Bb Student FAQs
Blackboard is fairly intuitive and simple to use. There may however be times when you could do with a little help. Listed below are a number of guides that cover most aspects of Blackboard that you are likely to use.
If you find any aspect of a guide confusing, let us know how we could make it better. Let us know also if you would like a new guide to be produced about a particular area of Blackboard not covered so far.
You may wish to download or print material that has been placed onto your Blackboard course.
Blackboard can notify you by email when certain things happen on your course. This guide explains how to set up extra Notifications within Blackboard.
You may upload an “avatar” of yourself to Blackboard. It could be a photograph or illustration. The avatar will appear in the “Global Navigation” box at the top right of the Blackboard screen, beside your discussion board, blog, and wiki posts amongst others.
Blackboard Collaborate is a real-time video conferencing tool integrated into every Blackboard course that lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. Collaborate opens right in your Chrome or Firefox browser, so you don’t have to install any software to join a session. It will work on phones and tablets without needing an additional app.
You may see a button beside some content items labelled “Mark Reviewed”, this guide explains how to use such a button.
Although you should be automatically enrolled on most of your Blackboard courses, occasionally you may have to enrol onto a course manually.
It is possible to customise the “My University of Southampton” screen. This is useful as you use Blackboard over successive years because it allows you to hide courses that are no longer relevant to you, meaning only current courses will appear.
This guide describes how to submit work such as an essay through the Turnitin eSubmission system.
This guide explains how to submit an assignment using the Blackboard assignment feature. Note that this is different to the Turnitin assignment feature.
You may be asked to complete a “self and peer assignment”. This involves answering some questions within a deadline, and then following the deadline you can review the submissions of your peers and give them marks for their answers.
Your tutor may have left online feedback for your submission if it was made to Turnitin.
Use this guide to find out assignment results for an assignment submitted to the Blackboard assignment feature. Note that this is different to the Turnitin assignment feature.
A blog can be thought of as an online journal or diary, and your tutor may use them in your Blackboard course. This set of guides explain how to use Blogs within your Blackboard course, from posting new entries to reviewing the history of your posts.
This comprehensive set of “how to” guides explains how you can work collaborativly on a wiki within your course. Topics include adding a new page, editing an existing page, and review the history of a wiki page.
Your course instructor may have set up “Group Areas”. This guide shows you how to access them.
Your course instructor may set up groups within your Blackboard course. One of the tools that instructors may enable for a groups is a Collaborate room just for that group.
Accessing Blackboard: Username / Password / Internet issues
If you are unsure of what a username is please read this page:
I subscribed today and received an iSolutions username and password. However I cannot log into Blackboard. Why?
Blackboard accounts are created within 24 hours of your initial subscription to iSolutions services. Please wait 24 hours after you have subscribed before attempting to access Blackboard.
Yes, you can access Blackboard using a web browser and an internet connection from wherever you are, for example at home, at an internet café, at a library etc.
What if I forget my password? There used to be a link for resetting a forgotten password on Blackboard, this has disappeared. What should I do?
Remember: Blackboard uses your iSolutions username and password. So if you forget your account details you can reset your password by answering the security questions that you set when you created your iSolutions account. You can do this from the Subscribe website.
I get a “No authentication credentials were provided with the request” error when I enter my username and password. What should I do?
This error is caused by an incorrect security setting on your computer. In order to function, Blackboard needs to be able to execute scripts on your computer. To activate scripts in Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu -> select Internet Options -> and click on the Security Tab. Now, click on the“Internet” zone icon (the globe) at the top of the screen. Next, click on the Custom Level button at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down the page until you find the Scripting section and be sure Active Scripting is enabled. Blackboard requires scripting to be turned on in order to work correctly, however if you are concerned about this setting you can change it back to the previous setting when you finish using Blackboard.
When I log on I get a “challenge token null” error and then have to log on for a second time. Why is this?
This is usually caused if you use a bookmark or favourite to access Blackboard and the login screen (where you enter your username and password) is bookmarked instead of the front page. If you use a bookmark to access Blackboard make sure it goes to https://blackboard.soton.ac.uk/ and no other page.
