Start of Term Tips for Students

How to login to Blackboard:

1. Go to https://blackboard.jhu.edu/

2. Click the Login using JHU Enterprise Authentication link

3. Enter your JHED ID (JHEDID@jh.edu) and Password

You should now be in the ‘My Institution’ page. Your courses will be listed in the ‘My Courses Plus’ module.

Need help finding your JHED ID?

Go to: https://my.jh.edu to locate your JHED ID, set/reset your password, etc.

Don’t see your course on Blackboard?

Use the ‘Check Support’ link in the ‘My Courses Plus’ module. You can check for typical issues that affect course access for the current term. If you have just enrolled in the course in SIS, it can take up to 24 hours before you will see the course in Blackboard.

Note that some courses require that you first complete an orientation in Blackboard. After you have completed orientation, it can take up to 24 hours for your courses to show up in Blackboard.

Browsers:

If you experience problems using Blackboard, it may be because you are using an unsupported browser or you do not have the most recent version of your browser. A common fix is to clear your browser’s cache and cookies for all time. You may be aware that Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, two of the most popular browsers, are on a ‘rapid release’ schedule, releasing updated versions of their browsers as often as every six weeks. This makes it difficult for programs such as Blackboard to keep up with all of the latest updates. For a complete list of currently supported browsers in Blackboard, please see the ‘Supported Browsers and Operating Systems‘ page.

  • Internet Explorer 11 (IE11): IE11 will no longer be supported by JHU. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Over time, we have found more features of Learn no longer work properly with IE11 and Blackboard will not resolve issues specific to IE11. We recommend an alternate browser, e.g. Chrome, Edge, Firefox.

Need more help with Blackboard?

Blackboard support is provided by specific teams within each JHU school, please visit the contact info page to find your school’s support team contact information.

Blackboard What is New – 9.1 Q2 2018 Cumulative Update 10

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 Q2 2018 CU10 on 06/07/2019.

Release Highlights

Blackboard Learn Cumulative Updates are focused specifically on changes where a tool or feature is not functioning as designed (software bugs), for performance, or to harden security. New functionality is not introduced as part of a Cumulative Update. There is an intent to minimize change to user interfaces as part of these Cumulative Updates so there is not an impact to end user support or documentation. Exceptions are occasionally made—for security hardening and performance in particular.

Deprecated Items

  • MSIE 11 will no longer be supported by JHU. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Over time, we have found more features of Learn no longer work properly with IE11 and Blackboard will not resolve issues specific to IE11. We recommend an alternate browser, e.g. Chrome, Edge, Firefox.

Clear Java cache – Mac OS X

Java 1.6.0

  1. Click on the “Finder” icon located in your dock.
  2. Click “Applications”, and then click the “Utilities” Folder.
  3. Double-click the “Java Preferences” icon.
  4. Click on the tab labeled “Network” and then click the button labeled “Delete Files…”.
  5. Ensure that both check boxes are checked and then click the “OK” button.

n.b., instructions borrowed from http://www.bu.edu/tech/web/course-sites/blackboard-vista/how-to/clear-java-cache/mac/

JHU Blackboard Self Service Support

Summary

JHU Blackboard Self Service Support facilitates troubleshooting of several key user issues which can detract from the Blackboard experience at JHU.

Entry Points

  • Support tab – Users should see the tab at the top right of their screen when logged into Blackboard
  • Check Support – Link in the My Courses Plus module quickly connects users to the support area when they do not see their course listed
  • Landing Page – When a user selects one of the above, they will land on the Course Alerts page.

Primary Functions

Action Buttons are listed in the Support app to access different support functions. The buttons displayed differ depending on the user’s role.

