The Blackboard Learning System is a virtual learning environment and course management system. Its main purposes are to add online elements to courses traditionally delivered face-to-face and to develop completely online courses with few or no face-to-face meetings. Powerpoint, Kaltura, video, audio, animation, and other content are created outside of Blackboard and added into Blackboard courses for students to enhance teaching and learning efforts.
Standard Operating Procedures
ITS has prepared a Standard Operating Procedures document for Blackboard. The purpose of this document is to define the manner in which Blackboard is to be used by students, faculty, and staff, and the method of support provided by Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Office of Academic Technologies.
Blackboard Announcements and Events
Announcement: Blackboard Day Summary
On June 10th, 2015, Provost Sukhatme welcomed nearly two-hundred conference attendees with opening remarks outlining his vision for technology at Pace: “We would like all faculty to build and maintain a virtual presence where they make use of available technologies and deepen the usage of Blackboard to promote student engagement and academic continuity.” The Vice President of Global Higher Education Strategy at Blackboard, Annie Chechitelli, delivered the keynote address which emphasized the company’s new, learner-focused approach. Blackboard’s product managers went on to provide a roadmap for the future. Some highlights included a preview of the more user-friendly Blackboard Learn Ultra experience and a Java-free version of Collaborate.
Afterwards, there were four tracks of outstanding presentations from Pace University, Goodwin College, Macmillian, Babson College, Wilmington University, Three Rivers Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hostos Community College, Community College System of New Hampshire, Berkeley College, and the University of Southern Maine. Attendees left with valuable takeaways from each presentation. The day ended with prizes, and our very own Heather Askildesn and Dorothee Von Huene-Greenberg were winners!
Announcement: Teaching Assistant (TA) Enrollment Procedure
ITS has prepared a tutorial document for instructors describing how to enroll a teaching assistant into a course in Blackboard. If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the Office of Academic Technology via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (914) 773-3664.
Announcement: Blackboard Retention Center Issue
There is a known issue where student grades may not be translated correctly from the Blackboard Grade Center to the Blackboard Retention Center. This error can lead to incorrect Grade Rule Alerts. We are working with our Blackboard vendor to resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the Office of Academic Technology via email email@example.com or by phone at (914) 773-3664.
Event: Blackboard Open Labs for Faculty
Meet with consultants from Academic Technologies to ask your Blackboard related questions and learn about using its features.
Check back in the Fall 2015 semester for upcoming Blackboard Open Lab events.
Faculty Tutorials and Guides
Student Tutorials and Guides
|Student Introduction||This video was prepared by ITS for new students starting in Blackboard.|
|Student Introduction||Watch this Lynda.com playlist to get up and running in Blackboard.|
|Setting Up and Sharing Profiles||This video show how to set up your Blackboard profile and share it with others.|
|Checking Grades||Find your course grades when your teacher has made them available.|
|Submitting an Assignment||Access assignments, download and edit an assignment file, and upload it back to Blackboard.|
|Submitting a Turnitin||How to submit your paper through Turnitin in Blackboard.|
|Creating and Editing Wikis||Create a wiki page, edit any user's page, link to an existing wiki page in another page, and view the wiki history.|
|Recording Your Webcam||Record your webcam as a thread in the Discussion Board.|
|Video Assignment Response||Record and upload video assignments given by your professor.|
|Notification Settings||Receive email notifications about course activity.|
|Turnitin Student Manual||This manual will educate students on how to submit papers to a Turnitin assignment.|
|Mobile App||Download the Blackboard Mobile Learn app for your smartphone or tablet.|
ExamSoft Computer-Based Testing Software
Sign up to use ExamSoft by making a Help Desk ticket at help.pace.edu and selecting the Request Type as Information Technology > Blackboard > ExamSoft.
- Provide a secure testing environment which eliminates dependence on the internet.
- Make it easy to design assessments using categories and tags. 
- Improve feedback loops with the potential to decrease drop, fail, and withdraw rates.
 Case Study: "Uprooting the STEM: Using SLO Assessment to Drastically Decrease Drop, Fail, and Withdraw (DFW) Rates". Retrieved 17 June 2015 from http://learn.examsoft.com/case-study/university-of-north-texas-petros-dfw-rates.
Policies and Best Practices
What is the difference between SofTest and SofTest-M?
SofTest is the application used to take exams on a Mac or PC. SofTest-M is an application used to take exams on an iPad.
How do I download SofTest onto my device?
Log into the ExamSoft portal. Click "download" in the "getting started" tab.
How do I get the SofTest-M application?
Search for SofTest-M in the App store and install.
What do I do if a student's computer crashes while trying to start the exam or during the exam?
Simply have the students reboot their computer. If the student had not started the exam, they will need to relaunch SofTest. If the student was in the middle of the exam, SofTest will automatically go back to where the student left off. Please see this troubleshooting guide.
Why do I need to disable my anti-virus software to run SofTest, and how do I do this?
Antivirus programs can sometimes interfere with SofTest due to their security features. Because of this it is necessary to disable certain features provided by the antivirus and in some cases disabling the antivirus altogether; temporarily of course. Please see Examsoft’s website (here) for details on how to disable particular antivirus programs.
What do I do if a student does not see the exam in SofTest?
Here are some things you can try:
1. Verify they downloaded it: If it does not show up under the list when they click on 'Take an Exam' --> Available Exams , they probably just have not downloaded it yet. Have the student go to the home screen and then click on 'Download Exam Files' where they should see it listed and can download it. If it IS showing up in the 'Available Exams' list but they are receiving an error message when trying to load it, contact ExamSoft Support.
What do I do if the navigation bar on the right does not show that all the questions have been answered?
The navigation bar does not update in real time. To show the update, have the student toggle between the "Alarm" bar and the "Navigation" bar.
What Is Turnitin?
Turnitin is the global leader in evaluating student work. The company’s cloud-based service for originality checking, online grading and peer review saves instructors time and provides rich feedback to students. One of the most widely distributed educational applications in the world, Turnitin is used by more than 10,000 institutions in 135 countries to manage the submission, tracking and evaluation of student work online.
Why Educators Love Turnitin
|Instructor Manual||Link to Turnitin's online Instructor User Manual|
|Turnitin Assignments||Watch and learn how to create an assignment.|
|Turnitin Assignments||Read to learn how to create an assignment.|
|Viewing Originality Reports||Follow these steps to view Turnitin's Originality reports in Blackboard.|
|Revision Assignments||Instructions for creating a Revision assignment|
|PeerMark Assignments||Interactive tutorial for creating a PeerMark assignment|
|Student Manual||Link to Turnitin's online Student User Manual|
|Submitting Assignments||How to submit your paper through Turnitin|
|Viewing GradeMarked Papers||Instructions for viewing a marked paper.|
|Viewing Feedback||View your instructor's Turnitin feedback within Blackboard.|
|Writing Peer Reviews||Instructions for Peer Reviewing a paper.|
Can you make Turnitin automatically fail a submission that exceeds a certain similarity score?
No. Turnitin leaves grading discretion to instructors.
My students' submissions are not showing up in the Grade Center or in Needs Grading.
To fix this, go to Course Management > Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment. Next to the assignment, select Sync Grades.
Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When students use Respondus they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading.
Respondus Resources for Faculty
|Syllabus Statement||Include and/or adapt this statement into your course syllabus.|
|Quick Start Guide||Follow this guide to get started with Respondus|
|Download Respondus||Download Respondus using this link|
Best Practices for Faculty Using Respondus:
- Familiarize yourself with Respondus within the Respondus Test Course. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to request training.
- ITS recomends using Respondus on a laptop or desktop only. There are known issues with tests freezing among students using certain tablet devices. Respondus will address this issue in a future release.
- Include how you plan to use Respondus in your course syllabus. A link to an example syllabus statement is provided below.
- Discuss Respondus with your students and let them know what they should expect.
- Create a no-stakes practice test for your students to practice using Respondus, in order to eliminate complications on exam day.
The following computer labs are already equipped with Respondus:
Respondus Resources for Students
|Quick Start Guide||Follow this guide to get started with Respondus.|
|Download Respondus||Download Respondus using this link|
FAQ for Faculty
How can I add a TA to my course in Blackboard?
1. Log in to Blackboard
2. In “Course Management” in the left panel, expand the “Control Panel”
3. Expand “Users and Groups”
4. Select “Users”
5. Click “Find Users to Enroll”
6. Enter the username for the TA in the “Username” field
7. Change the “Role” dropdown menu item to “Teaching Assistant”
8. Ensure that the “Enrollment Availability” is “Yes”
9. Click “Submit”
View the full policy here.
When can I access my course in Blackboard?
Instructor access begins 4 months before the course start date.
Are courses deleted after the semester ends?
Instructors cannot make a course "unavailable" on Blackboard prior to the official end of the semester, but are permitted to do so anytime after the end date. All courses will be made "unavailable" to students automatically 6 weeks after the official end of the semester. If a course has been inactive for 2 years, it will be archived and removed from the server.
How to I make a course available or unavailable to students?
Under Control Panel > Customization click on 'Properties'. Click on 'Yes' for Step 3 Set Availability. Note: By default, all new courses (with a Pace issued CRN) generated automatically are made "Unavailable" to students until the official start of the semester. The "Unavailable" tag next to a course under a faculty member’s course listing means that the course is unavailable to students, not the faculty member. Faculty who wish to provide their students access to their course shells before the start of the semester may do so starting three weeks prior to the official start of the semester. All students will have access to their course shells on the 1st official day of semester, regardless of whether the instructor has made the course "available" or not. If you are unsure how to make your course available to students, please contact your Academic Technologies office for assistance.
Instructors cannot make a course "unavailable" on Blackboard prior to the official end of the semester, but are permitted to do so anytime after the end date. All courses will be made "unavailable" automatically 6 weeks after the official end of the semester.
How do I toggle between student view and instructor view?
Use the Student preview button, highlighted below to see the course as your students do (instead of toggling edit mode on and off). After you have finished, be sure to delete the preview data when switching back to the Faculty view.
Who do I contact if I am having technical issues in Blackboard?
