Welcome to Arkansas State University!

What is Blackboard Learn?

Blackboard Learn is a Learning Management System (LMS) designed to enhance teaching and learning. It is an application for online teaching, learning, community building, and knowledge sharing. It enables instructors to build and customize course offerings. In addition, students enrolled in a Blackboard course become engaged in an interactive learning environment. You can use any theory or model for teaching your online course because Blackboard Learn is open, flexible, and centered on student achievement.


    Getting Started

    Wondering how to get started using Blackboard? The information below will help. 


  • Getting an Account and Accessing Blackboard

    To get access to Blackboard all new hires will first need to verify their A-State email account. About 24 hours after their email address is validated their Blackboard account will be automatically created. 

    New faculty members should then be able to access some training resources and any class listed in Banner with them as the Instructor when they login to Blackboard. New staff members are not automatically added to any courses or organizations. Their office needs to request that they be manually added to any resources they will need to manage.

    Accessing Blackboard Learn

    See the ITS page on How to Login for screenshots and other instructions.

  • Browser Support

    Run the browser checker to see whether Blackboard Learn supports your browser. We recommend that you use Firefox as your web browser to access Blackboard.

    To learn more about Blackboard's general browser support policy as well as information about Javascript, Cookies, and other software, see the Browser Support Policy.

    Recent updates to several browsers have included changes to how the browser handles third-party cookies. These changes may affect tools from other providers that integrate with Blackboard Learn. If you have trouble accessing an integrated tool after a browser upgrade, edit your browser’s settings to allow sites to save and read cookie data.

  • Finding Courses

    When you first log in to our Blackboard system you will start on the Institution tab of the new Base Navigation menu. To learn more about navigating the Base Navigation menu, see the ITS page on the Blackboard Learn Ultra Experience

    All courses you are enrolled in through Banner should show on the Courses tab of the Base Navigation menu. When on the Courses tab, you can click the Current Courses dropdown to select a term from that menu. This will filter your course list to just show the classes for the selected term. You can also use the Search your Courses box to just show courses with certain words in the course title.

    FilterCourses.png

    When you have found your courses, clicking the star icon on the right will favorite that class. That should keep the course at the top of your course lists.

    FavoriteCourses.png

    If you still don’t see a courses after selecting the correct term, try changing the filer to show hidden courses.

    HiddenCourses.png

    You can then click the three dots to get the option to Show course. That will stop the class being hidden from you. It should then show up by default when you access the courses page.

    ShowCourse.png

    If you still cannot locate the course, check that you are enrolled in the course in Banner. You will also want to check the Blackboard Utility Package for archived courses. In order to conserve storage, ITS archives courses after 5 semesters.

  • Development Courses and Course IDs

    All faculty should see two types of course shells on the Courses tab of the Base Navigation menu, Live Shells and Development shells. You can identify which is which by looking at the Blackboard Course ID.

    CourseID Location.png

    Live Shells

    Live shells are created by ITS using the course enrollments from Banner. These shells will have Course ID's that include the Course Reference Number (CRN) given by Banner and the current Term code. The term code is composed of the year and term prefix, 10 for spring, 30 for summer, and 60 for fall. These shells are typically created 3-4 weeks before the start of a term. E.g. 60102.202160 would be the Course ID for a class from the Fall 2021 term.

    If you elect to merge live shells, they will be given a Merged ID that starts with the Term code and then a string of random letters and numbers. E.g. 202160.0126f5a4 would be the Merged ID for a class from the Fall 2021 term.

    Development Shells

    All new faculty are given a few Development shells to build out course materials. These shells will have a Course ID that is composed of your username and a number. These shells are not attached to a course in Banner and are available at all times. You can work in these shells at any time and then copy the materials into the live shells every semester once they are created by ITS.

    DevelopmentShell.png

    DevelopmentID.png

    Since Development shells are not connected to a protected course from Banner, you can also use these shells to collaborate and share materials with other instructors. 


  • Features

    Learn about several Blackboard features that can make teaching easier for you. 


