Staff can now choose to allow guest access to courses in Learn. This makes some content elements of a course available publicly, without the need for any authentication.
It will not make public any element with interaction, such as discussions, or anything that uses students’ identities.
What can I use it for?
Guest access can allow prospective students and applicants to see some or all of your course content, as a marketing and promotional tool.
You may wish to provide students with an offer to join the University with an online pre-arrival induction course.
You can make a limited set of content from an existing course available, or you can create a course with content specifically designed for your target audience. Which you choose will depend on the purpose of guest access. Contact the Learn Service Team via IS Helpline if you wish to discuss what will meet your needs.
A list of guest courses is available on the login page for Learn but this is not comprehensive. You can also view Guest Courses via the Self-Enrol tab which is in the Learn menu bar.
Blackboard Help | Guest and Observer Access
Preparing your course for guest access
You may need to do some additional work to prepare a course for guest access, especially if you are using an existing course.
You should consider:
- Who is the audience for this course as a guest – e.g. is it for prospective students, or accepted pre-entry students. Do you need to provide any specific content for them?
- What parts of the course do you want to make available?
- Protect student data: Ensure that no public content carries protected information – for example documents with class or group membership lists.
- Have you checked the user experience? While the guest access automatically blocks access to some tools and resources that guests should not see, the experience of selecting links which present a login page, a message that “you are not authorised to view this page”, or another error message, is not going to give a good impression.
- Have you permissions and rights to make all of the content publicly available? Copyright materials such as eReserve documents are often cleared only for use in education, or for a specific course and cohort of students. You should ensure that only materials the University owns, or copyright-free materials, are put on a public space. If it doubt consult your academic support librarian in the first instance.
Academic Support Librarians Contacts
When designing your course for guest access bear in mind the following list of the tools that are not available to guests. This is set at a system level and cannot be altered.
- Discussion Board
- My Grades
Setting up guest access to a course:
Stage 1 of 2
Make the course guest accessible from the Course Management menu > Customisation, by selecting Guest and Observer Access: Set Guest access to “yes” and Submit.
If you have a course created specifically for guests, the course content will now be available to them.
If you have released an existing course for guests, you can fine-tune access by setting availability to content from the main course menu. Items which may be made available to guests will have the allow / deny option added to the drop-down menu visible by right-clicking on the menu item.
Note this control is only available on left-hand menu items and NOT from individual folders within the general content area.
Stage 2 of 2 (optional)
You may then request that the course is added to the ‘course catalogue’ so that is visible on the list of courses on the Learn landing page. Contact the IS Helpline to request this.