Best Browser for the Job

What’s the Best Browser for the Job?

Using the best browser for the job can make a big difference in the operating performance of Blackboard.  With the variety of browsers available and the ever-changing environment, knowing which one is best can be tough.  Especially when it comes to the variety of problems that can arise from security settings and compatibility issues.  The reality is, it may require using different browsers to accomplish different tasks.  Below are some of the common issues we encounter and ways to overcome them.

Using Internet Explorer

Unfortunately, we do not recommend Internet Explorer.  IE has many security features that make for a poor experience when using Blackboard.  Users frequently report blank pages and unexpected behavior. Instead we recommend using Firefox for the most consistent experience.

Trouble viewing PDFs

Firefox for Mac OS users may have trouble-viewing PDFs in Blackboard.  In this case, we recommend using another browser such as Apple Safari or Google Chrome.  Another solution is to use a PDF plug-in such as the one offered by Schubert.  This plug-in for Firefox, Chrome or Safari allows you to view, print or save PDFs from within the browser.  When installing the plug-in make sure to indicate it is for educational use, in order to avoid any fees.

Security and Java

Recently, we’ve heard a lot about potential security risks caused by Java.  Java is a programming language and software platform that is required for certain features of Blackboard to function properly. Some of the important features of Blackboard, which use Java, include assessments*, surveys, discussions, file uploading and downloading.  To guard against potential threats, make sure you have only the latest version installed on your computer.  Visit our Java troubleshooting page to learn more and download the latest version.

*Firefox, in conjunction with up-to-date Java, provide the most reliable combination when taking assessments, e.g., tests, exams, and quizzes.

Bottom line

It is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your primary computer.  Most of us in the office use either Firefox or Chrome.  It’s common for us to switch between the two if we are experiencing unexpected behavior.

We also encourage you to run a browser compatibility check and visit the Student Support website to learn more about system requirements.

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