Student Blackboard Learning System FAQ

 Blackboard Frequently Asked Questions

Link to Blackboard Tutorials for Students, on YouTube

Blackboard’s Privacy Statement

If you would like to enroll in the Blackboard Student Orientation Course, log into Blackboard, go to your Courses Tab, and type BB101 into Course Search. Click on the Down Chevrons next to Blackboard Orientation for Students and choose Enroll, then click on Submit.

The answer to my problem isn’t on this page – what do I do now?

Please put in a work order so we can start looking at it.

In order to help you,  we need as much information as possible. Please provide your user-id, the course id, which assignment/test/discussion board post, what you clicked on, what you saw, and what you were expecting to see. We need to know if you have already discussed this issue with your professor, and your professors’s name. It is also helpful to know which browser you were using, if you already tried another browser, and what kind of computer you were using. Please give us enough information to reproduce the error.

Please note that many Blackboard functions do not work satisfactorily on smart phones.


Common Questions from STUDENTS:





Notifications / Course Management /User Management

I can’t attach my assignment – it just looks blank!

Blackboard is experiencing technical difficulties working with Microsoft on Windows 10, especially if you have opened the file since you attached it to your assignment. If your attached assignment turns out blank, let your instructor know ASAP. Try to submit the assignment again but this time make sure MS Word or whatever program you are using to edit the document is closed before you re-submit the assignment. You may need to re-submit using either Firefox, Safari and/or Chrome

I can’t sign in to Blackboard!

  1. Use your Mary Baldwin User ID and your ORIGINAL pin. You do not type in as part of your username.
  2. Make sure that enrollments have been added. Course shells are created prior to enrollment dates on Blackboard. Check the system announcements!
  3. Make sure you are registered for the course, and it is being taught in Blackboard. If so, then notify your instructor that you cannot see the course.
  4. If your instructor informs you that you should be able to see the course, notify Information Technology (IT) by filling out a help request form at


I am a student and I can’t see my class

Ask your instructor for help. Ensure that
  1. The class IS being taught using Blackboard
  2. The instructor has made the course available AND
  3. Student enrollments have been loaded.
If all these conditions have been met and you still can’t see your course, contact the Help Desk by fill out a help request form at Service Desk Ticket.

I can’t get into the Discussions or Readings or Tests / I can’t see my grades / I can’t see the left hand side of my page!

If the Course Menu on the left hand side of your Blackboard disappears, hover to the left part of your screen until an arrow comes up. Click on the arrow to show your Course Menu again.


How can I print my Discussion Board post?

To print your Discussion Board Post, in the Forum (not Thread) page, click on the little box to the left of your post and then click on the Collect Button.  When it shows you your post, click on Print Preview, and then Print.

I can’t see my classmate’s Blog entries

When you click on the Blog, it will automatically show you YOUR Blog entries. To see your classmates’ Blog entries, click on the little arrow to the right of your name.


I can’t see my grade!

If a student has taken a test and the test is still available in the Content Area, it could be accessible again. They will be able to see whatever the Instructor has allowed. This may be any or all of these:

  • Score on the Test
  • The Answers that the Student Submitted
  • The Correct Answers
  • Feedback from the Instructor based on the Student’s Answer

The Instructor sets up which feedback they wish to show the student when the Test is deployed or afterwards from Edit Test Options.

If a student has completed an assignment and the assignment is still available in the Content area, the student can click on the assignment again. They will be able to see the grade and any feedback provided by the Instructor

I have forgotten my password!

Your Blackboard password is your original Mary Baldwin Pin.  If you have forgotten your password, contact OIT here: Service Desk Ticket

When you click on Reset Password, it will not reset your Pin, but it will reset your network password (if you have one) to your original Pin and it will tell you your Pin.

I got an error while taking a test! My test recorded the wrong response!

When you press on next question (or save answer) and then click the mouse button again before it finishes refreshing the screen, you might get the following error -In the red bar it says – “Access denied” and the message says “Access Denied – Either you are not logged in or you do not have the appropriate privileges to perform this action.”

Another kind of error which just says “Error” in the red bar and the message says – An error occurred. Contact the System Administrator. For reference, the Error ID is ….

Workaround: Wait a second or two after the save before clicking the mouse again.

Always double check your test answers before the final submission. Because sometimes if you are working quickly, the screen might not have had time to reset itself before you click the answer. If the screen has not reset itself, the test might record the answer it THINKS you chose, rather than the answer you thought you chose.

