There are two types of messages in Blackboard Learn. My Blackboard messages are used to communicate with other users who may not be in the same course. Course messages are used to communicate with user who are enrolled in one of your classes, including students, teaching assistants, and other instructors.

These messages appear in different places. My Blackboard messages appear on the My Blackboard tab, where users send and receive messages from other Blackboard Learn users. Course messages are found inside individual courses.

More on how students use messages

More on how instructors use messages

Course messages

The course messages tool gives each course a private and secure system for communication that functions similar to email. Keep in mind that users cannot send or receive messages to anyone outside of the course.

Typically, users access course messages from the course menu. Users can also access new messages from the Updates page which displays notifications and is access from the global navigation located at the top right of the screen.

Availability of the course messages tool

To learn how to make the course messages tool available in courses and organizations, see Manage Tools.

Course messages options

You can choose whether to allow users to include file attachments with messages and create personal folders. Disabling these functions may help save disk space and prevent users from using course messages to store content. By default, users may not add file attachments to messages, and users may not create personal folders.

On the Administrator Panel in the Tools and Utilities section, select Course Messages. Select the check boxes to allow users to attach files to messages and create personal folders for storing messages.

My Blackboard messages

The Messages tool provides the ability to asynchronously communicate with other users at your institution and throughout the global learning network. Users can send one-to-one and one-to-many messages that are similar to messages you can send and receive through today's social platforms. From the Messages tool, users can read, reply, delete, and compose messages.

More on Social Learning Tools

Frequently asked questions

How does the Messages tool differ from Course Messages?

The new Messages tool enables users to send a quick message to any Blackboard Learn user in the global learning network, whether or not they are in a course together. It is similar to messaging tools found in other social applications. In comparison, the Course Messages tool is meant for sending messages only to others within a specific course and it is a more full-featured tool that includes subject lines, creating and editing folders, moving messages, read/unread, full WYSIWYG content editor and more. Both tools will remain available in Blackboard Learn, as they address different scenarios and different user needs.

Can I view my users' messages and monitor for inappropriate content?

No, System Administrators do not have the ability to view Messages between users.

Users are able to have a single, lifelong Profile that they use at multiple institutions (for example, if they are taking classes at multiple schools or they are teaching at one institution while they are a student at another).Therefore, cloud-based messages could contain conversations between your user and their faculty, administrators, and students at other institutions. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to expose Messages data to an individual system administrator.

Can messages tie into my personal or institutional email system?

The Messages tool is an entirely separate, asynchronous communication tool driven through the Blackboard Cloud. You can't currently integrate this with a user's personal or institutional email system.

ULTRA: Messages


Users can view messages for all their courses on one page or for one course at a time.

This information also applies to organizations.

Messages in base navigation

Users access their global Messages pages from the list where their names appear first—the base navigation. Messages are organized by course. Everyone can use messages for reminders, quick questions, and social interactions.

If your institution allows the dual course approach, users can view messages from both the Ultra and Original Course Views.

Users can send messages to each other, multiple people, or an entire class. Messages activity remains inside the system, and no one has to worry about email addresses that may be incorrect or outdated.

Messages in a course

In the Original Course View, instructors can access messages on the Control Panel > Course Tools > Course Messages or from a customized link they add to the course menu. Students can access course messages from a course menu link or from the Tools page.

In the Ultra Course View, all users can access messages on the navigation bar. The course Messages page displays all the messages that are specific to the course users are in.

Configure messages

In the Ultra experience, the course messages tool is always on for your users. You can't turn it off.

For Original Course View messages, you can manage two settings in the Admin Panel > Tools and Utilities > Course Messages.

You can choose whether to allow users to include file attachments with messages and create personal folders. If you disable these functions, you may help save disk space and prevent users from storing content in course messages. By default, users may not add file attachments to messages, and users may not create personal folders.

What do users see?

In this short video, learn how to send and read messages.

View messages from the instructor's point of view. Use your browser's back function to return here.

Migrate message storage

Messages in courses and organizations created prior to Blackboard Learn SaaS release 3300.0.0 were stored via flat files on a shared storage volume.

To help maintain course message archives, you can migrate messages in courses and organizations to the Learn database. New courses and organizations always store messages in the database.

  1. Go to Administrator Panel > Tools and Utilities > Course Messages.
  2. Next to Create Migration Request, choose Select Courses/Organizations.
  3. Type the IDs for courses and organizations that contain messages you wish to migrate. Separate the IDs using a comma.
  4. Select Submit.

The system begins processing the request automatically. During migration, the system skips a course or organization if it doesn’t exist, is disabled, or already uses database storage for messages.

Each course is processed one at a time, which can make migration time consuming. We recommend migrating no more than 100 courses or organizations at once.

If you want to confirm that the message migration is successful, check the Learn system logs.