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Accessing the Outcomes Assessment Environment

Access to outcomes assessment is controlled by role-based privileges. This means a user can be granted the right to perform an action within the system because he or she has a particular Role that includes the privilege to take that action. Blackboard Learn ships with a set of default outcomes assessment roles that are described in the following topic. In addition, because every institution is different, the outcomes assessment administrator can create specific roles for users, granting specific privileges and removing others to match a user’s professional responsibilities to outcomes assessment privileges.

The outcomes assessment roles fall into two categories: System roles and unit roles. System roles, such as the outcomes assessment administrator and the template administrator, can access outcomes assessment on the Administrator Panel. From here, system-wide changes can be made, such as creating a new unit role, creating a new template, or accessing person records.

Unit roles have privileges within the context of a unit and access outcomes assessment on the Outcomes tab. Users with unit roles perform actions within the context of the unit for which they have privileges. Users may belong to multiple units and can have different roles within those units.

Outcomes Assessment Roles

Just as the organization of an institution is based on a hierarchy, the types of users that can access outcomes assessment are based on a system of privileges that grant different levels of interaction. The following table describes the default outcomes assessment roles.

Role Descriptions
Role Privileges
System administrator Administers outcomes assessment through the Administrator Panel. Automatically has access to all objects and data in Blackboard Learn. Adds and removes users and assigns user roles.
Outcomes administrator Administers outcomes assessment through the Administrator Panel. Automatically has access to any object or data in the system, even if not listed explicitly on a permissions list. Adds and removes users, assigns user roles, adds and modifies system-wide templates and attributes, and is the owner of all units. Adds, removes, and modifies units, programs, courses, educational experiences, and sections in any or all units. Adds, removes and modifies improvement initiatives, improvement projects, and person records.
Template administrator Administers the outcomes assessment template builder through the Administrator Panel. Adds, removes, and modifies system-wide templates and attributes and unit-based templates and attributes.
Secure manager Administers a single unit through the Outcomes tab. Has access to secure data. Adds and removes users, assigns user roles, and adds and removes sub-units, programs, courses, educational experiences, and sections. Adds and removes improvement initiatives, and improvement projects. Adds and removes person record affiliations.
Manager Administers a single unit through the Outcomes tab. Adds and removes users, assigns user roles, adds and removes sub-units, programs, courses, educational experiences, and sections. Adds and removes improvement initiatives, and improvement projects. Adds and removes person record affiliations.
Participant Manages objects associated with a unit, but cannot change the unit’s properties or change the unit’s users. For example, a participant can change the goal or description of a course, but cannot remove the course from the unit.
Reader Views information in a unit and its associated objects, but cannot change them and cannot view affiliations or users and their roles.

Multiple Roles or Independent and Additive Roles

Units allow members to have multiple roles, which means that the privileges are additive. However, a user must explicitly have a role to act inside a context. Having a role in one context does not give the user access to anything else. For example, a faculty member has the role of participant in the unit that represents the college. The faculty member also has the role of manager in a department that is a sub-unit of the college. This means that the faculty member has access to everything within the department and can add or modify users for that department but does not have the right to add users to the college. Any users that are added to the department by the faculty member are not automatically added to parent unit of the college. The manager of the college unit performs that task.

Remove Roles

Only roles that have been created by the user can be removed. Roles that are shipped with outcomes assessment cannot be removed. If a user has only one role and that role is removed from the system, the user will lose all outcomes assessment privileges.

Make Public

Any entity in the system that is made public can be viewed by all users in the system, regardless of whether that user has a context role that gives them permission to see the object. All public entities are visible in users’ features lists.

Resolution of System Role Conflicts

If a system role ID conflict occurs, the client role is updated by attaching a number to it and incrementing it until the conflict is resolved. All Blackboard role IDs that are shipped with the product have the prefix "Bb."

Outcomes Assessment Memberships

Depending on the context in which they are interacting with the system, users may have different roles and, therefore, different privileges. All contexts other than units (improvement projects, improvement initiatives, courses, programs, and educational experiences) also have roles that are independent from one another and independent from unit roles. This mix-and-match approach to membership is intended to relate a user’s professional responsibilities to the user's outcomes assessment privileges. The Memberships page displays a list of a user's current memberships. To access this page, click the Users link on the Administrator Panel, and click Outcomes Memberships in the appropriate user's contextual menu. This page allows the administrator to view all of the outcomes assessment contexts to which the user has access.

For example, the administrative assistant for the chair of the Visual Arts Department is the unit manager for the Visual Arts Department. The administrative assistant is also a participant in the department’s improvement project for a program review for the visual arts major, and a reader for the College of Arts and Sciences improvement initiative on regional accreditation. As the manager, the administrative assistant controls all objects related to the Visual Arts Department unit such as users, courses, sections, and rubrics. As a participant in the program review, the administrative assistant can add and modify elements of the project but cannot change the properties of the project, run reports, or add or modify users. As a reader in the regional accreditation initiative, the administrative assistant can view documents and other related information, but cannot add or modify anything.

Another example of multiple roles describes the dean of the School of Business. The dean may have the contextual role of program manager for the MBA program within the unit that represents the School of Business, where the dean’s main administrative and teaching duties are based. Here, the dean may add or remove courses and sections as well as affiliate person records and add and remove other users. The dean may also have the role of participant in the library’s information literacy program within the library unit. As a participant, the library’s program is listed as a link on the dean’s My Programs menu, providing access to that program. Within the context of the library’s program, the dean may associate courses with the program, manage program goals, and associate improvement projects, but the dean does not have the privilege to add or remove users or manage program properties.