Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Students Are Asking...

Every day we receive calls from students - and quite often they are asking similar questions. Here are the answers to some common student questions:

Q: My course is missing from Blackboard - why?

A: Courses are not available until Orientation day (or 4 days before the start of class, whichever comes first).

Q: I logged in to my course and the syllabus and course information is outdated - what should I do?

A: Contact your instructor to let them know the course has not been updated.

Q: When I log in to Blackboard, the text is extremely small. How can I make the text bigger?

A: If you are using Internet Explorer:

  • Select "View" from the toolbar at the top of your screen.

  • Using the dropdown, select "Text Size" and select a larger size than is currently marked

A: If you are using Firefox:

  • Click the View Menu at the top of the Firefox window

  • Scroll to the Zoom sub-menu and select "Zoom Text Only"

  • To use the keyboard to increase the text size, press and hold Ctrl while pressing "+"; to decrease the text size, press and hold Ctrl while pressing "-"; to reset the text size, press and hold Ctrl while pressing 0 (zero).

  • To use the mouse, if it has a scroll wheel, press and hold Ctrl while scrolling up to decrease the text font size and down to increase it.
Q: When taking my exam, the timer covers the submit button and I cannot complete my exam. What do I do?

A: This is due to an incompatibility problem with IE8 and newer versions of Firefox. Follow the directions on the Blackboard login page to correct this problem

Faculty Spotlight

Would you like to share how you are teaching with Blackboard or other eLearning technologies? Do you have a tip that you would like to share with faculty? email eLearning at and we'll include it here. We are ready to shine the spotlight on YOU!

Faculty Are Asking

Every semester we receive a number of questions about Blackboard from faculty. Here are the answers to some common questions:

Q: Students are sending files in 2007 Word (.docx) format. How can I open these documents if I don't have Office 2007?

A: If you are unable to open an Office 2007 document, a free Microsoft compatibility package (Plug-in) available for download that, once installed, will allow you to open and save these formats in earlier versions of Microsoft Office. You can install the compatibility pack on a computer that is running Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office XP, or Microsoft Office 2000 programs.
Click Here to access and download the Plug-in.

Q: How can I make test taking in Blackboard less stressful for me and my students?

A: Have students save each question response as they complete the test by scrolling down and clicking . This will capture the response to each question in case the computer freezes or times out before clicking . In the event the test is not submitted properly, the answers will be saved and you will be able to access the student's original test with answers. Please note: if the test was not submitted properly, the grade book will show a lock and the test test will still need to be graded by the faculty member; however, you will be able to view the student's responses. For more information,
Click Here to refer to Blackboard 7.2 Testing Issues and Solutions

Q: Why do I get the 'HTTP Status 404" error message when I download files that were uploaded to the Assignment area, Discussion Board or Digital Dropbox?

A: This error occurs when a file is uploaded to the Assignment Manager or the Discussion Board that includes special characters (i.e., #, +, etc. symbols) in the filename. Students should not include special characters in the file name of documents they are uploading to Blackboard through the Assignment Manager, Digitial Dropbox or as attachments to the Discussion Board.

Blackboard recommends the following guidelines for filenames:

  • Characters a-z (upper or lower case)
  • 0-9
  • period '.'
  • underscore '_'

All spaces will be converted to underscores in the name of the uploaded file.

Opportunity Knocks!

Enhance your course. We have some exciting news to share! We have added an eLearning Software page to the eLearning website. This is where you can find information about software that is available to use with Blackboard and resources that can help you learn how to use these tools. You will find this new page on the eLearning Services website. Click on the "eFaculty Resources" tab and click on "Bb Tools". Click Here to go directly to the page.

Online Teaching Tip

We all know how difficult it can be to make our online courses engaging for our students. Engaging activities make the course more interesting for the student and create a richer learning environment. If you are looking for ways to make your online course a bit more engaging, check out this short podcast: "10 Ways in 10 Minutes to Engage Online Learners" by Lou Russel of L+earn.