Getting Started with Preparing Your Course for Students

The following instructions explain how to prepare your Blackboard course for students.

 Set Course Availability

When course sites are created through Faculty Center, they are not available to students until the Monday of the week classes begin – however, instructors, teaching assistants, and course builders can access the site to set it up. If you want to allow students to see the site before the first day of classes, you can change the course duration. Regardless of when your students are allowed to view the course, it is recommended that you let them know when the course will be available to avoid any confusion.

To change the course duration:

  • From the Control Panel, select Properties under Customization.
  • Under Set Course Duration, click Select Dates and click the checkboxes next to Start Date and End Date. Enter the dates that the course should be available to students.
     If your course was not created through Faculty Center, it will not be in the course catalog and will need to be manually changed to available. It will appear as “unavailable” in the My Courses list until you change the status. As the instructor, you will still be able to access the site and make changes, but the link will be disabled for enrolled student users.

To make the course available:

  • From the Control Panel, select Properties under Customization.
  • Under Set Availability, select Yes for to make the course available.

Course Duration & Course Categorization

There are other items on the Properties page of the course customization area that may be of interest to instructors.

Course Duration

By default, your course duration is set to “Continuous.” You may choose to set start and end dates for your course. The course duration affects whether your course is available to your students limiting access to the course during the selected date range.

Course Categorization

Course categorization is an optional feature. The Blackboard course catalog is organized by college/school and department, rather than appearing as one long list.

If you would like your course to appear in the Blackboard course catalog, follow these instructions for categorization:

  • Select the appropriate department from the Items to Select list (do not select a college or school).
  • Click on the right arrow between the lists to move the selected department to the Selected Items list.
  • If your course is cross-listed, repeat steps 1-2 for each department.
  • Click Submit when you are done changing the course properties.

Set Enrollment Options

The enrollment options for your course were set when the course was created. If the course was created through Faculty Center, Blackboard will manage enrollments for you. However, some instructors may elect to manually manage course enrollments or allow users to enroll themselves in a course.

Enrollment options for courses where enrollments are not managed by Blackboard include:

  • Enrollment by Instructor or Administrator – Although enrolling each student individually can be time consuming, it is useful for special circumstances such as enrolling a late addition to the class, or to add administrative staff and teaching assistants.
  • Student Self-Enrollment – When self-enrollment is enabled, students will be able to browse the course catalog and click the Enroll button that appears next to the course. You can limit the enrollment period by entering start and/or end dates for enrollment.
  • Batch Enrollment – Batch enrollment based on class rosters obtained from the Registrar’s office is available. For more information contact the Center at

To set enrollment options:

  • In the Control Panel, click Customization.
  • Click on the Enrollment Options link.
  • Choose the desired enrollment option and related settings.
    • If you choose the Self Enrollment option, you may choose to select a start and/or end date for the enrollment period or to require an access code. Make sure that your course has been categorized properly using Categorize Course in the Course Properties dialog.

Site-Wide Guest Access

Guest users on the Blackboard system can access course sites at the instructor’s discretion. By default, site-wide guest access is disabled when your course is created, but you can enable it if you choose to do so. When site-wide guest access is turned off, a guest user will not be able to see any part of your site.

To modify guest settings:

  • In the Control Panel, click Customization.
  • Click on the Guest and Observer Access link.
  • Select whether you want guests to access the course.
  • Click the Submit button if you have made any changes to Guest and Observer Access.