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Blackboard Guide for Instructors

Brought to You by: Instructional Design and Access

Last Updated: Summer 2019 


This Blackboard guide was created by WSU’s Office of Instructional Design and Access. The instructions and images were created using the most current version of Blackboard at the time. Keep in mind that slight upgrades are made to Blackboard regularly, and the images you see on screen may be slightly different.

This guide includes information that will be helpful for new and intermediate Blackboard instructor users. “Instructors” includes instructors, GTA’s, and course builders. In addition to this printed guide, all instructors can receive video training on demand through myTraining in WSU’s staff portal. Instructional Design and Access also offers one-on-one training every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Blackboard and Accessibility labs in the C-Space in the Ablah library, at the annual Academic Resources Conference each August, at various in-person trainings throughout the academic year, and by appointment for groups and departments. If you are unsure about how to receive more training, please send an email to Instructional Design and Access at with your questions. IDA serves all WSU instructors regardless of rank.

Note: In order to have access to edit any aspect of a course, you will need to login to the course and ensure that Edit Mode is ON (check this setting in the top right corner of Blackboard). When the Edit Mode is ON, you can view and use all of the instructor functions in your course.


Changing Course Availability

All Blackboard courses come pre-loaded with start and end dates based on term availability. Nevertheless, as instructors, you have the ability to change these dates if necessary. Please note: all courses must start no later than the first day of class and must end after grades are due.

You can view if a course/section is currently available to students by clicking on the My Courses menu in Blackboard and viewing the course/section information under Course List. A course/section that is currently not accessible to students will have a note that it is not (unavailable) after the course title.


To change the availability of your course:

  1. Login to the course.
  2. Under the Course Management and Control Panel menu on the bottom left side of the page, click on Customization and then Properties.
  3. The ideal way to change your course availability is to modify the dates in the Set Course Duration area. By changing the start date of your course, you ensure no students have access to the course, but they can still see the link to the course in their My Courses area.Set Course Duration example
  4. There may be times where you simply want to turn availability to your course off or on for a short period of time, and in that case, it is easier to use the Set Availability tool. To make this change, go to the Properties page, under the heading Set Availability and the question Make this course available to users? Click on the radio button next to Yes to make the course available, or No make it unavailable. If you make your course unavailable to your students, the link to the class in their My Courses area will disappear. This can be upsetting to students, so use this option with caution. Set Availability example.
  5. Once you have changed dates or availability, leave the settings under the headings Select Language Pack and Course Files as-is and click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to save your settings.

Posting Announcements

The ability to post an announcement is a very useful feature of Blackboard. The announcement helps you inform students of changes in scheduling or other course details. Announcements also allow you to maintain a feeling of “instructor presence” in your course, so students don’t feel abandoned in the online space.

To post an announcement:

1. Login to the course.

2. If you do not “land” on the announcements page in your course, you will need to navigate to it. In the menu listed on the left navigation pane, you should find the Announcement tab. In some instances, that link has been removed. In that case, you can still find a link to announcements in both the Tools link and the Course Tools link in your course.

3. Once you locate the Announcements area, click on the Create Announcement button.

4. On the Create Announcement page, under the heading Announcement Information, type in the Subject of the announcement in the given text box. Subject is a required field and appears as the announcement title. Note that you can always change the subject font color. (The default text color is black; to change the text color for the announcement, click on the arrow next to the black square, choose a different color in the pop-up window, and click the Apply button.). Be aware that using color as the only identifier might make the content inaccessible for people with color blindness, and light colors are never appropriate.

5. Type the body of the announcement in the Message text box. Formatting of the text can be done by using the editing toolbar. You can always preview the message before you post it.

Screenshot of the editing toolbar.

NOTE: It’s always best to type in announcements fresh rather than copying and pasting in text as copying and pasting from another program, such as Microsoft Word, may result in changed or undesired formatting in your final announcement. If you must copy and paste in the content, be sure to copy the text from the original program, paste into a simple text editor (such as Notepad), and then copy and paste the that new text into the Message text box for your announcement. Once you have pasted the text, you can format it in Blackboard.

