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Course and Organization Roles

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

If your institution has access to community engagement features, 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 they participate in. 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.


About standard course and organization roles

These 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 in the Original Course View. 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. A course builder can't remove an instructor from a course.

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

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, a grader can't 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.

*This role type is not available in the Ultra experience at this time.

If an administrator has enabled guest access, instructors can make areas within a course accessible to unauthenticated users. Guest users don't have access to the course or organization Control Panel in the Original Course View.

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

Inherited privileges

Privileges and behaviors are inherited from the existing course role (such as TA) that is used to create a new role. The new role retains these privileges even with all privileges removed using the UI—such as 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 feature appear in the UI. Additionally, these inherent and potentially hidden privileges cannot be controlled in the U. They always remain active. Please review the preceding table for an understanding of these default inherited privileges.


Edit a course or organization role

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

The Guest role is not available in the Ultra experience at this time.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Users section, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. Open the role's menu and select Edit.
  3. Select Submit.

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 the 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.

*The course catalog is not available in the Ultra experience at this time.

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.

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*.

The Guest role is not available in the Ultra experience at this time.

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, open the role's menu.
  3. Select Privileges. The Manage Privileges page lists the privileges you can assign. A green check mark indicates that the privilege is assigned to this role.

  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. Select Permit Privileges.

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