Managing Users and User Roles

Instructors in Blackboard courses (and leaders in Blackboard organizations) can enroll other users as co-instructors/leaders, TAs, course builders, and graders. This guide outlines the purpose and privileges of the different roles, and the process for managing user enrollments. 

The "Manage Users" tool formerly used to allow instructors to directly add/remove other instructors, TAs, course builders, or graders is no longer available in Ultra courses. ITS is working to implement a replacement user management tool and return this functionality to instructors as soon as possible. For the spring 2024 semester, all requests to add co-instructors, TAs, etc should be sent to help@syr.edu by an existing instructor. Please include in your request:

  • The course name and Blackboard number (i.e. FYS.101.M001.FALL22.First Year Seminar; 26597.1241)
  • The NetID of the user(s) to be added (i.e. tanders05)
  • The role requested (instructor, TA, course builder, or grader)

The Acceptable Use Policy requires the permission of the instructor of record to grant Blackboard access to any other user.  Blackboard admins will not process requests that come from TAs, department admins, replacement instructors, etc. without the written consent of an existing instructor

Blackboard User Roles

  • Instructor - The Instructor role has the highest level of privilege within a course. Typically, the Instructor is the person teaching or leading the class. Instructors have full access to create, manage, and remove items in all areas of the Blackboard course.
    • Additionally, Instructors are the only users with the authority to request course changes from the Blackboard admins, including course merges, changing the course view, or manual enrollments for independent studies/incompletes/etc, among other admin actions.
  • Teaching Assistant - The TA role has all the same privileges within a Blackboard course as an instructor with regards to course content and grading, except that a TA does not have the authority to add or remove other users, or to request course changes from the Blackboard admins.
  • Course Builder - The Course Builder has most of the same privileges as an instructor with regards to creating and editing course content, but cannot access the gradebook or student submissions. An instructor would assign someone the course builder role so that person could assist the instructor in the creation of course content and some aspects of course management not related to direct interaction with students. 
  • Grader - The Grader can access the gradebook, and view and grade student submissions. Graders can view all course content, and can edit graded items. Graders can access and edit certain course settings that are directly related to student assessment/feedback, including attendance and question banks. An instructor would assign someone the grader role so that person could assist the instructor in the management and delivery of assessments and student feedback. 

FERPA Considerations

The course roles listed above will grant the user access to private and confidential student and course data. To abide by FERPA law, instructors are required to inform these users of the responsibilities that come with these privileges. At all times, users with access to privileged course information and student data must ensure the privacy and confidentiality of all other course users and data and may not share this data with any unauthorized persons.

Roles with Third-Party Tools

Some third-party content market tools do not work with the role of Course Builder or Grader because of the limitations of those roles. For example, neither Course Builders nor Graders can create Turnitin assignments—they will receive an error about their role in the course. In courses which rely significantly on linked third-party tools, the Teaching Assistant role is recommended for any sort of instructional assistant. 

  • Student - Students can view only course content that has been made visible by the instructor. This is the only role that can submit assignments and receive grades in Blackboard - "submissions" from other user roles are never saved and cannot be retrieved.  Note that you cannot add/remove students in your course as they are automatically added or dropped via the registrar. 
    • Syracuse University's Blackboard environment does not support a "guest" role. Student is the default role for observers, tutors, or other users who need to view the basic content of a course but should not have access to protected student or course data. Such "student" users can be flagged and filtered in the gradebook to avoid confusion - see "overall grade notations" under Gradebook Settings for more information. 
  • Leader (Organization) - The Leader role is analogous to instructor in a Blackboard organization, can access and edit all areas of the organization, can add/remove other users from the organization roster, and can request admin-level changes to an organization. 
  • Participant (Organization) - The Participant role is analogous to a student in a Blackboard organization, and can only see and interact with organization content that has been made available by the leader(s). 

Removing Users

Removing/deleting users from a course is disabled because it can cause conflict with registrar records and remove the content in some cases. Please contact help@syr.edu or 315-443-2677 if you need to disable a user's access.

Instructors can only add a user to the course if the user's account is active in Blackboard. If the instructor receives an error message that the user is not available, or if he/she wishes to add, remove, or change the role of a user with the role of guest "instructor" or "student" (doing an incomplete), please email to help@syr.edu or call x2677 to inform the Blackboard system administrators. 

User Role Course Tool Access and Privileges Comparison

The following table summarizes the course areas and tools available to each user role, and the level of privileges granted (create/edit, view only, or none)

User RoleRequest Admin ChangesCourse SettingsContentCalendarAnnouncementsDiscussionsGradebookMessagesAnalyticsGroupsCourse Roster
InstructorFull AccessCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/Edit
Teaching AssistantNoneCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditView Only
Course BuilderNoneCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditNoneCreate/EditNoneCreate/EditView Only
GraderNoneLimited Edit 

View ungraded items

Edit graded items

View OnlyView Only

View ungraded items

Edit graded items

EditCreate/EditEditNoneView Only
Leader (Organization)Full AccessFull AccessCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/EditCreate/Edit

Create/Edit