Software Toolbox

Blackboard Learn
Blackboard Learn is the Learning Management System supported by the University of Houston. Whether you are teaching a traditional course or totally online you will be able to use Blackboard Learn to deliver your materials electronically to your students.

Students rely on anytime-anywhere environments for their classes. Blackboard Learn can be used for putting your syllabus, notes, or handouts online. There is no limit to how much information you can provide for your students.

Use Blackboard Learn as a supplement to your traditional class, as a means of the electronic portion of your hybrid class, or as a way to teach totally online.

For help using Blackboard tools, please contact or call 832 842-2147. Instructional Design teams, both centrally located and in the Colleges, can help you determine the most effective way to use Blackboard. Another good source of help is the Blackboard Faculty Help page.  For technical issues related to Blackboard, you can call 844-570-6763 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or go to this onlline help

The TurningPoint Response Pad is an easy-to-use interactive student response tool that allows you to capture immediate feedback from every student in your classroom. The Response Pad can be used in a variety of ways to engage students and enhance class participation.

For users of Blackboard Learn:

An online service, no download required. Available for Mac and PC users. Used as a powerlink inside Blackboard, Turnitin is an online service for faculty that identifies papers containing unoriginal material and helps deter student plagiarism. UH has an institutional license for Turnitin, so faculty may use the service for free.

The tool may be used outside of Blackboard as well, but the process requires more from the instructor to set up the account, provide account information to students, and work with Turnitin support if there is an issue with getting students work. To use Turnitin outside of Blackboard, you must have a University of Houston email account. Please email for the password and ID to use Turnitin outside of Blackboard.

Respondus (Windows)

Faculty use Respondus to create quizzes and surveys to be uploaded into Blackboard Learn and Vista. UH has a site license, meaning faculty may use this software for free. Download Respondus for use on the PC. Once you have downloaded Respondus, please contact for password information. You can download a Help Guide directly from Respondus by going to the following website:

Respondus Quick Start Tutorial

A new patch for Learn users is available here.

Respondus Lockdown Browser

When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications while taking a test online. When an assessment is started, students are locked into the test until they submit for grading. This function of Respondus is supported on both Macs and PC. 

In Blackboard Vista, to use LockDown Browser, create an assessment. When you add your settings (date of exam, time, etc), the last setting category is Security Settings. Choose "Browser Restriction". The Lockdown Browser is now added to your exam. 

In Blackboard Learn, first deploy your exam in a content area. Next go to the Course Tools under the Control Panel. Select Respondus LockDown Browser. Navigate to the test that will require the LockDown browser and use the pull-down menu to the left of the test name and select Modify Settings. Follow the wizard and then select Save and Close.

Combining the capabilities of industry leaders Wimba and Elluminate, Blackboard Collaborate provides a comprehensive learning platform designed specifically for education. 

Blackboard Collaborate delivers education-focused collaboration solutions that provides a wide spectrum of collaboration including web conferencing, mobile collaboration, instant messaging, and voice authoring.

YouTube is a website devoted to the sharing and viewing of online video. The University of Houston YouTube account allows faculty to upload videoclips, lectures and share those videos. YouTube video links can be embedded into websites, blogs, and emails for students to view; it can also be viewed from a mobile device with the appropriate capability. A tutorial of uploading and using YouTube (including best practice suggestions) is available from the Tutorials page.

Podcasting — iTunes
iTunes U offers university courses and events offered by the University of Houston captured as podcasts. All content on the iTunes U site is made available free of charge and requires the latest coy of Quicktime Player to view. Please visit to access the university iTunes site. To download the latest version of Quicktime, please visit

Acrobat Reader
For Mac and Windows. Adobe's freely available reader used to read Adobe PDF documents (*.pdf). Download Acrobat Reader from Adobe.

Powerpoint Viewer
For Windows. This free download from Microsoft allows people to open and view PowerPoint presentations, even if they don't have a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint installed. Download PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft.

Quicktime Player
For Mac and Windows. Apple's freely available media player used to listen to music and watch video in a wide variety of file formats. Download QuickTime Player from Apple.

Real Player
For Mac and Windows. Real Media's freely available media player used to listen to music and watch video in a wide variety of file formats. Primarily used for listening to or watching real media files (*.rm) Requires that QuickTime be installed. Download RealPlayer from RealNetworks.

Word Viewer
For Windows. A free download from Microsoft that allows people to read Microsoft Word documents, even if they don't have a copy of Microsoft Word installed. Download Word Viewer from Microsoft.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack
Are you using an old version of Microsoft Office and having a problem opening Microsoft Office 2007 files on your machine? Microsoft offers a free Office Compatibility Pack that you can install on your machine. The Compatibility Pack allows you to view 2007 Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files in your old version of Microsoft Office. Download Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack (for PC) or Microsoft Office Compatibility (for MAC).

If you have any questions about available software resources, please contact Tammy Hoskings at (832)842-2141 or at

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