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About User Roles and Privileges

Roles determine what a user can and cannot do within Blackboard Learn. Administrators use roles to group privileges into sets that can be assigned to user accounts. Every user associated with a role has all of the privileges included in the role.

When a user account is assigned multiple roles, the user receives all of the privileges included in all of the roles. As an example, consider this scenario. A role is assigned to a user account that does not include access to the course Control Panel. However, the user is also assigned a role that does include access to the Control Panel. The user receives the privilege, even though it was excluded from one of the assigned roles.

About Standard Roles

When Blackboard Learn is installed, several standard roles are created. Administrators can edit these standard roles.

  • System Roles: System roles control the administrative privileges assigned to a user. This enables administrators to share administrative privileges and functions with other users in Blackboard Learn. To learn more about system roles, see Managing System Roles.
  • Course and Organization Roles: Course and organization roles control access to the content and tools within a course or organization. Each user is assigned a role for each course or organization in which they participate. For example, a user with a role of Teaching Assistant in one course can have a role of Student in another course. Instructors can use these roles to delegate some of the responsibility for maintaining the course. To learn more about course and organization roles, see Managing Course and Organization Roles.
  • Institution Roles: Institution roles control what brands, tabs, and modules users see when they log in to Blackboard Learn. Institution roles also grant or deny access to Content Collection files and folders. To learn more about institution roles, see Managing Institution Roles. All licenses have a limited default set of Institution roles. Organizations with Community licenses may add new Institution roles.

About Custom Roles

Administrators can create custom roles by copying an existing role and editing its properties and privileges. You can also create a new, blank role and add privileges to it.

To learn more about creating custom roles, see Managing System Roles, Managing Course and Organization Roles, and Managing Institution Roles. Custom roles cannot be created in Blackboard Learn - Basic Edition.

Privilege Descriptions Spreadsheet

Blackboard Learn includes numerous administrator privileges that can be applied to different roles depending on your institution's needs. For your convenience, Blackboard has developed a comprehensive Administrator Privilege Descriptions spreadsheet that organizes these privileges and provides descriptions for them.

Download the SP 12 Privileges Descriptions (available in English only).

The Administrator Privilege Descriptions spreadsheet illustrates what settings are turned on and off by default for each privilege. Some privileges are grouped together and must be assigned to a role as a single unit. These have been highlighted in the spreadsheet to make them easier to understand.

This spreadsheet can be a useful reference when you are designing your roles. For example, if you are copying a default system/course role to use as a basis for creating a custom role, this spreadsheet can help you see what settings are turned on and off by default and understand the purpose of each privilege. Referring to this spreadsheet can help you create and copy system roles as well as manage privileges for course roles.

The spreadsheet is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the release of Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 8. Privileges from Outcomes Assessments are not included.

The spreadsheet outlines the default settings for the following system roles:

  • Community Administrator
  • Course Administrator
  • Guest
  • Goals Manager
  • Learning Environment Administrator
  • None
  • Observer
  • Support
  • System Administrator
  • System Support
  • User Administrator

The spreadsheet outlines the default settings for the following course roles:

  • Course Builder
  • Grader
  • Instructor
  • Student
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Guest