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Observing Students in Blackboard

Blackboard provides an Observer role which can be used by academic counselors and student support staff to monitor the performance of their students. Once the counselor’s department has set up a special account for the Observer, the Observer will be able to view his/her assigned student’s grades and course material from courses in which the faculty member has enabled Observer access. Note that this Observer account is separate from the usual employee ID. Observers may only view grades and course materials from students that are formally associated with the Observer by NIU Blackboard Support.

Accessing a List of Observed Students

From the NIU tab (the page that is seen after a successful login), click on Observer Dashboard from the Observer Gateway Module.

Click Observer Dashboard in the Tools module

Once clicked, the next page displays a list of students that the Observer is observing.

screenshot of the Observer Dashboard

Choosing a Student to Observe

From the Observer Dashboard above, click the round drop-down arrow next to the Last Name of the student to be observed and select Observe from the menu. Once clicked, the Observer will be redirected back to the landing page. In the My Courses module, a list of courses in which the observed student is enrolled will be displayed.

Screenshot of My Courses module

From this module, clicking one of the courses will redirect to the Observer version of the Course if one exists. (Not all courses will be able to be viewed; the faculty member for the course must specifically allow Observer access before an Observer can view any part of the course.)

Note: When in the course, only the grade information of the student being observed will be visible via the My Grades section of the course. To view grade information for another student, return to the Observer Dashboard, and select another student to observe.

Accessing a List of a Student's Courses which Have Allowed Observers

From the Observer Dashboard page above, click the Username of a student to display a list of courses in which (1) the student is enrolled and (2) the faculty member has allowed Observer access.

From here, the Observer version of the Blackboard course can be opened by clicking on the round drop down arrow next to the Course Name of the course to be opened and selecting Observe from the menu. Doing this will change the currently-observed student.

Screenshot of Observer Dashboard


Last updated: 6/6/2017