Blackboard Learn Tour
Distance Education Department
College of the Mainland is working hard to provide the best online learning environment available for our students. Blackboard Learn is the latest release of the most widely used course management system in the world. All class types (Internet, Hybrid, Web Enhanced and Classroom) will have a presence on the system in varying degrees.
This orientation module is a brief tour of the most widely used course tools.
This is not intended to replace the Online Learner Workshop, which is required before enrolling in an Internet or Hybrid type course. For more information on the required workshop please visit the Online Learner Workshop info page: http://www.com.edu/de/olw.cfm
College of the Mainland provides support for our online students through our Distance Education - Instructional Technology Support Center. Here you will find answers to frequently asked Blackboard questions, access to downloads and plugins, the ability to Submit a Support ticket and to "chat" with a live distance education staff member. Students can find additional useful information at the Support for Students area of the Blackboard.com web site.
I want to thank you for enrolling in one of the sections that is piloting our new Learn system and hope that you will provide constructive feedback on it's new features and ease of use when asked.
Director of Distance Education
College of the Mainland
Here is a list of operating systems and browsers that will work with Blackboard Learn, however, we strongly recommend using Firefox browser, especially for taking tests.
Locate your browser version and operating system below - Certified is best:
Release 9.1 SP9 Supported Browsers & Operating Systems
Key to Support Status:
Certified: fully tested and supported.
|Internet Explorer 9||Internet Explorer 8||Firefox (Final Release Channel)*||Firefox 3.6||Chrome (Stable Channel)**|
|Windows XP (32-bit)||Unsupported||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows Vista (32-bit)||Certified||Compatible||Certified||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows Vista (64-bit)||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Windows 7 (32-bit)||Certified||Compatible||Certified||Compatible||Certified|
|Windows 7 (64-bit)||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Safari 5.1||Safari 5.0||Safari 4.0||Firefox1 (Final Release Channel)||Firefox 3.6||Chrome (Stable Channel)|
|Mac OSX 10.5 "Leopard"||Unsupported||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible||Compatible|
|Mac OSX 10.6 "Snow Leopard"||Certified||Certified||Compatible||Certified||Compatible||Certified|
|Mac OSX 10.7 "Lion"||Certified||Unsupported||Unsupported||Certified||Unsupported||Certified|
1 Firefox 8 and Mac OS are not compatible with the drag and drop functions on Blackboard Learn.
*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. For further detail on Firefox, please review the material available at http://blog.mozilla.com/blog/2011/04/13/new-channels-for-firefox-rapid-releases/.
**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. For further detail on Chrome, please review the material available at www.chromium.org.
Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. JAWS for Windows 11 and 12 were used during accessibility testing for SP9.
Blackboard Learn requires the latest version of Sun JRE 6 or JRE 7. The JRE can be downloaded from http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html. Windows System Administrators who want to provide auto-download for users can find the.cab file link for the appropriate JRE at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/autodownload-140472.html.
Java applets bundled with Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP9 are now signed with a timestamping authority, https://timestamp.geotrust.com, which certifies that the Blackboard code signing certificate was valid at the point in time when the applet was signed. Web browser client JDKs that trust the timestamping authority will run the applets without error, even after the Blackboard code signing certificate expires. All JDKs since version 1.5 trust this timestamping authority by default.
The following technologies are not supported:
Deprecation is a standard software practice to notify the community of future removal of support. These technologies are still tested and expected to perform in the intervening releases until the release in which they are removed from support.
You can log on to Blackboard directly at: http://de.com.edu. You can also find the Blackboard link on the COM Homepage and on the COM Online website.
Log into Blackboard using your (WebAdvisor) User name and your seven digit COM ID. To retrieve your (WebAdvisor) User name and COM ID, click on the Verify Your User Name link located under Additional Information on the Blackboard login page.
Note: Your seven digit COM ID can be found on your printed class schedule and on your COM photo ID .The leading zeros do not show on the COM ID. You will need to add these yourself. Your COM ID always contains 7 digits.
Verify Your User Name: Obtain your COM login credentials.
Technical Support: DE - Blackboard Support site.
Blackboard Orientation: A look at common Blackboard tools used online (not the required Online Learner Workshop).
COM Online Website: A website dedicated to the online student.
Browser Check: Check your computer for compatibility with Blackboard.
System Announcements: Check here for information that affects Blackboard.
After logging into Blackboard, the first active page is your My Dashboard page. My Dashboard contains modules to organize your Tools, Announcements, Tasks, Courses and more.
The My Courses module contains the classes you are enrolled in. Click the course title to enter the course. Courses will not appear in the My Courses module until the official first day of the class.
Note: Click on the Manage icon in the corner of the My Courses module to configure the module and customize the display.
You can also enter your courses through the Course List module found in the My Courses tab (next to My Dashboard). This Course List displays the full course section number and title.
Tip: When submitting a support ticket you should enter the full course section number, for example: ENGL-2328-051IN-SP2013. The course section number is specific to your enrollment. The course title is not.
To navigate back to the main entry page, click the My Dashboard tab link from within any course.
After clicking on the course title in your My Courses module or from the Course List module (My Courses tab), the first page you will most likely see is the course Dashboard.
Note: The course Dashboard is specific to the course and will not display information from your other courses.
View of a course Dashboard:
To navigate back to your Course List module click on the My Courses tab.
Because Blackboard is customizable by your instructor, you may find that your Course Menu varies slightly from course to course. The Course Menu links can be created or renamed by your instructor. This may sound confusing at first, but just keep in my mind that your classes will contain the same important elements: course material, communication tools, and gradable course work (assignments and assessments).
Course Menu examples:
My Grades direct link on the Course Menu:
My Grades link in the Tools area:
Discussions direct link on the Course menu:
Messages (course email) link in Tools area:
Where course material is placed in your course depends upon your instructor. Course material may reside on the instructor created Home Page, Course Content page or a Learning Modules page, or Content page. These pages can be accessed from the Course Menu.
Example of a course Home Page with course material listed:
Example of a Course Content page with course material listed:
Example of a Learning Modules page with Learning Module (course material) links:
Tip: Don't see your Course Menu? Click the Show/Hide Course Menu tab located to the left of the content window.
Assignments can be placed in several areas by your instructor. You may see a link in the Course Menu called Assignments, or you may find gradable course work throughout your course material.
Example of an instructor created assignments folder on a Course Content page:
The Reading Assignment folder link (above) when selected:
Example of an assignment link embedded in a Learning Module:
Step 1: Open an assignment link
Step 2: Read the instructions in the Assignment Information area. Look for additional documents attached for you to download.
Step 3: To submit a document, scroll down to the Assignments Materials area and click the Browse My Computer button to attach a document.
Step 4: Locate your completed assignment on your computer and attach (double-click or click once and click Open):
Step 5: Review your attached file for the correct name and file type. If correct, click Submit to upload. If not correct - click Do not attach.
Step 6: After submitting your assignment you can review the submission details and Grade status. This is where you will also find instructor feedback once graded.
Review Submission History area:
Instructors will sometimes request for you to re-submit an assignment. You can click on the same assignment link, followed by the Continue Current Submission button. You should then have access to the Browse My Computer button.
Instructors will sometimes return papers for further editing. Click the specific Assignment link and scroll down to the Review Submission History area.
You can also access attached documents from your instructor by clicking on the grade posted in My Grades:
The Discussion Board is a tool for communicating with your instructor and classmates. Discussion topics are listed in a Forum. Each link contains related discussion postings called a thread.
If the Discussion link is not visible in the Course Menu within your course, click on Tools followed by Discussion Board.
Step 1: Click on the Discussions link in the Course Menu - or - Tools > Discussion Board.
Step 2: Click on a discussion in the Forum list.
Step 3: Read the instructions, if provided, and then click Create Thread.
Step 4: Type in name of your post in the Subject text box.
Step 5: Type your content in the Message text box.
Step 6: Click the Submit button to post your thread:
Depending on your instructor's preferences, your discussion posting may not be visible to the public until your instructor has reviewed it.
The status of "Published" indicates your classmates can view your message.
