Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Login and Course Access

  • Where do I go to log in to Blackboard?

Go to the MyBC3 Portal page at http://www.bc3.edu/mybc3/index.html, click the MyBC3 Portal Login. Once you login to the MyBC3 Portal, click the Blackboard link to open Blackboard.


  • I recently registered for a course. I do not see the course listed on My Blackboard page when I login or I cannot login to Blackboard. What do I do?

First, your registration must process completely before you will be added to the Blackboard course. Blackboard and Colleague synchronize four times a day. A good rule of thumb is that you will be added to the Blackboard course within 24 hours. However, other factors could add up to 48 more hours to that time, including processing time for the registration to complete, advisor clearances, payments, and holds.
Also, check with your instructor verify that Blackboard will be used for the course. The instructor may not use Blackboard if it is not an online or hybrid course and he or she may make the course unavailable.


  • Where are my courses listed?

Your courses are listed on the home page once you login to Blackboard. The home page is called My Blackboard and you can access it any time from the My Blackboard tab at the top left of the page. There are several different labeled areas known as modules on the My Blackboard page. The courses you are enrolled in are listed in the top right module titled My Courses and may be accessed from those course title links.
You may also click on the My Courses tab on the top left to find a list of all of your courses.


  • I tried to log in, but I got a message that says "Could not log in. Valid authentication credentials were not provided." What do I do

You have either incorrectly typed your username or password. Your username is not case-sensitive, but your password is case-sensitive. Try typing it again.

Online Orientation

Completion of the Educational Technology (ET) Orientation is REQUIRED for ALL Students NEW to BC3 Online/Hybrid courses or any student enrolled in an online/hybrid class who has not taken the ET Online Orientation in the past two years. See how to register below.

NOTE: All PRAXIS/PAPA and other non-credit students will access the orientation in their courses on the first day of classes. However, enrollment in an online credit course will require completion of the ET Online Orientation, also.

Students are NOT required come to campus for this orientation!!!

All classes will NOT be visible in Blackboard until the first day that classes are scheduled to begin AND ET Orientation completion requirements are met. (If you have completed the ET Orientation within the last 2 years, you do not have to take it again.)


Orientation Start Dates

Need more information on how to register for an orientation, click here.

Fall 2017 Semester:
  • Session 1: 14 weeks — GENL 001B60 begins August 16, 2017
  • Session 2: 12 weeks — GENL 001B61 begins August 30, 2017 (no online courses for this session)
  • Session 3: 10 weeks — GENL 001B62 begins September 13, 2017
  • Fast Track 1: 5 weeks — GENL 001B63 begins August 16, 2017
  • Fast Track 2: 5 weeks — GENL 001B64 begins September 20, 2017
  • Fast Track 3: 5 weeks — GENL 001B65 begins October 25, 2017


***To Log into Blackboard***

Go to www.bc3.edu —> Current Students —> My BC3 Portal —> MyBC3 Portal Login
  1. Your login information is:
    • Username: The lower case letter b + your 7 digit student ID (example b1234567)
    • Password: Your initial password will be - 8 digit date of birth example, if your birth date was August 12, 1976 password would be 08121976)
    • Once logged into the MyBC3 Portal, click on the Blackboard icon or the Blackboard link to open Blackboard
    • Click on ET Orientation Begin... located in the MyCourses box on the right side of the screen.

Once classes have started, if you complete the orientation after 3:00 p.m. you may not have access to any classes in Blackboard until 3:00 p.m. the next BC3 business day.


Please read the following documents:

  • Distance Education Student Information
  • Student How To
  • Computer Requirements
  • How to find and order books online
    • It should take about 2 to 2.5 hours to complete this orientation, depending on your computer's system settings and your skill level. You do not have to complete it in one sitting.
    • If the Orientation is NOT completed before the first week of classes, many professors may not allow you to join the class or make-up missed work.
    • If the GENL 001 Orientation has NOT been completed before the deadline (TBA), you WILL BE dropped from your online classes!

Purchasing a Computer?

Many people get overwhelmed trying to figure out all the features and technical terms when buying a new computer. The challenge is compounded because the specifications for what makes up the latest and greatest computing device keep changing as manufacturers try to outdo each other. However, there are certain questions you can ask—and attempt to answer—to help you make an intelligent computer purchase.

What Are Your Computing Needs?

Not everybody needs the newest, fastest, most high-powered computer, so do not let sales hype sway you into buying a more powerful computer than you need.

Activities that require speed and high performance include

  • Working with high-end graphics such as photo manipulation or web design
  • Working with audio and video
  • Undertaking online tasks that involve uploading or downloading large files (more than 20 MB, for example)
  • Participating in multimedia experiences such as gaming

Consider how much time you will spend on the computer. If you work at home and will use the computer forty or more hours each week, you need a better quality model (which usually translates as a more expensive model). But if you only log on to read email once or twice a day or and manage your checkbook with a financial program once each month, a lower-end model will probably suffice. Efficient power consumption is one last consideration. Although many systems comply with Energy Star requirements, double-check the labeling and specifications to make sure.

Also consider how your choices create a larger impact on the world. Think about how the rapid changes and constant upgrading of these devices impacts the environment. Technology does not seem green (that is, environmentally-oriented) when you consider the manufacturing, transportation, packaging, and eventual disposal of all of components, including computer monitors, cases, keyboards, hard drives, and printers. The green computing movement focuses on several important factors such as:

  • Reducing hazardous materials
  • Making computing devices energy efficient
  • Recycling outdated computing devices
  • Minimizing factory waste

Recently, technology companies have been developing products that are more energy efficient and promoting recycling efforts to make computing more green.

What Processor Speed Do You Need?

Computers contain a processor that that executes computer instructions. The processor is located on a computer chip. Your computer processor speed influences how fast your computer runs programs and completes various processing tasks.

Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). The greater the value of gigahertz, the faster the processor speed. Processor speeds get faster as new processors are designed and developed. As of the writing of this article, 2.5 to 4.0 gigahertz was the higher end for the average computer, though some computers have processor speeds as great as 5 gigahertz. Processors have also recently become available in dual-core and quad-core varieties. The extra processing cores of the multi-core chips allow for multiple processes to run simultaneously, greatly increasing the speed potential of those varieties.

In the 1960s Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, observed that the number of transistors that can be placed on a computer chip had been doubling every two years during the previous decade. This trend has continued since then and was dubbed Moore’s Law in 1970. This exponential increase of transistor density on chips has a corresponding increase in processing speed and memory capacity.

How Much Memory and Storage Is Enough?

Your computer has a certain amount of memory capacity that it uses to run programs and store data. When you buy a computer, you will notice specifications for the amount of RAM and hard drive storage each model offers.

  • RAM (random access memory) is the memory your computer uses to access and run programs. RAM chips are available in different types, including DRAM, SRAM, and SDRAM. Most modern computer memory is some variation of SDRAM, including DDR-SDRAM, DDR2-SDRAM, and DDR3-SDRAM. Performance has steadily improved with each successive generation. The more sophisticated programs you run and the more programs you want to run at one time, the great the value of RAM you should look for.
  • RAM chips are rated by access speed. This rating involves how quickly a request for data from your system is completed. Your computer will also use some RAM to run the operating system and application programs. RAM access speed is measured in megahertz (MHz). For example, 800 MHz is a typical access speed that would be sufficient to run most computers. In early 2012, Intel released a processor that operates with a speed as great as 1600 MHz. Adding RAM to your computer is simple and one of the least expensive ways to improve the speed of your computer.
  • The average computer hard drive capacity for data storage is measured in gigabytes (GB). A typical consumer PC has between 250 GB to 750 GB of storage capacity. Large systems used by business and research institutes and very powerful consumer devices have storage measured in terabytes (TB, measured in thousands of gigabytes). Likewise, data storage size is an issue for smartphones and tablet. Many smartphones feature as much as 64 GB of storage. Tables start at 16 GB and range to 64 or more GB.
Which Operating System Is Right for You?

When you shop for a computer you should consider which operating system to use. All new computers include a pre-installed operating system, so the cost of the operating system (OS) is not usually a factor to consider. However, if you are buying OS software, there are variations in cost to consider.

Windows is a popular operating system, but if you are buying the software (as opposed to buying a computer with software pre-installed), it is costly (as much as several hundred dollars for an upgrade package) compared with the free open source Linux OS software (though some packaged versions of Linux may charge a subscription fee). Also, because of its popularity, Windows computers are more often the target of viruses (though Macs are gaining in both popularity and virus problems).

Linux is a Windows-like operating system that is available in different “flavors” such as Red Hat and Ubuntu. You can purchase a packaged edition of some versions of Linux. In this case, the company may charge a fee and add something extra, such as support and documentation. The Linux community offers many applications and add-ins to choose from.

