Center for Technology Enhanced Learning

Blackboard Guest Access

Making Your Course Available to Guests Without UMS ID

Blackboard allows guests with or without a UMS login to access your course, if you allow it.  There are several levels of access that must be permitted.  ALL of these levels, by default, disallow access to the course by anyone not enrolled.

Allowing Guest Access to the Course

To Enable:  From the Control Panel > Customization > Guest and Observer Access.  Click the "Yes" option next to "Allow Guests", and submit the page.

access here image 

What this does:  It allows guest access to the course menu


Allowing Guests to access CONTENT AREAS and TOOLS

Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability

Select the tools to make available to Guests in the "Visible to Guest" column

Note: access to guests is limited.  

  • Only a small subset of the tools can be made available to Guests.  
  • Most often, you will want to select "Announcements" and "Content Area".  
  • Guests cannot be given access to communications tools.

Next, you need to go to each Content Area in your Course Menu and click the contextual menu (double down arrows) to Permit Guests.

Permit Guests

What this does: It allows access to the content areas and tools that you select, within the course.  For this to work, you must allow guest access to the course.

Prior to Blackboard 9.1, the above steps were enough to allow guests into your course. Blackboard 9.1's new file system, however, necessitates the need to give permissions to the files that you attach to items in your Blackboard course.

Allowing Guests to access ATTACHED FILES

Guest permissions can be given to individual files, or to entire folders. Most often, if you are opening your course up to guests, you likely want to give access to more than one attached file.  The Blackboard file system allows you to create permissions for folders as well.

Open FilesTo create a folder in your Files area:

  • Control Panel > Files > (CourseID)
  • Click "Create Folder" at the top of the content frame
  • Enter a folder name and submit (Use only letters, 
    numbers and underscores… no spaces or symbols)

Move your files into the new folder:

  • Select the checkbox next to each file to move into your new folder.
  • Click the "Move" button
  • On the resulting page, click "Browse" to find your destination folder
  • Click the button next to the folder to move the files to
  • Click "Submit"
  • Click "Submit" again. Your files have been moved.

To set Guest privileges to the files:

  • Click on the chevron next to the folder you created to disclose the menu
  • Choose "Permissions"
  • Click the "Add Course User List" button at the top of the content frame
    click the box next to "Guest"
  • Choose the permissions allowed for the guest (normally, you will select only "Read"
  • Submit the page

What this does: This gives guest access to attached files in your course.  Without performing these steps, guests can see content that appears within the browser page, but cannot access attached documents without providing login information.

How do guests access my site?

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the "Courses" tab at the top of the screen and enter a course number or courseID in the Course Search spaces (e.g. PSY101), the click Go.

    course tab

    course search
  3. Courses that have enabled Guest access will have an active hyperlink for the courseID.  
  4. Click on the link and the guest has now been entered into the course site as a guest.
  5. If the course navigation does not display on the left side, click the ">" on the left to disclose the navigation frame.

    expand menu