University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Known Issues in Blackboard Learn (Release 9.1)

Message from the UVM Blackboard Administrator:

You may encounter a few issues with Blackboard as you use it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. This page lists the issues we're aware of and their status. We encourage you to report any occurrences of these issues to us so we can communicate them to the Blackboard vendor (see how to report, below).

You can subscribe to these issues with the RSS reader of your choice.

Known Issues:

  1. Missing/Hidden Blog and Journal Entries
  2. Wimba Pronto / Bb IM unavailable
  3. Copy and Paste issues in Bb text editor
  4. Missing scroll bars in the Grade Center on Mac OSX
  5. YouTube embedded videos (and other embedded content) not appearing
  6. Reordering course list, grade center items in Firefox – overlapping items, items fly off screen
  7. Emails sent from announcement tool may contain HTML tags in message body
  8. Emails sent from grade center arrive without message body
  9. “Alignment” settings appearing in various areas of course
  10. Respondus connection issues
  11. Red error message on login
  12. Student name not appearing in Grade Center
  13. Wiki content does not copy over or import
  14. Problems deleting announcements
  15. Opening a PDF shows a “missing plugin” error
  16. Guests cannot access uploaded files (401 error)
  17. Domain administrators cannot enroll NetID accounts outside of their domain
  18. Pronto contacts not listed
  19. Students with the same First and Last name are indistinguishable
  20. Problems downloading attachements from blog/journal entries
  21. Tools or buttons are missing or unavailable
  22. Discussion board text overlaps when viewing threads in “maximized view”
  23. Problems editing or creating Grade Center Smart Views when groups in course exist with special characters in their titles
  24. “Not Implemented” error appearing after instructor enters a course
  25. Problems downloading assignments from the Grade Center
  26. Inconsistent Font Formatting Problems in Bb Text Boxes

Resolved Issues:

These issues have been marked as resolved. If you are still experiencing problems, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu.

  1. Assessments causing NullPointerException errors (resolved)
  2. Linked text created in text areas is not underlined (resolved)
  3. Intermittent delays in page loads, application performance (resolved)
  4. Students unable to see menu links to course tools such as Discussion Board, My Grades (resolved)
  5. “My Calendar” module has been turned off (resolved)
  6. Importing a course package larger than 250MB fails (resolved)
  7. Students being logged out of Blackboard prematurely; errors during exams (resolved)
  8. Unable to download student tracking reports from performance dashboard (resolved)
  9. Assessments become inaccessible after end date if no start date was specified (resolved)
  10. Occasional disappearing menu items (resolved)

Known Issues:

  1. Missing/Hidden Blog and Journal Entries

    Problem:  The new layout of the blog and journal interface that is presented by default to instructors makes it look like there are no entries.

    Solution:  Clicking on the arrows on either side of the instructor’s name in he grey column on the right will show other user’s entries.  Also clicking on your name in the grey column will show a list of other user’s posts.  These screenshots illustrate the buttons needed to click to see student blog posts:

    blog_journal_entries

  2. Wimba Pronto / Bb IM unavailable

    Problem: Blackboard IM (formerly Wimba Pronto) is unavailable on this version of Bb due to a bug in the plugin tool.

    There is no workaround for this issue. We are waiting for a patch from Bb, but have been given no timeline for when this might be available.

  3. Copy and Paste issues in Bb text editor

    Problem: Copying from within the text editor, then attempting to paste back into the editor, results in text not being pasted (nothing happens).

    While we are waiting on a patch for this from Bb, we have been provided with the following workaround in Firefox:

    1. Type “about:config” into the address bar. You’ll see a warning about violating warranty, please ignore that and continue.

    2. Type in “clipboardevents”.

    3. Double click the search result item to toggle value from “true” to “false”

    You may need to restart your browser in order for this to take effect.

  4. Missing scroll bars in the Grade Center on Mac OSX

    Problem: Scroll bars do not appear in the Grade Center.  This occurs on some browsers in Mac OSX, including FireFox and Safari.

    Solution:  Scroll bars can be re-enabled system wide by going into System Preferences -> General, and set “Show scroll bars” to “Always”.

    General System preferences

    General System preferences

    change scroll bar visibility

    change scroll bar visibility

  5. YouTube embedded videos (and other embedded content) not appearing

    Problem: Embedded YouTube videos and similar content are not displaying in some browsers.  This is due to a change in how browsers display non-encrypted content (http) inside of an encrypted environment (https).

    Solution: Here is a description for students (and instructors) for how to temporarily view embedded files that appear blank in Firefox:

    1. If upon entering a course or content area that appears to have a blank video, look in the browser’s address bar for a grey “shield” icon.
    2. Click that icon, bringing up a dialog box.
    3. Click on the down arrow next to the “Keep Blocking” button, and select “Disable Protection on This Page”.

    This is a short term solution.  Here are some steps on how to make sure that students have access to the videos, both in the short term and the long term.

    1. Edit the embed code so that all links in the code start with “https://”, and not “http://”.
    2. Post the URL as a link to the video’s YouTube page in addition to the embedded video.  By always providing a link to the original video in addition to embedding it, there’s a better chance that any students having connection or browser issues (i.e. attempting to load the videos in various unsupported mobile browsers) will be able to access the video directly. This also provides some context, so instead of just seeing the blank area where the video will be, the students will see that a) it’s a video link, and b) where to go to try to launch it in a different environment.
    3. If the videos are owned by you (i.e. the instructor) or UVM, consider using the UVM supported Media Manager tool. This will make things a bit easier to support, and will be more likely to retain some stability and support over time.
    4. Newer browsers may not support older embed code. Try re-embedding the video by going to the YouTube page for the video and copying the code under the embed option, then pasting it back into your course item.

     

  6. Reordering course list, grade center items in Firefox – overlapping items, items fly off screen

    Problem: Attempting to reorder items while managing the course list and grade center results in overlapping items, and/or the items do not appear to go where placed.

    Solution:  This is a known bug in Bb, which we are waiting on a fix for.  In the meantime, you can use the reorder button (a grey box with an up/down arrow set, above the list) to manage list order.

     

    re-order items in grade center

     

    reorder button

  7. Emails sent from announcement tool may contain HTML tags in message body

    Problem:  When creating announcements and checking the “send email” box, the resulting email message body may contain HTML tags.  This has been confirmed to occur when using “Smart Text” with the text editor off, but may happen with the visual editor as well.

    Solution: There is no solution available at this time, however Bb has indicated that this is resolved in a future release.  The workaround is currently to avoid using HTML formatting where possible when creating announcements that need to be sent as emails.

  8. Emails sent from grade center arrive without message body

    Problem:  When sending an email to selected students from the grade center, and including a BCC or CC address, the message body arrives empty.

    Solution:  There is no resolution for this issue at this time. Blackboard has indicated that this is fixed in the next version of blackboard.  The workaround when sending email from the Grade Center is to turn the Text Editor OFF, and not use BCC option or Include list of recipients option.

  9. “Alignment” settings appearing in various areas of course

    Problem: Settings appear in tool creation and other areas (such as when creating a Discussion Board forum) that pertain to an “Alignments” function.  However, these alignments settings don’t do anything.

    Solution: Fields referencing “Alignments” can be ignored – they are remnants of a Blackboard feature that is not currently being deployed (but which is being evaluated).  Their presence has been identified as a bug, which is fixed in the next release of Blackboard.

  10. Respondus connection issues

    Problem:  Respondus 4.x no longer connects to bb.uvm.edu.

    Solution:  Download and install the 4.0.5.04 Campus Wide patch.

  11. Red error message on login

    Problem: Some users have reported problems when logging in, noting that a large red error message is displayed. This has been documented as happening after logging into Bb from myUVM, then logging out of Bb from Bb. Attempting to log in via Bb directly produces the error.

    Solution: Clearing the browser’s cookies and cache, then restarting the browser has been identified as a possible solution, as has logging in with another browser. Alternatively, going back to myUVM and logging in to Bb from within myUVM also works.

  12. Student name not appearing in Grade Center

    Problem:  Increasing the font size in some versions of Firefox causes the last name in the Grade Center to disappear from view (the student is still in the course, just not visible in the Grade Center).

    Solution:  This is resolved in a future version of Blackboard.  In the meantime reducing the font size or clicking on the “Screen reader” link above the Grade Center will reveal the hidden student.

  13. Wiki content does not copy over or import

    Problem:  Wiki content copied or imported into a course will not appear after the copy/import process.

    There is no solution for this issue. We are waiting on a fix from Blackboard. In the meantime, the workaround is to manually copy and paste the content into the new course.

  14. Problems deleting announcements

    Problem:  Attempting to delete announcements imported from old courses results in an error similar to ” ORA-01407: cannot update (“BB_BB60″.”ANNOUNCEMENTS”.”ORDER_NUM”) to NULL”.

    Solution:  Re-ordering the announcement before deleting it should allow it to be deleted.

  15. Opening a PDF shows a “missing plugin” error

    Update:  This will still show an error, however users will now see a link at the top of the page that allows them to download the PDF:

    Opening an embedded PDF in Firefox - click on the link at the top.

    Problem: Students clicking on a PDF that has been added to a course using the File command (see image) are presented with a grey screen and an error message that refers to a “missing plugin”. This has been reported on various browsers on Apple computers, including Firefox and Safari.

    Solution

    Faculty: Here’s how to make sure your PDF’s are accessible to your students.

    1. Click the grey chevron drop-down menu button next to the file name and choose Edit (you must be in “edit mode” to do this).
    2. Scroll to the option to “Open in New Window” and click Yes.
    3. Submit.

    Students: If you are experiencing this problem, click on the link at the top of the page to download the PDF and open it on your computer.

  16. Guests cannot access uploaded files (401 error)

    Problem: Guests cannot access files in a course, and are prompted with a login box followed by 401 “forbidden” error after trying to access the files. This occurs for files that have been uploaded to a course after May 22nd 2011.

    Solution: To make a file available to guests,

    1. Click on the grey chevron button next to the file name, and choose “Edit”.
    2. Click on “Select a Different File”. (see image)
    3. Click on “Browse Course”. (see image)
    4. Check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box. (see image)
    5. Select the file from the list, and click on “Submit”.
    6. Click on “Submit” to complete the process.

    To prevent this from happening with newly uploaded files,

    1. Upload a file to the “Files” area before putting it in a content area
    2. Then add the file to the content area by choosing Build -> File, not Build -> Item
    3. Be sure to select Browse Course, and check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box when selecting the file.

    This is an identified bug that is fixed in the next version of Blackboard. There is no patch available for the current version.

  17. Domain administrators cannot enroll NetID accounts outside of their domain

    Domain administrators can no longer enroll users into a course in a domain that doesn’t include those users in it’s collection. hen entering the NetID to enroll, an error is displayed:

    courseenrol.validate.user.not.in.domain

    This is being escalated to Blackboard, and we are waiting on a solution.  In the meantime, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you need to enroll users in a domain-based course or organization.

  18. Pronto contacts not listed

    Some users have reported that when signing into the Pronto chat application on their computer, they don’t see contacts listed for classes that are using Pronto.

    Below are some steps that have been identified as a possible workaround to this issue.

    • Sign into Blackboard
    • Go to the course
    • Click on the Pronto Chat Tool menu item (if this is not there, contact your instructor)
    • Then click on the Go to Pronto link (it may open up a new browser window)
    • Choose I already have pronto account (or, if this is your first time, create a Pronto account)
    • Sign in with your pronto ID
    • Unfold the list of courses you are taking so you can see the course listed there.
    • Start up Pronto on your computer

     

  19. Students with the same First and Last name are indistinguishable

    Students with the same first and last names within a course are indistinguishable in areas such as the discussion board, groups management, messages, and email.  This is a long standing bug in Blackboard, for which we are awaiting a resolution.

  20. Problems downloading attachements from blog/journal entries

    Problem: There is an identified bug that prevents downloading attached files from a blog/journal post.  This only happens if the file has a title with special (non-alphanumeric) characters in it.

    Solution:  The author of the post can rename the file so it only contains letters and numbers, and then re-attach (re-upload) the file.

  21. Tools or buttons are missing or unavailable

    Problem: Tools or buttons (e.g. the “Build” button in a Course Materials area) in a course appear to be missing or non-existent.

    Solution: Go to Control Panel -> Customization -> Tool Availability, and make sure checkboxes are checked for the tool in question. Submit the form.

  22. Discussion board text overlaps when viewing threads in “maximized view”

    When viewing a discussion board thread with a significant number of entries, the text overlaps with the entry listing, causing the entry to be difficult or impossible to read.

    This is an identified bug. A resolution has not been identified yet for a future release. To prevent this from happening in the meantime, switch out of “maximize” view when viewing threaded discussions. This can be achieved by clicking the “minimize” button to the upper right of the discussion thread:

  23. Problems editing or creating Grade Center Smart Views when groups in course exist with special characters in their titles

    This is a known issue – a fix is expected in the next release. In the meantime, the workaround is to edit group titles so that they only contain alpha numeric characters (letters, spaces, and numbers).

  24. “Not Implemented” error appearing after instructor enters a course

    This is a known issue – a fix is expected in the next release. The error is related to the Course Groups feature and begins when an instructor (or anyone) is listed in more than 10 groups.

  25. Problems downloading assignments from the Grade Center

    Instructors have reported problems downloading assignment files from the grade center. This problem will occurr if the assignment has a title with special (non-alphanumeric) characters in it.

