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Blackboard Help

Default Settings for Courses

When you create a course, Blackboard Learn requires only two course properties: a course name and a course ID. However, several other course properties control important aspects of courses, such as when they are available. If you make no other choices, Blackboard Learn uses default values for any settings that you don't define.

You can change the default course settings at any time. These changes apply to new courses created after the change. Existing courses don't update their settings when you change the default settings.

Any changes you make to course settings in an individual course override the default values for that course.

Some settings don't presently apply in the Ultra experience.

Set default availability, enrollment, and duration

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Default Course Properties.
  3. On the Default Course Properties page, define the default settings. This table describes the available fields.
    Default Course Design Options
    Field Description
    Default Settings
    Available by Default When you make courses unavailable, students can see them in their course lists, but can't access them. Instructors see unavailable courses in their course lists and can access them. On the Courses page, unavailable courses are labeled as Private. Instructors can open courses when they're ready for students to participate.
    Allow Guests by Default Original Course View: You can allow or prohibit unauthenticated users to enroll in courses. Users can make settings inside courses that can limit what content and tools are available to guests.

    Ultra Course View: Guests aren't permitted at this time.

    Allow Observers by Default Observer role isn't available at this time.
    Default Course View Options Choose the default course view for new courses, or allow instructors to choose which course view works best for their needs. This setting doesn't affect courses that already exist in the system. You can change the course view for each course individually.

    This option is only available when the Ultra experience is enabled.

    More on course view options in the Ultra experience

    Default Enrollment Options Original Course View: You can require that an instructor or administrator handles all enrollments for courses. You can also allow students to email enrollment requests to instructors for approval.

    Ultra Course View: Enrollment options aren't supported at this time.

    Self Enrollment:

    Original Course View: Allow users to enroll themselves in courses. You can limit self enrollment by time period or access code. To limit self enrollment to a specific time period, select the Start Date and End Date check boxes and enter the dates and times between which users can enroll in courses. If you select Require Access Code to Enroll, provide the text to use for the access code.

    Ultra Course View: Self enrollment isn't supported at this time.

    Default Duration This defines the time period courses will remain available.

    Original Course View: Available courses are open to students to access or self-enroll in if a course allows self-enrollment.

    Ultra Course View: Available courses are open to students to access, but self-enrollment isn't supported at this time.

    Select Continuous to keep courses constantly available with no date restrictions.

    You can limit course availability to specific dates. The start and end times are set automatically. The course will start at midnight and the end at 11:59:59.

    To limit course availability to a specific number of days after a student enrolls, select Days from the Date of Enrollment and provide the number of days.

Course files

Your institution has the control to set the default selection for the linking to course files. This setting only affects the course copy, export, and archive pages for institutions that have access to content management features. Although a third option exists, only the copy function has the three options while the export and archive functions have two. If you select either the second or third choice for the default, the second choice for export and archive is selected by default.

Course Files settings aren't applicable to new courses in the Ultra Course View at this time.

You have three options for the Course Files Default Directory.

  • Copy links to Course Files: No copies of linked files are included in the copy. The copied course will have the same set of links and those links will point back to the original location of the link defined in the origin course.
  • Copy links and copies of the content: This will make copies of linked files, but ONLY those files that are linked. Files within the course’s home folder that are not linked to any content within the course are not included in the copy.
  • Copy links and copies of the content (include the entire course home folder): This will make copies of ALL files in the course’s home folder whether those files are linked to course content or not.

The new option is added to the course copy function for course files. Previously when users chose to include copies of course files, the entire course files directory was included in the package. With this new option, users can choose to take the entire folder of files or only those files that are actually linked to course content.

Linking to Course Files Options
Copy Links Choice Copy Default Export Default Archive Default
Copy links to Course Files Copy links to Course Files Copy only links to course default directory files Copy only links to course default directory files
Copy links and copies of the content Copy links and copies of the content Copy links and include copies of the files in course default directory Copy links and include copies of the files in course default directory
Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder) Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder) Copy links and include copies of the files in course default directory Copy links and include copies of the files in course default directory

Set default Original course menus

The default Original Course View course menu defines the course areas to include in a new course by default.

All tools and content areas included in the default course menu must have unique names. For example, you can create two links to the blogs tool, but each link must have its own menu name. This naming requirement only applies to the default course menu—not to course menus for individual courses.

The default menu for new courses isn't applicable to new courses in the Ultra Course View.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Course Menu and Structures.
  3. On the Course Menu and Structures page, use the menu creation tool to define menu items, names, and order.
    • Select the plus sign icon to add content areas, pages, links, and dividers. You can make an item available to enrolled users by selecting the Available to Users check box. Clear the check box to make the item unavailable.
    • Open the item's menu and rename, hide, or delete the item. For some content types, you can also deny guest or observer access. If access is already denied, you can use the menu to allow access.
    • Select and drag the item's arrow icons to move the item in the list.

Set default course tools

You can set which course tools are included in new courses in the Original Course View by default, and if they're available to guests and observers.

