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Blackboard Known Issues

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Top issues

Maximized display window
Sometimes when a course site opens the display window is maximized, making it appear that the course site only has one area of content. To access other areas of the site, click on the arrow icon (located on the left side of the screen) to reduce the size of the display window.
Cookies and Learning Objects wikis and blogs
The blog and wiki tools are hosted by a third-party vendor and require cookies be enabled in order for the single sign-on access between Blackboard and the tools to work.
The safest way to enable access to the blog and wiki tools is to add an exception for
Firefox (Mac): Under Firefox > Preferences > Privacy, if "Use custom settings for history" is selected, you will need to make a change to access the blogs and wikis.
  • Option A: Click on Exceptions and add
  • Option B: Check the box for "Accept third-party cookies"
Firefox (PC): Under Tools > Options
  • Option A: Click on Exceptions and add
  • Option B: Check the box for "Accept third-party cookies"
Internet Explorer: Third-party cookies do not need to be specifically enabled. When prompted to show only secure content, choose "No" to allow the Learning Objects tool to be displayed.
Google Chrome:
  • Wrench > Settings > Show Advanced Settings
  • Under Privacy, click on Content Settings
  • Choose "Manage exceptions ..." under Cookies
  • Add
There is not a good way to add exceptions in Safari, so until we can investigate further, please suggest users try another browser.
Pasting from Word and the Visual Text Editor
Pasting text from Microsoft Word, the Internet or other programs can create unwanted formatting issues. For the best results, we recommend typing text directly into Blackboard or pasting text from a Text Editor like Wordpad, Notepad, or TextEdit since these programs do not carry over any formatting.
There also are a few issues with the functionality of the Visual Text Editor itself. When you click on the text box to enter text, the cursor can become stuck, preventing you from writing in the editor. To resolve this issue, click your mouse outside of the browser window and then click the text box again. Additionally, formatting, fonts, and line breaks may appear inconsistent in different browsers.
Bb Mobile Learn App
Beginning September 17, Blackboard will be discontinuing the free Blackboard Mobile Learn app and transitioning to a paid access model.
The Blackboard Mobile Learn app will be available for users of iOS and Android devices on any network for a fee of $1.99/yr or $5.99 for unlimited use. This change to a paid mobile app does not include any additional features or functionality. More information about the app is available from Blackboard.
If a student was originally registered for a course but then drops it, when the course is dropped the student's account in the course site is not deleted, but, instead, is disabled to preserve any student-related data (i.e. Gradebook info).
This disabled state is confusing because it cannot be seen or changed by an instructor or TA, only by a system administrator. In this situation send an email to, and we can resolve the issue for you.
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More known issues

