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Student Blackboard Support

Welcome to the Blackboard Student Support page.  Here you will find a collection of useful resources on how to use Blackboard.  If you are new to Blackboard and want to learn how to get started using Blackboard, please read our FAQs section, otherwise check out the Online How-To and Tutorials listed below.

Contents:

 

Online How-to and Tutorials

The following documents are in PDF format.

Student FAQs

Select a question to jump to the appropriate answer.

What is the My Niagara/Blackboard System?
My Niagara/Blackboard is an easy-to-use online course delivery and management system. Using Blackboard's graphical point-and-click interface, your instructors can post your Course Outline, readings, and assignments, as well as communicate with you via email, virtual chats or discussion boards.

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What is my username and password?
Your username and password are the same for My Niagara/Blackboard as the ones you use to log into the College computers. If you have not already retrieved your username and password you will need to do so. You can retrieve your username and password by clicking the Set / change your password link on the My Niagara/Blackboard login tab (http://my.niagaracollege.ca) or by visiting the following website: http://my.niagaracollege.ca/password

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I forgot my password. What can I do?
If you have forgotten your password, you can reset your password at the following website: http://my.niagaracollege.ca/password

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Who do I contact if I have problems logging into My Niagara/Blackboard?
Students should contact the Computing Support Centre during regular business hours if they are experiencing problems logging into My Niagara/Blackboard.

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How do I get into my course once I have logged into Blackboard?
On the right side of the Blackboard Welcome screen is the My Niagara / Blackboard Courses box containing all of your courses whose instructors are using Blackboard and have made it accessible to his/her students. Simply click on the course’s name to view its content.

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Where can I find my Course Outline in Blackboard?
The Course Outline for each course is located in the Course Information area of your Blackboard course. To access this area, enter a Blackboard course and click Course Information in the menu on left-side of the screen. On the right-hand side of the page a link will appear to access the Course Outline. Click this link and the Course Outline will load on the screen. Note: The Course Outline is also available in Adobe Acrobat's PDF format. To view or print these files, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is available free at the Adobe web site.

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I can log in to Blackboard, but I cannot see some/any of my courses. Why not?
There are several possible reasons:

  1. Some of your instructors may not be using Blackboard this term.
  2. Some of your instructors may have forgotten to make their courses "available" for students to access. It isup to the instructor to set the courses to "available" before students are able to access them.
  3. You may not be officially registered in the course.
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Can I access My Niagara/Blackboard from outside of the College?
Yes, you can access My Niagara/Blackboard using a web browser and an internet connection from wherever you are, for example at home, at an internet cafe, at a library etc.

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How do I print in Blackboard?
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 be printed. 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 browsers menu bar. From there you can make selections about what you want to print (e.g. all pages, one page, a range of pages).

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How do I find my in-progress Grades in Blackboard?
If your instructor is using Blackboard to post your unofficial in-progress grades they can be viewed by logging into Blackboard and selecting the My Grades link under the Tools menu found on the My Niagara page.

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Why do I have to logout of My Niagara/Blackboard?
To keep your personal information confidential, please remember to click on the logout button, found at the top of the Blackboard window when you are finished accessing Blackboard.

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What happens when I officially add or drop a course?
Whenever you officially add or drop a course your list of Blackboard courses will be automatically updated to reflect the changes. In most circumstances the updates for official courses will occur nightly. When you officially enroll in a course, you will see it appear in your My Niagara / Blackboard Courses list when Blackboard is updated and if your instructor is using Blackboard for that course. When you officially drop a course, that course will disappear from your My Niagara / Blackboard Courses list within 24-36 hours and you will no longer have access to it.

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How long will I have access to the course material once the course is officially finished?
Students have access to course materials in Blackboard from the moment the instructor makes the course "Available" until 3 weeks after the course has officially ended. However, your instructor may at any time, manually make the course "unavailable" and thus restrict student access.

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The text is too small on Blackboard how can I make it larger?
You can change the text size within Blackboard in the same way as you would with any other web page. In Internet Explorer click on the View menu then move your mouse down to Text Size and finally select Medium or Larger from the list. You can set the size back by going through the same process and choosing the normal setting.

