Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to Create a "Voice Board" in your Blackboard Course

A "Voice Board" is a voice-based threaded discussion that you can create in your Blackboard course.

Here is a video showing how to create a Voice Board in your course:
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Have Students Upload Videos for an Assignment

Students can submit videos in response to an Assignment that you have posted in Blackboard.

Here are instructions for students for how to upload a video in response to an Assignment:

  1. Go to and click the "Sign in" box at the upper-right here:
  2. Sign in using your Google or Gmail account (not your myNEU account)
  3. Click the "Upload" button at the top and upload the video as "Unlisted":
  4. Go to and navigate to your course in Blackboard
  5. Find the Assignment link and click on it
  6. Click the "Write Submission" button:
  7. Click the chevron on the right to expand the toolbar:
  8. Click the video button on the toolbar that looks like a webcam:
  9. If YouTube thinks you are not signed in, click the "Sign in to Youtube" button:
  10. Remember to use your Google or Gmail account, not your myNEU account credentials
  11. Click the "Accept" button:
  12. Click the "Browse" tab and click the "Insert" button for the video:
  13. Click "Insert Link", then click "Insert":
  14. Click the "Submit" button:

The instructor can view the videos as follows:


As the instructor, you can view the videos and grade by clicking the drop-down in the Full Grade Center cell, then click the Attempt:


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Blackboard IM isn't listing all of my classes

Blackboard IM is an Instant Messaging client from Blackboard that lists the classes you are enrolled in and lets you chat with your classmates.

You can get Blackboard IM from within your Blackboard course in Tools > Blackboard IM

Once you have Blackboard IM, if your Blackboard IM client is not listing some of your courses, try these steps to fix it.

1.  In Blackboard IM, click the "Blackboard IM" menu, then click exit, like this:

2.  Restart Blackboard IM and log in.  Check the "Classmates" tab.  If your classes are there, you're good.  If not, keep going.

3.  Click the "Blackboard IM" menu, then click "Manage Account", here: 

4.  Log in using your Blackboard IM username and password (which might be different from your myNEU credentials).  If you have trouble, use the forgot password link here:

5.  Once you are logged in, under "Course Settings", check the boxes for all of your courses:

6.  Back in Blackboard IM, check the "Classmates" tab.  If your classes are there, you're good.  If not, go back and repeat steps (1) and (2) again.

We hope this information is helpful.


Monday, January 05, 2015

How to Embed a Tegrity Video in Blackboard

You can embed a Tegrity recording in a small player in any Content Area in your Blackboard course. Here's how:

1.  Access the Tegrity recording.  

 Select the box next to the date of the video you would like to embed.


2.  Click on Recording Tasks dropdown menu. Then click on Share Recording.


3.  A new window will appear. Uncheck the box Do Not Allow Anonymous Users to View the Recording. This will enable students to view the Tegrity directly from the Blackboard site without having to login to Tegrity again and will provide you with the Embed option.


4.  Now you can copy the Embed code by highlighting it with your mouse, then copying it (right-click copy or CTRL+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac) on the keyboard).  Then Click OK.

5.  Return to the main page of your Blackboard course and click on the Content Area into which you would like to post your Tegrity recording.

6.  Click on Build Content then click Item.


7.  From here you can enter the Name of the video and type in a Text description if desired.


8.  Next, you will need to access the HTML code editor in order to paste the embed code you copied. To do so, click on the Toggle HTML Source Mode icon in the Text editor toolbar.


9.  Make sure that your mouse cursor is flashing a couple of lines below the text you entered. Then paste in the embed code (right-click paste or CTRL+V on keyboard).

10.  You can also Attach File, such as an associated transcript of the video or PowerPoint file that the video demonstrates. Select the options Permit Users to View this Content (to set link availability), Track Number of Views (to monitor student viewing of the video), and Select Date and Time Restrictions (to set specific dates for the link to appear).


11  When you are finished setting the options, click Submit.


12.  Your new embedded video will appear in your course content area.

13.  Done.  Now you can see how it looks for students by using the Student View option.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Columns are missing in the Grade Center and/or you Can't Scroll

If you created a column in the Grade Center of Blackboard, and can't find it, it may be hiding because of your browser zoom settings or your MacOS scrollbar settings.

Try these methods to fix it:

1.  If you are using Google Chrome, make sure your view zoom is set to 100%Blackboard has a bug where it doesn't display the rightmost column in the Grade Center in Chrome if your zoom is set to anything other than 100%.

2.  If you're using a Mac, Make sure your Mac preferences are set to display the scroll bars as follows:

a.    Launch System Preferences, either from the Dock or from the Apple menu.
b.    Once the System Preferences window opens, select the General preference pane.
c.    The middle section of the General preference pane controls when scroll bars appear and a few additional scroll bar options.
d.    Select "Always" from the Show Scroll Bars options.

Once your scroll bars are back, use the horizontal scroll to scroll to the right in the Grade Center to find your missing columns.

We hope this information is helpful.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Sync your Blackboard Calendar to your Outlook Web Mail / Office365 Calendar

You can subscribe to your Blackboard calendar from within Office 365 / Outlook Web Mail.  Below is a video that shows how.  Scroll down for written instructions.

Once you subscribe to your Blackboard calendar from within Outlook, new events in Blackboard will automatically sync to Outlook within an hour or so of being added to your Blackboard courses.

Link to video:
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


1.  Go to Blackboard, click the "Home" tab, then click "Calendar"
2.  Use the "Get External Calendar Link" button and copy the link to the clipboard
3.  Go to Office365 at  Log in and click the "Calendar" option.
4.  Right-click the "Other Calendars" link and select "Open Calendar".
5.  Paste the link from Blackboard into the Internet Calendar box and click "Open"

Your Blackboard calendar will be automatically synced to Outlook/Office365 going forward.

How to Sync your Blackboard Calendar to your Google Calendar

You can subscribe to your Blackboard calendar from within Google Calendar.  Below is a video that shows how.  Scroll down for written instructions.

Once you subscribe to your Blackboard calendar from within Google, new events in Blackboard will automatically sync to Google Calendar within an hour or so of being added to your Blackboard courses.

Link to video:
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


1.  Go to Blackboard, click the "Home" tab, then click "Calendar"
2.  Use the "Get External Calendar Link" button and copy the link to the clipboard
3.  Go to Google Calendar at
4.  Next to "Other Calendars", click the dropdown and select "Add by URL"
5.  Paste the link from Blackboard into the URL box and click "Add Calendar"

Your Blackboard calendar will be automatically synced to Google going forward.

How to Post a Link to a Google Spreadsheet into your Blackboard Course

Google Sheets can be used to allow students in a Blackboard course to edit a spreadsheet collaboratively.

Here's a video showing how to create and post the link in Blackboard:

Link to video:
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Creating a Non-anonymous Survey in Blackboard

Surveys in Blackboard are anonymous, which means the instructor cannot see which specific student answered a particular way in the survey results.

If you need to create a survey for which you need to attribute specific answers to specific students (a non-anonymous survey), the way to do it in Blackboard is to create a Test and call it a "survey".

To create a non-anonymous survey (Test):

1. Select Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools from the course management control panel.

2. Select Tests, then Build Test

3. Provide a name, description and student instructions for the non-anonymous survey.  We suggest including the word "Survey" in the name so students will know this is not a test.

4. Next, from the Question Settings page set the Default point value to 0 because this is a survey, not a test, so the questions so have no numeric value.

5. For this example survey, we created one question as an Opinion Scale / Likert question:

6. Since the non-anonymous survey is created as a test, you must select a correct answer.  In this example, we select the "Not Applicable" answer as the correct answer.  Since this is a survey, there really is no correct answer, so it does not matter which answer you designate as correct.

7. To deploy the non anonymous survey, set the Make Link Available option to "Yes" and in the "Show test results and feedback to students" section, uncheck the "score per question" checkbox and set only the "Submitted" check box as shown to ensure that the student does not see which answer you designated as the "correct" answer you selected when creating the test:

8. If the survey is already deployed, you can Edit the test options by clicking the drop-down menu to the right of the test link:

9. Here is a video of the entire process.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

How to print a Blackboard Test Using the Respondus 4.0 Test Creator application

Respondus 4.0 provides an efficient user friendly to print Blackboard Tests.

First download Respondus 4.0 Test Creator.

To print from Respondus 4.0 Test Creator

Retrieval & Reports tab - Select Retrieve questions

Select and click next

Choose a Course and an Exam and Enter a name for the file

Select Download questions and save

From the Preview & Publish tab, Select print options, then select either "Save to File" (Microsoft Word Document) or "Send to Printer".

You have the option to save the Exam with the Answer Key.  Printing without the answer key provides a quick backup plan if Blackboard is not available for online testing.

Here's a video of the process and instructions for downloading Respondus 4.0 Test Creator.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Respondus 4.0 Test Creator Application - Download Instructions

The download process for the Respondus 4.0 Test Creator application is a two step process.  The two step install involves first downloading the installer followed by downloading the Update (download installer first).

