Which browser works best with Blackboard and Turnitin?

This is an update on an earlier blog post from November 2015.

If you put this question to any member of the CQSD TEL team – or, indeed, most learning technologists around the country – the answer you will get is “Google Chrome”. That browser seems to be least troublesome when running Blackboard and Turnitin (as well as for more general web use), and we all have it as our default browser.

However it is by no means the only Internet browser you can use to access these systems.

Blackboard

To find the latest statement from Blackboard themselves please check this page on their Help site: Supported Browsers for using Blackboard.

The page also includes details of supported operating systems and plug-ins such as Java, and gives you access to a browser-checker. It is regularly updated in line with new Blackboard versions, and as new technologies emerge, so is well worth checking out if you experience any technical issues.

Please note that, following the most recent Blackboard upgrade:

  • Microsoft Edge is now supported, for Windows 10 users.
  • Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are no longer supported.

The rationale for withdrawing support for IE 9 and 10 is given in this Blackboard announcement:

Microsoft announced it will only support Internet Explorer (IE) version 11 as of January 2016.  This means Microsoft will no longer address security vulnerabilities or other issues that may be identified with Internet Explorer (IE) 10 and older.

Because Blackboard does not support the use of third-party technologies – including browsers – not supported by their respective vendors, we are immediately discontinuing support of IE 9 and IE 10 for Blackboard Learn.  Supported browser pages in Blackboard Learn documentation will be updated to reflect this change.  This change affects all versions and deployment models of Blackboard Learn.  End users on operating systems other than Windows are unaffected by this change.

Users may still have success using IE 9 and IE 10 with Blackboard Learn.  However, issues specific to these browsers reported to Product Support will not be addressed because Microsoft does not support these browsers.

Alternatives: 

Windows 7 and 8 users should update to Internet Explorer 11 or use an alternative supported browser such as Chrome or Firefox.  Windows 10 users can also use Microsoft Edge.

All University of Reading PCs should have Internet Explorer 11 installed, so this change does not directly affect on-campus users. But if you use your own PC or laptop to access Blackboard and Turnitin, please make sure that you are running an up-to-date browser.

One thing you should look out for with Internet Explorer is  its ‘Compatibility View’, which you may encounter on some staff PCs on campus. This makes parts of Blackboard unusable – please see our guide on how to spot this, and how to turn it off: Internet Explorer Compatibility View and Blackboard

 

Turnitin

For Turnitin, a list of supported browsers and other technologies can be seen here: Turnitin system requirements.

Please note that, at the time of writing, Microsoft Edge is not yet supported by Turnitin.

 

Blocked plug-ins in Chrome and Edge

Finally, despite our enthusiasm for Google Chrome, Google have created some difficulties for web users by taking a very strict approach to third party plug-ins, which has meant that some audio and video content uploaded to Blackboard simply could not be accessed in Chrome. Similar issues apply also to those using MS Edge.

Fortunately the most recent version of Blackboard provides a new way of embedding audio and video files such as MP3s and MP4s, which will make this content accessible in any browser and on any device. See this guide for details: Uploading and embedding audio and video files into your Blackboard course

Which browser works ‘best’ with Blackboard?

Image: CC0 Public Domain: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-note-man-person-460868/ (downloaded 12-11-15)

Image: CC0 Public Domain: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-note-man-person-460868/ (downloaded 12-11-15)

The TEL team are often asked which browser to use with Blackboard. We thought it was worth sharing a few tips and recommendations to help you – whichever browser you chose to use. Blackboard is compatible with the main browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Edge. It’s worth checking this list of support browsers to make sure the version of your browser is supported.

Our preferred browsers for working with Blackboard are currently Chrome or Firefox. In our training sessions, we advise staff to use one of these two browsers.

Chrome and MS Edge

If you are using Chrome, please be aware of he issue of Plug-ins not working in Google Chrome.

You might also be aware that the latest versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browser (for Windows 10) do not support a type of plug-in that is used in some live chat tools and some media players. Any tools that use this plug-in aren’t supported by Blackboard in these browsers. This issue also prevents you from using the multiple file upload feature in FileShare.

Internet Explorer

If you like to use Internet Explorer (IE), to make Blackboard work correctly you will need to turn off ‘compatibility view’.

Further details on how to tackle common issues using IE with Blackboard can be found on the on the Blackboard help site.

Test your Browser

Our best advice is to check out Blackboard’s Support for Staff tab where you’ll find the Browser Test feature. This allows you to check the compatibility of your browser with Blackboard and other features.

Beneath that, Technical Support has links to other information to help you identify how well various browsers work with Blackboard. The same browser test and information is also available for students on the Support for Students tab.

We hope you find this helpful!