Blackboard - Faculty - Content Creation: Creating and Managing Content

Blackboard features many tools to communicate with students. In this guide, we'll outline how to create and manage content and structure to maximize efficiency in your Blackboard course.


Before beginning it's helpful to understand some of the basic terminology behind types of content stored in Blackboard. The following definitions are frequently used throughout the Blackboard system and documentation.

  • Side Menu (Tool Menu) Links - Side menu or tool menu links are clickable buttons that appear in the side menu of a Blackboard course. The side menu is persistent throughout all the course pages and is designed to give students quick access to the most common areas of the course they'll access the most. Some of these items are pre-populated when a Blackboard course is created, but the side menu can be added to and managed easily.
    • Side menu options are divided into two types - Content areas, which store content like files, and Tool Links, which are links to tools inside the Blackboard system like My Grades.
  • Content Folders - Content folders are folders inside Content areas which can be used to add additional structure. For instance, you may have a content area called Course Content (which is linked from the side menu) and a folder inside course content for lectures.
  • Tools and Tool Links - Tools and Tool links are links to modules in the Blackboard system. Common modules are - Announcements, Calendar and My Grades. Unlike content areas they're designed as a tool to be used, not to display content.
  • Items - Items are content that is created inside the Blackboard system using the editor, rather then files that are posted or attached from your computer.
  • Files - Files are a lot like attachments in an email. They allow you to post files to your Blackboard course that you wish to share with your class. 
  • Learning Modules - Learning modules are folders that have a defined order. They're useful when you want a student to go through the entire folder in sequence. 

Common Interface

  • Throughout the Blackboard system a common set of options have been included to make it easy for users to control content and user experience. These options are available on many items created in Blackboard, in addition to any item specific settings. You can control when content will appear for students using these items.
    • Permit users to view this content or show content to users is a "catch all" statement that shows or hides the item from student users. If this is disabled, regardless of any other criteria the item will not be displayed.
    • Display After - Will display the item when the date entered is reached
    • Display Until - Will remove this item from display when the date entered is reached.

Creating Side Menu Links

  • Make sure edit mode is on and  hover your mouse over the plus button located at the very top of the side directly above the course title.
  • Click the type of side menu link you'd like to create. For a folder to store content in, select content area. If you wish to create a link to a tool select tool link.

  • Enter the appropriate information such as title, tool (if creating a tool link) and select if you wish the link to be displayed to the students. Click submit

  • To manage existing side menu links, hover your mouse over the link title and click the down arrow.

Creating Content Folders

  • Make sure edit mode is on, and browse to a content area by clicking it's title on the side menu bar (for instance, Course Content)
  • Under the build content menu, select content folder

  • Enter a name for your folder, and select any other desired options and click submit

  • To manage existing items, hover your mouse over the item icon and click the down arrow that appears. Click edit

Creating Items and Files

  • Make sure edit mode is on, and browse to a content area by clicking it's title on the side menu bar (for instance, Course Content)
  • Hover your mouse over the build content menu, select item or file
    • Items - are objects that you're going to create in Blackboard, using the Blackboard editor.
    • Files - are objects that you're going to attach from your computer.

  • Enter the name of your object and click either browse my computer to upload and attach a file, or enter the desired text in the content editor.

  • Set any desired options such as availability
  • Click Submit
  • To manage existing items, hover your mouse over the item icon and click the down arrow that appears. Click edit


Best Bets for Content Organization

  • Try to organize content in a logical way, define your side menu folders early in the planning process and use them as the main table of contents for your course
  • Try to avoid creating many folders inside folders. If possible no more then 2 sub folders should be used to avoid making items difficult to find
  • Define a folder structure for your site before loading content in. Once you have a defined organization scheme, stick to it.
  • Courses are pre-loaded with the following content areas. To keep user experience consistent, we recommend the following organizational scheme
    • Course Content - Content related to the course (files, lecture notes, videos, etc..)
    • Assessments - A location for accessing any online tests
    • Assignments - A location for accessing file and drop-boxes related to assignments
  • If you would like consultation on setting up your course, please contact


  • Staff
  • Faculty

Service category

  • Teaching & Learning Tools

Last updated

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 12:50