Current Blackboard Version: 9.1, Service Pack 3.
The interface in Blackboard Learn 9.1, our current version, is quite different from that in our previous version, Blackboard Learn 7.3. We are offering ongoing Blackboard 9.1 workshops. If the last version of Blackboard that you used extensively was 7.3, we strongly urge you to take an hour of your time to get more familiar with the new features and functions available in this version of Blackboard.
If you are experiencing any other difficulties than those listed below, or if you wish to receive assistance with these issues, please contact the helpdesk at 360-650-3333 or Blackboard Help by email. When you call or email us, please tell us your operating system (Mac or Windows?) browser version (Explorer, Firefox, or something else?), what you were doing when you experienced a problem, and the text of any error messages you received. Thanks! This kind of detail really does help us to help you.
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The database that supports Blackboard has recently been encountering database deadlocks. These deadlocks cause some Blackboard users to be unable to use some functions in Blackboard (the wiki function in particular seems to become unstable or inoperable in these conditions) and cause Blackboard to refuse new connections from users. This can result in some users being able to continue using Blackboard, while otehrs cannot even login. In order to restore normal operation, Blackboard servers must be restarted. We are working with Blackboard's highest level of technical support to resolve this issue. The issue has been isolated to a problem with our database server. If you encounter this problem while working in or trying to connect to Blackboard, please contact the ATUS Help Desk immediately at 650-3333 or email@example.com. (02.29.12)
Blackboard users opening Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) while accessing Blackboard from Internet Explorer 8 or 9 may be asked to re-authenticate to access the document, if they also have Office 2007 or 2010 installed on the computer they are using to access Blackboard.
Windows XP with Internet Explorer 8:
Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 9:
Click "Cancel" to remove the dialog box and open the document. To avoid the dialog box, users can choose to "Save" rather than "Open" the document. Please note that this issue does not occur when using Firefox or another non-Microsoft browser such as Google Chrome. Note: If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or 9, the dialog box may open behind the Blackboard browser window. You will have to switch to the dialog box to dismiss it. (Updated 10.17.10) (09.30.10) (04.12.11) (02.29.12)
Because Blackboard runs in a secure (SSL) environment, you may sometimes see security prompts when accessing content that is outside of a Blackboard course (such as URLs that lead to other websites, YouTube videos that are posted as links to rather than by using the YouTube Mashup tool, etc.) If you see a security prompt that asks if you want to see "only the page's secure content", you should click the "No" button, as long as you trust the source. Clicking the "Yes" button will result in a "Navigation cancelled" message if there is no secure content on the page. To stop these prompts, it is necessary to "trust" the Blackboard site in your browser. Please see the Security in Blackboard page for more information. (04.12.11)
Heavy demand on SafeAssign services can cause long paper evaluation queues that will result in a noticeable lag in processing time, from several minutes up to 3 hours. Any papers that accumulate in the queue during this lag time will be processed, and do not need to be resubmitted. Students may occasionally experience error messages from the SafeAssign system during peak times. If a student gets an error message when a SafeAssign paper is submitted, the paper will need to be re-submitted. However, a delay in response times may result in no error messages, just a long wait for papers to be returned. If there is a long delay, with no error message, papers should not be re-submitted. Instead, please contact Blackboard Help and inform us of the delay. Peak utilization of SafeAssign typically occurs during October and November, and SafeAssign has seen a steady increase in usage over the past two years. Blackboard continues to work on increasing the load capacity of the SafeAssign service. (10.05.10) (11.02.11) (01.26.12)
Internet Explorer 9 has not been certified to be compatible with Blackboard 9.1, the version we are using. In particular, the Grade Center will not load in IE 9 (except in Compatibility Mode), and display of the Grade Center is missing the last row of data in FireFox 4. IE 9 and Firefox 4 will be certified for use with a future version. In the meantime, we continue to recommend that instructors use Internet Explorer 8 with Compatibility Mode "On", Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.5 or above on Windows, or Firefox 3.5 or above or Safari on OS X. For students, we recommend using Firefox 3.5 or above on Windows, or Safari on OS X, due to issues with quizzes in Internet Explorer. To date, Firefox 4 appears to be functioning with Blackboard, but because it is not officially supported, we cannot recommend upgrading beyond Firefox 3.6 at this time. Note: If you choose to upgrade to Firefox 4, please be sure that you are using the most recent versions of all plugins such as Flash and Adobe Reader, and that you have the most up-to-date version of the Java Runtime Engine. For more details on browser compatibility with Blackboard, please see our Browser Compatibility page. (04.12.11) (06.02.11) (01.25.12)
Instructors who use the iPad Safari browser, or any third-party browser such as Opera Mini, on the iPad are finding that they are not able to scroll the Grade Center horizontally. Update: it is actually possible to scroll within the Grade Center by using the "two finger scroll" technique. (Swipe the Grade Center in the area where the scroll bar should be, except use two fingers at once instead of just one finger as you usually would.) We have had mixed results with this approach, so for the time being, instructors who use the iPad to access their Blackboard courses may find it is easiest to use only their desktop browser to access the Grade Center. We are looking into possible workarounds and will update this issue if more are found. (04.19.12)
The full message reads: "Error reading 'grade' on type blackboard.webapps.gradebook. student.StudentGradebookRow". This happens when an instructor overrides a grade when no original grade was previously entered. Each overriden grade needs to be edited by the instructor to fix this issue. If you are an instructor in a course where this is happening, use the context menu next to the individual student's Grade Center score to access View Grade Details. On the Grade Details screen, under Attempts, click on Edit Grade. Type in the same value as the overridden grade. Then click Save. A score will be registered in the Attempts section and the student will be able to view their grades under My Grades again. This is a known issue and is targeted for a fix in a future version of Blackboard. (04.18.12)
We are again experiencing intermittent Java errors while accessing various functions in Blackboard, particularly the Blackboard wiki system. These error messages often look something like this:
These errors can also appear as long strings of Java error message text, or simply as an error reading "500 Internal Server Error". If you receive an error of this or a similar type while accessing a function or feature in Blackboard, and you have verified that your login has not timed out after a period of inactivity, please report the error to the Help Desk and include the following information:
This detailed information will help us to continue to troubleshoot this issue with the help of Blackboard's technical support staff. (10.22.10)
This issue will be addressed by a future upgrade to Blackboard. Until then, please report any errors of this type to the Help Desk as soon as they occur. (10.06.11)
Due to a known issue with the internal wiki system negatively impacting the database system, we have disabled wikis "system-wide" for Spring 2012. This means that if you do not have a wiki in your course now, you will not be able to add one. We are doing this to improve the stability of the overall Blackboard application. Blackboard has stated that a new wiki system will be available for our next upgrade that will work more efficiently with the database. In the meantime, we encourage faculty to use an alternative free web-based tool for wikis, such as WikiSpaces or Google Docs. (03.26.12)
On Mac OS Safari and Firefox, tests exported from the Tests tool will expand automatically into folders rather than being saved as a .zip (archive) file on the desktop. We are still exploring workarounds for this issue, but for now, advise the use of a Windows system to export and import tests on Blackboard. (03.26.12)
Our current version of Blackboard has a bug that prevents users enrolled in a course as Course Builders from accessing the course. In order to allow a Course Builder to access and edit an unavailable course, the course must be made available. It is possible to individually set the students in a course to unavailable in order to make the course available early without allowing students to see it. Alternatively, the role of the user can be changed from Course Builder to another role that has content editing privileges, such as TA or TA No Gradebook (which can access content, but not the Grade Center area of a course in which it is enrolled). This issue will be addressed in a future version of Blackboard. (03.07.12)
Multiple instructors have reported issues with the Grade Center displaying this error in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. We have reported the issue to Blackboard and are working on a resolution. If you experience this error, please send a full error report to Blackboard Help (firstname.lastname@example.org), including your browser version and operating system, the name or ID of your course, and the assignment you were grading when you received the error. You may be able to work around this issue by clicking "Save and Exit" instead of "Save and Next" after entering a grade. A resolution is forthcoming for this issue. (04.12.11) (05.11.11) (02.19.12)
There is a bug in our version of Blackboard that makes it impossible for users who have been given Guest status in a course to see content in the Course Menu, even when "Allow Guests" has been selected by the instructor for that specific content type and Guest access is allowed in the course. We have contacted Blackboard technical support about this bug, and itwill be addressed by a future patch to the system. Until then, if you wish to have a non-student user in your course, you will need to set their enrollment type to Teaching Assistant. If you don't want them to be able to view the Grade Center, you can set their enrollment type to TA No Gradebook. (10.06.11)
When using the Full Grade Center under Internet Explorer 8, if you attempt to use the Assignment File Download feature to download all submitted assignments, you will get the following error message: "Unable to download [file] from courses.wwu.edu. Unable to open this Internet site ... Please try again later." A workaround is to use Firefox 3.6 or above instead of Internet Explorer for downloading assignment files. (08.01.11)
When submitting a group assignment, a student may see an error message that states something similar to the following: "Another user may already be working on this submission. Last recorded activity: ..." followed by the name of another student. The other named student may be in the same course or a different course. The error message may be safely ignored. This is a known issue and will be fixed in a future version of Blackboard. (06.02.11)
