1 – Getting Started in My Dundee

In the video above, we’ll walk you through the following actions:

  • Show you the overview of a module
  • Show you a few key workflows including:
    • Using the Student Preview mode
    • Enrolling members of staff
    • Viewing the class register to set the primary instructor and view/edit student accommodations
    • Finally, how to make your module available to students

1 The Grand Tour

This is the landing page for My Dundee, it is also referred to as the “Institution Page” as it contains some useful links relevant to the general university community, as well as curated links for staff and students. You may hear My Dundee referred to as Blackboard, this is the vendor, or as the VLE – Virtual Learning Environment. We will use My Dundee throughout, unless we are specifically referring to a Blackboard tool. Don’t worry, we’ll be as specific as possible when we use different terms.

In this black column on the left, you have the navigation panel for My Dundee. The first item at the top, My Dundee, will bring you back to the Institution Page.

Profile page

The second item is your name, and if you click on this you will see your profile information.

Here you can upload an avatar, add text and a recording of how to pronounce your name, and adjust language settings.

Activity Stream

This is where you can see and edit the notifications within My Dundee. You can see upcoming tasks as well as recent notifications. If you click on the link, you will be brought into the module page for the item.

To edit your notification settings, click on the cog wheel at the top right-hand side of the screen. Here you can adjust what notifications you see, and you can adjust this separately for your Activity Stream, email, or push notifications if you are using the app. Please be aware that some notifications are on by default and cannot be turned off – for your students this will include information about upcoming or missed due dates in their modules.

We can click the blue “X” in the corner of this side panel to return to our previous screen once you’ve saved any changes.


This is where you will find all of the modules you are enrolled on. They are grouped by academic year, but you can use this star icon to select the ones you will use the most as your “favourites”. This will keep them at the top of your list, and you can click the star icon to remove them as favourites when they are no longer the ones you are in the most.

You can change the view of your modules from a grid to a list by clicking this icon.

Next to this, you’ll see a search box where you can enter your module ID code to find your modules quickly. Please pay attention to the filter at the top of your screen that says “Current Modules” as you may need to use this drop-down menu to see modules for other academic years.

One important thing to highlight on this page is the lock icon that says “Private”. Modules that have this have not yet been released to students. This is useful while you are working on the content of your module,  but be sure you remember to open up your module to students when you are ready. We will cover how to do that later in this session.


This is where you can find various organisations for the university and your own school or discipline. What organisations you have will vary, but there are a few such as the Security Awareness Training that all staff will be enrolled on automatically.

Like the Modules page, you can switch the views between list and grid and you can also favourite any that you may use frequently.


This is where you can see the calendar for My Dundee. It will not be auto-populated with any timetable information. Instead, if you add any calendar dates in modules or organisations where you are enrolled as an instructor or leader, you will see them all together on this page.


This is where you can see at a glance if you have any messages waiting for you from your modules. Unfortunately, as of the time of this recording there isn’t a way to quickly see what module or organisation the message is in, so you will just need to scroll and keep an eye out for the text “# Unread messages”.


You can use this tab to see any marks you may have to enter for all of your modules. We’ll cover how to enter marks and feedback in a later session, and we’ll show how to do this from within your module.


This area has a few useful links, but the most important to note is the “Ally File Transformer”. This will allow you and your students to upload a file in a basic format (for example a Word document) and download it in an accessible format such as an audio file or a tagged PDF.


You can view some external tools from this menu, including a link to guides and resources for My Dundee.

2 Module Overview

Now that we’ve got a basic understanding of My Dundee, let’s go over what a typical module will look like. To do that, we’ll go back to the Modules tab and open a module that has not had any changes made to it – you may want to use your Sandbox site if you want to follow along.

The first thing you may notice is the name of the module in the top left-hand side of the screen. Above that is the module code – this is important as it is the unique identifier for your module.

Next, let’s look at this top row of tabs.

Right now, we are in the “Course Content” tab. This is the main page in your module. Let’s start by going over the tabs along the top of the module page

Next, we can see the tab for Calendar. This is the calendar page for this module alone, although any items you add here will show up in your general Calendar tab in the main page of My Dundee.

