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Blackboard Help

Managing Course and Organization Roles

Course roles control access to content and tools within a course.

If your institution licenses community engagement, you also create organizations and organization roles. Organizations are similar to courses.

You can make organization roles available separately to specific organizations. This allows an institution to treat courses and the relationship among their enrolled users differently than those in organizations.

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 may use these roles to delegate some of the responsibility for maintaining the course.

You set course roles when enrolling users in courses. You can also edit course roles after enrollment.

You can edit the properties and privileges associated with existing course and organization roles. You can also copy most standard course and organization roles to create custom roles.

To help you plan and create roles for your institution's needs, see the Privileges Descriptions Spreadsheet.

About Standard Course and Organization Roles

The following standard course and organization roles are installed with Blackboard Learn by default:

Standard Course and Organization Roles
Role Description
Course Builder The Course Builder role has access to most areas of the course or organization Control Panel. This role is appropriate for an assistant who should not have access to student grades.

If the course is unavailable to students, a course builder can still access the course. The course builder cannot remove an instructor from a course.

Grader The Grader role has limited access to the course Control Panel. Graders can assist an instructor in the creation, management, delivery, and grading of assessments and surveys. The grader may also assist an instructor with adding manual entries to the Grade Center.

If a course is unavailable to students, the course appears in the My Courses module and in the course list for a user with the role of Grader. However, the grader cannot enter the course until the course is available.

Guest The Guest role allows prospective students, alumni, and parents to explore Blackboard Learn without making any changes to users, courses, or content. Users with the role of Guest are unauthenticated users.

If an administrator has enabled guest access, instructors can make areas within a course accessible to unauthenticated users. Guest users do not have access to the course or organization Control Panel.

Instructor Instructors have full access to the course Control Panel. This role is generally assigned to the person developing, teaching, or facilitating the class. If a course is unavailable to students, users with the Instructor role may still access it. The instructor is included in the course description in the Course Catalog.
Student Student is the default course user role. A user with the role of Student has no access to the course Control Panel.
Teaching Assistant Users with the Teaching Assistant role have access to most of the course Control Panel. If the course is unavailable to students, teaching assistants may still access the course.

The teaching assistant is not included in the course description in the Course Catalog. Teaching assistants cannot remove an instructor from a course.

Inherited privileges: Privileges and behaviors are inherited from the existing course role (e.g., TA) that is used to create a new role. The new role retains these privileges even with all privileges removed via the UI -- e.g. a user with a custom course role that was copied from instructor/TA/grader will have full access to the grade book, and a user with a role copied from instructor/TA will be given forum manager privileges in newly created forums. These 'hidden' privileges give users access to view unavailable content and make the Edit Mode toggle appear in the UI. Additionally these inherent and potentially hidden privileges cannot be controlled in the UI - they always remain active. Please review the above table for an understanding of these default inherited privileges, how they may thus impact new custom roles, and which role should be used as a basis for a new custom role.

How to Edit a Course or Organization Role

For Student and Guest roles, administrators can edit only the Role Name and Description.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, in the Users section, click Course/Organization Roles.
  2. Access the role's contextual menu.
  3. Select Edit. The following table describes the available fields. [r] indicates a required field.
    Edit Course or Organization Role Available Fields
    Field Description
    Role Properties
    Available for Course Enrollments Select Yes to make this role available during the course enrollment process.
    Role Name for Courses [r] Provide the Role Name to display when this role is available in a course. Choose a descriptive and accurate Role Name so it is easy to identify when assigning roles to a user.

    Even if the name of role is changed, the privileges for the role do not change. For example, changing the Role Name from Instructor to Content Manager does not change what users with that role can access.

    Available for Organization Enrollments Available only with community engagement. To make this role available for organization enrollments, select Yes.
    Role Name for Organizations [r] Available only with community engagement. Edit the name for the role when available in an organization. Even if the name of role is changed, the privileges for the role do not change. For example, changing the Role Name from Leader to Content Manager does not change what users with that role can access.
    Role ID [r] Displays the database identifier for this role. This identifier applies to the role in both courses and organizations and cannot be changed.
    Description Type a longer text description of the role.

    This description does not appear in the Roles list when you assign roles to users. Do not use the Description in place of an accurate Role Name.

    Role Capabilities
    Treat Users with this Role like Instructor (P) Select Yes to provide this user with access to unavailable courses, the Course Catalog, and email enrollment requests. Select No to prevent access to unavailable courses, the Course Catalog, and email enrollment requests.
    Grant Users with this Role Full Permissions on Course Files Select Yes to grant users with this role full privileges on the Course Files page for the course in which the user has this role. Select No to provide only the default Read privilege on these files.
    Grant Users with this Role Full Permissions on Organization Files Available only with community engagement. Select Yes to grant users with this role full privileges on the Organization Files page for the organization in which the user has this role. Select No to provide only the default Read privilege on these files.
  4. Click Submit.

How to Manage Privileges for Course and Organization Roles

You can permit or restrict more than 100 privileges available for all custom course and organization roles and for standard course and organization roles except Student and Guest.

With these privileges, users can have more granular permissions that align closely with what they are expected to do in Blackboard Learn. This flexibility focuses on separating course design privileges from teaching privileges. This is particularly important to institutions that have strict expectations about the responsibilities of different types of faculty and staff.

For example, an institution can create a set of users who are responsible for creating course templates. The courses are then passed to another set of users who teach the courses. Or an institution might create a Manager role that is available only in organizations and that has fewer privileges than an Instructor role in a course.

  1. In the Administrator Panel, in the Users section, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. On the Course/Organization Roles page, access the role's contextual menu.
  3. Select Privileges. The Manage Privileges page lists the privileges you can assign. A green checkmark indicates that the privilege is assigned to this role. To learn more about course role privileges, see the Privileges Descriptions Spreadsheet.

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  4. On the Manage Privileges page, select the check box of any privilege you want to assign to this course or organization role. To select all privileges displayed on the page, select the check mark in the column heading.
  5. On the action bar, select Permit Privileges.

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  6. Select the check box of any privileges you want to exclude from this course or organization role.
  7. On the action bar, select Restrict Privileges.
  8. Click OK.