.
- How do I make my course available?
If you see a red X in front of your course name on the Main tab, the course link is not available to your students. To make your course available, click directly on the red X. It will change to a green O, and the course link will then be available to students.
More at Make Your Course Available.
- How do I change the course home page?
You can change the "homepage" or entry point of your course so that your preferred Course Menu item is the opening page:
1. From the Control Panel, use the Customization menu to choose "Teaching Style."
2.On option #1, choose the Course Menu item you want to be the landing page for the course
3. Click Submit.
More at Change your Course Homepage.
- Can I edit the Course Name (or Course Title)?
Yes - you can change the Course Name (or Title), but not the Course ID.
To change your Course Name:
- In the Control Panel area on the homepage of your course, use the pulldown next to Customization to choose Properties.
- Edit the Course Name
- How do I add to, or modify items in the Course Menu?
1. Make sure the Edit Mode switch is “On" (this makes the entire menu and all options visible).
2. Links to areas of the course which are hidden or have no content will display empty or crossed out box icons.
3. Click the chevron to the right of any menu item to see the options for that item.
4. Click the double-headed arrow to the left of any menu item to drag-and-drop it to a new location.
5. Click the plus sign in the upper left of the Course Menu for options to add content areas or links.
6. Click the “Edit Mode” switch to “Off” when you are done to see how this looks to students.
For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Managing the Course Menu
- I teach multiple sections of one course - how can I get them all combined into one Blackboard course?
Send an email to your Blackboard support team. Ask to have the course enrollments combined, listing the courses by name (e.g., all my CHM132 sections for X semester) or CRN.
- I'm teaching a course that does not appear in Blackboard - how can I get it created?
The automated process that creates Blackboard courses each semester filters out certain courses, e.g., workshops, 0- or variable-credit courses, PhD Readings, Continuous Enrollment, Independent Study, etc.
If you are teaching a course that has been filtered out and you would like to use Blackboard, send an email to your Blackboard support team. State the name or CRN of the course you would like created.
- I have a student who needs access to a course from a prior semester. How can I re-enable it?
You can re-enable a prior semester course, but not just for one student. It will be available for all students that were enrolled, so it's important to remember to turn it off again after the student has finished.
Courses are made unavailable to students 30 days after the end of the semester or quarter. This is necessary for copyright purposes, as well as keeping course lists manageable. When the courses are made unavailable, the semester or quarter section is also disabled in the Courses Online module on the Main tab.
To re-enable a prior semester course:
1) Switch from the Main tab to the Courses tab
2) Locate the course in question, and click the link
3) On the Control Panel, use the pulldown next to Customization to select Properties
4) In option 3, set Availability to Yes
5) Click Submit
NB: Be sure to tell student they will need to switch to the Courses tab to find the course link
- Where did my Course Menu go? I can only see the entry page.
If you can't see your Course Menu in your course, you may have expanded the content area and collapsed the Course Menu. Hover your mouse at the left edge of the screen and check for a right pointing arrow in the area where the Course Menu should be. If you click it, it will expand the Course Menu area and make it visible again.
- Are my courses backed up?
Courses are backed up once a week, and archives are kept for only one week.
It is recommended that you archive your course more frequently, and as a precaution before major edits and at the end of semesters.
- How do I add files or content to my course in Blackboard?
1. Make sure the Edit Mode switch is “On” (this will display all content areas of the course, even those which are unavailable or have no material in them).
2. Go to the content area in which you wish to add your material (e.g., upload a syllabus).
3. Click the “Build Content” button and choose Item to upload a single document (and/or type in text) or File (to just link to a file).
4. Type in your text in section 1 (if you chose Item) then Browse attach the document you want to add.
5. Set options as needed and click “Submit.”
6. To add a folder, choose Content Folder, under the New Page column in the Build Content menu.
7. For tests, surveys, or assignments, click that option under the "Assessments" button menu.
8. Choose discussions, blogs, wikis or journals from the "Tools" button.
For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Create an Item.
- What types of files can I upload to Blackboard?
You can upload just about any file type to Blackboard, however the type of document that you upload affects how your students can view it. If you upload documents that were created and saved in specific software programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), your students will have to have that particular software installed on their computer to view the documents.
Files that are in .html format will be viewable within the browser. Adobe .pdf files require that users have the Acrobat Reader program, but it's free and nearly universal.
Media files such as mpeg, mov, avi, wav, aiff, and mp3 require appropriate plug-ins such as Quicktime and Windows Media Player.
If you use audio and video files in your course, you may want to contact Library Reserves at RRLReserves@library.rochester.edu. They will encode and stream audio and video files, which saves you the wait of uploading large files, your students the wait of downloading large files, as well as server space.