Blog and journal tools in groups
Both the journal and the blog tools have been disabled system-wide in Groups. To avoid confusion, we recommend unchecking the boxes for blogs and journals when setting up Groups. Leaving this box checked will result in an "add entry" button for a blog or journal, but, when a user clicks on that button, an error message is produced and denied access to the tool is denied.
If you wish to set up journals or blogs limited to members of a group, we recommend doing this through the blog tool.
Browser compatibility
Please see this table of supported Internet browsers and technologies for the Blackboard 9.1 application.
Document opening and printing problems with Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft Office 2010
A known issue for Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft Office 2010 is that, after clicking on the URL and selecting "Open" for an Office document, the user is prompted to re- authenticate with a PennKey. After re-authentication, the document will open; however it will open in "Protected Mode," which prevents the user from editing or printing the document.
We are working with Blackboard to troubleshoot this issue, and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.
As a workaround, we recommend using Firefox to access and print documents in Blackboard or using the following instructions when using Internet Explorer.
  1. Click on the URL for the document you wish to view and print.
  2. In the pop-up window, select "Save" instead of "Open" and download the file to your computer.
  3. Open the saved file; in the yellow "Protected View" bar across the top of the document, click on the button for "Enable Editing."
  4. Then go to File > Print to print out a copy of the document.
Emailing announcements
When a course site has a colon (:) in the course title, announcement emails cannot be sent and attempts to use this tool result in the message "Success: Announcement created. Email could not be sent."
To resolve this issue, go to Control Panel > Customization > Properties > 1) Name and Description > Course Name and remove any colons from the course title. Once this character has been removed from the course title, sending announcements via email will work normally.
Grade Center uploads with Excel 2008
Using the Work Offline functions results in an error when you try to upload the .xls from a Mac. To ensure the document can be re-uploaded into your Grade Center, edit the last-name column header (cell A1) by removing the extra characters.
Opening PDFs and WMV files using Safari 5.0
A number of users have reported problems accessing PDFs and WMV files from Blackboard using Safari 5.0.x. Blackboard's investigation was inconclusive.
  • Users who encounter problems accessing files using Safari should try another browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox or upgrade to Safari 5.1.
  • Users who do not have the option of upgrading to Safari 5.1 should enable Rosetta or open Safari in 32-bit mode. To enable these options, go to your Applications folder, Control-Click on Safari and choose "Get Info" (also available from the File menu).
Uploading multiple files via the Course Files Utility
Recently we found that an error is generated if an instructor attempts to upload multiple files at the same time via the Course Files Utility in the Control Panel. This issue will not be resolved until a future release of Blackboard, so the "multiple files" option has been disabled system wide. Only single-file uploads are now possible in the Course Files Utility.
Using Wimba in Firefox on Mac OS 10.5
Computers running Mac OS 10.5 may encounter errors when using Firefox 8 or higher to access the Wimba Voice Tools.

Firefox 3.6 is the only supported version of this browser, so we recommend that 10.5 users roll back to 3.6 or use Safari to access Wimba Voice tools.
Viewing My Grades from the Penn Courseweb tab
There have been issues reported with the View Grades tool on the Welcome page. Until this problem is resolved, we recommend that students access grades for each course individually by going into a specific course site and selecting Course Tools > My Grades to view their grades for that class.
Virtual Classroom Text Tool
In the Virtual Classroom, the Text Tool is half hidden but usable in both Safari and Firefox on Mac operating systems.
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Things that don't work as you expect

Uploading grades into the Grade Center
In classes of significant size, uploading multiple columns of grades into the Grade Center can produce error messages. The workaround for this problem is to upload grades one column at a time until all the grades have been added to the Grade Center.
Group assignments & group grading
By creating groups and then a group assignment, an instructor can grade one submission and that grade will populate automatically to all other group members in the Grade Center. For more information on creating groups and group assignments, please see our documentation.
However, with group assignments, all members of the group can see any submissions made to Blackboard. So this tool should not be used for situations where, although a class is divided into groups to work on an assignment (like lab groups), each member will submit a final product and be graded individually.
Hiding assignment columns in the grade center
When an instructor hides the column for an assignment in the Grade Center, preventing students from accessing their grades through this tool, they can still access any grades/feedback through the Assignment Submission Tool. We have put in an enhancement request to improve this feature, but as a workaround we recommend making the Assignment "unavailable" prior to grading or using the date restrictions tool to ensure grades are hidden.

Lightweight Chat and Virtual Classroom
Due to the inconsistent behavior of these tools, we do not consider them to be fully supported and would caution instructors not to rely on them for scheduled class use.
Some schools subscribe to other programs with virtual classroom and chat capabilities, so instructors interested in using virtual collaboration tools should contact their Local Support Providers for further assistance.
Roster viewing
Pulling up the roster of students in your Blackboard site isn't very intuitive. When you click on Tools > Roster the default page reports "No Users."
  • This happens because you need to do a search in order to pull up the roster.
  • Furthermore, to pull up your full roster you need to change the "Contains" field to the "Not Blank" option and then press Search.
  • It is also important to note that this search tool is case sensitive in case you are searching for a specific user.
For screenshots of this process, please see our documentation .
Safari download window
If the Download window is already open in Safari, it may appear as though the file is not downloading because the download window runs in the background and is not called to the front in the same way as it is in Firefox. The Download window can be found under the Window menu or by using the shortcut Option-Command-L.