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Blackboard FAQ

NOTE: This page is archived and maintained for historical purposes only. Please be aware that this information is almost certainly out of date. If you are looking for the Brightspace FAQs you can find them here.

As an Instructor, what are the benefits of using Blackboard in my class?
Blackboard is an online learning management system that gives faculty Web-based resources to post syllabi and other course information, offer discussion boards, blogs, wikis, journals and chat rooms, offer tests and surveys, and maintain a gradebook. This content is accessible to students and faculty members anytime anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Where is Blackboard located?
Blackboard can be found at:

How do I log into Blackboard?
You log into Blackboard using your e-mail account username and password. If you forgot your username and/or password, you should contact the ITC Help Desk at (504) 520-7446.

What are Blackboard's Browser/Platform Requirements?
Supported browsers and operating systems can be found at: Behind the Blackboard.

What do I need in order to successfully use Blackboard?
In addition to your browser, instructors may need to post files generated various applications. Blackboard supports almost any type of file (audio, video, images, PDF files, etc...) as long as the target audience has the proper plug-in to read these files. For example, if an instructor posts a PDF file, students should have a PDF reader software installed to be able to view this document.

When is a course created?
Courses are created at least 2 weeks before the start of each semester. Course information is automatically passed from the Banner Student Information System to Blackboard, at least once a day. If a course is not assigned an instructor in the Banner system, that course will not appear on Blackboard.

When are students added to courses?
Students are automatically enrolled at the end of the registration process, usually the night before the start of classes for the semester.

Why wouldn't a specific student be able to access a course?
Typically if all students within a class are unable to view a specific course, the Instructor has not made the course available to students. If the majority of a class can view the course but a small sample of students cannot, one of the following most likely applies:

  • The student is not properly registered for the class
  • The student was dropped from a course for not paying the tuition bill
  • The student is at a website other than:

If a student is certain none of the above apply, the student should contact the ITC Help Desk at (504) 520-7446.

When are students removed? When is a course removed?
Two weeks after the end of a semester, student access to the courses is removed. This causes the deletion of gradebook records for the course. As such, all instructors must download their Blackboard gradebook to their local computer after they submit their final grades. To export the gradebook, goto the [Control Panel] for the course and click on the [Grade Center] link to expand it. Click on [Full Grade Center]. Move your mouse over the [Work Offline] button on the menu bar and then click on the [Download] link. Under [Data] section, select the [Full Grade Center] option, under the [Options] section, select [Tab] as the delimiter type and [Yes] to include hidden information. In the [Save Location] section, choose [My Computer] and then click on the [Submit] button at the bottom of the page. On the next page click on the [Download] button. You should get a dialog box with a request to save the file. Save the file to a location where you can find it later. The file you saved can be opened with Microsoft Excel.

After the removal of student access, courses remain on the Blackboard system for three semesters. This means for example, courses created for the fall 2010 semester will not be removed until after the start of the spring 2012 semester. Instructors can create a backup copy of their course contents by using the export course option. This process will create a backup of the course in a compressed zip format. This file can then be imported into another course. Do not modify or edit the contents of the compressed file at this may corrupt the file. To export a course, goto the [Control Panel] for the course and click on the [Packages and Utilities] link to expand it. Click on the [Export/Archive Course] link and then click on the [Export] button. On the Export page, select the portions of the course to be exported and then click on the Submit button. You will receive an email when the export process is complete. When you receive the confirmation email, go to the [Export/Archive Course] link once again and you will see a link where the export packaged file can be downloaded to your local computer.

If an instructor no longer wants to see older courses listed, they can be hidden from view. To hide courses from view, click on the small manage my course module settings icon located on top right corner of the [My Courses] section. For the courses to be hidden from view, make sure the check marks in the [Course Name] and [Announcements] columns are removed. Click [Submit] to save the changes. This will hide the courses from view on the course list but not remove them from the system.

Can I change the name of the course that appears in Blackboard?
The names of the courses on Blackboard are identical to the names that appear in the Banner system. Instructors however have the ability to modify the names of the courses to suit their needs. Care should be taken to make sure the new name of the course can be recognized easily by the students enrolled. To change the name of your Blackboard course, go to the [Control Panel] of the course in question. The Control Panel is located under Course Management. Click on the [Customization] link to expand it and then click on [Properties]. Here you can modify the name of the course and click on the Submit button to apply the name change.

Why should I export my course content?
The Export Course feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported and used in another course. It is important to note that, unlike the Archive Course feature, Export Course does not include any student submissions or grades — it only includes the course structure, content, and tools. Export packages are downloaded as .zip files and are imported in the same format. Do not unzip an Export package or remove files from the package, otherwise the package will not be usable.

Can I export my course contents to use in another course?
Yes. The Export Course feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported and used in another course. It is important to note that, unlike the Archive Course feature, Export Course does not include any user interactions with the course--it only includes the content and the tools.

Can I use the import package feature?
Yes. The import package feature allows Instructors to insert course information from another course. The Instructor will first need to open the old course and use the export course feature to save the necessary content to the local machine or separate storage device before using the import package feature for the new course.

How does an Instructor make a course available to students?
All courses are created as being available. As soon as students are automatically enrolled at the beginning of classes, they will have access to the course. Instructors can limit what students see by changing the availability of course items as they are posted. Instructors can easily set the time and date when a specific item can be viewed by students.

Do Instructors have the ability to create new courses?
No. To simplify and make consistent the process of course creation process, information is automatically transferred from the Banner SIS system to Blackboard.

Can Instructors create new Blackboard accounts?
Since the authentication system used the Xavier University email system, it is impossible for user to authenticate if they don't have a Xavier email account. As such, instructors cannot create Blackboard accounts.

Should I, as an Instructor, enroll students in my courses?
No. Students will automatically be enrolled at the end of the registration process, usually the night before the start of the semester.

Can I, as an Instructor, allow guests to access my course?
Yes. Guest access is enabled system wide. However, instructors will need to make certain areas available to guests before they can be accessed. Go to the [Control Panel] of the course in question. Click on the [Customization] link to expand it and then click on [Guest and Observer Access]. Make sure allow guest access is set to yes. Click submit to save changes. Goto the [Control Panel] under [Customization] and select [Tool Availability]. Choose the areas you would like to be visible to guests by clicking on the checkboxes in the Visible to Guests column. Click submit to save the changes. In your course menu, click on the menu items options arrow and select [Permit guests] from the shortcut menu.

Certain portions of Blackboard can never be made accessible to guests. The easiest way to make this course available is to send a URL to the guest users. The URL of the course in question is the link that is shown under the [My Courses] section on the Blackboard Welcome page. Right-click on the course link and select the [Copy Link Location] or [Copy short cut] depending on the browser you are using. This URL can be emailed to the guest users and they can access the course without logging into Blackboard.

When would an Instructor need to remove a user from a course?
There is no need to remove students from the system. Two weeks after the end of a semester, student access is automatically removed. During the first week of classes, Blackboard class rosters are updated more than once a day to match the Banner system. After that, class rosters are updated less frequently throughout the semester but happen on a regular basis.

Where can I go to find additional assistance for Blackboard?
Please refer to the Student Quick Guide [PDF]. If you are looking for more information on how to use Blackboard, please visit, which has access to a student manual, information on browser plug-ins and other related information. On demand videos are available. If you're having a problem, students should first contact their instructors. If the problem can't be resolved, students and instructors can contact the ITC Help Desk at (504) 520-7446 or email

Blackboard training for faculty is offered through the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Contact Janice Florent at (504) 520-7418 or email.

Blackboard how-to guides and tip sheets are available on our website. Manuals and tutorials are available at and On demand videos are available.

Where can I get information on Blackboard outages?
Planned maintenance outages are usually announced at least three days before the event via email messages as well as Blackboard system announcements. If an unplanned outage occurs, an email message explaining the cause of the outage and duration of the outage is sent out to users.

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