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Student Preview


This article describes how to access your course in student preview mode.


As an instructor, you want to be confident that your course is well designed and functions as intended—before your students see it. Use student preview to review the course content and validate the course behaviors, such as those that control the availability of course content or require a particular interaction from the student to be triggered.

With student preview, you can experience your course exactly as your students do. While in student preview mode, you can do 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

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.

Enter Student Preview Mode

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

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 every page. The bar displays the text “Student Preview mode is ON” and has Settings and Exit Preview functions.


Student preview mode is active only in the courses where you enabled it. You are still an instructor in the rest of Blackboard Learn. However, the same preview user account will be used when you enter student preview mode in more than one course.

Understand Your Preview User 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 is named: its last name is your last name appended with “_PreviewUser” and its username is your username appended with “_previewuser”.

Note: If you are teaching a course with another instructor, you will each have your own preview user account.


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

Click Exit Preview to exit the student preview.

Note: If you leave the course without exiting from student preview, you will return to student preview when you return to the course.

Note: When you exit the student preview, you are prompted to keep or delete the preview user and all its associated data.


 Delete the Preview User and Data

It is considered best practice to remove the preview user and its associated data. For a discussion of when to keep it, see below.

In the Exit Student Preview dialog, 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, click Settings in the student preview bar.

Deleting the preview user has the following effects:

  • All activity conducted or created as the preview user is removed from the course permanently. This includes test attempts, assignment submissions, grades, and discussion posts. Also deleted 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 is not 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 this is done, 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

Keep the Preview User and Data (Use this procedure to add your preview user to a group)

Select Keep the preview user and all data if you need to keep the user and data to see how student activity presents itself to you as the instructor, such as grade calculations. If you keep the data, the preview user account will appear in the course roster, Grade Center, and any place where you did something as that user.

Once you have kept the preview student you can then add that preview user student to a group in the course.  This will allow you to view group activities as the student.  You will have to select the keep option each time you exit student preview mode.

When you save the preview user account, the dot in the middle of the Enter Student Preview function icon turns green student_preview_icon_green, indicating the preview user account is available for use.


]If you keep your preview user account and run reports or gather statistics from your course, your numbers will be skewed by one (or more if there are multiple instructors using student preview). Also, it can potentially confuse your students who may try to interact with your preview student when you are not in student preview mode to monitor the interaction.

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