University of Rochester

Blackboard 9.1

Special Characters in Blackboard

In Blackboard text boxes:

There are certain areas where you have to be careful what characters you use in your naming.  These areas include:

When completing the "name" field in these categories, stick to the following characters:

A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and -(dash) _ (underscore) . (dot)

In other words, avoid naming your assignments, e.g., Assignment #1.  The hash tag in that name may make the Assignment File Download function in the grade center not work.  

Avoid apostrophes in naming Groups, e.g., Sarah's Group.  The apostrophe in that name may prevent your setting up a smart view.

In Uploaded Files:

Files that you will be uploading to Blackboard should be named with the "safe" characters in mind.  A file named "Prof. André's Assignment #3 due 9/12/2012.pdf" is probably going to be problematic to upload. Keep file names short, simple and safe.

You may want to point this out to students as well if they will be required to upload file submissions to your Blackboard course.

Why?

This is copied from a Blackboard Best Practice article:

"The following special characters should never be used in an attribute such as a User Name, password, database user, Course ID, and so forth. For many fields the set of permitted characters explicitly excludes these, in other areas they are merely discouraged. This includes filenames, where many of these are illegal or have special meanings on certain file systems.

%&#<>=\+/',":!?$@|[]{}

These characters are generally safe to use when adding content into a text box, such as adding the description for a course. When creating record attributes however, a good rule to follow is to only use alphanumeric characters (ASCII-only, unaccented!), underscores, periods, and hyphens (please also do avoid spaces wherever possible!). For e.g. the course_id these are the only permissible characters.

Also consider that the characters listed above are reserved characters in URLs and/or have special functions in HTML. This means they need to be escaped to be used in URLs or when occurring in JavaScript or JSON strings. While Blackboard makes every effort to correctly escape and handle such characters wherever they can technically be permitted, occasional code problems may occur, and avoiding special characters in places such as item or assignment titles, group names, etc. can help your users to have a better user experience overall."