What’s the Deal with Blackboard?


P. Butcheck

Colton Griffin, Executive Director of Information Technology

Pamela Butcheck, Staff Reporter

As everyone on campus is aware, the link to Blackboard isn’t working correctly. When students and faculty sign into the school’s portal at my.fairmontstate.edu, called U-portal, it takes the credentials entered and passes it on to Blackboard, Felix, and the other systems available so that you only have to sign in once to access the other applications (except MS Office 365, which uses a different single sign-on protocol). At least, that is how it is supposed to work. Colton Griffin, Executive Director of Information Technology, explains:

“Blackboard is hosted by another state agency, WVNet. Over the break, WVNet had performed an upgrade on Blackboard that changes the way that it does single sign-on. Single sign-on is how you can log onto one system and then your credentials flow from that system to another.”

The upgrade to Blackboard from WVNet is not compatible with the school’s portal. “We’ve been working with them [WVNet], almost daily, trying to come up with what the solution is.”, said Mr. Griffin. He believes they have a possible solution but in order to try it, the entire portal must be taken off-line, for about an hour, possibly longer. Such a shut-down during the semester must be done after hours, once the last class is finished for the day, some of which don’t end until 8 p.m. To add to this difficulty, a scheduled shut-down must be coordinated with staff from WVNet to help program the fix on their end.

Until it becomes possible to shut the portal down, students will have to access Blackboard using the direct link. If you are only accessing Blackboard, there is no need to log into the portal first. Simply navigate to Blackboard and sign in as you normally would on the school’s portal.

Blackboard direct link: https://ilearn-fsu.wvnet.edu/