Frequently Asked Student Questions
- Q: I have old courses still displaying on Blackboard. How do I remove old courses?
- Q: I can’t log in to Blackboard. Nothing works. Neither does my email.
- Q: How do I log in to Blackboard?
- Q: What username and password should I use for Blackboard?
- Q: How do I change my Blackboard password?
- Q: My login and password do not seem to be working. I get an error message.
- Q. What are the best browser settings to use with Blackboard?
- Q: What are the most common browser problems and solutions?
- Q: I am behind a firewall. How do I access Blackboard?
- Q: I got in, but don’t see my course(s) listed.
- Q: Once in Blackboard, why do I get an error page saying “Not Authorized“?
- Q: I got in and clicked on my course, but got an “Access denied” error.
- Q: Can I enter a site I am not enrolled in (as guest)?
- Q: How do I get help for Blackboard?
- Q: I cannot upload a file in the student dropbox.
- Q: How do I upload a file?
- Q: I downloaded a file and cannot open it.
- Q: Why do posts in the discussion forum have questions marks where quotation marks should be? For example, “opinion” appears as ?opinion?.
- Q: I try to take a quiz or survey but it says I’ve already taken it.
- Q: My quiz grade is gone!
- Q: I tried to upload a file to the Student Dropbox but I got an error “The server encountered an internal error…”
- Q: I try to access a page, but I get an error “HTTP/1.1 … The server encountered an internal error … ”
- Q: I am not seeing what everyone else is seeing in Blackboard…
If you find that an important question you have about Blackboard is not covered in this document, please let us know.
The Questions and Answers in detail:
A: While you cannot remove yourself from the courses, you can choose not to display them on the “My UIS” page.
- Click on the gear icon that appears on the top right of your course list box.
- Next, uncheck the boxes for the courses you do not wish to see.
- Once you are done, click “Submit.”
Your UIS NetID password may need to be reset. You will need to contact the Tech Support for this issue.
A: The UIS Blackboard server is located at web address http://bb.uis.edu. The server is available 24 hours/day 7 days/week. From the bb.uis.edu web page, enter your UIS NetID account information. This is the same account information you use to access your UIS email account. Then click the “LOGIN” button. A successful login will take you to the portal page of the UIS Blackboard server from which you can check your grades, change your personal information, or link to the courses in which you are enrolled. If you experience problems logging into the Blackboard server, visit http://www.uis.edu/cts/netid to check or establish your UIS NetID and password. Contact the UIS Tech Support staff for further assistance. Phone 217-206-7357 or (in Illinois ) 1-877-847-0443.
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Q: What username and password should I use for Blackboard?
A: Your username is your UIS NetID and the password associated with it, which is the same as your UIS email account. It does not include “@uis.edu”.
If you are staff/faculty and don’t yet have a UIS NetID, you may get one from the Campus Technology Services. This also applies to adjunct faculty! Then you must activate it on the web, just like students.
Your password is your NetID password, the same as for all other UIS services, such as webmail or bluestem web authentication. In particular, when you activate your NetID, you will be setting a common password. Note that the NetID common password expires after a year and needs to be changed at https://www-s.uis.edu/netid/servlet/Password.
A: From the portal page, the page you see after you first login to Blackboard, select the PERSONAL INFORMATION hyperlink located under the TOOLS module on the left hand side of the page. Then select Change UIS Network Password to be directed to the UIS Network NetID page . Your e-mail address in the Blackboard system is set to your UIS student e-mail address.
A: There are various scenarios. Please read them all.
- You get the error: “No authentication credentials were provided with the request“.
- You get the error: “Could not login. You have not provided valid authentication credentials.“.
This can mean various things: a simple typo, CAPS-lock on, incorrect password, incorrect username (e.g. you may by mistake have included “@uis.edu”), or account missing from Blackboard (but existing in LDAP). Or the problem may be specific to your computer or browser – check out the browser test.
Try loggin in to UIS webmail with the same username and password. If you cannot, try changing your password. If you just recently did that, and have tried everything else on this page, contact us, provide your NetID, and we will create a Blackboard account for you. NetIDs and passwords are usually automatically created prior to the start of the semester.
