Hi! Diane Allen here, waving Hello! I’m one of the Global Campus Virtual Mentors who has been with the program close to ten years. As a VM, it’s my job to answer your questions and make your online learning experience as smooth as possible. 

Many of the questions VMs get concern formatting issues in discussion posts. Read on to learn some best practices for avoiding formatting problems and how to fix some common issues when they do happen.

Best practices for long posts 

Have you ever experienced the frustration of typing a long post directly into Blackboard Learn only to lose it due to one or two wrong keystrokes or a network blink? 

Instead of typing directly in Blackboard Learn, compose posts using word processing software such as Microsoft Word, Pages or LibreOffice or better yet a text editor such as Notepad, TextEdit or Atom. 

Text editors use plain text, free of the rich text formatting found in word processors. Because they use plain text, writing or copying your post into a text editor before pasting into Blackboard can help minimize formatting issues. 

If you prefer to use word processing software, wait until after you paste your post into Blackboard Learn to apply a typeface or any other formatting. If your post doesn’t paste very well, you can try putting a “shift” in with the paste shortcut “control-v” so that you paste with ctrl+shift+v. The shift will remove the fancier formatting. 

Usually people have the smoothest experience with discussion posts if they keep their formatting simple in their text editor and use “save draft” to preview their post before submitting it. Both of these steps are critical. 

Fixing white backgrounds or other formatting issues

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One of the common questions we get is how to remove white-colored backgrounds or teeny tiny type from discussion posts. Usually the cause is copying and pasting from either Blackboard Learn, a website, or word processing software such as Word and it can be easily fixed with the eraser tool.

The eraser tool is on the far right of the top row of tools.

 
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Sometimes the eraser tool “hides” behind the set of four buttons that float to the right on smaller screens, as shown in the screenshot below. Try making your window larger or rotating your phone as appropriate.

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The fastest, most reliable way to fix your formatting is to:

 
  1. Select the text with the white background or other formatting issue
  2. Select the eraser tool
  3. Select save draft to save your post as a draft and take a look at it
  4. To finalize your post and make it so everyone else can see it, select edit and then submit. Note: You will not have the option to submit unless you select edit.

I hope you find this helpful. Questions are welcome. See you in the course spaces,

~ Diane, VM