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Online Learning / Blackboard

Frequently Asked Questions

Technical Problems
Question Answer
The Blackboard login page displays "Page Not Found" or "URL Not Found" or "system unavailable."

Problem: When a user goes to, there is a "Page Not Found", "URL Not Found" (view sample screenshot), "This system is momentarily unavailable" or other error message.

Possible causes: This may have been caused by recent server maintenance; also, the user's computer is not set to periodically clear cache.

Solution: Clear your browser cache. No matter what browser you have, you can find the steps at how to clear cache. (NOTE: So far this problem has largely been reported by those who use the Safari browser on a Mac. We recommend using Mozilla Firefox with Blackboard even for Mac users.)

Still having login or Blackboard display problems? Try these options...
  • Clearing your browser cache.
  • Try using a different browser. We currently recommend only Mozilla Firefox for use with Blackboard. More problems have been reported with Blackboard when the MS Internet Explorer browser is used.
  • Also, AOL is not compatible with Blackboard. If you use AOL as your ISP, minimize your AOL browser window and open up Firefox to use Blackboard.
  • Try using another computer.
  • Try a computer in one of Chabot's labs (in the Library or Room 3906).
  • Test goes blank? Make sure to turn off the pop-up blocker.
I'm enrolled in a course, but there is no link to it when I login. Not all instructors use sites for their courses. For example, you may be enrolled in one class that has a site and two classes that do not.

If your instructor never mentions having a site, most likely your course does not have one.
How do I hide Blackboard course sites that I took in previous semesters?
  1. Login to Blackboard and make sure you are within the My Institution tab.
  2. Click on the pinwheel icon in the upper-right corner of the My Courses module: screenshot of My Courses pinwheel
  3. Uncheck all of the boxes to the right of each course that you want to hide.
  4. 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 been enrolled in in the past two years will continue to display on the My Courses tab.

I need to check a grade from a course I took last semester. How do I get into the course Blackboard site? You will not be able to login to Blackboard to view a past course if your instructor has made the course Bb site unavailable. Most instructors make Blackboard sites unavailable to students shortly after a course has ended. For questions regarding a course you took in the past, you should contact the instructor.
I can enter my Blackboard course site, but there is no Course Menu or links to view course content. Where did everything go? If you can enter a Blackboard course site but you are unable to view/access links to course content, most likely the Course Menu is hidden. The Course Menu, which contains the links to Announcements, Syllabus, Course Materials, Assignments, Tests, Exams, etc. (menu items may differ with each course section) may be hidden/collapsed. To expand the course menu, click on the little arrow on the left side of the screen.

Hidden Course Menu. Click on the arrow to expand the Course Menu Course Menu displayed (after clicking on the arrow)
course menu hidden course menu viewable
How do I clear my browser's cache? Browsers will normally clear browsing history at regular intervals, but sometimes you may need to clear it manually to address an issue. Click here to view the steps for clearing cache for most browsers.
The font/text size of my browser is too small.

The most common cause of text that is too small is that somehow your browser's text gets set to a size other than medium. Assuming that you're using the Mozilla Firefox browser (which is the recommended browser for accessing Blackboard), try one or both of the following:

  1. Click View from the top menu
  2. Click Zoom In (or click on Ctrl +) until the desired text size displays.

You might also try the following;

  1. Go to the Tools menu
  2. Select Options
  3. Select the Content tab
  4. Under Fonts & Colors, choose the font size you prefer.

You may also need to refresh your browser (click the refresh button).

I copied and pasted text from Microsoft Word into Blackboard's text box editor (in an assignment or a discussion board post) and the formatting is all messed up.

The Text Box Editor, which is used in many places throughout Blackboard (Assignments, Discussion Board, Assessments), can have an issue when copy/pasting from a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. While you may only see the text that you pasted, you are also copying the fonts (and if any, hidden html code). The hidden fonts/codes are what causes the display issues.

To ensure that your content displays as you would like, your best bet is to copy/paste your text into a format-free program such as NotePad (PC) of TextEdit (Mac) and then copy it back from NotePad/TextEdit into the text box editor in Blackboard. You should then be able to edit the text using the text box editor menu. Here are the steps:

  1. Copy your text from Word (or whatever program you are using)
  2. Paste your text into a format-free program such as NotePad (PC) of TextEdit (Mac).
  3. Select all of what you just pasted into NotePad or TextEdit, and copy it back into the text box editor in Blackboard.
  4. Format the text using the text box editor menu.
I copied and pasted text from Microsoft Word into Blackboard's text editor. When I click submit to view it all of my quotation marks have turned into UPSIDE DOWN question marks. Copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word into Notepad (PC) or Text Editor (Mac) will rid the text of any extracted code or special characters before pasting it into Blackboard. (NOTE: All formatting (bold font, italics, etc.)will be lost in this process.)

In Word, the default setting for quotation marks and apostrophes is something called "Smart Quotes." This setting replaces "regular" quotes with the curly quotes. When you paste text into Bb, the text editor converts it automatically to HTML to be viewed on the Web.

Since Blackboard's text editor doesn't know what to do with "smart quotes, it replaces each "character" with a question mark. There is also a setting that converts two hyphens (--) into a long dash. If you do a lot of copy/pasting from Word you can turn off the "smart quotes" feature:
  1. In Word, go to the Tools menu--Autocorrect.
  2. Click the Format as you Type tab.
  3. The first box is "Straight Quotes" with "Smart Quotes." Uncheck the box.
  4. Optional: Uncheck the hyphen/dash box.
For existing text, you'll have to use Find and Replace (from the Edit Menu) to change the "smart quotes" to "straight quotes" for the changes to take effect.
I'm getting a Java or JavaScript error.
Sample of the problem: Every time a student submits a quiz, they see a javascript error message (may differ for each student or include "unterminated string constant").

Try one of the following:

  1. You may be using an older browser that may not be able to handle Java properly (such as an older AOL browser). We recommend Firefox for use with Blackboard, for both PC and Mac users.
  2. If you are using an old version of Firefox, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version.

  3. If you access Blackboard from an Apple mobile device, however, such as an iPad or iPhone, you will need to use the Safari browser.
  4. You may need to install Java on your computer, particularly if you are not able to open the Virtual Chat in Blackboard. You can download Java from the Plug-in Download Links page.
  5. Turn off script debugging. To do this:
    1. Go to the Tools menu.
    2. Select Options.
    3. Go to the Advanced tab.
    4. Check "Disable Script Debugging."
  6. Try using a different browser; we recommend Firefox for use with Blackboard (although if you access Blackboard via an Apple mobile device, such as an iPhone, you will need to use Apple's Safari browser.

If none of the above options work, you may need to take your next quiz/test/exam in the Library Computer Lab.

I am not receiving email from my instructor or other Blackboard students in the class. Why?
The default email associated with your Blackboard account is your Zonemail. You have the option to change the email address associated with your Blackboard account, or forward email sent to your Zonemail to a personal email account. To find out how to access your Zonemail or view other available options, please go to How To Login to Blackboard and scroll down to Step 3, "Verify Your Email Address."
When I try to access the Discussion Board (or another area), I get "Internal Server Error" message.
If you encounter the Internal Server Error message, the most probable cause is that there is a temporary glitch in the system (sometimes due to heavy system-wide usage). The error message is usually only temporary and you should be able to view the area within a few seconds (you may need to click on other areas or refresh your browser).

However, if the error message continues to display, please try one or more of the following:

  • There may have been an interruption in your internet service.
    1. Logout of Blackboard.
    2. Close your browser. (You may also want to restart your computer.)
    3. Reopen your browser. A "Page Not Found" message in your browser may mean that there is no internet connection; check with your internet service provider for assistance).
    4. Login to Blackboard.

      • Clear your cache settings.
      • Do you tend to close your browser without clicking on the LOGOUT button? If so, this may be another cause of the "Internal Server Error" message. This is due to persistent cookies set by the application. Please do the following to clear the cookies and temporary files in order to login again.

        1. In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu and select "Internet Options."
        2. If not already selected, click the "General" tab.
        3. In the area "Temporary Internet Files," select Delete Cookies and Delete Files.
      • If you continue having trouble viewing pages or file in Blackboard within Internet Explorer, please update your Internet Explorer browser. Updates can be found at

        ? Try using another browser. See Browser and Operating System Requirements (PDF). Note that while not listed on this document, Mozilla Firefox appears to work as an option as well.
I can access the Discussion Board, but I am having problems posting my responses.
Problems and their causes vary, but check both of the items below:
  • Are you having this problem? When you submit a posting, do you receive the message: "Database Error; A database error has occurred. Unable to process the request."
    Solution: This may be caused by posting too much text in the subject field. Students who had this problem were copy/pasting their entire post in the subject field, when it should have been copy/pasted into the main text box.
  • Are you having this problem? When sending a reply, I do not get a message window. So when I try to reply, a window pops up and says "type a message."
    Solution: Various computer settings can cause problems for using various tools in Blackboard, including the text editor box in the Discussion Board (the box where you type in your response). One workaround is to turn off the text editor, which means you won't be able to do such things as change the text color, but it should prevent problems.

If any of the above does not resolve the issue, try using a different browser. View options to download Firefox here. Click here for more details about the Visual Text Box Editor and other browsers.

How can I prevent pop-up blockers from causing problems?
The pop-up blockers in some Web browsers and Internet service providers may treat a Blackboard test or message in a Discussion Board forum as a pop-up. Examples may include a test that opens up in a new window, or, Blackboard now has a Save button for each question in an Assessment and a Save button after the last question for Assessments that show all of the questions at one time. As you answer questions, and click the Save button next to a question to save the answer for that particular question, a small pop up window will appear. To prevent problems, try one or more of the steps for permitting pop-up content from your Blackboard course.
Will Blackboard work if I have popup protection software running? Pop-up protection software can interfere with Blackboard functions. A pop-up blocker can also prevent Blackboard opening from the link found on the BCC homepage. The protection can prevent quizzes or virtual chat sessions from opening fully and cause a variety of errors. The most common error is the link or browser appearing as though it is not responding or not opening at all. The next is Microsoft Internet Explore closing with an error message. Keep in mind there may be more than one pop-up blocker installed. Pop-up blockers can be found in such applications as the Google toolbar, Symantec firewall and Internet Explorer. For more on this issue, go to
I'm trying to take a quiz, but when I access it I get a message that the quiz is already in progress. What do I do now? Check for popup blockers on your computer. If your instructor set up the quiz to open in a new web browser window, it may be that Blackboard is trying to open the quiz but cannot since you have a popup blocker on your computer.  If this is the case, the next time you click the quiz link Blackboard will report that the quiz is in progress. You can ask your instructor to reset your quiz and then disable your popup blocker in order to take the reset quiz.

Also, if you clicked on your "back" button for any reason, Blackboard could think that you stopped taking the quiz. Then when you go back to the quiz link, Blackboard thinks you already took the quiz. You can ask your instructor to reset your quiz so you can try again.
There is a green exclamation point in the Gradebook instead of a score for my assignment/quiz. What does this mean? A green exclamation point usually means that all or a portion of the quiz/test/exam/assignment needs grading by the instructor and/or they have not yet submitted a grade for your assignment. First, check to see whether your instructor has communicated when you can expect to view your grade. If the expected time has passed, you may want to contact your instructor.

Getting Your Computer Blackboard-Ready

Logging into Blackboard/Login Problems

Taking Quizzes, Tests and Exams in Blackboard

Still need help?

Can't find your question in one of these categories? Submit a Help Request.
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