6. Several types of files can be attached to the announcement’s message using the toolbar directly above the Message text box. For example, you can attach a PDF or Microsoft Word document, image, or other media by clicking the icons shown in the images below. Using the Mashups drop-down menu, you can also insert Ensemble videos, SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos, Panopto videos, and Flickr photos. Hover your mouse over any icon in the toolbar to view a description of that particular tool. The red YouTube button (first icon on the last row) is no longer a supported tool and will not work for you. Avoid using that tool. Note: just because you can attach files doesn’t mean you necessarily should! Remember that all files and links that are distributed to students must always be accessible to all students.


Temporarily not functioning example. Insert a file example.
Insert/edit image example. Insert/edit embedded media example.

Insert Mashup example.
7. Once you have the message ready for your announcement, move to the next heading on the Create Announcement page, Web Announcement Options. You may choose whether you want the announcement to be available as long as the course is available or only for a fixed duration. Setting the Duration as Not Date Restricted makes the announcement visible to students until deleted or until date restrictions are implemented. When you set Duration to Date Restricted, the announcement is set to start and stop on specific dates and times. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable date and time selections. Use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select the dates and times for your announcement to be visible.

Web Announcement Options example 1. Web Announcement Options example 2.

8. The last option, Email Announcement under the heading Web Announcement Options, allows you to send an email of the announcement to your students. This can be very helpful, since not all students check Blackboard regularly. By selecting the check box, an email of your announcement will be sent to all users regardless of their notification settings.

 Email Announcement example.

NOTE: This function only sends messages to official WSU email addresses (e.g.,; please encourage students to check these accounts frequently.

9. In your announcement, you can insert a link to any content item within the course (e.g., solutions to an assignment, a new lecture) by using the Course Link option, which is the last section on the Create Announcement page. Simply click the Browse button to select the content you wish linked to the announcement.

Course Link Browse example.

NOTE: The link will only appear in the announcement when the linked content is available. Deleting a Content Item will remove the Course Link from the announcement; however, the announcement itself will remain.

10. Click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to post your announcement (and email it, if applicable).

11. Your new announcement will appear directly below the repositionable bar on your course/section’s Announcements page. The order of your announcements, in addition to your “New Announcements Appear Below This Line” line, are adjustable by hovering over the left side of an announcement until an up/down arrow appears and your cursor becomes a four-sided arrow.

Announcements example.

12. Click and drag your announcement into the desired position.

Creating and Managing Content

Whether a course is face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online, they will all have content, such as PDF’s, Word documents, PowerPoint slides, audio files, videos, and links that need to be added to Blackboard.

To post content:

1. Login to the course.

2. Locate the course/section menu on the left, and determine the area where the content should be added. For example, you may wish to add the syllabus to Information or a video lecture to Course Materials. Note: The image shown below is of Blackboard’s default course menu. This menu is editable and discussed in the next section – Managing Menu Buttons.

Managing Menu Buttons example.

3. Click on the chosen area; it will open with an Action Bar across the top. To add content, hover over Build Content, which opens the dropdown menu, as shown in the sample image below.

Build Content example.

4. From the dropdown menu, choose the item type you would like to create. The most commonly used are Item (allows for an attachment and a description), File (allows for file attachment only – no description), Audio, Image, Video, and Web Link. You can also create Content Folders or Module Pages to help organize your course/section materials. For example, creating folders for each week of class or a folder for all exams and another for all lecture slides.

5. Select your content type by clicking it. A Create “Type of Content Selected” page will open. Here is where you can give your content a title, write a description or directions, upload the file(s), and set availability settings such as whether users may view the content, tracking views, and time/date restrictions.

NOTE: In order for students to be able to access the content, you must select the radio button next to Yes for Permit Users to View this Content. Otherwise, it will remain hidden from their view.

Permit Users to View this Content example.

6. After you have completed all areas of the Create window, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to add the content. Note: New content will always appear as the last content in a section; however, you can reorder by hovering on the left side until a “cross” mark appears (Cross sign.), clicking and dragging.

Managing Menu Buttons

Blackboard populates every course with default menu buttons, including Announcement, Information, Course Materials, Discussions, and Tools. You may edit, hide, or delete these. In addition, new buttons can be added, and all buttons can be reordered within the menu. For example, it is common to have a menu button for the Syllabus, Start Here, and for each Week or Module of the course, occurring in the order the student should access them.

To manage menu buttons:

1. Login to the course.

2. To rename, hide, or delete menu buttons, hover over the menu and click the drop down arrow to the right of the menu button. A dropdown menu appears, offering Rename Link, Hide Link, Permit Guests, and Delete. Click on the needed selection. Note: If you have previously hidden a menu button, instead of Hide Link, Show Link will be offered.

Hide Link/Show Link example.

3. To add a new menu button, hover over the (+) sign above the name of the course. A list of options appears, including Content Area, where information or content is added; Tool Link, which connects to any of the Blackboard tools; Web Link, which connects to a frequently used website; and Course Link, which takes students to a specific area of the course. After clicking on an option, a box to name the button opens. It is also possible to group similar menu items by selecting the Subheader option. The Divider selection will insert a line to use as a divider between menus or group of menus.

Toolbar options example.

4. Newly added menu buttons will appear at the bottom of the list. All menu buttons, including Subheaders and Dividers, can be reordered by dragging and dropping via the “cross” sign (Cross sign.).

Managing Content Availability

If and when content is available to students can be controlled by managing the availability of folders, files, video, items, and other content. Although availability can be set on an item-by-item basis, when a folder becomes unavailable, all content within that folder, even available content, becomes unavailable.

To manage content availability:

1. Login to the course.

2. Hover over the content title and click on the dropdown arrow that appears to the right of the title. Select Edit.

3. Under the Standard Options heading, there are three setting options allowing you to make the content available/unavailable, track the number of views, and set a timeframe of availability.

Standard Options menu example.

Moving and Copying Contents

A content item can be copied or moved to a different location within the same course or to a different course where you have instructor, GTA, or course builder access. Copying a content item creates a replica in a new location, while leaving the original intact. Moving a content item, changes the location of the original content item.

To move and copy contents:

1. Locate the content item to be copied or moved within the course.

2. Hover over the title and click the dropdown menu arrow. Select Copy or Move. Under the Destination heading, select the Destination Course and Destination Folder for the chosen content and click Submit.

Copy/Move example. Destination example.

Sending an Email to Students

The Blackboard email tool allows for emails to be sent directly from within your course, without having to open a separate program such as Outlook or Gmail. You can quickly send email messages to an entire class or select course/section members without having to locate and enter their email addresses.

NOTE: This function only sends messages to official WSU email addresses (e.g.,; please encourage students to check these accounts frequently. Students may also use this tool to communicate with their classmates, TA’s, and instructors.

To send an email to students:

1. Login to the course.

2. Select Email from the course navigation menu on the left of your page.

3. Select the type of users who will be your recipient(s) from the selections offered (All Users, All Groups, All TA’s, All Instructors, Select Users/Groups, and more). Note: a copy of your email will be sent to your email.

4. The To and From fields under the heading Email Information, will be populated for you. The Subject and Message text boxes are left blank for you to fill. Formatting of the text can be done by using the toolbar.
NOTE: Copying and pasting text from another program, such as Microsoft Word, may result in changed or undesired formatting. To paste text without any formatting, copy the text from the original program, paste into a simple text editor (such as Notepad), and then copy and paste the text into the Message text box for your email.

5. Files can be attached by clicking the Attach a file link, located under the Message box.

6. When finished, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page.

Alternate methods to send an email to students:

If the Email selection is not listed in the course navigation menu, you can access it in one of the following two ways.

1. Click on Tools in your course menu, click on Send Email, and then follow directions 3-6 above.

Send email example.
2. On the course navigation menu, under the Course Management heading, expand the Control Panel. Expand the Grade Center and click on Full Grade Center. The names of all students enrolled in the course/section will appear.

a. To the left of all students’ names are check boxes. You can either check the boxes for individual students, or click the box to the left of the Last Name column header on the menu bar above their names to select all students.

b. Above the Grade Center, hover over the Email button to view and select the appropriate choice from the drop-down menu (see image below). Then, follow directions 3-6 above.

Email selection menu example.

NOTE: The Course Messages Tool is not the same as the Send Email tool. Course messages reside within the course and are not sent to users’ email accounts. Users are not notified that they have received a message. It may be beneficial to hide the link to the Course Messages tool to avoid confusion. Please check to see what is appropriate for your program or department.

Creating an Assignment

Assignments can be created in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders of your Blackboard course. You can include a description, point value, duration of availability, due date, and even file attachments when you create an assignment. Once created, a Grade Center column for that assignment will automatically appear. Assignments can be created for both individual students and collaborative groups.

To create an assignment:

1. Login to the course and navigate to the location where the assignment will reside.

2. On the Action Bar, hover over Assessments to access the drop-down menu, as shown below.

Assessments menu example.
3. From the drop-down menu, select Assignment. The Create Assignment window will open.

4. Under the Assignment Information heading, type a title for your assignment in the Name text box. This title will be the link that students will click to access their assignment. The default text color is black; to change the text color for the assignment, click on the arrow next to the black square, select a color in the pop-up window, and click the Apply button. Note: We recommend using the default black text color.

5. Next is a WYSIWYG editor text box called Instructions. It is optional and versatile. You can add text, images, links, multimedia, and mashups using the functions in the Text Editor. Although optional, clear and concise directions are helpful to students and aid in their success on assignments.

6. Files can be attached under the heading Assignment Files by selecting Browse my Computer, or Browse Content Collection and selecting the file you would like to attach. The file name, or the link name you provide, will appear in the course area. If you do not provide a Link Title, the default title will be the file name. Files are listed in the order they are added (see image below). To remove a file, click the words Do not attach at the end of the file row. A pop-up window will appear, asking Do not attach this file or folder? To remove the file, click the OK button, or to leave the file, click the Cancel button.

Do Not Attach example.

7. Under the Due Dates heading, you may enter a date and time that the assignment is due by checking the box and entering the appropriate information in the text boxes. If the assignment does not have a due date, leave the box unchecked.

8. Under the Grading heading, the total points possible for an assignment should be added in the Points Possible text box. Also under this heading is where an assignment rubric can be created and added by clicking on the Add Rubric button, then selecting either Select Rubric, Create New Rubric, or Create From Existing [Rubric]. Check with other instructors in your department or program for more guidance on creating and using appropriate rubrics.

9. Under the Grading heading, are links for more options: Submission Details, Grading Options, and Display of Grades. The Submission Details option allows you to select if the assignment is a group or individual submission, how many attempts are offered for submission, and if you want to use plagiarism tools. The default setting for those options is for the assignment to be submitted individually, with single attempt and no plagiarism tool will be used for grading. Grading Options allows for anonymous and delegated grading, while Display of Grades offers selections determining how students will see their grade for the assignment.

10. Under the Availability heading, the assignment can be made available by selecting Yes, or hidden from students by selecting No. You can limit the availability of the assignment by selecting dates and times for the Display After and Display Until options. If you would like to be able to track how many students have viewed the assignment, check the box next to Track Number of Views.

11. Once all options are completed, click the Submit button to create the assignment.

Using SafeAssign for Assignments

SafeAssign is a plagiarism-checking tool within Blackboard. It compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. To add SafeAssign to an assignment, check the box next to Check Submissions for Plagiarism Using SafeAssign, under Plagiarism Tools of the Submission Details link.

Plagiarism Tools example.
When SafeAssign is selected for an assignment, students are notified that their work will be submitted to a global database to check for plagiarism.

Using Adaptive Release

Adaptive release allows instructors to create a set of rules to control how content is released to students and can be related to availability, date and time, usernames, groups, and more. For example, a course reading or quiz could be set to only become available after students watch a lecture video; you can set course readings to be released automatically every week, or for your class presentations to appear at the end of each class meeting. You can also set a content item only to be available to an individual student or a group of students. As instructor, GTA, or course builder, you will always be able to view all material. When adaptive release is used, the item icon is grayed out, with a note indicating when the information will be available, as in the image below. The item will not be available for students to view until it is released.

