eLearning Portal Known Issues
Banner Image

Below you will find details of all the known issues and problems which we currently have with the eLearning Portal, and details of any applicable workarounds or the status of a solution. This document only contains details of problems which we have been able to verify or which we believe are likely to affect a significant number of people. Items are arranged in the order in which they have been reported to, or discovered by us.

If you experience any problems at all with the eLearning Portal, please get in touch with us via the IT Helpline by calling 0191 227 4242 or send an email to - it.helpline@northumbria.ac.uk.

We have an extensive range of self-help guides for the eLearning Portal for staff available from here - northumbria.ac.uk/elphelp and for students available from here - northumbria.ac.uk/elpstudenthelp.

Internet Explorer Mixed Content Security Warning
IE Security Warning Your connection to the eLearning Portal is encrypted, as indicated by the https:// prefix in the web address. Links to items which are outside of the eLearning Portal are not, generally, encrypted, and so Interent Explorer reports the Security Warning you can see opposite (since version 8). In order to display the external content you need to click on No in this warning box.

Content which may cause this message to appear include:

Streaming videos, including on YouTube;
External web pages;
PDF items stored outside of the eLP;
SlideShare Presentations;
Flickr Photos.

There is the result of how Microsoft have chosen to implement security in Internet Explorer, there is no setting in Interent Explorer to override it and no solution in Blackboard since it is not a fault in Blackboard. Academics can minimise the problem by always selecting the option to open external content in a New Tab / Window where possible.

