Faculty Blackboard Courses – FAQ

General Questions

How do I request a course folder?
Every course that is scheduled through the Office of the Registrar automatically has a course shell created in Blackboard Courses. Faculty assignments and student enrollments are populated automatically based on an integration between Banner and Blackboard Courses. **Important: You must be the Instructor of Record in Banner in order to access your course in Blackboard Courses.**

My course does not show up on my Course List. What can I do?
Verify that you are the assigned instructor in PatriotWeb. Log in to PatriotWeb and verify that you are the faculty member assigned to the course. If you are listed, but still do not see your course(s) contact, courses@gmu.edu. Include your G number and the information for the course you are seeking.

Why am I being redirected to a Blackboard.com site?
Mason is an ASP Hosted Institution. This means that Mason has asked Blackboard Courses to provide and maintain servers on which our product runs.

What does the “Run” prompt mean?
While accessing some tools in Courses/Blackboard, you may be prompted to run a Java application. Blackboard Courses is powered by Java. Select Run to run the applet. If you do not, the area you are attempting to access may not appear or function properly.

How do I upload a syllabus?
You can upload the file directly to the File Manager and use the Build Content, Create File, Browse Course option in any Content Area to link to it or you can use the Syllabus Tool. Using this tool will place the file in your File Manager and link to it from the tool.

Adding Users

Do I have to manually add my students to my Courses/Blackboard space?
Students are automatically populated into Blackboard based on Banner enrollments. Students registered in PatriotWeb should be reflected in the course within 24 hours of their registration. You can also add students manually.

How do I add a user to a course (i.e. student, co-instructor, teaching assistant)?
– Go to the Control Panel under Course Management (bottom left side of the page)
– Select the option for Users and Groups and then Users
– Select the green button Find Users to Enroll
– Enter their username (first part of their Mason e-mail address)
– Choose the role you want them to have
– Click Submit

How do I add an auditor to my course?
If the auditor has registered through PatriotWeb, they should automatically be added to your course. PatriotWeb always has the most up-to-date roster and any students registered through PatriotWeb should appear in your course list within 24 hours. Please note that there is no “auditor” role so the auditor would be enrolled as a student.

I am teaching the course with someone else. How do I give someone co-designer access?
If you are designated as being a co-instructor to a course in PatriotWeb, both names will appear automatically in Blackboard Courses. You can also add them as an instructor manually by following the instructions above on adding users to a course.

How often are roster and folder changes updated?
Roster updates and faculty assignments are performed three times a day during the week and once on Saturdays and Sundays.

A student just added to my class. What do I do?
Ask the student to wait at least 24 hours before they contact courses@gmu.edu from their Mason e-mail account.

How do I add someone without a Blackboard Courses ID?
Everyone at George Mason University has a Blackboard Courses ID if they have a Mason e-mail address. In order to access your class they will need to be given a Blackboard Courses ID. Contact courses@gmu.edu with your request to provide access to those without Mason credentials.

Why can’t I add a user who has a Blackboard Courses ID?
Sometimes a student or faculty member is marked as inactive if they are taking or teaching no classes that semester. The inactive status prevents them from being added to a course on Blackboard Courses. If this status is undeserved or you’d still like to add this user to your course, e-mail courses@gmu.edu with the name of the user.

Helping Students

Why are my students saying that the course is “unavailable” but I am able to access the materials?
The note “unavailable” in your course title means that the course has not yet been made available to your students. When you are ready to make it available follow these instructions:

  • Go to the Control Panel under Course Management (bottom left side of the page)
  • Select Customization, then Properties
  • In section #3, select the button to make your course available to users

How do students access Blackboard Courses?
All users access Blackboard through the myMason portal. To access Blackboard, log in via http://mymason.gmu.edu and select the “Courses Tab.” Faculty and students will gain access to their course from this location.

Why are my students unable to log in or are having technical difficulties?
Please direct any technical problems to the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or support@gmu.edu. Students can also contact courses@gmu.edu. In either case, they should include their name, G number, and course information.

Why can’t some students view material on my course?
Depending on the course material you’re working with, students might not have the software or correct version of software to view what you’ve put on your website.

Why can none of my students view material on my course?
There are multiple reasons why students might not be able to view material. The file might be corrupt or it might not have uploaded properly. If this is the case, try re-uploading the file and verifying you can download and play it. If you can view it, but your students cannot, they don’t have the appropriate software to view it. If you cannot view your file, Blackboard Courses might not be able to save the file in the appropriate file format. We recommend you save the file in a zip folder and tell your students to unzip it on their machines. For further assistance contact courses@gmu.edu.

Back to Top Interface Questions

How can I see the course as my students would?
Blackboard Courses includes an Edit Mode On/Off feature which gives the instructor a sense of how the course will look to the students. Edit Mode does not allow the instructor to take tests, view students only features, or have a test user to try various Blackboard functions. For more information, visit Courses Support.

Back to Top Further Help with Blackboard Courses

Where can faculty get assistance with Courses/Blackboard?
Faculty can get walk-in help with the Blackboard Courses system by contacting Learning Support Services, which is located on the Fairfax Campus in the Collaborative Learning Hub in the Johnson Center, Room 311 or 703-993-3141. The Arlington Campus CLUB is located in the basement of Founder’s Hall. Questions can be sent to courses@gmu.edu.

Support materials and information can be accessed on the Courses/Blackboard at http://coursessupport.gmu.edu. Technical Support, including browser issues and password problems, is available through the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or support@gmu.edu.