Mac computers are manufactured by Apple and use the Mac OS X operating system. Macs use software written by Apple, but there are other popular software products available in a Mac version. Many software applications originally written for Windows are also available in Mac versions, such as Microsoft Office. You can also set up your Mac to run the Windows operating system, so you can take advantage of a wide variety of software.

How Do You Want to Connect with the Online World?

Computers include various features that allow them to connect to the Internet. Dial-up modems were built into older computers but are less popular now because of their relatively low download speeds. Today’s standard is to include a port for connecting a cable to your computer and a built-in wireless adapter.

What Are You Willing to Spend?

Computers range in price from a several hundred to several thousand dollars. Often, buying a base model and customizing it with additional memory and an upgraded monitor will get you the system you need. Laptops are still slightly more expensive than desktop models, but tiny laptops such as netbooks have leveled the playing field. It is a good idea to use online sites to check out the best prices and read consumer reviews before buying.

Where you shop can have an impact on price. You can shop for a computer in an online store, in a traditional retail store, or use online auctions or classified advertisements to find deals on new or refurbished models. Retail stores provide the ability to try before you buy. You can spend time with the computer, getting the feel of the keyboard and viewing the display to see if it meets your needs. Manufacturer websites allow you to customize computers to your requirements.

Check to see whether memberships in organizations such as your university or member-discount retail stores such as Costco give you access to good deals. Also, think about shipping costs if you buy online. Retail stores often charge a restocking fee if you return a computer.

Should You Opt for Higher-End Graphics and Sound Capabilities?

Computer users who work extensively with visual elements (for example, photographers, gamers, or movie buffs) should opt for a better quality graphics card. Movies and games also use sound, so a high-end sound card is a plus.

Computers that have higher-end sound and image capabilities are referred to as gaming or multimedia models. Besides more sophisticated sound and video cards, they usually have higher memory specifications.

Course Content

  • Whenever I click on certain items in my course (linked files, assignments, etc.), a dialog box opens that asks me to provide my login information. What do I do?

This is an issue that occurs when using Internet Explorer. You may receive this message if you are using Blackboard for the first time. To avoid seeing this message, add https://blackboard.bc3.edu and https:www.bc3.edu to your list of Trusted Sites.

  1. You can look at your Trusted Sites in Internet Explorer by going to the Internet Options page (under Tools in the browser).
  2. A dialog box will open with the Internet Options.
  3. Select the Security tab to access the Trusted Sites area.
  4. Click on the “Sites” button.
  5. Type https://blackboard.bc3.edu into the “Add this website to the zone” field and then click Add.
  6. Repeat for https://www.bc3.edu.
  7. Click “Close” to close this window, and then OK to close the Internet Options dialog box.

Though this issue has not presented itself in other browsers, it is a good idea to add https://blackboard.bc3.edu and https://www.bc3.edu as a trusted site in any browser you use to access Blackboard. You can do so by following similar steps in those browsers. Check the browser’s “Help” tab or menu for instructions. You may need to clear your browsing history and restart your browser for the settings to take effect.


  • I cannot view an image, or hear an audio file, or view a video, etc., loaded into the course. What do I do?

You may not have the proper plug-ins installed. Be sure your Java is up‐to‐date or you have current versions of audio/video programs on your computer.


  • I downloaded and installed Java but I still cannot view certain elements in Blackboard. What do I do?

After Java is installed, it may need be enabled in your browser. Enable Java, and then clear your cache, cookies, and browsing history, and try again.


  • I installed the latest version of Java and made sure it was enabled in my browser. I still have problems viewing certain content items in Blackboard. What is wrong?

Any old versions of Java should be removed from your computer after updating, to prevent performance and security problems. Usually the removal occurs during the update process, but if it does not, you will need to uninstall the old versions. Follow the instructions for Windows or Mac to remove all versions of Java. Then install the latest version and enable it in your browser. Restart your computer before logging into Blackboard again.


  • Whenever I copy and paste into a discussion board post, the text is cut off after I submit the post. What is wrong?

This problem usually occurs when copying and pasting out of a Word document, or any other Microsoft Office program. Office inserts hidden formatting code that conflicts with Blackboard, and causes display errors. To avoid this problem, type directly into the text box when you create a post. If you have a large amount of text and do not want to retype it, paste the text into a plain text file (.txt) first. Then copy the text and paste it into the text box.
If you are using Microsoft Word, you can save the document as another file type, and it will strip out the hidden code. Acceptable file formats are rich text file (.rtf), plain text file (.txt) or web page, filtered (.html). When you are finished writing your post, choose Save As, and then choose one of the listed formats to save the file. After saving, copy and paste from the newly saved file.


