Availability, Due Dates, and Visibility in Blackboard

Instructors have control over student access to virtually every piece of content in their online course. This page will help you understand how various settings affect one another and how to best manage student access to your course content.

Standard Options

When you create or edit many items (files, modules, etc.) in Blackboard, you will find a section on the page called “Standard Options.” These settings control student access to the item. (These settings may be located in different areas of the settings page for different course items. The title of that area may be Availability for some items.)

Permit users to View this Content

  • If you select “Yes,” students will be able to see the content, but only if date and time restrictions (if any) and adaptive release conditions (if any) are met.
  • If you select “No,” no students will never be able to see this content under any circumstances. In other words, only select “No” for content students are not meant to see.
  • Note that if one item is contained inside of another item (such as a file that is inside of a module), the setting applied to the higher level item generally will take precedence over the lower level item. In other words, if you have a file set for students to be able to view inside of a module that students cannot view, students will not be able to view the file because they will not first be able to see (and therefore enter) the module. If that same file were linked to from another location in the course, students would be able to open it via the link.

Select Date and Time Restrictions

Understanding that module settings will generally apply to all items within the module (see above), you see that you do not need to edit all settings for all items. You can apply viewability and date settings to just a module (as long as the contents are not accessible through a link elsewhere in the course) and students will have all the module contents made available to them when the module opens.

Standard Options section of settings for course items in Blackboard
One view of the settings that control student access to course items in Blackboard

Display After

When this setting is applied, content is not viewable until the date and time are reached. Content become viewable automatically when the date and time are reached, as long as they are set to be viewable (see above). For example, if you want to open your Lesson 3 module at the start of week 3, just look up on the calendar what date that is and use the calendar and clock icons, respectively, to enter your date and time settings.

Display Until

When this setting is applied, the course item can no longer be accessed by students once the date and time have passed. For many items, it is not recommended that this setting be applied. For example, closing course modules, files, and discussions simply makes the course content unavailable if students want to revisit or review that content. It is comparable to ripping out class notes from notebooks, on a certain level. If you have no specific reason to do otherwise, please do not use this setting.

Due Date

For tests, surveys, and discussions, you will have the option of setting a due date.

When you set a due date, you may also see the option to allow students to continue to submit after the due date. This is a great idea if you accept late work. If you set the option to not allow students to submit after a due date, the only way to let students turn in late work is to then edit the settings and make an exception.

TIP: Even if you use no other date and availability tools in your online course, consider assigning due dates for all graded work. Due dates automatically appear in the course calendar. Students can also receive notifications of upcoming due dates.



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