Setting up your Blackboard course for the academic year

It is important for staff to check that their Blackboard courses are ready for the start of teaching. Courses are made available to Module Leaders at least 4 months before the start of the academic year.

Wherever possible, it is strongly advised that courses are prepared by the start of September. Please follow the steps below to ensure your courses are ready for your students.

Tasks for Module Leaders

1. Access

Check that you can access your course in Blackboard. Click on the Courses menu in Blackboard, and change the filter to 'Upcoming Courses'.

Clicking the upcoming courses button in Blackboard

If you are the module leader (known as Module Lead Instructor in Blackboard) or module administrator, and do not have access, please complete this access request form. If you are not the module leader, but need access to a course, contact the module leader in the first instance. If the module leader is unavailable, please contact digital.learning@sheffield.ac.uk.

If you are running a new course, ensure that it is listed in the Interim Module Management system (IMM) in SITS. Once approval for a new module has been granted, this will appear in SITS, CIS, and other linked systems such as the Directory of Modules and timetabling system. There may be a slight delay in the course appearing in Blackboard as the information filters down through the related systems. If you require assistance with adding a new module into the IMM system, please refer to the online IMM web guidance in the first instance.

2. Enrol

New Manage Users

Check staff enrolments. Only Module Leaders and Module Administrators are enrolled automatically. You can enrol staff using the manage users tool, which is located in the Course Management > Users and Groups area.

3. Add Content

Create, develop and upload your teaching material into the course. Set your course entry (home) page using the Customisation > Teaching Style menu.

Content is not automatically copied forward from the previous academic year. 

There are two ways that content can be copied or moved between courses:

  1. Copy / move individual items or folders.

a) First access the course you wish to copy content from and ensure Edit Mode is turned on.



b) Click on the Item Menu and choose Copy / move.



c) Follow the prompts to select the destination course.



Accessing the copy tool from an item menu

  1. Copy content areas and other items in bulk using the course copy tool (Module Lead Instructors and Module Administrators only).

Full guidance: Copying and moving content in Blackboard

4. Make Available

Make your course available to students from the Courses page.

Navigate to the relevant Course Card, click on the course menu and select 'Open Course'. Further course availability settings are available in the Customisation > Properties menu. Courses can only be opened by the Module Lead Instructor and Module Adminstrators.

Making course open to students using the course card menu

Allow Guest Access to your course by using the Customisation > Guest and Observer Access menu.

Further important set up tasks

  1. Accessibility. Ensure new content is designed with digital accessibility principles in mind. Review our best practice guidance to ensure your course can be easily navigated and understood by students. Content can be checked for accessibility by Blackboard Ally.




  2. Welcome announcement. Add a welcome announcement using the announcements tool.




  3. Reading List. Create or amend your online reading list using the University Reading List system. Publish your list in good time to ensure your students can view the list. For guidance please see Using the University's Reading List system.




  4. Library Subject Guides. These provide your students with useful information and resources to support their studies and develop their research skills and critical thinking. For guidance please see Library Subject Guides




  5. Banner. Add a banner image to your course.




  6. Staff contact details. Add staff contact details to your course (module leaders, admin staff etc).




  7. Assignment setup. Set up any new assignments, via the Blackboard assignment tool or Turnitin. (Do not copy assignments from other courses, always create new ones).




  8. Tests and Surveys. Check your Tests and Surveys have been created and deployed.




  9. Collaboration tools. Check that any Collaboration tools, such as Blackboard Collaborate meetings or Discussion Boards are ready and visible to students.

Access the full Blackboard Support Guides