Blackboard FAQ for Students

Do I need a computer?

You need access to a computer. It is best if you do have your own personal computer with Internet access. However, for those that may not have a computer, computers are available in the lab with Internet access.

Do I need any special software?
Most courses expect that you have a compatible web-browser with the Java, Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe PDF plug-ins installed. Additionally, one is expected to have a word processor installed. The school uses Microsoft Office 2010 and instructors expect most of your assignments to be in Microsoft Office 2010 format. Finally, some classes utilize specific software for the class; for example ITE 115 uses Microsoft Office 2010 and MyITLab.

The computers in the labs are loaded with all required software.
Dreamspark, The Ultimate Steal, and JourneyEd provide downloads and discounts for current students on selected software.

What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is an online course management platform used to deliver online course content to students through their web browser.

Can I access Blackboard after school hours?
Yes. Blackboard is available to students, unless there is an outage, most all of the time. There is a weekly maintenance period that occurs on Thursday mornings starting at 12:00AM that lasts until 1:00AM. At times, this maintenance period may last until 4:00AM. Other than those times, you should be able to access Blackboard with no problem.

I just registered, why can I not see my course in Blackboard? (Blackboard states that I am currently not enrolled in any courses.)

There could be several reasons for this issue.
You may be seeing this because classes have not yet officially started. Many classes, even though you are enrolled, may not show up in your Blackboard until the first day of class.

The instructor of the class has not yet made it available. It is up to the instructor to make his or her class available to students. This should be done by the first day of class.

It could be that you have not paid your tuition or you did not complete the registration process. Please log into SIS and be sure that you did officially register for the class. Additionally, if you are on financial aid, you may want to check your aid status. If have not paid, or if you aid has not gone through, then you will be backed out of any class in which you are enrolled. ”

How do I check my e-mail in Blackboard?
You do not. One can send e-mail through Blackboard to the instructor or classmates. In order to check or receive e-mail, you must access your student e-mail (G-mail) account through MyVCCS.

How do I submit an assignment?
This question is answered in the Distance Education Guide and in the Blackboard Online Orientation. If you have this question, then it is best to review those materials.

Blackboard is just showing a blank page, what should I do?

Check to be sure that you are using a compatible browser and operating system with Blackboard. While other set ups may work, we do not provide support for browsers that are not on the official browser compatibility list found here Supported browsers. Further, we do not support browsers that may have custom add-ons and plug-ins that could be causing the issue.

If you are using a compatible browser and you are still having issues, it is best to clear your Internet cache. You may also want to check to be sure that you have the most up to date versions of Java and Adobe Flash.

If all else fails, download and install. Firefox The newest version of Firefox is not on the compatibility matrix, but it does appear to be functional with the current version of Blackboard.’

Internet Explorer 9 is currently NOT supported.

I have registered and the class has started, how do I go about getting started in my online class?
First, if you have not done so, you will need to complete the Blackboard Online Orientation. Next, log in to Blackboard, click on the course located on the My Blackboard Courses module. Once you are in the course, locate the Start Here button and read that area. Additionally, check the course syllabus. If you have further questions, contact your instructor.

Whom should I contact for assistance related to Blackboard?
Submit a trouble ticket online. Be as specific as possible in stating your issue. Provide as much information as possible including any error codes that may be displayed, a time, and exactly what you were trying to do in Blackboard. During normal office hours, you can also contact Shelia Hobbs at 757.569.6739 or shobbs@pdc.edu, or Zakary Wade at 757.569.6718 or zwade@pdc.edu.

Whom should I contact with questions about a specific course?
For questions about a specific course, contact the instructor of that course.

When are assignments due?
Check the course agenda or outline in your course. If you have further questions, contact the instructor of the course.