How do I make my Assignment look bigger?

To view your Assignment full-screen, click here to hide the various other panes:



To return your Blackboard to regular viewing mode, click here:



I can’t submit a SafeAssignment!

If you are getting this message: ““Sorry, we do not think you are logged in to SafeAssign. Your session may have timed out. If you have received this message in error, please contact your system administrator.” then the error may be related to security/privacy settings on your web browser not being set up to allow 3rd party “cookies”. Please try temporarily changing your settings to allow 3rd party cookies by following these steps:

For Internet Explorer:
Click on Tools > Internet Options > Privacy
Change the setting to “Low”

For Firefox:
Click on Tools > Options > Privacy
Select “Accept cookies from sites”
Select “Accept third-party cookies”
Change “Keep until” to “they expire”

For Safari:
Click on Safari > Preferences > Security
Change “Accept cookies” setting it “Always”

For Chrome:
1.      Click the Chrome menu icon
2.      Select Settings.
3.      Near the bottom of the page, click Show advanced settings.
4.      In the “Privacy” section, click Content settings.
5.      Enable or disable cookies:
o       To enable cookies, select Allow local data to be set (recommended).
o       To disable cookies, select Block sites from setting any data.
6.      Click Done to save.

Another reason you might get a SafeAssign error is if you have an illegal character in your filename such as an accent (especially common in foreign language classes) or a comma, backslash, etc.

Try ensuring your filename only includes letters and/or numbers and resave the file. Again, make sure it has a file extension displayed and that it is an acceptable file format for SafeAssign (see above).

If you are a MAC user and clearing the cookies does not work, look at the file extension on your document.  It needs to be a  .doc or .docx, which may not happen in the file naming because you are using a Mac and Mac’s automatically hide or delete the extension.

If a student attempts to upload a document to SafeAssign without a file extension, the following error message will display: “No file has been specified. Specify a valid file to upload and try again”

In order to resolve this, rename the file to include the extension “.doc” or “.docx” on the end and resubmit the document. Or in the Save As window, click on the “Hide Extension” check box to unselect it so that the extension comes back before saving.

This issue primarily affects Mac users, as the OS X version of Office will automatically hide or delete a file extension and name a file without one.  This results in a file formatted as a .doc or .docx, but without the proper file extension.

Note: If using the Apple software Pages, the document will need to be exported as a .doc. The file cannot simply be renamed.

Unlike normal Assignments, SafeAssign restricts your submissions to specific file formats such as PDF, DOC, DOCX, ODT, and RTF. If you have a writing document to submit to SafeAssign, please confirm it is one of the acceptable file formats listed on the file upload screen.

How do I print my Assignment Feedback?

At the moment, it is not possible to use Blackboard to print the inline grading Feedback. Blackboard is working on this functionality.

If your professor has given you feedback on a ‘marked up’ document, you can download the annotated PDF document by clicking on the file name from Feedback to Learner.

If it is a word document, you click on Review and All Markup to see the annotations your professor has made.

If your professor has given you assignment feedback on an annotated PDF,  you can view the highlighted sections and comment bubble icons from the browser preview pane, and see the comments by hovering over the comment bubble icons. However, if you need to print all the comments or see all the comments at the same time, you will need to open the assignment in Adobe Reader, not in a preview pane. This might happen automatically if you use Firefox, but if you are using Chrome, the default might be to open the document in a browser preview pane. so you may have to download the assignment and then view it in the Downloads folder to open it with Adobe Reader. So, if you are using Chrome, click on the little parallel lines at the upper right and choose Downloads. Then click on View in Downloads Folder.

this is how you can download the document and view it in Adobe Reader.

From the Downloads Folder you should be able to open the file using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
When you print from Adobe Reader it will open the print dialog. Choose Summarize Comments. Another dialog window may open, asking, “Do you want to include the text of the summarized comments in the document being printed?”, choose <Yes>, then complete the print instructions.

Your document will be printed with a Number next to a little icon and then a Summary Page which has the Numbers on that page and the comments associated with each Number.

How do I turn off or customize the overnight notification emails?

You can turn OFF or Modify your notifications for each class you are in to control what kind of Notifications you get. Do this by clicking on Blackboard @ Mary Baldwin and then on the To Do module, click on Edit Notification Settings.

If you want to turn off  or modify the overnight emails from ALL your courses, click on Bulk Edit Notification Settings and Courses I am Teaching and/or Courses I am Taking.   Leave the Default to ALL and go to 3. Modify your Settings as required or to turn them all off, Unclick the box to the left of On/Off so that there are no little check marks in any of the boxes below.  Click on Submit.

