Local Help

If you are still experiencing any technical difficulties please contact the helpdesk at (973) 278-5400 x1540

The remainder of this page provides some brief explanations of the checks made by your browser
Note that you if you are using a computer in a public computer lab, you may not have the necessary administrator rights to install or configure software. If you are using your own computer, you should be able to make the changes as long as your account has administrator rights.
If you have any questions you are advised to consult helpdesk or follow the links at the end of each entry for more information

Required Components
If any of these components are missing, you may not be able to log in, or use some of the advanced features of Blackboard
javascript JavaScript
This is a script-based programming language which can perform actions in the users web browser (client-side). Confusingly, despite the name, it has nothing to do with the Java programming language. One major use of JavaScript is to write functions to perform tasks such as opening a new window, checking input values on a form before it is submitted, changing images as the mouse cursor moves over, etc. These tasks are not possible in simple static HTML pages.
Many of the user interface features in Blackboard such as form checking and messaging functions depend upon the browser being able to run JavaScript
cookies Cookies
A 'cookie' is small text file sent by a web server (such as the one running Blackboard) to your web browser. It is subsequently returned by the browser each time it accesses that server. Cookies are used for data exchange, they can record information about your interaction with the web server and from one page to another (e.g. remembering the user, storing your progress through a test, or saving information such as the last page visited). In technical terms, cookies maintain state between otherwise stateless HTTP transactions.
For Blackboard to work, it needs your browser to be set to accept cookies
java Java Runtime Environment
Parts of Blackboard such as the Virtual Classroom are actually separate applications written in Java. To run these programs on your computer you need to have certain files installed on your computer - these allow it to run the Java code (and so create the virtual classroom interface).
There are two types of Java installations available. The simplest and smallest is a Java RunTime Environment (JRE) which only contains enough code to make Java programs run. The second version is the full Java Developer Kit (JDK) which is used by software developers - it allows you to write and compile your own Java code as well as run finished programs.
Blackboard will run with either a JRE or JDK installed on your computer. The Java language is continually being developed and some applications may require a specific version of Java to run properly. You can test which version you have installed using this link: http://www.java.com/en/download/help/testvm.xml
If you are in doubt which version of Java you need, please contact your Blackboard Administrator.

Optional Components
These are not required to use Blackboard, but may be needed to display certain content types (particularly audio and video files)
flash Macromedia Flash Player
Often just referred to as the 'Flash Player' this is a multimedia and application player created and distributed by Macromedia. It plays SWF files which can be created with the Macromedia Flash authoring tool, or a number of other Macromedia and third party tools.
Flash is a common format for third party content, particularly those involving complex animations. You will need the player installed on your computer to see SWF files.
shockwave Macromedia Shockwave
Shockwave is Macromedia's first multimedia player and is often confused with its more widely adopted successor - Flash. Although installed on fewer browsers, Shockwave is much better at displaying information in '3D' and so is very popular with a online game publishers. Flash files can be played using a Shockwave player, but not vice versa.
Shockwave is a common format for third party content. You will need the player installed on your computer to use Shockwave files.
Windows Media Player Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player is a free software media player used for playing audio and video on personal computers running Microsoft Windows. Versions are also available for other operating systems. The basic file formats are WMV (Windows Media Video & Audio), WMA (Windows Media Audio), and ASF (Audio Structured File).
If you need to play any third part content in one of these formats, you will need this player (or another able to play the files) installed on your computer.
Real RealPlayer
RealPlayer is a media player created by RealNetworks, that plays a number of multimedia formats including multiple generations of RealAudio and RealVideo codecs as well as many others. Two versions of the software exist, a free player and a fully featured player which needs to be purchased.
If any third part content has been added in Real format, you may need this player (or another able to play the files) installed on your computer.
Apple QuickTime Apple QuickTime
QuickTime is a multimedia technology developed by Apple Computer, capable of handling various formats of digital video, sound, text, animation, music, and immersive virtual reality panoramic images.
If any third part content has been added in the formats listed above, you may need this player (or another able to play the files) installed on your computer.
SVG SVG Viewer
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) use an XML markup language designed for describing two-dimensional static or animated vector graphics (i.e. those created from discrete shapes, rather than the pixels used in bitmaps such as digital photos). SVG-type graphics are far less common than GIF and JPEGs. As such many older web browsers cannot display them without installing additional software.
If any third part content has been added in this format, you may need to install a plugin to see the images.
PDF Acrobat Reader
The Acrobat Reader program (now just called Adobe Reader) is available as a no-charge download from Adobe's web site, and allows the viewing and printing of PDF files. Portable Document Format (PDF) was developed by Adobe Systems for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the original software, hardware, and operating system used to create them. A PDF file can describe documents containing any combination of text, graphics and images in a device independent and resolution independent format. These documents can be one page or thousands of pages, very simple or extremely complex with a rich use of fonts, graphics, color, and images.
PDF is a very common format for third party documents and most users are likely to come across PDF files at some point.

Pop-up Tests
Some features of Blackboard may not work if you fail these tests
Alert message If your web browser currently permits JavaScript alert messages, then when you click on the Alert Test button you should see a box like the one shown here. If not, you should check whether your browser supports JavaScript - seek advice from help desk.

PopUp message
If your web browser currently permits JavaScript pop-up windows, then when you click on the Popup Test button it should open a new browser window which looks like this one. If not, you should first check whether the browser supports JavaScript and then whether it has any pop-up blocking software. Note that some browser toolbars (such as those offered by Yahoo and Google) include a popup blocking facility. You will need to configure these to allow pop-ups coming from your Blackboard server. If you do not know how to do this, seek advice from help desk.