    Solution: To resolve this error, rename the assignment so that it has no characters other than letters and numbers (i.e. no #’s, &’s, etc). As always when making changes to your course, please remember to save a backup first.

  26. Inconsistent Font Formatting Problems in Bb Text Boxes

    Update: You can now place content copied from word using the “Paste From Word” Mashup.  Find out how.

    Sometimes, when text is copied from MSWord into a Bb text box, e.g., a content item, it may have uneven formatting. For instance, paragraph text or spacing may be at different sizes and difficult to reformat.

    This is because the text from MS Word contains hidden formatting code that often conflicts with Bb. (While this also happened with the previous version of Bb, it seems to be occurring more frequently in Bb9.)

    There are a couple of solutions to controlling the text format.

    The most simple solution is to skip MSWord, altogether. Instead, type your text in a plain text editor such as NotePad (in Windows) or TextEdit (in Mac) with no formatting. Then, paste this into the Bb text box and format it with the Bb formatting tools, such as bold, italics, and bullets, seen in image below.

    If you have to use MSWord, just know that if you paste that text directly into Bb, you may have formatting problems. The only way to fix them is to “clean” your text of its hidden formatting code (see below) and then re-format it again using the Bb format tools.

    The Method for “Cleaning” Text is different for Windows and Mac Users

    Windows Users:
    Open the program, Notepad. (This is installed on all Windows computers) Copy the desired text from your MSWord document (.doc or .docx) and paste it into Notepad. Notepad doesn’t retain that hidden formatting code, so it’s essentially “cleaned.” Now, highlight and copy the text from Notepad and paste it into your Bb text box. Use the Bb formatting tools to create a finished page.
    Mac Users:
    Open the program, TextEdit. (This is installed on all Mac computers, found in Applications.) Before anything else, you’ll need to change one of the TextEdit preferences.Follow these steps (shown in this illustration)
    1) Click Preferences   2) Choose Plain Text    3) Close Preferences

    Now, copy the desired text from your MSWord document (.doc or .docx) and paste it into TextEdit. This effectively “cleans” the text of the unwanted, hidden code. Then, highlight and copy the text from TextEdit and paste it into your Bb text box. Use the Bb formatting tools to create a finished page.


Resolved Issues:

  1. Assessments causing NullPointerException errors (resolved)

    This has been resolved.  If you continue to see this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu as soon as possible.

    Problem: Deploying an assessment in a content area displays a “NullPointerException”. The test can be seen and previewed when edit mode is off, but no other content in the content area is visible. Further, attempting to access the “Tests” or “Surveys” area of the “Tests, Surveys and Pools” section of a course displays a similar error.

    We are working directly with Blackboard to find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, please note the following work-arounds:

    • Students can still access and submit deployed exams. Results of these exams can be graded and feedback provided via the Grade Center and My Grades, respectively.
    • Tests can still be deployed, just not in areas where another test is currently deployed.
    • Deployed tests/quizzes can be edited by going into the grade center, clicking on the grey icon next to the column name for the test, and choosing “Edit Test”. From there instructors can add/edit the questions, or edit the options by selecting from the grey button to the right of the test name in the edit test screen.
    • Content that shares a content area with a deployed assessment will be inaccessible to the instructor, however students may in some cases be able to access that content.
    • Instructors can access sub-folders that exist in the same area as a deployed test by clicking the folder icon at the top of the course menu and navigating from there.

    To deploy a new tests, deploying each test in its own folder will allow tests to be delivered to students without interfering with instructor access to the rest of the content areas. For example, one might create a new content area on the left hand menu entitled “Quizzes 2″, and structure it like so:

    • Quiz 1 Folder
    • …..> Quiz 1 (inside Quiz 1 folder)
    • Quiz 2 Folder
    • …..> Quiz 2 (inside Quiz 2 folder)

     

  2. Linked text created in text areas is not underlined (resolved)

    This has been resolved.  Please report any further problems to blackboard@uvm.edu.

    Links created in the visual text box editor in Blackboard display with no underline and in some themes are not differentiated by color.  A patch is forthcoming from Blackboard, however a temporary fix is being pursued to address this in the short term.

  3. Intermittent delays in page loads, application performance (resolved)

    This issue has been resolved.  If you continue to experience these symptoms, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu to report them.

    Problem:  Users have reported sporadic delays in page loads.

    Solution:  ETS has identified a possible cause for these performance issues and is working to apply a solution. Users who experience these problems should attempt to log out and then log back in again. There is no other workaround identified at this time.

  4. Students unable to see menu links to course tools such as Discussion Board, My Grades (resolved)

    This issue has been resolved.  Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if the problem persists.

    Problem:  Menu items for certain course tools do not appear for students, even when they are shown as available and visible to the instructor while edit mode is “Off”.

    Solution:  We are waiting on a bug fix for this from Blackboard.  In the meantime, instructors can make sure these tools are available to students by following these steps:

    1. Click the green “+” button at the top of the course Menu, and select “Add tool link”
    2. Enter “Tools Area” in the name box, and select “Tools Area” from the list.  Click Submit.
    3. Click on the new Tools Area link on the course menu.
    4. If a tool is hidden, it will have “Show Link” next to it.  Click the “Show Sink” button next to it to ensure it’s available to students.

     

  5. “My Calendar” module has been turned off (resolved)

    This has been resolved, and the Calendar tool has once again been made available.

    Due to a critical bug in the Calendar module, this tool has been turned off.  A fix for the bug is expected in the next release of Blackboard, but a timeline is not available for when this will be patched.

    The normal course calendar tools should work as expected.

  6. Importing a course package larger than 250MB fails (resolved)

    When trying to import an archive or export file, an error is displayed and the process fails if the file is larger than 250MB.  This is a known bug that is resolved in 9.1.  In the meantime, contact blackboard@uvm.edu to request the file be restored manually by an administrator.

  7. Students being logged out of Blackboard prematurely; errors during exams (resolved)

    UPDATE: A fix has been put in place to address a Blackboard bug that caused users to be prematurely logged out of the system. Additionally, a fix has been applied to prevent Blackboard from logging a user out when their myUVM session ends. If you are experiencing these problems and it has not been resolved after 24 hours, please contact blackboard support at blackboard@uvm.edu, and include the information described below.

    Errors encountered during tests and quizzes might include messages when saving answers indicating that the answer could not be saved, or a warning when submitting an exam which erroneously suggests that a number of questions had not been answered.

    Blackboard has also suggested that for longer exams (i.e. around 50 questions or more), the exam be delivered one question at a time, and to uncheck the “Force Completion” setting in the test options. This is to prevent the application from being overloaded, and to prevent user’s sessions from timing out.

    If you continue to see this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu with the following information:

    • The NetID of the student that experienced the problem
    • Specific description of the behavior that was encountered
    • Any error messages the student might have seen while experiencing the problem (in as much detail as possible)
    • The date and time that the problem/error occurred (as specific as possible)
  8. Unable to download student tracking reports from performance dashboard (resolved)

    This should be resolved at this time. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience this problem.

  9. Assessments become inaccessible after end date if no start date was specified (resolved)

    Instructors are prevented from re-opening their tests after the end date has passed, if they didn’t originally check the start date box. Blackboard now recognizes this as a bug, and software fix (a “patch”) may be available soon.

    UPDATE: A fix has been put in place at the system level to correct this problem as it occurs. If you are experiencing this problem and it has not been resolved after 24 hours, please contact blackboard support at blackboard@uvm.edu, and include the 5-digit CRN of the course containing the assessment.

    Important: If you are using a date restriction on the test availability (such as the “Display Until” feature), you must have BOTH the “Display After” and the “Display Until” boxes checked. The error seems to happen when only an end date (Display Until) is checked, but the start date (Display After) is not.

  10. Occasional disappearing menu items (resolved)

    This has been resolved.  If you continue to encounter this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu.

    We have received reports of inconsistent course menu behavior where links on the menu will simply disappear and reappear. We (and other institutions) have submitted this problem to Blackboard. They are aware of the problem, and are researching the cause and a solution. In the meantime, a work-around that has been effective is switching to “Folder View” for the course menu. See a screenshot and directions.

    This is a most troublesome (and elusive) issue and we are trying to provide Blackboard with additional information regarding this problem. If you are experiencing this issue with your course menu, please fill out this brief form.

    Please include the following information:

    • The 5-Digit CRN of the course you are seeing the issue happening in
    • Date and time of the occurrence.

Reporting Problems to UVM Blackboard Support

If you experience any of these issues, please help us track and report them by filling out this form: http://www.uvm.edu/ctl/blackboard/bblearn-feedback/

We appreciate your help in documenting problems with Blackboard and we are working with them to resolve these issues as soon as possible. If you have other issues you would like us to know about, please email blackboard@uvm.edu.

The CTL's Doctor Is In program

Please also note that the CTL's Doctor Is In program is available for drop-in support if you would like help with on your Blackboard course. Availability and contact information for the Doctorr Is In program is at: http://www.uvm.edu/ctl/dr/

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