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Blackboard – Tool Availability

Blackboard is made up of a series of tools, which allow you to do certain things in your course, such as upload files, communicate with students via email or discussion board and post announcements.

Tool Availability

However, there may be cases when you don’t want tools available to your students (or guests) to use within the course. Conversely, you may not see a course tool available for use that you would like to employ. Many tools can be turned on or off at the course level. Here is how to manage the available tools in your course:

  • Click on the Customization area of the Control Panel on the left of your screen.
  • Click on Tool Availability.
  • On the Tool Availability page, you can check or uncheck the boxes to the right of the tool options to choose whether to make the tool available to users.
  • Click Submit.

For reference, we’ve reproduced the help documents from blackboard on this subject in case you would like more information about how to manage tool availability in your course:

Availability Settings

Available tools are listed alphabetically in the Tool Availability table. The table is divided into columns:

  • Available – The tool is available throughout the Course and open to all users that have a role permitting the use of the tool.
  • Visible to Guests – The tool is visible (read-only), but not usable to Guests when Guests are permitted in the Course.
  • Visible to Observers – The tool is visible (read-only), but not usable to Observers when Observers are permitted in the Course.
  • Available in Content Areas – The Instructor can place a link to a tool in one or more Content Areas of the Course.

Tools with a check box in a column can be made available by selecting the check box and made unavailable by clearing the check box. Tools with a grayed checkbox in a column have been turned off by the system administrator. Tools with a dash ( – ) in a column do not have availability settings in the system that can be changed.

If tools are made unavailable after a period of being available, either at the Course level by the Instructor or at the system level by the system administrator, no content is deleted from the system. If the tools are made available again, the existing content remains and becomes accessible.

Filter Display

Click Filter on the action bar to sort the table based on availability status for the tool and for the role users have in a Course. Filtering makes it easier to see which tools are available and visible, and change settings based on those criteria.


Email settings have added controls accessed by opening the contextual menu and selectingEmail Settings. From here, Instructors can limit the ability of Students to send email to various groups of users in the Course. For example, the Instructor can disable the Students’ ability to email all users and all groups in a Course to cut down on duplicate messages and potential misuse of email. Students who have opted out of email using their Privacy Settings will not be emailed by other Students, even if the All Users, Select Users, or Select Groups options are used. These settings do not affect the Instructor’s ability to send email.

Content Type Availability

Content Type Availability only controls whether or not that type of content can be created. It does not affect the ability of users to see that type of content.

Module Page Settings

When the checkbox for Module Page is disabled:

  • The Create Module Page option is available in the Create Item drop-down list for the Course Menu in Edit Mode.
  • Module Pages added to the Menu are accessible, unless the Instructor sets the individual page to unavailable.
  • Module Pages inside content folders are NOT accessible in when Edit Mode is OFF.

When the check box for Module Pages is selected:

  • The Create Module Page is available in the Create Item drop-down list for the Menu in Edit Mode.
  • Module Pages added to the Menu are accessible, unless the instructor sets the individual page to unavailable.
  • Module Pages inside content folders are accessible, unless the Instructor sets the module to unavailable.
Updated on September 21, 2020

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