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Access

Technical Requirements (system, browser)
Mobile Access
Logging on to Blackboard (how-to,troubleshooting)
Password Security
Who Can Use Blackboard
Levels of Access
Auditors
Special / Non-Princeton Students
Guests
Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities


Technical requirements

What are the system requirements for Blackboard?

Platform: Windows XP, Vista , 2007/ Mac OSX 10.5 or higher.

Hardware: 64 MB of RAM, 20 MB of free disk space.

Modem: 56 k modem or higher.

Browser : Click here for browser compatibility chart

Firefox and Chrome Support Policy Statement from Bb:

Blackboard's support of Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox differs from the other supported browsers. Chrome and Firefox are following a rapid release strategy and releasing updates every 6 or so weeks. Chrome requires an automatic upgrade for end users, whereas Firefox offers the option to turn off the automatic upgrade. Blackboard has decided to support Chrome and Firefox in the broad sense meaning we will accept issues on both browsers and strive to resolve issues on Blackboard Learn as appropriate.

Blackboard has conducted testing using the Stable Channel of Chrome (Chrome 10) and the Final Release Channel of Firefox (Firefox 4) during testing of this release. We resolved browser related issues at the time of releases, but cannot guarantee the compatibility of future versions. We will conduct testing on the latest browsers and Blackboard Learn releases to provide timely information on browser compatibility.

The Chrome Stable Channel is the fully tested version by Google and intended to be the most stable as the name implies. This channel is updated roughly every 2-3 weeks for minor releases and 6 weeks for major releases. For further detail on Chrome, please review the material available at www.chromium.org.

The Firefox Release Channel is the fully tested version by Mozilla and intended to be the most stable. This channel is updated roughly every 6 weeks. For further detail on Firefox, please review the material available at http://blog.mozilla.com/blog/2011/04/13/new-channels-for-firefox-rapid-releases/

NOTE on "Compatible":

  1. A new browser may be considered compatible because of the time we have available for testing.  We make the same effort to fix high and critical issues but the scope of our testing is limited.
  2. On the other hand, a formerly certified browser may be considered compatible because we didn’t do the requisite testing for that specific release.  That browser, however, should continue to function properly, just as if it were still certified.

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Mobile Access

Blackboard Mobile Learn is a free app that can be installed and used on Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, over wifi; and on Sprint Android, Blackberry, and Palm webOS devices over both wifi and 3G/4G networks.

Issue:  When the Blackboard Mobile Learn app is used on Android devices that do not have the 2.2 (FroYo Release), you cannot login with a Princeton NetID.  This is because older versions of Android will not accept our CAS (Central Authentication Service) certificate.

Work Aound:  Upgrade to Andriod 2.2, if your device permits.

Issue:  When the Blackboard Mobile Learn app is used with Sprint devices, you are not logged out automatically when you quit the app, nor do you see logout button.

Work Around:  Use the phone's back button or menu button.

For more information and demos, see Mobile.

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Logging on to Blackboard

Blackboard login page

How do I login to Blackboard?

Go to https://blackboard.princeton.edu/ . The screen pictured above will display.  Click the radio button next to the appropriate option:

  • I have a valid Princeton University NetID and Password
  • I have a special Blackboard ID and Password (Community Auditor or other)
  • I am a guest and wish to view areas of course sites that are open to the public

Click Continue, then enter your credentials on the page that comes up, unless you selected the "I am a guest" option. 

If you have a valid Princeton University NetID and password, you will be logging in through CAS, the University Central Authentication Service for web-based applications.

Auditors and other who have been assigned a special Blackboard-only ID (generally this will begin with au_ or ci_) should enter it along with the password that was assigned, and click the Login button.

If you select the "guest" option, you will have access to the majority of the course web sites, but your access is limited in all cases to the content areas of the sites. You may find that certain content areas within a site are restricted: this is at the discretion of the instructor. The interactive, collaborative tools within each site are available only to those enrolled in the sites. While some of the sites contain very limited, general information about the course, such as a description and sample reading list, others will have extensive content, including lecture notes, readings, and assignments. You are encouraged to peruse any of this material that is available to you, with the caveat that it all falls under the protections of copyright and intellectual property law.

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Is there a way to login directly to my course site?

By typing a URL the location bar of your browser based on the formula below, you can go directly from login to your Blackboard site.

https://blackboard.princeton.edu/pucourse/SITE_ID

For SITE_ID substitute your entire Blackboard SITE_ID in UPPERCASE. If your Backboard SITE_ID is ENG310_F2010, your URL is:

https://blackboard.princeton.edu/pucourse/ENG310_F2010

This works for organizations, as well as for courses.

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I'm having trouble logging in. What should I do?

The following information applies to the following scenarios:

You are having problems logging in to Blackboard with your Princeton NetID

You having trouble logging in with an ID that begins with au_ or ci_
If neither of the above apply, enter Blackboard as a guest.

Troubleshooting for people with a Princeton NetID:

Make sure you click the radio button for "I have a valid Princeton University NetID and Password" on the gateway page.

