Blackboard FAQ for Instructors
Making Courses Available to Students
By default, all courses created in Blackboard are initially set to be
unavailable to students. As the instructor, you have full access the course, but
your students will not see your course on their course list in Blackboard until
you make the course available. Unavailable courses can be easily identified in
your “My Courses” module as they are marked “unavailable” directly in the
To make your courses available to students, go into the control panel of the
course, then click Settings. On the page that follows, choose “Course
Availability”. Set the option to “Yes”, and then click “Submit”. Your course
will then be accessible by students.
How do I get my Blackboard username and password?
Blackboard usernames and passwords are generated automatically for full-time
instructors. Adjunct instructors are welcome to use Blackboard, but the process
is not automatic. A USI email account is necessary for creating Blackboard
credentials, so adjunct instructors need to contact their departments to make
Instructions for logging into USI Blackboard, along with username and password
information, can be found
How do I remove old courses from my Blackboard listings?
After logging into Blackboard, click the pencil icon in the upper right hand
corner. On the page that follows, you'll see that each course on your list has a
"Display Course Name" and "Display Announcements" check box next to it. Uncheck
both box for the courses you don't want on your list, then click Submit.
Do I need to request my course site be populated each term?
No, the population of term-sepcific course sites with registered students is
automatic. Simply build the course site and make it available to students.
Will students automatically get access to my course?
No. After building the course site, instructors must make course site available
to registered students via the course control panel (Settings -> Course
What kind of training is available for faculty?
Training includes information on how to develop online course content using
Blackboard, how to manage online courses, and teaching strategies for an online
learning environment. Regular workshops and project development sessions are
available. For a list of scheduled training sessions and to sign up, click
What is SafeAssignment? How does it work?
SafeAssignnemt is a tool available to you through Blackboard that compares
submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of
overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. SafeAssign can be
used to prevent plagiarism and to create opportunities to help students identify
how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.
Instructors who are interested in learning more about SafeAssignment and how it
works are encouraged to download and review the
SafeAssign Instructor's Manual. The manual contains detailed instructions on
how to set up, use, and review SafeAssignments, and also details how those
assignments are checked against the SafeAssignment database of existing works.
Am I able to have students from multiple course sections placed into a
single Blackboard course site?
Not automatically. Rosters can be copied across sections using the Course Copy
I am an adjunct faculty member. Can I use Blackboard?
Yes. All that is needed is a USI email account. Please contact your department
chair to complete the necessary paperwork with the Computer Center. Once this
email is on record, you will have access to your course sites each term. You are
also welcome to participate in any of the faculty training sessions offered this
term. Please visit
http://www.usi.edu/learning for details.
What if my course section number changes at the last minute?
If you have built a course site for a particular section, and that section
changes at the last minute, you will need to rebuild a new site. If you have
access to the old site, you can copy the information from the old site to the
new using the Course Copy feature. If you have not yet built the course site,
then there is no problem--simply build it using the new section number.
How do I reuse course site content from term to term?
Term-specific course site shells are generated each term. You will need to move
the existing content from a prior term’s course site to the new shell. This is a
quick process using the Course Copy function in the control panel.
Can I share course content with colleagues?
Yes, you can share course content with colleagues by using the Course Export and
Course Import features in Blackboard, or by enrolling colleagues into your
course site and granting them the level of access you deem appropriate
(Instructor, Course Builder, Student, etc...).
Under what circumstances are students removed from my course?
If a student is, for some reason, dropped from the course through the
Registrar's Office, then he will not be able to access the corresponding
Blackboard course site. He will not be dropped from the gradebook, however, so
once he is reinstated into your course, all grades will have been retained.
Can students or faculty change/update their email address in Blackboard?
No. Users do not have the ability to change their email information directly in
the Blackboard database. This information comes directly to Blackboard from the
Registrar’s Office/Computer Center.
Users who wish not to use their mail.usi.edu email account may forward their
mail.usi.edu email to their personal email account or usi.edu account.
Instructions for doing this are found over at the MyUSI portal. Please remind your students to forward
their email on the first day of class so that they do not miss important
messages from you and the University.
Can I submit final grades through Blackboard?
No. Online grade submission is handled through MyUSI.
What is the difference between the Digital Drop Box and Assignment
Essentially, the Digital Drop Box facilitates electronic file submission for
Blackboard. The Assignment Manager facilitates electronic submission, grading,
and return of assignments by linking with the online gradebook.
How long does Blackboard keep course statistics?
Blackboard course statistics are kept through the semester. They are purged the
business day before the start of the following term. This is done because it has
been found that an excessive amount of system statistics have caused problems
I have a student auditing one of my classes, how will (s)he be enrolled?
Audit students are special cases in that they are not processed by Banner, so
they are not automatically enrolled into your course. If they already have a USI
Blackboard account, you can manually enroll them into the course using the
“Enroll User” link in the course control panel. If the student does not yet have
a USI Blackboard account, (s)he will have to contact the Computer Center to be
given a USI username. USI Blackboard Support can then be contacted to create an
account for the user on Bb. Once the account is created, you can add the student
I have students getting disconnected from exams, what can I do?
Unfortunately, students getting disconnected from exams is part of testing over
the internet. Blackboard requires that a student's connection to the server be
stable and uninterrupted during the course of an exam. Even a brief
disconnection between the student's computer and the Blackboard server can cause
Blackboard to lock the student out of their exam. Data collected over the past
years of Blackboard use suggest that instructors can expect to see a 10%-15%
lockout rate per test given. While we cannot completely prevent this from
happening, we do offer a list of best practices that you are welcome to share
with your students to minimize their chance of getting locked out of a
- Use a wired connection to the internet. Wireless connections can be very
unstable, and even a brief loss of connectivity can lock you out of your exam.
- Close all open programs before taking an exam. Open programs may interfere with
your connection to Blackboard, resulting in a lockout.
- Close all background programs that connect to the internet. Programs running in
the background that connect to the internet, such as Limewire, iTunes, etc...
may cause your secure connection to Blackboard to be lost, resulting in a
- As you take an exam, keep track of your answers outside of Blackboard. This way,
if your connection is lost, you still have your answers and can easily re-enter
them when your test is reset.
- If you are on a home network that others are using, try taking your exam at a
time when your network is being lighty used by others. If some other computer,
video game console, or consumer electronics product with wireless capabilites is
heavily utilizing the network, then you may lose your connection to Blackboard,
resulting in a lockout.
Who can I contact for additional Blackboard support?
If you have any questions concerning Blackboard that are not covered here,
please email USI Blackboard Support at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to speak to a support technician, you can
call (812) 465-1080 during normal USI business hours (8am-4:30pm,