Blackboard Messages vs. Email

What are the different functions of Messages and Email tools in Blackboard Learn? This question often comes up among faculty new to Blackboard Learn 9.1, especially those who have migrated from the WebCT, with the terminology for Mail being the internal communication within the system.


Messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within a course and among course members. This would be similar to WebCT’s Mail feature within the course. Although similar to email, users must be logged into the Course to read and send Messages. Be aware at this time, there is no outside notification for any new messages within your course. You MUST check each course for new Messages.

Messages are a great way to utilize a private and secure communication tool within Blackboard for each specific course. This would help keep track of what course the student is asking questions about and keep a record of it within the course. Messages will be archived along with the course for any grade disputes in the future.  Folders can be created to help organize your messages within a course.


BB Mail vs Messages Send EmailInstructors and students can send email to all or selected individual Users, Students, Groups, Teaching Assistants, Instructors or Observers. From a Blackboard Learn course, email cannot be sent to anyone who is not a member of the course. The email will be sent to their Atlas Live@EDU account,

Instructors can utilize this to email students before the course begins or anytime during the course. Once the communications leaves Blackboard, any replies will be sent back to your email, not back into Blackboard. Once the communications leaves Blackboard, it will be your responsibility to organize and archive these email in your own Live@EDU account for any future reference.

Edit the ability to which students can email certain groups or individuals. Within the Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability > Email dropdown for Email Settings > Uncheck the “Send Email To” availability for any area you don’t wish to give students access. This does not affect the instructor’s ability to send email.

BB Mail vs Messages Email Settings

One response to “Blackboard Messages vs. Email”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I hate the fact that I can’t even get notifications of Blackboard messages through an external email account. I would much prefer the ability to forward all Blackboard messages to the email account that I already monitor all the time anyway. As a busy student I have enough things to keep track of without Blackboard adding to the problem. And don’t even get me started on Blackboard Mobile. It doesn’t even show cumulative grade totals. I can’t believe my tuition is being used to pay for this.

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