  • I can't view any threads on a discussion forum, even though I know threads are there. What do I do?

When List View is toggled, threads may be hidden in a discussion forum. To make the threads visible again, either toggle Tree View or click on Display ->> Show All. Both buttons are located in the upper right corner of the discussion board frame.


  • I tried to download a file that was in a course, and nothing happened. What is wrong?

Your browser may have prevented you from downloading the file. Check the top of your browser for a message that indicates it blocked a file or a pop-up. Allow the file to download. You may want to enable automatic downloads in your browser. Troubleshoot file download problems in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari?


  • I clicked on an item in my course and received a "Contact System Administrator" error along with an error code. What is wrong?

The following is an example of this type of error:

An error occurred. Contact the System Administrator.
For reference, the Error ID is c572bfba-198d-4737-af27-033f1195f962.

Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:17:21 AM CDT

This type of error usually occurs randomly and is self-resolving. If you receive this error, clear your cache, cookies, and browsing history, and attempt to access the item again. If you receive the error message multiple times on the same item, write down the error ID or take a screenshot. Send the error ID or screenshot and a description of what you were doing at the time of the error to the help desk.

It is very important to clear out your browser and try again BEFORE you contact the help desk. In a majority of cases, the problem will resolve on its own. Do not contact the help desk until you have attempted to clear out your browser and access the item several times, and can consistently replicate the error.


  • I clicked on an item in my course and received an error message saying, "Access denied" or "Resource not found." What is wrong?

This error occurs when the permissions are not set correctly to view the content in your course. If you receive this error, contact your instructor and inform them of the error. Check with your classmates to see if they receive the same error when trying to access the same items. If your instructor or a technical support specialist informs you that the issue has been resolved, clear your cache, cookies, and browsing history, and attempt to access the item again.

Test or Quiz Issues

  • How do I take a test/exam/quiz in my course?

Always read the Instructions section when you begin your quiz. It will communicate the settings of the quiz, such as time limits, multiple attempt settings, and forced completion status.

Please see the Tutorial about Taking a Test Online


  • I was kicked out of a test.

If you are taking a test and get kicked out, contact your instructor first – the help desk will not reset a test for you. Also, be sure to completely clear your cache, cookies, and browsing history before taking a test again.


  • I was in the middle of taking a test when I lost everything.

Unfortunately, the information is probably lost permanently. You will need to recreate the information. If you experience problems during a test and cannot continue, contact your instructor immediately. Blackboard does not have access to your school's Blackboard Learn site and cannot help you with these types of questions.

Here are some reason why you might lose information that you are entering in Blackboard Learn:

  • The internet connection dropped.
  • The browser was refreshed.
  • Your browser timed out due to inactivity. Blackboard has a security setting that logs you out if it doesn't receive any input for a period of time. That period of time is different from school to school.

The following tips can help you avoid this issue in the future:

  • Use a wired connection if possible when taking a test. Wireless internet connections are less reliable.
  • Do not refresh the browser page.
  • Do not close the browser window
  • Do not click the browser's back button.
  • If possible, write out the text in an external application and then paste it into Blackboard Learn. Working offline first ensures that your work in progress will not be lost.

If you are working in assignments, prior to your test, logout of Blackboard and then login "fresh" to take the test. This helps to avoid timeout issues.


  • How do I know if my quiz has a time limit?

If your quiz has a time limit, then you will see “Timed Test” in the instructions section with information about the time limit. You will also see an “elapsed time” bar that displays how many seconds have elapsed since you started the quiz.


  • Can I backtrack on quiz questions to change my answers before I submit the quiz?

You can return to previously answered questions by scrolling up and down on the page if your instructor has chosen to display all questions at once. If your instructor has chosen to display questions one at a time, you may backtrack to previous questions if your instructor has enabled that option. However, always use the “backtrack” button; do not click the “back” button on your browser.


Assignments

  • How do I submit an assignment?

Please see the tutorial about Submitting Assignments


  • What is SafeAssign?