If you are using the Tools button in your Course Menu to give your students access to tools such as My Grades or Email, the current version of Blackboard will not display any tools in the Tools area if only one tool is visible. There are two workaround options: (1) Enable more than one tool, or (2) Replace the Tools item in your Course Menu with the one individual item, such as My Grades, to which you wish to provide access. To add a tool to your Course Menu, use the plus sign above the menu and choose "Add Tool Link", then select the tool you would like to add. This issue is expected to be addressed in a future version of Blackboard. (05.25.11)
Announcements that are dragged above the grey bar in the Announcements screen that says "New announcements appear below this line" will not stay above the line. If the grey bar is dragged below all of the announcements, it will disappear when the Announcements screen is refreshed. Once that happens announcements cannot be reorganized using either the drag-and-drop system or the double-arrow box in the upper right corner (which disappears). In addition, other functions in the course menu (such as adding items to the course menu) will not work until the grey bar is restored. Workarounds: To move any of the announcements above the grey bar, you must drag the grey bar below the announcements you wish to appear as permanent announcements. Do not try to reorganized announcements by moving them around the grey bar. Do not drag the grey bar below all of the announcements. If you accidentally drag the grey bar below all of the announcements and find that you can no longer reorganize them, you sould be able to return to normal functionality by creating a new announcement. The grey bar will reappear, and menu functionality will return. These issues are expected to be addressed in the next version of Blackboard. (04.14.11) (05.11.11) (01.19.12)
If you try to link an announcement to a Group using the "Course Link" option in the Announcement editing screen, the announcement is not saved, instead a red bar with an error message is displayed: "Element not found in enumeration: GROUPS of class: blackboard.data.content.Link$ReferredToType". Workaround: Instead of linking to a single Group, link to the Groups menu item instead. Each student will only see the Group(s) in which he or she is enrolled, or a list of groups available for self-enrollment. This issue will be fixed in a future version of Blackboard. (04.14.11)
When students upload files as attachments to discussion posts, any file that has a special character in it other than and underscore (_) or a hyphen (-) will cause the link to that file to become corrupted. These files cannot be downloaded from the discussion. Workaround is to avoid using any special characters, other than underscore or hyphen, in the names of files that are going to be uploaded as attachments to discussion posts. This issue is scheduled for a fix in a future version of Blackboard. (03.18.11) (04.12.11)
Reports are coming in of "404 Not Found" errors in the browser when students or instructors are accessing parts of a Blackboard course. We are putting together detailed information to report this issue to Blackboard. If you get a 404 error while accessing content or attempting to submit content to a Blackboard course, please report the circumstances and the error to the Help Desk. (01.13.11) (04.12.11)
Students in some courses may see an error message in the "Report Card" area rather than their current grades for the courses in which they are enrolled. This issue has been reported to Blackboard. It will be fixed in a future update. (01.18.11)
The Course Roster (accessed from Tools>>Roster if you have added the Roster tool, or a Tools link, to your Course Menu) appears blank when first entered. Clicking the Go button causes the roster to be displayed. This issue has been reported to Blackboard. It will be fixed in a future update. (01.06.11)
When editing text content (such as the descriptions or titles of Items, Documents or Announcements), you may see an error message that says "Invalid HTML". You will see this error instead of the text that you would expect to see. To workaround this issue, make sure Edit Mode is set to ON (you'll find the button for this in the upper right hand corner). Then, click the context menu button next to the title of the text item and select Edit. In the text editing screen, if you see HTML markup in the text area, make sure the Text Editor is set to ON (button at the upper right corner of the text window). You will see your text appear as normal. Make any edits that are required, then scroll down, set the availability of the text by clicking Yes or No next to "Permit Users to View this Content", and click Submit. Text will now render correctly. (12.16.10)
If students experience difficulties accessing course files in your Course Files area or content areas, please contact Blackboard Help for assistance. There may be a permissions issue on files that we can now fix by following a specific procedure. This must be done on a case-by-case basis. For most courses, this issue was resolved with the upgrade to Service Pack 3 and multiple patches to the system. However, in some cases the errors continue to occur. Please contact us if you encounter these issues. (10.22.10) (12.16.10) (01.13.11) (03.26.12)
Sometimes a column becomes corrupted in the Grade Center. This will cause the Full Grade Center view to continuously cycle instead of loading. To workaround this problem, use Smart Views to isolate individual columns. If you create a view that includes the corrupted column the Smart View will not load. Once you can get this to happen, you can hide the corrupted column in your Full Grade Center view by using Manage>>Organization. Then create a new column to replace it. Your Full Grade Center should now load. (12.17.10)
Files must be under 25MB in order to be uploaded to an assignment. If a file is over 25MB in size, the user will see a Java error message. Students wanting to turn in large assignments are advised to bring them in person to their instructor on a thumb drive or make other arrangements (such as using a free "cloud storage" system like Dropbox). (10.13.10)
If a student saves an assignment draft with an attached file, then later attach another file with the same name, both files will become invisible to both the instructor and the student. The only workaround, for the time being, is to upload a file with a different name. (10.13.10)
