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Blackboard Feature Spotlight: Student Preview

Student Preview was made available in the April 2014 release of Blackboard Learn. It is up to your institution to enable Student Preview. Click here for instructors on how to find which version of Blackboard Learn you are using.

The official Student Preview allows instructors to view a course exactly as a student would without having to login to a separate student account. Edit Mode is still available, but to see a true student view simply click the student preview icon (student_preview) located in the same row as the Edit Mode button.

In addition to a standard student preview feature instructors are also given the option to save their demo student data. If you submit a test or assignment and would like to review your submission as an instructor you would need to save your preview data. Preview users are identified by the current user’s username + “_previewuser.” (Ex. Username: John.Smith; Preview Username: John.Smith_previewuser.) A preview user can complete any of the following activities:

  • Submit assignments and tests
  • Create blog posts, discussion board posts, journal entries, and wiki entries
  • View student tools, such as My Grades

Enable Student Preview

To enable student preview mode click the student preview icon (student_preview) located in the top right next to the course theme icon.

Student Preview Icon in Instructor Mode
Student Preview Button

Student Preview Enabled

When student preview is enabled the following yellow bar will appear at the top of the page. Student preview will remain enabled until you exit preview mode.

Student preview mode is on toolbar.

Leave Student Preview

To exit student preview mode click the “Exit Preview” button located in the top right of the screen. When exiting preview mode you will be prompted to delete your preview user and data or to save your preview user and data. You will also be given the option to remember your selection for future uses.

Exit Student Preview Settings
Exit Student Preview Settings

Student Preview Settings

If you chose to have Blackboard remember your settings you can change them at any time by clicking the “Settings” button located in the top right corner of the screen.

Student Preview Settings
Student Preview Settings

Resuming Student Preview

When a student preview user is available with saved data the middle dot of the preview icon will turn green (StudentPreviewGreen), indicating the preview user account is available for use.

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Eric Silva

Eric is a Systems Analyst and Blackboard Administrator at The University of Texas at San Antonio, and a graduate from Boise State University. Learn more about me.


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