Updated “Student Preview” Tool in Blackboard

Have you ever wanted to view your course through the lens of an enrolled student, so you could see what they see, how they see it, and what they don’t see? If so, you may have used the “Add Test Student” or “Student View” tools that have been available in our Blackboard system for years. Or, you may be in the habit of toggling off “Edit Mode” in order to get a clearer picture of what your course really looks like to your students.

These options have worked sufficiently, but Blackboard has introduced an enhanced “Student Preview” tool that more clearly and accurately represents a true student version of your courses so that you can be sure the course experience is perfectly executed before inviting your students to take part. In fact, use of this tool actually creates a separate Blackboard user account with student permissions and enrolls that account in your course.

student preview mode button

While in Student Preview mode, you can perform the following student activities:

  • Submit assignments
  • Take tests
  • Create blog and discussion posts
  • Create journal and wiki entries
  • View student tools, such as My Grades


When you exit Student Preview mode, you will be presented with a few options. You can opt to keep the student preview account (thus retaining any sample student activity that occurred while testing) or you can delete it (the activity/content and the test student account). We recommend keeping it if you’d like to “play” with your Grade Center settings without affecting a real student.

exit student preview

A few notes:

  1. Removing a preview student removes the associated data everywhere except discussion posts. After removal, any posts submitted by a preview account become anonymous. Real students’ data can be lost if they interacted with the preview student.
  2. Student Preview is different from using Edit Mode. When Edit Mode is ON, you see all the course content and the editing controls for each item. Edit Mode OFF hides the editing controls but still displays any content that would normally be hidden from a student. Also, it doesn’t enable you to see student-only content, such as My Grades.
  3. You should only use student preview mode for testing your content and design. The tool dynamically switches you into a real student account. Your use of the Student Preview must be in compliance with all IT-related College policies, including the Acceptable Use Policy, and the Blackboard Student Enrollment Policy. ITS may delete student preview accounts in bulk without notice. Do not use this tool to collect actual student work or activity.