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.


About standard course and organization roles

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

Standard Course and Organization Roles
Role Description
Course Builder The 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.
Facilitator The 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.
Grader The 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.

Instructor Instructors 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.
Student Student 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 Assistant Users 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.

The Guest role is not available in the Ultra experience at this time.

  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
Field Description
Role Properties
Available for Course Enrollments Select 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 Enrollments Available 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.
Description Type 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 Files Select 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 Files Available 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.

The Guest role isn't available in the Ultra experience at this time.

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.
  4. 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.
  5. Select Permit Privileges.
  6. Select the check box of any privileges you want to exclude from this course or organization role.
  7. Select Restrict Privileges.
  8. Select OK.

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.