Availability Example.  

To set Adaptive Release, hover over the assignment or content title and click the arrow, exposing a dropdown menu. Select Adaptive Release. In the Adaptive Release window, there are four heading options: Date, Membership, Grade, and Review Status. Under the Date heading, a date criterion can be set to restrict the dates and times of the visibility of the item. The Membership heading allows you to select individual students or group of students to have access to the content; the content will be hidden from the rest of the class. Under the Grade heading, you can select the graded assessment students need to achieve before accessing the content. Under Review Status you can select a content item from the course that students must review before accessing the content set for adaptive release. If you want to add multiple criteria to release a content, Adaptive Release: Advanced is better suited.

Creating and Managing Discussion Boards

The Discussion Board tool allows for instructors or GTA’s to create online forums in a range of topics and threads including student questions, course material, assignment help, student groups, and more.

To create a discussion board:

1. Login to the course and select the Discussions selection from the navigation menu on the left of the page, opening the Discussion Board page.

Discussions Selection example.

2. Click on the Create Forum button. Under the Forum Information heading, you can add a title for the discussion forum in the Name text box. There is also an optional Description text box with a WYSIWYG editor. The description should describe what topic/questions you want students to discuss, any word or length limitations, or if they have to respond to other students’ posts.

3. Under the heading Forum Availability, you can set the forum to be available immediately or not, or you can set availability dates by entering date and time in the Display After and Display Until boxes.

4. Wide varieties of features are available under the Forum Settings heading. With the Viewing Threads/Replies options, you can determine if students can read others’ posts before making theirs (standard view) or if they must post theirs before they can read others’. The forum can be graded or not. If graded, you must enter the total points possible here.

5. You can also set a due date for the discussion board if you selected Grade Discussion Forum, allow students to subscribe to get notifications for new posts, and much more.

6. If you would like students to have reading access after the due date, but still limit their ability to create new treads or reply to other threads, do not set the display after and until dates. Instead, change the role of your students from “Participant” to “Reader,” by clicking the drop down arrow on the forum link. Select Manage (see below), then all users and Edit Role. Finally, select Reader.

Manage example. Reader setting example.

Building a Test in Blackboard

Tests and quizzes can be created and administered through Blackboard courses.

To create a test/quiz, survey, or pool:

1. Login to the course.

2. In the navigation menu, expand the Control Panel, then expand Course Tools, and click on Tests, Surveys, and Pools.

3. Click Test; for Surveys and Pools, click on the appropriate title. Note: the creation step is the same for tests, surveys, and pools. Only Tests will be shown.

4. Two options, Build Test and Import Test, are available as buttons. To build a test directly in Blackboard, click Build Test. The test directions and instructions are optional, but the test must be named. Click Submit when you are finished.

5. A Test Canvas page will open with options to Create Question, Reuse Question, or Upload Question. Click the Create Question button opening a dropdown menu of question types. Select the question type.

Create Question menu example.

6. Under the Question heading, you can enter an optional Question Title. The Question must be entered into the Question Text box.

7. In the next section, Options, how the answer choices should appear (numbers, letters, vertically, or horizontally) can be determined. Partial credit (mostly for multiple answer question types), and random ordering of answer choices (see below) decisions are made in this section, as well.

Options menu example.

8. The next sections is Answers, where you can select the number of answers (default of 4) and write the answer choices in the text boxes. Make sure to select the radio button to the left of the correct answer. Otherwise, Answer 1 will be selected by default.

Answers section example.

9. The Feedback section allows for a response to students for both the correct and incorrect answer.

10. Once completed, three options remain at the bottom of the page: Cancel, Submit and Create Another, or Submit. To cancel the question you created, click Cancel; to submit the question and create another question of the same type (T/F, multiple choice, etc.), click Submit and Create Another; to finish the test or create a different type of question item, click Submit and proceed to next steps.

