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Enrolling a Colleague to Observe a Course in Bb

A tutorial for faculty on how to enroll a colleague in a Blackboard course site to observe it.

Based on the new PSC-CUNY 2019 contract regarding the online/hybrid course observation, a course observer can only be enrolled in the course as a student or guest “for no more than a 48-hour period that will commence at a specified time not earlier than seven calendar days after the notice of the teaching observation has been given to the instructor.  Within 48 hours of receiving notice of the observation, the instructor shall inform the students of the teaching observation and its beginning and end time via the method for announcements normally employed by the instructor in the course” (Section "Classroom Teaching Observations of Online Courses"). 


PSC-CUNY (2019). Memorandum of Agreement 2019. Retrieved from

In this tutorial, you will learn how to enroll a course observer (step 1) and how to block access after the observation period is over (step 2).

Make sure that you are in your Blackboard course and follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Enrolling a Course Observer

Both instructors and teaching assistants can enroll users to the course. Also, ask the observer for their EMPL ID number to enroll in the Bb course.

1. In the Course Management section, click "Users and Groups", then "Users."

Click Users

2. Press "Find Users to Enroll."

Find Users to enroll

3. On the Add Enrollments page, fill in the EMPL ID in the Username box. If there is more than one user, use commas to separate them. Click the Role drop-down menu to select appropriate role. We recommend setting the Observer role as "Student."

Input User ID

4. For the Enrollment Availability, leave the default "Yes."

5. Click "Submit" to complete the enrollment.Select your options, then Submit.

You successfully added the observer to your course. Please inform the observer once you enrolled them to the course and inform your students about it via the course announcement.

Step 2: Change User Availability

As mentioned before, observers can only have 48 hours (e.g. two days) to access the course. Once the 48 hours have passed, you will need to make the course unavailable to the course observer. 

  1. Under Course Management, click on "Users and Groups", then "Users."
  2. Hover to the username you wish to change the role of and click on the chevron (e.g. the down arrow) on the right-hand side.
  3. Select "Change User's Availability in Course."
    Change User's Availability in Course button
  4. Click on the Available drop-down menu and select "No."
  5. To finish, click "Submit."

Change User's Availability in Course page

You changed the user's availability in your Blackboard course. Now the course observer can no longer access to your course.

CTLET York College CUNY Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0