Online Education

Preparing Your Computer To Use Blackboard

Blackboard is one of the best online learning environments available and, to date, has proven a reliable and easy-to-use partner for Napa Valley College students and faculty.

The first step in preparing your computer for use with your online or hybrid class is to be sure you have regular access to it and that you have reliable Internet service.  You should plan on spending one to three hours a week actually logged into your class.  More time may be required depending on the amount of activity and testing required for your class.  We recommend DSL or cable Internet service.  

If you do not have a computer at home, be sure to arrange for access to a computer at a local library or at your work place. If you use a "public" computer, you will need to try it out ahead of time to be sure you can access the Blackboard software and all of the functions of the system.

1.  You will need to have access to a compatible Internet browser on whatever computer you will be using to access your online or hybrid class.  CLICK HERE for a list of compatible browsers.

2.  Blackboard requires a secure connection (HTTPS).  On a Windows machine using Internet Explorer, when you click on the link to log-in, you will get a pop-up box asking you if you want to display "non-secure items." Always click YES.  Once you are on the Blackboard log-in page, you can add Blackboard to your list of "trusted sites."  Here is how.

A.  From the Internet Explorer tool bar, click on "Tools."
B.  Click on "Internet Options."
C.  Click on "Security."
D.  Click on "Trusted Sites" and then on "Sites"
E.  You will see the Blackboard address showing.  Click on "Add Site."

3.  If you are using your own computer, be sure you have the most recent version of Java running.  CLICK HERE to download Java.

4.  Disable any and all pop-up blockers. This is critical in order to access tests and other required activities in your online class.   

The most common popup blockers include:
- Google Toolbar
- Yahoo Toolbar
- MSN
- Norton or Symmantec Suite
- McAfee Suite
- Firefox or IE

5.  Your instructor may provide course materials in PDF form or on PowerPoint.  If you have your own computer, we recommend installing the two free programs below that will enable you to read these documents.

CLICK HERE to download a free copy of Adobe PDF Reader
CLICK HERE to download a free copy of PowerPoint Viewer
CLICK HERE to download the latest Flash Video Player

6.  To learn more about how to use the Blackboard software, watch the video tutorials available from the menu on the left side of this page.

Did you know that you can connect with your online class on Facebook or on your mobile device?

For those of you using iphones, ipads, Facebook, and Bing, Blackboard offers ways for you to connect to your online class while using these social networking sites and mobile devices.  All of these applications are free and can be downloaded at no cost to you.

The app for the iphone and ipad is free and can be downloaded from Apple's App store. 
 
CLICK HERE for the Blackboard Bing tool bar 

Note:  Napa Valley College does not support the installation or maintenance of any of these optional ways of connecting to Blackboard.  Like your own computer, you are responsible all aspects of their use.  We recommend working with the individual application and software vendors if you encounter problems.

Blackboard logo

Quick Tips

You will have access to your online or hybrid class seven days before the first day of class.  You can save time and headaches by planning ahead.  Log-in to your online or hybrid class before the first day of class to be sure you can get into the system and that your class is availble.

Take time to view the Video Tutorials available from the menu on the left side of this page.