Note that it is essential to download both the installer and the update, failing to download both will not permit you to use the Respondus 4.0 Test Creator to Create Exams, Print Exams from Blackboard or use the Respondus Test Bank of questions from various publishers.

The Respondus software is available via the myNeu "Software Downloads" section.
  1. Go to and login using your myNEU fac/staff credentials
  2. Select the "Services and Links" tab
  3. Scroll down and select "Software Downloads" on the left:
  4. Select "Respondus" from the list and select continue: (The Respondus 4.0 Test creator is a Windows only application)
  5. Scroll down and select "Accept"
  6. You should download both the "Installer" and the "Update" as separate actions:
  7. In the download instructions that appear with the download, note the Organization name and the Install Code.  You will need to enter them later when you install the software.
  8. Once the install completes, it is necessary to install the update as well.
Here is a video of the Respondus 4.0 Test Creator Application download process:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Empty your Browser Cache

To fix a problem with Blackboard, you may need to empty your browser cache.

Here are instructions for various browsers:

Firefox for Windows

  1. If the "History" menu does not appear at the top, press the "ALT" key on your keyboard.
  2. From the History (or the "Tools") menu, select "Clear Recent History".
  3. From the "Time Range to clear" drop-down, choose "Everything"
  4. Under "Details" check all the boxes.  Click "Clear Now"  

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome and click the Chrome menu () upper-right.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click "Show Advanced Settings..."
  4. Click the "Clear browsing data..." button.
  5. Select "the beginning of time" from the drop-down
  6. Check the following boxes, and click "Clear browsing data":

Internet Explorer versions 9, 10, 11  (If you are running version 7 or 8, please upgrade to the latest version before using Blackboard)

  1. Push the ALT key on the keyboard to reveal the menus at the top.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Internet Options...
  3. Choose the General tab.
  4. Under Browsing history, click Delete...  (here: )
  5. Next to "Temporary Internet Files", click Delete files...
  6. Check the following boxes:  and click the Delete button
  7. Click Close and/or OK to exit.
  8. Make sure you are not in "Compatibility View" mode (see information here)

Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 (not recommended for Blackboard, please update browser)

Firefox for Macintosh

  1. Current firefox: 
    1. From the Firefox menu, select History...
    2. From the sheet that drops down, select Clear Recent History.  Select Everything from the "Time Range to Clear" drop down menu.  Select the check boxes for "Browsing & Download History", "Forms & Search History", "Cookies", "Cache" then Select "Clear Now".
  2. Older versions of Firefox: 
    1. From the Firefox menu, select Preferences...
    2. From the sheet that drops down, select Privacy. In 2.0, click Clear Now. In 1.5, click Clear Cache Now. In 1.0, next to Cache, click the Clear button, and then OK.

Safari for Macintosh (not recommended for use with Blackboard)

  1. From the Safari menu, select Reset Safari...
  2. When prompted, click Reset to confirm that you want to reset the browser.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Give Audio Feedback on an Assignment in Blackboard Using an MP3 Recorder

You may want to record your own voice for a student to listen to as feedback for a submitted assignment in Blackboard.  Here is how to use an MP3 Recorder website to make this easy.

UPDATE:  The service appears to be down.  Try alternatives or

The steps involved are:

1.  Navigate to the student's attempt in the Grade Center of your course.

2.  Use or or to record your commentary / feedback.

3.  Add the audio file you recorded to the feedback section for the assignment attempt.

Here is a video showing the entire process:

(Alternative link to high-resolution video here)

Note:  if you would like to include a screen-capture with your audio feedback, try this alternative method using Jing.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

How to Use Jing to Give Assignment Feedback in Blackboard

Jing is a screen-capture application which will allow you to record your screen and voice and give you a link to the recording.  You can use this link to give your students feedback on their assignments in Blackboard.

1.  Navigate to the student's attempt in the Grade Center of your course.

2.  Use Jing to record your commentary.

3.  Add the Jing link to the feedback section for the attempt grade.

Here is a video showing the entire process:

(if this video doesn't work, try this alternative link)

The Jing application may be downloaded from

Note:  if you would like to give your students audio-only feedback, try this the alternative method here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

How to Download Your Students' Email Addresses

As an instructor of a Blackboard course, you may download or view a list of your students' email addresses. This can be useful if you want to email all of your students from outside of Blackboard, or if you want to copy and paste a list of your student email addresses into Google Docs in order to share a document.

1.  Navigate to your Blackboard course site, and at the lower left click Course Tools > Student Email Addresses.

2.  Click "Spreadsheet" to download a CSV file containing all of your students' email addresses.  Or click "HTML Table" to view the email addresses in a table within your browser.

The best way to copy all of your student email addresses at once is to use the "Spreadsheet" option, open the downloaded file in Microsoft Excel, select all of the cells containing the email addresses at once and then copy and paste.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How To Add/Enroll Someone Into Your Blackboard Course

Students and Instructors are enrolled automatically into Blackboard.  Any update made with the Registrar's office will be automatically updated in Blackboard over time.

***To add an auditing student to your course, please contact the Registrar's Office at  Any auditing student who is added to a course in the Registrar's system will be automatically added in Blackboard.

To add a Teaching Assistant, Assistant, guest lecturer/unofficial co-instructor, Course Builder, Organization Builder, or Grader into your course/organization:

1.  Go into your course/org site in Blackboard and at the lower left click Users and Groups > Users.

2.  Click Enroll User > Find Users to Enroll.

3.  Click the “Browse” button and search for the person by Last Name or Email.  

If you have trouble finding the person, make sure you are not searching by username.  If a person has a drop in the course, you will not be able to enroll them.  In that case, contact

4.  Select the Role you want the person to have from the drop-down (e.g. "Teaching Assistant") and click Submit.  Do not add users using the "student" role.  Audit students must be added by the Registrar's office (see note above).

That's it.  You may see a list of who is enrolled in the course by clicking Users and Groups > Users > GO

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to Diagnose Chrome Extension Issues

Chrome should work well with Blackboard, but if you have trouble it is possible that you have a Chrome Extension in Chrome which is causing the issue.

To diagnose this, try using the Blackboard site in Chrome's "Incognito Mode", which turns off most of the extensions you may have.

To do so, click the Chrome menu at the upper-right and select "New incognito window"

In the incognito window, go to the site and use Blackboard normally.  If Blackboard works better for you in the incognito window, it means that there is a Chrome extension which is interfering with Blackboard under normal circumstances.

To figure out which Chrome Extension is causing the problem, go back to the regular (non-incognito) Chrome window, click the menu and select Tools > Extensions

Uncheck the "enabled" boxes for all of your extensions to disable them, and then check one at the time, going back to Blackboard each time to figure out which one is causing the difficulty.

Using this method you will be able to figure out which of your extensions is the offender.  To remove the bad extension, click the trashcan icon to the right.

We hope this information is helpful.  Thanks for using Blackboard.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creating Smart Views in Blackboard

Blackboard supports Grade Center smart views to limit the number of rows or columns shown in your grade center.

1.  To show specific columns in a grade center view, first go to Grade Center > Full Grade Center in your Blackboard course, and click the Manage > Column Organization option.  Move all grade center columns from the default location: "Shown in All Grade Center Views" to the section below "Not in a Grading Period", being careful to maintain your column order.

2. Next, verify your columns are categorized, if not use this to associate each column with a category:

3. Now we are ready to create the smart view as shown (Manage > Smart Views)

4. To limit the number of columns in your grade center smart view, choose to show one category of columns, select "Category and Status View items by their category and status" as shown, select the category from the Categories drop down and select the users to display or set to all users:

5. You may also limit the number of rows displayed based on criteria such as 1. Group affiliation, 2. Performance on an assessment, 3. individual students, or 4. a custom set of criteria as shown:

6. Setting the smart view as a favorite will show it as a Grade Center submenu option:

7.  Your new Smart View will display under "Grade Center" at the lower left of your course site.  Clicking the Smart View will display only the Columns in the Grade Center that match the Smart View criteria.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Blackboard Service Pack 14 (SP14)

Update:  Having trouble seeing the tabs in Blackboard since the upgrade? Make sure "Compatibility View" in Internet Explorer is turned OFF.  Click here for instructions.

Service Pack 14 includes the new features in Service Packs 12-14.  New features coming with the upgrade:


The achievements tool allows instructors to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both badges and certificates. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies.  More Information | Video

Accessibility Improvements

This Service Pack introduces an innovation that improves Learn’s navigation experience for all users, but especially sighted keyboard-only users, through page header and landmark aggregation. There are also enhancements to Test Availability Exceptions and Content Editor Math Formulas which are helpful for accessibility. More Information | Video


New calendar replaces the old calendar tool. Faculty and students can view institution level, course and personal events in a single calendar view.  More Information | Video

Content Editor Math Formulas

This Service Pack brings a new editor that is based on JavaScript. This removes dependence on Java, enabling full math-editing capabilities on platforms that cannot run java in browsers including iOS. The new math editor also supports the editing and display of LaTeX formulas.  More Information | Picture

Course Menu Enhancement

Viewing the folder structure of the course now always opens in a new window, to ensure users have the space needed to read the expanded contents. More Information | Picture

Grade Center Improvements

Blackboard has made several improvements to grading and Grade Center.  (1) My Grades Ordering & Design Update, (2) Define “Score Attempts Using” setting from the “Options” page, (3) Test total points adjustment, (4) Grading Schemas greater than 100%. More Information | Picture

Groups Management

The Groups Management Building Block provides the ability to (1) Easily see which students are in which groups (2) Easily see and modify group memberships (3) Avatars are now available to distinguish among users (4) Choose and manage membership for groups sets with an improved workflow (5) Import and export groups and group memberships (6) Sort columns, perform bulk actions for deleting groups, and create Grade Center smart views for one or more groups on the All Groups page (7) Optionally, manage tool availability for all groups on the All Groups page.  More Information | Video

Inline Grading

For interactive tools and assignments, you can view, provide comments, and grade student-submitted items without leaving the tool page.  More Information | Video

Restrict Tests by Location

Restricts a test so it can only be taken from a set range of machines (by IP addresses).  This feature will require setting up the IP address ranges with the Blackboard Administrators group before the test.  More Information

Retention Center

The Retention Center is an instructor-only tool that enables teachers to give focused attention to students who need it. It replaces the Early Warning System feature with easy workflows, while retaining all existing Early Warning System data and rules. From the Retention Center, you can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.  More Information | Video

Test and Survey Options

(1) Test Availability Exceptions:  new settings have been added to the Test/Survey Options page, available after the test or survey is added to a content area.  The new settings allow instructors to select one or more groups of students and make a number of exceptions to the already established availability settings. Instructors can use exceptions to provide an accommodation to a disabled student, or provide accommodations for technology and language differences.  (2) Show Test Results and Feedback to Students:  after they complete a test, results and feedback are available to students. By setting up rules, instructors can set the release of progressive feedback to keep test results secure and prevent cheating.  More Information

Date Management

After you have copied a course, speed up the transition of old dates to new one relevant for the new course using Date Management. From Date Management you can adjust availability dates, due dates, and adaptive release dates within a course. You can choose to update the dates automatically or manually from one convenient location.  More Information | Video

Course Message Notifications

Course messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within a course and among course members. Although similar to email, you must be logged into a course to read and send course messages.  Before Service Pack (SP14), the only way to know if you had any new course messages was to constantly log in to your course and check. In SP14, course messages are part of the notifications framework. Anyone enrolled in a course can receive notification that they have new messages from the Updates area in My Blackboard.  More Information | Video


The Discussions building block that was incorporated into this Service Pack changes the discussion board user interface in two primary ways:  (1) The thread detail page has been thoroughly redesigned while maintaining all of its current functionality.(2) Instructors now can require students to first post to a forum before they can see other students’ posts.  More Information | Picture

If you have any questions about the service pack upgrade, please contact or phone 617.373.HELP

Monday, December 02, 2013

Turn Off Compatibility Mode in Internet Explorer

Compatibility View is a mode that makes Internet Explorer render pages as if it were an older version of itself (version 7 specifically).  You will have trouble viewing parts of the Blackboard website in this mode.  Here's how to make sure "Compatibility View" is turned OFF for the Blackboard site:

1.  In Internet Explorer, go to the Blackboard website.

2.  Press and release the ALT key on your keyboard to display the "Tools" menu at the very top of the browser.  Click "Tools > Compatibility View Settings":

3.  Make sure the Blackboard site is not in the list of sites you've added to Compatibility View (if it is, remove it).  Make sure "Display all websites in Compatibility View" not checked.  Also, make sure the "Display intranet sites in Compatibility View" option is not checked:

4.  Click Close.  Then click the "refresh" icon at the top of Internet Explorer (or press F5 on your keyboard to refresh)

That's it.  Compatibility View has been turned off and the Blackboard site should now render properly.

How to schedule due date reminders

You may edit your notification settings to tell Blackboard that you want to receive due date
reminder email messages

Edit your notification settings:

  1. Login to Blackboard. 
  2. At the very top-right of the page, click your name.
  3. Click "Settings", then "Edit Notification Settings" from the drop-down.

  1. On the Edit Notification Settings page, click Edit General Settings

You will see the General Settings page.

Under General Settings: Courses

Set "Send Due Date Reminders" to Yes and set the number of days before the due date to send the
reminder.  You will now receive a reminder message for each due date event for which you have 
elected to receive notifications (refer to the "How to Edit Notification Settings" page)