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Blackboard Help

Guest and Observer Access

Your institution determines if the observer and guest roles are allowed. If allowed, you can control whether or not the guest and observer roles have access to your course. Your institution must create the accounts and associate observers with students.

Guests in a course can include guest lecturers, potential students, or other users who are not directly participating in your course.

Observers are typically assigned to follow specific users in Blackboard Learn without interacting with the system. Observers can view your course and track student progress. Also, from your course, you can send email alerts to observers as needed.

After logging in, observers access information about their associated students on the Observer Dashboard accessed on the My Institution tab in the Tools panel.

How to Allow Guest and Observer Access

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON.
  2. On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and click Guest and Observer Access.
  3. On the Guest and Observer Access page, click Yes for Allow Guests and Allow Observers.

How to Customize Guest and Observer Access

Your institution can allow or disallow guest and observer access to certain features of courses, such as content areas and tools.

System settings override course settings when restricting access. If the system does not permit guest access to a tool, guests enrolled in your course cannot be permitted access to the tool at the course level.

You can give guest and observer access to individual features that are not overridden at the system level. The features are visible (read-only), but not usable to guests and observers when they are permitted in your course.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and click Tool Availability.
  2. On the Tool Availability page, you can control guest and observer access by selecting or clearing check boxes. Tools with a circle with a diagonal line icon in a column do not have availability settings in the system that you can change. To learn more, see Course Tool Availability.

The following table lists the tools that are either unavailable on the system level to both guests and observers, or only available to the observer role. Your institution can disallow availability for a specific tool in the following list for the observer role.

Unavailable Tools
Tool Unavailable to Both the Guest and Observer Roles
Assignments Yes
Tests Yes
Blogs Yes
Collaboration Yes
Discussion Board Yes
Email Unavailable to guest role
Groups Yes
Journals Yes
Messages Yes
My Grades Unavailable to guest role
Roster Unavailable to guest role
Rubrics Yes
Tasks Unavailable to guest role

video  Guest and Observer Access (Flash movie | 1m 51s)