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Topic Overview

The Course Availability setting allows Instructors to make a course available or unavailable to students. Unavailable courses are not accessible to students, but are visible and accessible to instructors, teaching assistants, course builders and graders. Faculty might decide to keep a course unavailable while it is being developed or when updating a course in between terms.


  1. From the Control Panel within your course, click Customization > Properties.
  2. Under the Make Course Available section, select Yes.
    Set Course Availability Options
  3. Click Submit.


With Edit Mode on, there is a lock icon in the upper-right corner of your Blackboard Course as of March 2018. During an active semester, clicking the lock icon will change the course's availability to students.

If the icon appears unlocked, the course is available to students:
Screenshot of Icon Unlocked and Course Available

If it appears locked, the course is unavailable to students:
Screenshot of Icon Locked and Course Unavailable.

Please note that this icon does not control the availability of the course for past semesters. To adjust the availability of courses in past semesters, please see the instructions above as well as Blackboard's description of Course Availability and Course Duration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to use this feature?
If you would like students to access your course shell on Blackboard, yes. All courses are created with a default setting of unavailable, and once you are ready for students to access your course, you must follow the above procedure to make it available.

I'm an on-campus instructor, but I'm not planning to use Blackboard for my upcoming course. Do I still need to do this?
You do not need to make a course available unless you plan on using the Blackboard system for that particular course.

Why else might I want to make a course unavailable?
If you are teaching multiple sections and have asked to have the courses “combined” into a single course shell, you may wish to make the original course shells unavailable to eliminate any possible confusion for students regarding which course shell to use.

Sources and Relevant Links

Making Your Course Available - Video