Course Management (Blackboard)

Considerations for Using Blackboard

If you are using Blackboard for academic purposes you will need to familiarize yourself with the law and policy around the protection of students’ education records as well as copyright for both you as the faculty member and for the students.

Family Education Rights Protection Act (FERPA)

Faculty should be aware that the content students enter into Blackboard constitutes an education record and that FERPA regulations apply. Those regulations require that the content be protected from disclosure without student consent. Disclosure in this context includes posting student content openly on the internet. University authentication that is automatic to accessing these sites provides technical protection of education records.

Faculty who intend to have students post original work openly on the internet may do so with the students’ permission or by providing an opt-out option for individual students.

Copyright and Academic Integrity

Faculty own the copyright of original content entered into Blackboard according to Cornell University Copyright Policy, unless other contracts or agreements have been arranged specifically between the faculty member and the university. Please note that students own the copyright of the content they contribute to these sites as well, unless they are working in their capacity as a Cornell employee or other holder of a university appointment.

Moreover, both faculty and students are advised to use Blackboard resources responsibly by observing all laws and university policy that are incorporated into the Codes of Conduct and Academic Integrity. Some specific aspects of law and policy that might be well to remember are prohibitions against copyright infringement, plagiarism, harassment, or interference with the underlying technical code of software. For more information visit the Cornell’s Digital Literacy Resource page.


Blackboard conforms to Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines 2.0 Level AA as well as the Section 508 accessibility standards. For more information, read about Accessibility in Blackboard Learn.

Related Cornell Policies

The following Cornell Policies relate to use of Blackboard: