Course Customization

Vendor documentation: Setting Course Properties

Information on this page:

Default properties

By default, your course site is given the following properties when it is created:

  • Course Name, taken directly from the Registrar’s information, may not be the preferred name of your course.  You can edit the Course Name, from the Control Panel, select Properties under Customization and edit the Course Name field.  Click Submit.
  • Courses are made unavailable to students by default. Although they say “unavailable”, they can still be accessed by Instructors, Course Builders, TAs, and Admin Assistants. Courses that were created through Faculty Center will automatically become available to students on the first day of classes. If you want to give students access before then, or if your course was not created through faculty center, see the instructions under “Setting Course Availability“.
  • Your course is not listed in the Blackboard course catalog. In the past, it was important to list your course so that students could find it. This is now optional.
  • Blackboard “guests” (different from Blackboard Guest Accounts) are not able to see your course site.
  • Enrollment is either handled by the system, or by the instructor.

Setting Course Availability

Courses created through Faculty Center

When course sites are created through Faculty Center, they are not available to students until the Monday of the week classes begin – however,  instructors, TAs, and Course Builders can access the site to set it up. If you want to allow students to see the site before the first day of classes, you can change the Course Duration. If you choose to delay students’ access to the course, please notify your students to let them know when the course will be available to avoid any confusion.

To change the course duration:

  1. From the Control Panel, select Properties under Customization
  2. For item 4, Set Course Duration, select Select Dates. Click the checkbox next to Start Date and End Date, and enter the dates that the course should be available to students.
    Course Duration

Courses not created through Faculty Center

When the course is unavailable, you see the word “unavailable” appear next to the course name in the “My Courses” list.  As the instructor, you will still be able to access the site and make changes, but the link will be disabled for enrolled student users.  Also, unavailable courses will not appear in the course catalog.    When the course is ready for the public, set the availability to “Yes”.

For courses not created through Faculty Center / not attached to Managed Enrollment: to make the Blackboard course available:

  1. From the Control Panel, select Properties under Customization
  2. For item 3, Set Availability, select Yes for Make Course Available.

Other Course Properties of Interest

There are other items on the Properties page of the course Customization area that may be of interest to instructors:

Course Duration
By default, your course duration is set to “Continuous”.  You may choose to set start and end dates for your course.  The Course Duration affects whether your course is available to your students; students will only be able to access the course during the selected date range.

Course Categorization

In the past, it was necessary to categorize your course in order for students to see it for self-enrollment. Categorization is now optional.

The Blackboard course catalog is organized by College or School and Department, rather than appearing as one long list. If you would like your course to appear in the Blackboard course catalog, follow these instructions for categorization.

To categorize your course site:

  1. Select the appropriate department from the list on the left side of the box (do not select a college or school)
  2. Click on the right arrow between the boxes
  3. If your course is cross-listed, repeat steps 1-2 for each department
  4. Click Submit when you are done changing the course properties

Setting Enrollment Options

The enrollment options for your course were set when the course was created. If the course was created through the Faculty Center, Blackboard will manage enrollments for you. However, some instructors may elect to manually manage course enrollments or allow users to enroll themselves in a course.

Enrollment options for courses where enrollments are not managed by Blackboard include:

Enrollment by Instructor or Administrator
While enrolling each student individually is time consuming, this feature is handy for special circumstances in which a student is a late addition to the class, or for adding administrative staff and TA’s to the site.

Student Self-Enrollment
This option allows students to enroll themselves in the course site. When self-enrollment is enabled, students will be able to browse the course catalog and click the Enroll button that appears next to the course. You can limit the enrollment period by entering start and/or end dates for enrollment.

Note: Even if Student Self-Enrollment is enabled, instructors will still be able to enroll users from the Control Panel.

Batch Enrollment
Batch enrollment (based on class rosters obtained from the Registrar’s office) is available.  For more information contact

To Set Enrollment Options:

  1. In the Control Panel, click Customization.
  2. Click on the Enrollment Options link.
  3. Choose the desired enrollment option and related settings.
  4. To enable student self-enrollment, choose the Self Enrollment option.  You may choose to select a start and/or end date for the enrollment period, or to require an access code.  If you choose self-enrollment, make sure that your course has been categorized properly using Categorize Course in the Course Properties dialog.  To disable student self-enrollment, choose the Instructor/Admin option. You may choose to allow interested students to send enrollment requests to you via email.

Setting Site-Wide Guest Access

Guest users on the Blackboard system can access course sites at the instructor’s discretion. By default, site-wide guest access is disabled when your course is created, but you can enable it if you choose to do so. When site-wide guest access is turned off, a guest user will not be able to see any part of your site.

To Modify Guest Settings:

  1. In the Control Panel, click Customization.
  2. Click on the Guest and Observer Access link.
  3. Select whether you want guests to access the course.
  4. Click the Submit button if you have made any changes to Guest and Observer Access.


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