Course Copy Slowness

Update: Blackboard Course Copy delays
When: Friday, Aug 23rd / 3:30pm

As reported yesterday, the course copy process in Blackboard is still experiencing a long delay between submission and completion.  Our Blackboard administrators are working diligently with the company to resolve this issue, but currently the lag time is approximately 9 hours.

If you have already gone through the content copy process and are still waiting for the content to show up please just check your email inbox.  Blackboard automatically sends an email out once a course copy is complete.

The confirmation email will contain the following message:

  • The following Course Copy process has completed: Source XXXXXXXXXX  | Destination XXXXXXXXXXX
  • The results of the process are shown below.
  • Operation successful.

Taste of Technology

We want to get the word out on some of the training sessions we have available, so we’re offering a “Taste of Technology” hour-long session consisting of three 15-minute summaries of tools and features and 15 minutes of Q&A. We will come to your department or college for a small or large group session! You choose which three topics you want covered, e.g. Blackboard topics, web conferencing, lecture capture, clickers, test creation solutions/integrations with Blackboard.

Please see the Taste of Technology Flyer PDF!

SafeAssign Hints

For those instructors who use SafeAssign, the following two things might be helpful.

  • At the beginning of each semester, If you do course copies from one semester to the next, please perform a quick synchronization of your course to the SafeAssign global database: Control Panel > Course Tools > SafeAssign > SafeAssignments > click the yellow button “Synchronize this course.” See the screenshot below.
  • If any of your students have an issue submitting a paper to your SafeAssign link, ask them to try again using Firefox as their browser. If that does not work, please have them submit a help ticket and we’ll do some troubleshooting.



Questions? Send an email to:

Matt Long, Cindy Bowers, or Allen Dennis

Blackboard Assessments – Auto Submit Feature

As you all know, Blackboard has an “auto submit” feature available to choose on any Bb assessment/exam.  Any test will save and submit the users work automatically when the time expires – if this feature is enabled.

It has come to our attention through a vendor support ticket that this feature SHOULD NOT be used in conjunction with the “force completion” exam option.  You should use one or the other but not both.  In some cases, using these tools together causes exams to not submit normally to the gradebook.  Secondly, it’s normal that the Auto Submit timer vs the actual exam window be a little different.  Bb has stated that a 5 minute buffer is added to this tool.

For example, if an exam is available from 1pm – 2pm in the gradebook you may see Auto Submits as late at 2:05pm.

If you have any questions please let us know.

Matt Long /
Cindy Bowers /
Allen Dennis /

Email Notification Issue in Bb 5/26-28

A Blackboard email issue was identified and resolved on 5/28/13. If you sent an email(s) from your Blackboard course between 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 26, and 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, the emails were not sent. You will need to resend any email messages that were sent during this timeframe. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Course Copy Process

With the recent upgrade from Service Pack 7 to 9, one of the new features pertaining to the Course Copy process is a message to instructors, letting you know that the copy process is in the works or “waiting.” Please see the screenshot below. This is normal, and you will see this message before you get the email saying the course copy process is complete. At the beginning of the semester when many instructors are building their courses and doing course copies at the same time, expect a delay. Importantly, do not repeat the copy process or you will duplicate content and that will require cleanup to delete redundant content items. Log out/log in or refresh your course now and then to watch for the content to appear. Or, wait until you receive the email telling you the copy process is complete.



The Course Copy tool is available under the Control Panel in Blackboard. Go into your source (or past) course to Packages and Utilities > Course Copy. From there, you will choose your destination (or current) course and be able to choose all of the content areas and tools to be included in the copy. (Do not include Enrollments at the bottom of the page – those are enrollments from the past course.)

Do you need instructions for doing your own course copy and /or section merge? Video or PDF instructions 

Questions? Please contact: Matt Long, Cindy Bowers, or Allen Dennis

Blackboard Upgrade

Hello ECU Faculty, Staff and Students – [Blackboard is back up as of 5/13/2013, 4 pm]

You have been redirected to this page because ECU’s Blackboard system is currently down for a small upgrade.  The planned downtime window is from 5/11/13 (12:30pm) through 5/13/13 (5pm).  During this downtime anyone who attempts to access will be re directed to this blog post.

