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Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Faculty - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How do I log into Blackboard?

To access Blackboard:

  • Open an Internet browser and type in the address for Blackboard:
  • Users must begin the login process from that entry point and should bookmark that URL.  They cannot bypass that page and go straight to the login page itself.
  • Username = your SIUE e-ID (the first part of your SIUE email address), for example jsmith.
  • Password = the same one used to access your SIUE email.

Who can request a Blackboard course?
Only the instructor of record for a course, as listed in Banner, may request a course.

How do I request a Blackboard course?
The instructor of record must request a Blackboard course using the appropriate Faculty Form linked on the ITS Blackboard page.  Please allow 3-5 business days to complete your request.

What version of Blackboard is used at SIUE?
The current version is Blackboard 9.1.

How do I request the addition/removal of other (non-student) users to/from my Blackboard course?

Instructors may request the addition/removal of other users (e.g. Teaching Assistants, Instructors), using the online request form.  Note that the current Banner feed only pulls in one instructor per course.  If there are two instructors of record for a course, a request will need to be made to manually add the second instructor.

Are there standard times when Blackboard is "down" for service?

Blackboard goes down every day for routine maintenance.  While those times vary, they are generally in the early hours of the morning (between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.).  In addition, ITS schedules more comprehensive maintenance, as needed, on the 3rd Friday of the month beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Users already logged into Blackboard receive no notice that the servers are about to go down for service.  Any work in progress will be lost when the servers go down.  Users are advised to be aware of the maintenance schedule and to plan their activities accordingly.

How can I see my course as my students see it?

Instructors can enter "Student Preview" within any course to see assignments, tests, and other content as a student would see it. The "Student Preview" button is a circular icon, which resembles the shape of an eye, located near the "Edit Mode" button at the top-right corner of the course screen. Upon clicking the "Student Preview" button, instructors can explore the course as a student. 

Student preview icon

By clicking the "Student Preview" button again, instructors can exit that view. At this point, instructors will be prompted to either save student preview data (recommended for viewing/testing assignment submissions and My Grades), or delete the preview data (recommended if instructors do not want to see any saved data, such as a test submission). If instructors choose to save student preview data, it will be saved in the Grade Center as the instructor's LastName_PreviewUser. Ex: Smith_PreviewUser. This data can be removed later by entering student preview again, and choosing to delete the data upon exiting.

How can I replicate a previously taught course in a new course shell?
If you wish to replicate a previously taught course, follow these instructions to export content from the previously taught course and import it into your new blank course shell. Upon successfully importing materials into the new course shell, you should check the import log (via the email confirmation that the import is complete or on the Import Package/View Logs screen, clicking the linked name of the ImportFile...) for any warnings or errors.  Then, you must review and update the new course for the new semester as outlined on the Start-of-Semester Activities page. 

How do I locate a Course ID in a Blackboard course shell?
ITS requires the course ID whenever your contact us about any concern with a course from adding users, to uploading a course cartridge, to troubleshooting issues. To locate the course ID:
  • Log into Blackboard.
  • From either the My Blackboard or My Courses tab, locate the course.
  • Click on the linked name of the course to enter it.
  • The Course ID appears in the upper left corner of the screen, at the top of the course navigational items. The Course ID begins with your discipline and ends with a series of number reflecting the year and semester.  In the example shown below, the Course ID is: ENG-101-002-201235.

screen shot of a Blackboard Course ID

How can I distinguish which course is for which semester?

The default naming convention for courses is Discipline-Number-Section-YearSemester (e.g. ENGL-101-001-201235).  The key to knowing which course is for which semester lies in the numbers at the end.  The first four digits represent the year the course is offered,while the last two digits indicate the semester (15=spring, 25=summer, 35=fall).  Therefore, 201235 represents the Fall semester, 2012.

For faculty teaching multiple sections of the same course within a single, merged course shell, the shell you will actually develop is the one that reflects the multiple section numbers (e.g. ENG-101-102-201235).  You will also find you have  shells for the individual sections of the course, labeled as “child” courses.  The “child” shells are placeholder of sorts.  No work should ever be done in any “child” course, and the “child” courses should never be made available to students.

I want to hide my courses from previous semesters from view, so all I see are the courses for the current semester.  How do I hide old courses from my view?

  • You can hide courses from the My Courses module on the My Blackboard page and/or the Course List module on the My Courses tab.
    screen shot of My Courses module with the edit
  • Mouse over the module header and click on the cog icon on the far right end of the module header.
  • Deselect the check box next to any course that you do not want to be visible.
  • Make sure you deselect the Announcements, Tasks and Calendar Events for those courses too.
  • Click "Submit."
  • To make them visible again, reverse these steps, checking the box beside each course you wish to see.

ITS recommends that instructors teaching multiple sections of a course within a single, merged course shell, hide the "child" courses from their own view to avoid confusion.  Note that "child" shells should never be made available to students.

ITS expects to carry only the most recent five semesters of classes on the server.  If you wish to delete a course permanently sooner than that, please send an email to and request that the courses be deleted.  Once they are deleted, they are gone for good. 

Where do I go to create an announcement?
Within the course, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Announcement > Create Announcement.

How do I hide and/or show one or more tools within the "Tools" navigational link?

