Blackboard: Policies

Course Availability

Blackboard courses are automatically created for each course in the GVSU Catalog. GVSU faculty and staff who wish to request the creation of Blackboard courses for other purposes than courses listed in the GVSU Catalog may submit a Course or Organization Creation Request in the Service Portal.

Course names for Banner (GVSU Catalog) created courses cannot be changed. 

Courses for the upcoming semester are created 6-8 weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester based on timing for upgrades and resources.

Student enrollments are added to courses three weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester.

Courses are unavailable to students until the instructor makes the course available. All courses are made unavailable to students two weeks after the semester ends, however instructors may continue to make the courses available if they choose.

Duration of Course Availability for Faculty

Courses remain available in Blackboard for one year and one semester.  Shortly after the end of each semester, courses older than one year and one semester are removed.

Course Merges

Instructors who teach multiple sections of the same course may prefer to manage those sections (known as “child” courses) as a single merged “parent” course. All requests for merging courses can be submitted using the Blackboard Course Merge Request Form.

Creation of Student Accounts

GVSU student accounts are automatically created in Blackboard from Banner as soon as their Student network and Gmail accounts are created. Student enrollments are added to courses three weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester.

Creation of Staff/Faculty Accounts

Staff/Faculty accounts are automatically created in Blackboard once all employee paperwork (i.e. contract signed, i9 form submitted) is completed and 30 days before the employee’s start date.   

Adding Students to Courses

Blackboard student enrollments are received from Banner every three hours. Any student not registered for a course in Banner, but wants access in Blackboard, must first request permission from the Registrar’s Office.

Blackboard Administrators can add student assistants with the Course Builder role for the purposes of helping to build the course content. Any other student enrollment or access requests must be approved by the Registrar’s Office ([email protected]).

All requests for undergraduate student or graduate/teaching assistants enrollments needing grading access begin with a "Student FERPA Training Request" that must be completed by the instructor of the course.  The Registrar’s Office will walk the student through the steps to gain access to a course site and let Bb administrators know when they can be added to the course site.   Instructors have to submit this request every semester for logging purposes, even if the student has done the FERPA training this academic year.

Student enrollments are added to Blackboard courses three weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester, however instructors determine the availability of Blackboard courses. Updates resulting from students dropping or adding courses are reflected in Blackboard within three hours of the change in Banner.    

Adding Instructors to Courses

Instructor of record in Banner are uploaded to Blackboard every three hours. Only the instructor of record can grant access to other users in their Blackboard course sites (such as teaching assistants or fellow instructors).

To add or remove a user to your course site, complete the Course User Addition/Removal Request form.

Adding Individual Users to Course Sites

To add a user that is not registered for a course, please complete the Course User Addition/Removal Request in the Service Portal

FERPA demands very careful consideration of who should have access to student data not available on a public directory. 

These are the permission levels for individuals in a course site, please let us know what type of access is being requested:

  *   Instructor = access to all of the control panel, can change privileges, access to grade center, receives emails from students who email “instructors” from Blackboard.
  *   TA = access to almost all parts of the control panel, access to grade center, does not receive email to “instructors”
  *   Grader = access to the grade center and assessment part of the control panel, cannot edit course content except to make tests available.
  *   Course Builder = add/modify/delete content from the course site, access to the documents part of the control panel, cannot access grade center, can view Users & Groups.
  *   Student = no access to the control panel or grade center, access to student roster and all available tools in course (i.e. email students)
  *   Guest Access  = the person only has access to select content items the instructor has turned on guest access for. Guest access to the course is off by default and must be turned on.

**Please ensure you are requesting the minimal amount of access that the individual needs to ensure student success in the course. 


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of a students’ educational records. Personally identifiable information in a student's educational record is considered private and confidential. This information can be accessed by faculty and staff in order to perform their legitimate educational and duties for business purposes.  Being enrolled into a course that you are not assigned to as the official instructor of record provides you with access to student records which are protected under FERPA.

Learn more about FERPA at GVSU.

Blackboard Account, Password, and Privacy Information

The Blackboard username and password are the same for network and email accounts. If a student forgets their password, they can reset it by logging into Banner with their G# and pin. If a staff/faculty forgets their password, they should contact the IT Services (616-331-2101) to have it reset.

The Blackboard Privacy Statement provides detailed information regarding the use of the Blackboard environment and end user accounts.

Guest Access

Blackboard is available to only GVSU students and faculty/staff. General guest access is disabled. If you have a guest who needs access to a wifi account, please contact IT Services ((616) 331-2101).  If you need only a Blackboard account, submit a User Account Creation Request in the Service Portal.

Problems with Blackboard Accounts or Blackboard Server

Frequently asked questions and documentation for Blackboard tools can be found on the Service Portal and the eLearning website. If you encounter any problems with Blackboard not addressed on the Service Portal or the eLearning website or need additional support, please contact [email protected] or call IT Services ((616) 331-2101).

Course Archival and Restoration

Courses are archived two weeks after each semester completes. Course archives are available for three full academic years.  Course archives older than 3 years are deleted at the end of each semester, keeping the total course load at 3 years.

To request a course restore, fill out a Course/Organization Restore Request in the Service Portal. Only the instructor of record can request a course restore. If you want to access course content older than three years, you may export your courses and keep the files to upload at a later time.

Organization and Non-term Course Archival and Restoration

Organizations and non-term courses are archived if they have not been active in two years. Organization and non-term course archives are available for five years. 

To request an organization or non-term course restore, fill out a Course/Organization Restore Request in the Service Portal. Only the leader of the organization or instructor of the course can request a restore. If you want to access content older than five years, you may export your course/organization and keep the files to upload at a later time.

Course, Organization, and File Size Quotas

The max file size upload limit for students, faculty, and staff is 1000MB.

The default course and organization size limit is 1000MB. When a Blackboard course or organization approaches its quota limit, an email notification is sent to the instructor(s) or leader(s). Please review Managing Course File Quotas in the Service Portal to review options for decreasing the course quota. 

Email Policy

Blackboard adheres to the University Email Policy.

Third-Party Integrations

“LTI integrations” and “Building Blocks” are integration tools that can be used to extend the functionality of GVSU’s Blackboard system. For any third-party integration requests, the eLearning Team at GVSU must take into account Blackboard performance, system security, and data integrity.
If you would like to request an integration, please fill out the Integration Request Form.
As the requestor, you are responsible as:

  • the designated tester of the integration
  • the point of contact for the implementation process
  • the primary support person for any student inquiries regarding the integration, or willing to direct students to the appropriate vendor support

If approved, the implementation may take 3 months or longer. If an upgrade to the GVSU Blackboard system renders the integration inoperable, it is the responsibility of the vendor to provide GVSU with an updated version or fix for the integration.

Blackboard Help

The Help link that is included in every Blackboard course menu leads to the eLearning website. This site provides how-to documentation, videos, and frequently asked questions. The eLearning team also offers many seminars that faculty can register for through GVSU Sprout.

To request a consultation from the eLearning Technologies team, fill out the eLearning Technologies Consultation Request in the Service Portal.

For general eLearning questions, fill out the eLearning Technologies Consultation Request in the Service Portal.

For all other support questions, please contact IT Services ((616) 331-2101).

IT Policies and Procedures

For additional campus policies regarding proper use, security, and administrative procedures, please visit the Information Technology Policies and Procedures page.

Page last modified May 16, 2022