The upgrade will be a minor one for faculty and students.  To learn about the new features that you will see after the upgrade is complete  please visit this blog post. 

If you have any questions at all regarding the downtime feel free to email .  If you have any general Bb questions or other questions I would encourage you to enter a helpdesk ticket at

Summary Information

  • Blackboard will be down from 5/11 (12:30pm) – 5/13 (5pm)
  • New Service Pack 9 features are HERE
  • Questions or concerns about the upgrade?  Email


- Blackboard Support Team

Sample Blackboard Quiz Available for Use

For your use – a generic sample 5-question quiz

  • If you are interested in adding a short quiz to your Blackboard course at the beginning of the semester to determine if students can successfully take an exam in Blackboard, we have created a 5-question generic quiz. You can use the quiz “as is,” or you can edit the questions.
    • Send an email with the full Course ID to Cindy, Matt, or Allen and we’ll gladly add that quiz to your course. Once you determine if the questions are satisfactory for your purposes, then deploy/add the quiz to the appropriate content area in your course.
  • If you use LockDown Browser to give quizzes and would like a sample quiz, please follow the instructions above. (If you are unfamiliar with LockDown Browser, please see below.)

As a reminder, we offer training in Blackboard, plus we have many instructional materials for the tools and features in Blackboard.

Safe Assignment Tool

To ECU Faculty who use SafeAssign in Blackboard -

On April 8th some Blackboard customers submitted helpdesk tickets stating  that the Safe Assignment tool was slow to check student submissions.  I have done some local testing today (April 9th) and the tool seems to be working normally with speedy file checks.  Keep in mind that Safe Assignment  is a Blackboard hosted and managed tool so if submission checks do slow down we need to contact the vendor to see what can be done to fix this problem.   At times in the past Safe Assignment has slowed down during midterm and finals because of the amount of files being submitted and checked by all of Bb customers.  In recent semesters this has not been an issue.

Note: Once or twice during the semester, please check if you need to Synchronize SafeAssignment. It’s very quick: Control Panel > Course Tools > SafeAssign > SafeAssignments > if you see a yellow bar to the right of your screen that says Synchronize this Course, please do so. It simply synchronizes the papers in the course with the SafeAssign central database, ensuring the correct associations exist between the course and the central database. This is especially pertinent to courses that have been copied from semester to semester. SafeAssign is a building block added to Blackboard.

If you do notice any slowness this semester, please contact the ECU  helpdesk ASAP at or call 252-328-9866 .

Safe Assignment Links:


Blackboard 9 Service Pack 9

Upgrade Date: 5/11/2013

What you need to know: On May 11th we will be moving from Service Pack 7 to Service Pack 9. This new version of Bb affords us a small amount of new features. Blackboard will simply be down for 6-8 hours while this happens. Then, the Blackboard team will do our testing before we make Bb available for everyone. During the downtime you will be redirected to a blog post about the upgrade and the upcoming features.

Reminder:  Bb will be down on 5/11/13( Saturday)  through 5/13/13 (Monday).  Please do as much course development before the upgrade date so you are ready for the start of summer on 5/14/13.

What’s New Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 9: Blackboard Learn, Version 9.1, Service Pack 9 (SP9) includes a new look and feel that will enhance the experience for instructors, students, and administrators. Users already familiar with Bb 9.1 will be pleased with the additional functionality that SP9 offers. Download the PDF with new features.

  • New features affect Bb’s user interface, which is now more in line with today’s Web 2.0 experience.
  • Workflow functionality is improved, including course navigation, course structure, and course theme enhancements.
  • Grading features are improved to better support instructor’s efficiency in the grading process.

To learn more about a specific feature click on its corresponding link from the list provided below.