To turn off the settings from a certain course or courses, click on Edit Individual Course Settings.  Click on each course one at at time and in the little box at the top left click on the On/Off button so that all the boxes below are Unclicked.  Then click on Submit. If, when a professor creates an announcement in their course, they click on Override User Notification Settings, Blackboard will send an email to the student even if they have set their Notification Settings to NOT receive the overnight digest.

If you have modified a course to have different notification settings than the Bulk settings, it will have a little Exclaimnext to it.

How do I turn off the overnight emails?

You can turn OFF your notifications for each class you are in, and then you won’t get the Overnight Digest emails. Do this by clicking on Blackboard @ Mary Baldwin and then on the To Do module, click on Edit Notification Settings.

f you want to turn off the overnight emails from ALL your courses, click on Bulk Edit Notification Settings and Courses I am Teaching and/or Courses I am Taking.   Leave the Default to ALL and go to 3. Settings and Unclick the box to the left of On/Off so that there are no little check marks in any of the boxes below.  Click on Submit.

To turn off the settings from a certain course or courses, click on Edit Individual Course Settings.  Click on each course one at at time and in the little box at the top left click on the On/Off button so that all the boxes below are Unclicked.  Then click on Submit.

If, when a professor creates an announcement in their course, they click on Override User Notification Settings, Blackboard will send an email to the student even if they have set their Notification Settings to NOT receive the overnight digest.

My test “froze” or I got “kicked out” of my test

If you professor has not chosen the “Force Completion” option, you will be able to re-enter the test and resume taking it if it is still available. It may not be available if the professor had only made it available during a certain timeframe, or if it is a timed test and the timer has expired.

My Blackboard Home page is so cluttered – how can I make last semester’s courses not show up?

Click on your Blackboard @ Mary Baldwin tab and on the My Courses pane there is a little wheel at the top right. Click on the wheel and then UNCLICK the boxes next to the old courses.  This will remove the course from your view.

How can I make a .pdf from my Word or Powerpoint document?

If you have Word 2010, you can Save As a .pdf file. Howver, if you have an earlier version of Word, print your document to a .pdf printer. This will copy your document into a file instead of printing it.

Many Mary Baldwin workstations have a doPDF printer, but if you need to install one go to  and download the pdf printer from there. Click on “Run” after you click on download. to install the pdf printer on your computer.

If you are using Word 2003-2009 and your professor sends you a Word 2010 document (.docx), you might need to download a converter in order to be able to read it. You should only have to do this once. Go to:  and download and run the installer after accepting the agreement. You will then be able to open documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created in versions of Microsoft Office that are newer than yours.


I pasted text into a Visual Edit Box and the formatting has changed / My Discussion entries look strange.

Pasting from Microsoft WORD or some other word processing software can sometimes give unpredictable results. Try pasting your entry into notebook (for a PC) or TextEdit (for a Mac), and get it looking the way you want it there, and then copy it from notebook into the Discussion Board or the Visual Edit box.

SpellCheck crashes my Firefox!

This is a known issue with Blackboard and Firefox 15.   At the end of spellcheck if you click Finish, Replace, or Ignore the small window just gets darker and darker until Firefox Crashes.  The workaround for this issue is once the last misspelled word in the paragraph is reached , use the red X to close the spell checker.

How can I add video or audio to a Discussion Board Post?

In the Message area, in the HTML Editor, click on the icon for Insert/Edit Embedded Media. The Insert/Edit Embedded Media window will open. For a YouTube Video, copy and paste the direct URL into the File/URL field. Click on Insert and then Submit.

How long do I have to finish my Assignment before I get kicked out of Blackboard?

The Blackboard timeouts for Assignments is set to 60 minutes.  If you are working on a long assignment, it is better to create it using WORD or Notebook so you can save as you go along, then you can attach your assignment in Blackboard when you are finished.

I can’t see the Discussions – Blackboard says “No Items Found”

If you can see that there are items to be viewed for the forum or the thread, but Blackboard returns a “No Items Found” message, click on the DISPLAY button at the upper right side and make sure it is set to SHOW ALL. If you were working with a Draft, it might still be set up to Show Drafts. Also, you can try switching from List View to Tree View.

How can I publish a Discussion Board Draft Thread once I have saved it?

If you have clicked on Save Draft, when you look at the Discussion Board Threads in the forum, you will not see your Thread unless you click on Display and Show All.

