Blackboard Organizations

The term “Blackboard organization” is used to describe an empty Blackboard course that can be used by USC’s colleges, departments, faculty, staff, and/or students for activities that are in support of the educational, research, or administrative mission of the University.

A Blackboard organization is similar to a Blackboard course and shares the same layout, tools, and features. Like a Blackboard course, an organization allows authorized participants who have USC Blackboard accounts to access documents and collaborate with other organization participants in a secure-access environment. Unlike a Blackboard course, however, an organization

  • Can last up to one academic year (August to August),
  • Must be renewed each year, and
  • Cannot be used for course credit-earning activities.

In addition, Blackboard organization leaders are responsible for manually enrolling and unenrolling participants in the organization’s roster.

Organization Roles

  • An organization sponsor is a current paid USC faculty or staff member who has oversight responsibilities for users enrolled in and using a Blackboard organization. The organization sponsor may also act as an organization leader.
  • An organization leader is a current paid USC faculty or staff member who the organization sponsor has given permission to manage that sponsor’s Blackboard organization. The organization sponsor may also act as an organization leader. The organization leader is specifically responsible for monitoring and maintaining the organization participants’ compliance with the “General Policies Regarding the Electronic Communication Infrastructure at the University of Southern California” (see www.usc.edu/its/policies/general/). Organization leader(s) can manually enroll and remove organization participants, add content, and change the organization’s settings and appearance. Because organization leaders have the ability to view participants’ 10 digit USC IDs, only current paid USC faculty or staff can be Blackboard organization leaders.
  • An organization participant is a currently enrolled USC student or USC faculty, staff, teaching assistant, or affiliate who participates in a Blackboard organization. Only users with valid, current USC user names and passwords and who can access Blackboard can be Blackboard organization participants. Organization participants can access materials in a Blackboard organization and utilize the available tools, but they cannot enroll other participants, add content, or change the organization’s settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can teaching assistants, volunteer faculty, medical residents or interns, research fellows, or visiting faculty sponsor or lead a Blackboard organization?
A: No, only current paid USC faculty or staff can sponsor or lead a Blackboard organization.

Q: Can someone outside of USC access/participate in a Blackboard organization?
A: No, only users with valid, current USC user names and passwords and who can access Blackboard can participate in Blackboard organizations. For more information about USC accounts, visit www.usc.edu/its/accounts/ or www.usc.edu/its/iam/ivip/

Q: What are the policies governing the acceptable use of Blackboard organizations?
A: Blackboard organization use is governed by the General Policies Regarding the Electronic Communication Infrastructure at the University of Southern California (www.usc.edu/its/policies/general/) and by all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

Q: I will be teaching in an upcoming semester. Will I need to request a Blackboard organization for each of my courses?
A: No. Blackboard organizations cannot be used for courses or any activities that earn course credit. Instead, ITS automatically creates a Blackboard course website (rather than a Blackboard organization) for every course at USC. Spring courses are automatically created on November 15, Summer courses are created on March 15, and Fall courses are created on April 15.

Q: Who should I contact for more information?
A: For answers to any additional questions you may have regarding Blackboard organizations, please send an email message to blackboard@usc.edu

Getting Started