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What's the difference between Chat and Discussions?
Chat occurs at the same time for all users. The Chat feature in Blackboard allows you to not only text chat, but field and answer a managed question queue; share a live web site with your instructor and your peers, as well as browse common course content from Blackboard.
Discussions allow you to reply to a forum topic posted by your instructor, reply to one another, and start new threads within the forum. Users do not have to be online at the same time for the history of a discussion to be read.

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How do I update my e-mail address within Blackboard?
All email communications from instructors using Blackboard and from the College are sent to your Niagara College student e-mail address. If you would like a copy of your Blackboard and College emails forwarded to a non-college email address (i.e. an email account you regularly check), you may do so following these steps:

Remember, you are responsible for checking your college and personal email frequently for important information sent by the college and your instructors!

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The Blackboard course I use has a lot of Word, PowerPoint and / or Adobe Acrobat files. I would like to view these at home but do not have software that can view them. What can I do?
Microsoft provides free software to view Office files such as those produced by Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can download the viewers from Microsoft's website. Adobe provides a free reader for PDF files called Adobe Reader; you can download it from Adobe's website.

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Why doesn't my web browser's 'Back' button always work when I'm using Blackboard?
Actually it's a good idea to avoid using your web browser's 'Back' button while you are in Blackboard, because it can cause problems. Blackboard offers you a 'Back' link at the bottom of pages where the back option is needed. You can also use the other navigation buttons on the page to return to a certain place within Blackboard without the need to use the browser's 'Back' button.

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I am taking a Distance Learning Course at Niagara College and can't get into Blackboard.
If you have registered for a Distance Learning Course at Niagara College through Continuing Education and your course is hosted on the Niagara College Blackboard system please note that you will not be able to login until the actual starting date of the course. If you are still unable to login after the starting date please contact us so that we can look into the problem. To learn more about distance learning at Niagara College or to find out if your course is hosted on the Niagara College Blackboard System please visit the distance learning web site at http://www.niagaracollege.ca/distance for more information.

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What are the recommended requirements to use My Niagara/Blackboard?
The following are a list of recommendations when using My Niagara/Blackboard. (PLEASE NOTE: These are not requirements. The system may work without these recommendations being met but Blackboard may be slow or problematic.)

  • Platform: Windows Vista or higher; Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
  • Hardware: 1 GB of RAM and 1 G of free disk space
  • Software: (may vary from course to course) Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Reader
  • Browser: Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher (Java and cookies must be enabled.)
  • Modem: 56K or higher
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I can log into Blackboard with no problem, but when I try to access my courses I get an "access denied" message.
The problem here is with the browser which comes bundled as part of AOL. When using a different computer or browser, the problem does not occur. The AOL browser tends to be proprietary, working well with AOL but not so well with non AOL applications, such as Blackboard.

To successfully access Blackboard, connect to the Internet via AOL, minimize the AOL browser and then launch and use the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.

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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?
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.

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Where can I find my Class timetable?
Timetables can be found by logging into the Blackboard portal at http://my.niagaracollege.ca and selecting the My Apps tab. From there select My Student Records and then View my Class Schedule.

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Where can I find my Exam timetable?
Exam timetables can be found by logging into the Blackboard portal at http://my.niagaracollege.ca and selecting the My Apps tab. From there select My Student Records and then View my Exam Schedule.

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Why do I see a message saying that I am not currently enrolled in any Blackboard courses?
If you are seeing a message in the My Niagara / Blackboard Courses Plus box indicating that you are not enrolled in any courses this is because none of your instructors have made any of their Blackboard courses available to you. Blackboard courses are online areas which instructors use to post course related materials during the semester including announcements, course notes, online quizzes and in-progress grades. Instructors typically wait until the first week of classes before making their Blackboard courses available to students. Until instructors turn on their Blackboard courses you see the "You are not enrolled in any Blackboard courses" message appear in the My Courses Plus box.

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What is Blackboard Connect?

Blackboard Connect is a system that allows you to receive information about activities within your Blackboard courses, such as the posting of an announcement, via a text message to your mobile phone.  More information on this service will be provided later.


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