Once you can see your Draft Thread, click on the down arrow next to it and choose Open. You will need to hover over the text box until the Edit box displays. Click on Edit. Then you can edit your Thread and when you are ready to publish it, click on Submit.

How do I see all the Discussion Board posts?

To see all the Discussion Board Posts, lick on the Forum name on the left, not on the Number of Unread Posts on the right.


To look at all the threads and responses in a Forum, click on the top checkbox which will select all of the threads.  Click on Collect.SelectAll

You might want to read these posts in chronological order. If so, change Sort by to “Thread Order” and Order to “Descending”


If you want to keep track of what you have read and what you have not read, after you have collected and read all the threads, click on Select All and then Mark Read.

If you ever don’t see as much of something as you think you should, check out the bottom where it says “Displaying x of x”. It may only show you the first page if there are many items. To see the rest click on Edit Paging and tell it to show more items per page.

Why do I see a class in Blackboard that I have dropped?

Students enrollments were transferred to Blackboard before you dropped the class.  Please ask the instructor of the course you have dropped to make you “Unavailable” in the course. In the meantime, if you wish to “hide” the course, you can go into the Blackboard@Mary Baldwin page and click on the little gear symbol on the My Courses pane.  Unclick the boxes next to the course you wish to hide and click on Submit.

Why do I see a class in Blackboard that I completed last semester?

Your professor may have kept a Blackboard course “Available” to students because a student in the course  has an Incomplete or an ET.  If you wish to “hide” the course, you can go into the Blackboard@Mary Baldwin page and click on the little gear symbol on the My Courses pane.  Unclick the boxes next to the course you wish to hide and click on Submit.

 How can I get to Blackboard on my Smart Phone?

Mary Baldwin Students can access our Blackboard site from their smart phones.

Documentation about the App is here.

If you previously installed this App, and you get a message saying that your institution does not have this feature enabled, then remove the App and reinstall it.  Then, type in Mary Baldwin University and you should be able to access Blackboard from anywhere you have service.

My Name has changed – how can I change it in Blackboard?

Names in Blackboard are added from the Mary Baldwin Student Information System.  They cannot be changed except by a request to the Registrar, and they can only be changed in between semesters. Use the form here:

How can I create an Avatar – that little photo of myself that appears next to my name on Discussion Board posts?

Click on the Down arrow next to your name at the upper right of your Blackboard Screen.  Choose Personal Information.  Then choose Personalize My Settings.  At 1.Avatar Image, choose a file to upload as your Avatar and Submit.


How can I organize My Grades?

Blackboard has redesigned the My Grades page and allowed students to control the presentation of scores – by last activity, due date or Grade Center alignment. Other improvements make this view easy to comprehend including:

  • New Order By option in the top-right
  • The AllGradedUpcoming, and Submitted filters allow the student to narrow down the number of rows they see
  • Feedback is included right in-line, so the student doesn’t need to click on anything to view it – it just shows up on the page
  • The text size and row spacing have been reduced, resulting in more information being displayed on the page at once


How do I submit an assignment?

The steps below will show you how to submit an assignment by attaching files from your computer.

  1. On the course menu, select the content area that holds the assignment, for example, Assignments.
  2. Click the name of the assignment.
  3. In Section 2: Assignment Submission, click Browse My Computer
  4. Navigate to the location your assignment is stored on your computer, click OK.
    Submit_Assignment_5(Step 3 and 4 will need to be repeated if you have multiple document for the assignment.)
  5. You will see a  list of all the documents attached to the assignment. The Link Title column can be edited to change how the document link will be displayed. If the box is left blank, the file name becomes the link.
    *** Follow any instructions that your instructor provided for naming your file.
  6. When you have attached all of the documents for the assignment, click Submit.

    • When submitting a group assignmentBlackboard will display a “Work is being submitted for the entire group. Continue?” message, click OK.
  7. The Review Submission History page allows you to see how your documents will look before you submit, click OK.
  8. Once you submit the assignment, you will be taken back the content area the assignment is on.


How do I export to PDF or Word from Pages on my MAC?

  1. Open your document in Pages
  2. Choose File > Export To > PDF or Word
  3. Specify export settings, which differ depending on file type, Click Next.
  4. Type the name for the document, choose where to save the document from the Where pop-up menu, then click Export to save it to your MAC.
    *** To see more locations, click the arrow next to Save As. ***
  5. The document can now be sent to as a PDF\Word or attached to a Blackboard Assignment.

Videos in Blackboard Assignments

You can upload your videos to YouTube directly using your Mary Baldwin credentials. For instructions on uploading or recording a YouTube video go here. Be sure to save your video as “Unlisted” unless instructed by your instructor. Once you have uploaded your video, you may follow these instructions to submit it in BlackBoard.

To submit a video, log into BlackBoard, go to your Assignments tab and select “Write Submission” under  “2. Assignment Submission”. Click on the leftmost icon on the third row (webcam). Sign into YouTube if necessary. You must be signed on with your Mary Baldwin gmail username as your ID and your Mary Baldwin gmail password (PIN) as your password.


In the new browser window, click on the “Browse” tab. Locate the video that you uploaded to YouTube. Select the “Insert” button.


In the new window, choose the “Thumbnail” option then “Insert” to put the video into your assignment.


This will put a clickable thumbnail of your video for viewing.


Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Submit” to save your work.



If the new browser window does not appear, you may have to temporarily disable the popup blocker in your browser.

The video should be stored in YouTube as Unlisted.  This means it cannot be found if searched for, but if someone has the URL they will be able to view the video.  If you need to keep this video PRIVATE, then you need to go into Youtube, Video Manager, and click on Edit to change the Privacy settings to Private and type in the gmail address of the person who is the only one you want to be able to view it.  In that case, they would not be able to see the video unless they were signed on to Youtube with their Mary Baldwin gmail credentials. Verify with your instructor before making your video Private.

If your video(s) will be longer than 15 minutes, click here to increase the default limit.

How can I ‘subscribe’ to a Discussion Board Post?

Your professor may have enabled your Discussion Board Forum to Allow Subscriptions. If you subscribe to a Discussion Board Post, you will get an email notification when the professor or another student makes a post. To subscribe, click on the Forum to open it and click on Subscribe.


How do I put a link to a website into the text box in Blackboard?

In the text box, paste either the URL address or something like “Click Here”.  Highlight that text, then click on the chain icon.  Paste (using CTRL-V) the URL address into the Link Path and choose “Open in New Window” and then click on Insert.  When you have completed typing everything into the text box that should accompany the URL, click on Submit.



Blackboard’s Calendar can be exported to external calendar applications, such as Google Calendar and Outlook.

  1. To access your calendar in Blackboard, log into  and click on the Global Navigation Menu, then click on the Calendar icon.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the Calendar page and click on the link, “Get External Calendar Link.”
  3. A window will open, displaying the link to your Blackboard,  Copy this link. You will eventually import this link to your personal Calendar.
  4. Importing the Calendar:
    Calendars will be added to the application as Mary Baldwin University

Import your Blackboard Calendar into a Gmail Account

  1. To import the calendar to Google Calendar, Click on Other Calendars > Add by URL.
  2. A window will pop up where you can paste the Blackboard link to the URL space. Then click Add Calendar.

Import your Blackboard Calendar into an Outlook Account

  1. Select Open Calendar > From Internet…
  2. Then, paste the URL from Blackboard and paste it into the box. Then press OK.Calendar4f
  3. Click Yes, to add the Internet Calendar to Outlook.  If you would like to change the name of the calendar from Mary Baldwin University, Click Advance.

Import your Blackboard Calendar into iCal

  1. Go to File > New Calendar Subscription…
  2. Then, paste the Blackboard URL into the box and click Subscribe.

My Spellcheck is misbehaving!

It’s not you, others have also experienced this. First, try another Browser. If you are having this issue in Firefox, try Chrome or Safari. If that does not fix it, then turn Spell Check off while you are typing and then turn it back on again.


How can I see instructor feedback on my Assignment?

If your professor has used inline grading, you will hover over the comment icon or the highlighted section of you assignment to see the Instructor’s feedback.

If your professor has attached a file with your feedback, you will click on the file name under “Feedback to Learner” to download or open the file.  

My notifications are incorrect!

You may notice that your “Past Due” notifications are incorrect. Or, you can’t see notifications for assessments that you know are upcoming or due. We hope this will be fixed soon, but in the meantime, your My Grades will give you the accurate information about what has been submitted and what has not been submitted.

How can I self-enroll in a course or organization?

Click on the Courses Tab and under Course Catalog or Organization Catalog click on Browse.

Browse for the course or organization either by Name or by Course ID and click on Go.
When the course or organization is displayed, hover over it and choose Enroll.

Confirm the enrollment and click on Submit. You will be enrolled in the course or organization.