When I log into Blackboard the My Courses box states “Please wait while module information is loaded…”
Follow these instructions to clear your web browser cache http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser’s-Cache. When you have done so restart your browser and try again.
Course Access Issues
When courses are created on Blackboard they are set to be unavailable to students. This is so that the course instructor may prepare the course and then make it available when they are ready.
If a course in your “My Courses” box shows “unavailable” beside it then the course has not yet been made available to students by the course instructor.
If you are concerned about this please contact the course instructor. Instructors can make their course available by following this simple 3 step guide: http://go.soton.ac.uk/71a
I used the online enrolment at http://www.enrol.soton.ac.uk/ and have enrolled onto my courses. However when I look in Blackboard I cannot find them. What can I do?
There could be several explanations for this:
- When you look at the My Courses box, only courses which are “available” to students are accessible, courses which are “unavailable” are listed in black, with the word “unavailable” next to them. When courses are created on Blackboard they are set to be “unavailable” to students. This allows the course instructors to prepare the course and then make it “available” to students when they are ready for students to use the course. The most common reason that students cannot see a course is that the instructor has not set the course to be “available” to students. If no one else on your course is able see the Blackboard course either, then this is the most likely explanation. This can also explain why the list of courses shown in Blackboard does not match the list of courses shown in the SUSSED Portal. Information for instructors on how to make a Blackboard course available to students is on our web pages.
- Blackboard synchronises information with the Banner Student Information System which holds your enrolment details every day. You should wait until the next day before expecting to see the course in Blackboard. The process may also be delayed because some Schools do not action enrolments queries immediately after requests are made to their School Office, for example changes of course or programme.
- It is possible that the course is not active in Blackboard and therefore unavailable to students because the instructors have not set up a Blackboard course for that unit. You may check this yourself by clicking on the courses tab, under your Course List you will see courses which you are enrolled on but which are not available to your for this reason – they will have (unavailable) beside the course. There may be other web-based materials on a different system. The course instructor will be able to check this for you.
- There may be an “arbitrary” course that covers the subject. There is no mechanism to automatically enrol students onto these courses and they require users to self-enrol onto the course using Blackboard. Instructions are available online. If this is the case your course instructor should have provided you with the required joining details.
iSolutions can investigate any missing courses for you. Please email the ServiceLine, stating which specific course is missing from your list. It is very helpful if you can provide the course code for the course concerned.
General instructions on enroling onto a course in Blackboard are available in the Getting Started Guide for Students. You should be enrolled automatically in most of your courses but you may have to self-enrol on some courses. Note that to self enrol you will need to know the name of your course and possibly an access code to join it. Your tutor can provide you with these details.
I have accidentally self-enrolled myself onto the wrong Blackboard course, is there any way that I can remove myself?
There is no way that a student may remove themselves from a course, however if you send an email to ServiceLine@soton.ac.uk, stating what has happened and which course is concerned, the Blackboard Administrator will then be able to remove you from the course.
It could be that the course menu has collapsed, watch the animation on this page to find out how to get it back.
I’m trying to submit an assignment to Blackboard that is not using TurnItIn. When I click Submit nothing happens, regardless of the web browser I use.
Try clicking first on “Save as Draft” on the assignment upload screen. This will save your assignment as a draft.
Then click on “Continue Current Submission” and then click on Submit. This will submit your saved draft.
Make sure that you never double click on any of the buttons, only single clicks are needed.
An occasional issue with the Chrome browser can result in only the first page of a PDF displayed. This is not specific to Blackboard but we have produced this workaround to assist anyone who experiences this issue.
- Click on the Logout button – it remains at the same place at the top right of the page. The icon looks like a power button.
- You will be taken back to Blackboard’s front page.
- Below the login box is a link “Show available languages”, click on this and a globe appears on the left of the browser window, click on it and then – click on English.
- Click on Login, enter your username and password, Blackboard will now appear in English.
