Blackboard has a number of other tools that you might find useful in teaching your course.

Qwickly Course Tools

Blackboard Wiki

Student Preview Mode

In addition to turning Edit Mode off to see your course as a student, you can navigate your course as an actual student user using Student Preview mode. Learn more at this site.

Using Student Preview

Using an Avatar

You can add an avatar within Blackboard. This is an image that can be used to represent you throughout the system. This is a great way to personalize your Blackboard experience. Your avatar will appear in multiple places throughout Blackboard, including Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals, and Wikis, and My Blackboard navigation.


1. To upload your avatar: Click the Personal Profile page (with your name)

2. Hover over the silhouette image

3. Click the pencil icon.

4. Upload your avatar image. Avatar images should be no larger than 150 pixels by 150 pixels.


Personalize your Zoom experience: You can add your picture to your Zoom account so that when you are not using a video camera your image displays instead of a black silhouette.

Personalize your Voicethread experience: You can add your picture to your Voicethread account so that it displays instead of your initials next to all of your contributions.

Date Manager

Blackboard has a feature to help adjust dated items (announcements, assignments, content) for the new term. After you’ve copied forward your course materials from a previous semester (see Copy or Import Course Content), go under Control Panel to Course Tools/Date Management to change availability and release dates to reflect the current term’s dates. This saves entering each announcement/assignment/item etc. to adjust dates.

See Blackboard documentation about Date Management:
Date Management

This documentation site includes a short video (3:12) demonstrating this tool.

Please note: After Blackboard has adjusted all the dates, it will show you a grid of each item with its old and new dates; it will also send an email. If you have announcements that have no date restrictions, but you include them in the date adjustments, you may see some unexpected dates in the feedback on the confirmation web page and email. However, the announcement itself will still be available and without date restrictions, as you would have expected.

Special Characters

In Blackboard text boxes:

There are certain areas where you have to be careful what characters you use in your naming.  These areas include:

  • Names of assignments or tests
  • Names of Groups
  • Names of Smart Views
  • Names of files to be uploaded to Blackboard

When completing the “name” field in these categories, stick to the following characters:

A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and -(dash) _ (underscore) . (dot)

In other words, avoid naming your assignments, e.g., Assignment #1.  The hash tag in that name may make the Assignment File Download function in the grade center not work.

Avoid apostrophes in naming Groups, e.g., Sarah’s Group.  The apostrophe in that name may prevent your setting up a smart view.

In Uploaded Files:

Files that you will be uploading to Blackboard should be named with the “safe” characters in mind.  A file named “Prof. André’s Assignment #3 due 9/12/2012.pdf” is probably going to be problematic to upload. Keep file names short, simple and safe.

You may want to point this out to students as well if they will be required to upload file submissions to your Blackboard course.


This is copied from a Blackboard Best Practice article:

“The following special characters should never be used in an attribute such as a User Name, password, database user, Course ID, and so forth. For many fields the set of permitted characters explicitly excludes these, in other areas they are merely discouraged. This includes filenames, where many of these are illegal or have special meanings on certain file systems.

% & # < > = \ + / ' , " : ! ? $ @ | [ ]{ }

These characters are generally safe to use when adding content into a text box, such as adding the description for a course. When creating record attributes however, a good rule to follow is to only use alphanumeric characters (ASCII-only, unaccented!), underscores, periods, and hyphens (please also do avoid spaces wherever possible!). For e.g. the course_id these are the only permissible characters.

Also consider that the characters listed above are reserved characters in URLs and/or have special functions in HTML. This means they need to be escaped to be used in URLs or when occurring in JavaScript or JSON strings. While Blackboard makes every effort to correctly escape and handle such characters wherever they can technically be permitted, occasional code problems may occur, and avoiding special characters in places such as item or assignment titles, group names, etc. can help your users to have a better user experience overall.”