File Management Tips

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File Management Tips

There are several ways to control access to materials for users in Blackboard. Once you have created your content you need to decide who gets to see that material, where they are to look for it, when can they have access to it, and are there any situations that you need to control the access to it (e.g. only certain people see it during specific sets of circumstances). Blackboard has some tools and features that you can use to make that task easier.

Adaptive Release

For instance, Adaptive Release rules are typically used to restrict student access within a course. You can add four types of criteria when you create rules:

  • Date
  • Membership
  • Grade
  • Review Status

Adaptive release can be used simply (one rule at a time) or advance use, which involves creating more than one condition that must be achieved before the material is released. Read more about this feature Blackboard's Adaptive Release article.

Restrict Visibility to Instructors or Organizers of Site

Hide Menu Access

"Hide Menu Link"
Hide Menu Link - click to expand

Another example of controlling access to any material would be a file link that is only defined in a Content Area which has a menu button set unavailable - so only instructors can access it (see Hide Menu Link image right).

Restrict Availability of the Item

"Control Availability"
Control Availability - click to expand
Instructors or Organizers can control the visibility of an item through setting the item to be available or not, or by controlling the date span that it will be available (see Control Availability image right).

Use Test Exceptions for Individuals

"Test Exceptions - click to expand
Test Exceptions - click to expand
When creating a test, you can enable access for individuals that have different circumstances such as extended time, or who have to write a test on a different day or need to have the timer disabled. To accomplish this, when in the Edit the Test Options screen, access the Test Exceptions button (see Test Exceptions image right). To find out more on how to use this feature, visit the Blackboard Help Article on Test and Survey Options.

Adjusting Permissions for Access

This is an advanced practice and is only recommended if you are fully familiar with the implications of changing access permissions on a file. When you add folders and files to the Content Collection, keep in mind which users and user lists the content will be shared with.

You may find it helpful to organize folders in a way that lets you manage permissions by folder, rather than by file. It can be difficult to manage items shared with the same users but spread out among different folders. For example, create a folder that contains all files used in a group project. This way the entire folder may be shared with the group members, rather than trying to manage permissions on separate items stored in different folders.

Folder permissions are inherited by default. When you update user permissions for a folder, those permissions also automatically apply to all items (folder and files) contained within that folder. You may want to verify that users do not have unauthorized access to certain folders if you make changes to top-level folder permissions.

Remember to review any changes in a Blackboard site by selecting the Student Preview button to test out which users get to see that material in the site.
"Student Preview"
Student Preview Option

For more information on adjusting permissions in the Content Collection please read thoroughly the Blackboard article on Permissions in the Content Collection

Best Practices

If the instructor has some files in the Content Collection that should only be seen by instructors or organizers and not by students/participants, then:

  1. They should never put a link to the root folder of the course in a Content Area accessible by students - as this would allow students to read everything underneath that available root folder.
  2. They should not make any file links available to students that the students should not be able to read, e.g. embedding links to material within Announcements, Emails, Course Links, Content Areas, etc.
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