Getting Blackboard Course Sites
- 1 Getting New Course Sites
- 2 Template Site
- 3 Availability
- 4 Related Articles
Getting New Course Sites
Course Site Automation
Blackboard Learn's course creation process is an automatic process whereby, once your course code is entered into the Student Information System (SIS), and you are connected to that course in the SIS as the Instructor of Record, a regular process runs and will automatically create a "Course Shell." This shell is not available to students until you make it available (see below).
What if My Course Doesn't Appear?
If you do not have a course shell created, but the following three conditions have been met:
- the beginning of the semester is less than 6 weeks away,
- you know you have been assigned as the Instructor of Record AND
- your course has been listed in UWinsite Student,
submit a Service Request by visiting uwindsor.ca/bbhelp. Please provide the course code, section, semester, your UWin ID (and other instructors, or Departmental Support staff's UWin ID's) with your request. If you are just getting started (i.e. recently hired), ensure your department has submitted your UWin ID and Course Code to the Registrar to be included in UWinsite Student (SIS). This will trigger a Blackboard course shell to be created within 24 hours.
Occasionally, there are still issues with getting a course site and by getting the Service Request started, the LMS Administrator can generate a "Sandbox Course Site" where you can prepare your materials. These materials can be copied into your actual course shell once the three conditions above have been met, and you can then continue on and Set the Availability of your site to Yes so your students can access it (see below).
Where do I find the Course?
You will see your newly created semester-based course shell when you log in to Blackboard and review your courses. Courses are seen at the top of the Blackboard site under the Courses tab, or when you are on the Home tab, it appears as My Courses. Finally, it can also be seen from the Global Navigation drop-down list up by your name in the top right corner of the Blackboard site. The course will appear with a unique code, the course code, and the course name. It is by default, set to not currently available, so you have time to prepare it before your students see it.
What if I want to merge multiple sites to work from one site only?
We will be happy to merge your class sections into a single Blackboard site. To do so, please log in and fill out a Service Request and include the information requested below.
We need answers to a few questions first to ensure that we make the correct changes. Further, we want to share some important information about how this process works, and the steps you must take, to prevent any unintended consequences of the merge.
- What we need to know first:
- Which Blackboard site will you be using to teach these sections? (Please include the full Blackboard site identifier, e.g., "0360100-1-2018W".)
- What lab and lecture sections do you want to merge 'into' this site? (Please include the full SIS code for each section you want to merge, e.g., 0360100-2-2018W, 0360100-3-2018W, 0360100-4-2018W.)
- What you need to know about the merge process:
- We will move all of the students who belong to the indicated class sections into the single site that you have specified. You will now be able to teach all students in those sections from the single site. Any old sites that used to be associated with those sections will no longer be available to you or to your students.
- Note: This process will NOT copy materials or other information from the old sites into the single site. Only student enrolments in the sites will be adjusted. It is your responsibility to ensure that the single site contains all the necessary materials for teaching these sections, prior to the completion of the merge. Keep in mind that you will not have access to the old sites once the merge is complete.
- What about lab sections? How can I get a site to manage labs?
- Lab sections do not have an automatically created Blackboard site, therefore, you must specifically request a new "lab site" if you need one by submitting a Service Request. You can associate the new lab site with as many lab sections as you wish. Again, please provide complete identifiers for each lab section (course code, section number, year, and semester).
- When will this happen?
- Once we have complete answers to the above questions, we will proceed with merging the indicated class sections into the single site and removing the old sites from your Blackboard views.
What about the Next Semester?
For subsequent semesters, your course will be automatically created as described above. The semester number will be provided in the course name, and the course will be unavailable until you set it to be available (described below).
Development Template Site - (Early Birds - Getting a Course Site Well in Advance)
If you want to get an early start on building your site well in advance of the semester, we recommend using a Developmental Template site that is not integrated with student rosters and is free from the automated process which happens each semester. To get one of these sites, you can submit a Service Request by visiting uwindsor.ca/bbhelp and ask for a Sandbox Development Template Site. You may wish to request sites for regularly occurring courses you teach by semester, i.e. Advanced Basket Weaving (which only occurs in Fall semester each year), or Advanced Trip Planning (only occurs in Winter semester).
With your service request, please provide the following:
- Course code,
- Other relevant information, and
- your UWin ID (and other instructors, or Departmental Support staff's UWin ID's) with your request.
The LMS Team will prepare a sandbox site for you to develop your site in and then you can use it as a template to continue to keep current for future copying of the site. The advantage of setting this type of course site up is that no student work will occur in the site, no time-based announcements which aren’t relevant to future semesters will be in this site, and you can continue to update it on an ongoing basis as much as you wish. When you import your content into the next semester's automated course shell, you can then use the Date Management feature with Blackboard to update due dates prepared in the course in assignments, tests, etc.
Your requested template course site will be based on the Course Shell template (COURSE_TEMPLATE), so it will look just like a course shell that is automatically created every semester when your course number is listed in the SIS and you have been assigned as the instructor of record.
Once you are notified by the Blackboard LMS Team that this sandbox template site has been prepared, you can build your new template from scratch or use one of the Blackboard utilities available to copy all or part of a previous course into the site.
If you use one of these utilities, please review contents of the site and adjust/delete as needed in your template.
When you wish to copy forward the contents of this template into an existing (automatically created) semester-based course shell, you will still need to review and make necessary adjustments (i.e. title, term duration, availability, etc. (Customization -> Properties), Further, it is recommended that before you copy materials into the semester-based course shell, you delete the default Total and Weighted Total columns found in the Full Grade Centre of the automated semester-based shell. This will avoid producing duplicate columns if your template's Full Grade Centre has been pre-configured with all of your hard work! You can always create a new Total or Weighted Total column if you need another one. Also, when you copy from the template site, you will need to review the Full Grade Centre for any duplicate or redundant columns. To see a total listing of the columns in the Grade Centre and the order that they appear in, in the Full Grade Centre, select Manage -> Column Organization. If assessments (for grades) have been created by using a Blackboard tool in the site and you don't want to use/modify that assessment, please delete from the original location in the site (e.g. Discussions, or Tests, Surveys and Pools tools, or Assignments built in a Content Area), as you won’t be able to access that option from the Grade Centre.
Please visit the UWindsor online Help Wiki at http://www.uwindsor.ca/blackboard or Blackboard’s online help for more details about various tools. If you would like to have further consultations, we would be happy to help. Either submit a Service Request ticket requesting a consultation http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp, sign up for a Name Your Topic session for one-on-one support, or email a specific question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Set Course Availability
When the default semester has begun (e.g. Jan. 1-Apr 30, May 1-Aug. 31, Sept 1-Dec 31) the red lock icon will easily open up your course site when selected to make it available. If you need extended access or want to open up the site before the default semester has begun, follow procedures below.
Once you are ready to activate your course, so your students can see it, select Customization -> Properties -> Set Availability. Switch to Yes, and click Submit.
Courses come automatically set to No to give you time to prepare the site, so you must activate them manually when you are ready. Additionally, you will notice this status as "not currently available," when viewing your list of courses in the Course tab. The text appears beside the name of the course.
What will my Course Site Contain?
The default menu for course shells is:
- Course Home Page (The Home Page contains modules that display notifications about your course, such as "What's New," "My Tasks," "My Announcements." Instructors can choose not to use the page, give it a different name, and choose which modules appear.
- Announcements (A tool link to the Announcements tool)
- My Grades (Displays grades to students from the Grade Centre)
- Resources (A Content Area called "Resources" which contains no content)
- Syllabus (A Content Area called "Syllabus" which contains no content)
- Email (A tool link to the Email tool - To alter the Email Distribution options for example, you only want students to email the instructor, not the entire class, select from the Control Panel -> Customization -> Tool Availability -> Find Email on the list. Click the grey chevron for Email Settings -> click the options you want users to be able to send email to such as All Instructor Users or All Teaching Assistant Users to be visible only. Then Submit to complete.
- Help (Tool link to Blackboard Help)