Frequently Asked Questions

What is blackboard?

Blackboard is a learning management system. You can use blackboard to share files, grades and information to students. Blackboard has a graphical user interface with a uniform look and feel, each course has a shell and in that shell exists instructional tools, features like Announcements, email, and a grade center are already thier and waiting for you to use. To summarize, Blackboard is centrally administered service offered by the university of Toronto. as an instructor, you can manage a course or a group of courses, and the files associated to each course.

The Course Shell

The course shell is what the students will visually see. Within the course shell you can lay out the content as you like. For example you can create a lecture schedule menu link and list all your lectures and corresponding lecture downloads. The videos and tutorials presented in this website will help you build your course.

STEP 1: First step is to create a content area for your lecture schedules, press the green box with the plus sign and select CREATE CONTENT AREA.

STEP 2: You can now name your content area, for example call it LECTURE or LECTURE SCHEDULES.

STEP 3: Now click on the new content area on the side bar and press the BUILD CONTENT tab and select ITEM.

STEP 4: Fill in the NAME of the content item (aka. Lecture #1) and then a description of what this item is about (aka Date / Time / What the lecture is about etc...)

STEP 5: To attach a file scroll down to attachments and select BROWSE CONTENT COLLECTION.


STEP 7: Select CHOOSE FILE (You have the option whether it automatically overwrites or not.

STEP 8: Select the name of the file then press open.

STEP 9: Now press SUBMIT.

STEP 10: Select the item you want to add.

STEP 11: A dialogue will pop up informing you that for this action you will need to give explicit read permissions, say OK. Press SUBMIT to save everything you have worked on.

OPTIONAL: All done! If you would like to test what it would look like to students. Turn edit mode on/off (Located near the top right hand side).

STEP 1: Click on the little down arrow of the item you wish to edit.

STEP 2: Next click on EDIT this will allow you to make changes.

STEP 3: Press submit to save.

Hover your mouse over the menu item. Hold down left mouse button and drag to the desired location. To access options for the menu item click on the two down arrows and select from.

  • Rename Link - Renames the link,
  • Hide Link - Prevents students from seeing the content.
  • Delete - Will delete all the content within that menu item.

Each graded piece of work requires you setup a grade column. First head over the grade center, then select full grade center. Press create column. Now type in a name for the assignment or test. The grade center display name is what the column is called in the grade center display. You can add a description in the big text box explaining what this item is. Now add a primary display. This dictates what type of mark will be entered. The choices are,

  • Score - shows the number of point out of total possible.
  • Text - This option is an ungraded column for informational purposes only.
  • Percentage - converts score to percentage.
  • Letter - If you put in a numerical grade converts it to a letter grade.
  • Complete / Incomplete - Will appear complete if any mark is entered.

Now under Points possible choose what this item is graded out of. Once complete then press submit.

To grade students alphabetically. Head over to the grade center tab and select full grade center. Then create a new grade column. In the options change primarily display to letter, and select the score of what the item will be graded out of. Then press submit.

To change the grading schema. Make sure the full grade center is still open and select manage then grading schema. Click on the two down arrows under letter and press edit. Now you can modify what the letters represent numerically.

In this tutorial you will learn how to upload marks to blackboard using an excel file.

  • In Blackboard go to the control panel under customization
  • Go to tool availability.
  • Find UT Opscan upload make sure the box is checked and then submit.
  • Opscan upload will now appear in course tools. Click on it.
  • Once the page loads select the grade column you want to apply the marks to.
  • Upload the file.
  • A page will load and you must choose which columns in the excel file defines the student UTorids and which has the grades. Once complete then click submit.
  • The next screen will display which students had grades successfully applied. If any students where not listed or if any students didn't have marks applied.

Note: Make sure to double check in grade center if everything was applied correctly.

As an instructor, you want to be confident that your course is well designed and functions as intended—before your students see it. Use student preview to review the course content and validate the course behaviours, such as those that control the availability of course content or require a particular interaction from the student to be triggered. With student preview, you can experience your course exactly as your students do.

Portal has an information website related to most Blackboard issues - This site also provides news about improvements to Blackboard and training documentation for instructors, staff and students.

To log on to Blackboard, visit and enter your UtorID and password that you use for your central campus account.