Saint Louis University

Student FAQs for Blackboard Learn

Important Note: If you have a question about your Blackboard Learn course, the first thing to do is contact your instructor. Most issues can only be resolved by your instructor.

Student FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions - about Blackboard Learn

  1. Do all of my courses use Blackboard Learn?
  2. How do I access Blackboard Learn?
  3. Who do I call if I cannot log into Blackboard Learn?
  4. I can access Blackboard Learn but I don't see all of my courses listed. What can I do?
  5. Some of my older courses are still showing in the My Courses list. What can I do?
  6. What browsers are compatible with Blackboard Learn?
  7. Do I need special software to use Blackboard Learn?
  8. Some features within Blackboard Learn prompt you that a Java plug-in is needed, where can I get this?
  9. Can I use the Blackboard Mobile Learn app?
  10. I'm having a problem with the content not showing properly in Blackboard Learn. What can I do?
  11. I don't see the Course Menu anymore in a course. What can I do?
  12. I can't find an assignment, test, or some other piece of course content.
  13. What are the supported file names and extensions that can be uploaded to Blackboard Learn?
  14. How can I send a note to the instructor or classmates in a Blackboard Learn course?
  15. How can I print content displayed in a Blackboard Learn course?
  16. Should I type my assignments in Word first?
  17. I was in the middle of taking a test or writing a post when I lost everything. What do I do?
  18. Are there any tips for avoiding issues when taking online tests?

1. Do all of my courses use Blackboard Learn?

Instructor use of Blackboard Learn is completely optional, some of your courses may use Blackboard Learn and some may not. Your instructors may choose to use Blackboard Learn differently as well; one instructor might decide to use Blackboard Learn to help get class notes and assignments out to students, for example, whereas another instructor might only post the course syllabus. Check with each instructor to see if Blackboard Learn will be used for the course.
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2. How do I access Blackboard Learn?

Blackboard Learn is accessed via the Tools tab in mySLU; look for the icon labeled Blackboard Learn.
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3. Who do I call if I cannot log into Blackboard Learn?

If you are having problems logging into mySLU, or if you are not able to access Blackboard Learn from the mySLU Tools page, please call the IT Service Desk at (314) 977-4000 (ext. 2) or e-mail them at studentservicedesk@slu.edu.
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4. I can access Blackboard Learn but I don't see all of my courses listed. What can I do?

Only courses that instructors have made available to students will be listed in Blackboard Learn. Please keep in mind that it is up to each instructor whether they use Blackboard Learn and, if they do, when they make the course available to students.

If your instructor has told you that they will be using Blackboard Learn but you still don't see the course listed in your My Courses list, please contact the instructor. ITS does not have the ability to change the availability of courses in Blackboard Learn.
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5. Some of my older courses are still showing in the My Courses list. What can I do?

You can control how your courses display in the My Courses list. Click the gear icon at the top right corner of the My Courses list. You can then check or uncheck the information you want displayed for each course. You can also rearrange the order your courses are listed. To hide a course completely, uncheck the Course Name column and click the Submit button to apply your changes.

My Courses
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6. What browsers are compatible with Blackboard Learn?

Any current internet browser that has JavaScript and cookies turned on should be able to access Blackboard Learn content. Find your operating system to see what browsers are compatible with Blackboard Learn: Click Here for Blackboard Learn Browser Support for SP11
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7. Do I need special software to use Blackboard Learn?

Blackboard Learn is a web-based tool, so any current internet browser that has JavaScript and cookies turned on should be able to access most content. Click here to view the list of supported browsers for Blackboard Learn. You may need additional software or plug-ins depending on what content your professor requires for class. For example, your instructor may post content that requires the Adobe Flash Player to view.

There are several browser plug-ins commonly required to display content in Blackboard Learn:

8. Some features within Blackboard Learn prompt you that a Java plug-in is needed, where can I get this?

Simply go to http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp
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9. Can I use the Blackboard Mobile Learn app?

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app offers access to various content and features within a Blackboard Learn course and is available for multiple mobile devices. Click Here for more information on Blackboard Mobile Learn.
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10. I'm having a problem with the content not showing properly in Blackboard Learn. What can I do?

The first thing you want to do is clear out your browser cache and close your browser, then reopen and try again or open Blackboard Learn with a different browser. If you are still having problems or it seem like part of the page is being cut off, then try adjusting your font size or your browser's zoom. Contact your instructor first if you have questions about or problems with content in a Blackboard Learn course. If you continue to have problems, please call the IT Service Desk at (314) 977-4000 (ext. 2) or e-mail them at studentservicedesk@slu.edu.
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11. I don't see the Course Menu anymore in a course. What can I do?

On the left side of each Blackboard Learn course is the Course Menu. This menu is often the primary way to navigate a course.

You can hide, or collapse, the left-side Course Menu to increase the space available to display the course content. Just click the arrow icon to the right of the Course Menu to show or hide the menu.

If you don't see the Course Menu at all, look for the arrow icon on the left side of the course window. Click it to show the Course Menu again.

If you don't see the arrow icon to show the Course Menu, when you view content such as an external webpage within the course content frame, the left-side Course Menu may be hidden entirely. At the top of the page the Breadcrumbs will be displayed with a new icon to the left of the course name.

Just click the square icon to the left of the Breadcrumbs to open the Course Menu in a pop-up window.

If you only see the course name in the Course Menu but none of the course links are showing, mouse over the course name until a double arrow icon appears. Click here to expand the course menu to show the course links.
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12. I can't find an assignment, test, or some other piece of course content.

Your instructor controls the availability of tests, assignments, and other content. Sometimes your instructor has put conditions on releasing content. For example, you might have to mark a lecture as reviewed before you can access the assignment. Please contact your instructor if you are having problems viewing your course content.
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13. What are the supported file names and extensions that can be uploaded?

