Getting Started in Blackboard, Essentials Part 1

Getting Started in Blackboard, Essentials Part 1

Blackboard Learn is the learning management system used by University of Alaska to host online course environments. All faculty who are officially assigned to teach at UA will find a blank course template created in UA Blackboard Learn to populate and activate for student use during the semester. 


There are many ways to use Blackboard Learn for face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses. Think of the Blackboard course shell as your online course environment. This space can hold your syllabus and other course materials; text, video, and audio content; assignments, discussion boards, links, learning outcomes, tests; and anything else that you would like to share with students to help them successfully complete your course. Your Blackboard course can be continually updated throughout the semester. 


The first things to post into your Blackboard course should be:

  • Syllabus
  • Course Schedule
  • Contact Information

Once these items are posted you will want to open the course for students to access and send a "welcome" announcement. 

  • Log In to Blackboard

    You will need an active UA Username and Password to log in to UA Blackboard Learn

      • If you are a new hire, this information is mailed to you from Human Resources 
      • If you have forgotten or need to reset your password go to the "me" site
      • For further log in & password assistance contact UAA IT Services 907-786-4646


    Once you log in to Blackboard Learn, click the course you want to work on and be sure edit mode is ON (top right). Each course must be worked on individually. Be sure you are working in a course with the current semester date in the name (e.g. 201803 is fall semester of 2018).

  • Post a Syllabus

    There are several ways to add a syllabus to your course. Tip: Save your word processing document in PDF format to post online for accessibility purposes.

    • Add a File 
        • Navigate to the Syllabus content area on the left
        • Select Build Content, File, and add a name
        • Follow the instructions to browse computer and attach your completed syllabus document
    • Create a Learning Module
        • Navigate to the Syllabus Content area on the left
        • Select Build Content, Learning Moduleand add a name
        • This tool allows you to create "pages" or sections in an online booklet format. Type or copy and paste each section as an Item to create a syllabus that is read onscreen.
    • Add an Item
        • Navigate to the Syllabus content area on the left
        • Select Build Content, Item, and add a name
        • Copy and paste syllabus content to be read onscreen or browse to attach your file
  • Create Contact Profile

    This template button allows you to add instructor contact information and notes for students enrolled in the course. 

    • Navigate to the Contact Instructor content area on the left
    • Select Create Contact
    • Complete the form making sure to select yes to Make the Profile Available
    • Submit
  • Make Course Available to Students

    Instructors are responsible for activating each Blackboard course making them "available" for student access. Please make your courses available on the first day of the semester. 

    • In the Control Panel section on the bottom left, go to Customization, Properties
    • Scroll to Set Availability and select YES
    • Click SUBMIT
    • Note: The (not currently available) tag will no longer show on your course list
  • Send a Welcome Message (Announcement)

    Students benefit from a welcome message from their instructor which may include a short biography, textbook information, class meeting information, how to get started, and course expectations. 

    • Select the Announcements course area on the left
    • Select Create Announcement
    • Add a subject and type or paste your message
    • Under Web Announcement Options choose from:
        • Not Date Restricted, this will leave message up for students 
        • Date Restricted, choose a Display After/Display Until day and time
        • Email Announcement: If "Send a copy of this announcement immediately" is selected, the announcement will be sent to each student enrolled in the course via email. 


WHAT DOES "accessibility in online environments" mean to me?

The University of Alaska, as a part of federally funded financial aid programs, is required to make sure all students, regardless of disability or other challenges, have equitable access to course materials ensuring they can accomplish their academic goals. In online environments, faculty must make sure any original content created is saved and posted in an accessible format. To assist you in this goal visit Accessibility Tutorials & How To

what are my next steps?

UAA offers many opportunities for faculty development through the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE) and Academic Innovations & eLearning (AI&e). Both groups guide faculty through teaching & learning techniques and AI&e offers additional assistance in online course design through consultation, conferences, and online resources. 

Bibliography & Resources

Blackboard Instructor Help: Where Do I Start? (n.d.). Retrieved





Back to top