Item ID Problem Further Details Workaround / Current Status Last Updated
26 Unable to open an Office document from within the Virtual Classroom. When using the Virtual Classroom, trying to open an Office document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) from the Map results in the Virtual Classroom window being overtaken by the save / open dialog and there is no way to go back. Blackboard are aware of this problem and have classified it as a software defect (issue 19711). On May 21st 2013 Blackboard confirmed that they have no plans to fix this bug in a future Blackboard release and so this issue will not be resolved. 21/05/2013
25 No option to ask for a Return Receipt when sending an email from the eLP. When sending an email from the eLearning Portal, there is no checkbox to receive a Return Receipt underneath the main Subject box as there should be. This option is not available if you use Tools > Send Email from a menu item (note 'Tools' may have a different name, depending on your School). Instead you need to go to the Course Tools option underneath the Control Panel and select Send Email from there. This option is therefore only available for staff. 20/11/2012
24 Unable to access any other tabs / stuck on Home/Welcome tab. There are no tabs along the top of the eLearning Portal, including the 'HCES Placements' tab which is required to access Arc-Web. Blackboard have dropped support for Internet Explorer 7 in the latest release which we have now upgraded to. If you need to use Internet Explorer 7 to access the eLearning Portal none of the tabs on the top row will display. The only solution is to upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer. If you are unable to do this because you do not have admin rights on your computer (for example, NHS computers) you may still be able to install Google's Chrome browser which is compatible with almost all features of the eLearning Portal. 14/08/2012
23 Confirmation email from Turnitin assignment not received. After completing a Turnitin assignment you do not receive a confirmation email. The confirmation email from Turnitin should come through after a few minutes, if it has not done so it has probably been flagged as junk / spam by your email client. Please check any junk / spam folders you have in your email client, and then the 'Deleted Items' or 'Trash' folder to see if it is there. If you can find the email you should be able to add the sender to your 'Trusted Senders List' or mark the email as 'not junk'. Some email clients will automatically permanently delete junk / spam email, if this is the case go to the Turnitin assignment in the eLearning Portal and click on the 'View/Complete' link again, then click on 'View'. You can then take a screenshot of the submission confirmation and / or first page of the Originality Report which should be suitable as evidence of submission for your tutor(s) in lieu of the email. 13/08/2012
22 203 / 204 Error when accessing Turnitin. After clicking on the link for a Turnitin assignment you get a 203 / 204 or another 20x error message. This error message means that the Turnitin assignment has been copied from another module or programme site - copying Turnitin assignments does not work, it may appear to work but when you click on the link to check or complete the assignment you will get an error message from Turnitin's database. Turnitin assignments need to be created as new every time, if you receive this error message please delete and recreate the assignment. Students: please report this error to the module / programme tutor(s) who can recreate the assignment. 13/08/2012
21 Java not installed / enabled on Mac. Since the release of OS 10.7, Lion, Java has not been installed on Mac computers by default. The eLearning Portal uses Java in many places. The first time you encounter Java when using the eLP (or any other website) your Mac should prompt you to download the software. After you have done this you will need to log out of the eLP and restart your web browser. You may then get a second warning / security message about it not being enabled, you should follow the prompts to enabled Java for the eLP to work correctly. 02/08/2012
20 Received Java security warning when using the Virtual Classroom. When you have been using the Virtual Classroom you have received a warning message stating: 'Java has discovered application components that could indicate a security concern.' You may also be unable to click 'No' to this warning message. This message is the result of how Blackboard have written the Virtual Classroom tool, and in order for it to work correctly you need to click on 'No' to the security message. If you are unable to click 'No', or if the Virtual Classroom is un-usable because the message keeps popping up, it is possible to set the option to 'No' by default. Instructions on how to do this are available on Java's website here, and the option you need to set it to is number 2 on the list of 4. 07/02/2012
18 Word count in TurnItIn, PDF submission, is different from the original Word document. A student has submitted a copy of their work to TurnItIn as a PDF, and TurnItIn is reporting the word count differently, possibly much higher, than what was originally reported in Microsoft Word before conversion to PDF. This problem is caused because of the way characters are encoded in the PDF format, and typically manifests itself in URLs. For example - http://www.google.com/ - is typically counted as a single word in Word, but when encoded as PDF may be interpreted as four words, http, www, google and com. Unfortunately there is no solution to this problem, so if word count is a crucial factor we recommed that students submit in MS Word format or else that disregard the reported word count in TurnItIn and copy and paste the content of the original file into Word to get a true word count. 10/01/2012
13 Unable to select Hot Spot area. Unable to select an area for selection on a Hot Spot question. Fault occurs when the image in question has spaces in the file name. Rename the image so that it's name contains no spaces, then upload it again to the Hot Spot question and it should work okay. 07/12/2010
11 Incorrect formatting when text has been copied and pasted to a Text Edit box. When copying text into a Text Edit box within the eLearning Portal, the formatting does not look correct, or match existing content. This can be caused because formatting information from the source of the text is retained. To remove it so that you only copy and paste the text, first paste it in to Notepad or another plain text editor, then copy and paste it again from Notepad to the Text Edit box in the eLearning Portal. 26/10/2010
07 404 type error when trying to log on, but other people can log on. Some users may receive an error to the effect of '404 Page not Found' or 'Server could not be located' but other people can still log on. Error has most likely occurred early in the morning (GMT). If one of the four servers which run the eLearning Portal is not available, users should be redirected to one of the other three servers which are still running. However, this may not happen if you have been logged in to the eLearning Portal in the three hours prior to experiencing this fault because of a cookie which the eLearning Portal stores on your computer. If you experience this error, please clear your web browser's cookies and try to log on again and you should be successful. If you do not know how to clear your cookies please contact the IT Helpline on 0191 227 4242 and they will be able to instruct you. The eLearning Portal servers are rebooted in turn from approximately 7am (GMT) each morning making it more likely for this problem to occur in the mornings if one of the servers has not restarted correctly for any reason. 08/07/2010
06 The eLP pages are not loading Users may receive 'HTTP Service 1.1', 'The connection has timed out' or 'The connection was reset' error messages or similar. This problem is not with the eLP itself, but with the part of the university's IT infrastructure which connects the eLP to the university network - and occurs when the network temporarily loses the connection to the eLP. We are working closely with our colleagues in other IT Services departments to find a solution to this problem. In the meantime, should you receive such an error just refresh your webpage and it should load. You may have to refresh more than once. 17/05/2010
05 The eLP is not displaying properly in the AOL web browser. Parts of the eLP do not work or display correctly when accessed using the AOL web browser. The AOL Browser, also known as AOL Explorer - a version of Internet Explorer 8 which has been customised by AOL - is a non-standard browser and is known to cause problems with many common websites and web systems. It is not supported by either Blackboard Inc. or Northumbria University. If AOL is your internet service provider we strongly recommend that you use an alternative web browser such as Firefox or Chrome to access the eLP. Alternatively, Internet Explorer 8 is available via Desktop Anywhere. 02/08/2012
03 Only the course name is displayed when copying individual content items. When using 'Copy' to copy or move an individual content item from one course to another, only course names are show in the 'Destination Course' drop down box which can cause confusion when someone is attached to courses with the same, or similar names. Our software developers and Blackboard Inc. are trying to find a resolution to this problem.

TIP: The courses in this drop-down box are displayed in date order, with your oldest enrolment at the top.
02 The Virtual Classroom does not launch. The Virtual Classroom is not launched and you see on the web page a link saying 'Click here for an accessible version'. The Virtual Classroom launches in a pop-up window, so you must either have pop-ups enabled in your web browser or allow the eLP to launch pop-ups by setting up an exception for it in your web browsers settings. In Internet Explorer you can temporarily disabled the pop-up blocker by going to Tools > Pop-up Blocker > Turn off pop-up Blocker. After making these changes, you will have to go back and click on the 'Join' button again. 19/05/2010
01 The Virtual Classroom launches but the window is blank on an Apple computer. On an Apple Mac computer, the Virtual Classroom launches but only a blank white window is displayed. This error can usually be rectified by updating to the latest version of Java on your Mac. To update your software click on the Apple menu, then 'Software Update'. If the problem persists after your software is fully up to date, you may need to log in to Desktop Anywhere to access the eLP and the Virtual Classroom from there. 19/05/2010

Further Assistance

Further assistance and advice on any of the issues mentioned on this page is available from the IT Helpline and LTech. Please contact us by calling 0191 227 4242 or sending an email to it.helpline@northumbria.ac.uk in the first instance. Thank you.