Blackboard 9 Step-by-Step Guides for Faculty

The guides listed below were originally created by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Hayward and CSU Long Beach, using a grant from the Chancellor’s Office.  These guides provide step-by-step instructions on specific features.  Also included in the guides are short explanations of the features and a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs).  The graphics, extended guides and animated tutorials have been added by our Blackboard Support Team by using the Blackboard Manual as a resource.

Bb 9 Interface

Before planning and designing a course in Blackboard 9, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with Blackboard 9 environment. The Blackboard environment includes a header frame with images and buttons customized by the System Administrator and tabs that navigate to different areas. Clicking on a tab will open that area in the content frame.

The Tabs in Blackboard

Once you log in to Blackboard, you will be able to see these following tabs on the top of the page:

  • My Blackboard - The My Blackboard tab contains tools and information specific to each user's preferences. Tools and information are contained in modules or boxes. Users can add and remove modules from their My Blackboard tab. The System Administrator may restrict access to or require specific modules or boxes. Some of the available modules or boxes within the My Blackboard tab are "My Courses," "My Announcement," "My Organizations," etc.
  • Courses - Users click on a link from the Courses tab to access a Course. The page displays the list of all courses that the users were/are enrolled and taught/teach; and the course catalog. Please note that students will not see the unavailable courses.
  • Organizations - Users click on a link from the Organization tab to access an Organization. The page displays the list of all available organizations that the users are managing or participating and the organization catalog.
  • Content Collection
    Content Collection is an additional space provided to faculty and staff. Faculty and staff can store their files and organize them in folders within Content Collection. For details, please read Content Collection section.
  • Bb Support - The Bb Support tab contains several external links to:
    • eHelp - The Cal Poly Pomona on-line, 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week, self-service computer-user help line.
    • Bb Tutorials and Self-Study Materials on eHelp site – List of Bb tutorials and self-training materials.
    • Studio 6 Contact Info – Contact Information to get help from Studio 6 Instructional Technology Assistants.
  • Faculty eLibrary - The Faculty e-Library tab contains an external website of Cal Poly Pomona's Library and Blackboard integration support.

My Places

Blackboard 9 has introduced a new feature called My Places. Using My Places, you will be able to:

  • Change your personal preferences, such as uploading your avatar;
  • Edit the notification settings, to allow you to receive an email notification when there is a new update in a Blackboard course.

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Course Menu

The course menu is the navigation links inside the course. After you click on your course, the course menu can be found on the left-hand side. Below is the list of the default course menu within a Blackboard course site and ideas of what could be posted in each menu:

  • Announcements - New update and reminder such as assignment due date, test availability, virtual meetings.
  • Instructor/Faculty - Instructor's contact information - email, work phone, office location, office hours, personal web page.
  • Content Areas (Syllabus, Course Documents, etc) - A wide-range of content items including: learning materials, lecture notes, presentations. Course Menu pages that do not contain any content are automatically hidden from the students’ view until the Instructor posted a content such as file, etc.
  • Assignments - Assignments listing such as the due date, description for class work, links to assignments, links to tests.
  • Resources - Links to outside learning materials such as outside materials, a hyperlink, brief description for each external source.
  • Tools - Student's tools such as Blogs, Course Calendar, Groups, Journals, View Grades, Student Manual, Tasks, and Collaboration tools, etc.
  • Course Map - Web site navigation map which is a collapsible tree directory.
  • Control Panel - An alternative page for the Instructors to set up and administer the course site.

The Course Menu above appears on the left side of a course page. It holds buttons or text links to Content Areas, Tools, and links. The Course Menu is usually arranged by subject or the order in which Students progress through the course.

Editing the Course Menu Area

The Instructors need to make sure that the Edit Mode is ON to display Add button and the Keyboard Accessible Reordering button. Use these to add new items to the Menu Area and to reorder those items.

Other ways to edit the Menu Area:

  • Reorder the Menu Area items by clicking the icon beside the item and dragging and dropping the item to the desired location or by clicking the Keyboard Accessible Reordering button.
  • Click the contextual menu beside any Menu Area items to edit its settings.

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Content Areas

Course Content Areas are used to organize all Course content materials. Instructors create and manage Content Areas from the Course Menu. Instructors may decide to create additional Content Areas or edit existing Content Areas. For example, a Content Area for Assignments may be added and the name of the area may be changed to Homework.

The new Content Area appears on the Course Menu. If the Content Area contains no content, an icon of a dotted square appears. If the Content Area is unavailable to students, an icon of a square with a line through it appears.

Content Collection

The Content Collection allows users to store, share, and publish content within personal user folders (My Content) and Organization folders (Organization Content Collection).

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Course Tools

Course Tools are communication and collaboration tools that enhance interaction between users. Some of other assessment tools are also included within Course Tools.

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Evaluation is an area within the Control Panel that allow Instructors to keep track students' progress. Some of the functions available within Evaluation are Early Warning System, Grade Center, Performance Dashboard and Tracking Report. Please review each individual function from the items below.

Grade Center

The Grade Center is the page where all of the grading and calculating takes place. Each student has their own row to allow for easy organization. Each Grade Center item has it's own column. Grade Center is very customizable and allows you to create various columns and change views whenever you like.

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Users and Groups

Instructor can manage the users in their Courses. For example, Instructors may add an user to a Course and create groups within a Course.


Customization allows Instructors to control how they present their Courses in Blackboard. Customization settings include Course availability, Tool Availability, and Style.

Packages and Utilities

Packages and Utilities includes tools to copy a Course, archive or recycle the Course, and import content.

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Quick Start Guides from Blackboard (PDF)

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  • Blackboard Manual for Instructors
    • Within your course Control Panel, click Help
    • Click Blackboard Help
  • Blackboard Manual for Organization Leaders
    • Within your organization Control Panel, click Help
    • Click Blackboard Help
  • Blackboard Manual for Students
    • Within your course, click Tools
    • Click Blackboard Help

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