Current Blackboard Version
Last Updated: February 2013
The issues described above are all bugs in the current version of Blackboard for which patches will be received, in some cases soon, in others not for several months.
Change in display of unavailable courses in SP10
With version 9.1 SP10 the default behavior for displaying unavailable courses to students in the My Courses area has changed. Blackboard will no longer show links to courses that are unavailable. Previously ALL student courses were shown in the Blackboard My Courses area, and those that were unavailable were listed as such. Now, only available courses are listed. This global change was instituted by Blackboard, Inc., and cannot be modified on our system. Each instructor is responsible for making her/his own courses available.
This may result in confusion among students who enroll in student eServices, and then check Blackboard to see if they are “really” enrolled. When they do not see their course listed they may assume that they are not enrolled, and start asking questions. If they contact Academic Technology we will explain the situation to them, and tell them to a) confirm their enrollment through eServices; and b) contact their instructor about course availability.
Reporting Problems with Blackboard
If you have these or any other problems with Blackboard please contact us.
The upgrade window to upgrade to version 9.1, service pack 11 (SP11) or later is scheduled for June 3-6, 2013.
The pre-fall upgrade window is tentatively schedules July 29-August 1, 2013. Service Packs are delivered from Blackboard regularly, and we apply them during an upgrade window between semesters, except in the case of the summer semester, when there is inadequate time between semesters and the upgrade must be preformed after the end of 6-week summer classes but before the end of the 8-week classes.
Teaching with Blackboard Screen Videos
We have produced a number of brief how-to videos, supplementing them with many more produced by Blackboard, Inc., to assist you in learning how to use Blackboard. Click here to access them.
Use our online Help system. Submit a ticket for direct assistance, or read the knowledge base to find answers. For the most commonly asked Blackboard questions, you might also want to take a look at the Blackboard Questions FAQ.
Matrix of supported operating systems and browsers
The Top Faculty Blackboard Question
How do I make my course available?
Login to Blackboard
Click on the link in the My Courses area to enter your course
Click the Customization link in the Control Panel (on the left of your screen beneath the course menu).
Click Properties under Customization.
Click the Yes radio button in area 3 of the resulting Properties form.
A Note on Publisher Course Cartridges and Integrated Blackboard Content
An increasing number of textbook publishers are providing Course Cartridges to supplement their textbooks. Course Cartridges are an easy way for instructors to supplement their Blackboard courses with content-rich materials developed by academic publishers. Using a Course Cartridge allows import of publishers’ content directly into a Blackboard course site.
Cartridges may contain a wide variety of resources, including basic instructional text, PowerPoint presentations, subject-specific multimedia objects such as videos, or banks of test questions. Publishers may use different kinds of content in different Cartridges. Cartridge content is typically updated when new textbook editions are released. Access to the Cartridges can be provided by your Textbook Sales Representative. The course instructor will receive a “key” (a serial number) from the publisher which will enable you to import your own course cartridge.
More recently, publishers have been creating their own self-hosted Blackboard sites that can transparently communicate with Palomar’s Blackboard site. We have installed building blocks to link offerings from McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Wiley. A building block exists for Cengage, but so far no one has requested that it be installed. We do not install publisher building blocks on our system unless a faculty member makes a request that we do so. Once the building block is in place and properly synchronized with a professor’s Blackboard course, students may click on a link in a Palomar Blackboard course and be transparently moved onto the publisher’s Blackboard system in order to consume educational materials, participate in interactive exercises, take tests, etc. Tests taken on the publisher site are displayed in the Palomar system grade center. See your publisher’s sales rep to find out if your textbook has a corresponding publisher’s portal that can be synchronized with your Palomar Blackboard course.
What is the Blackboard Course Life Cycle (i.e., how long will my courses remain on the server)?
We keep the current semester, the previous 3 semesters, and the future semester (as soon as future courses are created in Peoplesoft, approximately 90 days before the start of a semester) in our Blackboard database. Courses are pruned from the system on a rolling year schedule. For example, at the conclusion of the Fall 2012 semester, the Fall 2011 courses are pruned from the system. Immediately on the conclusion of the spring 2013 semester the spring 2012 courses will be pruned, and so on. Click here for a full explanation.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that professors make both archive and export copies of their courses once they are complete so that if they only teach a course every 2 years, say, they will be able to restore the content from the archive file. Course archives contain all course content AND all student work. Course exports contain only course content, without student enrollments and work.
Student access to courses is different. Students can only access the course, during its life cycle, from the time the instructor first makes the course available until two weeks after the semester in which the course was taught. We disable student access to courses at this time. Student work and grades are available to the instructor at all times, but not to the student. If a student later needs access to the course to complete an incomplete, contact us for assistance.