Blackboard Basics

A Blackboard course shell is where you can set announcements, manage content, create assessments, set up groups and interact with your students.


When you click on a course in Blackboard, the default page is Announcements. Announcements are notifications made by instructors that are then emailed to everyone in the course.  It can convey urgent information, timely reminders, or general encouragement to students.

Manage Content

As an instructor, before you manage your course you need to make sure edit mode is on. Ensure you select ON on the top right of your course.

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Every course will have a course menu which is located on the left of the screen. The course menu is made up of items that links to various different parts of your course. To add a menu item click on the plus symbol at the top left of the course menu.

The menu items you can add to your course are:

  • Content Area
  • Tool Link, Web Link, Course Link
  • Subheader, Divider

Content Area

A content area is where you put content (or material) for your course. It is represented by three buttons “Build Content”, “Assessments” and “Tools”

Build Content Assessments Tools
Build content is where you can add text, files, folders and multimedia.

Assessments is where you can add tests, surveys, Blackboard or Turnitin assignments

Here you create links to interactive tools such as blogs, wikis, discussion boards as well as tools like Blackboard Collaborate and Voice Threads

Tool Link, Web Link, Course Link

Tool Link Creates a link to the different tools similar to the tool links created in the content area
Web Link Links to an external site. Links created here open in a new tab/window
Course Link A course link, links to a content area in the course

Subheader, Divider

Subheader Non clickable menu item that acts as just text
Divider Creates a horizontal line sectioning different areas of the course menu


Groups in a course can be used to separate out students. This may be a good option if you want students grouped together to produce work, collaborative discussions or simply separate them into their occurrences from Arion.