- How big a file can I upload to Blackboard?
There is no file size quota per se, but files larger 500MB will probably take so long to upload, and for your users to download, that there will be connection timeout issues.
Usually files this large are video files. If you have a 500MB+ video file, you may want to consult with the Multimedia Librarians (Multimedia Center, ground floor of Rush Rhees Library) about ways to compress or stream your video.
- Can I move items between folders in my course?
Yes, you can move or copy certain types of items (e.g., text items, files, and discussion forums) between folders in your current course, or to folders in another course. It does not work with items that have a connection to the Grade Center, such as assignments, tests, and surveys.
Next to the item you want to move or copy, use the pulldown menu to choose Copy. On the next screen you will be able to browse to the destination course and folder within that course (including the current course).
For more, see the step-by-step guide: Create Folder/Organize Content.
- How do I re-use or copy content from a previous semester course?
You can copy components of an established course into a new course, or you can export from the previous course and import into the new one. You must be an instructor in both courses to do this. Start by going to the Control Panel of your source course (you will probably have to switch from the Main tab to the Courses tab to find the link to the old course). From the Packages and Utilities menu, choose either Course Copy or Export/Archive course.
For step by step instructions, see Copy or Import Course Content.
- How do I get to my courses from prior semesters?
If you need to access a course from a previous semester, for example to copy materials into a new course, it will probably not appear under Courses Online on the Main tab. You will need to switch to the Courses tab to find a link to the course.
Courses older than two years have been disabled to keep course lists manageable. If you need access to a course that's not listed on the Courses tab because it's older than two years, contact the Blackboard Support Team and we can re-enable any course for you.
- I copied my course materials into my new course, but why didn't the assignments and/or tests show up in the new course?
Because assessments and assignments have links to the Blackboard Grade Center, you have to be sure to click the checkbox for Grade Center Columns and Settings when you copy or import.
For complete step by step instructions on copying or importing, see Copy or Import Course Content.
- How do I add a student or TA to my course?
To add any user to your course that is not enrolled via the automatic process (Registrar's ISIS enrollment data), go to the Control Panel area of your course's homepage. Under Users and Groups, choose Users. Do NOT use the search that appears on the Users page. Click Enroll User/find users to enroll. Now search for the user, choose the course role and click Submit.
For complete instructions, including a description of Course Roles, see the document Manage Users.
- I'm trying to add a student/TA to my course but they don't show up when I search. Why?
Almost everyone with a UR affiliation should have an account in Blackboard. There are a few reasons why they might not be showing up for you:
1) When you go to Users and Groups/Enroll users, are you using the Search tool that shows up on the first page - the screen called Users? If so, you're only searching the users already enrolled in your course. To add a new user, go to Users and Groups/Users and click Enroll Users/Find users to enroll. Now search and enroll.
2) The user has at some time been registered for the course, and then dropped it. If that's the case, the user's existing enrollment has been disabled, and you cannot add them. You will need to contact your Blackboard support team. Give them the specific user (student ID or NetID if possible) and the specific course in question.
3) The user does not have a Blackboard account. Contact your Blackboard support team. Please supply the user's first name, last name, and email address, and state whether the user is affiliated with UR or not.
- How do I get an account for someone outside the University?
To request an account for a guest user, someone outside the University Blackboard database, contact your Blackboard support team. Please supply the user's first name, last name, and email address.
- I have a student who's registered for my course but is not on my Blackboard roster, or is not seeing my course link in Blackboard
If you've made your course available to students, (see Make your course available), all registered students should see the course link.
If they can't, or if you're not seeing the student on your roster, how long ago did the student enroll? Sometimes during the drop/add period it takes a while for enrollments to be reflected in the Registrar data that feeds Blackboard enrollments.
Check your roster in Instructor Access, or have the student check Student Access. Is the enrollment reflected there? If so, it should be in Blackboard within a few hours. Blackboard enrollments are updated from the registrar's data three times a day.
If the enrollment is delayed and the student needs immediate access to the materials you have in Blackboard, you can enroll the user manually using the step-by-step guide:Manage Users.
Assignments, Assessments and Grading
- How do I create an assignment that students can submit online in Blackboard?
Instructors use Blackboard in two different ways to deliver assignments.
One way is to post a file that the students will view or download and then use that information to complete a task that they will submit in person to the instructor. In that case, this can be accomplished by using the Create Item tool, the same as you would to deliver any static content.
If you want students to have an interface to submit their assignments online, you will need to use the assignment tool. To set up an assignment, enter the content area where you want the assignment to appear and under Assessments, choose Assignment.
For complete instructions, see the step-by-step guide: Create an Assignment.
- Where do I find the students' online assignment submissions for grading?
When you create an assignment in Blackboard, a matching column is automatically created in the Grade Center. To retrieve submissions from an online assignment, go to the Control Panel area of your course homepage and expand the Grade Center link. You can either choose Needs Grading to see a table of items that are ready for grading, or Full Grade Center.
If you chose Full Grade Center, look for the column that matches the assignment you're looking for. All students who have submitted will have a green exclamation point in their row for that column. Hover your mouse next to the exclamation point icon to reveal a pulldown menu. Choose Grade Details or Attempt[date].
For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Grade an Assignment.
- How do students see the My Grades tool in my Blackboard course?
- Hover over the + in the upper left of your Course Menu.
- Choose Create Tool Link.
- Name the link (Grades or My Grades)
- Select My Grades from the pulldown list of tools
- Click Available to Users
- Is there a way to record attendance in Blackboard?
Blackboard does not currently have a built-in way to record class attendance. However there are other ways that we can suggest to help keep track of this:
You can create a new grade column (e.g. "Absences") in the Grade Center to keep track of the number of times a student has been absent. You can then use this to manually deduct points from a second column (e.g. "Participation") that makes up a part of their final grade. Alternatively, you can create a grade column "Attendance" where you can either add a point when students are in class, or deduct a point for each absence if you start each grade with the total number of sessions. You can also create a Participation column if you’re tracking participation beyond simple attendance. Absent students would receive a 0 for participation if they’re not in class.
- How do I make an announcement?
1. Click the Announcements button.
2. Make sure the Edit Mode switch to “On” (this makes all the editing tools appear).
3. Click the “Create Announcement” button.
4. Enter information as needed and click “Submit.” (Note: Announcements will display unless
otherwise restricted by a date range, most recent on top.)
- How do I send an email?
1. Under Control Panel, use the Course Tools pulldown and choose Send Email
2. Pick the option which best suits your purpose.
3. Enter subject and text, attach file if needed, then click “Submit.”
4. You'll get a copy of the email in your email inbox. Please note: this is your only record of the email. No record is kept in Blackboard
- Why do some students not get emails I send from my Blackboard course?
When students say they are not receiving emails you send, first have them check their junk folder. In most cases where email is not received, the student will find that their email client is sending Blackboard email to junk.
If that's not the case, is the email on record in Blackboard correct? You can check by going to the Control Panel area of your course homepage, using the pulldown next to Users and Groups and choosing Users. On the Users screen, search for the student in question. Is the email listed correct?
Or have the student check in Blackboard:
Go to the Global Navigation in the top right hand banner of Blackboard. This is the pull-down menu where your name is located.
Click on Settings, then Personal Information, then Edit Personal Information. Enter your preferred email address and click Submit.
- How do I get a link to a tool (such as Email, Discussions, My Grades, etc.) to appear on the Course Menu?
You can create Course Menu buttons to take students directly to Send Email, Discussions, My Grades or any of the other Blackboard course tools you are using.
- Hover over the + in the upper left of your Course Menu.
- Choose Create Tool Link.
- Name the link, choose the tool, make it available.
Detailed instructions with screen shots are in Managing the Course Menu.
- What browsers are compatible with the current version of Blackboard?
- Why don't I see the Instructor Access tab?
Anyone who is the instructor of record in the Registrar's database (ISIS) should see the Instructor Access tab and be able to connect to Instructor Access. Since the tab in Blackboard is just an authenticated link to the Registrar's database, it won't help to be manually enrolled in the course in Blackboard alone.
If you know you are listed as the instructor of the course in ISIS, but you don't see the Instructor Access tab, contact your Blackboard support team.
- I'm having trouble with the information on the Instructor Access tab. Who can help?
The Instructor Access tab in Blackboard is an authenticated link to the Registrar's database; the data is not in Blackboard itself. If you're having issues with the data or the functionality on the Instructor Access tab, pleases contact the Registrar's Office at (585) 275-8131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strong Memorial Hospital Employee Training
- How do I create a UR Medical Center employee training course?
Refer to the Miner Library Blackboard Support page Resources for Employee Education Instructors and Course Designers for information about getting started, forms, tools, and tutorials.
- How do I set up a URL that users can use to enroll in my URMC employee training course?
How do I set up a URL that users can use to enroll in my URMC employee training course?
Watch the tutorial Creating a Self-Enrollment URL for your Course (3:34) [Flash]. Your will find the tools you need in the Managing Self-Enrollments for Employee Training Courses section on the Miner Library Blackboard Support page.