Verify your computer meets system requirements for your courses and student support with the following guidelines and view recommended practices for dealing with computer emergencies. UTPB uses Blackboard in support of online, hybrid, web-enhanced, and "mixed mode" courses.
Use the UTPB Online Support Center for the best guidance setting up your computer under Compatibility with Browsers/Software. At the UTPB Online Support Center you can start a Live Chat or Submit a Ticket. You may also call 1-877-633-9152 for Blackboard support.
Hardware and OS:
PC Configuration - (Recommended Hardware) Pentium 4 or newer processor supporting SSE2 and at least 512 MB or RAM on Windows XP or newer operating system.
Mac Configuration - (Recommended Hardware) An Intel x86 processor and 512 MB of RAM and Mac OS X 10.5 or newer operating system.
For more information on supported operating systems visit: http://kb.blackboard.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=101285989.
Peripherals - You will need speakers to be able to listen to audio files (if present in the course). In courses using Wimba, instructors may prefer students using audio equipment to communicate, in which case a microphone is required.
The course content is presented through Microsoft Office 2007 - Powerpoint presentations and Word documents, Acrobat documents and Tegrity files. In order to view the content you must have Microsoft 2007 programs and Acrobat Reader. Be prepared to submit all the course activities typed in Microsoft Word 2007 although this may vary with course.
Anti-virus software is highly recommended for students and instructors. Online courses often involve a large amount of file sharing which increases your risk of computer virus infection. Anti-virus software will help protect your computer in case of exposure to a computer virus.
Other software: There may be audio/video files in the course for which you will need Windows Media Player or QuickTime or Real Player. This will vary from course to course. Consult with course syllabus and see Step 3 below in Computer Set Up for more information.
Recommended - Cable modem, DSL, or intranet (T-1); or 128 KBPS modem
Note: Corporate or academic security firewalls may block some course content, such as chat or streaming media. Accommodations for access can usually be arranged if you contact your network administrator, though local security policies ultimately dictate what is allowed. 56 K modem or better.
Computer Set Up
Every student who is taking a class, online/hybrid/enhanced, through Blackboard and every instructor who is teaching a class through Blackboard has to perform the following three steps to ensure your computer is set up right, your computer has a compatible browser and installed plug-ins and helper applications. To test your browser version and plugins use this Browser Test.
Step 1 - Use a Browser that is supported by Blackboard Learn
Make sure you have an operating system and browser that is compatible with Blackboard Learn. The following table lists the supported operating systems and browsers for use with Blackboard Learn Release 9.
America Online (AOL), Prodigy, Juno, MSN, Yahoo and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs), provide their own internal and proprietary web browsers. These browsers may not be compatible with online courses.
NOTE: If the browser you are using isn't one of the certified (recommended) or compatible browsers, click one of the links below to download a compatible browser.
NOTE: Here is how you can figure out which browser you are using:
While using your browser/online application:
While using your browser/online application:
Step 2 - Configure Your Browser
Now that you've confirmed that you have a compatible browser, you must configure it for optimal use with Blackboard.
Click the link for your browser below and complete the step-by-step instructions to configure your browser settings.
After completing all configuration steps and restarting your computer, then proceed to Step 3 below to check your browser and plug-ins or helper applications.
Step 3 - Check for Plug-ins and Helper Applications
Now that you've confirmed you have a compatible browser and have it configured properly, it's time to make sure your computer has plug-ins and helper applications. Always check the course syllabus to find out exactly what is required. The requirements will vary from course to course. To quickly view browser components you are currently using use this Browser Test.
Perform Browser Check
You may need:
- Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash Player and Shockwave Player
You can download these from http://www.adobe.com
- Apple Quicktime (for Windows)
You can download this from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
- Real Player
Real player allows to download and play many of the latest audio and video media formats on the web. You can download it from http://www.real.com/
- Windows Media Player
Windows media player lets you play many popular audio and video formats on the web. You can download it from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/windows-media-player.
- Microsoft Viewers
You may not have the right version of Microsoft programs to open the files in the course like Word, Powerpoint or Excel. In that case you can download viewers to view the files (remember you cannot edit the files). To download viewers go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/default.aspx
Not having a working computer or a computer crash during the semester will NOT be considered as an acceptable reason for not completing course activities at a scheduled time for most instructors. NOTE: Identify a second computer before the semester begins, that you can use when/if your personal computer crashes.
When the Blackboard server needs downtime for maintenance, the Blackboard administrator will post an announcement in your course informing the time and the date. If the server experiences unforeseen problems your course instructor will send an email.
Complete Loss of Contact
If you lose contact with the instructor completely (i.e. you cannot contact them via Blackboard or email), you need to call their office and explain the reason you cannot contact them and leave a way to return contact to you.
You should keep/save a copy of every project/assignment on an external disk or personal computer. In the event of any kind of failure (e.g., Blackboard server crash or virus infection, students own computer crashes, loss of files in cyberspace, etc) or any contradictions/problems, the instructor may request a file be resubmitted. See course syllabus or contact instructor for more information and guidelines on what they require.
Additional Student Support and Technical Requirements
Respondus Lockdown Browser
Some of your online courses might have tests that require the use of a specialty browser. To download Lockdown Browser, please visit http://www.respondus.com/lockdown/information.pl?ID=841715130 .
Smarthinking Online Tutoring
You can find the latest minimum technical requirements for Smarthinking at http://smarthinking.host4kb.com/article/AA-00204/7/Technical/What-are-the-minimum-technical-requirements-needed-to-use-Smarthinking.html.
SmarterMeasure is offered to students to measure learner readiness for online courses.
To successfully use SmarterMeasure, you must:
- Have Internet access with a 28.8K modem or faster. (A minimum 56k modem is recommended to download components such as audio files.)
- Accept browser cookies.
- Set your browser to refresh at every page.
- Not be behind a firewall that blocks cookies or blocks access to a secure server.
- Turn off pop-up blocking. (Internet Explorer users only)
- Have speakers connected to your computer and turned on.
Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher