Blackboard – Student Preview

Student Preview provides a way for you to see your course from the standpoint of a student. You can use Student Preview to test your Grade Center calculations, review the course content, and validate the course behaviors such as those that control the availability of course content. While in student view mode you can do any activities a student can, such as:

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

Enter student preview mode:

To enter student preview mode, select the Enter Student Preview icon shown below.
Detail screenshot showing the icon to click for entering student preview.

Student preview creates a student account, called the preview user. You’re now logged in as the “preview user” and your preview user account is enrolled in the current course. When you enter student preview mode, the student preview bar appears at the top of each page. The bar displays the text “Student Preview mode is ON” and has Settings and Exit Preview functions.

Screenshot of the banner indicating that Student Preview is ON.

Your preview user account:

When you enter student preview mode and are logged in to your course with the preview user account, your preview user appears in the course roster. Students and administrators can easily identify your preview user account by the name which is your last name appended with _PreviewUser and the username is your NetID appended with _previewuser.

View of the grade center showing that the "_previewuser" is appended after the NetID of instructor or TA.

If you teach a course with another instructor or TA, you can each have a separate preview user account.

As a preview user, all the data associated with your activities are captured by Blackboard Learn, such as submitted assignments and discussion posts. 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.

Exit and delete or keep your preview user account:

screenshot of choices when exiting student preview, or when clicking settings button.

Select Exit Preview to exit the student preview. If you leave the course and don’t exit from student preview, when you return to the course, you’ll still be in student preview mode.

When you exit the student preview, you’re asked if you want to keep or delete the preview user and all associated data.

Keep the preview user and data

We recommend you keep the preview user and associated data if you want to test your grade calculations.

If you keep the data, the preview user account appears in the course roster, Grade Center, and any place you interacted as that user.

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

Or delete the preview user and data

In the Exit Student Preview window, select Delete the preview user and all data. Optionally, select the Do not ask me check box. The course automatically completes your choice each time you exit student preview.

To change this setting, select Settings in the student preview bar.

When you delete the preview user, all activity conducted or created as the preview user is removed from the course permanently. Removal includes test attempts, assignment submissions, grades, and discussion posts. Any interaction an enrolled student has with the preview user, such as replies to a preview user’s discussion posts is also removed. The preview user is unenrolled from the course. If the user isn’t enrolled in another course, the preview user account is deleted.

You can unenroll the preview user account from a course with traditional enrollment tools. If you do, 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 Anonymous appears in place of the name.

Updated on September 21, 2020

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