Testing your Blackboard course

If you’re trying out something new on Blackboard, it is always a good idea to test it first. Whether it is a new Blackboard Test, using groups or getting the feel for discussion boards or blogs, it can be helpful to try it out in a safe space and take a look from the student perspective.

Test course

Your test course is your practice space. By default, only you are enrolled on it. However, you can add colleagues if you wish. See our previous article for more information and a link to instructions on setting up a test course.


There are two ways you can view Blackboard as if you were a student. One is to use the Student Preview, located in the top right of any Blackboard course you are a member of staff on.

Enter Student Preview icon

While in preview, there will be a bar across the top of the page to indicate this.

Orange bar showing preview mode is on, and button for Settings

In this mode, you will not see the course management toolbar, and you will only see content areas and items that have been made available to students.

You can do even more if you go into Settings and select ‘Keep the preview user and all data’. This essentially creates a temporary student who you can allocate to groups and see in the Grade Centre.

Note that if you create content and use Adaptive Release to restrict it to specific groups, you will not see it in preview mode until you have assigned your preview student to a group. You will need to select ‘Keep the preview user and all data’ first, then exit the preview and go to Groups in the course management toolbar. Once you have allocated the preview user to a group (they will appear as your-username_previewuser), go back into preview mode and you will see the course as a student in that group would.

Test student

You can create a test student account in any Blackboard course where you are a member of staff. Full instructions are provided online. Note that because of single sign-on, you will have to sign in via a different URL. In order to switch smoothly between your staff and test student views, you may find it helpful to open up your test student account in a different browser than usual – e.g. open Blackboard with your normal staff login in Chrome but use Edge to sign in as a test student.


Please note that your test student and preview user act as entirely different accounts.

Due to the issue of single sign-on you may find it slightly easier to use your preview user account for most testing.

If you have any problems with test courses or test student accounts, contact learning.systems@uwe.ac.uk.


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