What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a learning management system that many universities utilize for online assignment submissions, quizzes, announcements, and discussions. If you've never used this platform before here are the three things you will need:

  • The web address of your institution's Blackboard Learn site
  • Your username
  • Your password

If you do not know the web address, you can find a link to the external website either on your institution’s homepage, or by asking your professor for assistance.

Blackboard Layout

The layout for blackboard may differ from institution to institution. The first page you will go to after you log in is the My Institution tab. This tab gives you Blackboard Announcements, A tutorial on Blackboard Ultra, Student Tips, as well as Blackboard Support Information for your specific institution.

The main navigation tabs are on the left hand side of the screen. The panel tabs are as follows:

  • My institution
  • Your profile, denoted by your name
  • Activity Stream
  • Courses
  • Organizations
  • Calendar
  • Messages
  • Grades
  • Tools
  • Log Out

When you click on the Courses tab, it will show all the classes you are enrolled in. From here, you can select your course and proceed to the home page for that class.

Navigating down the home page, you will find your course menu, which contains, among other things, a link to your course content, course grades, announcements, etc. Note that course content may contain lecture slides, notes, and/or assignments for the class.

Within each assignment, you will be given the option to either upload your assignment from the file system on your computer, or type a submission in a text box. Your professor will indicate which form you should submit.

Navigating Blackboard

The general layout for most Blackboard sites is free of graphics and unlabeled buttons. This means that you can freely use your up and down arrow keys, along with the tab key, to navigate pages. It is also useful to use the JAWS and NVDA key commands for list of links, headings, and form fields. These will allow you to efficiently locate links of interest.


On most pages within the Blackboard site, there is a link to a help section located on the bottom of that page. Additionally, a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts is available in the Quick Links section of Blackboard.