Before you choose to hide a tool under the "Tools" navigational link, you must know that hiding a tool here will make any course "Tool Link" navigational item nonfunctional.  In other words, if you hide the "Discussion Board" and/or "My Grades" tool here, the default "Discussions"and/or "My Grades" course navigational link(s) will not work.

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," click on the "Tools" navigational link in the course navigational menu.
  • Click on the "Hide Link" button beside a tool to hide it from student view.  Note that the icon for that tool will be grayed out, and the button beside it will be relabeled "Show Link."
  • Repeat this process for each tool students will not be using in Blackboard.  If you change your mind later, you can return to this screen and click on the "Show Link" button to display the tool to your students.
  • With Edit Mode "OFF," view the page as your students will view it.  Make sure that the tools remaining are just those your students will be using in the course.

How do I add links to the Course Menu?

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," click on the plus (+)button in the upper left corner, above the course navigational items.
  • Select the type of content to create.  Generally you will be adding one of the following
    • "Content Area" (which will provide the Build Content, Assessments, Tools, and Publisher Information buttons for adding content)
    • "Tool Link" (to link to a specific Blackboard tool like Discussion Boards, Journals, etc.)
    • "Web Link" (to link to an external web site like Lovejoy Library e-Reserves)

How do I change the order of things in the Course Menu?

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," mouse over the navigational item you wish to move.
  • Left click on the double pointed arrow in front of the item.
  • Holding the left mouse key down, drag and drop the item to the desired destination.

How do I rename an item on the Course Menu?

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," mouse over the navigational item you wish to rename.
  • Click on the gray circle to the right of the name of the item to expand the drop down options.
  • Click on "Rename Link."
  • Type in the new name and then click on the green check mark beside it.

How do I remove an item from the Course Menu?

Navigational links to Content Areas in Blackboard 9.1 are not visible to students until they contain some content.  A gray box appears beside an item indicating it is not visible to the students.  Note that generally speaking, it is be better to delete an item you know you do not wish to use, particularly if you plan to export the course in the future to import into a new course shell.  Deleting it assures you will not be duplicating unwanted items in future courses. To delete other navigational items:

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," mouse over the navigational item you wish to remove.
  • Click on the gray circle to the right of the name of the item to expand the drop down options.
  • Click on "Delete."

How do I hide an item on the Course Menu?

Navigational links to Content Areas in Blackboard 9.1 are not visible to students until they contain some content.  A gray box with a slash through it appears beside the item indicating that students cannot see it.

screen shot of course navigation with

To hide other navigational items:

  • Within the course, with Edit Mode "ON," mouse over the navigational item you wish to hide.
  • Click on the gray circle to the right of the name of the item to expand the drop down options.
  • Click on "Hide Link."

How can I further customize the look and feel of my course?

There are a number of quick customizations you can apply to your Blackboard course from adding a banner, to creating buttons instead of plain text navigational links, to applying course themes that change the wallpaper in the course and the overall color scheme.

  • Within the course, under the Control Panel, click on Customization > Teaching Style.  Review and customize one or more of the following sections:
    • #3. Select Course Theme
    • #4. Select Menu Style
    • #7. Select Banner
  • Click on Submit.

NOTE: ITS discourages "experimentation" with #1 Course Structures.  Applying a Course Structure does not replace the existing course navigational items; rather, it adds the new items to the existing default navigational items, requiring you to remove duplicates.

How Do I make my course "Available?" or Why can't my students see the course?

Every course is set to be "Unavailable" at the time of its creation, meaning it is not visible to students.  When you have developed the course and are ready for students to see it, you must make the course available. 

  • Within the course, click on Control Panel> Customization > Properties.
  • In Section #3: Set Availability, click the "Yes" radio button.
  • Click "Submit."

What if I don’t want the Planner to be the first thing my students see?

  • You can set any Content Area page or Blackboard tool as the entry page.
  • Click on Control Panel > Customization > Teaching Style.
  • In section 2, Entry Point, use the drop down menu to select a different entry point.
  • Click "Submit."

How do I share a file in my personal Content Collection with someone outside of Blackboard?
  • Go into your Content Collection.
  • Locate the file you wish to share.
  • Mouse over the name of the file and click on the gray circle with the downward pointing arrow to the right of the name.
  • Select "Passes" from the drop down list.
  • Click Create Pass.
  • Set the "Lifetime of Pass" (how many hours, days, etc.) that you want someone to have access to this file.
  • Set the Permission (Read, Read/Write, or Read/Write/Delete).
  • Click Submit.
  • Click on the box in front of the pass to select it and then click on the "Email Pass" button.
  • Enter the email address of the individual with whom you wish to share the file. Edit the subject and/or add to the message.
  • Click "Submit."

I tried to log onto Blackboard but it says I have to change my password. How do I do that?

  • Go to the e-ID page at
  • Find the option "I know what my password is and I want to change it" and click on the radio button in front of it.
  • Click "Continue" and follow the directions provided there.

What if I used to know my email password but have forgotten it?
If you remember you secret phrase, you can reset your password on the e-ID web site.

  • Choose the option "I have an e-ID but I forgot my password. 
  • Click "Continue" and follow the directions provided there. 

If you do not remember your secret phrase, you must go to the Information Technology Services offices located in the basement of Lovejoy Library, room 0005. You must have a photo ID with you in order to change your password.

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