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Posts Tagged ‘Blackboard Tips’

Recorded Webinar: Setting Up Your Course Without a Template

Templates make it easy for faculty to get a jump start on course design and to ensure that students experience a consistent learning environment across courses. But what if you’re flying without one? In this previously recorded webinar, viewers will learn strategies and best practices for setting up a course in Blackboard Learn without a template, and discover embedded resources for design and technical support.

Setting Up Your Course in Blackboard Without a Template
Presenter: Phoebe J. Ballard, UT Learning Ventures

 This webinar is part of the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS). To learn more, visit www.blackboard.com/BITS.

Quick Fix for Missing Grade Center Scroll Bars (Windows)

When the font size on a Windows machine is set to a size of 20 or greater, the scroll bars will disappear from the Full Grade Center view in Blackboard.  To fix this issue without changing the font size:


  1. From your Desktop area, right-click on your desktop and choose Properties.
  2. Click on the Appearance tab, and then click the Advanced button to display the Advanced Appearance screen.
  3. Select Scrollbar from the pull-down menu and check the size setting. If greater than 20, change the size to 17 (system default setting) and click OK, then Apply.
  4. After changing the setting, open a new browser window and access the Full Grade Center. The horizontal scroll bar should now appear.


  1. From your Start Menu, access Control Panel > Personalization > Window Color and click Advanced Appearance Settings.
  2. If you do not see Advanced Appearance Settings, access Control Panel > Personalization > Aero Themes > Windows 7 and then repeat step 1.
  3. Select Scrollbar in the pull-down menu, and set the value for Scrollbar size to 17 or less.
  4. After changing the setting, open a new browser window and access the Full Grade Center.  The scroll bars should now appear.

For further questions or assistance, please contact Learning Ventures Support at UTLV@utoledo.edu or by phone at 419-530-8835.

Update: Blackboard Assessment Tool Headaches

Academic Support has installed a software patch that appears to have resolved the issue with students being locked out of quizzes mid-way through. We are still receiving some reports of failures and we are following up on those reports to see whether there is an underlying cause not related to the main problem, but the number of reports is very small and shrinking. Therefore, we believe it is safe to begin using the quiz tool without the  “force completion” setting. Please be aware of the following:

  1. Students who encounter technical troubles should contact LV for support. Students may use the chat window on our web page or call our student support desk (Toll Free: 866.886.5336 | Local: 419.530.8835). Services are available from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8-6 on Friday, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 6 – 10 p.m. on Sunday. Our support staff will help resolve technical difficulties and will help facilitate all contacts with faculty should we be unable to help. In LV, we share information throughout the unit so that we can learn from and respond quickly to reports of problems, but the reports have to come from our faculty and students.
  2. If only a few students in a course are having troubles, there may be causes that are not related to Blackboard. A large number of problems may indicate a system error. All failures are important, but not all are systemic in nature. Please be aware that some variation is to be expected, and we try to keep technology “out of the way” as much as possible, but there are some things that we can’t prevent.
  3. Faculty are strongly encouraged to avoid the “Force Completion” option in quiz settings whenever possible, since this is the setting that seems to give our systems the most trouble. A “Timed” exam with “Auto-submit” turned on is an option that is less risky and still effective.
  4. Students are reminded to clear the browser cache before opening an exam, and to ensure that they are using the correct browser on a computer with a supported configuration.
  5. Some students have reported difficulties with wireless access. Because some wireless contacts are timed, users can be dropped from the network, interrupting any test in progress. Students are encouraged to avoid commercial or campus-based wireless networks when a professor has constructed a quiz as “forced completion.”  Use a wired connection if there are doubts.
  6. Students with continued problems or who are unsure of browser configuration, etc., may wish to use UT’s “Virtual Labs.” Instructions and FAQ’s are posted here.

As always, we are eager to hear about issues you encounter and we are prepared to help resolve problems for faculty and students in our online courses. We are very glad to hear that some faculty have given tests without a single problem. We thank you for your patience and understanding, and wish you the best as we plunge into mid-terms!

(Updated, 10/3/11, 5:41))

Blackboard 9.1 Tips: Resetting a Student’s Test

When a student encounters an error message early in a test, all hope is not lost.  With a few clicks of your mouse, you can clear the student’s attempt so that the student can retake the test from the very beginning:

  1. Find the Grade Center on your Control Panel and click the Smart View for Tests.

    Smart View for Tests located under the Grade Center

    Smart View for Tests located under the Grade Center

  2. An “In Progress” icon will appear in the test cell to the right of the student’s name.  Use your mouse to hover over the cell.

    An "In Progress" icon in a Grade Center cell

    An "In Progress" icon

  3. A chevron context menu will appear in the right side of the cell.  Click the chevron and select the Attempt Date to view the attempt details.

    An "In Progress" Attempt

    Select the "Attempt Date" to view the student's attempt

  4. Click the Test Information link near the top of the screen.

    The "Test Information" link

    The "Test Information" link

  5. Click the Clear Attempt button.

    The "Clear Attempt" button

    The "Clear Attempt" button

  6. A confirmation window will pop open.  Click OK.

    The confirmation window.  Click "OK" to clear the student's attempt.

    The confirmation window. Click "OK" to clear the student's attempt.

Please note: once a student’s attempt has been cleared, all data affiliated with that attempt will be permanently deleted.

If you would like to walk through this or other options with someone in LV, or if you would like to share a screen with your student to confirm the error, log in to Wimba Pronto (using “Add A Tool,” choose Wimba Pronto, download the software, set up an account) and invite the student or LV staff to a chat session. Screen sharing will only work if you are not using “Lockdown Browser.”

Blackboard 9.1 Update: Quiz Function

Students and faculty are reporting problems with the quiz function in Blackboard 9.1. We introduced a “patch” that we think will take care of many of the issues, so if you’ve had trouble with a quiz in the last few days, consider trying it again now. However, there are a number of rules that we strongly recommend you ask your students to follow. You can publicize these rules on your course site or send students to this post.

We recommend that all BB9.1 users use the Firefox browser 3.6 (free download) when taking tests rather than Internet Explorer, Safari or other browsers. Some browsers are only “compatible” but not “certified” for use with some operating systems. You can check the optimal combination of browser and operating system at Blackboard’s help site. If a student has an operating system with no corresponding certified browser, the student should use a UT computer or the “Virtual Lab.”

Before starting your quiz or test, it is important to follow a few guidelines to better ensure that you will not experience technical problems that might cause your assessment to “lock.”

  • Close all windows on the computer and then launch a new window to login to the learning management system.
  • Close other applications before taking the quiz/test (including chat programs).
  • If there is a specific start time for the test, login 10-15 minutes early to test the connection.
  • After opening the test, scroll to the bottom of the page to be sure the save and submit buttons are available.
  • Only click “Save and Submit” AFTER you have completed the exam.
  • Do not use any of the browser navigation buttons (i.e. Back, Forward, Home, etc.) during the quiz/test. Only use the buttons in the quiz itself.
  • Do not leave the assessment page without completing the assessment and clicking the “Save and Submit” button at the end (if it is a forced completion test).
  • Do not click the Refresh or Reload buttons in your browser while taking the quiz/test.
  • No other browser windows or applications should be running on your computer while taking a quiz/test. Shut everything else down before you start.
  • Do not click on buttons in the Blackboard navigation while taking a quiz/test.
  • If you are only able to answer one question at a time (questions present themselves on separate pages), make sure you only single-click the “Next” button to move forward.
  • It is recommended you take a practice test on your course site or the practice test available on LV’s “Guide to UT Online Learning” or “A Web Assisted Guide to UT Online Learning.” Be sure to use the computer that you will use to take tests.

    Many of these rules apply to other kinds of “secure” web sites and are worth remembering in any event. Please contact UTLV if you have any questions or concerns about the assessment tool in BB9.1 or if you would like help with online exams.

    (Tips reprinted with permission from Cape Fear CC).
    (Updated 10/4/10)

Blackboard 9.1 Tips: Assignment Drop Box and Grading Multiple Attempts

Here are some more questions and tips that faculty have shared with us, with answers and suggestions. The first is from the College of Education:

  • Question: “We would like to have an ASSIGNMENT DROP BOX link that takes the students directly to the DROP Box (to see all the assignments that are due) on the left-hand menu box. I tried to do it, but the links did not work.”
  • Answer: If the assignments have been created within a learning module or a unit, use course link. Here is how:

    1. Create a Content Area link on Course Menu and name it Assignments.
    2. Click the Assignments link on Course Menu
    3. Click Build Content Drop-down Contextual Menu list and select Course Link
    4. Click Browse and select the assignment
    that you have been created in a module or a Unit
    5. The name of the assignment and Location
    will appear respectively in the slot Name & Location
    6. Click Submit

And the next concerns the Gradebook function. We’ve noticed that the WebCT gradebook was much more capable than the Blackboard 9.1 gradebook. It is odd that a company would strip functionality from an old version in updating to a new one, but that seems to be what they have done. Many functions are still there but need to be accessed differently. This comment is from the College of Arts and Sciences and it concerns the grading of multiple attempts at a quiz (do you want to take the highest score, the last score, or an average of the attempts?):

  • If you are grading multiple attempts, the graded item must have been set to allow multiple attempts when it was created. If the option for multiple attempts was selected, the option for grading will appear on the Grade Details page. Grades for all attempts are tracked in the Grade History.
  • The faculty member continues: “…of course there is no link to tell you what/where the “grade details page” is- maybe another week of searching will find it.” And finally, a puzzle: “I am still trying to find out how i check on an individual student’s multiple choice answers… any ideas?”