Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


User Directory w/photos

Only  users identified in Banner as ‘students,’ ‘faculty,’ ’emeriti’ or ‘staff’ have the ability to search the Blackboard directory.

Searches will only bring up current student, faculty, staff and emeriti.  Users with Non-Obie role in Blackboard won’t appear in the directory. This includes trustees, outside reviewers, high school students and a few others. They will however show up in any courses they are explicitly enrolled in.

Different information is displayed if a student is search or a faculty/staff person is searching for information. In ALL cases a search will show the users photo, their name (preferred first name if available), and their email address.

In ALL cases a search will show the

  • user’s photo,
  • their name (preferred first name if available),
  • their email address and
  • OCMR.

Additional information is displayed if person searching is searching for a …

Person searching Student Faculty or Staff
  • none
  • position
  • department
  • office phone
  • office location
  • website
  • major
  • class dean
  • advisor
  • year
  • current courses being taken (that are in Blackboard)
  • position
  • department
  • office phone
  • office location
  • website


  • Note that while text information is available to users logged into Blackboard from off-campus, the photos are only visible from a 162.132.XXX.XXX address. Therefore, someone off-campus will only see the photos if they are using a VPN connection.

NOTES:  Future adjustments:

  1. Adjust listing for those that have directory listing restrictions
  2. Create the ability to not show photo in directory but continue to show it to faculty/staff in courses and orgs.


Student View

The way  an instructor or leader  views how a student  experiences their course or organization has changed.

OLD WAY:  Select the ‘Student View’ option from the Control Panel>>Tools area.  This option is no longer available.

NEW WAY: Click on the not so obvious icon at the top of the page.





How Save Job Search Files in Blackboard

Collecting and distributing materials related to open positions  should now be run through PeopleAdmin.

Saving files that are in your Blackboard site:

Step 1) Navigate to your Organization’s main page.

Step 2) On the control panel on the left hand side, click on Files (fig. 1)

Fig. 1

Fig. 1


Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 2.22.49 PM

Fig. 2

Step 3) Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Show All” button. This step is critical to save ALL files. (fig. 2)


Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 2.23.10 PM

Fig. 3

All items should be displayed (fig 3.)


Step 4) Choose which files you would like to save and click the “Download Package” button.

To save ALL files:

Step 1) At the top of the page, check the box to the left of “File Type.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 2.23.37 PM

Step 2) Make sure all the files are checked and highlighted, and click on “Download Package”

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 3.08.56 PM

Your files will be saved in a .zip package.


Access to emails for majors, minors and major/minors on leave

This information is particularly relevant for departmental AAs and others in departments that need to email majors/minors.

Emailing majors and minors has been problematic since we lost the ability to sort them into separate groups in Blackboard.  While we still can’t do that, we have created a work around.  In each DEPT site in Blackboard, AAs and Faculty have access to the emails of all majors, minors and majors and minors on leave for their department.  This list updates at 3am every day.  Anything happening on a given day will not be reflected in the list until the following day.

There are 2 ways to take advantage of these lists and some issues you must be aware of about these lists.


  • You can copy the list and add it to your to: window in your favorite email client. See below for details.
  • You can use it to adjust your groups within Blackboard and send information out via Blackboard.


  • The list of students on leave include those on Academic, Medical AND Personal Leave. The list you will find in PRESTO only show students on Academic Leave. Also note that the users on leave are duplicated in the other groupings.



How to copy the list of emails and use it in your email client of choice.

  • Click into the appropriate box.
  • Select Cntl-A (Cmd-A on a Mac)
  • Select Cntl-C (Cmd-C on a Mac)
  • Go to your email of choice and start a new email message.
  • Put your cursor in the To: or Bcc: field
  • Select Cntl-V (Cmd-V on a Mac)
  • All the emails should have been copied into the appropriate field.
  • NB: those that have hundreds of users should be aware that the emails may not all be delivered.  You may need to divide your list into two or even 3 groups.

How to adjust the groups in Blackboard.

  • Go to Control Panel>>Users and Groups>>Groups



Back to Basics: Quick Tips for Managing Online Course Sites



Are you new to Oberlin or new to Blackboard?  I’ve created a 1 page document that provides links to a few quick tips to help you get started with managing your online course sites.  Click here to access the PDF.

Read More


Welcome to the Oberlin College Blackboard FAQ

Please browse the Blackboard Help FAQ to find useful information about the system.  Click a tag in the cloud or use the search bar to find your information.

Click here to browse the online help for Instructors.

Click here to browse the online help for Students.

If you have trouble locating the right information, please contact us (octet@oberlin.edu).


Mobility in the Classroom

Here’s a list of some apps that may help you use your iPad in the classroom more effectively.  Click here to access the google doc.  This document was created for the 2013 Teaching with Technology workshop for faculty and teaching staff.  Let’s EMERGE together!


Does your MAC unzip .zip files automatically?

When you download a .zip file in Safari on your MAC, does it unzip automatically?  This can be problematic if you are downloading .zip files for later use (such as future import into Blackboard).  There is a setting that you can change to prevent Safari from automatically unzipping the file:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. From the Safari menu, select PreferencesSafari preferences
  3. On the General tab, find the “Open Safe Files After Downloading” feature (usually at the bottom).
  4. Uncheck the box to prevent .zip files from opening automatically.   Disabling this feature can also help to protect your computer from malware and trojans.
  5. Once you have disabled the feature, download the .zip file again and it will remain intact without opening.uncheck


If you prefer to leave this feature enabled,  you can find the original .zip file in the trash.  Simply drag the original .zip file from the Trash to your desktop for use.


PDF files are blank and can’t be downloaded on a Mac in Firefox


Users have been experiencing difficulties with viewing/downloading/accessing PDFs in Firefox on a Mac computer.  A user clicks a link to a pdf and either nothing happens, or a new blank tab/window opens.  The PDF is never downloaded or opened.


Product affected:

Firefox on a MAC





Vendor response:


Problem resolved:

When you install or update Adobe Reader, it installs a plugin for viewing PDF files inside Firefox and sets that as the default. The problem is that this plugin does not work.   A workaround is available.  In order to view PDF files again follow these steps:

  1. In Firefox, go to the Tools menu.
  2. Select Add-ons.firefox tools addons plugins
  3.  On the left menu, click PLUGINS.
  4. Locate the Adobe Acrobat NPAPI Plug-in and click the DISABLE button on the right.  This will disable the Plugin.plugins npapi ask to activate
  5. Check the link to the PDF and see if you can now access the file.  If it is not working as expected, you will need to change the setting in Firefox.  From the Firefox menu, click Preferences.preferences
  6. On the Applications tab, do a search for PDF.
  7. Check the actions for the content type (application/pdf).  Change the action to match your desired outcome.  If you would like to Use Preview, select that option.  If you want to use Adobe Reader, select that option.  If you want to use a PDF Plugin that you’ve installed, select that option.   If there are no options available, select USE OTHER and locate the application on your computer that you would like to use to view the PDF.Applications pdf actions
  8. These actions should correct the problem. Check the link to the PDF again, and it should work as expected.   If not, please contact us.



Podcast Feed vs Podcast Episode

A Podcast Feed is a series of audio and/or video files. A Podcast episode is one audio or video file.

Podcast Feed

You can create a Podcast page where all students in the course can participate (course wide podcast).  This is called the “single copy” option.   This option creates a page that lists all of the most recent podcasts  from everyone in the class (like in a blog).  This feature allows the student to filter by author and/or search for specific content.

You can also create a Podcast page that is only accessible to each student in the course (essentially a private podcast).  This is called  the “one per person” option.  The tool will present each student with only their podcast episodes.  There is no interaction and no way for students to share episodes, but faculty do have access to all private podcast pages.

Podcast Episode

You can create a Podcast page for all students in the course to participate (course wide podcast).  This tool is nearly identical to the single copy option except in presentation/format where there are obvious differences.  By default, this tool only shows the last podcast the instructor created but students can scroll to find other user podcasts.

Students can also click the main link for “Course Podcast” to get the listing of all podcasts.  At this point they can also filter by author.

Advice on using the tools:

  • If you want students to see all of the posts, create a Podcast Feed with the SINGLE COPY option because this provides a better experience and a more user-friendly interface.  The Podcast Episode will do the same thing, but it is not as intuitive.
  • If you want students to only see their own posts, create a Podcast Feed with the ONE PER PERSON option.