Resolved: Guests seeing error when attempting to access announcements

This issue is resolved.  If you continue to experience trouble, please contact us at

Problem: Users entering a course with guest access see an error when they attempt to view a course announcements page.

There is currently no workaround for this issue.  We are working with Bb to find a solution to this as soon as possible.

Links to courses with guest access enabled bring visitors to the login page

Problem: Links to courses that are open to unauthenticated guests bring visitors to the login page, rather than directly to the course.

Solution: While there is no fix for this yet, Bb has provided a workaround while we are researching a solution. This workaround is as follows, however users can also simply browse to the “Guest Access” link on the login page, and search for the course by name or ID.

  1. When building the URL, start with the guest access link. This logs them in as “guest” automatically:
  2. The “new_loc=” variable allows you to add any in-system link, starting with “/Webapps” etc. For example, the relative path to the course with the ID 12345 looks something like this: /webapps/blackboard/execute/modulepage/view?course_id=_12345_1&cmp_tab_id=_4741_1&mode=view
  3. However the link after the new_loc= variable MUST BE ENCODED! Use a service like to encode the link like so: %2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Fmodulepage%2Fview%3Fcourse_id%3D_12345_1%26cmp_tab_id%3D_4741_1%26mode%3Dview
  4. So the full link would be:

You can change the PK1 number of the course (above indicated as 12345) to whatever course you want. You can also start with a different relative path, i.e. to link to the announcements area you’d start with this in steps 2 & 3:


Resolved: Guests cannot access uploaded files (401 error)

Problem: Guests cannot access files in a course, and are prompted with a login box followed by 401 “forbidden” error after trying to access the files. This occurs for files that have been uploaded to a course after May 22nd 2011.

Solution: To make a file available to guests,

  1. Click on the grey chevron button next to the file name, and choose “Edit”.
  2. Click on “Select a Different File”. (see image)
  3. Click on “Browse Course”. (see image)
  4. Check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box. (see image)
  5. Select the file from the list, and click on “Submit”.
  6. Click on “Submit” to complete the process.

To prevent this from happening with newly uploaded files,

  1. Upload a file to the “Files” area before putting it in a content area
  2. Then add the file to the content area by choosing Build -> File, not Build -> Item
  3. Be sure to select Browse Course, and check the “Also assign Public permission to this file” box when selecting the file.

This is an identified bug that is fixed in the next version of Blackboard. There is no patch available for the current version.