Blackboard Learn includes an email function for administrators to quickly email sets of users:

  • All instructors
  • All students
  • All users

After the recipients are determined, all messages are created the same way.

More on how to make the email tool available in courses and organizations

More on how students use email

More on how instructors use email


Send email

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Tools and Utilities section, select Email.
  2. Select All Instructors, All Students, or All Users.
  3. Type a subject and a message.
  4. Select Submit to send the message.

Turn off DMARC handling

In the Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2016 and Q4 2016 releases, Blackboard added a new feature to turn off DMARC handling with emails. Clients who host their own mail server and have control over their user's email addresses are not susceptible to DMARC-based rejections and can disable this feature.

  1. In the bb-config.properties file, modify bbconfig.email.use.dmarc.from.override to disable the DMARC handling. Change the setting to false. By changing the setting to false, do-not-reply@local will be removed from mail headers.
  2. Update the configuration by running the PushConfigUpdates command.

More on the bb-config.properties file

More on PushConfigUpdates


Edit email configuration settings

Starting in the Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017 release, administrators edit email configuration settings in the user interface, rather than editing the settings in the bb-config.properties file. This method also allows you to edit email configuration settings without having to restart your Blackboard Learn environment.

In the Administrator Panel, you can designate email addresses for users to contact for support requests. Additional email settings are also available. Navigate to the Admin Panel. In the Tools and Utilities area, select System Configuration > Email Configuration to get started.

Edit the following settings as desired. Select Submit when you're finished.

Setting Description
Primary Support Email Contact Enter an email address for support requests that originate from Blackboard Learn. This is the email address used in the Contact Support link that appears to instructors and course builders in the Control Panel of their courses.

In earlier versions of Blackboard Learn, this field could be found in "System Admin > Local Support Contact."

Administrator Email This email address appears in the From field for emails sent by the administrator from within Blackboard Learn.
Override "From" Address Designate an email address to override the sender's own email address. If you select Yes, type an email address that should appear in the From field of the messages.
Override "To" Address Designate an email address to receive a copy of emails sent from within Blackboard Learn. Emails still reach the intended recipient, but a copy of the message goes to this email address. This email address will collect a lot of messages over time because it receives a copy of all messages sent from within Blackboard Learn. If this field is left empty, a copy of the emails will go to the administrator email address.
Debugging SMTP Enable this setting to keep a log of SMTP interactions. This log can be useful when troubleshooting.
Send Email Notifications From Type an email address that should appear in the From field for notification emails sent from Blackboard Learn.
Mail Server Settings Setup an SMTP server to handle email in Learn. For extra security, choose whether to require authentication and enable SSL or TLS encryption. Settings take effect when you select Submit. An entry in the registry is created the first time this configuration page is used.

More on security in Blackboard Learn

Advanced Info Details the email configuration settings that are in the bb-config.properties file. To edit these settings, you will need to restart your Blackboard Learn instance.

Mail server settings

To improve the security related to outbound email, SMTP authentication is supported starting with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017. You can configure the mail server completely in the Administrator Panel. For legacy purposes, the bb-config.properties file also has added parameters. The parameters can be used for configuration if no registry entry has been created using the Administrator Panel. If the registry exists, it will be used instead of bb-config.properties. Changes to the configuration file are noted below.

When upgrading from a prior release, previous settings are maintained and the new configurations are at their defaults—not using authentication or encryption. Administrators can enable these features after upgrade. Errors with email continue to be in the same email logs.

bbconfig.properties excerpt:

## The boolean flag to indicate whether the SMTP server requires authentication, the value can be either true or false(default) ##
bbconfig.smtpserver.auth.required=@bbconfig.smtpserver.auth.required@
bbconfig.smtpserver.username=@bbconfig.smtpserver.username@
bbconfig.smtpserver.password=@bbconfig.smtpserver.password@

## Connection type specifies the way how the emails be encrypted, the valid options are ##
## Default: the emails are not encrypted.
## StartTLS: the emails are encrypted via TLS
## SSL: The emails are emails via SSL
## Any other value (including null) will be token as Default. ##
bbconfig.smtpserver.connectiontype=@bbconfig.smtpserver.connectiontype@


Restrict email permissions in a course

Administrators can define the extent to which users in courses can contact one another using the Email tool. You can restrict the Email tool recipient options that are available in a course, which can help prevent students from misusing the tool.

The options are managed through the following permissions.

  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Groups
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Instructor/Leader Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Observer Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Student/Participant Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Teaching Assistant/Assistant Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > All Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > Select Groups
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > Select Observer Users
  • Course/Organization (Tools) > Send Email > Select  Users

Instructors won't be able to enable the email settings you have disabled through these permissions. For example, if you choose to restrict students from emailing all users in a course, the option appears greyed out and unavailable for instructors to enable in the course.

More on how instructors enable email in a course