:::Vendor Support Resources:::

The next four links will take you to the Blackboard Tutorial Center on the vendor’s website: Look for SP8 or SP9 – those are the new tutorials and they pertain to the May 2013 upgrade, or are tools/features you currently use. Please disregard all “SP10″ tutorials.

>>>Working in the Course Environment

Course Environment Tutorials – Building content, Setting Permissions , Course Reports

>>>Communicating and Collaborating

Tutorials for Discussion Board, Managing Groups, Blogs, Journals, Wikis, Announcements, Scheduling

>>>Assessing Learners

The Grade Center, Tests/Surveys/Pools, The Assessment Tool, Student Performance

>>>Blackboard Instructor User Manual

:::New Features with accompanying video and/or PDF or screenshot:::

screenshotNew Action Bar Functions in

Content Area Have Been Renamed:Instead of adding tool links from the Build Content button, you can now add these links from a new action button called “TOOLS.” All tools are available. Please see the screenshot.

Simplified Options in the “Create Navigation” (+ icon) area: Simplified options now include the following: Content Area, Blank Page, Tool Link, Web Link, Course Link, Subheader and Divider.screenshot Please see the screenshot.

Course-to-Course Navigation: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
SP9 allows users to jump from a page or tool in one course to that same page or tool in another course! For example, instructors are able to jump from the Grade

Center of one course to another course’s Grade Center, or the Discussion Board of one course to the DB of another course. As well, students can jump from one course’s Announcements page to another. Please see the screenshot.


Course Structures: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO) (PDF)
In SP9, you can choose between a wide variety of pre-built course structures. These course structures have a predefined navigation setup, such as menu tool links and content area. They “add” to your course and never overwrite anything (e.g. a menu item you created). Basically, they will help you improve your navigation and course design setup depending on the purpose of your course. You’ll go to Control Panel / Customization / Teaching Style.

Negative Marking: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
Negative marking allows instructors to apply negative point values for wrong answers on test questions. This allows them to prevent (by penalty) guessing or the selection of egregiously wrong answers.

Automated Regrading: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO) (PDF)
Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid question directly and having all necessary updates flow automatically to the Grade Center. For any given question, Blackboard now allows instructors to drop, give full credit, change point value, or change the correct answer. After the question has been updated, Blackboard recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, and provides notification to both the instructor and optionally to the student for all impacted submissions. Note: Instructors have the option of saving as new when editing a question in a pool. Please see the screenshot.

Needs Grading Tool Enhancement: TUTORIALS > (PDF)
Discussion Board activity can appear in Needs Grading status in the Grade Center and on the Needs Grading page. Instructors will choose how many interactions will place the item in Needs Grading status.

Activity Reports: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
Two new course report formats are added into the Course Reports under Evaluation on Control Panel in each Bb course site: Course Activity Overview and Student Overview for Single Course. The Course Activity Overview displays overall activity within a single course, sorted by student and date. Data includes the total and average time spent per user and the total amount of activity the user had in the course. The Student Overview for Single Course report displays an individual student’s activity within a course, sorted by date. Data includes the total overall time the student spent in the course as well as detailed information about the student’s activity.

screenshotPaste from Word Mashup:

Microsoft Office products use a proprietary form of mark up (code) that for the most part, only MS Office understands :-). As many of you know, it does not play well with Blackboard. We have installed a new “mashup” called “Paste from Word” that changes all WORD code to standard HTML. No more formatting nightmares! The Paste From Word mashup tool is accessed from the Bb textbox editor. This can be used when creating content, announcements, etc. The last button in the third row of the textbox editor contains the mashup tools. Please see the screenshot. Note: You need to make this feature available by going to Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability > Word > Click the box to turn it on.

Adding a Textbook information to your Course: TUTORIAL > (VIDEO)
Add the ISBN number, search by title or author to provide your students with the textbook(s) you plan to use in the course. Students CANNOT purchase books thru this option. It’s only intended for informational purposes.







Additional Resources