F.A.Q. for the ‘Faculty and GTA Help’ Category

My students say that they cannot see my Blackboard files, but I can see them fine from my view of Blackboard. What is going on?

Be sure that you check that the item (Word document, PowerPoint, and PDF files) is available in the course

To check this:

  1. Go to the item in Blackboard, and click Edit in the drop down arrow to the right of the Item’s title.
  2. Look in Step 3 of edit item, and be sure that ‘Yes’ is selected next to Permit Users to View this Content.
  3. Be sure your Date and Time Restrictions, if used, are also correct.

If the permission settings appear to be okay:

It could be that the Link Title names for some of your Blackboard items do not match the File name of the file. You can in Blackboard change the Link Titles but this feature is not working properly.

To check this (see image #1) below

  1. Go to the item in Blackboard, and click Edit in the drop down arrow to the right of the Item’s title.
  2. Look in Step 2, and be sure that for all the files the File Names and Link Titles Match

If the File Names and Link Titles are different, students may not be able to see the file.

To fix this issue, re-post the files but not change the file Link Title names:

  1. Go to Blackboard and to the section/location to where the broken files are. Click the arrow to the right of the item’s title, choose Edit
  2. Go to step 2 on the edit item screen and right click on the attached files link and choose “Save link as” or “Save target as” and download the file to your computer (where you can easily find it). Your are downloading the original file so that you have a copy to re-post to Blackboard.
  3. Click the Mark for removal to the right of link (the broken one) you just downloaded
  4. Click the “Browse my course” button to reattach the file you just downloaded. After the file is attached, Do not change the Link Title! This is what “breaks” the item.
  5. Repeat for each file attached in the item, and click Submit at the bottom of the screen.

For a visual representation of Steps 2-4, see image #2 below.

Image #1

Image #1

Image #2

Image #2

Where’s my Blackboard site? I know I have one for this course (I saw it recently) but now it is gone?

Your site may be hidden from your My Courses table in your Blackboard view. Blackboard allows you to hide sites from yourself -a useful trick if you have many sites, a headache if your don’t know how to make them visible again.

See the steps below to show your sites again.

Manage My Course Module Settings (Show/Hide your course from My KU Page)
1) Click Manage My Course Module Settings (the gear icon located upper right corner of My Courses)
2) Click the checkbox in the column of Course Name to see the course under My Courses.
3) Click Submit

click to see gear icon

Click to see checkbox next to course

click the image to see the checkbox

Are you a student? If so, make sure the course hasn’t ended.

I don’t see the scroll bar in my Blackboard grade book, how do I fix this?

This is a setting in your computer’s operating system. To resolve it, you will need to adjust your scroll bar settings.

Windows XP
1. Go to the Start button on your computer’s desktop, and then to the Control Panel
2. Click on Display
3. Click on the Appearance tab
4. Select the Advanced button
5. Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list
6. Change the setting to 19
7. Submit

Windows Vista
1. Go to the Start button on your computer’s desktop, and then to the Control Panel.
2. Click on Personalization.
3. Select the Window Color and Appearance option.
4. Click on the Advanced button.
5. Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list.
6. Change the setting to 19.
7. Submit.

Windows 7
1.  Go to the Start button on your computer’s desktop, the go to Control Panel
2.  Select Appearance and Personalization
3.  In top right-hand search box, type “windows color”
4.  It will bring up Personalization and a list.  Select “Change window colors and metrics”.
5.  Click on the Item Dropdown (default says Desktop) and select “Scrollbar” and change to 19.

Why are my old announcements still visible to students after I reset the dates for the new semester?

This is a glitch in Blackboard 9.1. To resolve this issue in your Blackboard site…;

1) Be sure the date and time settings for the announcements are set properly according to the new semester’s dates and times (found in the Edit link, in the drop down arrow to the right of each announcement’s title).

2) Delete the link/s to the Announcements page on your Blackboard site  (click the drop down arrow on the right side of the navigation button/link and select delete).

3) Add a new link to your announcements page (click the + button above the navigation buttons in your Bb site, choose Create Tool link, Name it Announcements, and choose Announcements as the tool, click submit). You should have a new link to the Announcements that will function properly.

To the announcements work as it should, clear the cache in your browser, close your browser down completely and renter your Blackboard site.

I get a 404 file not found message when clicking on a link in Blackboard. What is going on?

It is possible that the link to the item is broken, the item’s location on the web has moved, or the web-page no longer exists.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 and cannot access a page in Blackboard, please clear the cache (see instructions below), restart your computer and when accessing Blackboard again, please click the ‘No’ button when you receive this message. Alternatively, try using the Firefox browser to access Blackboard.

Clearing cache in IE8.

In the Internet Explorer 8 browser.
1. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
2. Under Browsing history, click Delete.
2. Select the check box next to Preserve Favorites website data.
3. Select the check box next to Temporary Internet Files.
4. Select the check box next to Cookies.
5. Select the check box next to History.
6. Select the check box next to Form data.
7. Select the check box next to InPrivate Filtering data.
8. At the bottom of window, click Delete.
9. Internet Explorer, start Internet Explorer again, and then try to access the Web page.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 and if you see this message (see image above), please click the ‘NO’ button.

Why am I having trouble adding users to my Blackboard site?

The tool in Blackboard has changed significantly from previous versions on Blackboard. Be sure you watch this video http://ids.ku.edu/bb_tools_strategies/add_users/add_users.html

Having difficulty viewing this video? Make sure you have the latest version of Flash at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Trying to add a GTA or guest? Look at the other questions in the User Management section of the FAQs.

How can students submit assignments to me through Blackboard?

You can use the Assignment tool in Blackboard to create an area that students can upload assignments to. Assignments are collected in the Blackboard Grade Center and are organized by student, by assignment.

For important details on using this tool, visit the Blackboard Tools and Strategies Blackboard site.

Where do I go to get detailed instructions and instructional strategies for all of Blackboard’s tools?

Every instructor that attends our Blackboard Tools and Strategies workshop is enrolled in the Blackboard site titled “Blackboard Tools and Strategies.” This site contains step-by-step instructions for all of Blackboard’s tools and is maintained by Instructional Development and Support staff.

Look in your Blackboard list of courses for this site. If you don’t see it and want to be added to this site. Contact IDS at ids@ku.edu or 864-2600 and ask to be added. Please include your Blackboard users name ending with an @ku.edu address.

Why is my Blackboard site in another language?

This is because you accidentally selected Blackboard to appear in another language at Blackboard’s from the login screen.

Go to http://courseware.ku.edu and at the top of this page click the English (United States) link.

Are there any instructions for Blackboard that I can give my students?

All new Blackboard sites will have a Using Blackboard link in them. This link contains instructions for the common Blackboard features that students will use. Using Blackboard also contains tips for submitting assignments and taking tests.

Add a Using Blackboard link to your Blackboard site:
1) Enter your Blackboard site
2) Click on the + icon above your navigation buttons
3) Select “Create External Link”
4) Type “Using Blackboard” for the Name
5) Copy this URL ->  https://courseware.ku.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_7802_1&content_id=_465741_1&mode=reset&courseTocLabel=Student%20Demos

and paste it in the URL field

6) Check the Available to Users box

7) Click submit

Where can I submit my suggestions for improving Blackboard?

Blackboard Inc. has an enhancement suggestion form located here http://suggestions.blackboard.com/ Click on the Blackboard Learn link on this site.

My students are experiencing problems while taking a Blackboard test. What’s going on?

There are three broad causes to students experiencing problems while taking a Blackboard test.

1) In many cases Blackboard test problems can be traced back to students opening other windows while taking the exam, waiting more than 15 minutes between question saves or submissions, or accidentally clicking the back button while taking the exam. Please include in your Blackboard site this Student Tips for Online Tests and Quizzes handout for students

2) Do not copy and paste from MS Word to create your test questions in Blackboard. This will create problems for students taking the exam including not allowing them to see exam questions and not permitting them to submit their completed exam. This MS office code is especially problematic for Internet Explorer users. Firefox users can usually complete the test without trouble.

Please watch this video for an explanation and fix for this problem http://ids.ku.edu/bb_tools_strategies/test_ms_office/test_ms_office.html (Flash video).

3) Be sure students are using Firefox 3.6+ or the Internet Explorer 8  to take the test. Students may encounter problems if they use other browsers.

I received an error in Blackboard. How do I fix it?

Occasionally, you may receive an error while working in Blackboard. Click here to see solutions to some of the more common issues experienced by Blackboard instructors.

Can I put grade information in a spreadsheet and then post the spreadsheet to Bb if I remove or hide the student names?

No, this is not a good idea.  Posting a spreadsheet that has items hidden does not adequately protect the information.  In addition, it is quite possible that sections of a spreadsheet that you may think are visible only to you may, in fact, be viewed by others.  Put grade information – including test scores, assignment information, or attendance records – only in the Bb Grade Center where it can be kept private.

I didn’t find an answer to my question on this page; how do I get it answered?

You may submit a question to Instructional Development and Support via the “FAQ Add Question Form” located here We will answer your question as soon as possible.

Can I get someone to give me feedback on my course after it is completed?

Instructional Development and Support offers free, one-on-one consulting on a variety of instructional design topics including a comprehensive course make-over.  We also offer quick course check-ups for implementing new features of Blackboard into your site. Please contact IDS (ids@ku.edu or 864-2600) for details.