I tried to enter some text in a textbox, but when I submit the text it dissappears! What’s going on?
The easiest way to resolve this problem is to turn off the Visual Text Box Editor:
- Log into Blackboard.
- At the My University of Southampton screen look to the top left for the Tools box
- Click on Edit Personal Information.
- Click on Set Visual Text Box Editor Options.
- Select Unavailable.
- Click on Submit.
This will turn off the Visual Text Box Editor and should completely resolve the issue.
This issue particularly occurs if you are using an Apple Mac with the Safari Web Browser. Blackboard recommend using the Firefox or Chrome web browsers if you use a Mac and have difficulties with the text box.
How can I tidy the My University of Southampton screen so that I only see the announcements and courses I want to see?”
When you have been using Blackboard for a year or more you may find that you want to tidy the My University of Southampton screen. To find out more please read our guide.
When I try to access a Discussion Board I receive an error message stating that my web browser does not support I-FRAMES. How do I fix this so that I can use a Blackboard Discussion Board?
Using Microsoft Internet Explorer, follow these instructions:
- Click on the Tools menu.
- Click on Internet Options.
- Click on the Security tab.
- Click on Custom Level.
- Scroll down to the Miscellaneous section and find “Launching programs and files in an IFRAME”, set this to Enable.
- Click on OK.
- Click on OK once more.
If have concerns about the security of this option you may set it back to Disable when you have finished using Blackboard. Please also check that any third party firewall software you are using is not interfering with Blackboard, several firewall applications have been known to affect the Discussion Board.
If you are using McAfee Security Suite the Advert Blocker can also cause the issue. Disable the Ad Blocker if you experience this issue. Open the privacy services window and under “Block Ads” uncheck the option to block ads.
If you are using any pop-up blocking software, add Blackboard to its whitelist.
When trying to read documents on Blackboard I get a message saying Server error message 403: forbidden, having clicked on OK I receive another error An API exited abnormally. I have OpenOffice installed on my computer and do not use Microsoft Office.
If you use OpenOffice to view / edit documents instead of Microsoft Office then documents will not appear within the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser when you click on them. Instead you should save them to your computer and then open them in OpenOffice. Information on how to save (download) files from Blackboard is available on our web pages.
You can change the text size within Blackboard in the same way as you would with any other web page. In Internet Explorer click on the View menu then move your mouse down to Text Size and finally select Large or Largest from the list. You can set the size back by going through the same process and choosing the normal setting.
You may also wish to check the following in Internet Expolorer : go to Tools, Internet Options, click on the Accessibility button in the General tab and check the box Ignore font sizes specified on web pages. That may fix the issue on an ongoing basis, rather than changing the text size every time you use Blackboard.
The Blackboard course I use has a lot of Word, PowerPoint and / or Adobe Acrobat files. I would like to view these at home but do not have software that can view them. What can I do?
Adobe provide a free reader for PDF files called Adobe Acrobat, you can download it from Adobe’s website
Refer to the online guide for information about Groups.
Refer to the student guides to using blogs in Blackboard.
Refer to the student guides to using wikis in Blackboard.
There is a guide to taking Blackboard tests on our website.
I have been asked to post a message to a Blackboard discussion board, but I don’t know how. How does it work?
There is a guide to posting messages on a Blackboard discussion board on our web site.
There are two different methods available for submitting assignments online through Blackboard. Your instructor will be able to tell you which one it is necessary to use.
- If the assignment uses the TurnItIn Plagiarism Detection Service, refer to our online guide.
- If the assignment uses the Blackboard Assignments feature, refer to our online guide.
Note that you may be expected to use the e-assignment system instead. This can be found at https://www.assignments.soton.ac.uk/
Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org making your question as clear as possible. Remember to include useful information such as which course is affected (provide the full course title and unit code if possible), what your iSolutions username is, and whether you are experiencing the problem on a home computer or on an iSolutions Public Workstation. It would also be helpful if you could let us know what Operating System and Internet Web Browser you are using.
Maybe the course menu is collapsed? Watch the animation on this page to resolve this.