Course roles control access to content and tools within a course.

You can also create organizations and organization roles. Organizations are similar to courses.

You can make organization roles available separately to specific organizations. Then, your institution can treat courses and the relationship among their enrolled users differently than those in organizations.

Each user in a course or organization is assigned a course or organization role. For example, a user with a role of Teaching Assistant in one course can have a role of Student in another course. Instructors may use these roles to delegate some of the responsibility for maintaining the course.

You set course roles when enrolling users in courses. You can also edit course roles after enrollment.

You can edit the properties and privileges associated with existing course and organization roles. You can also copy most standard course and organization roles to create custom roles.

Video: Course and Organization Roles in Blackboard Learn


Watch a video about course and organization roles

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: Course and organization roles provides an overview of the roles available in courses and organizations in Blackboard Learn.


About standard course and organization roles

These standard course and organization roles are installed with Blackboard Learn by default.

Standard Course and Organization Roles
RoleDescription
Course BuilderThe Course Builder role has access to most areas of the course or organization Control Panel in the Original Course View. This role is appropriate for an assistant who should not have access to student grades.

If the course is unavailable to students, a course builder can still access the course. A course builder can't remove an instructor from a course.
FacilitatorThe Facilitator role has default privileges related to course materials, gradebook, calendar, announcements, discussions, and groups to assist instructors in the progress of a course.

Many institutions use Subject Matter Experts to create content for large, multi-section courses that are facilitated by multiple faculty. These institutions or courses may also require more than one person to help keep the curriculum moving forward. Additionally, institution administrators can grant some or all grading, curriculum set up, and communication permissions to trusted facilitators to help ease these responsibilities in larger courses.
GraderThe Grader role has limited access to the Control Panel in the Original Course View. Graders can assist an instructor in the creation, management, delivery, and grading of assessments and surveys. A grader may also assist an instructor with adding manual entries.

If a course is unavailable to students, the course appears in the My Courses module and in the course list for a user with the role of Grader. However, a grader can't enter the course until the course is available.

As part of the delegation grading workflow, instructors can assign the ability to reconcile grades to graders.
Guest

The Guest role allows prospective students, alumni, and parents to explore Blackboard Learn without making any changes to users, courses, or content. Users with the role of Guest are unauthenticated users.

In the Ultra experience, guests can access original courses in the course catalog.

If an administrator has enabled guest access, instructors can make areas within a course accessible to unauthenticated users. Guest users don't have access to the course or organization Control Panel in the Original Course View.

InstructorInstructors have full access to the Control Panel in the Original Course View. This role is generally assigned to the person developing, teaching, or facilitating the course. If a course is unavailable to students, users with the Instructor role may still access it.
StudentStudent is the default course user role. A user with the role of Student has no access to the Control Panel in the Original Course View.
Teaching AssistantUsers with the Teaching Assistant role have access to most of the workflows in the Control Panel in the Original Course View. If the course is unavailable to students, teaching assistants may still access the course.

Inherited privileges

Privileges and behaviors are inherited from the existing course role (such as TA) that is used to create a new role. The new role retains these privileges even with all privileges removed using the UI—such as a user with a custom course role that was copied from instructor/TA/grader will have full access to the gradebook, and a user with a role copied from instructor/TA will be given forum manager privileges in newly created forums.

These "hidden" privileges give users access to view unavailable content and make the Edit Mode feature appear in the UI. Additionally, these inherent and potentially hidden privileges can't be controlled in the U. They always remain active. Please review the preceding table for an understanding of these default inherited privileges.


Grant facilitation privileges

Many institutions use Subject Matter Experts to create content for large, multi-section courses that are facilitated by multiple faculty. These institutions or courses may also require more than one person to help keep the curriculum moving forward.

To ensure that the content in each course section remains consistent, administrators can grant additional permissions for course roles.

Learn more about facilitator privileges


Copy a course role

You can create a new course or organization role in Blackboard Learn by copying an existing role. This creates an exact duplicate of the existing role with all of the same privileges. After you create the copy, you can edit it to change the privileges. Learn more about changing privileges for course roles.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, in the Users section, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. Open the role's menu.
  3. Select Copy.
  4. On the Copy Course/Org Role page, select the properties and capabilities for the new role to have.
  5. Select Submit. A new system role appears with the same privileges as the old system role.

Edit a course or organization role

For Student and Guest roles, administrators can edit only the Role Name and Description.

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Users section, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. Open the role's menu and select Edit.
  3. On the Edit Course/Org Role page, select the properties and capabilities the role should have.
  4. Select Submit.

Course and organization role properties and capabilities

When you copy or edit a role, you can choose custom settings. This table describes the available fields. [r] indicates a required field.

Edit Course or Organization Role Available Fields
FieldDescription
Role Properties
Available for Course EnrollmentsSelect Yes to make this role available during the course enrollment process.
Role Name for Courses [r]Provide the Role Name to display when this role is available in a course. Choose a descriptive and accurate Role Name so it is easy to identify when assigning roles to a user.

Even if the name of the role is changed, the privileges for the role don't change. For example, changing the Role Name from Instructor to Content Manager doesn't change what users with that role can access.
Available for Organization EnrollmentsAvailable only with community engagement. To make this role available for organization enrollments, select Yes.
Role Name for Organizations [r]Available only with community engagement. Edit the name for the role when available in an organization. Even if the name of the role is changed, the privileges for the role don't change. For example, changing the Role Name from Leader to Content Manager doesn't change what users with that role can access.
Role ID [r]Displays the database identifier for this role. This identifier applies to the role in both courses and organizations and can't be changed.
DescriptionType a longer text description of the role.

This description doesn't appear in the Roles list when you assign roles to users. Don't use the Description in place of an accurate Role Name.
Role Capabilities
Treat Users with this Role like Instructor (P)Select Yes to provide this user with access to unavailable courses, the course catalog*, and email enrollment requests. Select No to prevent access to unavailable courses, the Course Catalog, and email enrollment requests.
Grant Users with this Role Full Permissions on Course FilesSelect Yes to grant users with this role full privileges on the Course Files page for the course in which the user has this role. Select No to provide only the default Read privilege on these files.
Grant Users with this Role Full Permissions on Organization FilesAvailable only with community engagement. Select Yes to grant users with this role full privileges on the Organization Files page for the organization in which the user has this role. Select No to provide only the default Read privilege on these files.

Manage privileges for course and organization roles

You can permit or restrict more than 100 privileges available for all custom course and organization roles and for standard course and organization roles except Student and Guest.

With these privileges, users can have more granular permissions that align closely with what they are expected to do in Blackboard Learn. This flexibility focuses on separating course design privileges from teaching privileges. This is particularly important to institutions that have strict expectations about the responsibilities of different types of faculty and staff.

For example, an institution can create a set of users who are responsible for creating course templates. The courses are then passed to another set of users who teach the courses. Or, an institution might create a Manager role that is available only in organizations and that has fewer privileges than an Instructor role in a course.

  1. In the Administrator Panel in the Users section, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. On the Course/Organization Roles page, open the role's menu.
  3. Select Privileges. The Manage Privileges page lists the privileges you can assign. A green check mark indicates that the privilege is assigned to this role. 
  1. On the Manage Privileges page, select the check box of any privilege you want to assign to this course or organization role. To select all privileges displayed on the page, select the check mark in the column heading.
  2. Select Permit Privileges
  1. Select the check box of any privileges you want to exclude from this course or organization role.
  2. Select Restrict Privileges.
  3. Select OK.

Limit enrollment actions by course users

There are some cases when course users need to manage some enrollments, but in limited ways. Course Roles can be configured to apply these limits to users who can manage enrollments. 

Restrictions to edit and delete enrollment records sourced from integration 

Instructors may need to add co-instructors, assistants, or graders. However, institutional policy often mandates that instructors should not alter records from a Student Information System (SIS). You can limit whether users can make changes to enrollment records based on how the enrollment was added. Enrollments added through the user interface (GUI) belong to the SYSTEM data source. Enrollments added through integrations can be assigned to other data sources based on configuration (non-SYSTEM). 

There are 8 Course/Organization Role privileges associated with this limit. Four for enrollment records in SYSTEM and 4 for enrollment records not in SYSTEM. You can configure each Course Role with the appropriate privileges for your policies. The privileges and restrictions are applicable to users in both Ultra and Original Course Views. 

A common scenario is that instructors can modify and remove enrollments they’ve added manually but cannot change student enrollments or staff assignments created by the SIS. In this scenario, the 8 privileges would be configured as follows: 

Permitted:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View

Not permitted:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set Non-System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View

The Original Course View has a bulk remove action for enrollments. If the course user is restricted from removing any of the selected users, the action is stopped with a warning.


Assign course roles to user accounts

You don't assign course roles to individual users in the same way you assign system or institution roles. Instead, the role is assigned within the course. When you change a user's role in a course, it applies only to that course. The user's other course roles are unchanged. Instructors can change course roles to delegate some of the responsibility for maintaining the course.

To change a user's course role in the Ultra Course View:

  1. Open the Roster.
  2. Select a course member's name.
  3. In the Member Information panel, select an option in the Role menu.
  4. Select Save.

To change a user's course role in the Original Course View:

  1. Expand the Users and Groups section on the Control Panel and select Users.
  2. Next to a course member's name, open the menu.
  3. Select Change User's Role in Course.
  4. Select a role and then select Submit to save.