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Topic Overview

Things Faculty Need to Know about Blackboard

  1. Courses and enrollments into Blackboard are fully automated through the registration process. Each semester, official courses and enrollments are populated from the registration process and updates to those courses and enrollments are performed twice a day. You do not need to request a course in Blackboard for your courses.
  2. By default, courses that have been generated each semester are labeled "unavailable" meaning students cannot access them. It's up to the instructor as to when they would like their course to be made "available" to the enrolled students.
  3. Some materials in Blackboard are not "really in Blackboard" but rather in subsystems. These  subsystems include the Echo 360 videos and Turnitin. 
  4. File Names are important. Faculty and students uploading documents in the Blackboard system should take care when naming the files.
    1. file names should not contain any spaces or special characters (e.g., ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) > <). Because the Blackboard Learning System runs on a UNIX platform, spaces and special characters can be misinterpreted by the system. To indicate a space in a file name the underscore key ( _ ) can be used (e.g., file_name.doc). This also applies to naming columns in the Grade Center. Use the underscore symbol _ and a period . as separators. See below for examples.
  5. Student assignments are now fully integrated into the Grade Center where instructors can go to retrieve these items.
  6. You can add a TA, Course Builder or Grader to your course. Go to the Managing Users and User Roles page for a description and how to add them.
  7. Organizations - Blackboard Organizations expand the scope of the enterprise Blackboard system at Syracuse University to support non-course groups. These organizations can serve as an online meeting space for groups that would like a space for information sharing, collaboration and communication.
  8. You can contact us for assistance anytime. New and advanced users of Blackboard can send an email to to request assistance, training or report a problem. Support Contacts consists of centralized personnel as well as support staff at the schools and colleges.


More detail on Naming Convention (from #6)

File Naming Convention

  • Using special characters in file names can lead to problems accessing the file after upload. Special Characters include:

    ~` # $ % ^& * ( ) = + / ? > < ;'[ ]: " { } \ | @

  • If users add a period to the name other than the file extension, Anti virus software thinks the file is infected.
  • It is best to avoid using spaces in file names because different operating systems handle spaces in different ways. Instead, use and underscore ( _ ) in place of spaces.
  • Characters used in conjunction with letters in foreign languages are not Special Characters.
  • The following examples describe correct and incorrect examples of naming for documents, items added to Blackboard and Grade Center columns:

Document Naming:

Incorrect: Tim Jones assignment #3.doc
Correct: Tim_Jones_assgn3.doc

Grade Center Column Naming (instructors only):

Incorrect: Wk #1 Reading Assignment (5pts)
Correct: Wk_01_ReadAssign_5pts

  • Keep the length of file names below 32 characters as some older operating systems do not support the longer file names  

The items listed above apply to the following Blackboard items or content:

  • Content Items and Files
  • Content Folders
  • Assessment / Survey Titles
  • Use in Assessment / Survey questions, feedback, etc.
  • Use in Discussions (both forum and thread titles)
  • Use in Group Names


Sources and Relevant Links

Managing Users and User Roles
Support Contacts

Grade Center


Blackboard Organizations