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Please also view the ITG Blog.


I don't see my course site on MyCourses.
Have you requested it via the Academic Services Gateway yet? Your course will be available within 24 hours.

How do I allow guest access to my course site?
--Log into your MyCourses course site and select the Teach tab.
--In the Instructor Tools menu on the left, click on Grade Book.
--Above the student names, you should see a bank of 4 buttons. Click on the Enroll Members button.
--Enter the username brown.guest and select the Auditor role (please be sure to choose Auditor, not TA or Designer).
--Click on the Enroll button.
--To be sure, place a check next to the name of the person and then click the Save button.
Use these directions to add a TA or Designer, too.

All guest access to all courses is automatically turned off after shopping period. At that point instructors and TAs have the option of reinstalling guest access.

How do I add a TA to my course?
--From the Teach tab, under Instructor Tools, click on Grade Book.
--From the Grade Book, click on the Enroll Members button.
--Enter the TA's username (authID). Select a role (TA), click on the Enroll button.
--Place a check next to the name of the person and then click the Save button.
--You should then see a confirmation screen letting you know that the person was added.

How do I add a Designer (someone who helps set up course content)?
Same as above, except choose the Designer role.

What is the difference between a Designer and a TA?
Designer status grants access to the Build tab, allowing course-site editing and file uploading, but not grading. TA status grants access to the Teach tab, allowing grading of student work.

I'd like to set up auditor access for someone.
If the person has a Brown username and password:
Log into your MyCourses course site. Select the Teach tab. In the Instructor Tools menu on the left, click on Grade Book. Above the student names, you should see a bank of 4 buttons. Click on the Enroll Members button. Enter the student's username, and select the Auditor role (please be sure to choose Auditor, not TA or Designer). Click on the Enroll button. Save.
Please note that if you give auditor access to a student who is considering registering for a course, you must remove them as auditors once they've actually registered. See "I'd like to manually add a student to my course site," below.

If this person is not affiliated with Brown, he or she must obtain a user ID from the Brown Card Office. Once the form is completed, it should be faxed or brought to Brown's Card Office (the fax number is on the form). After the card office processes the form, the auditor picks up his or her new ID card at the Brown Card Office.
Once the card is obtained, the auditor goes to the Help Desk to have his her computing account turned on. The auditor then gives his or her new username to the instructor.
Then the instructor follows the steps for "allow guest access to my course site," above.

A student of mine is registered for my course but cannot access it on MyCourses.
Once they have registered, it takes up to 24 hours for students to be added to a MyCourses course site.

My student logs in to MyCourses successfully, but does not see the class he or she is looking for.
The student might not yet have been added to this class. The first step is registration through Banner. By the next day, the student will be able to see the course site in his or her MyCourses page.
Pre-registered students will see their course sites the week before classes. Adding and dropping can also take 24 hours to show on MyCourses.

I'd like to manually add a student to my course site.
Adding a student manually will interfere with the automatic registration process, so please don't add students manually to your course site on MyCourses. To allow access during shopping period, just set up guest access (see above).

How do I allow a RISD student access to my course site?
The student should:
1. Get the relevant form from the RISD registrar's office. Have it signed by the Brown instructor as well as both the RISD and Brown registrars.
2. At the Brown registrar's office, fill in a biographical form. The registrar will use this information to enter the student into Brown's system.
3. Go to the Brown Card Office to pick up an ID card, and then to the CIT Help Desk to set up a Brown e-mail address and network login.
More information from the Registrar's office 
For Brown students interested in RISD courses

I get a red X or a blank space instead of the My Computer option when I try to browse for files on my computer. How can I fix this?

Fixing this issue requires that you clear your Java cache. To do this in a Windows operating system: (Mac version follows below.)

1.  Open your Java Control Panel by right clicking on the  coffee cup  icon  on your  system toolbar and click on "properties". If you do not have it on your toolbar you can access it by clicking on Start, Control Panel.


