Managing Users

Students who have registered for a course in MyNIU are automatically enrolled in the associated Blackboard course (updates to the roster are synchronized daily with data from Registration and Records), but faculty have the ability to add others to their courses as needed. For example, TAs must be added to a course manually. Faculty may also want to add colleagues to their course to share materials or co-teach.

User Roles

A Blackboard user is anyone using Blackboard, whether she/he is teaching staff, students, or administrative staff. There are seven types of users:

  • Student: Enrolled students have access to all areas in the course that contain content and assessments. Students are automatically added to the Blackboard course within 1 business day of registering for the course. Students cannot access any areas of the Control Panel.
  • Instructor: The Instructor role has access to all areas of the Control Panel and is generally given to the person developing, teaching or facilitating the course. Those with the Instructor role can access a course that is unavailable to Students.
  • Teaching Assistant: Teaching Assistants have access to most features of the Control Panel. This includes the ability to develop test questions, verify grades, manage users, and many others. Teaching Assistants may access a course that is unavailable to Students, and may not remove the instructor from the course. Teaching Assistants must be added manually by someone with the Instructor role.
  • Grader: The Grader role is used for an individual who assists in grading assessments. Graders can be assigned by the course instructor.
  • Course Builder: Course Builders have access to all course functions except the Grade Center. The role of a course builder is assigned by the course instructor.
  • Guest: Guests may enter the course and browse all components. Use the guest feature when guest speakers, visitors, or other faculty members want to view the online classroom environment.
  • Online Student Support: This role allows someone to check on student progress in order to support students who may not be actively participating in an online course. This role has access to view content and assessments but may not edit them. It can view the Performance Dashboard, Retention Center, and course reports in a course with the Original Course View. It cannot view or modify grades. This role will be added by default to courses supported by the NIU Online Student Support Team and can be manually enrolled in other courses by someone with the Instructor role.

Enrolling Users in Original Course View

Screenshot highlighting how to access the user enrollment and removal utilities

Users should only be manually enrolled if they are not registered students in the course, such as a teaching assistant, another faculty member, or an interpreter.

To Enroll a User

  1. In the Control Panel under Users and Groups, click Users
  2. Click the Find Users to Enroll button - do not use the search fields below Find Users to Enroll, because those search the current roster
  3. If the user's Account ID is known, type it in the Username box
  4. If the user's Account ID is not known, click the Browse button to search for the user by name:
    1. Select Last Name in the dropdown box, enter the user's last name and click Go (you can also search by Username, First Name, or Email)
    2. Place a check mark next to the correct user
    3. Click the Submit button. Their Account ID should now be filled in the Username box
  5. Choose the appropriate role from the dropdown menu
  6. Click the Submit button

Enrolling Users in Ultra Course View

Status: Available

Users should only be manually enrolled if they are not registered students in the course, such as a teaching assistant, another faculty member, or an interpreter.

To Enroll a User

  1. Click the Roster link in the Details & Actions panel to the left of the Course Content page
  2. Click the Enroll People icon in the upper right (a plus sign (+) in a circle)
  3. In the search box type a name or username to reveal a list of matches
  4. Select one or more people
  5. Choose a role for each selected person
  6. Click the Save button

Learn More


Quick Guides

Guest and Observer Access

The role of a Guest can be added by course faculty members to allow a user to have limited access to course materials. Guest users can only see the areas faculty members allow them to see, and certain secure content (such as the Grade Center) can never be accessed by Guest users.

Guests: Guests are defined as users in a course who do not directly participate in its activities. Faculty can allow or disallow Guest access to courses by default.

Observers: The Observer role is not used at NIU. 

Screenshot highlighting how to access the guest and observer tool

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I add users and modify user status in my course?

There are two ways that users are added to Blackboard courses. Once a faculty member requests a scheduled section, registered students will automatically be added to the Blackboard course; updates to the roster will appear daily. Faculty members can manually add additional users to a course through the Control Panel.

To enroll users manually:

Note: If you know the Z- or A-ID of the person to be enrolled, Steps 5 and 6 can be omitted.

  1. After accessing your course, from the Control Panel, click Users and Groups
  2. Select Users
  3. On the adjacent page, click the Find Users to Enroll button 
    Enrolling Users Steps 1 - 3
  4. On the following page, if the Username of the user is known, enter it in the textbox and proceed to Step 7; otherwise, click Browse
    Enrolling Users Step 4
  5. If you clicked Browse, search for users by Username, First Name, Last Name, or NIU Email and click Go
  6. Click Submit after user is located
    Enroll User Steps - 5 and 6
  7. On the Add Enrollments page, select the appropriate Role
    Enrolling a user, steps 7 and 8
  8. Click the Submit button when finished

Modify Status
To see or modify a list of students enrolled in your course:

  1. In the Control Panel under Users and Groups, click Users
  2. Click on the action link menu next to the username
  3. Select "Change User's Role in Course"
  4. On the next page, select the new role the user should have by checking the radio button to the left of the role
  5. Click the Submit button
I would like to provide a guest speaker who is not associated with NIU temporary access to my Blackboard course. What is the process for requesting such access?

To request Blackboard Guest Lecturer IDs for your non-NIU guests, please follow these steps:

  1. Log in at with your NIU Account ID and password
  2. Click the Make a Request button
  3. Under the Identity and Access Control heading, click the Create Sponsored Account link
  4. From the Account Sponsorship Type drop down menu, select Non-Paid Affiliate/Volunteer 
  5. Complete the required fields on the form, being sure to specify Blackboard under Account Access
  6. Verify the information and submit the request using the Submit button at the top of the page

DoIT will fulfill the request within one business day. After the ID has been issued, the course instructor can add the guest to a particular course. 

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