Blackboard Frequently Asked Questions:
Access and Display


Access and Use

What Internet browser should I use to access Blackboard?

If TigerTracks is unavailable, is there another way to access Blackboard?

The left menu in my course disappeared and all I see are the Announcements. How can I find the menu for my course?

How can I increase the size of the text in Blackboard?

I am unable to open an attachment. What should I try?

I am unable to open a lecture/Articulate file. What should I do?

I am unable to open a Blackboard Collaborate session. What should I do?

What should I do if I am unable to receive e-mails sent to me from Blackboard?

How can I send an e-mail to other students in my Blackboard class?


Courses Displayed

What should I do if a course I am enrolled in is not yet displayed in my Blackboard account?

My course is listed on Blackboard, but why is no content displayed?

Who should I contact if I would like to have a course removed from or restored to my Blackboard account?

Can the Blackboard Tutorial course be removed?


Messages and Errors

Why do I receive an "Unknown user" message when I try to access Blackboard?

Recently, I could access my Blackboard account with no problems. However, now I receive a maintenance message or an HTTP Status 404 Apache Tomcat error stating that the requested resource is unavailable. What should I do?

When I click "View/Complete" to submit my assignment into SafeAssign, it takes me back to my Blackboard home page. Why does this happen?

Why does a Windows Security dialogue box ask for my username and password when I attempt to open Microsoft Office files (such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) from Blackboard?


General Information

What should I do if I experience performance issues in Blackboard?

What are the maximum upload size limits and acceptable file extensions in Blackboard?

My name has changed. How can I update my last name in Blackboard?


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Access and Use


What Internet browser should I use to access Blackboard?

Supported Internet browsers at Fort Hays State University include the most recent versions of Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome.  Safari (for Mac users) may also be used with Blackboard, but please note that it may not be compatible with some systems at FHSU. The recommended browser for use with Blackboard is the most recent version of Mozilla Firefox, which is available for  use on both Windows and Macintosh platforms and can be downloaded free at www.mozilla.com. Avoid older versions of any browser. View additional browser compatibility information.

It is also important to ensure that your computer has the most recent version of Java installed.

When using Respondus Lockdown Browser (used by some instructors for administering tests), Windows users should set their default browser to Internet Explorer and Macintosh users should set their default browser to Safari. For more information, see the Respondus Lockdown Browser page on the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technology (CTELT) Web site.

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If TigerTracks is unavailable, is there another way to access Blackboard?

Yes! Blackboard can also be accessed by going directly to blackboard.fhsu.edu.

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The left menu in my course disappeared and all I see are the Announcements. How can I find the menu for my course?

There is a (show/hide) bar on the left side of the page which opens and closes the course menu. You can click on the bar to display the menu.
bb show hide menu

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How can I increase the size of the text in Blackboard?

In order to increase your text size, you will need to increase the font size in your Internet browser. In Internet Explorer, this is done by clicking on View and then Text Size. We recommend setting the Text Size to Medium, but you can choose any size you prefer.

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I am unable to open an attachment. What should I try?

In order to open an attachment, you first need to make sure you have the appropriate program installed on your computer. For example, if you are attempting to open a .doc file, you must have a program on your computer that can open documents, such as Microsoft Word.

Before opening an attachment, follow these steps to download (save) it to your computer first:

  • RIGHT-click on the link to the file or document
  • Select Save Target As to download it to your computer
  • Save it on the Desktop or in My Documents

Once it's downloaded, browse to locate the file. You should be able to open it using the appropriate software.

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I am unable to open a lecture/Articulate file. What should I do?

Many lecture files are created using a presentation tool called Articulate Presenter. At the present time, these files are best viewed using Mozilla Firefox. Adobe Flash Player is also needed to run Articulate presentations. We recommend saving files to your desktop before attempting to open them.  If you don't receive an option to Save when attempting to open a file or link, try right-clicking on the file or link and then choose Save.

Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded free at www.mozilla.com.

Adobe Flash Player can be updated or downloaded free at get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.

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I am unable to open a Blackboard Collaborate session. What should I do?

For assistance with using Blackboard Collaborate, please see the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technologies Blackboard Collaborate support page.

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What should I do if I am unable to receive e-mails sent to me from Blackboard?

When an instructor or student sends e-mails to you from Blackboard, messages are sent to your official FHSU e-mail address.  To view the e-mail address listed in your Blackboard account, click on the Welcome tab in Blackboard. Under Tools (left column in the Welcome page) select Personal Settings. Next, select Edit Personal Information to view the e-mail address that your Blackboard messages are sent to.  (NOTE: Due to security requirements, the e-mail address listed in your Blackboard account MUST be your official FHSU e-mail address and cannot be changed.)

For assistance accessing your FHSU e-mail, see Learn to Use FHSU Mail or the E-Mail section on the CTC HelpDesk Web site, or contact the CTC HelpDesk.

If you prefer to have your Blackboard messages delivered to a different address, see instructions for Forwarding Your FHSU Mail.  Take care when forwarding your official FHSU e-mail!  Some systems will not allow e-mail from unrecognized addresses and you may miss important messages regarding coursework, deadlines, financial aid, or related information.

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How can I send an e-mail to other students in my Blackboard class?

There are multiple ways to do this, depending on how your class is set up.lite mode  

  1. If your instructor has formally set up Groups in Blackboard, you can send an e-mail to that group through Blackboard. Go to your course in Blackboard. If you see a My Groups section on the left menu, this option is available. Click on the down-arrow next to My Groups to expand the menu options. Next, click Send Email. Select the students you would like to send the message to, compose your message, and then click Submit. Students will receive the message at the e-mail address listed in their Personal Settings in Blackboard. lite mode
  2. There is also a Send Email option located in the Tools module. Go to the Welcome page. Under Tools, select Send Email, then select your course. You should see a list of options (such as All Student Users, Select Users, etc…). Choose the option that best meets your needs. Select the students you would like to send the message to, compose your message, and then click Submit. Students will receive the message at the e-mail address listed in their Personal Settings in Blackboard.
  3. Otherwise, if you know the e-mail addresses, you can send an e-mail from your student FHSU Mail account. You can search for student e-mail addresses by using the online Campus Directory, the Blackboard User Directory (located under Tools on the Welcome page), or the Directory Search application located on the TigerTracks home page.

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Courses Displayed


What should I do if a course I am enrolled in is not displayed in my Blackboard account?

If Blackboard is used for a course, it should be available in your Blackboard account by the first day of classes. For courses added after this date, a student will be automatically added into the course on Blackboard by noon on the next business day after enrollment (payment) has been completed for that course. 

If a course is not displayed in Blackboard after completing these activities and allowing sufficient time for processing to occur, please contact us.

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My course is listed on Blackboard, but why is no content displayed?

For various reasons, some instructors do not use Blackboard for their courses. Please contact your instructor for more information about the requirements for your course.

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Who should I contact if I would like to have a course removed from or restored to my Blackboard account?

This is the process regarding removal of courses:  After each semester ends, courses will automatically be made unavailable to students; this occurs three business days before the next semester begins.  However, there is no automated removal process for students who drop out of a course.  Within the year after a course is completed, removal of a course from a student's view is done at the discretion of the instructor.  Please contact the instructor if you wish to have a dropped course removed.
 
Courses remain available on the Blackboard system for one year after they have been completed. After one year, the course shell will be archived and removed from Blackboard.  If you need access to a previous course (to do Incomplete work or for other reasons), please contact the instructor.  If you are unsuccessful when attempting to contact an instructor, you should contact the Department Chair in the department that offered the course.  If you would like our assistance with contacting an Instructor or Department Chair, please let us know.

The Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technologies (CTELT) maintains a library of the official course shells.   A course may be reactivated upon request by the instructor.

To hide course(s) from a previous semester from your view, you can do the following:
In Blackboard, you can hide course(s) you do not want to see from your view. On "My Courses" module, there is a wheel icon where you can manage your course list (See below)
bb manage my courses icon

To hide course(s) from a previous semester, de-select the course name(s) in the "Personalize: My Courses" page. Be careful not to hide courses you need to view for the current semester!
bb select course box

If your "My Courses" module is at the bottom of the page, you can "drag" the module to move it to another location on your Welcome page.

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Can the Blackboard Tutorial course be removed?

The Blackboard Tutorial is displayed permanently on all Blackboard accounts, and it cannot be removed. It is there for students to use if they need help learning how to use Blackboard, and some instructors use it in their courses for this purpose.

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Messages and Errors


Why do I receive an "Unknown user" message when I try to access Blackboard?

If you receive an "Unknown user" message when attempting to access Blackboard, then most likely your Blackboard account has not yet been created and you may need to allow more time for the account to become available. Please see TigerTracks Information for a list of services that use the TigerTracks login and when they become available.

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Recently, I could access my Blackboard account with no problems. However, now I receive a maintenance message or an HTTP Status 404 Apache Tomcat error stating that the requested resource is unavailable. What should I do?

Sometimes Internet browsers are set up so their cache (memory) is not cleared when they are closed. Then, after maintenance occurs, they load an old version of the page. To correct this problem, we recommend clearing the cache in your Internet browser, closing your browser, and then reopening it. If this does not correct the problem, please contact us for further assistance.

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When I click "View/Complete" to submit my assignment into SafeAssign, it takes me back to my Blackboard home page. Why does this happen?

This problem occurs when a course that uses SafeAssign needs to be "synchronized" with the SafeAssign central database; this must be done by the instructor. For more information, see How do I synchronize my course...? on the Blackboard FAQ: Instructor Information page.

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Why does a Windows Security dialogue box ask for my username and password when I attempt to open Microsoft Office files (such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) from Blackboard?

This happens because you are using Internet Explorer. To open the file, simply leave the username and password fields blank, and then click Cancel. To avoid these dialogue boxes altogether, we recommend using Mozilla Firefox as your web browser when working in Blackboard. The latest version of Firefox can be downloaded for free at www.mozilla.org.

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General Information


What should I do if I experience performance issues in Blackboard?

If you are experiencing page loading, button, or menu functionality issues, slow response time, or other performance issues in Blackboard, it may be due to a Java certificate, installation, or version problem. Java is a programming language that is widely used by developers of various Internet applications. Your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, etc…) uses Java to perform many different functions. Here are some suggestions to try:

Make sure Blackboard's Java applet certificate has been permanently accepted. Sometimes a small window may pop up under the Blackboard window (asking the user to accept a certificate for running Java). Since this window is hidden under the Blackboard window, you might not see it. You can use Alt+Tab to scroll through your open windows to see if this is happening. If you receive this prompt, accept the certificate. Permanently accept the certificate by ensuring that the "Always trust content from this publisher" checkbox is checked and clicking "Run."

Verify that the correct version of Java is installed and that multiple versions are not present on your computer. For instructions, see How to Install or Update Java.

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My name has changed. How can I update my last name in Blackboard?

If you have recently changed the name on your official student record at FHSU, we recommend checking to see if your name is displayed correctly in Blackboard, as it is not currently updated automatically. To do so, click on the Welcome tab, then choose Personal Settings, and Edit Personal Information. At this point, you can update your last name in Blackboard to match the last name as it is listed on your official student record. To save a change, you must click Submit.

If you wish to change your TigerTracks username and FHSU e-mail address to match your new name, the last name in Blackboard will be updated during this process. This is done only by request. For more information, see TigerTracks Username/FHSU Mail Address Change Information.

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