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Center for Teaching & Learning: Blackboard - Using Student Preview

Supporting the MCPHS faculty and staff in their commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning

Using Student Preview

Throughout the course development process, it is important to validate the design you've created--through the eyes of your students. Blackboard allows instructors to switch to a student preview at any time, to accomplish this goal.

If possible, try viewing the course as a student via different web browsers, and click links and media to be sure they function as you envision.  

To enter student preview mode, select the Enter Student Preview function at the top-right corner of your course pages.

Student Preview button

Student preview creates a student account, called the preview user account, logs you in as that student and enrolls you 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.

Message showing that Student Preview Mode is on and Exit Preview button


Using Your Preview 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 and is visible to all students enrolled in the course. Students and administrators can easily identify this as your preview user account by the way it's named: its last name is your last name appended with "_PreviewUser" and its username is your username appended with "_previewuser".

If you're teaching a course with another instructor, you'll each have your own preview user account.

screenshot of Users page with preview user enrolled


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

Select Exit Preview to exit the student preview.

If you leave the course and don't exit from student preview, you'll return to student preview when you return to the course.

When you exit the student preview, you're prompted to keep or delete the preview user and all its associated data.

Screenshot of Exit Student Preview window


Delete the preview user and data

We recommend you remove the preview user and its associated data.

In the Exit Student Preview window, select Delete the preview user and all data (Recommended). If you want, select the Do not ask me check box. The course will automatically complete your choice each time you exit student preview.

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

Deleting the preview user has these effects:

  • 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. Also removed is any interaction an enrolled student has with the preview user, such as replies to a preview user's discussion posts.

  • 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 using the 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 made anonymous.

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