your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘Portal’


blackboard/ portal/ whatever people usually call it

i was waitlisted for a course but now i am enrolled in the course (yay). its been a week and the course hasn’t shown up on portal πŸ™



yay! congrats on getting off the waitlist.

as for when courses are added on to blackboard, that is an impenetrable mystery that literally no one has the answer for. if it’s been a while (and since it’s been a while since you’ve sent in this question, so… yeah it’s been a while) and you’re still not in the course on blackboard, then i would bring it up with the prof. hopefully by now, three weeks into the school year, you’re on the blackboard site.

also remember that some profs don’t use blackboard. if you have one of these profs, then there is nothing to worry about! there isn’t even a portal group that youΒ canΒ be left out of!

i hope this helps!

 gaming games portal portal 2 GIF




a mystery left unsolved

when do courses appear on portal?








okay, in all honesty, i have no idea. it all has to do with the course’s instructor(s) and the department that the course belongs to. some instructors put their courses up on portal by mid-august, others don’t have anything up til the second week of classes. it’s annoying and unpredictable. like, as if uni life couldn’t be any harder– we gotta deal with slow profs.

 annoyed eye roll eyeroll krysten ritter disbelief GIF

maybe one day, one beautiful and perfect day, the university will uncover all of their secrets. on that day, meric gertler himself will ride through front campus on a tiny, tiny unicorn (too tiny to be ridden by any man) and reveal to us all the mysteries that lurk deep within the university of toronto. on that day, the sun will shine and OSAP loans will be pardoned. we will all be granted 4.0 GPAs and we will thank whatever gracious and faceless god in hushed, reverent tones.

on that day, we will finally know when courses go up on portal.

i hope this clears things up!





black bored

Hi! When I log onto blackboard it states that I’m currently not enrolled in any courses, despite the fact that I am enrolled in courses on ACORN. I was just wondering if I should be concerned about this and if it will affect my ability to receive messages from my professors regarding the textbooks we will require?


hey there,

so, blackboard is the online tool (some) profs will use to encourage online discussion about the course content, post syllabi and assignments, or just send reminders/announcements about the course. blackboard is responsible for such unique experience as an icy chill of dread that you feel when people are talking about an assignment in class that you’ve never heard of, but that, apparently, was “posted on Blackboard.”

some profs are really into using blackboard, and will have already set up the blackboard page for their course and started posting things on it. other profs hate blackboard and want NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. most profs are somewhere in between.

if your courses have not shown up yet on blackboard, it’s probably because you have the “somewhere in between” profs. they will likely post the course page on blackboard sometime during the first or second week of school, and they’ll let you know when they do.

keep in mind that profs may communicate with you via e-mail before they set up blackboard, so make sure you’re checking your mail.utoronto e-mail on a regular basis.

as long as you’re enrolled in the course on ACORN, that’s the most important thing for now.

if you’re concerned about buying textbooks, keep checking your e-mail. also check out the uoft bookstore website; if you put in your UTORID, it’ll give you a personalized list of all the books for your classes.





So courses such as HIS103Y1: Statecraft and Strategy: An Introduction to the History of International Relations[48L/20T] and POL101Y1:Β Democracy, Dictatorship, War, and Peace: An Introduction[48L/24T]indicate they have tutorials, yet neither the timetables or acorn/rosi have them listed. How am I supposed to choose my tutorial times?


hey there,

at uoft, no rule comes without an exception – except for the ones where you really hope that an exception can be made. then there are no exceptions. it’s really great for everyone’s blood pressure.

in this case, there IS an exception. typically, you sign up for lectures, tutorials and labs on ACORN (or ROSI, if you’re stuck in YE OLDEN TIMES).

however, despite the fact that both POL101Y1 and HIS103Y1 indicate that there is a tutorial component to the course, you won’t find the tutorials on ACORN. the history and political science departments require that you sign up for tutorials after classes start, typically via Portal/Blackboard.

which, yes, means that you will have to fit two hours of tutorial (one for each class) around an already-made schedule once school starts. and, yes, it may be hard to find times that fit.