Create a ticket in Help Desk or call (914) 773-3333.
How do I view my student roster with photos of the students?
In the lower-left menu of your course shell, under the "Course Management" section, click on the "Course Tools" link – then select "Course Photo Roster". This will show the names and photos of the students.
How do I view a list of the students in my course with their email addresses?
Another way to list the students in your course and their email addresses, but not the photos, is to select the "Users and Groups" link under the "Course Management" section in your course. When you access "users", it takes you to a screen where you can search for students in your course. In the second search field box, access the drop down menu and select "Not Blank", and then hit "Go". You should see a list of all the students.
How do I reset a student's exam?
Under Control Panel > Evaluations > click Grade Center. Click on the option menu to the right of the lock for the student’s name. Click 'View Grade Details' to the right of the screen. Click on the 'Clear Attempt' button to the right of the screen.
How do I enter student preview?
This option allows you to go in and take a test as a student would see it. When leaving the student preview, delete the data (unless you are in the middle of taking a test and need to go back into it after making changes.)
How do I copy a course?
Instructors have the option of copying content from a previous course into a new course. Please check out our PDF tutorial titled "Copying a Course" above, which you can also link to from here.
Who do I contact to help change the design of my course?
You can contact a staff member in the Academic Technologies office for assistance by emailing email@example.com.
What do I do if I get a 508 HTTP error when entering my course?
Clear your web browser cache to reset.
How do I request a course combine and what are course combine policies?
Please provide the CRNS of the courses you would like combined and enter the help ticket at least 2 weeks before the start of the semester. We prefer to combine the courses before any data is uploaded to the courses but can always copy content loaded in a course to the new combined course (Please let us know in the help ticket if you have uploaded data to any of the courses). Once there is student data in the course (discussion forum posts, grade center items, etc), we cannot process the course combine.
Is it possible to re-open a course from a previous semester for a student who left for medical leave?
Yes. You would need to contact OSA to approve the course be re-opened temporarily. I would need to know how long the course needs to be open for (an exact start and end date) to re-open the course.
How do I get a non-Pace user access to my Blackboard course shell?
If a non-Pace person (i.e., no record in Banner) requires access to Blackboard (e.g., guest lecturer, contract worker, temporary worker, vendor), a Pace sponsor must submit an IT Resource Access Agreement to the ITS helpdesk and a New Contractor Request form, accessible at https://miisweb.pace.edu/MIISWorkflow/. (The link may not work when connecting outside of the Pace Network). The sponsor should also request an email account along with the Blackboard account so there is an associated Pace contact method. Once you get this account created, you will need to add the guest to your Blackboard course by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there any restrictions on the filenames of files that I upload to Blackboard?
We recommend using only the following characters in a filename: Characters a-z (upper or lower case), 0-9, period “.” and underscore “_”. Be sure that your filename does not begin with a space.
FAQ for Students
When can I access my course in Blackboard?
Student access begins 3 weeks before the course start date.
I cannot log in to Blackboard
To log in, you will need to know your Pace username. You can find this out by going to White Pages. Once you have your e-mail address, you should direct your browser to Blackboard.Pace.edu and click LOGIN. Enter the letter/number combination. Your USERNAME is the same as your Pace Portal username. (Sample usernames are: cw94975n, tr87689w and jc73732p. The username translates to your first and last name initial, a random number followed by campus.) If you are new to Pace and have not accessed the Portal at all the default password is your two initials, a dash, and your six digit birthdate. For example cm-010579. If you have problems with access, please contact the ITS Help-desk at 914-773-3333.
I am a first time user, how do I find my user name and password?
Before using any of the Pace University online systems, you must first activate your account. This is a one-time process and only takes a few minutes. Click here to activate your account.
My courses aren't showing up. Why is this happening?
Faculty who wish to provide their students access to their course shells before the start of the semester may do so starting three weeks prior to the official start of the semester. All students will have access to their course shells on the 1st official day of semester, regardless of whether the instructor has made the course "available" or not. If you still do not see your course, check your Pace Portal account information to be sure there are no holds on your account.
How do I email other students?
Please log in to your Blackboard course and click on the “Email” button on the left-hand toolbar. Then select the group of “Users” you would like to email and click on that group. This will take you to a page where you can input a “subject” for your email message and the message “body”. Attach any desired files. Click “Submit”.
Who do I contact if I am having technical issues with my courses on Blackboard?
Please log in to your Blackboard course and click on the “Email” button on the left-hand toolbar. Then select the group of “Users” you would like to email and click on that group. This will take you to a page where you can input a “subject” for your email message and the message “body”. Attach any desired files. Click “Submit”.You should contact Information Technology Services (ITS) for assistance − help.pace.edu or call (914) 773-3333.
Blackboard is supported by Academic Technologies within Information Technology Services (ITS) as of January 2015. Contact us at email@example.com.
Although faculty and staff may approach ITS for individual technical requests, they may also have issues that require additional permissions. In these latter cases, official points of contact should be the liaison between the faculty member and ITS.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to ask a question or to make an appointment.
Help Desk: 914-773-3333.