- You just set or changed your NetID password.
Sometimes it takes a while for password changes to trickle down. The change may even have been effective for webmail already, and not yet for Blackboard. Please wait a few hours. Also try the other suggestions on this page first.
- You cannot log in using your preferred browser, but can log in using another, such as Mozilla, Firefox, Netscape 7, or Opera.
This is a browser configuration problem, system software problem or spyware infection. See the most common browser problems and solutions below.
- You cannot log in on one machine, such as your home PC, but can log in elsewhere.
This could be due to a spyware infection on your PC, the need to update your PC, or a browser configuration problem.
- Did you try using a different browser yet?
- Run WindowsUpdate (if you are using Windows) and apply all security updates.
- If using IE 6, refer to MS KB831167 and update it.
- Run a complete computer scan with Symantec AntiVirus (of course after updating your virus definitions).
- Use Spybot S&D to scan your computer for malware and clean it (of course using the most recent spyware database).
- If you are using a software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, SygatePF, tinyPF, or the Windows XP firewall, try whether temporarily disabling this lets you log in.
- Refer to the browser configuration section below for additional very important steps.If you continue to have trouble, contact the UIS Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217.206.7357
If you continue to have trouble, contact the UIS Help Desk at email@example.com or 217.206.7357
A: Required browser settings for logging into Blackboard include the following:
In general, if you are experiencing strange errors while browsing web pages, you should upgrade your web browser.
Download the latest version of your browser: (Most Popular Web Browsers according to Browser Trends)
If your course site uses the Java chat tool, you must be using a 4.x browser or newer and the latest Java Software. If you have problems loading the Blackboard Virtual Classroom, be aware of pop-up blockers, make sure Java is enabled in your browser, and have the latest installation of Java.
See the Software Tools and Utilities for Online Courses page for related software and programs helpful to online courses.
Special Note to Macintosh Users
Macintosh users need to be aware that there is a known compliance issue for Blackboard’s Virtual Classroom when using the combination of the Macintosh operating system and a Netscape browser. In essence, this combination will not load the java applet necessary to the Virtual Classroom of Blackboard. Macintosh users will be able to load the Virtual Classroom if they use Internet Explorer as their browser.
A: The instructions below all assume you have already opened the browser’s Preferences dialog. This is found via “Edit > Preferences” on Mozilla/Netscape, and “Tools > Internet Options” in MS Internet Explorer.
Caching problems lead to older versions of pages showing up, and are frequently reported as a source of login problems as well. After applying the setting, clear your cache and restart the browser (close ALL windows first, including any file download windows) to make sure the cache is really cleared.
- MS Internet Explorer – General tab > Temporary Files > Settings: Make sure this is set to “Every time”. To clear cache, click “Delete Files”.
- Mozilla/Netscape – Advanced > Cache: Select “Every time I view the page”. Click “Clear Cache”.
Much of Blackboard goes through secure connections. SSL must be enabled, and it is crucially important to have the right versions enabled.
- MS Internet Explorer – Advanced tab > Security (near bottom): Check “Use SSL 2.0″ and “Use SSL 3.0″. UNcheck “Use TLS 1.0″.
- Mozilla/Netscape – Privacy & Security > SSL: Check “SSL v2.0 enabled” and “SSL v3.0 enabled”.
With cookies turned off, logging in is impossible, as a sessionID cookie is used to identify and authenticate you throughout your session.
- MS Internet Explorer – Privacy tab > Web Sites > Edit: Type in “bb.uis.edu” and click on “Allow” to make sure cookies from bb.uis.edu are always accepted, no matter what your other settings are. Same for “bb.uis.edu:8011″ (for Virtual Classroom).
- Mozilla/Netscape – Privacy & Security > Cookies > Manage Stored Cookies > Cookie Sites: Type in “bb.uis.edu” and click on “Allow” to make sure cookies from bb.uis.edu are always accepted, no matter what your other settings are. Same for “bb.uis.edu:8011″ (for Virtual Classroom).
- MS Internet Explorer – Security tab > Custom Level > Scripting (near bottom): Choose “Active Scripting: Enabled”.
Also, while you’re here: below that, under User Authentication, choose : “Prompt for username and password”.
Passwords & form data
There appear to be occasional problems with the browser storing the encoded password for Blackboard and submitting the stored value instead of the current one. While it isn’t entirely clear whether this is indeed the source for those users’ login problems, we recommend the following as troubleshooting step:
- MS Internet Explorer – Content tab > Personal Information > AutoComplete: UNcheck “Forms” and “Usernames and Passwords on Forms”. Click “Clear Forms” and “Clear Passwords”. Quit and restart the browser before trying again.
- Mozilla/Netscape – Privacy & Security > Passwords > Manage Stored Passwords: make sure “bb.uis.edu” is listed among the sites where passwords are never stored. Under … > Forms > Manage Sites: make sure “bb.uis.edu” is listed among the sites for whom form data is never stored. Or turn off saving of form data and passwords completely, if you like.
Browser Helper Objects (BHOs)
This is the main hook for malware (spyware, adware, browser hijackers, etc.), so it’s very important to turn this off. Malware such as CommonName is a frequent source for login problems.
- MS Internet Explorer – Advanced tab > Browsing (near top): UNcheck “Enable third party browser extensions”. Restart the browser after clicking OK.
- Mozilla/Netscape – does not apply (Mozilla/NS are safe)
Allowing popups is necessary to make Virtual Classroom work.
- MS Internet Explorer – If using a third-party popup blocker, make sure it allows popups for bb.uis.edu and bb.uis.edu:8011. If you can’t configure your popup blocker to allow popups from certain sites, get a better one.
- Mozilla/Netscape – Privacy & Security > Popup Windows > Allowed Sites: Allow popups for bb.uis.edu and bb.uis.edu:8011.
Only needed if your course uses links to content on CDROM. Modern browsers prevent links from remote sites to point to content on local disks/media as a security measure.
- MS Internet Explorer – Security tab > Trusted Sites > Sites: Add http://bb.uis.edu/
- Mozilla/Netscape -
- Using MS Wordpad or Notepad (not MS Word!), create (or edit) “user.js” in your Mozilla profile folder, typically under something like “C:Documents and Settings<yourWindowsUsername>Application DataMozillaProfilesdefault<randomstring>”.
- Include the following 3 lines to create a security policy allowing Blackboard to link to local content:
- Save the file (make sure to quote the filename, or it will be named user.js.txt and won’t work), then restart your browser.
A: This is no longer an issue. Blackboard Blackboard now responds at the default web port 80, which firewalls do not block out.
A: There are various possible reasons:
- Your class does not use Blackboard at all.
Ask your instructor whether it does, and whether he has requested a site for this term yet.
- Your site has recently been requested, but is not yet created.
Your instructor can tell you so.
- Your site exists, but has not been made available to students.
Ask your instructor to change this from his course control panel, under “Settings > Course Availability”.
- You have not yet been added (enrolled) to the Blackboard site, although you have enrolled to the course.
This may mean the site has the wrong call number(s) (CRNs) listed, leading to wrong/incomplete enrollment. Your instructor can correct this from the course control panel, under “Settings > Course Name and Description”.
Or it may mean our record of you is somehow incomplete/incorrect. In that case, the instructor can enroll you manually for quick access to the site, but it is a good idea to contact us anyway so this doesn’t happen again.
A: Blackboard gives full access to each site only to those enrolled in the respective course. If you entered another course site, you are visiting it as a guest with very limited access.
To see exactly what courses you are currently enrolled in, go to http://bb.uis.edu/
Click the Login button and enter your Blackboard Username and Password. The page that appears will have a listing of all the courses in which you are currently enrolled. If you think you should be enrolled in a certain course but that course does not appear in the list, see your instructor to be added to the course.
A: This means your course duration is incorrectly set, or you are accessing it too late or too early. Contact your instructor, and if you are expected to be able to use the site yet, ask them to adjust the course duration in their course control panel, under “Settings > Duration”. Typically sites are set to become available to students one week before classes officially start, through one week after finals.
A: Yes, only if the instructor has this option enabled. Blackboard has a guest access feature, allowing every user on the system to enter all other course sites as guest with limited access.
Instructors can configure how much a guest user can see of their site. You will never be able to access Communications and Student Tools, nor take Quizzes or Surveys.
Even users without any account on the system can enter any site as guest, by simply typing guest as both username and password.
A: Students experiencing technical problems should call the UIS Tech Support Hotline toll-free (in Illinois) at 877.847.0443. Outside Illinois, please call 217.206.7357. Hours of operation are available from the TechSupport website http://www.uis.edu/campustechnologyservices/techsupport/ . You may also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for after-hours assistance.
A: Make sure you are using a modern browser (level 4 or higher). Older browsers do not support http-uploading. Some ISPs also disallow file-uploading (switch!).
Avoid spaces in your filenames and keep your filenames reasonably short (under 20 characters). Obviously, special characters such as forward slashes or colons cannot be used in filenames on the web, as they serve to separate directories on some operating systems.
Tip: stick to letters, numbers, and underscores, and you will never have trouble.
A: In Dropbox or Discussion board click the Browse button. Select a file from your hard disk. (In Netscape you will need to look for Files of type: All Files (*.*) to see more than just HTML files).
Note: The filename should not contain spaces or special characters, be under 20 characters in length, and have the proper three-letter extension indicating the file’s MIME-type, so others can open it.
When your browser receives a file from the webserver that it does not have the built-in functionality to handle, it opens it in a plug-in (or in an external “helper application”) based on the file’s “MIME-type”. When the file does not have the proper three-letter extension, the server cannot determine the MIME-type and may not handle the file properly. The server may also not be configured to handle your kind of file, if it is an uncommon type (check the list of configured types). You can zip/stuff it to avoid this problem, but then the others also need to have an archiving utility (e.g. WinZIP, Stuffit) to open it.
A: If the file does not open automatically (i.e. if you get a dialogue-box saying that your browser does not know what to do with this kind of file), simply save it to your hard drive. Then try opening it in various applications, so next time you get this type of file, you know what application to pick in the browser’s dialogue box. Use this method in particular if the file does not have the proper three-letter DOS-extension.
If your browser does not offer you the saving option, but launches some application that cannot properly open the file, simply right-click the link to the file that Blackboard provides at the top and choose “Save Target/Link As…”
A: This is a known issue related to copying and pasting from Microsoft Word documents into Blackboard.
By default, Microsoft Word automatically changes straight quotation marks ( ‘ or ” ) to curly (smart or typographer’s) quotes as you type.
When these special characters are pasted into Blackboard, they are not recognized, and turn into question marks. Other Microsoft Word characters that turn into question marks in Blackboard are: quotes, apostrophes, double dashes, and 3 periods in a row.
Two Ways to Prevent Question Marks Appearing in Postings:
- Use a simple text editor, such as Notepad,Wordpad, or Textpad, instead of Microsoft Word.
- Change the default settings in Word (on the Tools | Autocorrect dialog box, uncheck all the options under AutoFormat and AutoCorrect, save your file).
A: If you look at a survey or a quiz, then press your browser’s back button, or you start to take the quiz and do not submit it for whatever reason, the next time you try to take this quiz you will get a message from the Blackboard server
Sorry…you already took this assessment on …
For fairness reasons, you are typically only allowed to take a quiz once and you are not allowed to see a quiz before taking it for credit.
If you feel you are getting this message incorrectly, contact your instructor, giving all pertinent details. If indeed you are getting this message in error, your instructor can reset your quiz attempt and you can take the quiz again. Also see the comments under internal server error for important info!
Note: All transactions on Blackboard are logged. All page requests, times and data submitted are recorded and searchable.
A: Situation: you successfully took a quiz and got a grade, but later notice that your grade is gone and only an exclamation mark shows up under Check Grades. This happens when the quiz is set to allow multiple submissions and you later look at it again without submitting it, e.g. because you want to print it. This will establish a new attempt at the quiz, erasing all your previous answers! To see your submitted quiz and compare your answers, click on your grade within Check Grades instead – that is safe.
A: Make sure the name of the file you are uploading is not too long (shorter than 20 characters) and contains no spaces. If the problem persists, email your instructor with the exact time the problem occurred, what type of file you were uploading, and what type and version of browser you are using, and what ISP.
Try clearing your cache.