Yearly Archives: 2010

Blackboard 9 Upgrade Information Page

Welcome to the Blackboard 9 upgrade project information page.  We will continually update this page through the upgrade process with news, information and links.

What: ECU is upgrading its course management system to Bb9 in May of 2011.  We have formed two groups to assist with these tasks.  The first group is the Steering Committee. This group is assisting in shaping the training, documentation and the look and feel of Bb 9.  The second group is the Pilot Group.  We currently have 21 faculty with 38 sections ready to teach, starting in the Spring 2011 semester.  This group has been trained. Support documentation has been created and provided to assist them using this new platform.

When: The Blackboard 9 pilot starts January 2011.  Other significant Bb9 pilot  dates are listed below.

  • 5/2010 – 8/2010  Bb 9 server propped up and configured.
  • 8/2010 Staging pilot group trained.  Two faculty teaching three sections.
  • 9/2010 Pilot group and Steering Committee formed.  Both groups have met and have been trained in Bb9.
  • 9/2010 ECU Instructional Technology Consultants training.
  • 9/2010 Yammer group created for both the Pilot and Steering Group.
  • 10/2010 Work was started on the Bb Faculty manual.  The document was completed 12/01/2010.  See the link below.
  • 11/2010 Training videos created.
  • 11/2010  Banner feeds have now created the Bb 2011 pilot courses; they are also populating them.
  • 11/2010  Blackboard section collapse tool was, and is, still being tested.
  • Faculty Manual Completed
  • 12/2010 Working on skinning the inside of Bb9 along with the login page before the end of the semester.
  • 12/2010 Working on getting all of the training dates on the books before we leave for break.
  • 12/2010 Bb Mobile is not working.  See all of the details here.  The mobile version ONLY works for Bb9 right now.
  • 1/10/2011 The pilot is now live.
  • 1/11/2011 Sent out the first of our weekly emails about Bb9 across the ECU community.  Click HERE to review a list of all of the email topics, videos and training dates available so far.
  • 1/12/2011 Our first of many open to the public Bb9 training sessions (Austin 309)  See the link above for more information.
  • 3/1/2011 Mid term survey sent out to the pilot group.  3/15/2011  Survey closed
  • 3/10/2011 Restore server is up and running
  • 3/12/2011 testing the course collapse tool on the Bb8 and Bb9 restore systems.
  • 3/15/2011 testing the course collapse tool on production Bb8
  • 3/18/2011  All summer Bb sites released into the system
  • 3/25/2011 All fall sites added into the system ( not enrollments)
  • 4/5/2011 Working with the multimedia center on the login page and color schema of Bb9
  • 4/10/2011  Working w/ Blackboard on a redbar error, login error and discussion grader error
  • 4/25/2011  Propped up a new Bb9 server and all of the errors have gone away. So far we have logged in and out 240 times w/ different users and browsers
  • 5/2/2011 Login page is about done and so is the skinning.  Looking good
  • 5/2/2011 Working on both the faculty and the student modules .  Right now we have Bb Mobile Learn, Student Bookstore, Support and Training, Updates, New Features and Disability Support Services
  • 5/10/2011 – Upgrade started.
  • 5/11/2011 Upgrade should be done today.  Once the upgrade is complete QA testing will begin.
  • 5/13/2011 WE ARE ALIVE.  Blackboard 9 is live !!!!!!!!!!!!  After 18 months of work we are officially a Bb9 campus.

Why: Blackboard 9 offers new features what will enrich the experience for both faculty and students.  Some of the new features include Blogs, Journals, Wikis, drag and drop and new Group Features. If you want a full list of the new features click THIS LINK to review and download the Bb9 faculty manual.

Where: The pilot server URL is All spring sites are loaded on this server, BUT you should not use these sites for teaching in any circumstance unless you are in the pilot.  See the list of the pilot participants.

Questions: If you have any questions about Bb9 or the pilot, do not hesitate to call or email Matt Long at / 252-328-9074  or Cindy Bowers at 252-328-9167 .

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Blackboard can now be accessed on your mobile device via Blackboard Mobile Learn.  Blackboard Mobile Learn allows students and instructors to interact with Blackboard on their Android, Blackberry, iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad device.  Click here to view videos of Blackboard Mobile Learn on your mobile device.

Blackboard Mobile Learn offers a wide variety of features for easy viewing of Blackboard content on mobile devices. Highlighted features for Blackboard Mobile Learn include: viewing and posting announcements, discussions, blogs, tasks, view roster, and journals.  Blackboard Mobile Learn also supports playing embedded media such as videos and music from the course’s Blackboard site. Students will be able to view grades for assignments on mobile devices on Blackboard Mobile Learn.

Instructor Features:

  • Create and view announcements.
  • Create and view discussion board threads.
  • Post comments on students’ blogs and journals.
  • View tasks, class roster, and embedded media.
  • Favorites allow you to see only certain Blackboard pages inside Blackboard Mobile Learn.

Student Features:

  • View announcements, tasks, class roster, grades, and embedded media.
  • Respond to discussion board forums.
  • Comment on classmates’ blogs and journals.
  • Favorites allow you to see only certain Blackboard pages inside Blackboard Mobile Learn

After downloading Blackboard Mobile Learn and running it for the first time you need to search for “East Carolina University,” then select “East Carolina University” and enter your Pirate ID credentials.  Feel free to examine and get familiar with the functionality of this program.

Update: Blackboard Mobile Learn is now carrier agnostic!  This means that all Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices can use Blackboard Mobile Learn over their carrier’s wireless data network.  All wireless carriers are supported by this new feature.

Test Taking Tips in Blackboard

Following are some hints & tips for test taking in Blackboard. You may want to download and print the PDF of Test Taking Tips for Students with more suggestions.

  • See the Blackboard site for browser compatibility for the PC and Mac (ECU is running version 9 as of May 2011).
  • Download the latest version of Java.
  • For general maintenance, clear your browser’s cache. Follow the instructions for your browser.
  • When starting to take a test or quiz DO NOT double-click the “Begin” button. Blackboard will see this second click as a second attempt at taking the test or quiz and then not allow you into the test or quiz.
  • Always single-click buttons in the Blackboard online course system.

When taking a test or quiz, please be careful of the following:

  • DO NOT click the “BACK” button in the browser during a test or quiz.
  • DO NOT open a new browser window or browser tab or click on an already opened window or tab during the test or quiz.
  • It doesn’t hurt to log out of Blackboard and log back in before you take your test if you have let your course page sit idle without much activity.
  • Make sure your laptop is plugged in if there is any question of your battery life.

By doing any of the above, you have a greater chance of being bumped out of your test/quiz and all of your answers may not be saved. If you are bumped out of taking the test or quiz after doing one of the above items and your instructor has set the or test/quiz up to be a “force completion” exam, then you won’t be able to get back into that test/quiz.

If a lockout happens to you, please 1) contact your instructor; 2) submit a Blackboard Tech Support Request explaining what happened and that you were unable to submit the test or quiz correctly. If the instructor agrees to clear your attempt, he or she will need to reset your test/quiz so you can make another attempt.

p.s. If you have been timed out and lose you work, you will see a little paper/pencil icon in your Bb grade center, meaning your attempt is stalled or locked out. If you see a grade for your quiz, your quiz submitted correctly.

New – as of Summer 2012 – LockDown Browser.

Instructors may or may not use LockDown browser for quizzes and exams. Please see the blog post on LockDown browser.

Blackboard 8 Weight Grades, Course Copy, Tips

With Fall Semester nearing the end, we get quite a few calls and emails asking for a refresher on how to weight grades in Blackboard 8. Many of you are also starting your Spring 2011 course prep work and design. Please click the links below for some easy to follow mini-tutorials — great for those late nights and weekends when you’re working on your courses. We will continue to add mini-tutorials, PDFs of instructions and helpful hints, and links to other helpful sites, so be sure you bookmark our Blackboard blog!

Fall 2010

How to Weight your Gradebook - This video will go over how you can weight your grades in the Blackboard 8 Gradebook.

Test Taking Tips in Bb8 – See this post for hints and tips for students to minimize getting bumped out of exams taken in Blackboard.

Spring 2011

Copy Content into your Spring 2011 Sites yourself (new feature) – Copy content into your Spring 11 sites yourself or use the traditional method. It’s up to you.  :)
Making your Blackboard Course Available – This video will show you how to open up your Spring 2011 Blackboard sites.
Adding TA’s or Co-Instructors – This video will go over how to add TA’s and co-instructors to your blackboard course.
Managing and editing your Blackboard Navigation buttons – Learn how to modify, remove or change what the navigation buttons do.
Clean up your MY COURSES AREA – Learn how to hide the courses you no longer need to see.

Copy Course Content Yourself

Are you interested in copying your own content from course to course?

We have a new option now available for you. You can now COPY or ROLL OVER YOUR OWN CONTENT to your courses (example: Fall ’11 to Spring ’12) instead of requesting it from the Blackboard team.  Once you complete the steps, wait 15-30 minutes and you will see the results of your copy. (Do not use this feature if you use course cartridges; contact Blackboard Support.)

You can still request the course copy the traditional way via this link  if you don’t want to do the content copy yourself: Course Copy Request Form via the web.

NOTE: If you need sections (option #3) COLLAPSED and COURSE CONTENT COPIED, it will be easier to go through the traditional course copy site: Course Copy Request.

Video Instructions:

HERE IS A VIDEO ON HOW TO COPY CONTENT YOURSELF or download this Course Copying.

After you complete the course copy, you may need to clean up your navigation area (the menu items). Take a look at the short video on how to clean up your navigation area: CLEANING UP THE COURSE NAVIGATION AREA

Instructions on using the new Course Copy Content Option within your Blackboard courses:

Step 1: Login to your “past” course.  Example: if you wanted to copy Fall 2011 content into the Spring 2012 site, you will FIRST need to be in the Fall ’11 (or past) course.

Step 2: In the Control Panel of your course, click the COURSE COPY option located in the bottom left corner under PACKAGES and UTILITIES area.






Step 3: Click the “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course” link.

Step 4: Click the BROWSE button.  This will bring up a list of all of your current (EXAMPLE: SPRING ’12) and past courses.  Choose the SPRING 2012 site where you want your content copied. Click the SELECT button.  The COURSE ID will now show in the “Destination Course ID” area.

 Step 5: Finally, select the content you want to copy.  The image below is a standard course copy. Click SUBMIT at the bottom.  That’s it!  “Refresh” your current course (using the refresh icon in your course or by clicking F5 on your keyboard) after 15-30 minutes to see your content. Important: Be patient and do not do a second copy only after a few minutes; give Blackboard time to complete the copy action, depending on the size of the course.

NOTE: Any tests and quizzes you have copied will be located under Tests, Surveys, Pools in the Control Panel – they will need to be deployed/added to a content area! And, if you copy your discussion forums, all posts from your past semester’s students will be included; however, they will show as anonymous. You will need to delete all past posts if you choose to copy your discussion forums!

Below is a screenshot of what you’ll see when you progress through the course copy process. You will choose what you want copied.



Course Copy Request Options – Reminders

Blackboard Upgrade Plans

Hello Everyone –
Wow… it’s been a while since I have blogged.  From here on out I plan to blog at least once a week about Bb and tools that can be used within Blackboard.  Today I want to talk about ECU’s Bb upgrade plans.  Currently we are on version 8.0 and plans are now in place to upgrade to version 9.x.  We have just gotten access to a Bb9 developmental server and will be running a very small pilot in the fall.  Then, a much larger pilot in the spring with plans to upgrade to Bb9 after the Spring 2011 semester. ( May 2011).  I will be publishing an upgrade plan here very soon with much more detail on how this upgrade will take place. We will be involving as many people as possible.

Here are a couple of Blackboard created videos about Bb9 by Bb. – ( Blackboard 9.1 features page ).  As you will see the interface is very different.  This is both the most exciting part about the new platform and the most challenging.

Questions? Comments?


Blackboard Training information.

Hello All  –
Blackboard training is starting this week using the online  Centra platform.  Next weeks training  will be all face to face .  Here are the dates, times and all of the information you will need to attend these sessions.  Training like this will be offered each week from here on out through the end of the semester.

Blackboard Training Face to Face

12pm – 1pm
1:30pm – 2:30pm
3pm – 4pm

9am – 10am
10:30am – 11:30am
11:30am – 12:30pm

9am – 10am
10:30am – 11:30am
11:30am – 12:30pm

To sign up for these session login into Onestop.  Click UNIVERSITY TRAINING and search for “Blackboard 8 Grade Center Training (Face 2 Face)”.  Find the date and time that works for you and sign up.

Blackboard Grade Center Training live on Centra. To attend you will need a working headset.

2/3 10am – 11am
2/4 10am – 11am
2/4 11:15am – 12:15pm
2/5 10am – 11am

To join this online live training session just click the following URL.

All you need to do is enter your ECU email account.  If you already have a Centra account it will ask for your password.  If you don’t have a Centra account enter your ECU email and Centra will then ask for your first name, last name and display name.  That’s all you need to do.

Please start the login process at least 15 minutes before the actual session start time OR even the day before to make sure everything is working normally.

To sign up for these session login into Onestop.  Click UNIVERSITY TRAINING and search for “Blackboard 8 Grade Center Training (Centra)”.  Find the date and time that works for you and sign up.

Also, my team is going to be spending a good amount of time making making short video clips usingCamtasia on parts of the new grade center features that create the most questions during our training this semester.  If you have a question about the gradebook we can create a video for you (and everyone else) to use.  If you have a question about the new gradebook please just post it in the comment area  of this blog post.

Spring 2010 Welcome and a thanks

Hello ECU Faculty –
I hope you all had a fantastic winter break. I know I did (besides the ice storm in Boone,NC and no power for 2 days but that’s another story). :-)
Below you will see a checklist of sorts for the beginning of the semester. Please review and email me if you have any questions. Welcome back !

  1. Make your course available – Be sure to do this.  If you don’t your students will not see your Spring 2010 Bb site.  Here is howControl panel / Click Settings / Click Course Availability / Toggle to YES /  Click Submit. You will need to do this for each of your Spring 2010 sites
  2. Enrollments – We will be  updating Bb with enrollments multiple times each day through the drop add period.
  3. Course Content - If you still need the Blackboard Team to rollover content or collapse sections you can request that process here.
  4. Fall 2009 Sites - I will make all of these unavailable this weekend.
  5. Problems - If you have any questions regarding Blackboard you can contact your Instructional Technology Consultant for local support or contact my team for phone or email support. (Matt Long – / 252-328-9074 or Matt Powell – / 252-7371264) More on this topic in a moment.
  6. Training - I will be announcing training over the weekend. We plan to do group training in Austin 309 and Centra training throughout the semester. If you are interested in my visiting your unit for training  please email me and we will schedule a date and time.
  7. Bugs - If you notice any odd behaviors in Bb please report them to me.  I’m working closely with systems to review these “bugs” and search for a fix with Blackboard.
  8. A huge thanks !! - James Cook was provided a career opportunity that he could not pass up near the end of 2009. I’m sad to report that he no longer works at ECU.  He will be missed and his contributions will not soon be forgotten.  If you would like to say “thanks” do so in the comments area of this blog post. His position will be filled in the coming weeks. I will keep you all posted on this subject.

Well, I guess that’s about it.  I will be updating this blog site weekly with any news that I think will be helpful in your use of Blackboard. I will do my best to limit the amount of emails I send out.  But, you will be getting a good amount as we launch into the Spring 2010 semester.   Thanks so much and welcome back !

Matt Long