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St. Louis Community College - Blackboard - Faculty Information and Updates

Blackboard Information and Updates

Dear Colleague:

Migration to Blackboard 5.5 is now complete. There have been some changes in the current procedure for enrolling students in your course, see the new enrollment procedure below. We will attempt to keep you up to date regarding any new issues that are seen in using Blackboard 5. The purpose of this publication is to inform you of these processes and other information to keep you current on What’s up with Blackboard.

Logging on to Blackboard

If you are not currently using BB and would like to get a sneak preview of what your colleagues have done, just go to  Click on Course Catalog

You can view courses that allow guest access by clicking on Preview


To view the course catalog, click on any course in the course catalog and you can view the course as a guest . This is a good way to see examples of course designs you can emulate in your own course.

New Course Request

To start a new course in Blackboard, simply submit the form like the one below to your Blackboard coordinator. Your course will be created and you will be notified. Once a course shell has been created, you will be ready to add content.

Go to Blackboard New Course Request Form

New Way to Configure a Course ID

The following format will be used to create your course ID number:

Department &course number - section (optional) - instructor - campus

PHY504 003 RTracy 06

Campus is denoted by 06(MC), 05( FV), or 04( FP)

Note that the year and semester have been deleted, making the course recyclable semester after semester by simply deleting parts of the course such as (students) and enrolling new students. Putting the section number is optional and should only be used if the instructor wants different sections of the same course.

Training Opportunities

All three campuses offer training on using a variety of tools within Blackboard. You are welcome to sign up for any of these sessions, regardless of where you teach. We highly recommend that you take at least an overview class before you begin using BB. To see the on-line list of training classes offered go to:

Florissant Valley - Center for Teaching and Learning

Meramec - Center for Support of Teaching and Learning

Forest Park - Staff Development

If you are a self- learner, you can go to the on-line Blackboard manual or take advantage of the various tutorials created by BB technicians, which can be found at the Blackboard Resources Training Center.

Other Information Sources

Every day we discover new ways to do things better in Blackbaord. We also learn from our users some of the glitches and kinks in the software which we try to help resolve. Once you have been through the training, we expect you to keep up with the changes as they occur. Staying in touch with your campus BB coordinator is very important. To facilitate on going communication among all users, we have the following information sources.

The Blackboard listserv

Recently, we added all the faculty who currently have a course on the Blackboard server. You should have received notification of this via the college email system. Several of you have asked to be removed from the listserv. Please note that a great deal of discussion and problem solving of BB related issues occurs on this listserv. This is a great way to stay informed on all the issues, solutions and developments with BB. We strongly urge you to stay on the listserv. Simply delete messages you don’t want to read/keep.

To add your name to the listserv please send an email to

To remove your name from the listserv

To get the listserv in Digest form

Send a message to: with the message: SET blackboard DIGEST.

The Blackboard Coordinators:

To facilitate on site training and resolution of issues, a Blackboard coordinator has been designated for each campus. The coordinators work together to develop procedures, trouble shoot user issues and act as a liaison between the faculty and Cosand Center. Your requests for creating a new course, copying a course to a new semester or making it unavailable should be submitted to your respective campus coordinator.

Your BB coordinators are:

Jim Bone (FV) 314/513-4371 or

Lauren Baker (FP) 314/644-9207 or

Jodie Pande (MC) 314/984-7075 or

Technical Support for you and your students

The support issues may be classified in to two types.

  1. Technical issues with accessing the server (Ex. Server is down and cannot be accessed)
  2. Technical issues accessing a specific area of BB or reading a file, downloading an assignment, submitting assignments through the digital drop box, accessing email and other web access problems.

Cosand Center technical staff will handle the first type of support. This kind of support will be available seven days a week for extended hours. The number to call CC technical staff is (314) 539-5113.

Faculty are the first resource for students when they have difficulty with #2 above. If the faculty cannot resolve an issue, the Blackboard coordinator in conjunction with the Cosand Center staff will be available to resolve the issue. Contact your coordinator to get an issue resolved during the regular office hours (M-F 8 to 5 pm). For evening and weekend issues, leave a message or e-mail to the coordinator and they will promptly deal with it when they return on Monday. Please do not encourage students to send emails directly to the coordinators. Faculty can access technical support from Blackboard 24/7 by calling the toll free number at 1-888-788-5264. Students do not have access to this service. There is an on-line student manual , which can be accessed from the student tools area in BB.

Tips for using Blackboard effectively

Saving Files

Many of you compose your content with Microsoft Word and then upload the files into Blackboard. This works well if:

  1. All your users have Word on their computer. For Word to work, it needs to be installed on a computer. To download a free "MS Word viewer" go to

This is a freeware product that allows you to view and print Microsoft Word 2000 documents. Like previous versions of Word Viewer, the latest version can also open documents created with all previous versions of Word for Windows.

2) Your user has sufficient RAM to have Word and a browser (IE or Netscape) both open.

3) Your user has a fast enough connection to get the file to open (Word

Files can be 5 times the size of an HTML file).

So even if you save in .rtf (Rich Text Format) your students could have a problem.

