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Faculty - Blackboard Step-by-Step

Access to Blackboard is not automatic nor is the creation of Blackboard courses.  You can use Blackboard from any computer that is connected to the Internet provided you have requested a course shell and received confirmation that it is ready for use, or you are enrolled in some capacity in a Blackboard course owned by someone else.

Step 1: Request a Course

STEP 1: Request a new course shell.

Blackboard course shells are not created automatically.  They must be requested each semester by the instructor of record for the course (as recorded in Banner).  Request your course shell as soon as you are listed as the instructor of record, utilizing the appropriate form available on the Blackboard support home page

For more information, see the Request a Course page.

Step 2: Learn Blackboard

STEP 2: Learn about Blackboard


  • Workshops - We offer comprehensive workshops that cover all of the basics of using Blackboard and its many tools.  See the current workshop schedule and register to attend one or more sessions.

  • Tutorials -   Blackboard 9.1 includes two "Help" links within the course navigation.  The first one is to "Blackboard Help for Students" and the second one is to "Blackboard Help for Instructors."  Both provide a searchable database to tutorials produced by Blackboard on all aspects of Blackboard.  If you are struggling to identify the correct search criteria to locate information you seek, ITS has created links to the most frequently used Blackboard tool topics on the ITS  Blackboard 9.1 Tutorials page.

    Tutorials resources for using various building blocks that are customized to interface with Blackboard (external applications like Turnitin) are linked on the Blackboard support home page.

  • Reference Materials - The Blackboard 9.1 Tool Guide provides a quick overview of the various tools available within Blackboard and their suitability for addressing specific instructional objectives.


  • Instructional Design Consultations - Not sure how to utilize Blackboard to meet your instructional objectives, how to identify the right tool(s) to meet those objectives, and/or how to structure your course to make it intuitive for your students to use?  Contact the Instructional Design & Learning Technologies Center to discuss your instructional objectives. The instructional designers will work with you to adapt your current content for delivery in a web enhanced, blended, and/or online environment. Contact or 618-650-5500 to schedule an appointment.

  • House Calls - If you have attended the workshops and tried the tutorials but still have a few questions or are unclear about something, schedule a house call. One of our staff members will come to your office and help you with any Blackboard issue.

  • Email - If you have a question or problem, please e-mail your specific questions or concerns to, and one of our staff members will follow up with you.

  • Phone - If you need to speak to a staff member, please call 618-650-5500, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Step 3: Upload Content

STEP 3: Upload new content to and edit existing files in the Course Content Collection (My Content tab)

Blackboard’s Content Collection offers a central repository for all of your instructional materials.  All course related materials should be stored in the "Course Content" folder for the specific course in which that content will be displayed.  Course related materials in Blackboard 9.1 should not be placed in the My Content: your e-ID (your personal content collection) folder, which is the default landing place when you click on the My Content tab in Blackboard.

You may either upload all of your files to the Course Content Collection in advance, or upload local files from your computer as you develop your course and those files will automatically be uploaded to the Course Content Collection folder. 

  • The Course Content Collection folder for a new course is not created until you log into the new course the first time, or when you import content from a previously taught course into the new course shell.
  • Blackboard assigns a unique id number to each file and folder that is uploaded.  Spaces, dashes and formerly illegal characters (non-alpha, non-numeric) no longer pose a problem in file or folder names.   Files can also be moved around within the Course Content Collection without the fear of breaking the link. 
Step 4: Add Material

STEP 4: Set up, Customize, and Review your course

When a new blank course shell has been created, faculty will need to develop the structure and content for that course, determining the appropriate layout and tools to be used.  Faculty may replicate a previously taught course by exporting the content from  the  previously taught course  and importing it into the new course.  After the import, it is essential that faculty follow the start of semester activities instructions to review and update any course options, dated materials, and/or time-sensitive settings imported into the new course shell, and delete duplicate navigational items. 

Members of the IDLT Center can help you plan your course structure.

Finally, see what your course looks like to students before making it available.

Step 5: Make course Available

STEP 5: Make your course available

Courses are made unavailable by default at the time of their creation to allow you to add content prior to releasing the course to your students. The word "unavailable" is listed next to the course name.  You as the instructor will always have access to your course, but your students will only have access once you have made the course shell available to them.

Make the course available to students by:

  • In the Control Panel, click on the Customization link.
  • Click the Properties link.
  • In Section #3: Set Availability, click the Yes radio button.
  • Click Submit to finalize the process. 
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