The tool settings aren't applicable to new courses in the Ultra Course View at this time.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Course Tools.
  3. Optionally, point to Filter by to open the list and select one of the following filters to view a subset of tools:
    • All Tools: Displays tools provided by Blackboard Learn and tools that have been integrated through building blocks.
    • Available Tools: Displays only the tools that are set to Default On in the Availability Default column.
    • Guest Tools: Displays tools that you can make available to guests.
    • Observer Tools: Displays tool that you can make available to observers.
  4. To make a tool available by default, select the check box. To make the tool unavailable by default, clear the check box.

    If you make announcements unavailable, any announcements that instructors have previously created remain visible in their courses. However, instructors won't be able to delete these announcements because the tool will no longer be available.

  5. To allow guest access to tools, select the Allow Guest check box. To allow observer access to tools, select the Allow Observer check box. You can't make tools available to guests or observers that have a circle with a diagonal line icon instead of a check box.
  6. Select Submit.

Set Original course default images

You can set three default images to appear in standard locations in the Original Course View. Images aren't required for courses to display properly. If you don't set default images and no images are included when a course is created, the course ignores the images areas and displays only the Original Course View course areas.

Images must be GIF, JPG/JPEG, or PNG files.

The course default images aren't applicable to new courses in the Ultra Course View.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Course Images. For each image, perform the following steps.
  3. In the Banner URL box, provide the link that the image points to. Users who select the image will be taken to this URL. Provide the entire URL, including http protocol. For example: http://www.blackboard.com, not www.blackboard.com or blackboard.com
  4. In the Name of Link box, provide a text description of the link. This description appears when users place their mouse pointers over the image.
  5. Select Browse My Computer to upload the image.
  6. Select Submit.

Add default original tool links

This info applies to the Original Course View only. Tool links allow access to a tool directly through the course menu.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Course Menu and Structures.
  3. On the Course Menu and Structures page, point to the plus sign icon and select Create Tool Link.
  4. Type a Name.
  5. In the Type list, select the type of tool to link to.
  6. To make the new link available to users when a course is created, select the Available to Users check box.
  7. Select Submit.

Guests are only allowed access to the Original Course View at this time. Observer users can't access associated users at this time.


Add default web links

This info applies only to the Original Course View at this time. Web links point to destinations outside of Blackboard Learn.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Course Menu and Structures.
  3. On the Course Menu and Structures page, point to the plus sign icon and select Create Web Link.
  4. Type a Name.
  5. Type the URL. Provide the entire URL, including http protocol. For example: http://www.blackboard.com, not www.blackboard.com or blackboard.com
  6. To make the new link available to users, select the Available to Users check box.
  7. Select Submit.

Guests have access to any web link that appears on the Original Course View course menu.


Set default course size limits

  1. In the Administrator Panel, in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Default Course Size Limits.
  3. On the Course Size Limits page, select the Maximum Course disk size.
    • Unlimited.
    • Limited. Type a number in the MB box.
  4. If the course disk size is limited, choose whether to Send Quota Notifications to the course instructors. If notifications are sent, set the size the course exceeds in MB to trigger the notification.
  5. Select the Maximum Course Package Size.
    • Unlimited.
    • Limited. Type a number in the MB box.
  6. Select Submit.

More on how to set individual course quotas


Set default grading security settings

For the Original Course View only, you can allow students to access tests and surveys only on computers you specify. Students must use computers with IP addresses in the allowed range.

Access this setting from the Admin Panel > Courses > Course Settings > Grading Security Settings


Set default grading schema display and calculations

Grading schemas convert raw numeric scores, such as 88 points out of 100, to specific grade displays, such as B+ or Pass. When students view their grades, they see the grade display that corresponds to their numeric scores.

Grading schemas allow Blackboard Learn to support many different grading conventions, including the following:

  • Traditional letter grades, such as A, B, C, D, and F
  • Binary results, such as Pass/Fail or Progress/No Progress
  • Text, such as Excellent, Satisfactory, Poor

You can create any number of grading schemas for instructors to use in courses. Instructors can select a schema to use as a default and then modify the display values and calculations for an individual course.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Courses section, select Course Settings.
  2. On the Course Settings page, select Default Grading Schemas.
  3. On the Default Grading Schemas page, type a name for this schema. Instructors can change this name in their courses. Any changes instructors make to the grade schema settings in a course apply only to that course. Instructors can also create new schemas for a course based on the default schema.
  4. In the Schema Mapping section, provide score ranges as percentages in the Grades Scored Between column and the display values for the corresponding grade in the Will Equal column. For example, type 90 into the Grades Scored Between box, then type A in the Will Equal box. When students score between 90% and 100%, their grade displays as an A.

    The top score in the range updates automatically when you provide a bottom score value. For example, when you type 90 in a Grades Scored Between box, the next row down adjusts the And Less Than value to 90.

    The Grades Manually Entered as column updates automatically when you provide a Will Equal value.

    You can add or delete rows to accommodate any number of grade ranges. To add a row, select the arrow button in the Insert Rows column. To delete a row, select the Delete Row link.

  5. In the Will Calculate As column, provide the percentage to use in grade-related calculations when instructors manually enter grades. For example, if a score range of 87% to 90% displays a B+, and a manually entered B+ corresponds to 88.5%, Blackboard Learn uses 88.5% to calculate grade averages even if the student's raw score is 87%.

    This step is applicable to the Original Course View only. In the Ultra Course View, Learn automatically calculates the median grade within the specified range and uses that value for grades manually entered by instructors.

  6. Select Submit.