Is my course material protected if I use Blackboard?

Only students (enrolled users) can access your course materials. Guests cannot see your course unless you enroll them into your site.

All course materials should follow copyright and fair use guidelines. Please contact your subject librarian for more information on KU’s copyright and intellectual property policies.

I’m a Mac User. Is there anything I should know?

Blackboard works on either Mac or PC computers. Mac users should use the Firefox browser instead of the Safari browser. Blackboard does not officially support Safari.

When uploading a file from the Mac platform be sure the file has a correct file extension including a “ . “ For example, a MS Word file will end with a .doc extension. Make sure there are no spaces before or after the file name.

How can I add a guest to my course?

Guests are anyone not enrolled in the course for which there is a Blackboard site.

If you would like to give a KU User guest access to your course, add them in as a student. The “Guest” option listed in Blackboard does not interact properly with PeopleSoft. Please avoid this option.

If you would like to give a non-KU User access to your course, please contact IDS (864-2600 or ids@ku.edu) . IDS evaluates each request individually and creates temporary accounts on a limited, short-term basis.

My course is cross-listed in the Timetable. May I have multiple Blackboard courses or just one combined course?

If your course has multiple class numbers, e.g., sections, such as a main lecture section and several labs; or, one for undergraduate students and the other for graduate students, etc., you have two options available.

1. IDS can create a single Blackboard site for students in all sections.
In this case, you can build the course relatively quickly and maintain it efficiently. For example, you only have to upload material once for all of your students to have immediate access. However, with a single site, it is difficult to customize the gradebook. Blackboard intermixes students from all sections together alphabetically in the gradebook.

2. IDS can create a separate Blackboard site for each class section.
In this case, you have independent control and separate gradebooks for each section. However, material will need to be uploaded separately for each Blackboard site.

Please submit all course requests through our course request site at http://ids.ku.edu/req_portal
For additional information, please contact IDS (ids@ku.edu or 864-2600).

Why can’t my students see their grades?

There are two possibilities as to why your students cannot see their grades. First, make sure the grade column is visible in the Gradebook

1. Enter your Blackboard site
2. Click on Grade Center in the Control Panel
3. Click Full Grade Center
4. Click on drop-down arrow in the column header for the grade item in question
5. Click Edit Column Information
6. Show this Column to Students – change to Yes

If the grade item is visible, check to make sure the Tools or Student tools link is displayed in the students’ view of the navigation.
1. Enter your Blackboard site
2. Look in the Navigation buttons link in your course for a Tools or Student Tools link
3. If one of these links is not there, add one in by:

  • Clicking the + icon above the navigation buttons
  • Click Create a Tool link
  • Change the Name field to Student Tools
  • Choose Tools Areas for Type
  • Click Submit

For further assistance, contact IDS at ids@ku.edu or call 864-2600.

How can I copy a quiz or test to another Blackboard site?

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Enter the Course Tools
  3. Click Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  4. Click Tests
  5. Next to the test or quiz you want to copy, click drop down arrow, then click Export
  6. Save the exported test file to your computer.
  7. Go to the course into which you want to copy the test
  8. Go to the Control Panel
  9. Go to Course Tools, and then Test, Surveys, and Pools
  10. Click Tests
  11. Click the Import button
  12. Find the .zip file containing your test/quiz, and upload it.
  13. Click submit
  14. You should now find your test in the Test Manager
  15. Deploy as you would any assessment in your Blackboard site

For further assistance, contact IDS at ids@ku.edu or call 864-2600.

How do I make a quiz available to my students?

Make a quiz available by deploying it in any Content Area of your course.

  1. Determine where the test should appear in your course and click the Content Area (e.g. Assigments, Course Document) area of your
  2. Click Create Assessment
  3. Click Test
  4. Select your Test from the list displayed
  5. Click Submit, then OK
  6. Click Modify the test options
  7. Click Yes to ‘Make link Available’ in Test Availability
  8. You may choose to utilize the other options (multiple attempts, force completion, time limit, password, etc.), if desired
  9. Select Test Feedback Mode
  10. Select Test Presentation options (We recommend ‘Question’ instead of ‘All at Once’ with both ‘Prohibit Backtracking’ and ‘Randomize Questions’ selected)
  11. Click Submit, then OK

What are the best file formats to use in Blackboard?

Any file type may be uploaded into Blackboard. Common document files that most students will be able to open on their computer are .doc, .rtf and .pdf. All IT supported computer labs have MS Office. Students can go to these labs if they have trouble opening a document.

Image files including .jpg, .gif, .bmp and .png are all viewable in Blackboard.

Video file formats  (e.g. .flv, .wmv, and .mov) require students to have a plug-in installed on their computer to view these files.

Always include within your Blackboard site a link to download any plug-ins or software that students will need to open a file in your course.

What happens to my course at the end of the semester?

All course sites are permanent unless otherwise specified by the instructor(s) of the course. In the past, they were deleted at the end of every semester - this no longer applies starting May 2009.

How do I request a brand-new course on Blackboard?

Please go to the IDS web site http://ids.ku.edu and click on Course Request Site (bottom right). Courses are created within 24hrs of the next business in which you make your request.

*All instructors must participate in the introductory Blackboard Tools and Strategies workshop before they can request a Blackboard site*

Is there a way to view my course just as a student would?

You can add a Bogus Student to your course to view how it looks to your students.

First add the bogus student to your course:

  1. Click User in Users and Groups in your site’s Control Panel
  2. Click Find Users to Enroll
  3. Enter  _tempstudent  in the Username field (Note the underscore before the username.)
  4. Choose Student for Role
  5. Click Submit

Now you can log in as _tempstudent:

  1. To log in, go to courseware.ku.edu
  2. Check the Special Users check box
  3. Use _tempstudent as the user name and Bbtemp for the password. (Note the underscore before the username.)

Note: Many instructors use this bogus account.  To avoid confusion (for yourself and others) please remove the Bogus Student from your course when finished.

One of my students is having trouble logging in, what should I do?

First, inform the student of the standard log in procedures and check that the student is going to the correct URL, http://courseware.ku.edu. If the student is still unable to log in, have him or her contact the IT Help Desk at 864-8080

If the student can log into Blackboard but cannot find the course, call IDS at 864-2600 or send us an email at ids@ku.edu and we will assist him/her.

How can I include a guest (non-KU person) in my course?

Non-KU users need a special account to log into Bb. We distribute guest accounts on a limited, case-by-case basis.

Please contact IDS for more information (ids@ku.edu or 864-2600)

How can I update a student’s email address in Blackboard?

Blackboard only sends email to students’ KU email address @ku.edu . We cannot change this. However, a student may forward their KU email to any email address (eg. Hotmail, Yahoo, Google).

To forward their KU email to another address, students need to:

  1. http://www.email.ku.edu
  2. Click on the Manage Online Information Management link

Students may contact the IT Help Desk 864-8080 if they need assistance

How do I add a GTA to my Blackboard site?

1) Click Users and Groups in the Control Panel (Make sure Edit Mode is ON)
2) Click Users
3) Click ‘Find Users to Enroll’
4) Type your user’s Username such as t935s325@ku.edu (this is the KU online ID)

If you do not know the person’s Username, please click Browse button, in the Find Users to Enroll Screen and select Last Name from Search, select Equal to, type last name, and click Go. After you find your user, click the checkbox on the left and click submit

5) Select the appropriate user role from the pull-down menu
6) Select Yes under Enrollment Availability
7) Click Submit

*** If you wish to add a new user, first make sure that he/she is not already in the course. If you wish to modify the status of a user and that person is already in the course, find the user in the Users list and click the drop-down arrow to the right of the user’s name. Select Change Role in Course. Change the users role to TA or Student.

See this video on adding users to your Blackboard site http://ids.ku.edu/bb_tools_strategies/add_users/add_users.html

Why are students who have dropped my course still in the Blackboard roster?

To avoid accidental loss of data (grades, discussions, etc.) students are not automatically deleted from courses. The instructor may remove a student manually from the roster by entering Users and Groups, and Users, from the Control Panel. Click the check box to the right of the user’s name and the the Remove Users from course at the bottom of the screen.

*Remember - when you remove the student from the course, the student’s grade and assignments are also removed*

Newly enrolled students are automatically added to your course.

Why are there no students in my Blackboard course roster?

Blackboard rosters are not populated with students until two days before classes at the beginning of the new semester. If you request a course after this date, your course site will be populated with students within 24 hours from the first working day we receive the 5-digit class number (formerly called the “line number”).

Students are automatically enrolled ONLY if you give IDS the class number/s (formerly called the “line numbers”) for your course*

Submit your Class numbers here at http://ids.ku.edu/req_portal

What is SafeAssign and how do I use it?

SafeAssign™ is a plagiarism prevention service that runs inside Blackboard. This service helps educators detect plagiarism by flagging unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and importance of proper attribution of content.

If you have a Blackboard site for your course, you may set up SafeAssign by following these instructions.

If you are not a Blackboard user (or don’t have a Blackboard site for your course) we can create a SafeAssign only Blackboard site for you. If interested, please contact IDS at ids@ku.edu or call 4-2600 and ask that we establish for you a “SafeAssign Only” Blackboard site.

After papers are submitted to SafeAssign, you will receive a SA report which will include detailed information on matching text and source locations. For more information on how to interpret SA reports, please read this document on viewing SafeAssign reports.