Instructor – Defined as having at least one instructor enrollment in Blackboard for the currently reviewed terms

  1. Course Alerts:
    • Displays the course name, count of issues, problem, and resolution for each issue related to a course. There are several cases that could cause a student to be unable to access the course site, so resolution options are provided to the instructor.
  2. Change Email
    • Provides current email in Blackboard and instructions for changing it
  3. Merge Course
    • Provides instructions for merging a course
  4. Increase Quota
    • Provides instructions for increasing a course’s storage amount. The default is 2 GB, and is doubled with each request unless a larger size is explicitly requested.
  5. Remove Instructor
    • Sometimes other instructors are assigned to a course, but should not be. In this case, one instructor can request the removal of another. Both instructors will be contacted when this change is executed.
  6. Tutorials
    • Provides a link to further help documentation

Students – Defined as having no instructor enrollments in Blackboard and having at least one enrollment in SIS for the currently reviewed terms

  1. Course Alerts:
    • Displays the course name, count of issues, problem, and resolution for each issue related to a course. There are several cases that could cause a student to be unable to access the course site, so resolution options are provided. Many times, the resolution will be to contact a “valid” instructor. These include instructors that are assigned in SIS or added manually and exclude administrative or support staff that may have an enrollment.
  2. Change Email
    • Provides current email in Blackboard and instructions for changing it

Blackboard Enhancements

We have heard some great suggestions from faculty and students on how to enhance the product. Here is some of the feedback we have passed on to Blackboard.

Note: anyone can submit a product enhancement to Blackboard at https://community.blackboard.com/community/ideas.

Assignments

Multiple Submission Attempts

Detailed description: When you have an Assignment which allows multiple submissions, let the instructor choose to retain all student attempts or just the most recent (e.g., overwrite all prior attempts with the most recent)

Blogs

Exportable Blogs

Detailed description: Faculty: I used a course blog this semester and would like to create a file of the entries to at (mine, at least)so thatI have a record of the links I provided to students, the videos, etc.

The current archive feature does encapsulate blog material, but not in a very meaningful (to human) format.

Propose: something more like portfolio export where you have a zip of files and the structure of the blog posts.

Exams

Tests Results available to students only in same session as when the exam was submitted

Detailed description: We have a school that has strict requirements around exam availability to students. Students are not allowed to print or keep any copy of an exam during or after an exam period is over. The school would like to provide immediate feedback to the student by displaying their exam results along with the correct answers. However they do not want the students to have access to the questions and answers after they’ve left the classroom for fear of the exam being printed or shared with others.

We would like to see Blackboard match QuestionMark’s capability of allow feedback to be provided immediately only (or perhaps for a few minutes after exam submission) but not again after that period or session has ended.

Grade Center

Let instructors use My Grades to get to Grade Center

Detailed description: Our faculty suggested that the My Grades (which doesn’t do anything for instructors other than give an error) be linked to Grade Center if your role is one that allows access to Grade Center (e.g., instructor, teaching assistant, grader).

Weighted Column – Adding Categories improve layout

Detailed description: When adding Categories in Grade Center’s Weighted Column screen, it can display overlapping text when the screen resolution is below 1280×800 (normal font size in typical browsers).  Improve the text layout to accommodate smaller screens.

Grade Center paging

Detailed description: Faculty suggested improvements to Grade Center to allow easier ways to find and/or page to students. In CE4, you could at least see the groups of pages with some context (e.g., student nameAAA – student nameBBB), in Bb9 you only get page numbers and have to guess how far to jump to get to a group of students. They suggested a rolodex (a-z) or a search by student name.

Groups

Groups tool, large courses need sorting options for member selection

Detailed description: Faculty in large courses (100+ students):  When creating a group in Blackboard, where the instructor manually adds the students to the group, the names of the students are listed and ordered by first name. This is problematic for large courses with many students. There does not appear to be a way to sort by last name or any other way.

Learning Modules

Taking a quiz within a Learning Module/Unit should not lose your position within the unit

Detailed description: In a learning module with an embedded quiz, after the quiz is taken and the student has viewed the results and clicked OK, the module takes the student back to the beginning page of the module, instead of staying in sequence. This happens when the sequential viewing option is turned on or off. We would rather have the student stay in sequence after taking the quiz.

