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CTLT Mission

Last Updated: September 10, 2010

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Blackboard Tips

Requesting Blackboard Supplemental Shells (1/11/11)

Face-to-face courses are given a My Courses (a.k.a. MyWCC) shell by default as a place where instructors may post syllabi and handouts. If you would like a Blackboard shell instead, you will need to request it using the Blackboard Shell Request form. Currently this form is available within mywcc on the Faculty tab in the Quick Links portlet. A direct link is available below.

On January 27th, this form will move to the Faculty tab on MyWCC under Quick Links.


After you have placed the request, it will take one to two business days for the shell to show up.


Blackboard shells for face-to-face courses must be requested again for each new semester. (Blackboard shells for fully online courses are created for you automatically.) Training is offered by the CTLT on how to set up a supplemental shell. Please check the course schedule for details. The schedule is available online at


Blackboard Student Resources (02/09/15)

The purpose of this tip is to highlight the Blackboard resources that are available to your students. In Blackboard, students may use the “Online Support for Students” link to access resources. The link is available on the course menu of every course shell in Blackboard. Here students will find: Blackboard guides and video tutorials, computer and system requirements and tips for becoming a successful online student. Students will also find the contact information and hours for the Online Learning office.

Blackboard resources are also available to students in mywcc under the “Online Support for Students” portlet located on the Student tab. Here students can also chat live with the Online Learning staff and request Blackboard training.


Course copies for Spring courses (11/10/10)

Shells for all Spring online or self-paced, open-entry courses have now been created. If you are teaching an online or self-paced, open-entry course this Spring and would like to copy over one of your shells, you can now do so. There is a job aid on the CTLT Blackboard Resources Page that describes the process. Here is a link to it.


I would also be happy to assist you with this task, either over the phone or in person.


Please remember that if you are using Blackboard as a supplement to a face-to-face course or two-way course you must request a shell yourself. There is a link called "Blackboard Shell Request" within mywcc on the Faculty tab in the Quick Links portlet where you can do this or you can just click on the following link.


Please contact me if you are teaching an online course and do not yet have a shell. For self-paced, open-entry courses which do not have a shell, you may contact Distance Learning.


Student Test Accounts (11/2/10)

As was the case with WebCT, it is sometimes useful in Blackboard to be able to see a shell the same way a student sees it. Blackboard does provide the Edit mode switch that, when turned off, provides a view of the content which is close to what a student sees. However, there are some differences. For example, it is not possible to see what My Grades looks like.


As a result, we are making a student test account available to all instructors who are using Blackboard for an online class. You may enroll this account in any shell for which you are an instructor and then login as that account and to get a student view. Each instructor has his or her own account which is based on the name of the instructor (initial of first name + last name). The attached job aid tells you how to enroll and use your student test account. What is not mentioned is the password for the account. The password can be obtained by contacting Guy Starner at ext. 2936 or TAC at ext. 4357..


If for some reason you do not have an account, please contact TAC (x4357) to request one. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the use of the account.


Email Notifications (10/19/10)
The ability to receive course notifications via Waubonsee email was recently enabled in Blackboard. Both instructors and students may choose to receive email when any of the notification events below occur. Emails may be enabled for one or more courses at a time. The attached job aid describes how to set up email notifications.

NOTIFICATION EVENT LIST (Ones marked with an * may be most useful to instructors)

Announcement Available
Assignment Available
Assignment Due
Assignment Past Due
Assignment Submitted*
Content Item Available
Course and Organization Available
Early Warning System Rule Details
Item Due
Survey Available
Survey Due
Survey Overdue
Survey Submitted*
Test Available
Test Due
Test Overdue
Test Submitted*
Supported Browser and Java versions (10/18/10)

The Blackboard Learning Management System is a web-based application. This means that you can access it through a wide variety of web browsers. However, Blackboard only officially supports a specific set of browsers and browser versions which is different for each operating system. Each time a new release of Blackboard comes out, this list is updated based upon testing that Blackboard does with the browser versions that are current at that time.


Waubonsee is currently using Blackboard 9.0 Service Pack 4. The browsers that are supported with this release are:


For Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7
Internet Explorer 7 (Windows XP and Vista only) and 8

Firefox 3.5 and 3.6


For Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6
Firefox 3.5 and 3.6
Safari 3.2 (Mac OS X 10.5 only) and 4.0

Note that Google Chrome, Opera, Safari on Windows, and Internet Explorer on Mac OS are not officially supported.


If you are using an unsupported browser it may still work. However, if you are having a problem with the behavior of the buttons or appearance of your shell, you may be able to resolve your problem by switching to a supported browser. Furthermore, if you are having problems with Internet Explorer, switching to Firefox may solve your problem.



Blackboard also makes use of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). This version of Blackboard is compatible with Java 6 Update 13 or later. In addition, if you display PDF files in your course, you and your students will need the latest version of Adobe Reader and if you use audio or video files you and your students will need the latest version of the Adobe Flash player.


For Internet Explorer on Windows
  1. Start up Internet Explorer and click somewhere in the browser window
  2. Hold the Alt key down and then hit H
  3. Click on "About Internet Explorer"
  4. The browser version will appear after the words "Internet Explorer"
For Firefox on Windows
  1. Start up Firefox and click somewhere in the browser window
  2. Hold down the Alt key and then hit H
  3. Click on "About Mozilla Firefox"
  4. The browser version will be listed below the word "Firefox"
For Safari on Mac OS
  1. Open your Safari web browser by clicking on the Safari icon in the dock.
  2. Click on "Safari" in your Safari menu, located at the top of your screen.
  3. A drop-down menu will now appear. Choose the option labeled "About Safari"
  4. A dialog box will now appear containing the browser's version number. The first number, located outside of the parenthesis, is the actual version of Safari.
For Firefox on Mac OS
  1. Open the Firefox web browser by clicking on the Firefox icon in the doc.
  2. Click on "Firefix" in the Firefox menu, located at the top of your screen.
  3. A drop-down menu will now appear. Choose the option labeled "About Mozilla Firefox".
  4. A dialog box will now appear containing the browser's version number below the word "Firefox".
In Microsoft Windows
  1. Click on your Start button then click on the Control Panel
  2. Double click on the Java icon
  3. Click on the "About ..." button
  4. The Java version and update appear below the red Java logo.


In Mac OS
  1. Click on the Go menu at the top of the screen.
  2. Click on Applications
  3. Double click on the Utilities folder
  4. Double click on Java Preferences
  5. Look at the list of checkmarked items under "Java Applet Plugin". The first of these will contain your Java version, e.g., "Java SE 6" is version 6.
  6. To find the update number, click on the checkmarked item and then click Options. Yhe number appearing after the 1.6 is your update number.