2.  Click on the General tab and click Settings in the Temporary Internet Files section.

3.  Click Delete Files.

 4.  Click OK.

Click OK two more times to close out of the Java Control Panel.

5.  Log into MyCourses, accept any certificates, and try to upload a file. You should now see the My Computer icon.

Clearing the Java cache on a Mac: 

1. From the Finder window, click on the Applications folder.
2. Click on the Utilities folder then click on Java Preferences.
3. Under the Network tab, click on "Delete Files...".
4. A message will pop up that reads "Delete the following temporary files? (Applications and Applets, Trace and Log Files)." Click OK.
5. Log into MyCourses, accept any certificates, and try to upload a file. You should now see the My Computer icon.
If you are still unable to see the My Computer icon to upload files to MyCourses, please contact your instructional technologist.

I can't upload my syllabus, or any files for that matter, to MyCourses.
Please don't use commas, spaces, or other characters than numbers or letters in file names.

I can't see a certain tool in the left navigation once I log in to MyCourses.
All tools must first be activated.  In the Build tab, under Designer tools, choose Manage Course. From there go to Tools and click off all the tools you'd like to use. Then when you go back to the main Course Content page you will see the tool in the left navigation.

I would like to manage all my course sections from one MyCourses site. How do I request that?
Fill out a MyCourses request via the Academic Services Gateway. Under "site specifications where it says "Combine all sections of this course into one MyCourses site?" check yes. You only have to do this for section one, not for each section.

I want separate course sites for each section of my course, which is taught by different instructors.
Each instructor, or the course director, should fill out a separate course request form for each section, indicating the instructor's name on the form.

What is MyCourses and how is it different from WebCT or Blackboard?
"MyCourses" is Brown's name for the WebCT/Blackboard instance at Brown. It is a Web-based application for course management, also known as a course management system.  The software is called Blackboard; it was previously called WebCT and is still sometimes referred to by that name.

Browser issues; troubleshooting; Windows Vista; Office 2007

View a list of currently supported browsers for MyCourses.

The Microsoft Vista operating system has been tested with MyCourses and works without problems except for possible issues with Internet Explorer 7. See below. For general (non-MyCourses) Windows Vista issues, please contact the help desk at 863-HELP or

Internet Explorer 7:

  • When using File Manager: in the Get Files> My Files and Class Files action, note that window sizes may appear too small to adequately browse files and folders. If you have this problem, please contact your instructional technologist.
  • WebDAV users who experience glitches when using Internet Explorer 7: please contact your instructional technologist.

Mac OS issues

Mac Safari or Firefox browser issues: try using another browser or contact Help desk or your instructional technologist.

Office 2007:

  • Although MyCourses recognizes .docx files, the new file format for files created with MS Office 2007/8, not all users can work with these files. Some users may not have the new version of Office installed. PC users can install the "compatibility pack" (see Brown's software site), but no such translator exists yet for Mac users. They need Office 2008 for Mac. Since there's no way to know what version of Office each of your students or colleagues are using, we recommend you don't load "docx"-type files (Office 2007/8-type files) to MyCourses. Instead, save these documents down to an Office 2003-compatible version, or use .pdfs.

Sending a mass e-mail to students in a particular course

There are two ways to do this: 

 1. Through Banner: just click on the "e-mail" button in the bottom left of your course page in Banner.  Note that if you are using Outlook you may encounter some limitations. Outlook defaults to separating e-mails by semicolon. Banner separates e-mails by comma. To change your Outlook settings to work with Banner-supplied names:

In Outlook, go to
Options >
Preferences tab >
Under E-mail section, choose E-mail >
E-mail Options  >
under Advanced E-mail Options, choose "Allow comma as address separator."

In addition, Outlook limits the number of characters which you may add to the "To" field. If you encounter this limitation, have ITG create a course e-mail list for you.
More information about configuring Outlook

2. Activate your course e-mail list through the Academic Services Gateway:

Log into the Academic Services Gateway select the semester and course. Click on the Teaching Toolbox tab, click on Send Announcement Email or Send Discussion Email.

Banner and course preview pages

What is a Course Preview Page and how do I get one?
Course Preview Pages contain official Banner course descriptions as well as additional, instructor-provided information. All course preview pages are housed here. This is one of four places where students can get information about classes. The four in total are

1. Banner: complete listing of all Brown courses; the course catalog
2. MyCourses: course websites, created by instructors
3. Course Preview Pages: additional information about courses
4. Mocha: an alternative course catalog

To edit a Course Preview Page, visit the Course Preview Pages. or access the Academic Gateway

Course reserves (OCRA) and library 

How do I add a Course Reserves link to my site?
The first step is to set up your reserves via OCRA. Once the reserves are ready, the Instructional Technology department receives an e-mail from the library. At that point, we make a link on your MyCourses page. This link appears at the bottom of your page as a footer.

I cannot see my course reserves.
Have you requested your course reserves via the OCRA system? Instructors must reactivate OCRA reserves each semester, and must also reset passwords. Go to

How do I set up my physical reserves (books)?
Instructors can now use OCRA for physical as well as electronic reserves.

How do I add audio files (aka BrownEars links)?
OCRA, your one-stop shop for all course reserves.

My students are having problems accessing my audio files on OCRA.
The default software for playing BrownEARs audio is RealPlayer, a free, downloadable player. Please see the course reserves site. 

How do I add video files?
Reserve your class video clips as well as full-length movies via OCRA.
Videos use either Quicktime or VFNow, Brown's streaming video service.

Off-campus students can't watch streaming videos.
At this time the streaming video service is not supported off campus because of the high bit rate required.  Videos can be viewed from off campus via VPN (virtual private network) and a stable cable connection. Brown users can obtain VPN software at brown's software site .
Wireless Internet connections are not supported on the streaming server, although sometimes it is possible to view films over a wireless Internet connection. For assured success, please use a wired connection. Stuttering video usually means that a connection that is not fast enough.  Also, PCs rather than Macs are more likely to offer problem-free off-campus viewing.

Find more information on VFNow at

How much of someone else's material may I use according to "Fair Use?"
See Brown's copyright policy.

I need help getting my materials scanned/digitized/uploaded.
The Student Technology Assistant (STA) program provides specialized graphic design work for print and the Web, including scanning, editing and digitizing of slides and photos. They also shoot original video and help you enhance your MyCourses site with cool effects.
See info about the STA program.


The Instructional Technology Group offers trainings and one-on-one tutoring sessions year-round. Please check the Brown training site for times and dates.  Contact the Instructional Technology Group to request an individual consultation,, or your Instructional Technologist.

Access issues

There seems to be a problem with my username and password. 
Check your Brown account status at If you have problems accessing Brown online resources, contact the help desk at 863-HELP.


There seems to be a problem with my student's username and password -- he or she cannot log in to MyCourses.
When a new student receives his/her Brown username and password, he or she may neglect to activate it right away. Students can activate their username and password at

A student registered for my course but cannot see the MyCourses site I made for it.
Once students have registered, it takes up to 24 hours for their names to be added to a MyCourses course site.

Students are confused about where to find their "official" course listing.
1. Banner 2. MyCourses 3. Mocha 

Brown Wikis

When I try to edit my wiki, I cannot see the "Rich Text" option among the tabs; only "Wiki Markup" and "Preview."

This is a known issue with the Safari and Chrome browsers. Please use Firefox or Internet Explorer instead.

"Clickers" and other learning tools

What are "clickers?"
See the Instructional Technology Group's web page on iClickers

What other neat tools can I use to enhance learning?
We also offer Wikis and other great tools. See the Instructional Technology Group's "tools" page.


I need more help.
Individualized help: contact your instructional technologist.
The Help Desk
Upcoming workshops

I'd like to add a question to your FAQ.
E-mail, or contact your instructional technologist.


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