KU's Learning Management System

Instructors: Blackboard Essentials

Below are brief descriptions of some of the most commonly used features in Blackboard. Links to more information and instructions for using each feature are included.

Making Your Course Available for Students

You can quickly make courses available or unavailable to students by using the Qwickly module on the My Blackboard page. Use Qwickly to make your Blackboard sites visible to enrolled students without having to enter each course site.

  1. Log into Blackboard and access the My Blackboard page.
  2. Locate the Qwickly module. [View screenshot]
  3. Click the Course Availability link to reveal a list of your courses. [View screenshot]
  4. Next to the name of a course, toggle the availability button to ON to make a course available to students. Toggle the availability button to OFF to make a course unavailable to students.
  5. Your changes will save automatically.

You can find more information on additional methods for making your courses available at Course Availability.

Additional Resources from Blackboard:

View Blackboard's short "How-To" video entitled: Making Your Course Available ».

Can't See My Course

Course shells are automatically created in Blackboard for every section of every course that exists in Enroll & Pay. Sometimes a Blackboard course is created before an instructor has been assigned to teach the class. Sometimes the instructor of record changes before the start of the semester. Updates to Enroll & Pay flow to Blackboard within 24 hours of the change. If you don’t see your course in Blackboard here are some steps you can take to investigate:

  1. If you do not see the class you are teaching in Enroll & Pay we recommend contacting your department office. They can start the process to update Enroll & Pay. At the same time they can send an email to the Educational Technologists at itedtech@ku.edu stating that you are the instructor for a certain class. When that email is received the Educational Technologists can add you for immediate access to the Blackboard course.
  2. If you see the class in Enroll & Pay but do not see it in Blackboard, you can check your course list settings to see if it was hidden from view. Put your cursor on the My Courses header bar and click the gear icon on the right. Locate the row for the course that you would like to reveal and click the checkbox under Select All. This should restore the view of a previously hidden course. Click Submit to save any changes.

If you would like assistance finding a course site in Blackboard please contact the Educational Technologists at 785-864-2600 or itedtech@ku.edu.

Course Copy

Copying or moving course content from one semester to another is the most convenient way for you to reuse and adapt existing course structures, materials and content.

To learn more, visit Copy a Course or Course Content.

Course Merge

Some instructors prefer to manage class enrollments and content in a single Blackboard course rather than separate courses. The Course Merge Tool copies the student enrollments from one or more "child" courses into a "parent" course.

To learn more, visit Course Merge.

Add Content

Start by creating new Content Areas and add Items, Folders, Learning Modules, etc.

Visit Organization & Adding Content.

Add a TA

Add a GTA with the Teaching Assistant role in Blackboard to allow them to access the course content and the Grade Center.

Visit Users and Groups and click on 'Add a TA to a Blackboard Course'.

Edit My Courses List

In Blackboard, you can choose which course sites are displayed in your My Courses module. To modify the My Courses module click on the My Blackboard tab at the top left of the screen.

  1. Put your cursor on the blue My Courses header.
  2. Click the "gear" icon in the top-right corner to manage the settings. [View screenshot]
  3. On the Personalize: My Courses page place check-marks next to the courses that you would like to list in the My Courses module. To hide courses, remove check-marks next to the courses that you would like to hide from the My Courses list. [View screenshot]
  4. Click on Submit at the top or bottom of the page. You should see a confirmation message that the display has been updated.

Student Preview

Want to see your course through your students' eyes? The Student Preview feature will allow you to experience your course exactly as your students do, including submitting assignments, taking tests, creating blogs, viewing grades, etc.

1.Click on the Student Preview icon in the upper right corner of the screen within your course. [View screenshot]

2.You can now experience your course as students experience it.

3.Click Exit Preview to return to instructor view. [View screenshot]

To learn more, visit Student Preview.

Change Edit Mode to ON

You will not see all the tools and options available for updating your Blackboard site if Edit Mode is set to OFF.

  1. In the upper right corner you will see Edit Mode is and either a green circle ON or a gray circle OFF.
  2. Click on "OFF" to change Edit Mode to "ON". [View screenshot]


Announcements can be used to post timely information critical to course success such as assignment due dates, exam schedules, changes to the syllabus or other corrections or clarifications of materials.

To learn more, visit Announcements.

Instructor Information

Instructor information is a location where details about the instructor can be placed, like contact information, office location and office hours. GTAs can also place their information here.

To learn more, visit Instructor Information.

Folders, Items, and Learning Modules

Learning Modules and Content Folders are two tools provided by Blackboard to organize course materials. Learn how to add an Item which is the easiest way to add content.

To learn more about adding folders, items and learning modules, visit Organization & Adding Content.

Discussion Board

The discussion board is an area for posting questions and replies. It can function as an asynchronous conversation. A discussion board can be used for student-driven help sessions, discussion questions and group collaboration. Students who may avoid speaking up in class have been known to open up more in this setting.

To learn more, visit Discussion Boards.


Blackboard's Test and Survey options allow instructors to control the availability, presentation, and feedback of their course assessments. Instructors can create test availability exceptions, provide test results and feedback to students and attach due dates to assessments.

To learn more, visit Tests & Quizzes.


Blackboard Assignments allow students to submit their work in the form of an uploaded document. Instructors can allow one or multiple attempts. Once student work is submitted, it can be downloaded from the grade center one-by-one or as a “batch” per assignment. SafeAssign plagiarism checking is an option in the Assignment settings. 

To learn more, visit Assignments.

Grade Center

The grade center in Blackboard helps instructors to reduce the amount of time spent managing student performance. The grade center can calculate grades, organize student-submitted assignment documents, display the last time each student has accessed the course and store point-and-click rubrics for assignment scoring.

To learn more, visit Grade Center.

Navigation Buttons

The course menu appears on the left side of a Blackboard course. This frame holds buttons or text links to areas within a course and is visible on each page within the course site. Instructors can customize the appearance of the course menu as well as the content and tools available to students.

To learn more, visit Navigation Buttons.

Source: Blackboard Help »

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