Blackboard Learn, or Blackboard, is the Learning Management System Central Piedmont uses to deliver courses online.

Blackboard can be a primary tool for teaching remotelyAccess Blackboard at

Students, learn how to get started with Blackboard, including how to take tests that require you to use Respondus.

    How to Use Blackboard

    • Make Sure You're Using a Compatible Browser

      As of the current Blackboard version (9.1 Q2 2019), Blackboard no longer supports the use of the Internet Explorer browser. Please use one of the following:

      • Mozilla Firefox v57+
      • Google Chrome v63+
      • Microsoft Edge v42+
    • Create the Course

      Typically, course section shells/placeholders for the semester are made available for instructors to begin copying and editing. Section shells for a term are created based on the information entered in the Course Origination Documents (COD's) for the term.

      1. During the coronavirus situation, first communicate with your program chair and/or division director to ensure a master shell does not already exist for your course.
      2. If a master shell does not already exist for your course, use Online Learning’s course template and directions for how to export or import a course.

      All courses, regardless of delivery type, have a Blackboard shell created. Shells are typically only accessible to the instructor of record listed in the Course Origination Documents. 

      Online sections labeled (IN), Hybrid (HY) and TeleWeb (TW) will automatically be made “Available” on the start date of the courses. You can make any other course that has not been enabled automatically “Available." Contact the ITS Help Desk for help. Prior semester section shells will be accessible to instructors for one year after the end of the term.

      Students are automatically enrolled in their Blackboard section shells on the official start date for the course as listed in the Course Origination Document.

      Copy Content into the Course Shell

      For system performance reasons, you might be restricted from using the course copy feature during the first three days of classes. If the course copy feature is made unavailable, ITS will post a notice on the Blackboard login page and send an announcement. When the course copy feature is unavailable, you must contact the ITS Helpdesk to request to copy a course. Requests will be processed in the order in which they are received. Please allow up to five business days for your request to be processed.

      If you need to copy course into more than 5 section shells, a batch copying service is available on the Course Administration Webtools (CAW) website. All batch copy requests are acted on in the order of fully online classes first and then earliest start dates of hybrid classes.

      Combine Several Course Sections

      You can combine multiple course shells using the “Combine Course Sections” functionality available on the Course Administration Webtools (CAW) website. The combined shell will appear in Blackboard within six hours.

    • Add and Create Content

    • Integrate Panopto, Webex, or Other Tools or Features into Blackboard

    • Contact Students Enrolled in Your Online Course Before the Start of Class

      An email distribution list for all class sections is available on the Course Administration Webtools (CAW) website one week before start of semester. To access the distribution list, log in to the Course Administration Webtools (CAW) site and select “Class Email Lists."

      All currently registered students will receive an email letting them know that they need to know their Central Piedmont login account before their first class meeting. It will also contain additional information on using the Central Piedmont login credentials to access online courses and other services at Central Piedmont.

    • Keep Attendance

      All of the tools used in Blackboard do not automatically update web attendance, and accurate documentation is needed for FTE purposes. There are a variety of ways to keep attendance if you choose to conduct your course using Blackboard, but one simple solution is to set up a quiz as an attendance quiz, or have students submit a weekly assignment. This will allow you to track students participating in the course each week in order to mark attendance.

      Check daily to verify that your attendance is accurate in web attendance. Access the attendance system

    • Proctor Exams Securely: Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor

      You can maintain the integrity and security of the exams you deliver online by using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.

      When students use the LockDown Browser to access an exam, they will be unable to print, copy, or access other webpages or applications. Once students start an assessment using LockDown Browser, they will be locked into the assessment (unable to leave it) until they submit it for grading. If you require students to use LockDown Browser for a Blackboard test, they will not be able to take the test using a standard web browser (e.g., Chrome, Mozilla, etc.). Students should only use LockDown Browser to take Blackboard tests, not when doing other things in Blackboard.

      Respondus Monitor is a companion application for the LockDown Browser. Respondus Monitor uses webcam and video technology to prevent cheating during online exams.

      To activate the LockDown Browser and Monitor dashboard course tool for an individual course:

      1. Navigate to the course in Blackboard.
      2. Expand the “Customization” menu in the navigation bar.
      3. Click the “Tool Availability” link on the menu.
      4. Check the “Available” box next to “Respondus LockDown Browser.”
      5. Click “Submit.”

      Once you have activated the tool, follow these steps to access it:

      1. Navigate to the course in Blackboard.
      2. Expand the “Course Tools” menu in the navigation bar.
      3. Click the “Respondus LockDown Browser” link on the menu.
    • Grade Assignments

    • Student Access to the Course After its Official End Date (Including Incompletes)

      For-College Credit Courses

      Blackboard course shells will automatically become unavailable to all students (including students with incompletes) 72 hours after the end of the semester.

      In the case of a for-college-credit student with an incomplete, you may make the shell available. Contact Online Learning for help.

      Non-Credit, Corporate and Continuing Education Courses

      Corporate and Continuing Education courses remain available after the end of the semester.

    • Your Roles and Responsibilities

    • Training and Support

    • Scheduled System Maintenance

      Blackboard may be unavailable during the hours of 3 a.m.–7 a.m. on Fridays for maintenance. Longer maintenance windows are also scheduled throughout the year; these dates will be posted on the Blackboard homepage.

      Date Begin Duration Term
      Mon., May 18, 2020 10 a.m. 24 hours CE1/spring
      Wed., July 22, 2020 10 a.m. 48 hours CE2/summer
      Mon., Oct. 12, 2020 10 a.m. 24 hours CE3/fall
      Wed., Dec. 16, 2020 10 a.m. 48 hours CE3/fall


    • Give Extended Time

      Some students may require additional time for taking quizzes, tests, and/or assignments. If a student requires extended time as an accommodation, Blackboard allows you to extend time for individual students without extending time for the whole class.

    • Disability Services

      For more information on providing accommodations for your students and for ensuring your course materials meet accessibility requirements, visit Central Piedmont’s Disability Services.

    Recent Updates and Features

    Information Technology Services (ITS) currently uses Blackboard Learn Version 9.1 Q2 2019 in order to stay within two versions of the latest offered by Blackboard (currently Version 9.1 Q4 2019).

    • Chemistry Annotations

      Text editors in Blackboard include options in the math editor to reveal a periodic table that can be used to display the symbol for each element.

      Blackboard Math Bar with red circled indicating math button.

      Math WIRIS editing button in Blackboard

      Click the button with the 'Fx' to open the WIRIS editor. Next, select the tab with the Ohm symbol (fourth tab) marked 'A'. Then to open the periodic table move your mouse over the area marked 'B' and look for the skinny button, then click to make the menu appear.

      Location of the Chemistry Symbol Button in Blackboard

    • Course Availability Toggle Button

      An feature is available on certain pages within a Blackboard shell that allows you to toggle the course between available/unavailable. This will not be available on all pages within a shell. For instance, it is not available on the default course homepage. It is on any content page. Shells must be past the term start date in order to be made available.

      Toggle Switch in Blackboard

    • Dashboards, Forums, and Threads

      The main Discussion Board page displays a list of available discussion Forums. A Discussion Board can contain one or more Forums. A Forum is an area where a topic or a group of related topics are discussed. For each Forum, the page displays the total number of posts, the number of unread posts, and the total number of participants. A Forum is an area of the discussion board where participants discuss a topic or a group of related topics. Within each forum, users can create multiple Threads. When your instructor creates a forum, they may or may not let you start Threads. Threads are displayed either in Tree View or List View. To enter a Thread to review related responses, click on the Thread name. If your instructor allows, you can create a new Thread by clicking Create Thread.

      Blackboard Discussions: Replies to Me

      Keeping up with large Discussion Board forums is easier by giving participants a count and filter to just look at new replies from others to posts made the participant.

      Image of Post Counter in Blackboard

      Blackboard Discussion Board Locations

      • On the course menu, select Discussions.
      • On the course menu, select Tools and then Discussion Board.

      The main Discussion Board page appears with a list of available discussion forums. On this page, you can perform the following actions:

      • Select a forum title to view the messages. Forum titles in bold contain unread posts.
      • Select a forum to open the thread of posts.
      • Select the number in the Unread Posts column for quick access to a forum's unread messages.
      Blackboard Discussion Board Details
      Default Created Discussions

      The integration of Blackboard Learn and Ellucian Colleague through the Integrated Learning Platform (ILP) has created a situation where both products are auto-creating discussion boards for each new shell. Muting one of these is recommended.

      two dashboard issue in Blackboard

      The extra Discussion Board was created by the Intelligent Learning Platform (ILP). An Intelligent Learning Platform tool is used to make connections between Blackboard and Ellucian Colleague running behind the scenes. Intelligent Learning Platforms have been provisioning and assisting courses since the start of the Summer session.

      It is not clear whether this extra Discussion Board will be used going forward, but it is there in courses created for fall so far.  The Dashboard itself does not cause any particular problem, but the Forum created within the dashboard can be problematic.

      The easy 'temporary solution' or fix is to make that Forum unavailable:

      1. Click into the Discussion Board
      2. Next, click the context menu for the Forum and select “Edit”
      3. You can then select ‘No’ in the “Available” dialogue.

      Students will still be able to get to the Discussion Board, but they cannot create Forums. You can also delete the Forum, but we are not 100% sure that the Intelligent Learning Platform won’t recreate it if you do. At this point, we ask that you do not delete anything, as that creates issues with the integration.

    • Grade Center

      You can enlarge the grade center to full-screen mode. Click full-screen in the full grade center.

      Blackboard Grade Center full screen

      Improved Rubric Grading

      When grading with rubrics, the grader can save feedback and the content will remain saved when changing the rubric's view from in-line to full screen.


      You can easily clean up your grade books by deleting multiple columns at once. Selected manual and calculated columns are removed completely. Selected columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.


      All grade center columns (online and downloads) and My Grades support up to five decimal points aren't rounded and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).

    • Recording Feedback in Blackboard

      You can create audio or video recordings up to five minutes in length for students when using the grade center. Visit the Blackboard Help website for more information on recording feedback. You can find this tool by opening up the text editor from the feedback to students box and clicking record feedback.

      the Blackboard Feedback box

      Once in the text editor, click on recorder.

      Blackboard Recorder Icon

      A new recorder window will launch, and you may be prompted to enable audio settings on your browser. The default setting is audio only, so add video if you prefer. Once you click stop, a preview window will appear. You can delete or save. A new window will open allowing you to name the video. Once you submit, an icon will appear in the feedback box for students to see.

      Audio file

    • Single Sign On

      If you also have a student account, you will now see the courses where you are an instructor and the course(s) in which you are a student while logged in to Blackboard. This process happens automatically and will respond when signing in with employee usernames or student usernames. When signed in, the My Courses list will sort courses by your role in the course.

    • SafeAssign Update

      SafeAssign’s Originality Report has a new design that includes information about a submission’s overall risk of being copied from another source. To help with this transition, for a time instructors will have the option to switch back to the old version of the originality report.

    • Box View Annotations in Blackboard

      The product roadmap calls for the availability of new features such as downloading annotations, adding Excel annotations, and a summary view. That is the extent of information available at this time, but we will monitor developments and update this space.

    • Copying and Pasting Text in Blackboard

    Check That Your Blackboard Course Content Meets Accessibility Guidelines

    Use the Blackboard Ally tool in your Blackboard course(s) to check if your course content meets accessibility standards. Ally will not fix all your accessibility issues, but is simply one more tool in your ADA compliance toolbox that you can use to improve the overall accessibility of your course.

    • Finding Blackboard Ally in Your Course

      Ally should already be enabled on your course; you do not need to turn it on. If you feel that your course does not have Ally, please contact the Help Desk with the course name. You can find the course name in the Content Collection section under the Course Management Menu.

      file name found under Content Collection in Blackboard

    • What Ally Checks For

      Review the Blackboard Ally accessibility checklist.

      Ally does not check the compliance of content built using the Blackboard text editor, but this is a planned future feature.

      Ally does not check the accessibility of web pages linked from course shells.

    • Understanding Ally Scores

      When using Ally, content items that have been added to assignments or other coursework will have a meter. (Content items must be uploaded to Blackboard in order to be scored.)

      icon for content items that have been added to assignments or other coursework in Blackboard Ally

      Navigate to the meter to reveal a link. This takes you to a page that scores the document for accessibility.

      explanation of Blackboard Ally accessibility meter/score

      Clicking on the “What this means” and “How to add headings” buttons will reveal further information.

      Blackboard Ally accessibility meter icon key

      No decisions have been made yet on if all documents need to have a certain score. An analysis is still being done on how Ally determines scores.

      If Ally shows you different results from the ADA Bootcamps, it is very possible that the principles whereby Ally checks the accessibility of your content are different from what you learned at the ADA Bootcamps. Ally is an automated tool that checks your course content. Use the information you get from Ally as a supplemental resource that helps the overall accessibility of your course.

    • Fixing Issues

      First, when you click the "meter" and get the 0% score, there is a button for "How to fix this." The next page suggests re-saving the document under a new name and re-uploading it. You should download the file, re-save it to a different directory without renaming, re-uploaded it from there, and notice the new score. The new save is crucial. If you download it and then re-upload it again from the download folder, it will still fail. You can also save it with .docx instead of .doc and you can get a higher score, probably because the newer file format has more compliance features.

    • Training and Support

      Blackboard Ally training is still being developed.

      Review the Blackboard Ally help for instructors page and contact the ITS Help Desk for help.

    Blackboard Community

    Blackboard Community is a feature of Blackboard that allows you to use a Blackboard shell for non-course purposes. These shells are called "organizations," and they function just like shells used for courses — the Blackboard shell for an organization has identical functionality as the shell used to teach courses. It is not currently possible to migrate content from an existing shell to a new organization shell.

    System Requirements

    • Minimum System Requirements

      • PC Processor: 1.3 GHz or higher
      • Mac Processor: G4 667 MHz or higher
      • System Memory (RAM): 256MB or higher
      • Windows Operating System: Windows 2000 with SP4, Windows XP with SP2
      • Apple Operating System: OS X 10 or later
      • Display: 800x600 or higher SVGA recommended, 16 bit color or higher
      • Video Memory: 32MB of video RAM or higher
      • Internet access: dial-up 56k or higher (broadband recommended - DSL/Cable/LAN)
      • Sound: 16-bit sound card or higher
      • Optical Drive: 40x or above CD-ROM
      • Browser: MS Internet Explorer 7 (recommended), Firefox 1.5+
    • Optimal System Requirements

      • PC Processor:  2.0 GHz or higher, or any Intel Core Duo, or any AMD Dual Core
      • Mac Processor: G4 1.5 GHz or higher, or any G5
      • System Memory (RAM): 512MB or higher (1 GB or higher with Windows Vista)
      • Windows Operating System: Windows 2000 with SP4, Windows XP with SP2
      • Apple OS: OS X 10 or later
      • Display: 1024x768 or higher SVGA recommended, 32 bit color
      • Video Memory: 64MB of video RAM or higher
      • Internet access: broadband recommended (DSL/Cable/LAN)
      • Sound: 16-bit sound card or higher
      • Optical Drive: 8x DVD/CD-Rom
      • Browser: MSIE 6+, Firefox 2+
    • For All Systems

      • Keyboard
      • Mouse/Trackball
      • Speakers/Headset
      • Central Piedmont email account
    • Additional Equipment

      • Microphone
      • Scanner
      • Flash drive for file storage and transfer