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This section deals with functions found in the Control Panel area labeled Customization.

Guest and Observer Access
Properties (Availability of sites, Language Packs)
Quick Setup Guide (Cannot be used as values will be overwritten by System)
Teaching Style (Course Appearance)
Tool Availability


Guest Access

How do you make content areas or all of a Blackboard web site unavailable to guests?

Guest access, meaning the worldwide public, is enabled system-wide and all new courses are created, by default, with guest access turned on. The only content area available to guests by default in course sites is Syllabus. Guests can see Announcements, Course Description, Reading List, and Contacts, but all other tools and communication devices are unavailable to them.

To make a specific content area unavailable or available to guests, click the chevron (to the right of the content area's name in the course menu) to open the contextual menu and click Deny guests (or Permit guests, as the case may be) inhe dropdown menu.

Deny Geust Access

To make the entire site unavailable or available to guests, in the Control Panel (located below the course menu), click the chevron to the left of Customizations to open the contextual menu. Click Guest and Observer Access.

From the main area of the site, click No (or Yes, as the case may be) next to Allow Guests.  Click Submit.

(Note: The Allow Observer Access option is irrelevant unless you have requested that someone be enrolled as an observer of a specific user in your site. This feature was developed primarily for parents of the K-12 cohort.)



What does Classification do (in the Customization area of my control panel)?

Absolutely nothing! It offers to allow you to select Subject Area and Discipline, but these selections show up nowhere. These fields can be safely ignored. Course Classification is not part of or related to Course Categorization for the Course Catalog. A default Classification value is listed when each Course is created. These fields were used in previous versions but exist now only to ensure backward compatibility with Building Blocks or other plugins.

How do I make my course site unavailable?

Instructors can set Courses to be Available or Unavailable. Unavailable Courses do not appear in the Course Catalog. Instructors, Course Builders, Teaching Assistants and Graders can see and access unavailable Courses from My Courses and the Course List but they are marked as unavailable. Students and Guests may not access Unavailable Courses.

To make a course unavailable (or available,as the case may be), in the Control Panel (located below the course menu),click the chevron to the left of Customizations to open the contextual menu, then click Properties. From the main area of the site, click No (or Yes, as the case may be) next to Make Course Available. Click Submit.

How do I set the language for my course site?

Click here for language support instructions.


Teaching Style (Course Appearance)

Can I change how my course site looks?

Instructors, instructional staff, and builders have the ability to design and style their course to reflect the individual needs of their subject and material. They can select the menu color and style of the course menu (including the option to use text or buttons to represent individual items); they can create a customized page banner (using the Text Editor); select the color scheme displayed on each course module page; and they can upload a course banner image to be displayed on the page designated as the "Course Entry Point". All of these options provide the instructor with added flexibility to determine the presentation of their course.

The Style settings control how the Course appears to users. Settings include identifying the first page Users see when they open the Course, the appearance of the menu, and how content items appear in folders. In addition, a banner may be added to the top of the Course.

To change how your course appears to users, in the Control Panel (located below the course menu), click the chevron to the left of Customizations to open the contextual menu., then click Style.

1. Select Menu Style

Select Buttons or Text. This selection determines the options for styling the buttons or text.

The Style Properties for Buttons include:

  • Button Type: Select Pattern, Solid, or Striped from the drop-down menu. This selection determines the available Button Styles below.
  • Button Shape: Select a shape for the buttons.
  • Button Style: Select the color and texture from a variety of options.

To quickly design a button, click Button Library to open a listing of dozens of different button designs.

The Style Properties for Text include:

  • Background Color: Select the background color for the Menu using the Pick button. 216 colors are available or a hexadecimal color value can be entered.
  • Text Color: Select the color for the text of the links on Menu using the Pick button. 216 colors are available or a hexadecimal color value can be entered.

Pick colors for the background and text that display a high level of contrast to ensure readability and accessibility.

2. Course Menu Display

Two views of the Menu are available to users: List View and Folder View. Instructors set the default view of the Menu and allow users to access one or both views.

List View displays the top-level of Course materials. Links can be displayed as buttons or text. Folder View displays Course materials as a directory tree. The view can expanded to show the hierarchy of Course navigation.

3.  Default Content View

Set how content items appear in folders when Users first access the course. Icon and Text displays both a picture and the Name and Description of the item. This is the default option.

4.  Select Course Entry Point

The Course Entry Point is the first area displayed to users when they enter a Course. Instructors can change the Course Entry Point by selecting an area from the drop-down menu. Available Course Entry Points are areas displayed on the Menu.

Changing the Course Entry Point takes effect immediately for users who log into the system after the change. Users who are in the system when the change takes place will see the new Course Entry Point when they login again.

5.  Select Banner

Instructors can add a image to the top of the Announcements page or entry page in their course. Banner images that take up a lot space at the top of the page may require Users to scroll to see content.

Use the Browse (PC) or Choose File (Mac) button to locate an image file from a local drive.


Tool Availability

How can I control which tools are available to my students?

To change course tool availability, in the Control Panel (located below the course menu), click the chevron to the left of Customizations to open the contextual menu, then click Tool Availability.

Use this page to control what tools can be used as well as which users have access to those tools.

Availability Settings

Available tools are listed alphabetically in the Tool Availability table. The table is divided into columns:

  • Available - The tool is available throughout the 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 the Course.
  • Visible to Observers - The tool is visible (read-only), but not usable to Observers when Observers are permitted in the Course.
  • Available in Content Areas - The Instructor can place a link to a tool in one or more Content Areas of the Course.

Tools with a checkbox in a column can be made available be selecting the checkbox and made unavailable by unselecting the checkbox. Tools with a filled gray box in a column have been turned off by the system administrator. Tools with a dash ( - ) in a column do not have availability settings in the system that can be changed.

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


User Manual  

Blackboard Help Line (609) 258-0737