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Blackboard Resources for Instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

Question categories:

Start-up tasks and common questions

Questions about student enrollment

Questions about course management

Questions about course tools and content

Questions about the Discussion Board

Questions about quizzes/tests/exams:

Questions about Assignments:

Questions about the Grade Center:

Other Questions

How/when are students uploaded/enrolled in/dropped from Blackboard

Since Fall 2004, students have been added and dropped from Blackboard automatically via a "Snapshot" tool that in effect takes a 'snapshot' of the enrollment data from Class-Web. Generally speaking, once students are enrolled or dropped in CLASS-Web, his/her status is reflected in Blackboard about 4 hours later. However, the change may not take effect until approximately 11pm that evening. Therefore, it is safest to let your students know that the effect can take as long as 24 hours.

Throughout the semester, the basic process is as follows: 

Enrolling Students into Blackboard: the Process
  1. A student enrolls through Class-Web.
  2. During the next Snapshot run (8am, 12pm, 4pm, or 8pm, and 11pm seven days a week), the student is uploaded to Blackboard and/or the course(s) they are enrolled in. (For Canvas, students are uploaded at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm, and 11pm.)
  3. Instructor will see student on his/her Blackboard roster, and student can now login.
Dropping Students From Blackboard: the Process
  1. Either the student drops themselves through Class-Web, or the instructor drops the student through Admissions and Records, or the student is dropped by AandR for other reasons (i.e. non-payment of fees).
  2. During the next Snapshot run (5am, 8am, 12pm, 4pm, or 8pm, seven days a week), the student is dropped from the Blackboard course site (technically speaking, students are actually just "disabled" - that is, while the student disappears from the instructor's Blackboard roster, the student and his/her records are actually just "disabled" in case they ever re-enroll).
  3. Instructor no longer sees student on his/her roster, and the student no longer sees the course after they login to Blackboard.
When do we upload students for a new semester or a new site?

We begin uploading students (who are already enrolled) about 1 week prior to the start of the semester. Students enrolling afterwards will be enrolled according to the details provided above. Note: if your site was just created, all students may not be uploaded until 11:00 pm that evening. The following morning, you can view the list of students by going into the Control Panel and either clicking on the Grade Center or List/Modify Users.

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I no longer see a student in the Grade Center nor do I see his/her work - what do I do?

Our campus/district uses a tool called Snapshot which essentially takes a "snapshot" of what is in Class-Web and reflects it onto Blackboard. In other words, the enrollment in Blackboard should exactly represent the enrollment in Class-Web. Therefore, if you do not see a student in a course in Blackboard, most likely the student isn't on the Class-Web roster either (for whatever reason). (For more details on how students are enrolled/dropped, click here).

Fortunately, if a student was dropped in Class-Web, they haven't been erased from the course; rather, they are simply "disabled" in Blackboard which causes his/her enrollment and almost anything tied to that student to be hidden from view (exception: any posts to the Discussion Board from that student should remain). How to resolve this depends on the scenario. To figure out what to do, please follow the steps below:

  1. First, login to Class-Web (don't know your login? contact the Help Desk) and make sure that the student is listed on your roster. If the student is in fact on your CLASS-Web roster, but not on the Blackboard roster, then submit a help request to the campus Bb Administrator. There could have been a problem with the last Snapshot run.
  2. If the student is in fact not on the CLASS-Web roster and should be, then the key is to re-enroll the student back into the class via Class-Web. We have had cases where an instructor dropped a particular student but did not realize they did so. Contact Admissions and Records if necessary. Once the student is back on the roster in Class-Web, they will be re-enrolled ("re-enabled") during the next Snapshot run (5am, 8am, 11pm, 4pm, or 8pm, seven days a week - although it's best to wait until the following day). The student should reappear in the Grade Center and all of his/her work should display just as it did before.
  3. If the student was correctly dropped in CLASS-Web but you need to view their grades in Blackboard (they dropped the class or you dropped them), you can request that the student account be temporarily re-enabled in the Blackboard course site. Because of the convenience of automation we have with the Snapshot tool, we do not have the power to permanently, manually override enrollments in Blackboard (to make it permanent, they must be on the roster in Class-Web). However, what we can do is request Blackboard to re-enable a student temporarily (about one day). Then, during the 11pm Snapshot run, the student will be, once again, disabled from your course site and all of his/her work will disappear from your view (the "Cinderella" effect). The difficulty is that we do not know exactly when Blackboard will do this (may be a few days from the original request), and once it's done, the instructor only has that one day to access the student work. But it appears to be sufficient to faculty. To request this, request help, being sure to provide the necessary details (course ID, student W number) and indicate in the comments that you need to "temporarily re-enable" this student.

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The scrollbars are missing in the Grade Center

Missing scrollbars have been reported when using Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 6.0.2 on Windows XP. To fix this problem, change the settings in your computer display properties:

  1. Click on the Start button, and then go the Control Panel
  2. Click on Display Properties
  3. Click on the Appearance Tab
  4. Select the Advanced Button
  5. Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list
  6. Change the Setting to 19
  7. Submit the changes

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Why can't I just "make [the course] unavailable" to individual students?

With the automation we gained from Snapshot came some loss of control, one being that instructors no longer have the option to make the course unavailable to individual students. If they try to do so, and the student is still enrolled in the course in Class-Web, within the next Snapshot run (for exact times, read the above paragraph) the course will be made available to the student again. The instructor will need to drop the student through Admissions and Records. If the student is still showing up in your Class-Web roster, contact Admissions and Records.

I have a student who needs to finish an incomplete. What are my options?

According to the Counseling Division Academic Regulations, incomplete (I) grades represent an instructor-student agreement that the student may complete the course work by the end of the following semester and receive an appropriate letter grade. How your student(s) will finish an incomplete within Blackboard for a course depends on the level of need.

  • Option 1: Complete coursework in original site (most common). Most instructors have the student finish the coursework in the original course site. The instructor must leave the course site set to available (as a reminder, the instructor is in complete control of site availability for up to two years). While other enrolled students could potentially access the course site, this does not appear to be an issue for most instructors/courses. In addition, instructors have the option to make various areas of their course unavailable to students as needed. For this option, you do not need to notify the Chabot Blackboard Administrator.
  • Option 2: When interactivity with other students is required. If interaction with other students is a crucial component of the course, Option 1 may not be adequate. In such cases, if the instructor is teaching the same course in a future/current term, the student(s) can be manually added to the current-semester. Note, however, that none of the coursework will be brought over to the new site. Instructors would need to re-enter grades in the Grade Center of the current site and/or the original site (entering of grades in the original site is recommended for consistency and accurate record-keeping). For this option, request to have the student manually added to the new site.

For any questions, please submit a help request.

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How do I view the list of students (roster) in my course?

Go to the Control Panel, then List/Modify Users, then List All, then List All again. You will see his/her names and email addresses. Note that if your site was just created, not all students may be uploaded. Find out when the next upload time is.

How can I find out the last time a student accessed a course site?

You can go to Contol Panel > Performance Dashboard. The Performance Dashboard will show the instructor the last time the student accessed the course site, as well as the number of days since his/her last login.
You can also go to Control Panel > Course Statistics, but the Performance Dashboard loads more quickly.

Create a "Start Here" Button

Based on feedback from our student orientations, we strongly recommend that you name one of your buttons "Start Here" or "Start Here - Syllabus" or anything that is a clear indicator where the students should begin. You may have a lot of information posted, and it can be overwhelming to the student where to begin. Simply go to Control Panel, Course Menu, Add Content Area.

Note that once the semester begins, you have the option to remove or change the name of the "Start Here" button, as students become more familiar with the course site.

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How to Make Your Course Site(s) Available / Unavailable to Students

When we create new courses, the default setting is that they are unavailable to students. This is so that you, the instructor, have complete control as to when students can access your course. Your course will remain unavailable (students cannot view your course) until you make your course available.  To make your course site available or unavailable: 

screenshot of Control Panel > Properties

  1. From within each course, locate the Control Panel (directly below the main course menu).

  2. Select Customization (if you do not see "Customization," click on the chevron (double arrow to the right of the Control Panel).

  3. Select Properties

  4. Within the main frame (to the right), look under #2 Set Availability.

    • To make available, select Yes
    • To make unavailable, select No.

  5. Click Submit

  6. To verify that the course site has been made available to students, click on the My Institution tab and make sure that (unavailable) does not display.

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How instructors/staff can get assistance with Blackboard

While you can always contact support staff individually, to reach the most available staff member, please use our online Blackboard Support Request form. We highly recommend using this form because it asks for the specific information we need right away so we can better assist you.

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Guests Access

For added security, system-wide guest access has been disabled since Fall 2009. Faculty who would like to provide another instructor or a student TA (or other role) "guest" access to their course site can request other types of access.

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What is a "merged" course site?

For most courses, each course with a Course Registration Number (CRN) is set up as an individual course site.

In addition to individual sites, instructors have the option to "merge" two or more CRN's and setup as one course site. Some reasons instructor may choose to merge sites may include:

  • An instructor teaches multiple sections of the same course, where the content is the same for all courses.
  • The sections are cross-listed, where the same content is shared amongst students.
  • There are two sections where students are required or usually enroll in both sections.

Once courses have been merged into a single site, students in all of the indicated sections can access the same course site. This site should contain content meant for all of the students in those specified sections.

Prior to requesting a merged site, please note the following:

  • IMPORTANT! A merged site cannot be "unmerged." If you later decide that you do not want all sections to be merged, there is no 'unmerge" option. The only option is to delete the site and re-create each course (CRN) as individual sites. The instructor may need to modify content again.
  • When you request course sites in CLASS-Web, only the courses for which you are the instructor of record will display. For course sections that you want to include in the merge but list another instructor of record, please ask that instructor to request the site, making sure to indicate it as "merged."

  • Courses are setup as either individual sites or as part of a merged site - a CRN cannot coexist as part of a merged site and also be part of a merged site.

Instructors can request individual or merged sites by using the Course Site Request form in CLASS-Web.

How to hide outdated courses on your My Institution page

  1. Login to Blackboard and make sure you are on the My Institution tab.
  2. Position your mouse on the "My Courses" module to reveal the 'pinwheel' icon:

My Courses Pinwheel Hide Courses

  1. Click on the pinwheel icon to be taken to the "Personalize: My Courses" page.
  2. Uncheck all of the boxes to the right of each course that you want to hide.
  3. Click Submit.

Please note that the above steps only affects the display of courses on the My Institution tab. All of the Blackboard course sites that you have taught in in the past two years will continue to display on the My Courses tab. If you have any problems, request help (if having problems hiding sites, you'll need to provide your password in the help form).

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Can I change the main menu buttons in my Blackboard course?

Yes. As the course instructor, you have complete control over the naming of all of the navigation buttons in your course. Go to: Control Panel-->Manage Course Menu.

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How to copy content from one Blackboard site to another

Control Panel Course Copy
  1. Go into the course site that you want to copy content from (the "source" course).

  2. Click on the Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Course Copy

  3. Click the Browse button, select the course that you want to copy to (the "destination" course), and click Submit.

  4. Under "Select Course Materials," check the appropriate boxes. If you are unsure what to check, it is best to check ALL of the content type boxes.

    IMPORTANT: If you have any content/tools that are linked to the Grade Center (Assignments, Discussion Board, Tests, Surveys, and Pools), be sure to check those areas AND the Grade Center Items and Settings. If you don't, content and/or connections may be lost and you will either need to recreate all of the items and/or lost connections/links, or request to delete your course site and use the Course Copy tool again.

  5. Click Submit. While the copy process usually only takes a few minutes for most courses, you may want to wait until you receive an email confirming that the copy process has completed. If you have any problems, request help

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How do you delete your previous semester students' introduction, responses and assignments on the Discussion Board?

To remove all of the posts in a forum (which are copied over when you copy a course):

  1. Go into the forum.
  2. Click on the List View.
  3. Scroll all the way down to "Select all."
  4. Once all of the threads are selected, go to the top of the page and click remove. This should clear all of the threads in the forum.
  5. Repeat for each forum.
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I do not see one of my students listed in the Blackboard roster

If a student does not show up in your roster in Blackboard, then most likely they aren't in the roster in Class-Web. Enrollment data is retrieved directly from Class-Web into Blackboard (more about the upload to Blackboard process). Most likely the student needs to check with Admissions and Records to find out why he isn't enrolled. If you verified that the student is in fact in your Class-Web roster but you still don't see his/her name in the Blackboard Roster, request assistance.

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I want to give someone access to my site(s) and/or have a TA in my class. What are my options?

Blackboard actually provides many different "roles," each with different levels of access. Please click on the link below to read about the details of each role, where you will also provide the necessary information to request someone access to your site(s). Please note that we do not enroll anyone in your course site without your prior request/permission - if the person desiring access makes the request, a confirmation will be required by you prior to enrollment.

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How can I change the way my name is displayed to students in Blackboard?

All first and last names in Blackboard are retrieved automatically and directly from the Banner/Class-Web system, which is however you entered your name on your human resource forms. Due to this automation, there is no way from the Blackboard end to change a user's first name, last name, or user name. If a faculty/staff/student would like to change how his/her name displays in Blackboard, they would need to obtain and submit the appropriate forms from the Chabot Business Office or the CLPCCD Human Resources Department.

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How can I search for closed-captioned videos in YouTube?

When searching for videos on YouTube, you can use a "filter" option to display only the videos for which close-captioning is provided. Videos with captions available will have a “CC” icon underneath the video summary in search results. Below are the simple steps:

  1. On the YouTube website, enter your keywords in the search bar.
  2. Click the Filters button
  3. Click CC (closed caption) option. Only videos that with Subtitles/CC will display.

screenshot of YouTube closed-caption filter option

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I am having display issues in my course site

If you are experiencing display issues anywhere in a course site, there may be hidden html code or font within the Content Editor / Text Box Editor causing the problem. When text is copied and pasted from one location to Blackboard (such as from a web page or from a word processing document), hidden html and font are often copied over as well. An immediate workaround is to try using another browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, although doing so will not address the source of the problem. Below are suggestions for resolving the problem.

How to Fix a Display Issue:

  1. While in the Content Editor (aka Text Box Editor), click on the HTML icon/button.

  2. While in the HTML code view box/pop-up, delete everything except for the actual text of the question/answer.

  3. Click Update (the HTML code view box will close).

  4. Click Submit.

Below are suggestions for preventing such display issues in the future:

Prevention Option #1: Prior to pasting, first copy the content in a format-free program

The quickest method is to copy/paste the text into a format-free program such as NotePad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) and then copy/paste the text back into the Text Box Editor. Simply copying text from a format-free program removes the hidden html and allows you to paste an html-free copy in Blackboard.

  1. In Blackboard, select and copy all of the text from within the Text Box Editor.
  2. In NotePad, paste all the text that you just copied.
  3. In NotePad, save a copy of the file (as a backup).
  4. In Blackboard, delete all of the text in the Text Box Editor.
  5. In NotePad, select & copy all of the text that you just pasted.
  6. In Blackboard, paste all of the text back into the Text Box Editor, format as needed, and Submit.
Prevention Option #2: Use the Remove Formatting tool

There is a Remove Formatting tool available on the top menu bar of the Content editor. Although the usefulness depends on just how much hidden html/font there is, this tool claims to remove all formatting leaving only the plain text. For illustrations and more details, please visit the Content Editor page of Blackboard Help website.


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How do I download a copy (a file) of my Grade Center?

We strongly suggest that you periodically download a copy of your Grade Center, especially right before you drop students or make any significant changes. Soon after a student drops or is dropped in CLASS-Web, most of the records for for that student in that particular course disappear from your view in Blackboard and can only be accessed temporarily with special assistance from staff (if you are trying to access records for a dropped student, click here for more information). You can download a copy (such as an Excel file) of your Grade Center. The downloaded file has no impact on your actual Grade Center records whatsoever. It is just a copy. You can download as many copies as you would like.

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your course site(s).
  2. Click on the Grade Center.
  3. In the upper-right-hand corner, click on work Offline, then click Download.
  4. Select the data to download, such as the full grade center, a selected column, or user information only.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Click Download.
  7. Follow the remaining prompts to save your file, depending on your browser.
  8. To view the file, open up the file in Microsoft Excel.

How do I modify, then upload my Grade Center?

Once you download a copy of your Grade Center (steps above), you can modify or add more items as needed (such as adding a test or changing a student's score), and then upload the file to make the changes to the "live" Grade Center.

  1. Be sure to complete the steps above for downloading a copy/file of your Grade Center.
  2. Open Excel, locate the file you just downloaded (unless you changed the filename, will be named "gb_export"), and open the file.
  3. Make the modifications that you want made (note: do NOT remove any student names).
  4. When you are finished, Save the file.
  5. To upload the grades, from the Blackboard Control Panel Grade Center, click Work Offline, then Upload.
  6. Click Browse to select the Excel/csv file you just saved (must be a *.txt or a *.csv file).
  7. You will need to either select the destination column for the uploaded data, or select Create New Grade Center Item for the data to appear as a new Grade Center item.
  8. Click Submit.
  9. (If applicable) Check the boxes for the students in which you want to upload modified scores.
  10. Click OK. You will be returned to the Grade Center with the changes made.

You can find more details in the directions for uploading to the Grade Center as per the Blackboard Instructor Manual

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How can I display Complete/Incomplete Grades?

  1. From the Control Panel, click on the Grade Center
  2. Click on the column of test for which you want to display grades as Complete/Incomplete
  3. At item option screen, select Item Information
  4. For score, specify a point value
  5. For Display As options, select Compelete/Incompelete
  6. Under Options check the following items:
    • Check "Yes" in response to " Make item visible to students:"
    • Check "No" in response to "Include item in Grade Center score calculations:"

As soon as student takes the test, a checkmark appears in gradebook. For those students who have not taken the test, nothing appears in Grade Center.

I have a merged site. How can I sort students by section in the Grade Center?

If you use a single Blackboard course site for multiple sections you can create a Grade Center item to sort the students.
  1. Go into the Grade Center, and select Create Column.
  2. Enter the Column Name, such as "Section."
  3. Select Text as the Primary Display.
  4. Select No Category for the Category.
  5. Enter "0" for the Points Possible.
  6. Select "No" for "Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations."
  7. Select "No" for Show this Column to Students."
  8. Click Submit.
  9. Back into the main Grade Center view, locate this column.
  10. In each cell, enter the appropriate section number, (i.e. ON1, ON2) or descriptor of your choice for each student.
  11. At the top of the column, click on the double arrow and select Sort Ascending.
  12. To return to sorting by last name, you can click on the triangle above the "Name" field.
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How can I get a site for a non-Chabot course or a non-instructional group (committee, club, etc.)?

Our Blackboard system currently allows the setup and enrollment of courses and students associated with a Course Registration Number (CRN). If you are looking to setup a site for a non-Chabot course or a non-instructional group, consider one of the following options:

  • CourseSites by Blackboard
  • Google Apps available through Zonemail or Google/Gmail
CourseSites by Blackboard

CourseSites is a free, hosted online course creation and facilitation service that enables instructors to add a web-based component to their courses, or host an entire course online. CourseSites is powered by the latest Blackboard Learn technology, along with aspects of Blackboard Mobile, Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Connect. The majority of powerful core features of these technologies are available at no cost to use by individual teachers and students at all levels.

Once you set up your course, you can use the Course Invitations tool to invite your students. Students simply follow the link in the invitation, establish a CourseSites account and join your course. You can monitor the status of your invitations to see who’s viewed and accepted their invitations. However, unlike the CLPCCD system, please note that instructors will need to manually enroll or remove participants/students from the site if needed.

You can find out more and sign up for an account at the following link: https://www.coursesites.com/webapps/Bb-sites-course-creation-BBLEARN/pages/getstarted.html

Google Apps available through Zonemail!
Google Apps available through Zonemail!
Google Zonemail, which is provided to all students, includes access to useful online tools that can be used to collaborate, create, and communicate online. As Zonemail is essentially Gmail, Google Apps include Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Groups, Google Drive, and more. Learn more about Google Apps.

How do I ensure that my Blackboard site is accessible (ADA compliant)?

Chabot College is required by Federal Law (the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act) to provide access to its programs and services to all qualified individuals. Accordingly, as the system develops its capacity for creation of technology based instructional resources and the delivery of distance learning; it must proceed with the needs of all students in mind, including the unique needs of students with disabilities.

Please check each of the following resources:

Access requests: FERPA, student confidentiality & privacy, and campus liability

Faculty teaching with Blackboard may submit a request to allow site access to specific individuals using our Course Site Access Request form. Blackboard includes a handful of varying-level roles to meet these needs. Examples of such requests may include:

  • Providing an assigned instructor-of-record instructor-level access for purposes of team-teaching.
  • Providing an instructor temporary access for purposes of viewing an example of course design.
  • Providing an instructor temporary student-level access for purposes of a course evaluation.
  • Providing a non-enrolled instructor, staff, or student student-level access (sometimes unofficially called a "TA").
  • Providing a non-enrolled student such as a Learning Assistant student-level access for purposes such as assisting in discussion forum responses or posting content.
  • Providing a non-enrolled student student-level access for purposes of finishing an incomplete.

In order to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), it is important to note that ONLY the assigned instructor-of-record should have access to confidential student information, such as grades, as well as the instructor username and password.

Students currently enrolled in the course site may not be granted access beyond their current student-level access. A student who is not currently enrolled in the course who is a Learning Assistant or Tutor may be provided access with the purpose of assisting enrolled students in his/her subject, and not necessarily Blackboard.

Similarly, the district-wide policy for instructor use of CLASS-Web reads that "only the primary instructor is allowed to enter the grades for a class. If you are team teaching, you must work with your colleague in getting the grades entered into CLASS-Web. This also means that no one else can use Web for Faculty to enter your grades." If any of personal student data are compromised - the instructor, college and District could be held liable of any breeches.

Please note that requests for access to Blackboard for non-CLPCCD authorized users must be approved first by the respective division dean before those users can be placed into Blackboard.

Also note that training and support resources are intended for the assigned instructor-of-record, and does not include TA's, Learning Assistants, or other individuals provided access to your course site as requested.

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Accessing Old Course Sites

Faculty have immediate access to two years worth of old course sites plus the current and/or immediate future sites (As per the 12/4/2007 COOL (formerly the DE Committee)).

To access a course site older than two years, please submit a Support Request, indicating the subject, course subject and number. If you taught more than one section of the course, please provide a section number of CRN.

Just as before, faculty also have the option to hide additional sites.

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How can I make product enhancement suggestions to Blackboard?

Suggestions can be submitted through their online product suggestion box at behindtheblackboard@blackboard.com

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    Phone: (510) 723-6600 | Last updated on 3/14/2018