  • Accessible Course Content

    Supports Multiple Learning Modes

    Synchronous Learning

    Asynchronous Learning

    Multimedia Learning

  • Automated Classroom Management

    Communication with Students

    Announcements

    Email/Messages

    Activity Stream

    Instant Access to Grades and Feedback

    Improve Student Time Management

    Due Dates

    Reminders

    Student Activity Reports

  • Simple Assessments

    Paperless Assignments

    Automatically Grade Quizzes and Tests

    Easy Evaluation Instrument Collection for Accreditation

  • Enhanced Academic Integrity

    SafeAssign

    Respondus LockDown Browser


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    These guides should walk you through several common tasks that faculty need to complete when managing a Blackboard shell.


  • Making a course available

    Courses are not made available by default so that you may choose when or if you want students to have access to them. When courses are added to your list you will see them marked with the Private icon.

    PrivateCourse.png

    Original Course View

    As the instructor you can make the course available by clicking the three dot icon and selecting Open course. With courses using the Original Course View, you can also click the padlock icon that shows when inside the course.

    lock icon.png

    You can also make the course available through the Control Panel in the Course.

    See the Blackboard Help site for more on making a course available to students.

    Ultra Course View

    For classes using the Ultra Course View, you can use the link in the Details & Actions menu to Open courses to students.

    OpenCourseAction.png

  • Add an Instructor or Teaching Assistant

    The Add Instructor option has been removed from the Blackboard Utility Package at the request of the Registrar. To have someone added to your class, you will need to work with your department administrator and the Registrar to have the user added as an Instructor in Banner. Once the Registrar has verified that the user has completed FERPA training, they can be added to the course in Banner. They will then be added to your Blackboard class at the next odd hour when enrollments are transferred from Banner to Blackboard.

  • Merge Courses

    If you have multiple sections of a course that meets at the same time, you can choose to merge those Blackboard shells into one. This will disable the selected courses and create a brand new Blackboard shell that has all enrollments from the selected courses.

    Since this will disable the original courses, you will first need to export any content from those shells that you will need in the Merged shell. This includes materials from specialized department templates used to share assessment materials or content that you were developing in your shell before being assigned a second course. You can then import that content into the Merged shell once it is created. 

    To merge classes the Instructor listed as the Instructor of Record in Banner will need to log in to the Blackboard Utility Package. You will then select the term for the courses to merge from the Merge Courses menu.

    MergeCoursesTermSelect.PNG

    Courses “available” to merge are listed in the bottom left column. Highlight by clicking on the course and then use the arrow to move to the
    center column. (Note the courses are identified by the 11character “prefix, course number and section number” followed by a hyphen and
    the CRN as found in Banner and used in Blackboard.)

    AvailableToMerge.PNG

    Enter a new course name for the merged shell into the box for New Blackboard shell name and click the Merge button.

    ReadyToMerge.PNG

    The selected Course IDs will move to the table under the Merged Course IDs header with the new course name. 

    If you need to remove a shell that was merged you can click the link under the Remove column of the Merged Courses table. You can also add other classes to an existing Merged Course by selecting the extra classes and reusing the existing name under the Blackboard Course Shell column of the Merged Courses table.

  • Adding a Course Banner/Image

    In the Original Course View you can add a banner image to appear at the top of the course entry point. The banner image is automatically centered. A recommended size for banners is approximately 480 by 80 pixels. When you choose a banner image, keep in mind that users can resize their browser windows, expand and collapse the course menu, and use monitors of varying sizes and screen resolutions. If your banner exceeds the width of the page, the right hand side will be cropped. 

    To assist with creating Banners for the Original Course View, you can use our Automated Blackboard Banner Generator. Instructions for uploading a Banner to the Original Course View can be found on the Blackboard Help Site, see Course Style Options. If you elect to include text in your banner, make sure to include that text in the Alt Text field to ensure that the image is still accessible to screen readers.

    With our recent update to the new Base Navigation system, this image also appears as the course image on the course card when viewing the Courses page in grid view. The minimum size for images is 1200 x 240 pixels. Open the menu in the top-right corner of a course card's image and select Edit course image to upload a new image.

    In the Ultra Course View you can now also have this image display along the top of the Course Content page. Care should be taken when including text in these images as larger images will be cropped on the left and right to fit in the course card. If you use text, make sure that it is centered in the image and that you include the text in the image description field. After you upload the image you may need to make some adjustments to be sure that it appears as intended. You can use online resources like Adobe Creative Cloud Express to change an existing image to fit the requirements for a Course Image. This uses a simplified web version of Photoshop that is included with our Campus license for Adobe Creative Cloud.

