Course Management

  • When the course shells are created, they are made unavailable by default. That means unavailable to students, so that they don’t click on links to empty courses. If there is a Library Resources page, or library reserve content, the courses will be made available by the librarian. Otherwise, the courses remain unavailable until the instructors make them available. Instructors (or TA’s or Course Builders) can always access the course. Just click on the link.

    To make the course available when you’re ready, click directly on the red X.

  • If you see a red X in front of your course name on the Main tab, the course link is not available to your students. To make your course available, click directly on the red X. It will change to a green O, and the course link will then be available to students.

    More at Make Your Course Available.

  • You can change the “homepage” or entry point of your course so that your preferred Course Menu item is the opening page:

    1. From the Control Panel, use the Customization menu to choose “Teaching Style.”

    2.On option #1, choose the Course Menu item you want to be the landing page for the course

    3. Click Submit.

    More at Change your Course Homepage.

  • Yes – you can change the Course Name (or Title), but not the Course ID.

    To change your Course Name:

    1. In the Control Panel area on the homepage of your course, use the pulldown next to Customization to choose Properties.
    2. Edit the Course Name
    3. Submit
  • 1. Make sure the Edit Mode switch is “On” (this makes the entire menu and all options visible).
    2. Links to areas of the course which are hidden or have no content will display empty or crossed out box icons.
    3. Click the chevron to the right of any menu item to see the options for that item.
    4. Click the double-headed arrow to the left of any menu item to drag-and-drop it to a new location.
    5. Click the plus sign in the upper left of the Course Menu for options to add content areas or links.
    6. Click the “Edit Mode” switch to “Off” when you are done to see how this looks to students.

    For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Managing the Course Menu

  • Send an email to your Blackboard support team.  Ask to have the course enrollments combined, listing the courses by name (e.g., all my CHM132 sections for X semester) or CRN.

  • The automated process that creates Blackboard courses each semester filters out certain courses, e.g., workshops, 0- or variable-credit courses, PhD Readings, Continuous Enrollment, Independent Study, etc.

    If you are teaching a course that has been filtered out and you would like to use Blackboard, send an email to your Blackboard support team.  State the name or CRN of the course you would like created.

  • Only current and very recent terms are visible in the Courses Online module on the Main tab. Older terms can be found on the Courses tab, but do not have the X and O functions for availability. Also organizations are not listed in Courses Online, but in My Organizations, and do not have the X and O

    To control availability of a prior semester course:

    1) Switch from the Main tab to the Courses tab
    2) Locate the course in question, and click the link
    3) On the Control Panel, use the pulldown next to Customization to select Properties
    4) In option 3, set Availability to Yes to enable (or No to disable)
    5) Click Submit

    For organizations, click the link under My Organizations, then follow steps 3-5 above.

  • Courses are backed up once a week, and archives are kept for only one week.

    It is recommended that you archive your course more frequently, and as a precaution before major edits and at the end of semesters.

    See Archiving Your Course.

Course Content

  • How do I add files or content to my course in Blackboard?

      1. Make sure the Edit Mode switch is “On” (this will display all content areas of the course, even those which are unavailable or have no material in them).
      2. Go to the content area in which you wish to add your material (e.g., upload a syllabus).
      3. Click the “Build Content” button and choose Item to upload a single document (and/or type in text) or File (to just link to a file).
      4. Type in your text in section 1 (if you chose Item) then Browse attach the document you want to add.
      5. Set options as needed and click “Submit.”
      6. To add a folder, choose Content Folder, under the New Page column in the Build Content menu.
      7. For tests, surveys, or assignments, click that option under the “Assessments” button menu.
      8. Choose discussions, blogs, wikis or journals from the “Tools” button.

    For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Create an Item.

  • If you can’t see your Course Menu in your course, you may have expanded the content area and collapsed the Course Menu.  Hover your mouse at the left edge of the screen and check for a right pointing arrow in the area where the Course Menu should be.  If you click it, it will expand the Course Menu area and make it visible again


  • You can view your course as a student, including submitting assignments and taking tests, and viewing the My Grades area. In your course, there is a button in the upper right, to the left of Edit Mode and Course Styles that looks like a circle with two arrows surrounding it. Click this symbol to enter Student Preview mode. Click Exit Preview in the upper right to exit Student Preview.

    More at Using the Student Preview.

    Or watch a short video (2:23 minutes) on using the Student Preview

  • You can upload just about any file type to Blackboard, however the type of document that you upload affects how your students can view it. If you upload documents that were created and saved in specific software programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), your students will have to have that particular software installed on their computer to view the documents.

    Files that are in .html format will be viewable within the browser. Adobe .pdf files require that users have the Acrobat Reader program, but it’s free and nearly universal.

    Media files such as mpeg, mov, avi, wav, aiff, and mp3 require appropriate plug-ins such as Quicktime and Windows Media Player.

    If you use audio and video files in your course, you may want to contact Library Reserves at  They will encode and stream audio and video files, which saves you the wait of uploading large files, your students the wait of downloading large files, as well as server space.

  • There is no file size quota per se, but files larger 500MB will probably take so long to upload, and for your users to download, that there will be connection timeout issues.

    Usually files this large are video files.  If you have a 500MB+ video file, you may want to consult with the Multimedia Librarians (Multimedia Center, ground floor of Rush Rhees Library) about ways to compress or stream your video.

  • Yes, you can move or copy certain types of items (e.g., text items, files, and discussion forums) between folders in your current course, or to folders in another course. It does not work with items that have a connection to the Grade Center, such as assignments, tests, and surveys.

    Next to the item you want to move or copy, use the pulldown menu to choose Copy.  On the next screen you will be able to browse to the destination course and folder within that course (including the current course).

    For more, see the step-by-step guide: Create Folder/Organize Content.

  • You can copy components of an established course into a new course, or you can export from the previous course and import into the new one.  You must be an instructor in both courses to do this.  Start by going to the Control Panel of your source course (you will probably have to switch from the Main tab to the Courses tab to find the link to the old course).  From the Packages and Utilities menu, choose either Course Copy or Export/Archive course.

    For step by step instructions, see Copy or Import Course Content.

  • If you need to access a course from a previous semester, for example to copy materials into a new course, it will probably not appear under Courses Online on the Main tab.  You will need to switch to the Courses tab to find a link to the course.

    Courses older than two years have been disabled to keep course lists manageable. If you need access to a course that’s not listed on the Courses tab because it’s older than two years, contact the Blackboard Support Team and we can re-enable any course for you.

  • Because assessments and assignments have links to the Blackboard Grade Center, you have to be sure to click the checkbox for Grade Center Columns and Settings when you copy or import.


    For complete step by step instructions on copying or importing, see Copy or Import Course Content.

  • Nothing has changed about the course copy/export-import process. All your courses from 2014-15 and 2015-16 are accessible from the Courses tab. You can copy them to your current courses using the Course Copy instructions.

    If you need to use materials from a course older than Fall 2014, you will need to open a ticket via, or call 275-2000, requesting that the old course be restored on learn.rochester. IT has retained backup copies of courses going back to Fall 2011. Courses for terms prior to Fall 2011 will be deleted at the end of January 2017 and will no longer be accessible.

User Management

  • To add any user to your course that is not enrolled via the automatic process (Registrar’s ISIS enrollment data), go to the Control Panel area of your course’s homepage.  Under Users and Groups, choose Users.  Do NOT use the search that appears on the Users page.  Instead, click the words Find Users to Enroll.  Now search for the user, choose the course role and click Submit.

    For complete instructions, including a description of Course Roles, see the document Manage Users.

    Or, see a video tutorial on adding a user.

  • Almost everyone with a UR affiliation should have an account in Blackboard.  There are a few reasons why they might not be showing up for you:

    1) When you go to Users and Groups/Enroll users, are you using the Search tool that shows up on the first page – the screen called Users?  If so, you’re only searching the users already enrolled in your course.  To add a new user, go to Users and Groups/Users and click Enroll Users/Find users to enroll.  Now search and enroll.

    2) The user has at some time been registered for the course, and then dropped it.  If that’s the case, the user’s existing enrollment has been disabled, and you cannot add them.  You will need to contact your Blackboard support team.  Give them the specific user (student ID or NetID if possible) and the specific course in question.

    3) The user does not have a Blackboard account.  Contact your Blackboard support team.  Please supply the user’s first name, last name, and email address, and state whether the user is affiliated with UR or not. If not affiliated with UR, you will need to request a Guest NetID. Please see the next question for details.

  • Before requesting an account in Blackboard for someone outside the university system, you will first need to request a Guest NetID for them. That process begins here:

    Once a guest NetID has been assigned, contact your Blackboard support team with the guest user name, and a Blackboard account can be generated from that.

  • If you’ve made your course available to students, (see Make your course available), all registered students should see the course link.

    If they can’t, or if you’re not seeing the student on your roster, how long ago did the student enroll?  Sometimes during the drop/add period it takes a while for enrollments to be reflected in the Registrar data that feeds Blackboard enrollments.

    Check your roster in Instructor Access, or have the student check Student Access.  Is the enrollment reflected there?  If so, it should be in Blackboard within a few hours.  Blackboard enrollments are updated from the registrar’s data three times a day.

    If the enrollment is delayed and the student needs immediate access to the materials you have in Blackboard, you can enroll the user manually using the step-by-step guide:Manage Users.

Assignments, Assessments and Grading

  • Instructors use Blackboard in two different ways to deliver assignments.

    One way is to post a file that the students will view or download and then use that information to complete a task that they will submit in person to the instructor.  In that case, this can be accomplished by using the Create Item tool, the same as you would to deliver any static content.

    If you want students to have an interface to submit their assignments online, you will need to use the assignment tool. To set up an assignment, enter the content area where you want the assignment to appear and under Assessments, choose Assignment.

    For complete instructions, see the step-by-step guide: Create an Assignment.

  • When you create an assignment in Blackboard, a matching column is automatically created in the Grade Center.  To retrieve submissions from an online assignment, go to the Control Panel area of your course homepage and expand the Grade Center link. You can either choose Needs Grading to see a table of items that are ready for grading, or Full Grade Center.

    If you chose Full Grade Center, look for the column that matches the assignment you’re looking for. All students who have submitted will have a green exclamation point in their row for that column.  Hover your mouse next to the exclamation point icon to reveal a pulldown menu.  Choose Grade Details or Attempt[date].

    For more information, see the step-by-step guide: Grade an Assignment.

    1. Hover over the + in the upper left of your Course Menu.
    2. Choose Create Tool Link.
    3. Name the link (Grades or My Grades)
    4. Select My Grades from the pulldown list of tools
    5. Click Available to Users
    6. Submit.

    Managing the Course Menu


  • Yes, we have incorporated the Qwickly Attendance tool into our Blackboard implementation. Please see Qwickly Attendance for more information.

  • You can download your course Grade Center to Excel.

    1. Enter the Full Grade Center view
    2. At the upper right of the screen, above the roster table, is a button called Work Offline
    3. Click Work Offline to bring up a contextual menu, and choose Download
    4. The next screen will offer options to choose only certain data to download. Set as desired and click Submit
    5. Click the Download button on the next screen.
    6. Blackboard will download an .xlsx file to your local computer.

Blackboard Tools

  • 1. Click the Announcements button.
    2. Make sure the Edit Mode switch to “On” (this makes all the editing tools appear).
    3. Click the “Create Announcement” button.
    4. Enter information as needed and click “Submit.”

    Note: Announcements will display unless otherwise restricted by a date range, most recent on top.

  • 1. Under Control Panel, use the Course Tools pulldown and choose Send Email
    2. Pick the option which best suits your purpose.
    3. Enter subject and text, attach file if needed, then click “Submit.”
    4. You’ll get a copy of the email in your email inbox.

    Please note: this is your only record of the email.  No record is kept in Blackboard

  • When students say they are not receiving emails you send, first have them check their junk folder.  In most cases where email is not received, the student will find that their email client is sending Blackboard email to junk.

    If that’s not the case, is the email on record in Blackboard correct?  You can check by going to the Control Panel area of your course homepage, using the pulldown next to Users and Groups and choosing Users.  On the Users screen, search for the student in question.  Is the email listed correct?

    Or have the student check in Blackboard:

    Go to the Global Navigation in the top right hand banner of Blackboard. This is the pull-down menu where your name is located.

    Click on Settings, then Personal Information, then Edit Personal Information. Enter your preferred email address and click Submit.

  • You can create Course Menu buttons to take students directly to Send Email, Discussions, My Grades or any of the other Blackboard course tools you are using.

    1. Hover over the + in the upper left of your Course Menu.
    2. Choose Create Tool Link.
    3. Name the link, choose the tool, make it available.
    4. Submit.

    Detailed instructions with screen shots are in Managing the Course Menu.

Other/Portal Features

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