Downloads for use with Blackboard

  • Firefox - web browser. Blackboard works best in the latest stable release of Mozilla Firefox.
  • Java Runtime Environment (all platforms) is required for the use of Blackboard's Kaltura as well as the Virtual Classroom and Text Chat. Click the link to choose the appropriate plug-in for your computer and to begin the download and install process. A new browser window will open.
  • ZIP decompression tool
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
  • QuickTime (.qt, .mov, .mp3 and more)
  • Microsoft Viewers for Word, Excel & PowerPoint
  • Shockwave/Flash (.swf) Animation Player
  • RealPlayer Audio/Video (.ra, .rm)
  • Windows Media Player (.asf, .asx, .wma, .wmv)

Download a ZIP decompression tool:

Often files are compressed to make them smaller for uploading, downloading and saving on disk. Archiving utilities such as WinZip for Windows and StuffIt Expander for Macintosh/Windows decompress these kinds of files.

To decompress the file, you usually need a decompression tool of the same format to expand the files and make them usable again. A popular compression format is ZIP, identified by the file extension .zip (Note: a file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name.)

Adobe Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

Adobe Reader, a free program for Windows and Mac, allows you to view a Portable Document Format (PDF) file with the exact layout intended by the author. You can identify an Adobe Acrobat file by the .pdf file extension. A file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name (e.g. syllabus.pdf).

NOTE: There is another program called Adobe Acrobat that creates the PDF files for students to view. Adobe Reader is free. Adobe Acrobat (the "writer") you need to pay for.

QuickTime Audio-Video Player (.qt, .mov, .mp3 and more)

QuickTime plays movies and audio files, synthesizes music, displays animations and still images, and views three-dimensional virtual reality items or environments. It is the recommended audio-video player for Blackboard. Video clips look best on a monitor resolution of 800 by 600 pixels. To hear files with audio, your computer must have a sound card and speakers. Note: Do not download beta versions of QuickTime.

Available for free for Windows and Macintosh:

Microsoft Viewers and Converters for Word, Excel & PowerPoint

A viewer is a program that lets you read and print a document as if you owned the software that made the document. However, a viewer will not let you modify the document or create similar documents in that format.

Converters will allow users of Microsoft Office 2003 and earlier open Office 2007 documents .docx, .xlsx, .pptx).

Microsoft has several popular software tools with free viewers. You can identify which Microsoft software program created the file by its file extension. A file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name.

  • Word files end with the file extension .doc or .docx (e.g. syllabus.doc)
  • Excel files end with file extension .xls or .xlsx (e.g. budget.xls)
  • PowerPoint files end with file extension .ppt or .pptx (e.g. lecture.ppt)
  • Download Microsoft Viewers and Converters

NOTE TO MAC USERS: These viewers are Windows-only software. See Technology Purchasing Programs for options for purchasing Microsoft Office at generous educational discounts.

Shockwave/Flash (.swf) Animation Player

Macromedia Shockwave and Flash player (also called a browser plug-in) enables web pages to include multimedia objects and animation. Some Blackboard course sites may have links to web sites requiring this plug-in. These web pages may have addresses that end with a file that includes a .swf file extension. (Note: a file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name.)

RealPlayer Audio/Video (.ra, .ram, .rm)

Some Blackboard course sites may have links to audio/video files that require RealPlayer. These web links may have addresses that end with a filename that includes .ra, .rm, .rpm or .ram. (Note: a file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name.)

RealPlayer Basic is the free player. Real Player Plus is commercial software. To hear files with audio, your computer must have a sound card and speakers. NOTE: For content residing on Blackboard system, QuickTime is the recommended audio/video standard. Download links to RealPlayer Basic are provided in case users link to external sites that use RealMedia files.

Windows Media Player (.asf, .asx, .wma, .wmv)

Some Blackboard course sites may have links to audio/video files that require Windows Media Player. These web links may have addresses that end with a filename that includes .asx, .asf, .wma or .wmv. (Note: a file extension is a series of characters that follow a period (or dot) in a file name.)

For content residing on our Blackboard system, QuickTime is the recommended audio/video standard. Download links to Windows Media Player are provided in case users link to external sites that use Windows Media Player files. Do not download and install beta versions of this software. To hear files with audio, your computer must have a sound card and speakers.