While Blackboard Learn will allow you to upload files where the filename contains pretty much any character, your instructor and classmates' web browsers / operating systems may not be able to open the file. For this reason the names of the files you upload to Blackboard Learn should contain only letters, numbers, the underscore ( _ ). Special characters like the number sign( # ) or exclamation mark( ! ), will prevent your instructor from being able to open the file.

Also, be sure your file has a file extension, such as .doc, .txt. For example, some Mac programs don't add file extensions. If you upload a file to Blackboard Learn that doesn't contain a file extension, your instructor and classmates may not be able to open the file.
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14. How can I send a note to the instructor or classmates in a Blackboard Learn course?

Please keep in mind that the instructor can name the link to these tools whatever they want, such as ‘Course Email'. But when you click on the link the page will display the title ‘Send Email' or ‘Messages' if one of these tools are being used.

Messages are sent internally, all communication stays within the Blackboard Learn course. Messages iconYou must log in, open the course, then open the Messages page to check for any new messages. Click here for more information on Messages.

Send Email sends an external email to the selected recipient's SLU email account. No reference tSend Email icono the email is left inside Blackboard Learn. The Sender does have the option to receive a copy of the email, which will be sent to their SLU email address. Click here for more information on Email.


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15. How can I print content displayed in a Blackboard Learn course?

If you are viewing a document, the best option is to download the file, open it on your computer, and then print the file. If you are viewing a content page in your course, the best way to print is not to go to File >> Print, or to press Control + P or Command+P from your web browser, as you might for other web content.

Blackboard Learn uses something called Frames to display content, which allows your web browser to display multiple types of content, such as the course menu and the course syllabus, at the same time. The problem is that your web browser won't know which frame of content you want to print.

Instead of choosing File >> Print, single-click on the portion of the page that you want to print, this tells your web browser to pay attention to this part of the screen. Then right-click, or Command-click, on that same area and chose the appropriate print command:

  • In IE, right-click and chose Print
  • In Firefox, right-click and chose This Frame >> Print Frame
  • In Safari, right-click and chose Print Frame.

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16. Should I type my assignments in Word first?

You can write your assignments in Word (or a similar word processor) first. This will allow you to always have a saved version on your computer. For example, if you type your assignment in Blackboard Learn and lose your Internet connection just as you hit "Submit", you will lose all the work you did. If you typed your work somewhere else first, you can copy it into Blackboard Learn again and resubmit it.

Note: Some formatting issues may arise after you copy and paste your assignment into the text editor in a Blackboard Learn course, therefore, you will want to read over your entire assignment and ensure that all the formatting is correct. The new text editor handles pasting content from Word much better than previous versions, but it is still best to review your content before submission.
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17. I was in the middle of taking a test or writing a post when I lost everything. What do I do?

Unfortunately, the information is probably lost permanently. You will need to recreate the information. If you lose power, your browser quits, you lose Internet connectivity, or have any other technical issue while taking a test and cannot continue, contact your Instructor immediately and explain in detail what happened. The Instructor will decide how to handle your issues. Taking the test early in the allowed time block may allow for better resolution to such an issue.

Check out the test taking tips below for some tips on how you can avoid possible issues.
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18. Are there any tips for avoiding issues when taking online tests?

There are a few tips and techniques that can assist you in ensuring a successful assessment submission process. As with any technology, problems can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common issues are related to wireless connections, dialup connections, end user navigation, and browser configuration issues.

As student, there are a few tips that can help ensure that assessments you take online are submitted successfully.

  • Always use a supported browser.
  • Resize your browser window before you start and keep it at that size for the entire exam.
  • Turn off pop-up blockers.
  • Only have one Blackboard Learn session running at a time.
  • Use a reliable and, if possible, fast Internet connection (DSL, cable, broadband). Use wireless network connections for tests with caution. Wired connections are preferred since wireless connections can become interrupted by interference from other devices or due to the saturation of the wireless access point in a public area. If your wireless connection is interrupted, you may not be able to get back into the test to complete it.
  • Quit all other applications (e.g., Word, iTunes, games, IM tools) unless otherwise directed by your Instructor.
  • Click the link once to enter/begin the test. Wait for the page to load completely before starting.
  • Do not use the "Back" and "Forward" buttons in your web browser. Use only the navigation links and buttons displayed on the test page.
  • Do not Refresh the page nor use keyboard shortcuts (e.g., Alt-Tab-Command, Command-Tab, arrows). Avoid the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  • Keep your browser window active. Clicking ‘Save Answer' is considered activity. Typing in a text box or selecting an answer is not considered activity.
  • Never double click during your assessment. Click once to launch the assessment, click once to navigate to the next question, click once to save the assessment, etc. If after waiting for a few seconds nothing happens you can try to click again on the button.
  • SAVE early, SAVE often. Be sure to save your answers every 5-10 minutes. As you progress through the assessment continue to save your test. This is extremely important for tests longer than 30 minutes.
  • At the end of an exam, check your answers and click the ‘Save and Submit' button once. Only ‘Save and Submit' will send the completed exam to the instructor. Do not double click. Do not press the Enter key. Wait until you see a confirmation.
  • If you do not see a submission confirmation message, go to the page where you started the test and click the test link again. Blackboard Learn should display a message that the exam is completed. If not, contact your Instructor.
  • If you lose power, your browser quits, you lose Internet connectivity, or have any other technical issue, contact your Instructor immediately and explain in detail what happened. The Instructor will decide how to handle your issues and contact ITS if necessary.
  • If you are locked out of a Blackboard Learn test, please contact your instructor, or follow instructions given by your instructor. ITS cannot unlock tests for students. 
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