i will say, though, that there are typically so many tutorial sections in those massive first-year courses that you can usually find SOMETHING that works. it may be on a friday morning, a monday evening, or some other equally inconvenient time, but sometimes life is rough, and you’ve just gotta bear these things with a brave face.

it’s not easy, i’ll give you that. just when you think you’ve got the hang of uoft, it throws a wrench in the system. i guess you can say we’re all a bunch of TOOLS, here. huh huh




as dr. phil would say, communication is key

Are profs required to use blackboard? One of my courses haven’t been uploaded yet and I’m concerned


hey there,

they are not required to use blackboard, though most undergrad profs do.

if you’re concerned, the best thing to do would be to ask your prof about it. it could be not showing up because you’re not enrolled in the course, and if that’s the case, you want to nip that in the bud.




retroactive POSt changes, not nearly as fun as retro music

Hey aska,
I go to the downtown campus and I’m starting my third year as an English/ anthro double major. One small problem. When I enrolled, ant 372 wasn’t categorized as group a b or c within the anthro department. This year, however, it’s in group c. Nonetheless, degree explorer keeps telling me it’s not a group c credit, and that I’m short a group c credit.
Log story short, is this happening because I have to stick to how the course was catagorized in my first year calendar?


hey there,

degree explorer should be sticking to what the POSt requirements were in the year you entered the POSt. however, things can get head-achingly confusingΒ when the department shifts courses around too much. so there’re a few things i’d advise you to do:

1) never take what degree explorer says at face value. though it should recognize the year that you entered the POSt (and it should list that year, actually), there is a possibility it hasn’t been updated, or some bit of data was input incorrectly, or a million other things that could’ve messed up the system.

2) ultimately, the people who decide whether or not you’ve completed the requirements for a POSt are the department. soΒ contact anthropology, explain which credit you have and when you entered the POSt, and ask where you stand in terms of POSt requirements. they’ll be able to tell you if you’re still ok, or if there’s another course you need to take.

good luck with it,



Aska Your Amigo

Hi Ask a Student,

I recently dropped and added a course and would like to catch myself up on what I missed. Which was only one class. I went on portal and a course syllabus is not posted neither is the profs email. Is there any other way figuring their e-mail by only knowing the course code? Or if you know anyone taking SPA219Y1 what book I need to buy? If you have any answers to these questions that’d be awesome and helping a ton!



Hey Laura,

How often do you drop things? You know, like courses, bags of groceries, bars of soap, and phat beats? Speaking of drops, check out the sick drop in this LCD Soundsystem song. Okay — that wasn’t the most elegant plug, but it’s a rollercoaster for your ears!

You can find out who the professor for your course is by looking it up in the Arts & Science 2011-2012 Timetable. Let’s see, let’s see, the professor for SPA219Y1 is “L. Colantoni.” With their name in hand, just giv’r a quick Google or check the University’s faculty directory and voila: her personal website! Shoot her a quick email and I bet she can send you the course syllabus.

Now, why do you think that I would know anyone in your spanish class?? I kinda don’t. Aska no hablo Espa?ol. So it’s all up to you, Laura: aska your spanish-studying amigos what book you need to buy. Who knows, they might even let you photocopy their syllabus!

Roll those “R”s.

Your amigo,



subject line: i am annoying for sending mass emails to the class

Hello aska!….
Can you please tell me how on earth I can send those annoying mass emails to people in my class?



I CANNOT express how much these emails drive me nuts! Can I suggest just turning to the person who sits next to you with a computer and just ask them to email you the notes rather then pestering the entire FRIGGEN CLASS. They will most likely do it as they know you actually attend class and maybe you’ll make a friend/lover.
Anyways, I won’t deny you the information … I feel a prisoner to the information I have.

Step by Step baby:
– Go to Blackboard (sign in, duuur)

– choose the course you want to slaughter with emails

– select tools on the side menu

– select ‘send email’

– select? ‘all student users’
– send it to your prof and expect an F on every essay to come.

I beg of you don’t do this unless the world is ending and if you do, give the nice person who didn’t curse you for sending the email a coffee or something when you see them in class


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