About student preview

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about student preview.

You want to be confident that your course is well-designed and functions as you expect—before your students see it. With student preview, you can review the course content from a student's perspective. You can also validate course behaviors, such as the conditional release of content and how grades appear.

While in student preview mode, you can do these student activities:

  • Submit assignments
  • Take tests
  • Create blog and discussion posts
  • Create journal and wiki entries
  • View student tools, such as My Grades

Student preview is different from Edit Mode. While Edit Mode hides your edit controls and content under certain conditions, student preview allows you to experience your course as your students will.


Watch a video about student preview

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


Video: Student Preview explains how to enter and exit student preview mode, and delete the preview user account.


Enter student preview mode

To enter student preview mode, select the Enter Student Preview icon.

Student preview creates a student account, called the preview user. You're logged in as the preview user and enrolled in the current course. When you enter student preview mode, the student preview bar appears at the top of each page. The bar displays the text "Student Preview mode is ON" and has Settings and Exit Preview functions.

Student preview mode is active only in the courses where you enable it. You're still an instructor in the rest of Blackboard Learn. However, the same preview user account is used when you enter student preview mode in more than one course.


Your preview user account

When you enter student preview mode and are logged in to your course with the preview user account, your preview user appears in the course roster. The preview user is visible to all students enrolled in the course. Students and administrators can easily identify your preview user account by the name. The last name is your last name appended with _PreviewUser and the username is your username appended with _previewuser.

If you teach a course with another instructor, you each have a preview user account.

As a preview user, all the data associated with your activities are captured by Blackboard Learn, such as submitted assignments and discussion posts. Other students can interact with your preview user. For example, they can reply to your posts as though you were another student enrolled in the course.


Exit and delete your preview user account

Select Exit Preview to exit the student preview. If you leave the course and don't exit from student preview, when you return to the course, you'll be in student preview mode.

When you exit the student preview, you're asked if you want to keep or delete the preview user and all associated data.

Delete the preview user and data

We recommend you remove the preview user and associated data.

In the Exit Student Preview window, select Delete the preview user and all data (Recommended). Optionally, select the Do not ask me check box. The course automatically completes your choice each time you exit student preview.

To change this setting, select Settings in the student preview bar.

When you delete the preview user, all activity conducted or created as the preview user is removed from the course permanently. Removal includes test attempts, assignment submissions, grades, and discussion posts. Any interaction an enrolled student has with the preview user, such as replies to a preview user's discussion posts is also removed. The preview user is unenrolled from the course. If the user isn't enrolled in another course, the preview user account is deleted.

You can unenroll the preview user account from a course with traditional enrollment tools. If you do, some of the activity conducted or created as the preview student remains in the course but is made anonymous. For example, discussion posts are retained but Anonymous appears in place of the name.

Keep the preview user and data

Select Keep the preview user and all data if you need to keep the user and data to see how student activity presents itself to you as the instructor, such as grade calculations. If you keep the data, the preview user account appears in the course roster, Grade Center, and any place you interacted as that user.

When you save the preview user account, the dot in the middle of the Enter Student Preview icon turns green. The preview user account is ready for use.

If you run course reports or gather statistics, your numbers will be skewed by one or more if multiple instructors use student preview. Also, the preview student can confuse students who interact with this student when you're not in student preview mode to monitor the interaction.


ULTRA: About student preview

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about student preview.

You want to be confident that your course is well-designed and functions as you expect—before your students see it. With student preview, you can review the course content from a student's perspective. You can also validate course behaviors. For example, you can review the conditional release of content and how grades appear.

While in student preview, you can do these student activities:

  • Submit assignments
  • Take tests
  • Download and upload files
  • Participate in conversations
  • Participate in discussions
  • Send course messages
  • View grades as a student
  • Experience group membership

You can't use student preview or make other changes in a completed course.


ULTRA: Start student preview

To start, select Enter student preview mode on your Course Content page in the Details & Actions panel. Select Start Preview.

Student preview creates a student account, called the preview user. You're logged in as the preview user and enrolled in the current course. The student preview bar appears at the top of each page.

The bar displays Welcome to Student Preview and contains a menu with three options:

  • View Gradebook
  • Reset Preview
  • Exit Preview

View Gradebook

After you've graded some of your preview user's work, you can access the gradebook to view grades. When you select View Gradebook, the student preview closes. Select Student Preview to open it again and continue as your preview user.

Reset Preview

You can reset your preview user's course activity and start fresh. Most activity is removed, but some activity remains. Your preview user remains in the course.

Activity removed

  • Assessment attempts, scores, and feedback are removed.
  • Graded SCORM scores are removed.
  • Attendance marks and accommodations are removed.
  • Your preview user's assessment exceptions return to the original assessment settings.
  • Graded discussion scores and feedback are removed.
  • Your preview user is removed from all groups.

Some activity remains

  • Your preview user's discussion responses and replies remain. Anonymous replaces your preview user's name. You can delete each response and reply.
  • Your preview user's conversations remain. Anonymous replaces the preview user's name. You can delete any user's contributions.
  • Your preview user's messages remain. You can delete any messages.
  • Your preview appears in the unassigned list on the Assign Groups page.

Exit Preview

You can return to the instructor view at any time. For example, you may find some content to update. Your preview user and activity remain in the course. Your preview user is NOT removed from your course unless you remove the user from the roster.


ULTRA: Your preview user

After you enable student preview, your preview user appears in the roster. Your preview user is visible to all students enrolled in the course. Everyone can identify your preview user by the name. The last name is your last name appended with _PreviewUser. The username is your username appended with _previewuser.

If you teach a course with another instructor, you each have a preview user account. Your preview user remains in your course until you delete the user from the roster.

As a preview user, all your activities are captured by Blackboard Learn. Your preview user activity isn't included in analytics and course reports. Other students can interact with your preview user.

You may cause confusion if you add a preview user to a group with other students. If you do add the preview user, we recommend that you don't submit a group assignment as the preview user. After you reset the preview, you may not be able to access the group submission because the preview user was removed from the group.

Example: Discussions

Your preview user appears in the topic area and in the Participants list. If you create a response, another student can reply.

If you reset the preview, the preview user's discussion activity remains, but Anonymous appears as your preview user's name. You can delete any discussion responses and replies.


ULTRA: Exit the preview and remove your preview user

Select Exit Preview to exit the student preview. Your preview user remains in the course. If you leave the course and don't exit from student preview, you won't be in student preview when you return. Select Student Preview to continue.

If you exit the student preview but stay in the course, you can return to the student preview. Your student preview user starts in the same area you exited.

Remove your preview user and activity

We recommend you remove your preview user from the roster. After removal, some course activity remains. Your preview user's name in discussion posts and conversations is changed to Anonymous. Your preview user's messages remain in the course. You can delete all this activity.

If you keep your preview user and activity, your preview user appears in the roster, gradebook, and any place you interacted as that user.

Reminder: Your preview student can confuse students who see this student in course areas such as discussions or conversations.

Remove user from the roster

On the Roster page, access your preview user's menu. Select Edit member information to open the Member Information panel. Select the Remove Member icon to remove your preview user from your course. Your institution controls if you can remove members.

After you remove your preview user, you can start student preview again. A new instance of the preview user is created.


ULTRA: Archive and restore courses with a preview user

If you archive a course with a preview user and activity, the restored course won't include the preview user or grades and attempts. The preview user's discussions, messages, and conversations do remain. If you included the preview user in groups, membership is removed, but the preview user's conversations remain.