Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

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Internet Explorer and Blackboard, not so perfect together

Internet Explorer logo with no symbolA number of issues have been identified with Blackboard Learn when using the Internet Explorer browser. Recent issues include:

  • Problems with hyperlinks in Blackboard Portfolios
  • Intermittent issues with the inline grading tool
  • Images and fonts change in Modules when using the Back button
  • Problems uploading files to assignments

The DEIT team would like to remind everyone that Internet Explorer is not a supported browser when using Blackboard (support ended in Q4, 2018). Please use a different browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge.

Additional information

Microsoft is no longer actively developing Internet Explorer and has recommended it not be your default web browser –

A security exploit was found in March 2019 with Internet Explorer that “allows hackers to spy on you and steal personal data from your PC” (

Unless needed for a specific site, it may be best to remove Internet Explorer from your computer. The steps outlined by Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer are below.

  • Press the Windows logo key+R to open the Run box.
  • Type appwiz.cpl, and then select OK.
  • In the the Programs and Features item, select Turn Window features on or off.
  • In the Windows Features dialog box, locate the entry for the installed version of Internet Explorer. For example, locate the Internet Explorer 11 entry. Then, clear the check box.
  • Select OK to commit the change.
  • Restart the computer.

Blackboard assignments and Safari 11.1

Appple logoApple Inc released a security update to the Safari 11 browser on March 29, 2018 ( Safari 11.1 contains a number of improvements. However, the update appears to cause problems when trying to submit assignments to Blackboard.

Blackboard Inc has identified a known issue with Safari 11.1 when it comes to submitting assignments. Students attempting to use Safari 11.1 to upload files to assignments will receive an error message – Failed to submit Assignment. Please try again.

Blackboard is working on some fixes but it appears likely the issue will not be resolved at DeSales until the switch to SaaS this Summer ( The workaround is to use a different browser – Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, for example, to submit Blackboard assignments.

The DeSales DEIT team

New annotation options in Box View

Blackboard uses an application programming interface (API) from Box, Inc to provide faculty the ability to review and annotate assignment submissions. Two features were added to the API in late March:

  • Point Annotations have been made “sticky” – after clicking on the Point Annotation button graders will be taken into “point annotation mode” that allows for multiple comments without selecting the point annotation tool for every entry.

Box view toolbar with point comment highlighted

  • A new Drawing Annotation mode – while grading, freeform drawings can be added to assignment submissions using a mouse or any touch-enabled device.  Box view toolbar with drawing annotation tool highlighted


Both options are available for new assignment submissions and can be retroactively added to earlier submissions.

Blackboard and Dropbox – Perfect Together

DeSales University’s Blackboard-Dropbox integration allows instructors and learners to easily link to and upload their Dropbox content into their Blackboard Learn courses.

Instructors and learners can link to their Dropbox content directly from Blackboard Learn using the mashup menu found in most content creation workflows: content creation, tests, discussion boards, blogs, journals, wikis, announcements, feedback, and grading notes. Instructors and learners enter their Dropbox credentials to access their content the first time this feature is used, and the credentials are cached for future use.

Benefits of the Dropbox integration

As a cloud storage platform, Dropbox is available anywhere there is an Internet connection. Cloud storage of files also allows instructors to quickly update content. Instructors can post links to Dropbox content in multiple courses. As changes are made to the files in Dropbox, the changes will be reflected in each course containing the link. Does this mean students can change an assignment submission after the fact if they use Dropbox? Answer: no, it does not. Assignment submissions made in Blackboard link to a specific revision of the file that was current as of the time it was submitted. Any changes made to the file after the point of submission will be ignored. Students would need to resubmit the file for the changes to be available.

For more information …

Additional documentation is available here (pdf format). For additional information, contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 x2290 or or come see us in Dooling Hall, Room 40.


Bb Down for Maintenance Dec 21-22, 2016

Due to a planned service outage for system maintenance, Blackboard will be totally unavailable to all users from Wednesday, December 21 at 5 pm through Thursday, December 22 at 9:30 am. Questions? Contact DEIT at or 610-282-1100 x2290.

Creating a Blackboard Banner Using PowerPoint

This article explains the steps necessary for creating a custom Blackboard course banner using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Creating a custom Banner for a Blackboard course using Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 (or any other version) is a two part process: First you need to create your banner, then you need to upload it to your Blackboard course.

Part 1: Creating your custom Banner with PowerPoint

  1. Choose Start a new presentation, then choose the Design Tab.Design tab
  2. Choose Slide Size. Then choose Custom Slide Size.

Custom Slide Size

  1. On the Slide Size window, choose Banner, then OK.


  1. When prompted, choose Maximize. Leave the default banner dimensions.Maximize
  2. In the Presentation screen, add the course name and other preferred information. Add background colors and images as desired.
    MG-201 Banner
  3. Save the completed banner to your computer as a GIF, JPEG, or PNG file. To do this, click the File button at the top left of the screen, select Save As, then select the location. TIP: Saving to the desktop will make finding and uploading it easier. Select .JPG, .GIF, or .PNG as the file type. Click Save.Format Select Screen
  4. Select Just This One.Just This One

Part 2: Uploading your banner to Your Blackboard Course

  1. Enter your Blackboard course, and choose Customization –> Teaching Style.Teaching Style
  2. Scroll to the Select Banner section and choose Browse My Computer.Browse My Computer
  3. Navigate to and select the Banner you made in Part 1 above.Banner Files Select
  4. Verify the correct file is attached and choose Submit.

Banner Submit Screen

Modified from article published by Rachel Myers, Iowa State University (

Blackboard UPGRADE DOWNTIME on 5/16/2016 @ 8 PM

Blackboard will be upgraded to the October 2014 Service Pack on 5/16/2016 at 8 PM until 8 AM on 5/17/2016.


Normal service for Blackboard will resume after 8 AM on 5/17/ 2016.
Some new features coming to Blackboard with this upgrade include:
  • SafeAssign integrated as an option in regular Assignments
  • Student Preview mode allows instructors to view a course exactly as a student would see the course
  • Ability for instructors to delegate specific users in a course as graders

For more information about these new and updated features, click here:

Questions? Contact DEIT at

End of Support for YouTube Webcam Recording

Blackboard Learn currently allows faculty and students to record directly from their webcameras when creating content such as items, pages, blog posts, and more. Termed “Video Everywhere”, Blackboard utilized YouTube to allow users to create and post videos to both YouTube and Blackboard at the same time. Recently, Google announced that support for directly uploading webcamera video to YouTube will be ending January 16, 2016 ( This change will impact Blackboard Learn, ending the ability to use the “Record” option of Video Everywhere.

Faculty and students can still use YouTube to post videos, and then embed the content inside of Blackboard. However, it will now be a three-step process, requiring users to record the videos, upload and publish the video on YouTube, and embed the published video into Blackboard.


Fall 2015 DEIT Updates: Message from Dr. Eric Hagan

Faculty colleagues:

As the Fall Semester gets underway, I wanted to communicate to you about several items that may impact your teaching. To follow-up or get more information, contact DEIT at or 610-282-1100 x2290. In addition, my personal contact information appears at the bottom of this message.fallupdatesleaf2015

  1. Blackboard course template change

As you know, all DeSales University courses are associated with a Blackboard “course shell.” This course shell has a template applied to it that results in a default course structure. After testing a new template in the ACCESS program during the second half of last year with positive feedback from faculty and students, a new template is now being applied to all courses in all programs. This instructor-customizable template is intended to incorporate best practices in technology-enhanced learning and provide students with a better and more consistent navigation experience. The functionality of Blackboard is unchanged. Some of the cosmetic changes you will immediately notice are the addition of a “Start Here” section and the relabeling of “Content” to “Weekly Units”.

It is NOT mandatory to use all elements of the template nor is the intent to change the way you teach. Indeed, although application of the template can benefit many courses, aspects of the template may be inappropriate for some courses and teaching strategies. Instructors are free to hide or delete content elements that they do not wish to use (in fact, many items are already hidden by default). If you need assistance in configuring your course or in using (or not using) the new course template, contact DEIT. You are also invited to attend one of the upcoming evening online workshops on the new template (see

  1. Classroom tech upgrades

Under the leadership of Instructional Media Engineer Mike Yorgey, each summer DEIT takes the opportunity to perform various classroom technology upgrades. Here is a quick run-down of this summer’s activity:

Dooling Hall – 1st Floor Classrooms:

The 1st floor classrooms (104-109) have gone digital. Instructors that teach in these classrooms need to know that the DOOLING HALL 1ST FLOOR CLASSROOMS NO LONGER HAVE VHS VIDEOTAPE PLAYERS. The DVD/VHS players formerly in the Dooling 1st floor classrooms have been replaced with BluRay players (these players play both BluRay and DVD disks). The 1st floor classrooms also have new screens and projectors and digital HDMI connections for newer laptops. Instructors that rely on VHS tapes have several options, including replacing tapes with DVDs or BluRay disks or having DEIT digitize (free of charge) content from the tapes so it can be played from a DVD or streamed from our media server. If you anticipate the need to digitize VHS tape content, please contact DEIT as soon as possible for assistance as the conversion process takes time.

Dooling Hall lower level, New Social Sciences and TV/Film labs:

As part of larger projects involving Campus Environment and IT, Mike Yorgey did the instructional media work on the new Social Sciences lab and refitted the Academic Computing Center classroom, Dooling Hall Room 14-D, for use by TV/Film students.

Dooling Hall Room 227:

Replacement of SMART Board, addition of ultra-short throw projector.

Hurd Science Center:

Work to allow display of digital imaging microscopes, work in process to add projector to 2nd floor conference room.

  1. New faculty support (any faculty, for that matter!)

DEIT has a variety of support resources available for new faculty members or experienced faculty members that want to try something new. Our instructional designers, Jim Holton, Chris Hewatt, and May Truong-Merritt (new as of this summer), are here to help you use technology effectively in your teaching. Contact DEIT to schedule a one-on-one collaboration session or access to register for a scheduled workshop. DEIT staff are also available for hands-on technology walk-throughs in the classroom where you will be teaching. We also have a variety of self-service resources available in the faculty community in Blackboard as well as on the DEIT Web site

DEIT is here to support the faculty. Let us know how we can help!

Peace and blessings,


Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.

Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology DeSales University

DEIT Faculty Workshops September 2015

New faculty are encouraged to join DEIT in their monthly Distance Education Welcome Chat online workshop on 9/3/2015 from 7:00 – 7:30 PM to meet other new faculty, and learn more about the support and services that the DEIT and Library staff provide.

New to Blackboard or looking to refresh your knowledge of the basics? Faculty can join DEIT on To learn more about Blackboard on the online Blackboard Fundamentals workshop on 9/14/15 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. An additional in person Blackboard Fundamentals workshop will also be held on 9/26/2015 in Dooling 40-2 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM.

Starting with all Fall 2015 courses (including Traditional Day, ACCESS, and Graduate sessions), all course shells in Blackboard have the new “WEEKLY UNITS” template applied to their course. The New Course Template Overview for Instructors half hour online workshops will be held on 9/8/2015 and 9/22/2015 from 7:00 – 7:30 PM. These sessions will review the new look for courses and the best practices for using the new template. The new template will not affect the functionality of Blackboard, but does have a new, improved layout for the left navigation menu.

DEIT is also offering faculty workshops on Panopto and Blackboard Collaborate. The in person Panopto workshop will be held on 9/12/2015 in Dooling 40-2 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM. The online Blackboard Collaborate workshops will be held on 9/16/2015 and 9/30/2015 from 7:00 – 8:00 PM.

To register for a workshop, click here:



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