So what should you do if you want formatting?

  1. If you work in Word, save as HTML. This way, the document you upload will display correctly (not perfectly rendered...but most formatting will be retained.) Save first as a Word document (.doc)...and then save as HTML. The HTML, which Word produces, is very messy (unless you are using Mac Office 98). But it is a pretty good solution. To alter the document, open up the .doc( or open up the .html file in Word) and then save it again as .html.

Saving PowerPoint Files

Similar to Word files, your students will need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers to view these files. A solution might be to save the PPT file as HTML or "as web page", then publish it to a directory on the college server and simply link to it from Blackboard. Another alternative might be to direct the students to a free "PowerPoint viewer" on the Microsoft web site. They can download the viewer to view PowerPoint files if they do not have access to PowerPoint at

This freeware also supports PowerPoint 2000 files.

For other file related questions, contact your Blackboard coordinator or Instructional Designers on your campus.

Semester-to-Semester Migration

At the end of a semester, you can fill out the request to copy your course form for the next semester. This is greatly beneficial especially if you are teaching the same class and will be using much of the same content. Copying a course clones the course web site and assigns it a new course ID. Please note that copying a course does not delete, remove or modify the old course. If you do not wish your course to be available, simply fill out the request form to make a course unavailable. When you copy a course, you have the option of copying content, discussion board,assessments,pools and user information or a combination of these. For instance, you might copy a course with content and assessments but leave out the user information. It is important to note that the "online gradebook"and assessment results cannot be copied.


What should you do after your course has been copied?

Make sure all the items you asked for have been copied. Before you start adding new content to your copied course, be sure to change the course name (not ID) by going to the control panel and course options area . For example, your course name could now be "Introduction to computers Spr" to indicate this is your spring course. Lastly, to avoid any confusion, request that your old course be made メunavailableモ.

Adding students/Populating your courses

Students can access your course as guests by simply finding the course in the course catalog and then logging on as Username: guest and password:guest. This is not a good solution, as students working with a slow modem connection will take a long time to scroll down the list and find your course. Therefore, enrolled students need to be populated in to the course in order for them to participate in all aspects of the course such as the discussion board, assignments and to take tests and quizzes built with the assessment manager.

There are two ways to add students to a course.

Individually enrolling users

Batch Adding Users

Instructors can individually add users if there are few students to be enrolled. This method can also be used for adding guest speakers at a later date in the semester. To do this simply

Go to "Control Panel/User Management/Enroll Students" **New in Blackboard 5**

1.Type in student’s first and last name

2. If you know the student's email, enter it, if you don't know their email, use "@"

3. Put in the student ID number for use in identifying the student (the same number will be used for user name).

4. Please follow this standard for student user names and passwords:

  •   User name is student student ID number without dashes. This is what the student will use to log on.
  •   Password is the word "password" - make sure to tell students to change their password when they enter their course
  •   You do not need to enter the "Other Information" section, unless you wish to for your own use.
  •   Click Submit at the bottom of the page when finished - all other options remain the same.
  •  If the student's user name does not exist in the system, then they will be entered into your course, otherwise you will see an error message as in step 3 below.

3. If the student username already exists, you will see a message similar to this:

Do not follow these instructions! Instead, click OK and go to step 4 below.

4. At this point, click the "Back" button on your browser twice to get to the Add Users screen, where you choose "Enroll Existing User"

5. Important: Click on search by User Name, not by Last Name. Put in the User Name (student ID), click Search.

6. Check the box next to the students name, and click "submit" to enter the student. The student will now be entered into your course!
Note: If your student does not appear, they may already be in your course, go to Control Panel - List/Modify Users to check!

Batch Add Users: A more efficient method of enrolling students is to use the Batch Add/Enroll Users Utility located in the Site Management section of the Control Panel. This method is useful for enrolling large classes.

Preparing a file for Batch Enrollment

The file can be created in any text editor or word processing program, as long as it is a delimited file(.txt). The delimiters can be commas,tabs,or colons. Each record must end with a hard return. All fields must be included for each record. Username and student ID can be the same. The default password for the student is the assigned student ID.

UserID(tab)Last Name(tab)First name(tab) email (tab) (Password same as UserID)


You might find it better to use "@yourname" as their e-mail...because if they have previously taken a Blackboard course, it will be easier to locate the existing user. Just doing "@" will give a very long list of all students with that default e-mail.

The batch add/enroll utility allows you to add multiple users to the course. In order for the batch add/enroll to work, the file should be in the following format, with each entry delimited (separated) by either a tab. (And "tab" needs to be checked in the Course Utilities control panel.)


Happenings on the Horizon

There have been a number of problems with students having too many user names in the Blackboard system. This creates difficulty when students are added to new courses. The Blackbaord Coordinators and Administration are considering deleting all student ID's that are not using the 9 digit student ID number as suggested in the enrollment procedures.


The information presented here is subject to change. Please be sure to check the college web site at for current information on how to make the most out of your Blackboard course site.

© 2019 St. Louis Community College
Revised 11 July, 2002