For more advanced Test, Pool, or Survey options, contact IDA at

Deploying a Test to a Content Area

The test you created on the Test Canvas will not be available to students until you deploy/move it to the course’s content area.

To deploy the test to content area:

1. Login to the course and navigate to the content area where the test should appear.

2. On the top ribbon of the content page is an Assessment button. Hover over this button and select Test from the dropdown menu (see image).

Assessment/Test example.

3. Select the test that was created from the Add an Existing Test selection box and click Submit. The Test Options page will open.

Editing Test Options

After the test is added, the test options will need to be addressed. Test options can be edited on existing tests as well by hovering over the title, clicking the dropdown arrow, and selecting Edit Test Options.

To edit test options:

1. In the Name text box, enter a name for the test. This will be how the title appears in the content area.

2. Under Content Link Description, you can include a description to appear with the test link in the content area. To allow students to read the test description before they begin the test, check the box you see under the test description box. You can set the test to open in a new window or in the same window as their Blackboard page.

Description option example.

3. The Test Availability options work similarly to assignments availability options – the test can be made available or not, availability times/dates can be added, the number of attempts can be determined, the test can be timed or not, and a password can be required of students to access the test.

4. The Test Availability Exceptions allows to give different test access to individual or group of students based on their needs such as multiple attempts, different availability dates, or extended time to complete the a test. To access this option, simply click on Add User or Group -> select the users needed -> Submit then click the dropdown next to the user’s name and make your selection. To select availability dates, click the calendar icon.
                     Test Exception      Add user

                                 Set the exception

5. Under the Due Dates heading, you can enter the test due date. If you do not want students attempting the test after the due date, check the box for “Do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed.” This will hide the test from students’ view after the due date has passed.

6. If the test is a self-assessment, under Self-Assessment Options, there are two options to include or hide the scores in the Grade Center. Note: If the score is included in the Grade Center after it was hidden, all prior attempts will be deleted.

7. By using the Show Test Results and Feedback to Students options, what students see after a test can be determined such as when they see results, if they see the score per question, if they see either all, correct, or submitted answers. If feedback for correct or incorrect answers was included when the test was created, you can select to show the feedback here. The last selection is to show incorrect answers or not.

8. The last section in test options is Test Presentation. Here you can select to show questions All at Once or One at a Time. You can also choose to Randomize Questions for each test attempt.

9. When finished, click Submit.

Editing a Test

Once a test is created, it can be edited only until the first student has attempted it except for deleting questions, which can be done even if students have already made submissions. If no students have made submissions, the test name, description, instruction, points, and more can be edited. Editing can be accessed in two ways: from the content area or from the Tests tab under Tests, Surveys, and Pools.

To edit a test from a content area:

1. Login to the course and locate the test.

2. Click on the dropdown arrow next to the test name and select the Edit Test option.

 Edit the test example.

3. To edit the test name or add/edit the description or instruction for the test, click the dropdown arrow at the right of the test name, and select Edit.

4. When the edit page opens, edit the Name, Description, and Instructions as needed and click Submit.

5. To edit individual test items/questions, hover over the question and click the dropdown arrow to the right of the question, then click Edit.

6. The points possible for individual questions, question types, or all questions can all be edited in this section. To change points for all or certain question types, click the Select: all option, enter the point possible and click Update and Regrade. To change points for individual questions, click on the Points box, enter the point possible and click Submit and Regrade.

Update and Regrade example.  

 Submit and regrade example.

7. To save the changes made, click Submit.

To edit a test from Test, Surveys, and Pools:

1. Login to your course and locate the Course Management section on the left-side menu. Click on Control Panel -> Course Tools -> Tests, Surveys, and Pools -> Tests.

2. The Test page will open listing all tests created in the course. Locate the test which needs editing, click at the dropdown arrow and select Edit.

Tests/Edit example.

3. This opens the Test Canvas. Follow steps 4-7 above to edit.

Grading Student Work and Managing the Gradebook

There are two ways in which students’ grades and/or feedback can be submitted in Blackboard: through the Needs Grading tab or through the Full Grade Center.

