Online Learning FAQs

General questions about online courses

Login problems

Blackboard and Email (Microsoft 365)

Technical issues within Blackboard

Technical issues outside of Blackboard

How do online courses work?

An online course brings FMU to you through your home or work computer. Class sessions, course materials, exercises, and even field trips are accessible any time and any day convenient to you. All of your coursework, including discussions, group work, and writing assignments, is done electronically. You simply log into your course through a web browser, and you’re in class.

So are online courses self-paced?

No, most are not. Depending on the instructor, you will have assignments that require you to communicate with other students just as you would in a face-to-face course. Most online courses require you to adhere to due dates for assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. If you register for an online course, expect to finish the course on the instructor’s timeline, not yours.

Do all online courses look and work the same?

No. Instructors have complete control over the design and organization of their courses. Just as instructors individualize face-to-face courses, they tend to do the same for online courses. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the course early in the semester in order to become comfortable with navigating to important materials. Also keep in mind that most instructors are not online all day and might not reply to your questions right away. Check the syllabus to view the details of your instructor’s  response policy.

Will I ever have to physically come to the FMU Campus?

Not likely in an online course. Most instructors of online courses require that you submit all course work online. If you enroll in a hybrid course, you will have face-to-face class meetings.

What if I can’t make it to campus for a midterm or final?

Be sure to let your instructor know ahead of time. This will allow your instructor time to schedule an appropriate time for you to take your exam.

How do I register for an online course?

Just click Register to register online.

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How do I access Blackboard?

You may access Blackboard via the university’s website – . The Blackboard link can be found on the front page at the bottom left side. You can add the page to your “Favorites’ or ‘Bookmark’ the page for future access.

How do I log into Blackboard?

You log in by entering your username and your password.

  • Your username contains the first letter of your first name, then the first three letters of your last name, then the two digits of your birth month, then the two digits of your birth date.
    (For example, for student Johnathan Dholberry, d.o.b: 01.01.1987, his username would be jdho0101)
  • Your temporary password is:  FMUstu1
    When first logging into Blackboard, you will use the temporary password. You will then be prompted to create a unique password.

 Your unique password expires every 42 days and you will need to reset your password at those intervals.

Reset password here:  TBA

What if I forget my password?

If you have forgotten your password, click the ‘Forgot your password?’ link on the Blackboard login page. The link brings you to the Lost Password page, where you can reset your password.

I logged in, but I can’t enter my class because it is not linked and says “unavailable” next to it. What’s up with that?

Your instructor has not made the class available yet. Once the instructor does this — typically by the first day of classes — you will be able to access it.

I added a class after the class officially started. When can I log into Blackboard?

You should be able to log into Blackboard the morning after you registered for the class.

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I suspect that a firewall problem is keeping me from accessing Blackboard. What can I do?

If you are trying to access Blackboard from home, you will have to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for assistance. If you are trying to access Blackboard from work, you’ll have to contact your employer’s network administrator.

Can I access Blackboard without going to the FMU website?

Yes. Just go directly to the Blackboard login page –

What is my email address for Blackboard?

Your email address for Blackboard is your student email address. Your student email address will be your (e.g. All students have student email addresses (Microsoft 365) that gets inputted into Blackboard.

How do I access emails sent to me through Blackboard?

Click the Student Email link on the front page, bottom left on the FMU website.

Can I access my student email account without going to the FMU website?

Yes. Once you have registered your Microsoft 365 email account you may access your emails via Microsoft 365.

Both ‘Send Email’ and ‘Messages’ are available in my Blackboard course. Which one should I use?

Use the one your instructor says to use. If you use the wrong one, there’s a good chance your instructor won’t see your email. ‘Messages’ is an internal email tool that resides in each class–you have to log into Blackboard to see the messages. The ‘Send Email’ tool routes email sent through Blackboard to students’ and instructors’ external email accounts.

Are there any video tutorials that give me an overview of Blackboard and show me how to use some of the tools?

Yes. Click here to view tutorials

Can I use Blackboard on my mobile device?

Yes, you can access it on any ‘smart’ device however what you will be accessing is the app display for desktops/laptops. We are currently working on procuring the ‘Blackboard Mobile’ application.

What is a profile in Blackboard, and what can it be used for?

Learn about profiles here:

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When I create my profile, Blackboard asks for an email address. Is that the same email address I use for email correspondences within Blackboard?


Does it matter if I use a Windows-based computer or a Mac?

No. However, it might if you are taking a specific type of computer course. Check with the instructor of the course if you are unsure.

Is there a preferred browser for using Blackboard?

Mozilla Firefox works best with Blackboard. Have other browsers, particularly Chrome, installed on your computer because if something doesn’t work in one browser, it should work in the other.