Faculty are given the option to make assignments “SafeAssignments” which are indicated by the green check mark icon. SafeAssign is an anti‐plagiarism tool that monitors your work against any other works found on the Internet. Upon submission, your work will be automatically added to the SafeAssign database whose purpose is to monitor future assignments submitted by anyone at UT Arlington. For personal protection of your work, you are also given the option to include your submission not only within UT Arlington’s SafeAssign database, but to the global SafeAssign database used by any others subscribed to SafeAssign.


  • How do I submit a SafeAssignment?

Submitting a SafeAssignment is no different than submitting a regular assignment. Please see the tutorial about Submitting Assignments.


  • What kinds of file types can I submit as an assignment or SafeAssignment?

You can upload most word processing, spreadsheet, HTML, PDF, and image files to a regular assignment. SafeAssign accepts files in .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, .rtf, .pdf, and .html file formats only.

When you save a file, only use alphanumeric characters in the file name. For example: ResearchPaper1.doc. Do not use any of the following special characters: ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( )_+ { } | : " < > ? ‐ = [ ] \ ; ' , . / ` ~

Saving your file with special characters in the name may cause the file to be corrupted once you submit it through Blackboard.

Do NOT submit documents created in Google Docs (Google Drive). SafeAssign is not compatible with Google Docs and will not accept files generated in Google Docs.


  • I saved my assignment as a draft. Does this mean my instructor received my assignment?

No. By saving your assignment as a draft, you can return to the assignment submission link at a later time and upload a new file or add/change comments. However, to ensure that your instructor receives your assignment, click the Submit button. Unless your instructor has specified otherwise, once you submit the assignment, it is final.


  • Can I upload multiple files for an assignment submission?

You can attach multiple files for a single assignment submission, but check with your instructor to make sure you are allowed to do this.


  • How can I tell if my instructor received my assignment submission?

Check your grades to see if the assignment submitted correctly. You should see a green exclamation mark icon, indicating that your instructor received the assignment but has not graded it yet. Contact your instructor if you are unsure if your assignment submitted correctly. Please see the tutorial about Checking Your Grades.

How do I set up my MyBC3 e-mail on my smart phone or device?

For directions to setting up your MyBC3 e-mail on your smart phone or device, click here.

How do I save a document as an .rtf (Rich Text Format)

For directions to save a document as an .rtf, click here.

How long may I have Office 365 on my computer?

You can use the plan until you graduate or are no longer enrolled at a qualified school.

When I try to open a document, I am asked for Security Credentials

To fix this issue, please follow the directions below.

  1. Windows 8 & 8.1 - On the Apps screen, swipe or scroll to the right and find the Windows System category.
    Windows 10 – right click on the start button and choose Control Panel
    Windows 7 – click on start and click on Control Panel to the right
  2. Press or click on the Control Panel icon under Windows System. (Windows 8 users- if not listed, type Control Panel)
    • Select Network and Sharing Center (windows 10 users- this is listed under the firewall)
    • Under View your active networks
    • Select Home network
  3. Turn off Password protected sharing - Steps to follow
    • Under Network and sharing Center
    • Click on Change advanced sharing settings
    • Expand Home or work
    • Under Password protected sharing, Turn off password protected sharing
  4. Next, Open Internet Options in Run Command Dialog
    • Press the Windows button (the one that is 4 squares) + R key to open the Run dialog.
    • Type inetcpl.cpl, and click/tap on OK.
    • Internet Options will now open.
    • Click on the Security Tab
    • Click on Trusted Sites then click on the Sites button.
    • Uncheck the "require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone
    • In the "Add this website to the zone:" add the following websites
      blackboard.bc3.edu, bc3portal.bc3.edu
      Click Add after you add each website
    • Click Close and OK.
  5. In the same Security Tab, click on the Internet icon
    • Click on Custom Level
    • Scroll all the way to the bottom of the window to User Authentication – Logon
    • Change the option FROM Automatic logon only in Intranet zone & Automatic logon TO current username and password.
    • Click OK and OK again.
  6. You will need to restart your computer.

I need to access my unofficial transcripts or 1098T form

HOW TO ACCESS UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS, OR A 1098T FORM:

Login to the MyBC3 Portal

  1. Unofficial Transcripts - You can view your unofficial Transcripts through Portal Services.  If you would like an Official Transcript, please contact the Office of Records and Registration. http://www.bc3.edu/current-students/records/transcripts.html
    • Click on Academic Profile —> View Unofficial Transcripts
  2. 1098T form
    • Click on Account Info/Pay Bill  —> View My 1098-T Form

How to find and Order Books online