How to Restrict Student to Student Email within Blackboard

By default, all options within the Send Email tool are open to faculty and students enrolled in a Blackboard course.

To restrict student to student emailing through Blackboard:

  1. Click on Control Panel
  2. Select Customization
  3. Select Tool Availability
  4. Scroll down to Email. Click the down-pointing arrow button and select Email Settings.
  5. Uncheck the boxes for the options that you don’t want students to have access to.
    Example: If you only want students to e-mail instructors and TAs, uncheck all boxes except:
    – All Teaching Assistant Users
    – All Instructor Users
  6. Click Submit.

Instructors and TAs can still send e-mail to anyone in the class, even if the steps above were completed, by going to:

  1. Control Panel
  2. Course Tools
  3. Send Email

Blackboard Discussion Board Issue & Fix

The Blackboard system update on 9/25/16 (required for system security) introduced a bug within the discussion board tool.

Discussion boards which are set to Unavailable are no longer accessible by the instructor. If you have such discussion boards and you try to access them, you will get a message reading:

Access Denied

Either you are not logged in or you do not have the appropriate privileges to perform this action.

The workaround is you need to edit the discussion board and change its setting to Available. Then you will be able to access it. Clearly, this is not ideal, and we hope that Blackboard will fix this soon.

Additional Workaround

Here’s an addition to the workaround that will keep students out while the discussion board is set to Available. It’s a lot of extra work, but if you absolutely do not want students to access a discussion board while it is available for you to work on, you can follow this procedure.

It relies on using the “manage” option for the discussion board, and changing all the users with role “Participant” to instead have the role “Blocked”. The blocked users will still see the forum listed in the discussions, but when selecting it they will get the access denied message. But unblocked users (i.e. the instructor) can enter it.

  1. Ensure that your Discussion Board forum is set to Available and is accessible to you.
  2. Hover your mouse over the title for the forum then click the “options menu” icon (the circle with a “v” in it) that appears.
  3. Select “Manage” to see a list of all the people who have access to the forum
  4. If you have a large class, click the option to “show all”.
  5. Click the checkbox in the column header to select everyone in the course.
  6. Deselect the checkbox for anyone that should have continued access.
  7. Select “Edit Role”
  8. Select “Blocked”

Remember if you block students using the additional workaround above, you will need to unblock them when you want them to be able to post and/or view the discussion board. Unblock by following the same procedure above, but in step 8 assign everyone the role “Participant”.

Blackboard-generated email: What to expect

Blackboard offers many ways that faculty and students can communicate via email to others enrolled in a Blackboard course. Blackboard can also automatically send emails out to notify users about activity taking place in Blackboard, depending on user preferences.

During 2014, changes made by some email providers to reduce spam meant that some users may not have received these emails from Blackboard. Included in MiraCosta’s June 2015 Blackboard update were changes inside Blackboard to fix this problem.

However, Blackboard-generated emails are not consistent in their formatting, and the sender name is different when Bb email is received on a MiraCosta email system vs. an external system like Gmail or Yahoo. The table below provides details about what you can expect.

Bb feature that generates external emailEmail sender displayed outside miracosta.eduEmail sender displayed in emailWhat happens if recipient replies
Send EmailSender name - sender emailBlackboard at MiraCostaEmail reply will go to the sender’s email.
Group email (from groups feature)Sender name - sender emailBlackboard at MiraCostaEmail reply will go to the sender’s email.
GradeCenter (via the email button and selecting desired recipients)Sender name - sender emailBlackboard at MiraCostaEmail reply will go to the instructor's email.
Announcements (if instructor selects to send via email) or just blackboardBlackboard at MiraCostaEmail reply will go to the instructor's email.
Discussion board (if user has subscribed)Blackboard Administrator - blackboard@miracosta.eduBlackboard at MiraCostaEmails from discussion board include a link for recipients to use to reply within the discussion board. If someone replies via email, a message will go to, which will auto respond.
Notifications (if user has opted in to email notifications) or just blackboardBlackboard at MiraCostaNotification emails include a note at bottom: “Please do not reply.” If someone replies via email, a message will go to, which will auto respond.
Email generated via course archive/ export/importBlackboard Administrator - blackboard@miracosta.eduBlackboard at MiraCostaIf instructor replies via email, a message will go to, which will auto respond.

If you suspect that your email system is treating Blackboard emails as spam, you may need to whitelist messages coming from in your email system.