For Faculty: How to Get Started Using Blackboard

Network Operations Center
Abdul Qureshi - 12/2008

Why Use Blackboard?

The Blackboard System provides many advantages for both instructors and students:

  • Curriculum-driven content management and content sharing
  • The ability to electronically manage the collection and organization of assignments
  • An assessment management system
  • A gradebook
  • Discussion boards

At Dowling, the Office of Instructional Technology Support Services is your primary source of information about the effective use of Blackboard, including training and support.

How to Begin Using Blackboard:

Step I: Learn how to use Blackboard

Contact Tim Kelly to enroll in Dowling's Blackboard Tutorial shell. Completing this short course will help you become more comfortable with using Blackboard for your classes. You only need to complete this course once.

For a course for which you haven't previously used Blackboard, Tim will show you how to upload course syllabi, Powerpoint presentations, reading materials, announcements and other content. He can also show you how to use the discussion board and virtual classroom features, or the assessment or gradebook features of Blackboard.

If you have used Blackboard previously, you may need to export content from an old CRN and import it into a new CRN. You can follow the links at the bottom of this explanation page, or you can request an assist from the Blackboard Team.

Step II: Find Your Course Shell and Make It "Available"

Until you make your courses available in Blackboard, your students will not see them. The process is simple.


  1. The Registrar must associate the course with you in Banner, in other words, Banner must "know" that you are teaching the course.
  2. You must know the CRN for your course.
  3. You must know your network/email username and password to gain access.

Browse to for complete instructions to make your assigned classes available. Short summary:

  1. Login using your Dowling username and password (same as email).
  2. Under My Courses at the right side of the screen, select the course you wish to make available. Your course name will look like this:
  3. Now, on the lower left side under Tools, click Control Panel.
  4. At the lower left, under Course Options click Settings.
  5. Click the second item: Course Availability.
  6. Set the button for Course Available to Yes, then click Submit.
  7. Click OK twice to return to Control Panel.

Your course shell is now active and visible to your students. There are instructions at the bb-available.html page to double-check that your students are enrolled.

Step III: Communicate to Your Students

  1. Return to the course Control Panel for the class you wish to communicate to.
  2. On the left side under Course Tools click Send Email
  3. Click All Users (you'll get a copy of your own email)
  4. Enter a subject and your message, then click Submit.

Remember: students must first activate their Dowling email to utilize Blackboard. The activation process gives students their username and sets a password for all of their Dowling accounts. To activate, students should browse to and follow the instructions.

Step IV: Use the Blackboard System

The Office of Instructional Technology Support has extensive experience helping Faculty use the system most effectively. Consult with them freely for tips and tricks "from the field." You will find them most willing to help.

Tips for using Blackboard

  • I have content on the old Blackboard system that I'd like to preserve. How?
    Export it!
  • I don't see the shells I'm teaching!
    Banner does not "know" you're teaching the course. Contact Registrar to ensure that Banner lists you as the instructor for the course.
  • Some of my students don't see my shell. Why?
    They are not properly enrolled, or have been dropped by Registrar, or have dropped the course themselves. Every morning Blackboard receives enrollment for each class from Banner. If Banner "thinks" they're in your class, they will be enrolled and will see your shell. Contact Registrar to resolve descrepancies.

Contacts for Assistance with Blackboard

Instructional Technology Support, RC 313A
Tim Kelly - phone (631) 244-3157 - kellyt(at)
Tim conducts faculty training and ongoing support of Blackboard.

Blackboard Technical Support, FH025
Abdul Qureshi - blackboard(at)
Maintenance and troubleshooting

Technology Help Desk, FH032
Password resets and general access issues

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