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Frequently Asked Questions

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Important Dates

UPCOMING OUTAGES
Sunday, May 18:
6AM - 10AM Regularly scheduled maintenance

Tuesday, May 27:
1AM - 3AM Maintenance outage for the underlying storage system

Sunday, July 20:
6AM - 10AM Regularly scheduled maintenance

Searching FAQs before you ask for help.

If you need training resources, please visit the Training & Help page. To browse all FAQs, click the heading "FAQs for Students" or "FAQs for Instructors." Click the question to expose the answer.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Send a note to your support provider by using the Help Mail Form.

FAQs for Students

Q: How do I report a problem or ask a question?

A: Before contacting OAK Support, try reviewing the FAQs for your answer or searching the Training and Help section; most questions are answered here. If you are unable to find your answer in those locations, or have questions about Blackboard or other OAK services, contact the support person in your school or department. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I cannot see all the content in OAK and/or I'm getting an "Internal Server Error." What do I do?

A: Be sure the browser you are using is "certified" or "compatible" with our version of Blackboard and all the settings are correct. Start by checking your browser. Next, double check the browser you are using against the Browser Compatibility Matrix and review the Browser Settings Guide to configure your browser.

  » Check my browser!
  » Download the Browser Compatibility Matrix
  » Download the Browser Settings Guide

Once you have checked your browser version and your settings, try clearing your browser's cache, log out of OAK, close your browser, and try again. If the issue continues to present itself, try a different browser.

If this does not resolve your issue, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I was told I need to "clear my cache." How do I do that?

A: Clearing your browser's cache can sometimes solve certain problems in OAK. Instructions for the three main browsers follow.

Internet Explorer:
  1. Click Tools and then Delete browsing history
  2. Select Temporary Internet files
  3. Select Cookies and website data
  4. Click Delete
Firefox:
    NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Menu (ex. Firefox>Preferences).
  1. Click Tools and then Clear Recent History
  2. In Time range to clear select Everything
  3. Click Clear Now to clear your cache
Chrome: NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Me
  1. Click the three horizontal bars and then Settings
  2. Click Show advanced settings
  3. Scroll down to Privacy and click Clear browsing data
  4. Select (at least) the Empty the cache box
  5. Click Clear browsing data to clear your cache
Once you have cleared your cache and checked your settings, log out of OAK, close your browser and try again. If the issue continues to present itself, try a different browser.

If this does not resolve your issue, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: My course says that it is "unavailable"? What do I do?

A: Courses in OAK must be made "available" to students before they can access content, regardless of whether they are registered and enrolled in the online course. Ask your instructor if they are using OAK for your course this semester. If they are, ask them when the course will be available.

Q: Why can I not see a course in which I am registered?

A: Courses are added to OAK within several hours after you register. If you still do not see your course within 24 hours after registering, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I can only see the course Home Page (or other page). All the links to my course content are missing. What happened to my Course Menu?

A: Sometimes your Course Menu becomes hidden and the only thing you can see is the Course Home Page or another page; all the links on the left-hand side of the page are missing. You can get this back by moving to another page and returning to that course.

You can also follow these instructions to expose the Course Menu:
  1. Slide your mouse all the way to the left side of your browser window until the RUST BAR appears.
  2. Upon hover, the dialog “Show Course Menu” appears.
  3. Click the RUST BAR to expose the Course Menu.
  » Download " Expanding and Collapsing the Course Menu" (PDF)

Q: I cannot login to OAK - I'm told that my "authentication credentials are incorrect." What do I do?

A: There are several reasons that this message will appear, two of the most frequent issues are (1) forgetting to change your ePassword after receiving a notification from ITS and (2) you had a name and/or social security number change.

The first course of action should be to contact your local technical support provider. They can help trouble-shoot issues and make sure you get the appropriate solution to your problem.

If you know you have the correct password, but you still receive this message, visit the ITS website to see if you need to reset your password for security reasons. You can also contact the ITS Help Desk at (34)3-9999.

Members of the Vanderbilt community who have recently changed their last name or social security number may also receive this notice. When changing this information, you must change it with both the Registrar's Office AND HR (if you receive monies from Vanderbilt). Changing this information in one place and not the other will cause you to be denied access to OAK. You also need to update your information in AccessVU.

Q: The list of courses on my "Main" tab in OAK is very long. How do I hide old/unused courses?

A: Click the gear icon in the top-right-hand corner of the Courses module. De-select the checkbox in the "Show Course" column next to the courses that you would like to hide from view on the Main tab. Click Submit.

Your hidden courses will still be available from the Courses tab, and you can reactivate them on the Main tab by re-checking them in the edit procedure described above. You can also reorder your items by drag/drop, keeping your most current courses at the top of your list.

Q: Printing from OAK does not print all information. How can I print everything?

A: Users attempting to print from OAK are unable to print the entire content; only a portion of the content is printed. This happens when users select the browser’s default print settings ("as laid out on screen"). This is not an issue, but a notice.

To print the entire content, users should use the "only selected frame" option for IE or "The selected frame" option for Firefox.

Q: Some users on PCs are asked to "reauthenticate" when opening Office documents, but their credentials are not accepted. How can I view these files?

A: This issue is isolated to new campus computers on the active directory and occurs when using IE 8. In IE, "Protected Mode is ON" is displayed on the bottom right-hand corner, meaning that IE does not recognize OAK as a "trusted site."

Your local desktop support person should add the Vanderbilt domain to your Active Directory profile. For a more immediate solution, individual users can add OAK to the list of "trusted sites". In Internet Explorer:
  1. Go to Tools > Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites
  2. Click Sites
  3. Add "https://oak.vanderbilt.edu"
  4. Select "Require server verification"
If you continue to receive this error, please contact your local technical support provider.

Q: I replied to an email notification, but my instructor did not receive it. What happened?

A: Email sent as a REPLY to an EMAIL NOTIFICATION will act as delivered, but will not go to the recipient. The email address is a "do not reply" email address and goes directly to a deleted items folder that cannot be retrieved. Students are cautioned to verify that the reply to email address is the instructor before replying to email.

FAQs for Instructors

Q: How do I report a problem or ask a question?

A: Before contacting OAK Support, try reviewing the FAQs for your answer or searching the Training and Help section; most questions are answered here. If you are unable to find your answer in those locations, or have questions about Blackboard or other OAK services, contact the support person in your school or department. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I cannot see all the content in OAK and/or I'm getting an "Internal Server Error." What do I do?

A: Be sure the browser you are using is "certified" or "compatible" with our version of Blackboard and all the settings are correct. Start by checking your browser. Next, double check the browser you are using against the Browser Compatibility Matrix and review the Browser Settings Guide to configure your browser.

  » Check my browser!
  » Download the Browser Compatibility Matrix
  » Download the Browser Settings Guide

Once you have checked your browser version and your settings, try clearing your browser's cache, log out of OAK, close your browser, and try again. If the issue continues to present itself, try a different browser.

If this does not resolve your issue, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I was told I need to "clear my cache." How do I do that?

A: Clearing your browser's cache can sometimes solve certain problems in OAK. Instructions for the three main browsers follow.

Internet Explorer:
  1. Click Tools and then Delete browsing history
  2. Select Temporary Internet files
  3. Select Cookies and website data
  4. Click Delete
Firefox:
    NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Menu (ex. Firefox>Preferences).
  1. Click Tools and then Clear Recent History
  2. In Time range to clear select Everything
  3. Click Clear Now to clear your cache
Chrome: NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Me
  1. Click the three horizontal bars and then Settings
  2. Click Show advanced settings
  3. Scroll down to Privacy and click Clear browsing data
  4. Select (at least) the Empty the cache box
  5. Click Clear browsing data to clear your cache
Once you have cleared your cache and checked your settings, log out of OAK, close your browser and try again. If the issue continues to present itself, try a different browser.

If this does not resolve your issue, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: Why is my course not visible to students? How do I make it "available"?

