Frequently Asked Questions

Blackboard is available at


Browser support information

Blackboard supports five primary browsers – Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Check the “Supported browsers” page to see which versions of the browser are supported. Note, Javascript and Cookies must be enabled in the browser.

Blackboard Learn requires Java browser plugin. Without this plugin some features such as Multiple File uploads would not function.

JRE version 7 is the recommended version for features that depend on it. JRE version 6 may work, but could result in unexpected behavior. Oracle has acknowledged some security issues with JRE version 6.

On Apple Mac OS X, Google’s Chrome browser does not support Java 7 because of incompatibilities between 64-bit Java and 32-bit Chrome. Firefox and Safari browsers do not have this limitation on Mac OS X. Users of the Chrome browser on Mac OS X must configure Java 6 support in order to access the features listed above.

The JRE can be downloaded from

Why does some content not load in the latest version of my browser?

Beginning with Firefox version 23, Internet Explorer version 9, and Chrome version 19, webpages containing mixed content (non-https or non-SSL) may be blocked. Please see how to unblock content here.

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 “_”. Also, be sure that your filename does not begin with a space.

Why is there garbage in the emails I’m receiving from Blackboard? and
Why does the formatting look funny when I paste things into a text box?

Pasting content from other applications – especially Microsoft Word – can produce unexpected results, since extra code is copied along with your formatted text. Once you paste content into the text editor, click the tool “Remove Formatting” (top left tool ribbon) to remove any markup. Alternatively, click the tool link “HMTL” and paste text there, then click Update.

Why don’t I see the navigation chevrons?

If you are unable to see the chevrons in your Blackboard course, it’s likely that your browser is set up to not display images. Information about displaying images can be found at these sites: Firefox ; IE;  Chrome.

How do I change my password?

To change your Cornell NetID password, click here.


My course has buttons in the course menu instead of links (like I see in the examples). How can I change my buttons to links?

To change your course menu from buttons to links, click Customize on the Control Panel, and then select Styles. Under #1: Select Menu Style, select Text. Click Submit.

How do I add course reserve material in my Blackboard course?

To setup a link from your Blackboard course to the Library Reserves content, click the Course Reserves menu item or Course Reserves tool in Course Tools section of your course Control Panel. Please see how to instructions at:

NON-MANAGED ENROLLMENT COURSES ONLY: How do I change the Course ID of my course?


To do this:

  1. In the Control Panel, select Course Copy from the Packages and Utilities area
  2. Select “Copy Course with Users (Exact Copy)” as the Copy Type
  3. Provide a new Course ID, and check all of the types of course materials that you want to have included in the copy
  4. Be sure to check the box “Include Enrollments in the Copy”. If you do not include the enrollments, your instructor enrollment will not be included.
  5. You will receive an email when the copy is complete. Once you receive the email, return to your “My Blackboard” page and go to the new site.
  6. In the Control Panel, select Users from the Users and Groups area. Remove any users that are no longer in your course.
  7. Send an email to to request that the old course be deleted.


I am getting a plugin error when I try to open a PDF from Blackboard on my Mac (using Firefox or Safari).

This is a browser bug (not a Blackboard bug) in Firefox and Safari. It is possible to fix the problem by specifying “Open in New Window” in the Blackboard item that contains the PDF.
For new items: select “Open in New Window” when selecting the file for a new file item.

Upload new file


For existing items: click the downward chevron next to the item name, then click Edit. Next to Open in New Window, select Yes.

How can I have a course recovered from a backup?

All courses on Blackboard are regularly backed up. However, we encourage you to make regular local backups of any critical student data such as Gradebook and student submitted work. You can use the Archive option in the Control panel to create a package of the entire course and save it to your computer.

If you need to recover a course from a backup copy, email We can recover the course from a backup up to 3 weeks prior to the date you contact us. Please allow up to 1 week to restore the course.

How do I link to a Cornell-restricted database, journal, or journal article?

Information on linking to library resources is available.

Can I use audio or video in my Blackboard course site?

The Kaltura Blackboard plug-in allows you to upload audio or video, or record video from your webcam straight into your  Blackboard course site. Information about working with Kaltura can be found at We encourage you to contact for assistance with audio and video.

Can I enter LaTex equation in my Blackboard site?

MathJax allows you to include LaTex equations in your Blackboard site (or any web page) by inserting the following javascript code followed by the LaTex code. This is best for short mathematical expressions or single-line display equations.

To use MathJax:
1. In the Blackboard editor, click the HTML button to launch the HTML code view editor.

2. Paste this code into the HTML code editor:

<script type=”text/javascript”



3. Enter your LaTex notation.

Surround your LaTex code with [  … ] for a single-line display equation, or ( … ) for an inline expression. If you need to use a less-than sign in an equation, code it as lt to avoid having it interpreted as the beginning of an HTML tag. Please note that dollar sign ($…$) delimiters do not work with MathJax.

A video describing the use MathJax with Blackboard is available.


Please note: basic information about managed enrollment, including how to request a Blackboard course site, can be found here: Things for Instructors to Know About Blackboard Managed Enrollment

How do I give students access to my Blackboard course site?

If you request a Blackboard course site through the Faculty Center, students will be automatically enrolled (and dropped, if necessary) from your course site. See Things for Instructors to Know About Blackboard Managed Enrollment for information about how to request your Blackboard course site.

Why does it say that my course is not available until first day of class?

When a course is created in Blackboard it is available to instructors immediately. You can access the course by clicking on the link. The message that the course is not available applies to student access only.

I don’t want my students to access my course yet, what do I do?

You can control when students access your course by modifying the course duration dates. Please see step-by-step instructions here.

I have been using the same course for many years. How does this change affect me?

A new term-based course must be created through Faculty Center in order to benefit from managed student enrollment. The course content can by copied from the old course to the new term-based course (see below.)

I have already created a Blackboard course site for the Spring 2017 semester. Will students be added to that course?

In order to take advantage of managed student enrollment, you must create your Spring 2017 course through Faculty Center. You can then copy the content from the existing course site to the new course (see below.)

What if I want to re-use a Blackboard site that I used in a previous semester?

To re-use content from a previous semester’s Blackboard course site, you will need to copy the content from the old site into the new site that has been created through the Faculty Center. Instructions for copying content can be found at

Will my library course reserve links be copied from my old course site?

Once your Blackboard site is created, you can create a link to the reserve system for the new course and semester. You should then work with your reserve librarian to copy reserve content to your new site. This is consistent with the current practice and with the functionality of the Ares reserve system.

What happens if I manually enroll students in my course?

If you enroll a student manually in the course, and later that student drops the course, they will not be removed if at some point during the add/drop period they drop the course.

What happens if a student is dropped from the course accidentally during the add/drop period?

Students who are dropped from the course will no longer appear in the users list or in the grade center. However, if they re-enroll, their enrollment will automatically be reactivated and any work they have done in the course will be preserved.

I have a student who has a financial hold, but expects it to be resolved quickly. How can I make sure their work is not lost?

Students’ enrollment in the Blackboard course sites is not affected by financial or administrative holds on their records.

I have a student who is adding the course, but the addition has not gone through yet. Can they have access to the Blackboard course site?

In order to give a student immediate access to the course site, you will need to manually enroll them.

I have a course that is not tied to a particular semester. Will I continue to be able to use the Blackboard course site for this course?

Yes, you will still be able to maintain Blackboard course sites that are not tied to a semester, or that are not tracked within the Registrar’s system, by manually enrolling users. For more information, contact

I want students who are not yet enrolled in my course to be able to see some parts of the course – such as the syllabus. How can I make this available to them?

You can provide students with “guest access” to parts of your course content by doing the following:

  • In the Control Panel, go to Customization > Guest and Observer Access and select Yes next to Allow Guests
  • In the Course Menu, click on the arrow next to the Content Areas that you want to share, and select Permit Guests
  • Modify the duration date range as necessary (see Do not change the course availability, as this will prevent Blackboard from synching the rosters correctly.
  • Categorize your course so that students can find it (see )


How do I turn off Blackboard Email and Mobile Notifications?

You can control which kind of notifications you receive from Blackboard by changing your personal preferences:

  1. Click Global Navigation menu at the top right next to your name
  2. Click Settings below list of courses
  3. Click Edit Notification Settings
  4. You can change notification settings for a single course by clicking on the course name, or for all of your courses by clicking Courses I am taking under Bulk Edit Notification settings
  5. Add or remove checkmarks in the Email and Mobile columns to control which emails you receive

What is the difference between Course Enroll, Just the Facts, and Blackboard?

To register to take a course at any college, you must use CourseEnroll. The Just the Facts page shows your enrollment status. Blackboard is a course management system that some instructors use voluntarily, not all courses are available on Blackboard and enrolling in a course on Blackboard does not mean that you’re properly registered through the registrar to take the course.

Why can’t I login to Blackboard?

You must have a Blackboard account to use the system. Blackboard is independent of the University registration system.  First year undergraduates receive their Blackboard accounts prior to arriving on campus.   If you are a Visiting Fellow or somehow did not receive a Blackboard account, you may request one.

  1. Navigate to at
  2. Provide your Cornell credentials and click Login.
  3. Click the text that reads: “Click here if you wish to submit a request for [your name here]”
  4. Click the text that reads “Create a Blackboard user account.”
  5. You will receive an email informing you that your account has been created.   You may now navigate to and click Login.
  6.  Click on the My Blackboard tab to see a list of your courses.  Clicking on the link(s) of your courses will give you access to your course materials.

What if  I cannot see the course I’m registered to take?

If your course does not display for you automatically in Blackboard, your instructor’s course may not be linked to official registration records.  The instructor may allow you to self-enroll  or would need to manually enroll you in the Blackboard course site. To self-enroll in the course on Blackboard, follow these steps:

  1. Log in at
  2. Click the Search Courses tab.
  3. Type the course id in the “Course Search” field.
  4. Search by the Course ID, by name or by instructor and locate the desired course.
  5. Next to the course link, click on the arrow icon that appears and select Enroll.

If there is no “Enroll” option, then the instructor has set the course site enrollment so that you cannot enroll yourself.  In this case, you will need to contact the professor directly for instructions.  If your instructor has questions about Blackboard enrollment, have them contact

Why do I see an “Access Denied” error when I try to enroll in a course?

You are unable to enroll in the class because the course enrollment options are set for instructor-led enrollment only. The instructor or a course TA would need to enroll students in the course. You need to contact your professor for further instructions.

I am getting a plugin error when I try to open a PDF from Blackboard on my Mac (using Firefox or Safari).

This is a browser bug (not a Blackboard bug) in Firefox and Safari. To get around this problem, download the file to your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

How Do I Remove Old Courses?

Courses from previous semesters may remain in your Blackboard course list if the instructor does not remove you from the enrollment area. You cannot unenroll yourself, but you can keep the course from appearing in the course list.

How do I Hide a Course from the Course List?

  1. From the Course List module (on either the My Blackboard tab or the My Courses tab), click the wheel icon in the top right. wheel
  2. Remove the check from the checkboxes next to the course name and the course ID.  If you keep the Course Name or Course ID, you can choose to hide only the
  3. Instructors and Announcements information.
    Hide a course


Do I need a Cornell NetID to access Blackboard?

People who do not have a Cornell NetID will need to request a Guest account to access Blackboard. See Access for Non-Cornell Users page.


Why do I get an error when I try to login to Blackboard?

You must have a Blackboard account to access Blackboard course sites. If you did not yet request a Blackboard account, you can submit a request for an account on the main Blackboard page.

What are some basic troubleshooting steps I can try?

  1. Clear the browser cache.
  2. Test your browser.
  3. Make sure you are running the supported version of the Java Runtime Environment.
  4. Contact your instructor.

Why can’t I take a quiz / enter a chat / enter a virtual classroom?

Java is required for some Blackboard features. You can download the software.  Pop up blockers can prevent you from accessing some Blackboard features. Try holding the CTRL key when clicking on these items to temporarily disable your pop-up blocker.

When I paste information into a text box, it’s all garbled.

Microsoft Word contains a lot of markup that is unintelligible to other text editors, including the one used in Blackboard. Once you paste content into the text editor, click the tool “Remove Formatting” (top left tool ribbon) to remove any markup.

How can I receive Blackboard notifications on my mobile device?

To set your Blackboard preferences so that you can receive notifications about updates, deadlines, etc. on your mobile device, follow these instructions on setting Blackboard preferences.


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