How it works and what is required

Role-Based Access is a feature in Blackboard Data Reporting that allows access to compartmentalized reports, ensuring each user accesses only appropriate data based on their role.

Currently, Blackboard Data Reporting is targeted towards high-level institutional leadership including Provosts, Heads of distance/online learning, Deans, Student Success Leaders, among others. However, to fully support and facilitate a data-informed decision-making culture, we want to expand support to additional users interested in report content but may only have access to some institution-wide data.

Having a broader deployment of Reporting across your Teaching and Learning management structure will empower each user to make confident decisions, facilitate delegation, feedback, and collaboration across roles, enabling data-informed conversations without the need to export and distribute reports’ data.

To successfully implement Role-Based Access, we recommend:

  1. Adopt Institutional Authentication for Blackboard Data. Find out how to set up Institutional Authentication
  2. Set up Institutional Hierarchy:


Supported Reports

This table will be frequently updated to reflect the supported reports as we release them:

Area Report Status
Learning Student Engagement  Supported
Learning Student Performance and Grades  Work in progress 
Learning Social and Collaborative Engagement  Work in progress 
Learning Student Summary  Work in progress 
Teaching Instructional Practices  Planned 
Teaching Assessment and Grading  Planned 
Teaching Course Summary  Planned 
Leading Learning Tools Adoption  Planned 
Leading Collaboration Session Activity  Planned 
Leading Learning Platform Adoption  Planned 
Leading Course Administration  Planned 



Setting up Role-Based Access with Blackboard Learn as identity provider

1) Ensure the report is already set to support restricted viewers (Check the table above).

2) Get Role-Based Access feature provision:

You can get access to the Role-Based Access feature by submitting a case in Behind the Blackboard:

  1. Log in to Behind the Blackboard.
  2. Select  Create a case under the Support section. 
  3. Fill in the required information on the form.
  4. Once provided, follow the next steps in the guide.

3) Add the BbDataRestrictedViewer role to an existing user:

To grant the BbDataRestrictedViewer role to a user in Blackboard Learn, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Blackboard Learn using your administrative credentials.
  2. Go to the System Administrator panel.

    At this point, we recommend having the Institutional Hierarchy (IH) and courses already configured. See how to set IH

  3. Go to the Users section and select Users
    Blackboard Learn, System Admin, Users
  4. In the Users section, search for the user you want to modify roles for. 
  5. Drop down the menu next to the username and select Edit.
    Blackboard Data, Users Roles
  6. Go to the System Roles section at the bottom of the page. 
  7. Locate the BbDataRestrictedViewer role from the list and add it to the user: this role is specifically designed for restricted data viewing purposes. 
  8. Select Submit to apply the changes to the user.
    Blackboard Data, Roles, Restricter Viewer

    The changes may take time to be effective. Please allow a few hours for the updates to apply.

4) Set the user access levels: 

To configure the levels of access for a user within the Institutional Hierarchy, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the System Administrator panel. 
  2. Go to the Communities section and select Institutional Hierarchy: this allows you to manage and configure the hierarchy levels.
  3. Navigate through your Institutional Hierarchy, choose nodes and child nodes you would like to grant access to the user, e.g., College A > Department 1.
    Blackboard Data, Hierarchy Node
  4. Once you have selected the desired node, go to the Administrators tab.
  5. You should see a list of all current Administrators for the node. If the list is empty, select Add Administrator.
    Blackboard Data, Hierarchy Node, Add Admin
  6. From the Add Administrators dialog box:
    • If you know the Username you want to add as an Administrator, type it in the username field.
    • If not, select the Browse button and search by fields including Name, Email address, or System role. Select all relevant results and then Submit.

    Simplify the process by assigning the system role of BbDataRestrictedViewer to all users who require compartmentalized access. This way, you can easily find these users without knowing their usernames.

  7. After selecting the relevant users, assign them the Administrator's System Roles for use in the node.

    The specific role is not relevant to compartmentalized reporting in Blackboard Data but will impact the user's permissions within the node in Blackboard Learn. We recommend using one of the roles dedicated to Blackboard Data, such as BbDataRestrictedViewer, as it won't grant any additional permissions in Learn.

    Blackboard Data, Hierarchy Node, Add Admin, Restricted Viewer
  8. Select Submit.

    After the nightly refresh, this user will have compartmentalized access to reports and will only be able to see the nodes for which they have an administrator association, given that they also have the BbDataRestrictedViewer role in Institutional Authentication.


At any time, you can modify the association by changing the node administrator associations or entirely revoke access by removing the user's Institutional Authentication role/group or disabling their SSO account.

Granting access to the desired node ensures that the user can view and interact with the data specific to that level. This allows for fine-grained control over user access based on their role and responsibilities within the institution or organization.


Setting up Role-Based Access with SAML as identity provider

Access via SAML is currently not supported, however, it is part of our planned future developments.


Role-Based Access experience within Blackboard Data:

Once we release the first phase, users with Role-Based Access (RBA) will only be able to see the reports supported and the data from the nodes they are assigned to. (Check the table of supported reports above)

View of a user who has compartmentalized access to the Learning reporting area:

Blackboard Data, Role-Based Access comparison