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 and journals
  • 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.

Video: Student Preview


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 view your course from the student perspective.


Start student preview

To start, select Student Preview mode.

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.


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. If you create self-enroll course groups, your preview user is enrolled automatically at the end of the optional enrollment period.

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.


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.


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.