The status of "Queued for Moderation" means the post has not been publicized by the instructor yet.
Blackboard Learn has two email based communication tools. Send Email and Messages.
Using the Send Email tool will generate an email message and send it out of Blackboard to the recipient's external COM Student Email account in Outlook. A record of this email will not reside in Blackboard. Instructors may use this tool to send out a mass communication; therefore, you should check your student email account often.
It is more likely that your instructor will prefer the Messages tool, because it keeps a record of Messages sent and received within Blackboard.The Messages tool may be a direct link on your Course Menu or can be found in the Tools area:
After clicking Messages you should see your Inbox and Sent folders. If you do not, you are in the Send Email tool. Remember, Send Email sends emails out of Blackboard - one way - to Outlook email accounts.
In the Messages tool:
Click the Create Message button to open the Compose Message page.
Click the To button and select the person who will receive your message. Click the move button to move their name to the Recipients box.
Enter a Subject (required field) for your message and then compose your message. You have the ability to attach files to messages in the same way you attach them to emails.
When done, click Submit and your message is sent. Remember, Messages remain within your Blackboard Learn course.
Assessments, tests and quizzes usually have a link on the Course Menu, but some instructors choose to place the link within the course material:
Example of assessment links in the Course Menu:
Example of an assessment link in a Learning Module:
Please read all of test instructions posted before you begin an exam and use the suggested browser Firefox with the Blackboard Learn system. In addition:
Your computer maintenance should be up to date: Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware applications installed and updated. Operating System Service Packs & updates, etc.
It is best to use a computer with a wired connection (Ethernet cable) to the Internet (router). Wireless connections can be unreliable due to interference. You can get disconnected and never know why.
Use the recommended browsers and know how to manage your browser:
Java is a required browser plug-in for usage with Blackboard. Do I have Java?
Perform the Browser Check located on the Blackboard login page.
Don't tamper with your computer once you launch a test: Maximize or resize your browser window before you begin a test. Resizing your browser causes a screen refresh and can be interpreted as a 'Submit' by Backboard. Do not open any other browser windows, programs or applications.
Don't navigate through your exam using the browser controls or your keyboard: Do not use your browser Forward and Back buttons, or refresh the page while in a Blackboard assessment.
Remember to use single-mouse clicks when making selections in your exam. Always single-click test link buttons and all buttons in the assessment (Begin, Save, Next Question, Save All Answers (if available) and Save and Submit.
Be aware of ISP session timeouts and how long you have been inactive: Periodically save your exam, if the test questions display all at once (Save All Answers).
Exercise secure computer habits: Always use the Logout button to conclude your sessions in Blackboard.
* Ultimately, you are responsible for the state of your personal computer. If you are unable to configure your computer to work with Blackboard, you can always use one on campus with available lab managers present: www.com.edu/on-site-services/computer-labs.php
Step 1: Click the quiz or exam link.
Step 2: Review any instructions then click the Begin button.
Step 3: Read any additional instructions for important test details.
- Timed Test: Auto-Submit on: Auto saves answers and submits automatically at the specified end time.
- Force Completion on: The test must be completed in one log in session. If disconnected, you will not be able to re-access exam.
- Backtracking prohibited: cannot navigate back to a previous question to review or change answer
Step 4: Select your answer(s) to a question.Then click the the Save Answer - or - Next Question
* In the example above, backtracking to a previously answered question is prohibited. Do not try to bypass this setting by clicking your browser back button.
Note: If backtracking to a previously answered questions is allowed, you can click on the Question Completion Status box and navigate to specific questions for review:
Step 5: After answering the last question on the quiz, click the Save and Submit button.
Step 6: Click OK to continue submitting the test.
You can check your grades using the My Grades tool if the teacher has made the tool visible in your course. If you do not see the My Grades tool in your course contact your teacher and request that it be made visible.
If there is not a My Grades direct link on the Course Menu, click on the Tools link in the menu followed by My Grades:
Grades that have been posted will be displayed. You can view a history of the assignment by clicking on the grade which is an active link:
Clicking the posted grade link will display the Review Submission History. Here you can see your original assignment, Instructor Feedback and any other attachments: