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Faculty Tips for Starting the Semester with Blackboard

Start the semester strong with reminders and links that can answer frequently asked questions you may have, as you request course space and get ready to develop your courses in Blackboard.

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Timeline for Transition to Blackboard Ultra Course View

The Blackboard Ultra Course View has been available as an option for anyone teaching at NIU since Summer 2019. During that time, Ultra Course View adoption has grown and it has evolved from a core set of essential features to a robust learning platform, with over 50 additional features released and some of the most requested features anticipated for release in summer and fall 2022. Blackboard has only guaranteed that the Original Course View will remain available through the end of 2023. Because Blackboard is used by nearly 100% of faculty and students at NIU, we want to provide sufficient time for faculty to make the transition to the Ultra Course View.

NIU will plan for full migration to Ultra Course View no later than December 31, 2023. It is recommended that faculty plan to teach their Fall 2023 courses in Ultra Course View. All Spring 2024 courses will use the Ultra Course View. Learn more »

Blackboard is the course management system used campus-wide at NIU. Faculty and TAs use Blackboard to course materials, deliver tests and surveys, hold online discussions, and facilitate many other course-related functions. Both the Original Course View and the Ultra Course View are available.

Students need their NIU AccountID / ZID and password to log in to Blackboard. Learn more about getting started with Blackboard at NIU.

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Faculty need their NIU AccountID / AID and password to log in to Blackboard. Learn more about getting started teaching with Blackboard at NIU.

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Blackboard Getting Started Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I open my course to my students?Updated

Courses, by default, are not available to students until the faculty member decides to make them available or until the first day of the semester, if you selected Auto-Availability when requesting the course. After the scheduled section is created and materials added to the course, you can make the course available by accessing the Course Availability Settings in one of three locations:

  • From the Tools tab on the base navigation, click Course Availability Settings
  • In Original Course View, in the Control Panel, click Course Tools and then click Course Availability Settings
  • In Ultra Course View, in the Details & Actions panel, click View Course & Institutional Tools and then click Course Availability Settings

Setting the availability is an immediate process (meaning the faculty member does not have to wait for the server to run in order for the command to be processed).

At the end of the semester, faculty do not need to reverse this process, as all NIU courses are automatically set to be "unavailable" 10 days before the beginning of the next semester. Once a course is made unavailable, students lose all access to the course and are unable to see the course in their list of courses.

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