  • Can't upload a file

    ITS has set a course size limit of 2 GB. This limit was set to keep us within the storage space we have contracted with Blackboard. If your class is over this limit you will start to receive errors like the one below when trying to upload anything else. 

    Action not complete: Adding the selected content to the specified folder causes the folder to exceed its quota.

    Before you can add more files to a class you will need to check the Course Content collection. If you select the Course ID from the Content Collection menu in the Control Panel you will see all the files in the class. You will need to go through these files to remove any duplicated material or resources that you no longer need in the class. Any videos that are stored here should be moved to Kaltura, as that is our video management service. Videos stored in Kaltura can be linked to your Blackboard class without using any space in Blackboard. Once you have freed up enough space here you should be able to upload new files.

    Course Files

    You can check the true size of the class from the content collection as well. If you click the options chevron next to the Course ID you should have an option for 360 view. That page will list the Folder Size for this course. You should only be able to add new files once this is under the 2 GB limit by at least the size of the new file.

    360View

    CourseSize

  • Reuse materials from a past class

    You can copy an entire course or just specific course content by using the Course Copy tool under Packages and Utilities in the Original Course View or Copy Content from the three dot menu on the right side above the content list in the Ultra Course View. 

    Original Course View

    When copying materials from a past class, select Course Copy from Packages and Utilities in that past class. You will then follow the copy a course instructions on the Blackboard Help site. For the Destination Course, use Browse to locate your current term class. To ensure that attached files that were used in the class copy to the new class, use the default "Copy links and copies of the content" option for the File Attachments section.

    Ultra Course View

    When copying materials from a past class, select Copy Content from the three dot menu on the right side above the content list in the current class. You will then follow the Select content to copy instructions on the Blackboard Help site. Select the past class from the Copy Content panel to check the content you want to copy from the selected other class to the current class.

  • Share Materials from a class

    The course copy options are only available when you have access to both classes as an instructor. You can share materials from your class with other instructors by exporting the content. The export course feature creates a ZIP file of your course content that you can import to create a new course. Unlike the archive course feature, the export course feature doesn't include any users or user interactions with the course. That package can then be imported into other classes to populate it with the materials from the other class. Instructions for exporting and importing course packages can be found on the Blackboard Help site, see:

    Original Course View

    Ultra Course View


  • Support

    If you are having other issues that aren't mentioned above, these resources should help.


  • Clear Cache - Fixes Most Issues

    Browsers download many files from websites to speed up your experience and prevent wasting your bandwidth redownloading files you've accessed in the past. Occasionally these files will get corrupted, which causes the website to no longer function as expected. You can resolve these issues by clearing the browser cache and forcing it to redownload those files. Instructions for clearing browser cache can be found on the ITS support page on Cache

  • Trainings

    Self Paced Training

    For an introduction to Course Design, check out our self paced training: 

    In addition to the “Blackboard Learn Orientation for Faculty” course that should be in your course list, we also have several self paced sessions that will guide you through the Blackboard LMS in more detail. Below you will find guides for people completely new to the system all the way to advanced uses. If you don't find what you are looking for below, try searching Blackboard's help site or contacting us.

    Blackboard Beginners

    Blackboard Essentials

    Blackboard Advanced

    In Person Training

    • Blackboard Learn Orientations are presented often during the first weeks of the terms to provide faculty who are new to Blackboard the basics of using the application.

    • Check our Calendar often to enroll or look for various class offerings. Review the Daily Digest for new and upcoming sessions.

  • Resources

    What can Blackboard do for me?

    Blackboard isn't working correctly

    How do I set up my course?

    How do I interact with my students?

    How do I add files to my course?

    How do I assess my students?

    What does the Blackboard Utility Package do for me?

    Other Questions

  • Support Contacts

    Information & Technology Services provides support for technical issues. This would include issues with your username and password or DUO.

    The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning staff provides faculty support and training for using Blackboard Learn, including assistance with digitizing, updating or creating course content in formats suitable for use in Blackboard Learn.  

    The A-State Online Faculty Support provides faculty support and training for the A-State Online Services programs.