General FAQ

How can I access UNSW Blackboard?

To access UNSW Blackboard, go to and login.
The Username is your student or staff ID (e.g. z1234567) and the Password is your zPass.

What is a zPass?

UNSW Blackboard requires you to use zPass, a new password system gradually being introduced for all IT services. You will use zPass, along with your existing UNSW User ID, to login to UNSW Blackboard. For help getting a zPass, go to or

Who do I contact if I cannot log in?

All Blackboard issues should be reported to the IT Service Centre
Telephone: 9385 1333,
If you are unable to reach the help desk, please send an e-mail to with your contact number and a brief description of your difficulty.

What are the OS and Browser requirements for Blackboard?

Web browsers: Windows
IE 8
IE 7
Firefox 3.0.x
Web browsers: Mac
Firefox 3.0.x
Safari 3
Safari 2
Certified: fully tested and supported.
Compatible: key application areas tested.

For further information, see the Blackboard Browsers, Plugins & Operating Systems for Blackboard Learn Release 9 page.

FAQ for Staff

Course Administration

How do I make my course available to students?

Courses you are teaching in Blackboard that are marked Unavailable are invisible to students. Making the course Available allows students to access the Blackboard course. To do this, follow the steps below:
  1. Go to the Control Panel in the course you want to change.
  2. Select Customisation > Properties.
  3. Under Set Availability, you will see Make Course Available. Click on the Yes radio button .
  4. Click Submit.

Can I change the name of my course in Blackboard?

Some course names may be shown in an abbreviated format. You are able to change the name and it will not have any implications on enrolments or student access. To change the course name shown in Blackboard, follow the steps below:
  1. Go to the Control Panel in the course you want to change.
  2. Select Customisation > Properties.
  3. Next to Course Name, enter the name you want for your course.
  4. Click Submit.

What is the Dummy Student Account?

All Blackboard courses have a Dummy (Sample) Student Account to be used for testing and quality assurance purposes. Academic staff can log into their course with this account to check how it displays and functions for students. This is the only way to have a true student view of the course.

The account is created by School Administrators when they create the course in myUNSW Term Planning. The account password can later be changed by Academic Staff using the myUNSW Learning Management pages.


How can I send email to students enrolled in my course?

In your Blackboard course, go to the Control Panel and select Course Tools > Send Email. You can then specify the group of users to whom you want to email, such as All Users, All Instructors, All Students. You can also select individual users through Select Users. All Users will send email to everyone in the course including instructors.

When I send an email from Blackboard, where do those emails go?

Emails sent from Blackboard go to the inbox folder of the recipients' University mail account.

If you send email from Blackboard, it will not appear in the Sent items folder of your University mail account. However, you will receive a copy of the sent email.

Are students able to send email to other students in the course?

Students can use the Send Email tool to email all users, including instructors of the course, providing the tool is made available by the Instructor. Access may be through a link in the main navigation or a link within one of the content pages. The standard course implementation has a My Tools link that gives students a page of all Blackboard tools including Send Email. However, depending on the individual faculty and its template implementation, this link may not be available to students or it may have another name. Students do not have access to the Control Panel as is the case with Instructors.

Can I change my email address listed in Blackboard to something else?

Personal information, such as your email address, are fed into Blackboard from centralised systems. Therefore, you cannot change your email address in Blackboard. You can forward your UNSW email to another email address so that any email will be automatically routed to that location. However, we still recommend that all UNSW staff (and students) regularly check their University mail accounts.

FAQ for Students

Accessing my Course

After I’ve enrolled in a course, how long do I have to wait until I can access my course in UNSW Blackboard?

Student enrolments are updated overnight so within 24 hours of enrolling you should have access to your course. If, after 24 hours, you still cannot access your course, contact your course coordinator to find out if the course has been made available.

How do I get help using Blackboard?

Once you login to UNSW Blackboard, resources are available from the User Guides tab. There you will find Student Documents and Student Videos. The documents section includes a Blackboard Student Getting Started Guide PDF, Student User Manual PDF, as well as a Student Orientation Course to try out all the tools. The videos section includes short videos that demonstrate the Blackboard functionality. The TELT UNSW Blackboard Student Support is a growing set of resources and tutorials for students.

Why can’t I access my course materials?

The course resources might not have been made available to students. Contact your lecturer to verify that the materials are in the course and are available.


Why can’t I upload my assignment?

Your file name could be too long or incorrect. File names must be less than 72 characters for your lecturer to be able to access your assignment files. You can only use letters, numbers and underscores (_) in your file names.
If you are using a Mac make sure you use the appropriate file extension e.g .doc, .ppt.
If you would like more information on how to upload assignments view the video demonstration under Student Videos in your Blackboard Support tab.