Depending on the security settings in your browser, trying to acces some parts of Blackboard may cause a security certificate alert to pop up. The text of the alert may refer to a program that is attempting to "access your system" or similar wording. If you see an error message of this kind, and the details reference an expired security certificate from "dc.blackboard.com", it is safe to trust (or accept, or run) that certificate. If you have any questions about a security message while running Blackboard, you can always call or email the Help Desk to verify that it is okay to trust the source of the certificate. When you trust a safe certificate, make sure that you choose "always trust", and you should not see the certificate warning again from that browser. (10.07.10)
Table contents for tables created within Wikis are not editable in the visual text editor. If you are used to using tables in a wiki for group work sign-ups, we encourage changing to a group structure for this task, or using a simple text sign-up list in a wiki instead of a table. We have reported this issue to Blackboard, but workarounds are necessary for now. Note: this does not apply to the Campus Pack Wiki Tool, but only to internal Blackboard wikis. (10.05.10)
If you are experiencing this issue, check your logged-in status (both your MyWestern login and Blackboard). "Resource Not Available" may mean that while you were working in Blackboard, your network connection to WWU has been lost due to a timeout or other error. Make sure that you are currently logged in to WWU's systems as well as Blackboard when you are attempting to access or upload documents to your course. If you are experiencing this issue while you are logged to WWU's network and Blackboard, please contact Blackboard Help for assistance. (09.30.10)
To link to an Elluminate lecture from the Course Menu, first make a page and add the link to the lecture to that page, then link to the page from the Course Menu. If you prefer, you can link directly to the URL of the Elluminate page. If you need assistance with this, please contact Blackboard Help. (09.30.10)
The most recent version of Blackboard checks all announcement dates in a course when a new announcement is created. If any announcement is found in the history of the course that has an invalid set of start and end dates, it will erroneously report that the announcement being created has invalid dates. It will then refuse to create the new announcement, or delete existing ones that have valid dates. This issue has been reported to Blackboard and will be addressed in a future update. Workarounds: Either edit an existing announcement instead of creating a new one, or delete the old announcement with the bad start and end dates in it. (The old announcement with the bad start and end dates will produce an error upon opening it, and won't be editable, but unlike other announcements, it can be deleted.) (01.25.11) (02.19.12)
There is a bug in our version of Blackboard that causes a red bar and error message to appear in certain circumstances when Edit Mode is set to ON and the instructor for a course with Group Journals attempts to edit one of the journals. The error message is: "Renderer template processing failed." The error is caused when a student drops a course who was previously enrolled in the course and participated in a Group Journal. When that student is deleted from the course, Blackboard can no longer render the user's entries in the journal, which causes the error. (The student view of the course and the Group Journal are not affected.) Workaround: Re-enroll any students who had participatedin group journals and subsequently dropped the class; set their status to Unavailable in order to prevent them from seeing the Blackboard course re-appear on their list of courses. The error will no longer appear. This issue is fixed in a future version of Blackboard. (01.26.12) (02.19.12)
Students attempting to open or download documents that instructors have uploaded as attachments to course items may get the following error: "The specified resource was not found, or you do not have permission to access it." If students see this error, they should report it to their instructor or to the Help Desk. This issue has been reported to Blackboard and will be resolved in the next software update. Workaround: Re-link the files by editing the content item and using "Browse Course" to browse your Course Files and link to the file located there. If a file is not in your Course Files area, you can right-click to download the file attached to the course and re-upload it to the Course Files area. You can delete the original links. If you need assistance with this, please email or call the Help Desk. (01.13.11) (01.25.11) (02.19.12)
In the Grade Center, if you hide a column without first hiding it from students, it will still be visible to students even though you can no longer see it. Workaround: You can temporarily unhide the columns you want to hide from students by using Manage > Column Organization; then click "Show/Hide to Users" in the contextual menu for each column. When a column is hidden from student view, you will see a dark grey circle with a red line through it in the column heading. Then you can use the "Hide Column" choice to hide it completely in the Grade Center. (10.13.10)
Blackboard is working on a fix for this issue, which should be available in the next update. Meanwhile, the following workarounds are recommended:
If you have display issues in IE 8 or IE 9, (such as text not wrapping in the available window or menu display issues) remember that you may get better results using Compatibility Mode. Select the broken page icon next to the address bar:
The format of the files the testing service issues apparently has changed recently, causing the gradebuilder conversion to not work. Making these changes to the file the testing center gives you may allow it to be submitted:
Please check back here and we'll post a notice as soon as we get it working with the current file format.
See more details on resolved issues.