To upload students’ grades through Needs Grading:

1. Login to you course and navigate to the Course Management section. Open the Control Panel menu if it isn’t open and click on Grade Center, then Needs Grading.

2. The Needs Grading page will open, listing the name of the assignment/assessment, student name, date submitted, and due dates.

Needs Grading menu example.


3. Submissions can be graded in the order submitted or they can be filtered by category (Assignments, Discussion Boards, or Tests), specific item (Assignment 1, Week 2 Discussion, or Mid Exam), individual student, or submission date. If you are behind in grading and you want to grade in the order of due date, filtering by specific items would serve well.

4. To grade, click on a Student’s Name to open their work. The grading page allows for reading the submission, highlighting, writing comments, entering the grade, and leaving feedback. If an assignment is submitted late, it will be marked as Late.

 Assignment Late example.

5. To enter a numerical grade for the assignment submission, type in the appropriate number in the points possible box (e.g. __/15).

6. To provide feedback to the student, enter it in the text box under Feedback to Learner.

7. A file can be attached to the submission (such as a Microsoft Word document with comments, a rubric, or other detailed feedback), by clicking on the paper clip icon located at the bottom left of the Feedback to Learner text box. Select either the Browse My Computer, Browse Content Collection, or Source URL button, to attach the correct file.

To upload students’ grades through the Full Grade Center:

1. Login to you course and navigate to the Course Management section. Open the Control Panel menu if it isn’t open and click on Grade Center, then Full Grade Center.

2. Locate the grade column for the assignment which needs grading. Assignments that have been submitted and not yet graded will appear as a yellow circle with an exclamation point.

3. Click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the assignment title to view the grading menu for the assignment. From the pop-up menu, select Grade User Activity. You will be taken to the same view that would appear if you chose to grade students’ submissions through the Needs Grading page.

 Grade User Activity example.

4. Follow the steps 4-6 in the Needs Grading section above.

Any test or assignment created in the course’s content area will be directly linked to the grade center and have a grade column. When a student submits an assignment or completes a test that needs to be graded, it will be available for grading in the Needs Grading section under the Grade Center.
To grade a student work:

To download students’ assignment submissions:

Students’ submissions may be downloaded as groups or individuals to allow for offline grading. This can be done through the Full Grade Center.

1. Login to you course and navigate to the Course Management section. Open the Control Panel menu if it isn’t open and click on Grade Center, then Full Grade Center.

2. Locate the grade column for the assignment which needs to be downloaded. Assignments that have been submitted but not graded will appear as a green square with a yellow exclamation point in a circle.

3. Click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the assignment title to view the dropdown grading menu and select Assignment File Download.

Assignment dropdown button. Assignment File Download example.

4. To select all students, check the box to the left of Name above the column of students’ names. To download the works of one or more select students, check the boxe(s) to the left of the individual students’ name(s).

Example of selecting students.

5. If students were allowed multiple submissions, scroll down to find the Select Files heading; Last attempt file or All attempt files may be selected. It may be preferable to choose the second option, in case any students submitted their assignment in multiple parts. Click Submit.

6. The download link will appear on the next page under Download Assignment: [Your Assignment Name]. Click on Download assignments now. A prompt asking to either open or save a compressed (zipped) folder containing the requested student files will appear.

7. In the pop-up window, select Save File and OK.

8. Browse to the location where you want to download the file and select Save. Each file will be named with the assignment, student username, and the date and time of submission.

9. To return to the Grade Center, select OK on the Download Assignment page.

Download Assignments Now example.

Customizing the Look and Feel of Your Course

Blackboard users with the role of instructor, GTA, or Course Builder, can customize the look and feel of their Blackboard course(s). For those with multiple courses, customization options can help to more easily identify between courses or sections. You can adjust both the Course Theme and Teaching Style options.

Adjusting the Course Theme

1. Login to your course and locate the color fan icon in the upper right of the page. A dropdown menu will appear.

2. Click on a color theme. It may take several attempts before an appropriate theme is found.

Color menu example.

Adjusting the Teaching Style Options

1. Login to your course and locate the Course Management section of the menu pane. Open the Control Panel and click on Customization then Teaching Style. This page allows for several customization options.

2. Select Course Structure adds items to your students’ menu choices which focus on a specific approach or function. Course structures are predefined course materials such as menu links, instructions, and content examples that can jump-start your course’s organization. The selected course structure's content is added to your course and does not replace existing menu items and content. You can delete unnecessary items.

3. Select Course Entry Point defines the landing page (the first page students see when entering your course).

4. Select Course Theme provides a visual menu for the same theme choice described in Adjusting the Course Theme.

5. Select Menu Style offers both button and text options, in addition to background and text colors for the course menu pane. It is important to note that sufficient contrast must be maintained between text and background for accessibility. If you are unsure, download and utilize a color contrast analyzer such as one offered for free from the Paciello Group.

6. Default Content View allows for displaying your content as an Icon Only, Text Only, or Icon and Text.

7. Select Banner allows for adding a wide image to the top of a course’s landing page.

8. Once all selections have been made, click Submit.

Running Evaluation Reports

A variety of reports about student activities and performance can be created in Blackboard, including: Course Reports, Performance Dashboard, Retention Center, and SCORM Reports.

Course Report

1. Login to your course and navigate to the Course Management menu. Open the Control Panel menu, click on Evaluation then Course Reports.

2. A page opens with a list of possible reports to run. To run any of the reports, hover over the name and click the dropdown arrow. Click Run. A description of each report follows:

All User Activity inside Content Area displays a summary of all user activity inside content areas of the course.

Course Activity Overview displays overall activity within a single course, sorted by student and date. Data includes the total and average time spent per active student and the total amount and type of activity each student had in the course. Optionally, you can filter the report by one or more groups.

Course Coverage Report displays goals coverage information for a single Blackboard Learn course. Data includes both covered and gap values for all curricular areas that the course is associated with, as well as a breakdown of course items that have been aligned to goals. This is only for course which have a goal aligned to the course contents.

Course Performance displays information showing how a single Blackboard Learn Course performs against a selected set of goals. Performance targets and a range of acceptable performance for the course can be determined when running the report. Data includes averages for the entire course as well as break downs for individual students and goals. This is only for courses with goals aligned.

Overall Summary of User Activity displays user activity for all areas of the course, as well as activity dates, times and days of the week.

Single Course User Participation Report displays detailed statistics on assessment and collaboration tool submissions for all users in this course during a specified timeframe.

Student Overview for Single Course displays an individual student's activity within a course, sorted by date. Data includes the total overall time the student spent in the course as well as detailed information about the student's activity, such as which items and Content Areas the student accessed, and the time spent on each.

User Activity in Forums displays a summary of user activity in Discussion Board Forums for the course.

User Activity in Groups displays a summary of user activity in Groups for the course.

Performance Dashboard

The second option under the Evaluation is the Performance Dashboard which allows for checking on when students last accessed reading assignments, submitted materials, or participated in online course discussions.

To access the Performance Dashboard:

1. Login to your course and navigate to the Course Management menu and open the Control Panel. Click on Evaluation then Performance Dashboard.

2. A page will open with student information, including name, username, role, last course access, and days since last course access.

• If the review status tool is enabled, you can see the number of columns that a user has marked as Reviewed in the Review Status column.

• The Discussion Board column displays the number of posts a user has contributed. Select the link to display more details about what the user has posted.

• The Retention Center displays the number of alerts and the total number of rules for a user. Select the link to open the Retention Center for the user.

Retention Center

The Retention Center helps you discover which students in your course are at risk. You can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement. You can also keep track of patterns over time. This page displays a summary of at risk students in the course in one or more categories such as missed deadlines, grades, course activity, and/or course access. You can create new rules, edit existing rules, and delete rules with the Customize option on the action bar. You can create as many rules as you need.

If you want to send an alerting message to a student listed as At Risk, click on the student’s name and click the Notify button. Selecting Student and/or Observer opens a message box with system generated message which you can modify.

For additional assistance or questions about Blackboard, please contact Instructional Design and Access at