A: Courses in OAK must be made "available" to students before they can access content, regardless of whether they are registered and enrolled in the online course. To make a course available: In the course's Control Panel area:
  1. Click "Customization"
  2. Click "Properties"
  3. Scroll to the 3rd option (Set Availability) and select "Yes"
  4. Click "Submit"

Q: I've tried everything, but I still cannot see all the content in OAK. Is there anything I can do? Can I try to "clear my cache"?

A: Clearing your browser's cache can sometimes solve certain problems in OAK. Instructions for the three main browsers follow.

Internet Explorer:
  1. Click Tools and then Delete browsing history
  2. Select Temporary Internet files
  3. Select Cookies and website data
  4. Click Delete
Firefox:
    NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Menu (ex. Firefox>Preferences).
  1. Click Tools and then Clear Recent History
  2. In Time range to clear select Everything
  3. Click Clear Now to clear your cache
Chrome: NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Me
  1. Click the three horizontal bars and then Settings
  2. Click Show advanced settings
  3. Scroll down to Privacy and click Clear browsing data
  4. Select (at least) the Empty the cache box
  5. Click Clear browsing data to clear your cache
Once you have cleared your cache and checked your settings, log out of OAK, close your browser and try again. If the issue continues to present itself, try a different browser.

If this does not resolve your issue, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: When are courses created in OAK? When can student registrations be found in OAK?

A: Courses are created in OAK ten (10) days before they are available in YES for student registration. You must be listed as an instructor in YES for you to see your course in OAK.

Student enrollments are pushed to OAK four times a day. When a student drops a course, they become "disabled" in OAK and are invisible to instructors.

If you know you are listed as an instructor in YES, or have a problem with your student enrollments, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: I cannot login to OAK - I'm told that my “authentication credentials are incorrect.” What do I do?

A: There are several reasons that this message will appear, two of the most frequent issues are (1) forgetting to change your ePassword after receiving a notification from ITS and (2) you had a name and/or social security number change.

The first course of action should be to contact your local technical support provider. They can help trouble-shoot issues and make sure you get the appropriate solution to your problem.

If you know you have the correct password, but you still receive this message, visit the ITS website to see if you need to reset your password for security reasons. You can also contact the ITS Help Desk at (34)3-9999.

Members of the Vanderbilt community who have recently changed their last name or social security number may also receive this notice. When changing this information, you must change it with both the Registrar's Office AND HR (if you receive monies from Vanderbilt). Changing this information in one place and not the other will cause you to be denied access to OAK. You also need to update your information in AccessVU.

Q: How do I enroll my TA (or other user) in my course?

A: You will have to enroll the TA in the course and change the role from "student" to "Teaching Assistant." To add your TA to your course: In the course's Control Panel area:
  1. Click Users and Groups
  2. Click Users
  3. Click the blue Enroll User button towards the top of the page
  4. Click Find Users to Enroll
  5. Enter your TA's VUnetID (or search for your TA by clicking Browse)
  6. Change the Role to Teaching Assistant
  7. Leave Enrollment Availability as Yes
  8. Click Submit
  » Download "Enrolling a Guest" (PDF)

Instructors are asked to refrain from enrolling students in courses unless absolutely necessary.

Q: Can I enroll other students in my course?

A: OAK Support does not recommend that Instructors add Students to their courses. Future enhancements require that students only officially enrolled students be entered in your class.

If you have a student who needs to be enrolled in your class, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: How can I merge multiple courses? Will enrollments update automatically?

A: OAK now has an automated way to merge multiple courses and keep the enrollments updated for you.

If you have two or more courses that need to be merged, please contact your local OAK Support Provider. Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: What happened to the Digital Dropbox? What do I use instead?

A: The Digital Dropbox has had many issues since Vanderbilt adopted Blackboard. Blackboard's response to the issues was to create a new tool that does the same thing, but with additional features. Blackboard phased out the Digital Dropbox in Blackboard 9.0 and introduced its replacement tool (Assignments) in Blackboard 8.0. Notice was given that the Digital Dropbox would be removed in February, 2010. Access to the tool was extended through July 2010.

