Blackboard Known Issues and Workarounds for Students and Faculty

Known Issues with Accessing Blackboard Course Files and Formatting of Submitted Assignments & Workarounds for Students and Faculty  

(as of December 2, 2021) 

Based on recent reports by Charter Oak faculty and students, the Instructional Design Team would like students and faculty to be aware of the following issues and workarounds.

  1. File Accessing Problem: Students or Faculty may see an error Message (404 File not Available) when attempting to download a document (Word, pdf, PPT, etc.) contained in a Blackboard course  

Likely Cause: Using Microsoft Edge as your browser is known to cause this issue.   

Workarounds:  

    • Try using another browser, Chrome, FIrefox, etc.  
    • If you need or really prefer to use Edge, you can change the settings as follows to disable the option to "Open Office files in the browser". To disable this feature in Edge, 1) Open Edge's Settings menu and click Downloads. 2) Turn OFF the Open Office files in the Browser option and save the changes 
  1. File Formatting Problem: Students and Faculty have reported that the formatting of Office documents (Word files, PPTs) is inconsistent from what a student sees when the document is submitted and what faculty see when the document is viewed in Blackboard’s Annotate, which is commonly used for grading and feedback. This can create a problem when students are expected to submit documents using a specific format that is often an element in grading of the assignments. 

Likely Causes: This may be caused by the use of different versions of Microsoft Office (older than Office 365).  It can also be caused by the use of certain fonts or keyboard languages other than English (for example, Arabic, Chinese, etc.).    

Workarounds: 

    • Use Office 365 rather than older version of Office.  Charter Oak students and faculty can freely download Office 365 here and install on personal computers.  With use of Office 365, Word files will be saved in “doc.x” format rather than as “doc,” which can distort the formatting that appears in Blackboard.  Saving a PowerPoint document as a pdf is another possibility to preserve formatting; however, faculty may not be willing to accept this format.  Students will need to consult with their instructor about this option.    
    • Students may want to improve the accessibility of their document prior to submitting it by using Sensus Access Conversion, a tool that Charter Oak provides through the Accessibility Resources link in each Blackboard course menu and on the college website. If the document is made accessible using this tool, there is a better chance that the formatting will be consistent from submission to faculty viewing.