Notifications

Allow course level control of email notifications

Detailed description: Individuals can control their own notifications, but there is no way for faculty to control notifications (e.g., disable) for the entire course.

Text Book

Textbook search – allow override of price

Detailed description: Faculty – would like to use the search for textbook, but the price that is returned may not match what our bookstore has. Please allow faculty to override – change/hide book price.

User Interface

Editing and Submitting a Blank Page should not switch Edit Mode Off

Detailed description: When the faculty member edits a Blank Page and submits, the Edit Mode changes to Off by default. Faculty would prefer that Edit Mode stay on.

Adaptive Release allow for strictly less than or greater than, decimal score

Detailed description: Faculty member wants to use adaptive release for students who got a grade below 9 out of 10. She wants to keep out those who scored 9.0. Adaptive Release currently requires “less than or equal to”. She cannot use a non-integer, e.g, “less than or equal to” score “8.9”.  Request to add strictly “less than” or “greater than”. And allow for decimal scores, e.g., “8.9”

Display Server’s Timezone, Individual TimeZone settings

Detailed description: We have students/faculty in different parts of the world. The date/time set for adaptive release, assignments, etc. would be our local server time, and not reflected in the timezone for the user.

At the very least, we would like Blackboard to display the server’s timezone (so there’s no confusion who’s time it is).
e.g., Display After: 10/06/2010 11:25AM (EDT)

Then, allow the individual to set their own local time zone. And so any display of date/time would take in their local timezone.

Add a Piazza Link to Your Blackboard Course

What Is Piazza?

Piazza is an online platform that facilitates interaction among students. It started as a way to help students who were stuck on homework problems get unstuck with the help of their classmates, TAs, and professors.

Over time, with valuable feedback from thousands of instructors, the product has evolved to become a centralized place for instructors to conduct all class related communication where…

  • you can answer students’ questions once for all students to see
  • your students can engage with classmates in online discussion
  • you can post class related announcements
  • you can post class files, resources and the class syllabus
  • you can conduct polls to get a sense of where students stand
  • you can receive/send private messages from/to students on more sensitive subject matters

For more information, see Piazza’s product overview page.

How to Add a Piazza Link to Your Blackboard Course

  1. Browse to your course in Blackboard.
  2. From your course menu, click on a content folder link, such as Content or Course Materials.
  3. Hover on Build Content and select Web Link to add the link
    • Enter a name for the link, such as Piazza
    • Enter this URL: https://piazza.com/connect
    • Check the box for This link is to a Tool Provider

      The Web Link Information form filled out for adding Piazza as a Tool Provider in Blackboard.
    • We recommend opening the Piazza link in a new window so you do not lose the Blackboard course navigation. Under Web Link Options, set Open in New Window: Yes

      Under Web Link Options, Open in New Window is set to Yes
    • Click Submit.
    • You will now see a Piazza link in the content folder where you added it.

      A Piazza web link in a Blackboard content area
  4. Click the newly created Piazza link in your course to continue. Follow the prompts to be emailed a verification code which you will enter into Piazza to finalize the setup.

    Note: Students will not be able to access Piazza until you complete this step.

  5. To add a Piazza link to your course menu, click the plus sign in the upper left of your course menu in Blackboard and select Course Link. Browse for the Piazza link you created inside your course, make it available to users, and click Submit.

Blackboard What Is New – 9.1 SP3

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 Service Pack 3 on 12/27/2010.

Release Highlights

  • Grading improvements in Course Delivery including: assessment creation, rule creation, grading view preferences, and feedback delivery.
  • Mobile Learn Building Block installed and activated

New Features

  • Adaptive Release – Instructors can now set Adaptive Release rules using a calculated column. Categories for each item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list.
  • Announcements – New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list. Students do not see the bar.
  • Early Warning System – Instructors can now set Early Warning System rules using a calculated column. Categories for each item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list.
  • Assessments – Instructors now have the ability to view question numbers while building and editing assessments. Questions can be referenced by number throughout the assessment and can be used to sequence questions in an assessment.
  • Grade Center – Several features in the Grade Center have been enhanced to improve communication between the instructor and students and make navigation easier.
    • Feedback and Comments – To augment the existing ability to download columns from the Grade Center and grade offline, Instructors can now include comments in the download. Comments can be added or edited offline, and are associated with the grade when the column information is uploaded to the Grade Center.The full features of the Text Editor are now available for Feedback to Users and Grading Notes from the Grade Details page and within the Grade Center grid. The Text Editor can also be used for feedback on Tests, Assignments, Group Assignments, Blogs, Wikis, Journals, and posts to the Discussion Board. Incorporating all the features of the Text Editor allows Instructors to leverage the full range of functions for formatting text and adding external links, attachments, images, Mashups, and multimedia to Feedback and Grading Notes.
    • Students are able to view the Feedback added using the Text Editor on their My Grades page.
    • Needs Grading Page – Instructors can access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
    • Smart Views – Smart Views added as Favorites appear as an indented list in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel.
    • Column Delete Alert – When groups with graded Blogs, Journals, Wikis, or Discussion Boards are deleted, an alert appears prompting the instructor to save or delete the corresponding Grade Center columns. Managing columns for groups becomes part of the same process as deleting groups.
  • Text Editor – The symbol font is removed from the Text Editor and a symbol picker has been added.

Blackboard What Is New – 9.1 SP4 and 9.1 SP5

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 Service Pack 5 on 05/24/2011.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 5

Highlights of Bug Fixes in this Release:

There were 120+ fixes in this release. Here are a few issues that had a high client impact which are now fixed in Release 9.1, Service Pack 5:

  • Course Files Issues – This Service Pack is a key element of the Course Files Issue Resolution Plan, which is comprised of a series of fixes over three Service Packs (Service Pack 3, Service Pack 4, and Service Pack 5).With Service Pack 5, we are renewing our recommendation to use the Move Course Files Utility. Course Files migration is an integral part of the recommended upgrade path to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1.Problems related to files moved using the utility after upgrading to Release 9.1 were discovered. This Service Pack provides a more stable Move Course Files Utility that allows you to move all course content from the legacy storage area into the Course Files directories and take full advantage of the Course Files functionality.
  • Security Focus – This Service Pack further hardens Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 from Cross-site Request Forgery and Cross-site Scripting attacks. Cross-site Request Forgery is an attack that attempts to execute actions on behalf of a user authenticated into Blackboard Learn. This release protects key parts of the product, such as the Grade Center. Cross-site Scripting is an attack where malicious scripts are injected into Blackboard Learn. This occurs when specially crafted values are entered into a variable of a web page or stored and displayed by the application. Oftentimes, an attacker would need to convince an authenticated user to access a malicious web page, record, etc., in order to attack the authenticated user. In addition, this release resolves authorization vulnerabilities in the Address Book, Calendar, Grade Center, Portfolio Comments and Display, and Tasks.
  • YouTube Mashup not working – When attempting to add a YouTube video to a Content Area within a course, the course builder was confronted with an error, rendering the video unwatchable. The failure was due to changes in the Google/YouTube API. Blackboard updated our Blackboard Building Block with the additional libraries and resolved the issue.
  • Cannot run Course Report (Could not initialize class) – When instructors attempted to run a Course Report from the Course Control Panel, they were experiencing a “Could not initialize class” error. We were able to correct this issue in Service Pack 5 and successfully generate detailed Course Reports.
  • Index out of bounds error access Grade Center attempts – This‘Index out of Bounds’ error was generated when instructors attempted to access a student’s assignment from the Grade Center that was locked in the “In Progress” state. This issue and allowing ‘Force Submit’ for ‘In Progress’ assignments were fixed and no longer generate errors in Service Pack 5.
  • Access Denied error in Grade Center when clicking “save” and “next” – This issue was only reproducible using Internet Explorer as your browser. When utilizing the ‘Save’ and ‘Next’ button in the Grade Center resulted in an “Access Denied” error message for instructors. This along with several other Grade Center issues were all addressed in our latest release.
  • Course Copy to Existing Course does not copy across course files that are not linked. –  When attempting to copy a course into a new or existing course, the course files that were not linked to Content Items (or pages) within the source course were not being copied over. This issue was resolved and all links, content, and items can successfully be copied from one course to another.

As with all Service Packs, Service Pack 5 includes all the issues corrected in previous Service Packs, hotfixes, and all but the most recent patches.

Note: as we upgrade to SP5, we implicitly also get enhancements from SP4.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 4

Highlights of Enhancements in SP4:

  • Support for Basic LTI: This is an IMS derivative of the full Learning Tools Interoperability specification that provides a simple integration for instructors to link to external learning tools and applications that also conform to the specification, enabling single sign-on, from within their courses. This capability provides instructors greater choice when it comes to their instructional tools and resources.
  • Support for Common Cartridge 1.0: Support for Common Cartridge 1.0, an IMS specification, is now available in the Blackboard Learn platform. Course content packages saved in this standard can be imported into the Blackboard Learn application and course content created in the Blackboard Learn application can be exported as Common Cartridge packages, enabling greater sharing of learning content between learning management systems.
  • Module Enhancements in Community Engagement: Blackboard Learn software administrators can now assign categories to modules in the Community Engagement module. This enhancement provides improved searching for the end user and allows administrators to better manage their portal content. In addition the interface where end users select modules to personalize their Blackboard Learn software environment has been updated to create a more intuitive experience.

Blackboard What Is New – 9.1 SP6 and SP7

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 SP7 on 11/28/2011.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 7

Blackboard resolved many issues in Release 9.1, Service Pack 7, including over 100 Bug Squad issues. Highlights from this Service Pack include:

  • Announcement emails no longer have multiple footers when sending emails to more than one user.
  • Copying Grade Center columns and settings into an existing course no longer creates duplicate system Smart Views.
  • Course availability times now default to midnight as expected.
  • Email notifications from graded Discussion Forums no longer contain links broken by the erroneous “courseId={unset id}”

Note: as we upgrade to SP7, we implicitly get the enhancements from SP6.

Release 9.1 Service Pack 6

Highlights of Enhancements in SP6:

  • Grade Center and Assessment Improvements
    • Needs Grading: Gradable Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Discussion Board activity can appear in Needs Grading status in the Grade Center and on the Needs Grading page. When an instructor chooses to make an interactive tool gradable, they will also have the option to choose how many interactions will place the item in needs grading status. A Discussion Board forum, for instance, might be set to only appear in Needs Grading status after a student has made three posts, rather than with each individual post.
    • Timed Assessments: Attempt information for timed assessments includes details on how much time the student spent on the attempt versus how much time was allotted. Instructors can choose to make the timed assessment save and submit automatically when the timer expires, or to allow the assessment to continue beyond the allotted time.
    •  Test Announcements: If announcements are created for a Test, the date and time of the most recent announcement appears on the Test Options page.
  • Interactive Rubrics
    • When creating a rubric, instructors can assign weights to categories, allowing the same rubric to be used across multiple items with different possible points. Rubrics can be imported and exported for use across courses. Existing rubrics in ANGEL and CE8 courses will be converted as part of the course conversion process.
    • Instructors can associate rubrics when creating gradable content items, including Blogs, Journals, Wikis, Discussion Boards, Assignments, and short-answer, file-response, or essay questions in tests and pools. Rubrics can be associated with multiple items, and all associations can be viewed from the Rubric tool. Multiple rubrics can be associated with an item. The rubrics can be visible to students at any time, or only after grading has been completed.
    • Instructors can interact with any associated rubric for grading in a grid or list view, and Feedback can be typed for each criteria as well as the entire assessment. Grades calculated using rubrics can be overridden. When a rubric has been used for grading, a report is available to view the results of all content graded with that rubric.
  • SCORM Engine Integration
    • Through a co-development partnership with Rustici Software, a new SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) content player is integrated into Blackboard Learn. This feature will provide users a stable and reliable platform for SCORM content. Along with the new content player is a new report available through the Control Panel to show activity and progress.
  • Content Management
    • Adaptive Release Rules Work on Content Collection Items
    • Adaptive Release now works on Content Collection items that are created within a course and accessed through the Content Collection. Instructors (or those users creating course content) are no longer prompted to give Read access to newly created items. Items that are released at a later date will not show up in a search before they are released.
    • Important Note: To ensure that adaptive release rules are functioning correctly, courses created prior to Blackboard Learn Service Pack 6 need to be copied, imported, or restored after upgrading. This process updates all links to content within a course and removes specific read permissions from students. Updating the links provides students with access to all files they had previously been granted access to. Removing specific read permissions prevents students from accessing content that they are not allowed see while honoring adaptive release rules.
  • Desktop Integration
    • BbDrive must be installed to engage in desktop integration. Once installed, files will automatically open without download. Updates are saved and re-uploaded after a refresh of a Course Content page. Any files that a user has access to will open within their native application. If users have set specific files to open with a specific program, they can open the contextual menu and select open in browser to view the file in a new tab or window. Entire folders can also open right on the desktop to manage files, making deleting multiple files easy for example.
  • Automatic Student Access to Linked Files
    • Links to files within courses do not rely on students having read permissions. If a file is linked in a course students enrolled in that course will be able to see it. They will not need explicit read permission.
  • Improved Browser Support
    • The following browsers will now be considered compatible:
      • Internet Explorer 9
      • Google Chrome 10 (stable channel)
      • Firefox 4 (final release channel)
    • Note 1: The Firefox Release Channel is the fully tested version by Mozilla and intended to be the most stable. This channel is updated roughly every 6 weeks.
    • Note 2: The Chrome Stable Channel is the fully tested version by Google and intended to be the most stable as the name implies. This channel is updated roughly every 2-3 weeks for minor releases and 6 weeks for major releases.
    • No longer supported:
      • Internet Explorer 6, 7
      • Firefox 1.x, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5
      • Safari 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 and any version on Windows
      • Mac OS X 10.3, 10.4 “Tiger”
      • Java 5, although it may continue to work

Blackboard also resolved several issues in Release 9.1, Service Pack 6, including:

  •  Users with the Course Builder role are now able to access unavailable courses.
  •  In Internet Explorer, content items with date restrictions now display properly on the Course Calendar.
  •  When accessing an “In Progress” attempt from the contextual menu in the Grade Center, the instructor is no longer intermittently taken to the wrong student’s attempt page.
  •  Announcement Notification emails that are the result of the “Override User Notification Settings” option are now sent from the user creating the announcement instead of the Blackboard Administrator email account.
  •  Columns in the Grade Center with “No Category” no longer prevent the instructor from viewing student attempts.
  •  Instructors are now able to access graded Group Blogs and Journals after unenrolling a student who participated in these tools.
  •  The session invalidation task now invalidates more than 1,000 records at a time. All invalid sessions are removed when the task is run.

Blackboard What Is New – 9.1 SP8 and SP9

We upgraded to Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 Service Pack 9 on 11/20/2012.

On December 26th, 2012, Blackboard will be unavailable to all users from 8am-8pm as service packs 8 and 9 are installed on the servers. Highlights from the upgrade are outlined here.