Is there a way I can test to make sure my browser plugins are working correctly?

In order to view certain multimedia elements and documents on the Web, you need specific plugins. Your instructor will tell you exactly which plugins you need for your course. The most popular are Windows Media, QuickTime, Flash, Shockwave, and Acrobat Reader, and they are all freely downloadable.

Note: If you do not have a particular plugin, Firefox might ask you to install it. Following the instructions will usually install the plugin successfully.

Get Windows Media Player (Test Movie – 27 seconds)

Get the QuickTime player (Test Movie – 6 seconds)

Get Flash player (Test here)

Get Acrobat Reader (Test PDF)

Get the Java plugin

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How can I hide outdated courses on the My Institution page?

Click the circular icon to the right of My Courses. Uncheck the boxes under Display Course Name for the courses you want to hide, and uncheck any other boxes you want to hide. Click Submit. You might also want to unchecking the corresponding boxes under Display Announcements.

How can I add my picture or avatar to Blackboard?

Click to find out how

Where is my instructor’s feedback in My Grades?

If you can’t see your instructor’s feedback for graded items, scroll to the right in My Grades (the more feedback there is for an item, the more you’ll have to scroll), then click the small, black drop-down arrow that appears. This should reformat the page and allow you to see the feedback.

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Does it matter which word processing program I use for writing assignments?

Yes, Microsoft Word is preferred. If you do not have Word, you can use Google Docs. If you use Google Docs, when finished, download it as a Word document before uploading into Blackboard.

How should I name the files that I will submit in Blackboard?

You should name the files the way your instructor wants them named. Regardless, before you upload a file into Blackboard, make sure that the file name does not include special characters (!@#$%&*). Blackboard only accepts files with upper- or lower-cased letters, numbers, and underscores ( _ ).

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What are the technical requirements for taking an online course?

Technical Requirements


Your computer’s operating system should have Microsoft Windows (XP or above works best) or Macintosh (OS X or above works best).

Any relatively recent PC with the Windows operating system or a Macintosh will work just fine with Blackboard. The processing speed, hard disk space and RAM for these computers should suffice. You’ll need your own Internet Service Provider, and though fast web speed is preferred, all speeds will work with Blackboard.


It’s always best to have a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, on your computer. This way, prior to submitting assignments, you can check work for spelling and grammar errors. If your instructor requires you to submit specifically formatted documents either through the Assignments tool in Blackboard or via email, it is suggested that you submit a Word document. By doing so, you are ensuring that your instructor will be able to open your assignment on her computer.

Alternatively, you can use Google Docs, in which you can create a document online, then download it to your computer in the Word format.

Some online courses, such as many of LPC’s Computer Information Systems courses, require specific software like Microsoft Office. This requirement will be detailed in the Schedule of Classes.

If your instructor allows you to submit assignments as web pages, you might need a web-page editor, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver. You can download a free web-page editor, or you can use Google Sites.

Web Browser

Certified: fully tested and supported.
Compatible: partially tested but should function properly.
Provisional: future technologies considered supported by Blackboard Support.
Unsupported: either impossible or not tested.

Note: Firefox is the preferred browser for Blackboard. Try to avoid using Internet Explorer. If you insist on using IE, be sure to enable Compatibility View.

Windows configurations
Internet Explorer 10 Internet Explorer 9 Firefox (latest release) Chrome (latest stable release)
Windows 7 (32-bit) Compatible Certified Certified Certified
Windows 7 (64-bit) Certified Certified Certified Certified
Windows 8 (64-bit) Compatible Unsupported Certified Certified
Windows 8 (64-bit) Certified Unsupported Certified Certified


Mac OSX configurations
Safari 6.01 Safari 5.1 Firefox (latest release) Chrome (latest stable release)
Mac OSX 10.6 Unsupported Certified Certified Certified
Mac OSX 10.7 Certified Certified Certified Certified
Mac OSX 10.8 Certified Certified Certified Certified

It is recommended that you have at least two browsers installed on your computer because if something doesn’t work in one browser, it should work in the other.

To enable cookies in Firefox:

  1. From the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click Privacy.
  3. Under History, choose Use Custom Settings for History in the drop-down next to Firefox will. Make sure Accept Cookies from Sites is checked. Click OK.


In order to view certain multimedia elements and documents on the Web, you need specific plugins. Your instructor will tell you exactly which plugins you need for your course. The most popular are Windows Media, QuickTime, Flash, Shockwave, and Acrobat Reader, and they are all freely downloadable.

Note: If you do not have a particular plugin, Firefox might ask you to install it. Following the instructions will usually install the plugin successfully.

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