Next, there is a tab for the discussions page. You can embed discussions within the course content page, but you’ll always be able to find them quickly by going here. We will cover how to set up and use Discussions in the session on Communication.

After that you’ll see the tab for the Gradebook. We’ll go over this in more detail in a dedicated session on the Gradebook.

The next tab is “Messages”. This is where you can create messages for the module and read messages that others in the module may have sent to you! This will also be covered in the session on Communication.  

Finally, you’ll see a tab called “Analytics”. As of the time of recording, this is limited to analytics for Blackboard tests, so it will not include information for any other tools such as Turnitin assignments or any other types of content such as page views.  

2.1 Student Preview Mode

At the very end of this row, you can see a button called “Student Preview”. This is an excellent feature that we strongly recommend that you use. When you click on this you’ll get a pop-up confirming you want to start the Student Preview. Once you’re in this mode, you can view your module the same way a student would.

You can tell you are in Student Preview Mode by the black banner at the top of the module,

We can see at a glance that there is a tab missing (Analytics), and there are far fewer items on this page. That is because some of these were hidden from students. Using the student preview mode can give you the peace of mind that any hidden content has successfully been hidden.

This is also an especially useful feature when you are using any custom releases by date or performance (we’ll cover how to set this up in our session on adding and reusing content). We also recommend that you use the student preview mode to take Blackboard tests as a student would to ensure the settings and any automated marking is working as anticipated.

To exit student preview mode, click on the icon that looks like a door at the top right side of the “Student Preview” Banner. Here you have the option to Save the Student Preview User and any data (this includes any data you may have added as a student, for instance any participation in discussion boards or any submissions to tests or assignments) and Delete Student Preview and any data. This option can be useful if you took a test, and want to adjust settings once you are back in your instructor role.  

2.2 Enrolled Staff

Next, let’s head back to the Content page.

Now let’s look down this left-hand column. First, we can see a list of all of the staff enrolled on the module and their role.

Below that, we can see the “Details and Actions” menu.

2.3 Class Register

The first item here is the Class Register. If you click on this you, and your students, can see a complete list of everyone enrolled on the module and their role. As an instructor, you’ll be able to add other members of staff, set up a primary instructor (or instructors), and set accommodations.

2.3.1 Enrolling Staff

Before we add an instructor, let’s search for them to make sure they’re not already on the module. This is a key step, as it is easy to overlook someone and if they are already enrolled they will not show up in the search options when we try to add them. To do this, click on the magnifying glass icon and enter the person’s name. If you don’t see the specific user, you can enrol them on your module. To do this, click on the plus sign next to the magnifying glass.

Now, although we could search for a user by their name a moment ago, searching for people by their names doesn’t work well when you are trying to add them to a module. Instead, you should use their username without any full stops. For this example, search for “jzsmith” instead of “j.z.smith”. When you see the user appear in the list, click the plus sign next to their name. Now you will have a drop-down menu where you can choose what role they should have. Be sure to click “save” when you’re done.

There are three important things to note at this step.

1. Do not enrol students. Typically, student enrolments are managed via SITS, the program used by registry. If a student ought to be in your module but is not, you may need to contact your school office or registry to ensure the student is enrolled correctly in SITS. If the student should not be enrolled via SITS but still needs access to the module, please open a Help4U ticket and we can help set this up! The reason this is important is two-fold, the first is that SITS is the “source of truth” for modules, so it is important that it is as accurate as possible. The second is that student enrolments are updated nightly from SITS, so any changes you make in this panel will be over-written once the system automatically updates the enrolments.

2. Do not ever manually enrol a PreviewUser account. These accounts are created in the system when someone first uses the “Student Preview Mode”. They are then added automatically to a module as a “student” whenever an instructor uses the preview mode in that module.  If you only see this PreviewUser account for someone you are trying to enrol, the odds are the person is already enrolled on the module which is why you cannot see their “regular” account. If this doesn’t appear to be the case, contact us via Help4U and we can help! But never, ever enrol a PreviewUser account manually as this can cause a few issues and may even prevent that user from being able to access the module.

3. Do not enrol anyone with the “Guest” role. This is a legacy role that worked in an older version of My Dundee, but does not work with the current interface. We cannot get rid of the role as it is still technically in use in the older modules, so we just ask that you do not assign this role as it will not allow anyone to access the module.

2.3.2 Setting up Primary Instructors

Let’s go back to the general view of the class register. We can see here that all of the instructors are listed alphabetically by their last name.

However, you may want to make the lead instructor appear at the top of this list. To do this, click on the three dots by that person’s name and select “Edit Member information”. Now, tick the box that says “Primary instructor” and click save. Now we can see that instructor is the first in the list. If we wanted to add additional primary instructors, we can do that! However, they will then be listed alphabetically by their surnames – there isn’t a way to override this alphabetical ordering.

2.3.3 Adding Student Accommodations

The last thing you may need to do in the Class Register is to add accommodations to student accounts.

To do this, find the student who will need the accommodation and click the three dots next to their name and choose the option for “Accommodations”.

You have two options – due date accommodations and time limit accommodations. We recommend that you read the details of both of these settings to determine what you’ll need to use. However, for this demonstration we’ll use the Time Limit accommodation as that is the most common.

Once we tick that box we see two further options: Custom percentage and Unlimited Time. If a student has been granted 25 percent extra time for assignments, we’ll keep the “Custom Percentage” option ticked and put 25 in the text box.

Note that this will only apply to Blackboard tests and assignments – this will not filter through to Turnitin assignments or any other third-party assessment tools.

Click Save. Once we are back in the course register, we can now see a purple flag next to the student’s name to highlight that they have had an accommodation applied to their account.

Click the blue X in the left-hand corner to return to the previous page you were on – in this case the Course Content Page.

2.4 Details & Actions

Let’s keep looking at the options in the Details and Actions menu. Below the register is “Course Groups”. This is where you will set up and communicate with groups – we’ll cover this in a dedicated session on using groups.

After that is Progress Tracking. You can use this to turn on or off Progress Tracking for your students in this module. At the time of recording, this won’t provide any information for the instructor. It will, however, provide tick boxes next to items in your module so students can tell at a glance what they have interacted with and what they still need to do.

Next is an area to set up a Course Image. You can use this to customise the image for your course in the “Modules Tab” in My Dundee. You can also apply it as a banner image in your module. We won’t cover this in detail here, but we will provide a link to the vendor’s guide on how to set this up.

2.5 Managing Student Access to Your Module

This is where you control when students can enter your module. When a module is created, it is set to “Private” so that you can add content to your module before students can access it. Once you are ready to release it to students, you can click the link that says “Students can’t access this course” and use the pop-up to confirm you want to open it to students.

Once a module is open, you can click the link that is in this same location, but will now say “Students can access this course”. Now you’ll see two options – Make Course Private (this will lock the module to students and is useful in case you accidentally released the module before you intended to).

The other option is “Complete Course”. If you select this option, staff and students can enter the module and view the content but they cannot make any changes. For students, this means they can’t upload any work, participate in discussions, send messages, and so on. For staff, this means that they cannot add, edit, or delete any content or enter any marks. You can tell a module has been set to “Completed” when you see this bar at the top with grey stripes that says “Course is complete”.

If you use this option accidentally, you can use the link in this same area to either make the class open to students, or to make it private.

2.6 Details & Actions (cont’d)

Next is the link for Collaborate – your virtual, synchronous classroom environment. We’ll cover this in depth in a dedicated session on Collaborate.

After that, there is an in-built feature to mark attendance. Note that the University’s official attendance tool is SEAtS, so we will not cover how to use Blackboard’s attendance tool which is separate from that system.

Next is a link for announcements. This is where you can create and release module announcements – this is a very powerful and useful tool that we will cover in-depth in our session on communication.

Below that is a quick link to access some of the external apps available to you when you are in your module. We’ll cover the Ally Accessibility Report in a session on using accessible content, and we’ll cover YuJa in a session on recording and uploading videos to your module.

Finally, the last item is for managing question banks. We’ll discuss question banks in our session that covers Blackboard tests and assignments.

Thank you for watching My Dundee 101. Check out the links below to find any additional content or related guides.



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Updated on 09/09/2022

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