The Assignment tool allows instructors to:
  • Organize student work by "assignment"
  • Easily see which students have/have not turned in the assignment
  • Download the assignments all at once and store on the instructor's local machine
  • Keep assignments organized, not all stored in one place
  » Download "Using OAK without the Digital Dropbox" (PDF)

Q: I am an instructor, but my class does not show up in OAK. What's wrong?

A: You must be listed as the instructor in YES. If you are not listed there, contact your Registrar to set you up as "Instructor of Record" for that course. Once this is done, your course will appear in OAK after PeopleSoft and OAK have a chance to update.

Q: I am an instructor, but would like to add my Administrative Assistant to my course. Is this possible?

A: Yes, this is possible. Some instructors enroll their Administrative Assistants, or other support staff, in OAK courses to assist with course creation. Additional support users should be added as a COURSE MANAGER and not as an Instructor.

In the course's Control Panel area:
  1. Click Users and Groups
  2. Click Users
  3. Click the blue Enroll User button towards the top of the page
  4. Click Find Users to Enroll
  5. Enter the VUnet ID (or search for the additional user by clicking Browse)
  6. Change the Role to Course Manger
  7. Leave Enrollment Availability as Yes
  8. Click Submit

Q: The list of courses on my "Main" tab in OAK is very long. How do I hide old/unused courses?

A: Click the gear icon in the top-right-hand corner of the Courses module. De-select the checkbox in the "Show Course" column next to the courses that you would like to hide from view on the Main tab. Click Submit.

Your hidden courses will still be available from the Courses tab, and you can reactivate them on the Main tab by re-checking them in the edit procedure described above. You can also reorder your items by drag/drop, keeping your most current courses at the top of your list.

Q: How can I set up a special OAK course?

A: Courses in OAK needed for testing purposes, ad-hoc groups, and other organizations can be set up by contacting the support person listed for your school or department.

Contact information can be found in the Help & Who to Contact page. You can also send a request using the Email Help Request form.

Q: Printing from OAK does not print all information. How can I print everything?

A: Users attempting to print from OAK are unable to print the entire content; only a portion of the content is printed. This happens when users select the browser’s default print settings ("as laid out on screen"). This is not an issue, but a notice.

To print the entire content, users should use the "only selected frame" option for IE or "The selected frame" option for Firefox.

Q: Some users on PCs are asked to "reauthenticate" when opening Office documents, but their credentials are not accepted. How can I view these files?

A: This issue is isolated to new campus computers on the active directory and occurs when using IE 8. In IE, "Protected Mode is ON" is displayed on the bottom right-hand corner, meaning that IE does not recognize OAK as a "trusted site."

Your local desktop support person should add the Vanderbilt domain to your Active Directory profile. For a more immediate solution, individual users can add OAK to the list of "trusted sites". In Internet Explorer:
  1. Go to Tools > Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites
  2. Click Sites
  3. Add "https://oak.vanderbilt.edu"
  4. Select "Require server verification"
If you continue to receive this error, please contact your local technical support provider.

Q: My students replied to an email notification, but I did not receive it. What happened?

A: Email sent as a REPLY to an EMAIL NOTIFICATION will act as delivered, but will not go to the recipient. The email address is a "do not reply" email address and goes directly to a deleted items folder that cannot be retrieved. Instructors are cautioned when writing Announcements that will be sent with an email notification; these announcements should not be written as email and should include a "reply to" address. Another option is to send email from the course.

UPCOMING OUTAGES!
Sunday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 27

05.14.14    OAK will be unavailable from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 18, 2014, while patches and updates are applied to the underlying database systems.

OAK will also be unavailable between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, while the Isilon storage system upon which OAK relies is being upgraded.

We apologize for the short notice and the inconvenience - OAK Support

Note about Regularly Scheduled Maintenance:
    Though we like to have our servers up 24/7, there are times when we need to take them down to perform regular maintenance. Please note that we will reserve the third Sunday morning of each month to perform these tasks. OAK may be down between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM the THIRD Sunday of each month. If we need to be down longer (or not at all), we will provide 2-3 week notice that will be posted on the main OAK website.
    Please know that there may be times that we need to take the server down immediately in emergency situations. Information about such downtime can always be found on the main OAK website.

    read more »