Response periods represent the group of people the survey is sent to (recipients) in conjunction with the time frame the survey is open to collect data. The recipients of a survey can be selected based on their course enrollment, their role within the Blackboard system, or their email addess.

The type of recipients you select determines the the type of reporting you can perform. Recipients who are enrolled in courses or recipients who have a role in Blackboard most likely have other demographic information stored in the system. This information can be used in reports to analyze responses based on those demographics. Recipients who are uploaded from a list email addresses are not available for demographic comparisons.

Response periods are set to collect anonymous survey responses by default.

The most efficient way to send the survey to different groups of people and during different times is to create different response periods for a single survey. You compare the results of different response periods when you analyze the survey results.


  • Create an undergraduate course evaluation with response periods for the fall term and the spring term. The students taking the survey and the time frame the survey is open to collect data are different, but the questions are the same. Results from students enrolled in different terms can be analyzed based by different criteria such as their courses or the department they are affiliated with.

    If a student is enrolled in more than one course that is part of the deployment for a survey, that student will receive a notification for EACH course and will need to respond to the survey individually for each course. Each response will be associated with the course to which it applies.

  • Create a post graduation survey for all alumni and distribute it by email. Create response periods for each graduation year by using different email lists. Results can be analyzed based on graduation year and by question.

Create response periods

  1. Open an existing enterprise survey's menu.
  2. Select Response Period.
  3. On the Response Periods page, select Create Response Period.
  4. Type information in on the Detailed Summary tab.
  5. Survey responses default automatically to collecting anonymous responses. When Accept Anonymous Responses is checked, responses from all recipients will be anonymous. To change the default, uncheck Accept Anonymous Responses.
    If you want to use demographics to compare survey responses in reports, survey responses cannot be set to anonymous. Uncheck Accept Anonymous Responses.
  6. Select Save and Continue to progress through the Select Recipients, Notify, and Scheduling tabs. Information about each tab is available below.
  7. Select Save and Exit when you are done setting the response period parameters.

You can return to a response period for further editing. Go to the Response Periods page, open an existing response period's menu, and select Edit Response Period.

Select recipients

On the Select Recipients tab, you select survey recipients by place, by role, or by uploading email addresses. Response periods can have only one set of recipients based on their enrollment, role, email addresses.You cannot combine a list of uploaded email addresses with a set of students enrolled in a course in one response period. Instead, use the same survey and create two response periods, one for the email addresses and one for the enrolled users.

By places

Places refer to course and organization enrollments. You can send surveys to all the users who are enrolled in courses, in organizations or in both. You can narrow down the pool of recipients by including only specific course roles, courses within a term, and courses within a department or business unit if your institution has licensed community engagement.

Using this option allows you to release the results of the survey to instructors from the Scheduling tab.

This example illustrates how to send a course evaluation to students enrolled in all biology department courses in the Spring 2012 term. It assumes that locations have been created at the institution and terms added.

  1. On the Choose Places tab, select Send to Location.
  2. Select Find Location and then search for Biology Department.
  3. Select Find Terms and then select Spring 2012.
  4. Select Student under Course Roles.
  5. Select Calculate or the refresh icon to see the approximate number of recipients.
  6. Select Save and Exit.

By users

You can send surveys to all users based on their institutional role. You can narrow the pool of recipients by including only specific institutional roles, or institutional roles within a place such as a department or business unit if your institution has licensed community engagement and created locations.

Selecting recipients using this method limits report access to survey authors and administrators. If you need to release survey results to teachers, select recipients using the Places option. Reports can always be saved and manually distributed.

This example shows how to send an employee satisfaction survey to faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences:

  1. On the Choose Users tab, select Send to Users by Location.
  2. Select Find Location and then search for College of Arts and Sciences.
  3. Select Faculty and Staff from Available Roles select the arrow to move them to Selected Roles.
  4. Select Calculate or the refresh icon to see the approximate number of recipients. 
  1. Select Save and Exit.

By uploading email addresses

Email addresses are uploaded to the system in a text file. You can upload the file from your computer or from the Content Collection if your institution licenses content management. Each email address must be on a separate line in the text file.

Notify recipients of survey availability

On the Notify tab, you select how recipients are notified and edit the message they receive. Recipients are notified about an available survey by course alerts, My Blackboard alerts, or email. The notification methods available depend on the type of recipients you have selected. For example, recipients selected from an uploaded email list do not receive course alerts or My Blackboard alerts.

  • Course notifications appear to selected users at the top of every page in their course when their course is selected as a place to send the survey. Course notifications only appear to users who are enrolled in the course and have been selected to receive the survey based on this enrollment and their course role.
    Course notifications are not available for surveys sent to users based on their institution roles or based on an uploaded email list.
  • My Blackboard is a centralized location where users receive alerts, announcements, and other types of information about their participation. Users receive notification of a survey in My Blackboard when they have a role in the system.
    My Blackboard notifications are not available for recipients who are selected from an uploaded email list.
  • Email notifications are available for all types of survey recipients. Email can be selected as an additional notification method when Course Notification and My Blackboard are available. It is the only notification method for uploaded email addresses.
    When email notification is selected, you must enter a valid email address in the From box. Email that cannot be delivered is bounced to this email address. If you are sending a survey to a large email list, consider setting up an alternate email account for yourself that can receive large volumes of email.
    You can include email addresses in the Cc box, including your own. This is optional.

Edit survey notifications

Use the text editor to personalize the notification and submission messages the recipients receive to generate timely responses. It is not possible to add images, links, or media to notification messages. The text editor includes variables to automatically populate text, such as the survey name, institution name, and the date the survey closes.

Notification messages have a subject line and a message body. Both fields are required and can be edited. Both fields can use variables. To edit a notification message follow these steps.

  1. On the Edit Response Period page, access the Notify tab.
  2. Under Notification Method, select Edit to open the text editor. Type a Subject.
  3. Select the Insert Variable icon and select the variable to include in the message. The variable dynamically fills in the notification or message for the specific user. For example: if you select the course name variable, the name of the associated course is shown in the notification or message. 
  4. Type a Message.
  5. Select the Insert Variable icon and select the variable to include in the message.
  6. Edit the Survey Text Link.
  7. Select Preview to see how the message will appear to recipients.

Add variables manually

It is also possible to add variables manually. Use this text to insert all variables you need:

Institution Name variable: [__SYSTEM.REGISTER_NAME__]
Survey Name variable: [__INSTRUMENT.NAME__]
Response Period Name variable: [__DEPLOYMENT.NAME__]
Response Period End Date variable: [__DEPLOYMENT.ENDDATE__]
Course Name variable: [__RESPONSE.COURSENAME__]
Course/Organization Role variable: [__RESPONSE.COURSEORGROLE__]
Instructor Names variable: [__RESPONSE.INSTRUCTORNAMES__]

Edit automated system responses

Automated system response messages are sent to survey recipients after they have taken an action. Automated system responses have only a message body. When the survey is submitted, recipients receive the Submission Message. If the recipient attempts to submit a survey more than once, they receive the Duplicate Submission Message. If a recipient attempts to respond to a survey after the response period has ended, they receive the Unavailable Message.

  1. On the Edit Response Period page, access the Notify tab.
  2. Under Automated System Responses, select Edit to open the text editor for a message.
  3. Type a Subject.
  4. Select the Insert Variable icon and select the variable to include in the message.
  5. Edit the Submission Message.
  6. Select the Insert Variable icon and select the variable to include in the message.
  7. Select Preview to see how the message will appear to recipients.

Schedule survey delivery and set reminders

On the Scheduling tab, you can send or close an enterprise survey immediately or schedule delivery or closing for a future date and time.

  1. On the Edit Response Period page, access the Scheduling tab .
  2. Make selections for the date and times the survey will be sent and closed.
  3. Select Add Reminder to send email reminders to recipients who have not responded to the survey.
  4. Select the time interval or pick a specific date to send the first reminder.
  5. Repeat the reminder at different intervals based on the date of the first reminder.
  6. Type a Subject.
  7. Type a Message.
  8. Edit the Survey Link Text.
  9. Select Save.