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Blackboard Help

Managing Tool Availability

You can select which tools are available in your course and which users have access to them. For example, if you will not use the course messages tool, make it unavailable. No one can see it or access it, including you, until you make it available again. On the Tool Availability page, available tools are listed alphabetically.

Your institution can turn off select tools, making those tools unavailable for use in your courses. Your institution can also remove your ability to choose who has access to select tools.

You can also make tools available to your students in different course areas. To learn more, see Adding Links to Tools in Your Course.

Accessing Tool Availability Settings

On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and select Tool Availability. Select or clear the check boxes of the tools you want to use in your course and which users will have access to these tools.

  • Available: The tool is available throughout your course and open to all users that have a role permitting the use of the tool.
  • Visible to Guests: The tool is visible (read-only), but not usable to guests when guests are permitted in your course.
  • Visible to Observers: The tool is visible (read-only), but not usable to observers when observers are permitted in your course.
  • Available in Content Areas: You can place a link to a tool in one or more content areas in your course.

Circle with diagonal line: Your institution made the tool unavailable.

If tools are made unavailable after a period of being available, either at the course level by you or at the system level by your institution, no content is deleted from the system. If the tools are made available again, the existing content remains and becomes accessible.

Filtering the Display

Click Filter on the action bar to sort the table based on availability status for the tool and for the role users have in a course. Filtering makes it easier to see which tools are available and visible, and change settings based on those criteria.

About Building Blocks

If your institution has licensed any Building Blocks, they appear in the list of tools on the Tool Availability page.

Adding Links to Tools in Your Course

Deciding where to put tools depends on the situation.

Method 1: Access individual tools from the course menu. This method provides quick access to frequently used tools. Make the Tools link on the course menu unavailable so students cannot access other unneeded tools.

Method 2: Access individual tools from a content area. With this method, you can provide tools near related content. For example, if students are required to read an item in the content area and then respond on the discussion board, add a tool link in the content area for easy discussion board participation.

Method 3: Access tools from the Tools link on the course menu. Consider using this method to quickly set up your course. Use for a course that supplements a face-to-face class and provides tools for online communication outside of the regular classroom.