Q. What is the My Niagara/Blackboard System?
A. My Niagara/Blackboard is an easy-to-use online course management system. Blackboard delivers tools that enable you to provide your students with course materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, as well as online assessments. You can incorporate word processing, audio and video, spreadsheets, and presentation files into your course without learning HTML.
Q. How do I login to My Niagara/Blackboard?
A. To log into Blackboard go to http://my.niagaracollege.ca. Enter your username and password (it's the same as your computer username and password).
Q. How and when are my new courses for the upcoming term created in Blackboard?
A. New courses are automatically created on Blackboard approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the beginning of term.
Q. How and when are students enrolled into my Blackboard courses?
A. Students are enrolled automatically into Blackboard courses according to information supplied by the Registrar. As long as the student enrolled and is up-to-date with all payments, he/she should appear in the student roster of the course. It can take up to 24 hours before any changes to your course roster are reflected within Blackboard.
Q. How long after the term ends do students have access to their courses?
A. Courses on Blackboard are available for three weeks after the official end date of the course.
Q. How do I remove old courses from my Blackboard "My Niagara / Blackboard Courses" list?
A. You can't. All courses remain on Blackboard for one consecutive semesters following the term they occurred in. Notification of course deletions will be sent out to the user community via an email notice from the Blackboard Support Desk prior to the scheduled removal.
Q. Who do I contact when I have questions about Blackboard?
A. Faculty and Staff may contact the ITS Help Desk.
Q. Who do students contact if they have problems logging into Blackboard?
A. Students should contact the College ITS Help Desk during regular business hours if they are experiencing problems logging into My Niagara/Blackboard.
Q. Why can I see a course, but my students can't?
A. There are two possible reasons why students would not be able to access a course.
1) Students may not be officially enrolled in the course.
2) The course has not yet been made available to students.
If the course name in your My Niagara / Blackboard Courses list includes the word Unavailable, this means your students cannot access the course. In order to give them access, you will need to make the course "Available". To do so:
- Go to the Control Panel of the course
- Click on Customization, click on Properties
- In the Set Availability section, where it states to Make Course Available click Yes.
- Click on Submit
Q. Is it possible to access My Niagara/Blackboard from my home?
A. Yes, My Niagara/Blackboard is accessible from any computer with Internet access, whether you are on campus, at home or on the other side of the world!
Q. Is the student view of the course different from the faculty view?
A. The student's view of the course is almost the same as yours except that you have a "Control Panel" area located at the bottom of the buttons on the left side of the course and an "Edit View" link in the top right corner of all Content area (Course Information, Course Documents, Assignments) pages. The only page that looks very different for the student is the student view of the Gradebook. An example of the student view of the Gradebook is shown below.
Q. What should I do when a student forgets his/her password?
A. Tell the student to contact the Computing Support Centre during regular business hours at ext. 7642 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Can a student change the email address to which Blackboard sends email messages?
A. No, students are required to use their Niagara College email accounts for Blackboard, as well as all other College correspondence.
Q. Can the students see each other's grades in the Gradebook?
A. No, students can only see the grades they have received in the course. Only instructors have the permissions required to view the entire Gradebook.
Q. I keep getting an error message when trying to upload a document. Is how I name a document important?
A.Yes, we strongly recommend naming documents only with letters and numbers, do no use punctuation or special characters (with the exception of the underscore). Also, never use spaces in a filename - we recommend you use the underscore character instead.
Any time you use text characters other than numbers and non-accented letters in the names of your documents and folders, expect unpredictable results. If you try to upload a document to Blackboard with an apostrophe in the title, you will receive a "Document contains no data" error.
Q. I am a Mac user and students who use PCs cannot download the documents I've placed on my site. What's wrong?
A. You need to use PC-style file-type extensions in your file names (e.g., ".doc" for Word documents). For a Mac user, this can take some getting used to. The Mac OS file system does not automatically add an extension to files when they are saved. This is fine so long as you are transferring files from Mac to Mac, but it can cause problems when uploading these files to the Web or to computers with other operating systems.
Students will not be able to download files correctly because their computer or their browser will be unable to determine the file type. Some examples of commonly used file-type extensions:
- .doc (Microsoft Word), e.g., "file.doc"
- .xls (Microsoft Excel), e.g., "file.xls"
- .ppt (Microsoft PowerPoint), e.g., "file.ppt"
- .jpg (.jpg image format), e.g., "file.jpg"
- .gif (.gif image format), e.g., "file.gif"
- .mov (QuickTime movie), e.g. "file.mov"
Q. How do I Print in Blackboard?
A. Printing in Blackboard is the same as printing on other Internet sites. Since Blackboard uses frames to divide up the screen you need to first click the area of the page that you want to print. Rather than clicking on the print icon on the browser tool bar, you have more control over what you print by choosing File>Print from the browser's menu bar. From there you can make selections about what you want to print (e.g. all pages, one page, a range of pages).
NOTE: There are known issues with the Internet Explorer 7 and printing Microsoft Office files in Blackboard. To get around these problems try one of the following:
- Save the file to your local computer and print the file from within Microsoft Office.
- Right-click on the link to the document and choose Open in New tab or Window and print from there.
Q. Does Blackboard have a spell checker?
A. Yes, Blackboard does have a spell checker. After entering content into a text box, click the spell check button located in the text box editor menu bar.
Q. Students are reporting problems when taking online tests/quizzes.
A. If students are experiencing problems when taking an online test/quiz, here are a few things to look for:
1) Make sure no pop-up blockers are installed or currently running on the system.
2) Make sure the system is free from Spyware/Adware by using free scanning utilities such as Malware Bytes or Microsoft Windows Defender.
3) Clear the browsers cache and delete any temporary Internet files. If students still continue to experience problems please contact the ITS HelpDesk at email@example.com so that we can look into the problem.
Q. Why do extra line breaks appear when I modify an announcement?
A. This is a known Blackboard issue, and only occurs when you have the WYSIWYG editor enabled. When modifying or creating an announcement, Blackboard puts in extra line breaks in between existing paragraphs. It does this each time you modify the announcement. To avoid the extra line breaks hold down the Shift key and hit Enter to create line breaks. Do this for each line break you need. When modifying existing announcements delete all line breaks, and replace them by holding down the Shift key and hit Enter. This will ensure that extra line breaks are not added to your announcements.
Q. Sometimes when I am using Blackboard Internet Explorer asks me if I want to display secure and non-secure items. What does this mean and how can I get rid of the error message?
A. The Niagara College Blackboard site is secured with an SSL certificate. This means that sensitive information such as your username and password is encrypted when it travels over the internet. However to make sure you receive the fastest response possible only sensitive parts of the site are encrypted. To stop these messages appearing you can make Blackboard a trusted site by following these instructions.