Blackboard - What is it?
Blackboard is a course management system that is maintained by Piedmont Community College. Blackboard is Web-based, so there is nothing for you to install or download. All you need is an account and an Internet connection. Blackboard works with both Windows and Macintosh computers. You can access Blackboard using most Web browsers, but it performs best with an up-to-date version of Mozilla Firefox.

You may access Blackboard by clicking on this link,
Technical Requirements

Traditionally Released Browsers

The dates listed are the original release dates for general availability.

Internet Explorer® 10 from Microsoft (26 October 2012 for Windows 8, 26 February 2013 for Windows 7)
Internet Explorer 9 from Microsoft  (14 March 2011)

Safari® 6 from Apple (25 July 2012)
Safari 5 from Apple (7 June 2010)
Safari 5 for Windows is an exception. Apple's continued support for this browser is unclear, and Blackboard does not test it.

Automatically Updated Channel-based Browsers

Firefox® 21 (stable channel) from Mozilla

Chrome™ 27 (stable channel) from Google

Java and Other Browser Plugins

A handful of features in Blackboard Learn require particular additional software to be installed. Without these, the features themselves do not function. For this service pack of Learn, the following features have plugin requirements:

  • Multiple file uploads in Course Files and Content Collection requires the Java Runtime Environment  (JRE) from Oracle enabled as a browser plugin. The single file upload tool does not have this requirement. The upload applet is signed by Blackboard and includes a timestamping authority that allows the applet to run even after the certificate has expired. 
  • The Virtual Classroom Tools in courses require the JRE from Oracle enabled as a browser plugin. The Virtual Classroom applet is signed by Blackboard and includes a timestamping authority that allows the applet to run even after the certificate has expired. 
  • The Record from Webcam feature of the Content Editor requires the Flash Player browser plugin from Adobe to successfully save the recordings to YouTube.

JRE version 7 is the recommended version for features that depend on it. JRE version 6 may work, but could result in unexpected behavior. Oracle has acknowledged some security issues with JRE version 6.

On Apple Mac OS X, Google's Chrome browser does not support Java 7 because of incompatibilities between 64-bit Java and 32-bit Chrome. Firefox and Safari browsers do not have this limitation on Mac OS X. Users of the Chrome browser on Mac OS X must configure Java 6 support in order to access the features listed above.

Adobe Flash Player version 11 is the recommended version of the Adobe Flash Player plugin, but the YouTube service ultimately determines the version required for this plugin. 

Plugin Links

Download link for JRE 
on Oracle's site.
Download link for Adobe Flash Player 
on Adobe's site.

Connection Speed

DSL or Cable modems are highly recommended.  While Dialup modems will work, they are very problematic.


Many companies have firewalls installed to protect their networks and prevent unwanted installations of software and possible viruses.  There are also software firewalls for home users.  If you have installed a firewall and are having trouble connecting to Blackboard, you may need to make changes to the firewall setting to allow access to Blackboard.  (The default settings of the Windows and Macintosh built-in firewalls will not interfere with Blackboard.)

Pop-Up/Spam Blockers

All popup blockers on your computer should be turned off
before logging into Blackboard. If they aren't you may experience difficulties when using Blackboard.


For some courses, you may be required to have one or more of these plug-in application programs. Each course should specify which plug-ins are required. Generally, plug-in software should already be present on your computer when you purchase it. However, we recommend that you verify that (1) you have these plug-ins installed & configured on your web browser, and (2) you have at least the minimum required version for each plug-in.

Adobe Reader
Apple Quicktime
Adobe Flash Player
Microsoft Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player Plugin for Macs (Flip4Mac)
RealNetworks RealOne Player
Sun Java SE Runtime Environment

Student Competencies

Students are expected to be competent in basic computer skills such as:
  • Copying and pasting material into a document
  • Saving, attaching, and printing documents
  • Composing, receiving, and sending emails
  • Surfing the web; and protecting the computer against viruses
24/7/Help Desk
Tool-free phone: 1-866-852-5588
Web Site:

For additional assistance:

Angela Vaughn,