Navigation Aids



Main Content

Getting Started: Setting Up Your Course

Getting Started | Setting Up Your Course | Managing Students | Working with Content | Customizing Your Course

Getting Started: Setting Up Your Course

Expand all (*) | Collapse all (*)

First steps

How to Get a Course Site
The simplest and quickest way to have a Blackboard site set up for your course is to use our online request form: Instructors or those acting on behalf of instructors may use this form. After you submit your request, your course(s) will typically be available within one to two days.
Students enrolled in your course will be given access to the Blackboard site automatically, usually within 24 hours of the site's creation.
Blackboard sites are not "renewed" each semester. You will need to request a new site, even if you are teaching the same course in consecutive terms. Course materials can be copied from previous sites however; you won't have to rebuild an earlier site from scratch.
Login and Find Your Courses
Once your Blackboard site has been created, you can find your course(s) by directing your browser to Login using your PennKey and password. (See our Access Guide if you're experiencing difficulty logging in.)
By default, Blackboard only displays a few courses on the welcome page, but you can change this. When you first log into Blackboard, you will see a box named "My Courses." The top bar of that box has two icons - a circle and a square. Click on the circle icon (the icon on the left). That will bring up a screen where you can check/un-check "Display Course Name" and "Display Course ID" for any of your courses. When finished, click "Submit" to save your changes.
If you see no courses listed, or see courses other than the one(s) you're looking for, then either the course has not yet been created or you have not been added into the course. There is an approximately one business-day delay between when course registration changes are made and when those changes are reflected in Blackboard.
Set Your Email Address
User records in Blackboard are updated Monday through Saturday mornings with information found in the Data Warehouse.
If you want to change what email address is associated with your account in Blackboard you will need to make this change in the PennDirectory:
  1. Log into the "My Profile" section.
  2. Press the light blue "edit" button next to your email address.
  3. Add your preferred email address if it is not already there.
  4. Check the corresponding box in the "Display in My Details?" field.
  5. Then select the corresponding dot for the "Display as My Search Result?" field.
  6. Press "Submit" and your email address will be updated in Blackboard the next morning.
View Your Student Roster
Blackboard automatically updates your class roster each night from Registrar information. To view a list of the students currently having access to your course, enter the course site and go to the Control Panel > Users and Groups > Users.This method will also show you your students' email addresses and will also list anyone else that has access to your site (i.e. co-instructors, TAs, etc).
Note:  this method of viewing your student roster is not available to students.
You also can use the Roster Tool to see your class roster. Note that no names will automatically appear in this list. You must run a search to view names.
  1. Enter course that has the roster you wish to view.
  2. Click Tools > Roster.
  3. Search by First or Last Name to display specific students, or set the criterion to "Not blank" to display all.

Enrolled students have access to the Student Roster. If you wish to disable this feature, follow these steps:

  1. In the Control Panel under Customization select Tool Availability.
  2. Scroll down to Roster and uncheck all boxes in the corresponding row.
  3. Click Submit..

For additional information about Penn's Privacy policies view the following site:

Expand all (*) | Collapse all (*)

Managing Students

Enrolling Users
Enrolled students with a valid PennKey are added (or dropped) automatically each day according to Registrar records. If the student does not have a PennKey s/he will be included in the daily roster update after obtaining one.
  • If the student does not have a PennKey s/he will be included in the daily roster update after obtaining one.
  • Please note:
    If you manually enroll a student in your course site and then they drop the class, they will not be removed from the course site automatically. Users added manually are skipped over during our daily enrollment process so they also must be removed manually. Please see the instructions for removing users in the following section.
A user who is not enrolled but who does have a PennKey (this can be a student, a T.A. or an additional instructor) can be added by:
  1. Clicking Control Panel > Users and Groups > User > Find Users To Enroll.

    users and groups

    enroll users button

  2. This will take you to the Add Enrollments screen.

    add enrollment screen

  3. Enter username (PennKey) or click "Browse" to open a new window where you can locate a username by last name, first name or email.


  4. Select the desired users and click Submit. This will add the username to the Add Enrollments screen. Note that the users are not yet added to your site.
  5. With the username(s) in place, select a course role (student, instructor, etc.).
  6. Click Submit.
Some users will not be able to be added through this process. If you encounter problems adding users to your course site, email us at bb-
Additional steps are required if the user does not have a PennKey.
Watch the video below (provided by SAS Computing) to see the whole process in action.

Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.

Removing Users
To remove users from your course site:
  1. See View Your Roster (above) to bring up a list of enrolled users.
  2. Select the user(s) you wish to remove by checking the box next to their name(s).
  3. Click the blue "Remove Users From Course" button located at the top or bottom of the list.
Changing a User's Role
To change a user's role in the course site:
  1. Start from the Control Panel > Users and Groups > Users.
  2. Locate the user by search.
  3. Click on the double down arrows next to the username to display more options.
  4. Select Change User's Role in Course.
  5. Select the desired role (Student, Instructor, Teaching Assistant, Library/Support, Grader, Guest).
  6. Submit.
change user's role
Guest Access
Guests are only people that already have access to Blackboard. All PennKey holders are eligible for accounts in Blackboard, but we only automatically create them for students, instructors, and a handful of other sub-communities. They can navigate to your site and see any content areas that you have set up to allow guest access. There is no way for them to be able to access interactive tools like tests or assignments.