Instructional Design and eTeaching Services - Boston College

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I posted a discussion for a topic, but my professor says s/he did not receive my post. What could have happened?

Check to see that you have posted your message under the appropriate category and topic heading.

If I have to work in Vista but cannot respond to Chat invitations, do I have the option to shut Chat off?

Yes. Click on any course under the “Who’s Online” menu on the Course List page. In the upper left-hand corner, there is a “My Status” drop-down menu that allows you to change your availability/invisibility status. Be sure to click “Update” to ensure the changes take place.

You can also change your availability/invisibility across all of your courses by clicking on “My Settings,” in the upper right corner, from the “Course List” page. Click on the “My Tool Options” tab, and then scroll to the bottom, where you will see a “My Status” drop-down menu. Once you have changed your availability/invisibility status, click “Save.”

When I click on the path of documents listed in Course Content, the program just keeps opening the first document.

Go back to Course Content Home and re-click the appropriate link to access the new document.

When I try to open a file in Vista, it doesn't open in a separate browser. Is there an easier way to navigate the content?

Your course may have been set up so that documents open within the program as opposed to a separate browser. The best way to navigate this is to use the breadcrumbs (file path at the top, left-hand corner of the program) or click on Content Home to return to the list of documents.

I can’t download documents from Blackboard Vista. How do I resolve this?

If you are using Internet Explorer, the download may be blocked as a security measure.

  • Look above the Blackboard Vista header for a yellow/beige bar that says, “To protect your security, Internet Explorer blocked this site from downloading files to your computer. Click here for options.”
  • Click on this bar, and then on “Download the File.”You should then be able to download the file, although you may need to re-click on the file.

I have already submitted an assignment through Blackboard Vista, but I have made changes and would like to re-submit the assignment. Is this possible?

You can re-submit an assignment, provided that your instructor has enabled this option. To do this, click on the “Assignments” tool along the top navigation bar. Then, click on the “Submitted” tab, where you should see all of the assignments you have already submitted. Find the assignment in question, and click on the action link arrow to the right of the assignment name. Click on “Take Selection Back to Inbox.” Now the assignment will appear under the “Inbox” tab of the Assignment tool, and you can re-submit your work.

When I try to upload a document, I am not seeing the “My Computer” icon in the Content Browser. How do I fix this?

The Java on your computer probably needs to be updated.

  • First, run the Browser Check by clicking on “Check Browser” on the Blackboard Vista login screen, or in the upper right corner of the “Course List” page.
  • Wait for the Browser Check to finish running.
  • If it finds any problems, they will be highlighted in red with information on how to resolve the problem.
  • If the issue is with the Java, you can download the most recent version by going to and clicking on “Free Java Download.”
  • Once you have updated the Java, close your browser and reopen it before checking for the “My Computer” icon.

Sometimes I get a message that says, “Error: Session Already Running. You cannot use this method to open a new browser window while logged into the Learning System.” Why does this happen?

Blackboard Vista will only let you have one open browser window/tab at one time. If you get this message, check that you only have one window or tab running Blackboard Vista open. Then type in the address bar, and you will be able to return to Blackboard Vista.

How do I print a Word document in Vista?

Open the file and place your arrow on the tool bar. Right click over this area and choose Standard. This menu item will display the printer icon. Use this icon to print the document. Alternately, you can download the document and then print as you ordinarily would.

Sometimes PDF’s appear sideways, so I can only read it if I turn my head. Is there any way to rotate the PDF within Blackboard Vista so I can read it comfortably?

Yes, you can rotate the PDF to appear properly:

  • Right-click in the empty space of the Adobe tool bar that appears along the top of the document.
  • Click on “More Tools.”
  • Scroll down to the “Page Display Toolbar” section, and select “Rotate Counterclockwise” and “Rotate Clockwise.”
  • You can then use these tools to rotate the PDF for comfortable reading.

Some of my files have a .docx extension, instead of .doc. What is this and how do I change it?

The .docx extension is from Microsoft Word 2007, and not all users have the software to read these documents. Many instructors at BC are using Word 2003 and cannot open the 2007 documents. To ensure that everybody can read your documents, you should save them in a compatible format. To do this, follow these steps:

  • With the file open in Word, go to File>Save As.
  • In the Save dialogue box that appears, you will see a drop-down menu labeled "Format." Fora PC, choose "Word 97 - 2003," and for a Mac, choose "Word 97 - 2004."
  • Name your file, and save.your file, and save.

I am using Firefox 3.6.x and cannot enter my username, why is that?

When logging in to Blackboard Vista via Firefox 3.6.x, you might not be able to enter your username. You can easily fix this situation by hitting the Tab key to get into the password field, then click back into the username field and you should now be able to enter your username.

How long will I have access to my Blackboard Vista sites?

Students have access to past Blackboard Vista sites for three semesters (1 academic year).

I need help with Blackboard. Who do I contact?