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Getting Started — Faculty

Things Faculty Need to Know about Blackboard

  1. Blackboard updates its courses and enrollments drawing from information in MySlice three times per day. 
    1. Blackboard course shells are automatically created for all courses with an instructor of record at the registrar. If your course is not appearing, begin by verifying that you are the instructor of record in MySlice.
    2. Blackboard begins creating course shells for instructors to access after the registrar finalizes the schedule for the term, approximately six to eight weeks before the start of the semester.
    3. Student enrollments populate four weeks before the start of the term as per a longstanding agreement with the registrar.
    4. Instructors cannot edit student enrollments. Students should ensure they are correctly registered to have access to the course in Blackboard. 
    5. Course durations are automatically set to begin on the day student enrollments load and ending on the final day of the month after the term ends. 
  2. By default, courses are set "unavailable" — students cannot access them regardless of the course duration. When an instructor is ready for students to see the content of the course, they need to make the course available.
  3. Blackboard is integrated with a number of other technologies on campus including Kaltura, Zoom, Turnitin and Turning Technologies, among others. For more information about how to use these tools in Blackboard please contact the ITS Service Center or Online Learning Services.
  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 submissions are visible in the Grade Center where instructors can go to view, grade, and provide feedback to students.
  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

Managing Users and User Roles
Support Contacts

Grade Center


Blackboard Organizations