8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2016 3:01 PM by John Siegel

    Blackboard / Chrome printing issue

    David Alexander Scout

      I wanted to know if any other schools are running into issues with students printing directly from Blackboard via the Chrome browser.

       

      We see a lot of different issues when students attempt to print directly from Blackboard.  This morning, I helped students who were getting 100 blank pages instead of a lab manual.

       

      This seems to be more of a desktop configuration issue (browser / drivers) and not as much a Pharos issue, but the end result is a poor printing experience.

       

      I wanted to know how other schools are tackling this problem.  Do you do anything to prevent students from printing directly from Blackboard?  Are there any settings that you tweak in Chrome or the operating system to help mitigate these issues?

       

      Thanks,

      Dave

        • Re: Blackboard / Chrome printing issue
          Paul LaFollette Guide

          We've seen similar, and found it not necessarily tied to products like Blackboard, but more tied to 1) behavior of the specific browser and browser version, and 2) how the user goes about telling it to print (print using the browser's print dialog, or the print dialog for the browser handling/plugin for the document type (pdf, docx, etc.).  We also found the problem showed much more often in Chrome than any other browser.

           

          Since we couldn't stop end users from using the print dialogs within the browser or browser's document type related plugin ... We opted to simply inform our end users as best we can how to avoid the issue.  We posted signs and actively informed users (when they reported a problem), when printing a document from the web (anywhere on the web, Blackboard, or any other online service), to always download the file to their local desktop or a folder local to the computer, the open the downloaded file and print that instead of trying to print the document from inside the web browser.  The number of support calls for this kind of issue has dropped to almost none at all.

           

          That approached worked for us.

           

          - Paul L.

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          • Re: Blackboard / Chrome printing issue
            Scott Olswold Guide

            The Chrome browser utilizes a lot of the Google Cloud Print technology in its function. This integration increases more and more as Chrome becomes less a browser and more an operating system of its own with browser capabilities, and a supported document (HTML, PDF, DOC, etc.) is opened "in app" versus in an external application. Choosing to "Print using system dialog" helps separate it some, but many parts still remain. Ultimately, most of the job processing occurs within the Chrome browser, and the Windows Spooler subsystem is used primarily as a "sump pump" to the physical device. The default options you get in the Chrome print interface are pulled by making an OpenPrinter call to the selected (by default, the "default" queue) and determining its color mode and if there is two-sided printing support available and configured. The same problems occur in applications like Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher, and Adobe Acrobat (surprise -!); since all but one of those is not a ubiquitous application, we don't hear about them in Support very often.

             

            In some cases that get extremely bad, a two-step workflow may need to be endured, where the "Save as PDF" function is first used, and then that PDF is printed natively by Acrobat or another PDF reader application.

             

            Regards,

            Scott

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Blackboard / Chrome printing issue
              David Alexander Scout

              Is there anything that can be done to the Windows or Chrome configuration like setting Acrobat as the PDF viewer plugin?

               

              Our students log into Blackboard on Chrome, pull up a PDF from their professor, click the print button, and expect it to print correctly via Pharos.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Blackboard / Chrome printing issue
                  Scott Olswold Guide

                  David,

                   

                  You can try this (I have not tried it; I actually print very little, and my printer is not online right now):

                   

                  1. Open Chrome and type “chrome:plugins” in the URL bar in the browser.

                  2. Scroll down and find ‘Chrome PDF viewer’.

                  3. Click the ‘Disable’ link to prevent PDFs from opening in Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer.

                  4. Close and restart the web browser.

                   

                  If another PDF plug-in is installed for Chrome, ensure that it is enabled (if so, its action will be to "disable" or "enable"; make sure it is enabled). If you do not have another PDF viewer plug-in for Chrome, it will prompt you to "Save As" whenever you attempt to click on a PDF link in the browser.

                   

                  Adobe also has a web page (Change PDF Viewer back to Acrobat or Reader in Google Chrome « Caveat Lector ) that discusses having to first enable NPAPI and then enabling your plug-in. I did not have that option in my version of Chrome (installed is 47.0.2526.111).

                   

                  Scott

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                • Re: Blackboard / Chrome printing issue
                  John Siegel Guide

                  Hi David,

                   

                                We've had nothing but trouble with both Blackboard and now Desire to Learn (D2L) when printing via browser. Each Browser formats differently, and each has pluses and minuses when using a third party repository. As has been mentioned, downloading to the desktop before printing seems to be the "golden rule". We also coach the students to "unblock" the document prior to sending it to print as this caused problems in some instances when printing via Chrome. Now that Edge is jumping in and other browsers are trying to trap users inside a proprietary sandbox, expect it to get worse.

                   

                  Regards,

                   

                                 John

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful