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 must contact the

Course names for Banner feed 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.

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 located at:

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.

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:
1) students fulfilling an incomplete (but we will confirm incomplete for student)
2) 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 (

All requests for undergraduate student or graduate/teaching assistants enrollments needing grading access begin with a "Student Grader Request Form" 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 bbadmin 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). For more information please visit: Adding users to course

Adding Individual Users to Course Sites

We cannot add people to course sites for them to view content if they should be registered for the course.   We would need an email from the instructor of record, with a description of why an individual needs access and the type of access.    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 and course photo roster, receives emails from students who email “instructors” via MyBb.
  *   TA = access to almost all parts of the control panel, access to grade center, cannot access course photo roster and 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, can create Grade Center columns with Batch Create Grade Columns tool.
  *   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. Please address your request to


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 email

Problems with Blackboard Accounts or Blackboard Server

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

Maintenance Window

Blackboard’s maintenance window is every Tuesday morning from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

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, please contact IT Services ((616) 331-2101). Only the instructor of record can request a course site be restored. 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.

Course and File Size Quotas

The default file size upload limit for students, faculty, and staff is 600MB.

The default course size limit for faculty and staff is 1000MB. When a Blackboard course approaches its quota limit, an email notification is sent to the instructor(s). Please contact IT Services ((616) 331-2101) if you receive the quota notification to review options for decreasing the course quota.

Managing Course Files Help Page

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 which faculty can register for through GVSU Sprout.

Contact information for eLearning Blackboard Faculty Support:

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.