I've submitted the wrong file when submitting an assignment to UNSW Blackboard, what do I do?

Contact the course coordinator. The academic staff can access the Gradebook to clear your attempt and allow you to resubmit. This also applies if you accidentally submit an assignment instead of Saving as a Draft version.

How can I check to see that my assignment has been submitted?

You can view a record of the assignments you have submitted within a course in My Grades under Tools.

Why can’t I see my assignment mark in the My Grades tool?

If you can't see a mark in My Grades your lecturer may not yet have made the marks available. If you need more information contact your lecturer.

What file types can I upload to my course?

You can upload files in the following formats: .doc;.pdf; .xls; .ppt

Why can’t I see my assignment mark in the My Grades tool?

If you can't see a mark in My Grades your lecturer has not yet made the marks available. If you need more information contact your lecturer.

Why can’t I open an assignment?

You may need to clear your temporary internet files. You should also check that you have the latest version of your browser and the latest version of java. You can check your version of java at

Assessments (Tests, Quizzes, Surveys)

Why can’t I attempt my quiz or test again?

The lecturer may have allowed for a single attempt only. You can save and resume test or quiz within the time allowed.
Also be aware that you must not navigate away from a “forced completion” test as this will invalidate your attempt.

The formatting of the text changes when I copy from a Word file into the text editor?

To avoid this, first copy into Notepad and then copy and paste into text editor. You can then reformat within the text editor.

Why can’t I go back to a multiple attempt test?

You may have navigated away from the take the assessment again link or you might have opened the link in a new window. Exit from the assessment and reopen the test, click on the take the assessment again link.

Why can’t I see my test result?

Your lecturer may not have made the results available when the test was created.

I am getting a java error message when attempting a quiz. What can I do?

Try the following:
  • close and reopen your browser
  • check that you have the latest version of java
  • rebooting your computer.

Why can’t I see the correct answers to a quiz after I’ve completed the attempt?

Your lecturer may not have made the correct responses available to students. Contact your lecturer for further information.

Discussion, Blogs and Journals

How do I see all the threads in a discussion?

On the “Thread Detail” page click the maximise window icon.

How can I see all threads in a discussion forum?

Select Edit Paging in the bottom right hand corner of the page and change the “Items per page”. Note that change this will not be saved after you log out of Blackboard. You can also select Tree View in the top right corner.

The list of threads is obscuring the discussion posts. Why?

This is a known issue in the Firefox browser. If you click on the Maximise button above the threads window, it will extend over the postings window below, making the postings illegible. Either Minimise the window and use the scroll bar to locate threads, or switch to Internet explorer.

Why can’t I subscribe to a forum or a thread?

Your lecturer may not have made the forum or thread available for subscription.

Why can’t I delete my post in a forum?

Your lecturer may not have allowed for deletion of posts in a particular forum.

Why can’t I see my post after I’ve submitted it?

The forum could be moderated which means that the lecturer has to approve your post before it is published.

I tried to embed an image into a text editor and the image wasn’t visible. Why?

When you insert an image you need to:
• browse for the image
• select the image and Submit
• the image appears in another window, scroll along to the right and Submit again.

How do I create a blog or a journal?

You cannot create individual blogs or journals in Blackboard. You can create group blogs and journals if you are enrolled in a group.

I can’t see any other blog entries except my own.

Your lecturer may have set the blog up so that students cannot view each others blog entries.

General Questions

I can’t download a file from my course. Why?

To download files from UNSW Blackboard, left click on the link to the file as if you are opening it. Do not right click on the link.

The font size is too small in my course. How do I change it?

In Internet Explorer, go to View, scroll to Text size, and make your selection. In Firefox, go to View, scroll down to Zoom text, and select Zoom in. Alternatively, hold down the CTRL key and use the scroll wheel on your mouse.

What is the best way to print documents from UNSW Blackboard?

For PowerPoint and Word documents, left-click the file in Blackboard. Then download and use the Print function.
If a PDF file opens within the browser window, you can use the print button on the toolbar to print the PDF.

Why don't I receive e-mails about announcements from UNSW Blackboard?

This is an optional feature which your lecturer may not be using in your course.

Why can’t I see the email addresses of other recipients when I receive an email?

Email recipients are unable to see the email addresses of other people who received the same email.

The left menu in my course disappeared. How do I get it back?

There is a (show/hide) arrow on the left hand side of the page which opens and closes the course menu.

Why aren’t some of the links working in Blackboard?

• Check that your browser is compatible with Blackboard
• Make sure your pop-up blocker is turned off

Where can I veiw my assignments and test results?

You can view your results in the Grade Book which is available under Tools in the course menu. If you do not have a Tools button contact your lecturer and find out where the link for the Grade book is located in your course.