Make sure your Caps Lock is off.

Are you using the correct NetID? To learn more about Princeton NetIDs, see:
http://kb.princeton.edu/5240

Have you had your name withheld from the Princeton Campus Directory? If so, you must contact blackboard@princeton.edu to be activated in Blackboard.

Are you using your LDAP password? To learn more about your LDAP passwordword, see: Knowledge Base Solution 9288.

Did you arrive by BOOKMARK or a URL sent to you by someone? Try clicking on or pasting into your location field this URL and logging in again: https://blackboard.princeton.edu/

If you have tried and fail repeatedly to login, close your browser completely, including your e-mail, and start again. Or if you have an alternate browser, try that one (e.g., if you are using Firefox, try Internet Explorer or Safari).

Still having login problems with your PU NetID? Please contact the OIT Help Desk at 8-HELP (609-258-4357) or send e-mail to helpdesk@princeton.edu.

While you wait for a response, you might try accessing your site as a guest. Unless the instructor has denied guest access to the site, most of the site content will be accessible to visitors. Organization sites are created without guest access, so unless the Leader has made it available to guests, you will probably not have access.

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Troubleshooting for people with IDs that begin with au_ or ci_:

Make sure you click the radio button for "I have a special Blackboard ID and Password (Community Auditor or other)" on the gateway page.

Make sure your Caps Lock is off. Remember passwords are case-sensitive.

Are you typing your ID correctly? Be sure to use an underscore not a dash after the au or ci at the start of your ID, and do not leave any spaces.

Did you arrive here by BOOKMARK or a URL sent to you by someone? Try clicking on or pasting into your location field this URL and logging in again: https://blackboard.princeton.edu/

If you have tried and fail repeatedly to login, close your browser completely, including your e-mail, and start again. Or if you have an alternate browser, try that one (e.g., if you are using Netscape, try Internet Explorer).

Still having log in problems wit your special Blackboard ID?

If you have an ID that begins with au_, please contact the Community Auditors Program Office at 609-258-0202 or PUCAP@princeton.edu.

If you have an ID that begins with ci_, please contact the Blackboard Help Desk at 609-258-0737 or blackboard@princeton.edu.

While you wait for a response, you might try accessing your course as a guest. Unless the instructor has denied guest access to the site, most of the course content will be accessible to visitors.

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Password Security

How do I know my password is not being intercepted?

Your password is protected in transit by using a network protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). With 128-bit SSL, information passing between the browser and the Web site is encrypted or scrambled to make it extremely difficult for anyone who intercepts the information to read it. Thus, only web browsers that support SSL may be used to login to Blackboard. You will know that you have a SSL connection when you see "https:" instead of "http:" After login, the "https:" will revert back to "http:"

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Who Can Use Blackboard

Can I make my web site accessible to everyone, not just users enrolled in the site?

Yes. The default setting for course sites at Princeton permits anyone with Web access to access to the Content Area labeled Syllabus. Place materials you would like to be publicly available in that area, or create other content areas available to guests. The other two default Content Areas, Course Materials and Assignments are not available to those not enrolled in your course. . Place materials that, by copyright restriction, should only be available to enrolled students, in those areas. If there is an Ereserves or Audio Reserves link in your course menu, it cannot be made available to those not enrolled.

The Tools are also restricted to only those enrolled in the course. The default setting for Organization sites denies access to guests.

How do special students and community auditors get enrolled in Blackboard site?

SPECIAL FOR-CREDIT STUDENTS
Whether a student at the Princeton Theological Seminary, a student at another college or university, or a high school student taking a course at Princeton , enrollment begins a process that will produce a Princeton NetID to provide special students taking courses for credit with access to certain services and resources, including access as a student to the Blackboard site for the course.  This applies to all undergraduate students, as well as to graduate students who are part of the inter-university doctoral consortium.

To find out your Princeton NetID, go to the Princeton Home Page and look in in the Princeton People Search. Once you have located your NetID, call the Princeton help desk (609.258.HELP) and tell them you need to activate it. When you have a password, you will be ready to login to Blackboard.

Note: If you have a Princeton NetID, your course e-mail will be sent to your Princeton e-mail address. If you do not wish to use that account, when you call the help desk to get your NetID activated, ask them to help you forward your Princeton e-mail account to your preferred account.

(Warning to those with AOL e-mail accounts: AOL does not always accept e-mail from Princeton Blackboard and Princeton Listservs.)

COMMUNITY AUDITORS
If you enroll in a course through the Community Auditing Program that allows you to use its Blackboard site, the Community Auditor Office will enroll you in the Blackboard course site.

To log in to the  Blackboard site, you will need your CAP username and password.

Once at the site, choose the second login option "I have a special Blackboard ID and Password (Community Auditor or other)".  You will then be directed to the login page.

In the Blackboard ID box, type "au_" followed by your CAP username.  For example:  au_MarySmith

In the Password box enter in your CAP password.

If you have a Blackboard ID from past semesters, it will get you into the Blackboard pages for courses you took prior to Fall 2006, but not into Fall 2006-or-later courses.

Please contact the Community Auditors Program Office for all Blackboard access issues: 609-258-0202 / PUCAP@princeton.edu.

Note: If you do not have a Princeton NetID your course e-mail will be sent to the address your Blackboard ID and password were sent to (special graduate students) or the address you registered in CAP with (Community Auditors).

(Warning to those with AOL e-mail accounts: AOL does not always accept e-mail from Princeton Blackboard and Princeton Listservs.)

PRINCETON NetID HOLDERS WHO ARE AUDITING
The course instructor should send an e-mail request to blackboard@princeton.edu asking that you be enrolled as an auditor.

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Levels of Access

What levels of access are available in Blackboard sites?

User roles determine the level of access to a site.
There are five user roles :
 

Courses / Organizations
Instructor / Leader
Instructional Staff / Assistant
Course Builder / Organization Builder
Student / Participant

Each user can have only one user role per Bb site. These roles are site-specific, so a single user could be assigned the Instructor role in one Bb site, but be assigned the Student role in another Bb site.

Instructor / Leader
The Instructor / Leader role has the highest level of privilege within a site. Typically, the Instructor is the person teaching or leading the class. The Instructor / Leader has access to everything in the Control Panel .

Instructional Staff / Assistant
The role of Instructional Staff / Assistant is the rough equivalent of the Instructor / Leader. This role would be assigned to a user who will be significantly participating in the teaching of the class or management of the site, but is not listed in the PeopleSoft Course Information System Catalog as a primary instructor. The Instructional Staff / Assistant role has access to everything in the Control Panel except for the ability to remove an Instructor / Leader from the site, or change the Instructor / Leader's role.

Course Builder / Organization Builder
The Course Builder / Organization Builder role has access to the site's Control Panel , but not to the Grade Center and site statistics. An Instructor / Leader would assign someone the Builder role so that person could assist the Instructor in the creation of content and in some of the management. As with the Instructional Staff / Assistant role, access within the User management section is limited to prevent the Builder from removing Instructors, modifying user properties, etc.

Student / Participant
The Student / Participant role is the default site role. A user with the User role of Student / Participant has no access to the site's Control Panel .

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Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

Quick Links

New Summer 2014

The Quick Links tool will help significantly improve the navigation experience for sighted, keyboard-only users. This tool can be quickly accessed on any page using a link at the very top of the page or a keyboard shortcut (Control+Alt+L). It will aggregate a list of all of the landmarks and headings on a page and allow a user to select one and jump directly to that location within the page. It will also collect and highlight any keyboard shortcuts that exist for the current page or tool, providing another method for quickly completing key tasks within the application.

Is Blackboard ADA Compliant? How does it work with screen readers?

Blackboard, Inc. has a page that addresses accessibility issues:

http://www.blackboard.com/Teaching-Learning/Learn-Resources/Accessibility.aspx 

How is accessibility implemented?

Most of what makes the product so easy to use for all users, including those with assistive technologies, is under-the-covers with a combination of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and semantic markup (that is, well formed HTML). Additional accessibility features include:

  • Keyboard Accessible Reordering: The Keyboard-Accessible Reordering component provides the user with an alternate method to reorder content groupings in columns and rows that would otherwise be completed using Drag and Drop. This component is positioned as a secondary emphasis page-level action.
  • Personal styles accepted: Users can adjust the font size and other style elements in their browser regardless of the style sheet that is in place. These adjustments will remain as long as the user is logged into the system.
  • Embedded and optional help: The embedded help throughout the application helps users with and without disabilities access the features of Blackboard easily. The personal setting to hide or show help until the user chooses to call upon it again helps users from both perspectives: it removes text from the application that may be distracting, or it adds text to the application that helps them without forcing them to leave what they are doing. The Personal setting is found in My Places, and the on-the-fly change can be executed using the help icon in the top right corner of any page with help available.

Are there any changes to existing workflows in Release 9?
Note that this release has a significant impact on the workflow of nearly all tasks for the purpose of improving the usability. Overall these changes result in a positive change with a more intuitive user interface, but this is most challenging to learn for the blind or visually impaired user, because they have memorized the pathway to all of their activities. The structure provided in Release 9 is drastically improved to help guide them to easy discovery.

Is everything accessible and highly usable in Release 9?
No. Accessible users should be aware of the following issues:

  • Virtual Classroom: Although the Accessible Chat alternative is provided, this is not considered "equal access" to all users.
  • JavaScript Requirement: The requirement of JavaScript to use Blackboard is sometimes considered not accessible. However, the login page of Blackboard recognizes if the user does not have JavaScript enabled and informs the user of the requirement. This means that for all users (sighted, not sighted, one who understands browsers or not), Blackboard responds in the same way - by informing them of what needs to be done.

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User Manual  Select 9.1 SP10 and SP11 from the Table of Contents, then select your role (Instructor or Student)

blackboard@princeton.edu

Blackboard Help Line (609) 258-0737