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Blackboard Basics Guide

Course Navigation

Course Menu

When you first access a course by clicking a link in the My Courses module on the My Blackboard page, you will see the course landing page which is Announcements.  We will learn more about Announcements later.  For now, let's look at the left side of the page and focus on the course menu.  

The upper part of the course menu provides access to course content.  It is visible to both you and your students.  

The lower part of the menu, the Control Panel, is for course management and is available only to instructors.  Your students will not see this part of the menu when they access a course.  

Course Management Menu



A breadcrumb trail is created near the top left of the page as you navigate through a course.  This breadcrumb trail, also called breadcrumbs, keeps track of where you have been in a course.  Click on any portion of the breadcrumb trail to access that recently visited page. 

An ellipsis (...) will be included in the breadcrumb trail if it gets long.  Click the ellipsis to see more detail. 

Using your browser's back button may work to return to a previous course page, but using breadcrumbs is much more reliable. 

Use the course menu to navigate to a location not in the breadcrumb trail.   


Edit Mode

Blackboard courses can have editing capabilities turned on or off.  The Edit Mode indicator is located in the top right corner of the page in a Blackboard course. 

Edit Mode must be turned on for you to be able to make changes to a course. 

Turning Edit Mode off allows you to see a course more like your students see it.  For example, if you have date parameters set to have a folder display after a future date, you will not see this folder while Edit Mode is turned off.  Click the Edit Mode indicator to switch Edit Mode off and on.  

Tip:  If you ever access a course and it looks like content you created is now missing, check to see if Edit Mode is turned off.  


Student Preview 

Student Preview allows you to see and interact with a course just as your students do.  This is a great way to check things like the availability of course content, the functionality of a Test, or the appearance of an Assignment.  

To access Student Preview, click the Student Preview button near the top right corner of a course page.  

Student Preview

So how is this different than turning Edit Mode off?  While you can see how a course appears to students and interact with some course activities with Edit Mode turned off, Student Preview allows you to engage with your course exactly as your students do including completing coursework and recording this activity.  For example, if you submit an Assignment or complete a Test, you will see this work recorded in the course's Grade Center.  Look in the Grade Center for the preview user account with your username followed by _previewuser.  

A banner displays across the top of the page to remind you that you are in Student Preview mode.  

Activity completed while in Student Preview mode can be kept or deleted upon exiting from Student Preview.  To exit, click the Exit Preview button in the top right corner of the course page then select options as desired.  

Exit Student Preview

Exit Student Preview Options


  To learn more, see Blackboard Help: Student Preview