Author Archives: Laurie Godwin

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


Blackboard Course Purge on 4/14/2011

Hello Blackboard Faculty –

On 4/14/2011 (extended from 4/08/11) we will be purging a good amount of ECU Blackboard sites.  We are doing so to keep within our storage limits and business policy of keeping only 2 years worth of Blackboard sites in our production system.  Some of you may want to save some of your 2007, 2008 and Spring 2009 sites.  That’s perfectly fine.  To do so, you will simply need to submit those past Bb course ID’s — fill out the form HERE by end of business on 4/14/2011.  By doing this, you ensure that your past course(s) will not be deleted on our purge date  (4/14/2011 ). If you have any questions at all do not hesitate to give me a call or email.  252-328-9074 /

In summary:
On 4/14/2011 we will be purging ALL courses from the following semesters, unless you request your past course(s) to be saved.

  • 2007 Fall
  • 2008 Spring
  • 2008 Summer (SS#1, SS#2 and Full term)
  • 2008 Fall
  • 2009 Spring

If you have any questions, contact Matt Long, (328-9074) or Cindy Bowers, (252-328-9167).

Blackboard 9 Video Tutorials – Communicating & Collaborating

The launch date of Blackboard 9 is rapidly approaching.  You may be interested in the quick video tutorials Blackboard has developed to help get instructors familiar with Blackboard 9.  There are 3 different parts: Understanding  & Building your Course, Communicating & Collaborating, and Assessing Learners.

Communicating & Collaborating

Using the Discussion Board

  1. Grading a Discussion Board Forum!
  2. Grading a Discussion Board Thread!

Managing Group Work

  1. Creating a Group!
  2. Creating Group Sets!
  3. Getting Started with Groups Read It!

Blogs and Journals

  1. Creating a Journal!
  2. Commenting on a Journal Entry!
  3. Creating a Blog!
  4. Creating and Editing Blog Entries!
  5. Commenting on a Blog Entry!


  1. Creating a Wiki!
  2. Editing a Wiki Page!
  3. Viewing a Wiki Page History – New!!
  4. Grading a Wiki!

Announcements and Scheduling

  1. Creating Announcements!
  2. Creating a Course Task!
  3. Creating a Course Contact!
  4. Sending Email!
  5. Sending Blackboard Messages!

Blackboard 9 Video Tutorials – Understanding and Building Content

The launch date of Blackboard 9 is rapidly approaching.  You may be interested in the quick video tutorials Blackboard has developed to help get instructors familiar with Blackboard 9.  There are 3 different parts: Understanding & Building your Course, Communicating & Collaborating, and Assessing Learners.

Understanding  & Building Your Course

  1. Your Course Environment – New!
  2. Select the Page Where Users Enter Your Course!
  3. Adding a Banner to Your Course Entry Point!
  4. Creating a Blank Page (for displaying content) on the Course Menu!
  5. Adding an Avatar to Personalize Your Course Environment!
  6. Make Your Course Available to Students!
  7. Using the Text Editor
  8. Building a Learning Module!
  9. Adding a Glossary Term!
  10. Creating a Blank Page!
  11. Creating a Tool Link!
  12. Adding a URL -New!!
  13. Creating a Mashup!
  14. Attaching Course Files to a Content Item!
  15. Tour the Course Files Feature!
  16. Adding Your Own Web Content Through Course Files!
  17. Create Multiple Rules to Release a Content Item!
  18. Searching for Standards!
  19. Aligning Content to Standards!
  20. Running a Class Coverage Report!
  21. Turning Tool Availability On and Off!
  22. Making Tools Available to Students!
  23. Changing the Course Language Pack!
  24. Changing the User Language Pack!
  25. Permitting and Restricting Guest and Observer Access!
  26. Turning On Statistics Tracking for a Content Item!
  27. Running a Report of All User Activity!
  28. Running a Report of User Activity by Forum!
  29. Running a Report of User Activity by Content Area!
  30. Running a Report of User Activity by Group!
  31. Saving a Course Report!
  32. Importing a Course Package!

Weekly Bb9 Training + Mini Video Tutorials

ITCS will be offering Bb9 training each week on either a Tuesday or a Wednesday.   Here is the schedule.  If you want to sign up for a training session you will need to click this link to sign up.

To register for training:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Log in using your PirateID.  Off-campus users sign on by typing the following: INTRA\PirateID
  3. Choose a class link on the calendar.
  4. Click the “Sign Up/Unregister” button (top of the details dialog).

Weekly Email and Videos – Each week or so we will be sending out an email (The Weekly Word) with a bit of information about a new feature in Bb 9.  We will keep a running list of all of the videos here for your viewing pleasure.

January 2011 videos:

  • Bb 9 – The Migration
  • Bb9 vs Bb8. In this 4 minute video I go over some of the basic differences between Bb8 and Bb9.  The areas covered are the navigation menu, the control panel location and the ability to drag and drop in Bb9 to re-order the navigation area, announcements and content folders and items.
  • Bb9 Navigation – In this 2 minute video you will get an overview of the new navigation area in Bb9.
  • The Edit Button - Learn how to toggle between the faculty and student view of your course (ECU video).
  • Bb9 Course Tools – Short video describing how to set tool availability in Bb9 (ECU video).

February 2011 videos:

  • The Bb9 Content Area – Learn about the new content area in Blackboard 9.  New interface and some new choices.
  • The Groups Area in Bb9 – Learn about new types of groups that are now available for you to take advantage of in Bb9.
  • Grade Center – Take a look at the Grade Center. A few changes.

March 2011 videos:

April 2011 videos:


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 .

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 Downtime – 12/19 – 12/22/09

Hello ECU Faculty and Staff –

Blackboard will be down from 12/19 1pm – 12/22/09 1pm for an upgrade of the gradebook area (now called the gradebook center).  Once the upgrade is complete the only “new” area in your Blackboard sites will be the gradebook area.  All of the content and the settings will be exactly the same as they were pre-upgrade on the 19th.

Academic Outreach will be offering many training opportunities on the new features as we get closer to the Spring 2010 semester.  If you want you can view a session we recorded last week. This 47 minute video covers all of the new features in the gradebook area.  Remember, only the gradebook area has changed, nothing else.  Click HERE to view the video. Be on the lookout for emails about those training sessions as the semester gets closer. Happy Holidays.

To review:

  1. Blackboard will go down on 12/19 at 1pm
  2. Blackboard will come back up at 12/22 at 1pm with the new functionality in the gradebook
  3. All content and settings will be intact just as you saw them before the downtime
  4. During the downtime you will see a splash page with information about the downtime
  5. Questions?  Call me at 252-328-9074 or email me at

Video Explanation: