Author Archives: Cynthia Bowers

LDB Essentials for Instructors

Fall 2016

For Instructors: Respondus LockDown Browser (LDB) Essentials 

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a product of Respondus, and is a secure browser designed to cut down on cheating when students are taking tests online. When using the browser (LDB), students cannot print screen, access email, search the web, open new tabs, etc. New to LDB as of Fall 2016, is a Help Center within LDB for students, with a system check tool, knowledge base, and an option to contact tech support. 

Please view this short video from Respondus to get an overview of LDB. Choose Overview next to the Blackboard logo to view the video. (Note: Any reference to Webcam Monitor when you are reviewing Respondus material can be ignored. We have not adopted the Webcam Monitor tool.)

As an instructor, you do not need to install anything. LDB is available in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser). Students download LDB to their desktops. Our computer labs also have LDB installed on the computers.

A blog post has been created for students re: LDB. The Install URL for students is always under the Blackboard Support tab at the top of their Blackboard landing page. Please share the blog post with your students if you plan to use LDB: LDB Info for Students

How to require Bb tests to be taken in LDB:

screenshot LDB

Once your tests have been added/deployed to a content area, you need to associate the tests with LDB, so access Respondus LDB in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser).

You’ll then be in the LDB dashboard. (Screenshot above)

  1. Choose Modify to require LDB for test-taking.
  2. You have the option to create a password to share with students, but it’s not necessary. (Not to be confused with the password info below, in #3)
  3. Important: LDB will auto-generate a scrambled password in your test options for each test to be taken with LDB. If you go back to the settings for any reason, do not remove that scrambled password in Test Options – ignore it because it is the lock in LockDown Browser. If you do need to make any change in Test Options, like a date change, go back to the LDB tool in Course Tools, and if you see a red “Fix It” message, just click Fix It, and the test will be active again.

The most common troubleshooting question from students: “I am trying to take an online test, and a box pops up and asks for a password.” The student is not accessing Blackboard through the LDB icon on the desktop. Remind the student to click the LDB icon on the desktop to get into Blackboard.

The most common troubleshooting question from instructors: “Students are not able to access my quiz to be taken with LDB and they mention an error message.” The instructor has gone into Test Options to make a change in settings, which breaks the link. The fix is to go back to the LDB tool under course tools, and if there is a “Fix It” message, simply click Fix It.



LDB Essentials and Help Center

Fall Semester 2016

Respondus LockDown Browser for Students

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a special browser for online test-taking, and it is also a building block in Blackboard. Some instructors require that online tests be taken using LDB as the browser. All other programs on your computer (email, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) need to be closed down for the install to continue (you will be prompted). If you plan to use computer labs on campus to take your exams, skip the download/install instructions. Campus lab computers have LDB installed.

LDB icon

  1. Download LDB to your desktop. Link for Download
  2. Look for the Respondus LockDown Browser icon on your desktop (screenshot left). Click, and log into Blackboard. Find your test, and Begin.
  3. Respondus now has a Help Center, if you run into any difficulties while taking an online test. See below.

Respondus recently added a “Help Center” button to the toolbar of LockDown Browser that lets students run a system check on their computer, networking environment, and the Learning Management System (Blackboard) itself. The data is presented in a simple format that allows students to solve basic problems, such as a computer with poor Internet connectivity.


It is easy for students to send this technical information to our ECU help desk, Blackboard Support email inbox, or open a ticket directly with Respondus. Providing the System Check information speeds up the troubleshooting process. There is also a student-centric knowledge base within LockDown Browser. If you are not certain you want to click the Terms & Conditions box when utilizing some of the help features, you can contact Blackboard Support at or submit a help ticket with ECU’s Help Desk.

  • Any reference to the Respondus Web Monitor can be ignored. We have not adopted that product.
  • Always communicate with your instructor if you run into any difficulties taking your test in LDB.
  • (Do another install at the beginning of each semester – no need for uninstalling.)
  • Submit a Help Ticket to the Respondus LockDown Browser queue with any issues not solved in the LDB Help Center.
  • For general questions, send an email to: Work-Around

Blackboard’s building block for is not working as expected.

The issue: Faculty are unable to embed a new course into a Blackboard course. Note: If you had pre-existing course links in your previous Bb courses, your links should still work. engineers are working toward a resolution.

The Work-Around: As a work-around, please follow the instructions:

Part 1

  1. Log into ECU’s here with your Pirate ID and password.
  2. Search for content to find the Lynda course you’d like in your Bb course. Click the Lynda course name.
  3. Once you decide on a course, click Share and then Copy, which will give you the URL to paste in your Bb course. Please see screenshot below.

screenshot share

Part 2

  1. Return to your Blackboard course and go into the content area of your choice.
  2. Choose Build Content, then Add Web Link (screenshot below).
  3. Type a name for your Web Link (e.g., course)
  4. Paste, which will add the URL you got from (Windows users > Ctrl+V = paste. Mac users > Command-V = paste.)
  5. Submit.

screenshot web link

If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to ECU’s support team.

Weighted Column Does Not Display Properly

Scenario: Your Weighted Total Column has empty boxes where you normally see categories and columns.

The Fix: This is nearly always remedied by clearing your browser’s cache/history. And it usually happens in Firefox.

To clear your cache in Firefox or Google Chrome:   Shift+Ctrl+Delete, leave all boxes marked that are checked. For Firefox > Click “Clear Now.” For Google Chrome > Click “Clear Browsing Data.”

Or, change from Firefox to Google Chrome browser and look at your Weighted column again. You don’t have to continue working in Blackboard with Chrome if you don’t want; the display issue is temporary. (It is common to switch back and forth between browsers if something does not display correctly in Blackboard.)

Send us a note with questions:

Fall Semester 2016 Things to Do

Instructors: Prepping for FALL 2016 Semester

question mark



The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions from Instructors

  1. How do I make my course available to students?
    • Control Panel > Customization > Properties > Set Availability > Yes
    • We (Bb Support) do not automatically make your courses available. It is up to the instructor to make the courses available to students.
  2. How do I log into Blackboard? I get a message that my username or password is incorrect.
    • Please submit a help ticket asking for assistance, and include your Banner number and your username.
  3. How do I copy my course from one semester to the next? Go here.
  4. How do I merge (or collapse) two or more course sections? Go here.
  5. How do I add another instructor or a TA to the course?
    • Control Panel > Users and Groups > User > Find User to Enroll > Browse (type username only in the box), click Go > when you see the username, click the box and then Submit.
    • If that does not work, please send an email to with the username and role (TA or instructor). The Blackboard team will add your TA or instructor.
  6. Does a browser change really make a difference with Blackboard?
    • Yes it does. Firefox and Google Chrome are still favorite browsers for Blackboard, even for the Mac. It’s a common suggestion from the Blackboard team, “Please try another browser.”
    • We’ve also found that clearing the browser’s cache/history every couple of weeks is useful when there are display issues (such as in the gradebook). It just takes a few seconds to clear your cache/history. Instructions are here.
  7. I don’t see SafeAssign as an Assessment. Where is it?
    • If you notice the SafeAssign green-check icon is missing in your courses, there is nothing wrong. SafeAssign is a submission option when creating an actual assignment, and the green icon is a thing of the past. The assignment icon is the same for a SafeAssignment and regular Assignment. (That happened a year ago, after the May 2015 upgrade.)
  8. Drops & Adds – How does that work?
    • We update the Blackboard feeds frequently at the beginning of the semester, syncing data with Banner multiple times per day. The drops and adds are updated from Banner – you do not need to remove or add students.
    • If you use Groups in your courses, consider waiting to add groups until you’re pretty sure your roster is stable and there won’t be many more drops and adds.
  9. What kind of Blackboard training do you offer instructors?
    • To search for Blackboard training sessions, please log into ECU’s Cornerstone Portal for training.
    • If you do not see what you need, please contact one of us for a desk-side or small group departmental training session.
    • Blackboard has a YouTube channel for instructors where you will find short instructional videos for the different tools and features in Blackboard: Go here.
  10. Do I need to do anything special at the beginning of the semester if I use Tegrity or Mediasite in my courses? Yes.

As of May 2016, ECU uses TeamDynamix for our help ticketing system, so for any technology-related questions, please submit a help ticket or call the Help Desk @ 252-328-9866.


Blackboard Support Team



The Notifications feature in the Global Navigation area of the Blackboard landing page is currently not working for students in Blackboard. Until the issue is resolved, students will need to go directly to their Blackboard courses to check for new announcements, gradebook updates, and new assignments. If you have questions or need assistance, please submit a Blackboard Service Request.

Course Structure Tool in Blackboard

See our blog post for the upcoming Blackboard updates (May 9-11).

Course Structure Tool in Blackboard

We’ve created some sample courses using the Course Structure tool in Blackboard. If you’re new to Blackboard or open to changing your course structure to give your course a facelift or new design, give this tool some consideration. You can access the sample courses as a guest, by clicking the link(s) below. You must be logged into Blackboard first, before you access the sample course. Simply open a new tab or window, log into Blackboard, then come back to this page and click the link(s) to view the sample course(s).

C O U R S E            Course Structure

Selecting a Course Structure:
Your Control Panel is where you will find the Course Structure Tool. Customization > Teaching Style. Also, please review this Course Structures on how to get started, and what you should know about Course Structures. Take a look at Blackboard’s Course Structure Help Page for an expanded description of course structures.

Following are very brief descriptions of the course structures used in the sample courses above:

CASE STUDY – focus on activity

Use the case study approach to engage students in critical thinking for real-world situations.

MODULE – focus on content

A module is an independent unit or lesson. Modules are usually self-contained and students can access them in any order, making them suitable for self-paced courses.

WEEKLY – focus on time

Organizing content by time can help students stay on track. You can make folders for future weeks unavailable until they are needed to keep students focused.

TRADITIONAL – focus on content

The traditional course structure organizes the online environment by content type or function. For example, there are course areas for assignments, tests, and your content.

SCIENCE-FOCUSED – focus on content

You can use the science-focused course structure to present information and lab materials to students and provide areas for reflection and collaboration.

GUIDED DISCUSSION – focus on communication

Guided discussion is an active learning technique that encourages students to reflect on their own experiences, explore alternative ways of thinking, connect to a topic, and improve analytical skills.

TOPIC – focus on content

Use the topic-based course structure to organize your course in self-contained segments. (This course has some information on the flipped classroom, but does not have the canned content from Blackboard.)

Notifications Issue

STUDENTS: There is an issue with the Notifications feature in the Global Navigation area of the Blackboard landing page (top right of screen once logged into Blackboard). Blackboard will be unavailable from 2:00 am to 3:00 am on Wednesday, April 27th for technicians to make critical updates to resolve this issue.

Issue: The student may see a little red box with a number. When that number is clicked, the student expects to see notifications for all Blackboard courses. Instead, no notifications will appear. Please go directly to your course to check for new announcements, gradebook updates, new assignments, etc.

Again, the issue will be resolved during a downtime, April 27th, from 2:00am to 3:00am.


Notifications Issue

STUDENTS: There is an issue with the Notifications feature in the Global Navigation area of the Blackboard landing page (top right of screen once logged into Blackboard). Blackboard will be unavailable from 2:00 am to 3:00 am Tuesday, April 12th for technicians to make critical updates to resolve this issue.

Issue: The student may see a little red box with a number. When that number is clicked, the student expects to see notifications for all Blackboard courses. Instead, no notifications will appear. Please go directly to your course to check for new announcements, gradebook updates, new assignments, etc.

Again, the issue will be resolved during a downtime, April 12th, from 2:00am to 3:00am.