Yearly Archives: 2011

Mashups in Content Area of Blackboard

We noticed the Mashup selections in the build content area are not there by default in your spring courses, but there’s a quick work-around. Go to Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability, then click the boxes in the far right column for Flickr, YouTube Video, and Slideshare if you want the tools available.

screenshot of toolstools

Blackboard Planned Maintance Downtime 12/20 – 12/23

Hello ECU Faculty, Staff and Students –
You have be forwarded to this page because Blackboard is currently offline.  Blackboard is currently unavailable for a planned downtime that started on 12/20 at 8am and will run through 12/22 5pm.

12/20 – 8:05am – Blackboard is now offline
12/21 – 11:50am – Q/A testing .


 – When is the downtime?  The planned downtime is from 8am on 12/20 through 5pm on 12/22.

– Who does the downtime affect? 
Everyone.  Nobody will be able to login to Blackboard during this planned maintenance window.

– Where can I ask a question about the downtime?
  Here.  We encourage you to ask questions about the downtime in the comments section.  We will reply back in that area.

– I’m a student.  Will Blackboard look and work the same as it did before the upgrade?

– I’m a faculty member. Will Blackboard look and work the same as it did before the upgrade?
Yes.  But… you will notice some nice enhancements to the following features.

****Here’s a Blog Post with all of the details on the three new feature enhancements.****

  • Announcements – You can now send your announcements out as emails  Video Tutorial
  • Exams – You now have a feature that will auto save all answers on an exam after a give amount of time.  E.G.  All test questions are auto saved after 5 minutes and the test closes out. Video Tutorial
  • Rubrics – Rubrics are not viewable for the student and are directly embedded into the gradebook from the faculty point of view.  Anything that can be graded can be assigned a rubric. Rubrics can be shared and copied in Bb as well. Video Tutorial
If you have any questions about the downtime you are encouraged to leave a comment on this blog post.  We will answer all questions in a timely manner.  If you have any technical questions about the new features, I encourage you to ask them inside the Bb9 Yammer Group.
You can also email me directly at
Happy Holidays,
- Matt Long
Bb Support Team

Bb Maintenance Upgrade & New Features


During December 20-22, Blackboard will be unavailable for a service pack update.  The update is primarily a necessary maintenance update. However, there will be a few new features starting with your Spring courses.

  • First, the much-anticipated and popular notifications setting where announcements are sent to email will be enabled. You’ll see a check box that you can click if you want your announcements sent to email.
  • Secondly, you will have the option to have students’ exams auto-submitted once the time limit has been reached. Again, this is an optional setting. You can allow students to submit their exam after the time limit has expired OR choose the setting where Blackboard will automatically submit their attempt once the time is up.
  • Thirdly, the rubrics tool has been enhanced so you will be able to grade from the rubric and if you wish (according to your settings), your students will see the rubric. The rubric builder is user-friendly and easy to attach to a gradable item. Another nice feature is you can copy a rubric, rename it, and use it for another assignment. Do you have a project where two rubrics could be used (e.g., technical skills on a project and writing skills)? By using the Rubrics tool, you can assign a primary rubric to one project, where you can enter grades from that rubric, plus have a secondary rubric where students know what is expected of them.
  • Increased officially supported browsers —> Browser list

Announcements to Email: In the Spring of 2012 you will be able to send any announcement as an email.  See the screenshot below and also take a moment to review the short video tutorial to learn more about this new (comeback) feature.

Video Tutorial





Exam Auto Submit: Blackboard is now able to auto submit exam questions after a determined amount of time. Students will be warned 1 minute and 30 seconds before Black board will auto submit.  Once the time is up, the exam is auto saved and the students’ access is lost.
Video Tutorial 

Auto Submit Feauture







Rubrics: The rubric builder is user-friendly and easy to attach to a gradable item. Another nice feature is you can copy a rubric, rename it, and use it for another assignment.
Video Tutorial 


Blackboard Catalyst Awards

If you believe your Blackboard course is innovative, well-organized, and promotes engagement among your students — and is worthy of exemplary status — consider submitting your course to Blackboard, Inc. for their Catalyst Award nominations. On their website, you can also access past winners/courses. Submissions begin December 1, 2011. Categories are: Community Collaboration, Exemplary Courses, Innovative Development, Mobile Innovation, Staff Development, and Communications Strategy. You may also nominate a fellow instructor. Spread the word!

Downtime for Maintenance

Blackboard and Pirate Drive will be unavailable for a short period of time while we performance maintenance to the systems. The downtime dates are:

  • Saturday, October 8, 2011, 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 9, 2011, 9:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

9/7/2011 10:57am – Blackboard is down

9/7/2011 12:21

This issue has been fixed.

9/7/2011 10:58am

ECU Faculty and Students –
We are currently experiencing problems with the Blackboard platform.  After some initial diagnostics we felt it was better to take the platform offline while we fix the issue that you are currently experiencing.  Many of you have received calls about failed tests or content that is not viewable.  All of those emails and calls are directly related to the problems that we have been troubleshooting in Bb.

We will be updating this page with more information about this downtime as more information becomes available.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and frustration. We are working towards a resolution as quickly as possible.     If you have any questions or would like to talk to someone please call or email / 252-328-9074

– Blackboard Support Team

Blackboard Issues


During the upgrade process, the course collapse settings were reset to default values, which means they are no longer linked together.

We have been informed that the best course of action is to restore from backup as of Blackboard update regarding collapsing courses into one section.

We are asking that you RE-SUBMIT any section collapse requests that you need for Summer Session 1, Summer Session 2, and Fall Semester.

  • ****Please submit the requests at . So, if you have already submitted section to be collapsed use the link we just gave you to simply send us the sections you want RE-COLLAPSED.****
  • Summer Session 1 requests will be processed first; then we will follow with Summer Session 2, and Fall.
  • We are asking you to re-submit in order to verify that your information is correct and up to date. ****All of your content is still there; we just need to re-associate sections based on your request.
  • Lastly, the Turning Point building block used with clickers is not fully working yet. We are working with Turning Point and Blackboard on the fix. Once it is fixed, we will notify you. FIXED
  • We will provide updates on the issue on the IT Help Desk page, , and on our Blackboard blog:
  • We will update campus via email once all the issues are resolved. If you have questions please feel free to contact the IT Help Desk. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work to resolve the issues.

May 16-20, 2011

Hello Everyone –

The Blackboard team is aware of and working on some problems some of you might have experienced this week.  Here is a quick list of what we know is going on.

  • Collapsed sections have been uncollapsed. NEARLY FIXED, still doing QA. See above link to re-submit a course collapse request if you have not done so already.
  • Courses made available are no longer available. FIXED
  • Button feature for menu items not working w/drag & drop FIXED
  • When posting an Announcement, the send to email feature is not present.
  • Turning Point clicker building block is not working. FIXED

ECU has tier 1 support and Blackboard is working on all issues and bugs right now.

We will update this page with any information we receive on these issue and will send an email with important news. Matt Long, Cindy Bowers

May 23-27, 2011

  • Test & SafeAssign – to create a Test or SafeAssign, normally the tools are under “Create Assessment” but are now located under “Create Interactive” — we are working on a fix! FIXED
  • Students are not able to post to the discussion board. We think this is a browser issue; we are working on a fix.

Blackboard down for planned upgrade to Blackboard 9 from 5/10/11 – 5/13/11


You have been forwarded to this blog post from the Blackboard login page because we are in the process of upgrading and migrating to the latest version of Blackboard.


  • 5/10/2011 9:00 a.m. – Blackboard is now down for an upgrade to version 9.  The comments area is now open so if you have any questions about Bb or the upgrade you can leave a comment.  Be sure to check back to the blog for our reply.
  • 5/11/2011 10:30 a.m. – Upgrade process is progressing very well, according to our systems analysts and technicians. It’s a good day! Once the Blackboard Admin team has completed our QA process, we will notify faculty/students/staff right away when Bb9 is up and running! Remember, the planned downtime is until 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 13, unless we notify you otherwise.
  • 5/11/2011 4:34 p.m. – A checkpoint report from our systems analyst once again gives us positive news that the long upgrade process is going smoothly. An air of guarded excitement is hovering over offices of the Blackboard Admin team! Watch for more news tomorrow…
  • 5/12/2011 10:20 a.m. – Another great morning, thanks to our systems analysts and technicians. We just got another “all is well” confirmation that the migration is sailing along nicely (a paraphrase).
  • 5/12/2011 1:22 p.m. – Blackboard Admin team is now starting our QA of Bb9; things are still looking very good from the back end, technically. Watch for another update later today!
  • 5/12/2011 7:15 p.m. – Lots of work done today on QA on system admin side, moving right along. More tomorrow!
  • 5/13/2011 8:10 a.m. – Continuing on with our QA of all features, tools, settings, systems admin panel. It’s a busy day, but we’re excited. We’ll send out an announcement right away once we are 100% up & running on all servers!
  • 5/13/2011 12:20 p.m. – Eating a cold piece of chicken while doing QA, but I’m thrilled because I know we’ll be way ahead of schedule. We will all be seeing Bb9 out of the chute very soon! Thanks for your patience!

During this upgrade, Blackboard will be down from May 10, 2011, 8:00 a.m., until 11:59 p.m on May 13, 2011 .

Watch Matt’s 42-second video for a brief explanation. And, please explore the resources in the links below.

Bb9 Navigation: PDF Bb9 Navigation:PDF
Navigation: Video 5 min. Navigation: Video 15 min.
Student Resource Page Faculty Resource Page



  • Will the content I’ve been working on (and past courses) in Blackboard 8 show up in Blackboard 9? Yes.
  • Can I still work on my summer course while Blackboard is going through the upgrade? No.
  • Is training still available for Blackboard 9? Yes. Also, bring your laptop to our drop-in open lab in Austin 308 on the mornings of May 13, May 16, or May 17th. GAs and TAs are welcome to drop in or attend any training sessions.

Thank you for your patience throughout this transition. We look forward to assisting you and providing support and guidance while you become familiar with Blackboard 9.

See you soon in Blackboard 9!

Matt Long and Cindy Bowers

Blackboard Administrators | Academic Computing | ITCS