View as a Student

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The Student Preview mode allows instructors to view their course exactly as their students do without having to login to a separate student account. This functionality enables the instructors to review and confirm the design of their course content and course behaviors (e.g. time/date availability, adaptive release criteria, grade weighting, etc.) from the students’ perspective.

Student preview is different from using Edit Mode. By turning Edit Mode off the instructor can still see any content that is generally hidden from students. However, Student Preview allows the instructors to experience their course exactly as their students do.

With Student Preview, the instructor can do the following student activities:

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

Note: Student Preview may not fully display content for tools that were developed at U of T (e.g., UT Manage Groups, Group Assignments) and non-Blackboard tools that have been integrated in Portal courses (e.g., peerScholar, iClicker Student Remote Registration).

Video Walkthrough


Enter Student Preview Mode

To enter student preview mode, click the Enter Student Preview icon, at the top-right corner of your course pages, next to the Change Course Theme function.

Student Preview Icon

When you enter Student Preview mode, the student preview bar appears at the top of every page showing that Student Preview mode is ON. It has Settings and Exit Preview functions. Student preview will remain enabled until you exit preview mode.

Student Preview Bar


Preview User Account

Student preview creates a student account called the preview user account, logs you in as that student and enrolls you in the current course. Your preview user appears in the course roster and is visible to all students enrolled in the course. Students and administrators can easily identify this as your preview user account by the way it is named: its last name is your last name appended with “_PreviewUser” and its username is your username appended with “_previewuser”.

As a preview user, all the data associated with your activities are captured by Blackboard Learn, such as submitted assignments and discussion posts. In fact, other students can interact with your preview user. For example, they can reply to your posts as though you were another student enrolled in the course.

Please note: If you are teaching a course with another instructor, you will each have your own preview user account.


Exit Student Preview Mode

When you have finished using Student Preview mode, click Exit Preview on the orange bar at the top to return to instructor view. If you leave the course without exiting from student preview, you will return to student preview when you return to the course.

When an instructor “Exits Preview” mode you are prompted to delete the preview user and all data or keep the preview user and all data. You will also be given the option to remember your selection for future uses.

Exit Student Preview


Delete the Preview User and Data

Instructors are advised in best practice to delete the preview user and all associated data.

In the Exit Student Preview dialog, select Delete the preview user and all data (Recommended). If you select the “Do not ask me” check box, the course will automatically complete your choice each time you exit student preview.

Please note: 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

If you delete the preview user,

  • All activity conducted or created as the preview user is removed from the course permanently. This includes test attempts, assignment submissions, and grades. Also deleted is any interaction an enrolled student has with the preview user, such as replies to a preview user’s discussion posts.

Note: Removing a preview student removes the associated data everywhere except blog posts. After removal, any posts submitted by a preview account become anonymous. Also the comments posted on the blog entries are not removed when deleting the preview user.

  • The preview user is unenrolled from the course. If the user is not enrolled in another course, the preview user account is deleted.

Note: You can unenroll the preview user account from a course using the traditional enrollment tools. If this is done, some of the activity conducted or created as the preview student remains in the course but is made anonymous. For example, discussion posts are retained but made anonymous.


Keep the Preview User and Data

An instructor would choose Keep the preview user and all data to view student activity from the instructor point-of-view. After exiting Student Preview mode and keeping the data, the Instructor can navigate to areas of the course where they can view that preview student's activity, such as the Grade Center.

Please note: The student preview user will appear in the course roster, Grade Center, and any place where you did something as that user. It will also appear in your lists of students and any reports you create until you choose to delete it.

When you save the preview user account, the dot in the middle of the Enter Student Preview function icon turns green, indicating the preview user account is available for use.

Keep Preview User

Note: If you keep your preview user account and run reports or gather statistics from your course, your numbers will be skewed by one (or more if there are multiple instructors using student preview). Also, it can potentially confuse your students who may try to interact with your preview student when you are not in student preview mode to monitor the interaction.

To delete any retained data, the instructor must re-enter Student Preview and exit again, this time choosing "Delete the data" at the prompt. Choosing to delete the data unenrolls the preview student from the course (and, if not in use in any other of the instructor's courses, deletes it from the system). All activity conducted or created as the preview student is removed from the course permanently. This includes attempts, submissions, grades, posts, etc.