Communication Tools

This page is designed to help new Blackboard users get started. It covers the most common tasks and tools in Blackboard in a very basic format. For more help contact

Communication tools

Course Menu with communication tools indicated

The default course menu comes with the most popular communication tools already added to the course menu.

The announcements being the most commonly used are set visible by default while all other communication tools are hidden to students by default. The grey square with a diagonal line indicates a menu item is hidden from students.

However you choose to communicate with your students in your course it is vitally important that they understand what that process is.

Image showing the option to show or hide a course menu item.

With edit mode turned on you can make menu items available or hidden to students by selecting the options menu for that item.

If you decide to use a tool such as Collaborate, Course Messages or Discussion Boards make sure they are available to students.

It is NOT recommended to make email available to students.

  • Announcements

    • The most popular way to send a message to your whole class. Announcements can be used to post timely information critical to course success such as assignment due dates, exam schedules, changes to the syllabus or other corrections or clarifications of materials. This method allows you to post once and have that message show up to students in your course page, when they log into blackboard and if you choose, to send a copy to everyone’s university email as well. This last option helps ensures that your students receive the announcement even if they do not log in to Blackboard
    • Announcement Help for Faculty
  • Discussion Boards (Discussions)

    • The discussion board is a classic asynchronous communication tool for education. Conversations are organized within a topic forum as threads that contain a main posting and all corresponding replies. Discussion boards can be restricted to a particular date range or group of students. Evaluation tools in Blackboard allow you to monitor student participation. If desired, grades can be entered in the Grade Center.
    • Discussions Help for Faculty
  • Blackboard Collaborate

    • Blackboard Collaborate allows faculty and students to synchronously meet in an online space using features such as video and/or audio chat, whiteboard, slideshow, and screen sharing. To learn more about Blackboard Collaborate see the links below.
    • Collaborate Help for Faculty (Moderators)
  • Course Messages

    • The course messages tool provides you with a familiar, email-like environment that you can use for course communication. However, unlike email, you can only access this text-based form of communication by logging in to your course. If students do not log into your course to check their messages they may not see them.
    • Course Messages Help for Faculty
  • Send Email

    • The email tool allows you to send an email to other people in your course without launching a separate email program, such as Outlook or Gmail. You can send email to individual users or to groups of users. Blackboard will only send emails to the user’s university email associated with Blackboard.

Important email tips:

    • Blackboard keeps no record of sent emails. Be sure to select the option of return receipt to get a copy sent to your email address as well.
    • All emails are sent from “” but the email will indicate which course and section it is from.
    • If you merge courses together all course email notifications including announcements and emails will come from the master course. Make sure students in child courses understand where your communications will come from.
    • Making the send email tool available to your students is NOT advised. It is best for faculty use only.
    • Send Email Help for Faculty