Getting Started with Blackboard


Where can I get help using Blackboard?

Faculty and Teaching Assistants can contact the Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

You can also review our faculty workshopsonline facutly resources, and Blackboard's Online Support site for Instructors.

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How do students get Blackboard help?

For Blackboard assistance, students can consult the Student Blackboard FAQs or contact GW Information Technology at (202) 994-4948.

Additional Student Resources:

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Are there workshops offered on Blackboard and other instructional technologies?

Workshops are available online and designed for GW instructors, teaching assistants, and staff supporting instruction. Workshop topics include Blackboard tools, VoiceThread, Echo360, as well as other instructional technologies.

View upcoming workshops.

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Are online workshops recorded?

We do not record our webinars for the privacy of the attendees, however, we have the following pre-recorded webinars available:


How do I create my course in Blackboard?

Courses are not created manually in Blackboard. Instead, courses for which you are listed as the instructor in GWeb are automatically created in Blackboard and associated with your account.

Each semester, Blackboard courses are made available to instructors on the following schedule:

Fall Semester (YYYY03): August 1st
Spring Semester (YYYY01): December 1st
Summer Semester both sessions (YYYY02): April 1st

After these dates, enrollments in Blackboard are updated once a day in the early morning until the end of the semester.

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If I want to get a head start, how can I create a development course?

A Development Course is a Blackboard course shell that is not accessible to students and can be used for preparing for an upcoming semester.

To create a development course, follow these steps:

  1. Open an existing Blackboard course.
  2. Under Control Panel, click Course Tools.
  3. Click More Tools (GW).
  4. Click Create Development Course.
  5. Enter a name for the Development Course.
  6. Click Submit.

Additional Resources:

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How do I add my Teaching Assistant to the course?

  1. Open the Blackboard course.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and click Course Tools.
  3. Click More Tools (GW).
  4. Click Manage Teaching Assistants (TA).
  5. Enter their GW email address.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Type your initials.
  8. Click Submit.

Additional Resources:


Where do I find the class roster?

  1. Open the Blackboard course.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and click Course Tools.
  3. Click More Tools (GW).
  4. Click Roster Information. Your roster can be accessed in a printable format and also can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format.

Additional Resources:

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Is my course automatically available to my students?

By default, a Blackboard course is unavailable for student viewing. When you are ready to make it available, you can do the following:

  1. Open the Blackboard course.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and click Customization.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Under Set Availability, click Yes.
  5. Click Submit.

Additional Resources:

Can I view my course from a student perspective?

Click the Student Preview Mode iconStudent Preview Mode icon to switch views from Instructor to Student. Submit assignments, take tests, engage in a discussion, participate in a group, check the My Grades page, and more with the Student Preview feature.

Below are the steps for navigating your course as a student:

  1. Click the Student Preview Mode icon located near the top-right corner of your course to enter Student Preview Mode. The orange bar at the top of your Blackboard session indicates you are working in Student Preview Mode.
  2. Navigate the course as a student, and complete the desired activity (e.g., submit an Assignment, take a Test, view My Grades area).
  3. When you are finished, click Exit Preview in the orange bar at the top of your Blackboard session.
  4. Choose to either Delete the preview user and all data or Keep the preview user and all data.

If you choose to Keep the preview user and all data, you can return to Instructor Mode and view the activity of YourNetID_PreviewUser in the course like Assignment submissions and Test results just as you would do for other students.

Learn more about using Student Preview in a Blackboard course.

Additional Resources:

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Faculty Guides