Preparing to Use Blackboard
What do I need to access Blackboard?
All you need to access Blackboard is:
- a computer system that meets the recommended system requirements
- an Internet connection
- a supported web browser configured as required
- the URL of BGSU's web portal, MyBGSU, which is http://my.bgsu.edu OR login to Blackboard directly at https://elearning.bgsu.edu
- a BGSU e-mail account
Anyone who has a BGSU e-mail account will automatically be issued an account on Blackboard (eLearning). By accessing the MyBGSU web portal or the Blackboard (eLearning) portal, you can get a personalized view of Blackboard courses and organizations you are participating in.
To get an account on Blackboard, you must have a BGSU e-mail account. If you do not have a BGSU e-mail account, see the BGSU e-mail pages for instructions. Your e-mail account will be created in approximately one hour. You will be able to access MyBGSU with your BGSU e-mail account as soon as your account is created. The time when your eLearning (Blackboard) account is available will depend on the time your BGSU e-mail account was created. For details, click here.
You will use your user ID and password for your BGSU e-mail, your MyBGSU and your Blackboard account. If you have any questions or problems, contact the Technology Support Center (TSC) at 419-372-0999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have had your BGSU e-mail account for more than 24 hours but still cannot access Blackboard (eLearning), you should contact the Technology Support Center in person at 110 Hayes Hall or by phone at 419-372-0999.
If you have forgotten your BGSU e-mail password, you can either call the Technology Support Center at 419-372-0999 or stop by the office in Hayes 110. Check their web site for their office hours.
Temporary guest accounts on MyBGSU and Blackboard can be created for one semester for Continuing and Extended Education non-credit students by the staff in that area. Those students should contact Continuing and Extended Education at (419) 372-8181 for assistance. Other non-affiliate people who have a connection to Bowling Green State University will need to contact the Office of Human Resources first to get a BGSU ID number. With that number, non-affiliate people can create an account so they can login to MyBGSU.
Individuals who do not have an account, but wish to make a deposit to a BG1 Card account should use the URL https://elearning.bgsu.edu/webapps/bgsu_admin/guest_deposit.jsp to access the Blackboard Community System.
Blackboard uses the latest Web technologies to provide a rich interactive Web experience. Because of this, however, these applications do not function well on older computers.
Platforms: Windows XP and Mac OS X.
Memory: Even a very small amount of memory will suffice, but if courses contain streaming audio and video, the memory requirement would be increased. ITS recommends 512Mb (Windows XP) and 1 Gb (Mac OS X).
Disk Space: Disk space requirements depends on the instructor's use of Blackboard. Some multimedia files distributed through Blackboard are quite large. Students should probably estimate a need of 500Mb of disk space for each distance class taken through Blackboard. Other classes may need up to 256Mb per occurrence.
Modem/LAN card: For users connecting to your Bb server via an internet service provider, Bb recommends at least a 56 k modem, DSL or cable modem preferred. Users can use any* LAN card, 10 Megabit, 100 Megabit. Users can use wireless modems, however, connectivity via wireless modems right now tends to be slow, so users could experience problems with them. Wireless LAN cards, on the other hand, whether 1 Mb/s, 10 Mb/s or 11 Mb/s should be fine.
* Caveat -- in most cases, off campus DSL or Cable modem connections to the Bb server will work fine, but during peak usage periods, this type of connection can be extremely slow. The University has a very fast on-campus network, but the connection to the rest of the Internet can be slowed down during times of heavy usage.
Blackboard 8 uses the latest Web technologies to provide a rich interactive Web experience. These applications do not function well, if at all, in older browsers. For Blackboard 8, your browser also needs to be Java 2 enabled which is done when you install the supported version of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Windows or Macintosh Runtime for Java (MRJ). Therefore, it is likely that you will need a software tune-up. When doing that, upgrade your browser first; then uninstall any older version of Java before installing the supported version.
The table below includes the supported browsers and Java 2 applications for the operating systems specified.
4.0 or 5.0
NR = Not Recommended
NA = Not Applicable
'+' = or newer
Note: Older versions of operating systems and browsers have not been tested by Blackboard, but are expected to work properly. For best performance, the Technology Support Center recommends the platforms listed here.
Java 2 is required for Blackboard's Collaboration Tools (Virtual Classroom and Lightweight Chat) plus the Visual Text Box Editor.
Plug-ins are software programs that extend the capabilities of your browser so it can handle certain types of content that you might encounter. You should install current versions of the plug-ins listed on the Blackboard Plugins page. Those listed are for viewing content an instructor may place on a course site and any other web sites you may encounter when using your browser. Viewers and players are free so look for the free application on these sites. The paid versions also work but are not needed.
The only group of plug-in's not mentioned on the Blackboard Plug-ins page that you may need for your course documents are viewers for Microsoft Office applications like PowerPoint or Excel. These are only needed if you do not have Microsoft Office installed. Look here for the free viewers if you need them.
So that Blackboard's Collaboration Tools will work, you also need to install the Java 2 plug-in. See details under the Supported Browsers for Blackboard 8.
If you are not using your BGSU e-mail account, you should forward your BGSU e-mail to the account you actually use or you will not receive e-mail sent from Blackboard. This is because e-mail sent from Blackboard is automatically rerouted to your BGSU e-mail account.
Click here for instructions on forwarding your BGSU Exchange e-mail.
Because access to your view of the portal gives the viewer access to confidential information about you (e.g. your schedule, bursar bill, etc.) and the ability to perform functions within the portal in your name (e.g. send e-mail, remove modules, etc.), it is very important that you get in the habit of logging off Blackboard when you are finished. To do that, you just click the logout icon at the top of the page. We suggest that you also Quit your browser. Just closing the web browser's window is not enough. The browser may still be active in the background and the next user accessing it may be automatically logged on to your Blackboard account.