Category:Blackboard - Faculty

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Standard Practices

The Basics!

Standard practices are the conventions followed by faculty and the Blackboard support staff in order to guarantee that the semester, in this case, starts smoothly. Sometimes standard practices guarantee a common experience -- students are added to the courses on the same day -- and in other cases they guarantee clear, commonly understood communication between instructors and Blackboard staff.

  1. students are added to course shells two days prior to the start of the semester.
  2. Instructors can communicate with students before they are added to shells
  3. Instructors are responsible for activating their course shells; students will not be able to participate in, or even see, course shells until they're activated. The exception are courses taught completely online.

Transfer course content

    The form to request a course content transfer:
  • In the first of three sections enter the semester and course designations of both the course you are using as a template (origin) and the anticipated course shell (destination)
    Transfer cc 1 650.png
  • In the example above the origin course is from the Fall of 2014 and the destination is the Fall semester 2015. The course extension is the only difference in the course designation area. When looking at old courses remember that the course designation is pre-pended by the year of the course and the semester designation:

    Designation Semester
    50 Winter
    25 Summer
    40 Fall
    For example:
    201650 Winter session Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017
    201710 Spring semester 2017
    201725 Summer session 2017
    201740 Fall semester 2017

  • Enter your name and email in the second area
    Transfer cc 2 565.png
  • Use the Comments area to make any special requests, for example adding extra sections or asking for retrieval of archived content. And always remember to SUBMIT!
    Transfer cc 3 635.png

For Faculty Who Prefer to Control Their Own Content

The easiest way for faculty to move content from one section to another is to a) download the content from the origin section and b) upload it to the destination section. The process takes as much time as it does to request a course transfer and can be done on your own time -- no waiting!

Text-based instructions for Exporting and/or Archiving a course in on Bb shell and then uploading (Restoring) it to another Bb shell can be found here:


Video instructions for the same procedures are available here:

Archive, machine readable files
Export, human accessible files
Restore course to a Bb shell

Create course shells from sections which are associated by cross-listing or multi-sections

The form to request merging course shells:

Note: Until very recently solution available to us was the Merge (Combine). The availability of the Master option gives faculty more choices, so please consult this link to decide which solution is best for you.

Merge 1. Students from the child sections -02, -03 and -60 are diverted to the parent section -01. 2. Child sections are inactive and are unavailable to students. All course activity takes place in the parent shell. 3. Merge is a good option for cross-listed course in which a course has two designations but takes place in one classroom. Another example is the case of multi-section courses taught by the same instructor.

Master 1. Students from client shells are added to a master section. The master section exists apart from the shells from which the students are drawn. 2. The client course shells are autonomous and can be used to host content and interaction apart from that which takes place in the master shell. 3. Master is a good option for lecture/lab courses in which separate course shells are needed for the differing needs of course content and delivery.

Cross-listed and multi-section courses can be combined into one shell in order to reduce duplicated posting. An instructor or team of instructors teaching multiple sections of one course might find it to their advantage to put all the content into a single shell rather than replicating it across three shells, for example. Please follow the instructions below to request merging a course shell. Requests should be made before the beginning of the semester; waiting until the first week of classes to ask for a merge could result in delayed fulfillment of the request!

  • Point your web browser to
  • In the first section fill out the department, course number and section of both the parent course (the one that will be used) and the children. In the example below the parent course is History 1050-01 and the children are History 1050 sections -02 and -60.
    Merge 1 650.png
  • Include any special comments or questions in the next section of the interface
    Merge 2 600.png
  • Finally please tell us your name and email address. If more than one instructor is involved only one member of the team needs to be listed.
    Merge 3 625.jpg


A Combine request can also be made through the Web Help Desk:

But for the best service please include the department designations (e.g Hist, Bio) the course number (1010, 1300, etc.) and the section number (-01, -60, -80, etc.) for all the courses involved.

Activate course shell

There are two ways to one might activate a course shell. Remember that students will not see course content, or even a link to the course, until it has been activated.

The new way: Qwickly

  • On the My Blackboard page select Faculty: Set Course Availability in the Tools menu (upper left):
  • Click ON to activate a course and OFF to deactivate (at the end of the semester, for example)
    Q course activate 2 230.jpg

The old way: Course properties

  • In the Control Panel (bottom left corner of the course shell) select Customization, then Properties
    Course activate 1 210.png
  • In area number three select availability to Yes
    Course activate 2 360.png
  • Finish by clicking the Submit button
    Course activate 3 400.png

Communicate with students before they've been added to course shells

View Student Roster

After students have been added to course shells (see the first unit of the Standard Practices module) start by selecting Users in the Control Panel:

  • Control Panel => Users and Groups => Users
  • The Roster:


Beginning of the semester

Which Blackboard tasks are most useful in the period leading up to the start of the semester? Content can be moved from previous semesters to coming semester, old course shells can be hidden and new shells can be activated for student use, Many of the items below are covered above in the Standard Practices area. Do you have questions or need support? Please file a ticket with the Online Help Desk:

Transfer: Course Content Request: Merge Course Shells Export/Archive Courses My Blackboard Profile
Activate: Course Shells Generate: the Course Roster Change: Course Entry Point Email Students Before the Semester
Change: Language Pack Import a course package Hide course shells Move the ad module


Blackboard: Getting Started

This area covers basic information including a tour of the Blackboard interface, using course-to-course navigation and learning the importance of Action Link.

A catalog of close to 60 short videos on every aspect of Blackboard!

Introducing Bb 9.1 Your Course Environment Using the Course Shell Interface Tour
Blackboard Action Link! Faculty Handbook The New 2012 Theme Course-to-course Navigation
Bb On Demand Learning Building your Course Communication/Collaboration Assessing Learners
Java Troubleshooting Adding unregistered students Sys Requirements/Downloads Edit Mode


Course Building

Instructor Features Edit Course Menu Add: a Course Banner Change Course Entry Point
Upload a file [PDF] Student Preview Add an External Link Use: the Text Editor
Create: A Learning Module Create: A Lesson Plan Add video to an Announcement Embed an NJVid Video



Blackboard provides a number of tools for interacting with students, including discussion boards, journals, blogs and wikis. Do you have questions or need support? Please file a ticket with the Online Help Desk:

Post an Announcement Send an Email
Discussion Board      
Create a Forum Create a Thread Reply to a thread Grading Threads
Search/Collect Posts Create/Edit Settings Moderating Insert an in-line image
A Journal is a tool used for ongoing communication between student & instructor
Create a Journal Create and Edit Entries Comment on an Entry Bb Corp Journal Site
A Blog is a tool used for ongoing communication between student & the class
Create a Blog Create/Edit Entries Comments  
Create a Wiki Add rich content Edit a Wiki Linking Pages
View Page History Grading a Wiki    
Google Docs, Sharing      
Share Google Docs within Bb  
Create, Add students Basics, PDF    
Blackboard Collaborate      
A tool for synchronous video chat, office hours, & lecture capture
Collaborate Support documents, videos and links the IT Wiki
Collaborate Help Desk, provided by Blackboard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year!


Content Collection

The content collection is one of the most underutilized tools in in the Blackboard suite. In this section learn to transfer content across courses within and between semesters. Why upload ten documents one at a time when you can upload them all in one package and then create links to that content in several courses this semester and throughout course shells semesters to come!

Content Collection Manual Create: Folder Add: Files Link: Files to Multiple Courses
Add: Zipped Files Download a package Email a file  


Grade Center

Grade Center 9.1 Create: Smart View View: Grade Details Customize: Grade Center View
Create: Grade Center Report Grading With Rubrics Create: Grading Rubric Associate: Rubric with an Item
Create: A Grading Rule View: Grade History Download: Grade Center Learn: Needs Grading Page
Create: A Weighted Column



Assignments Create an Assignment Inline Assignment Grading Best Practices
Create: A Test Tests: Import/Deploy/Options Set: Test Options (video) Test Availability Exceptions
Surveys: Create, Deploy, Review Learn: Automatic Regrading Export: Test or Survey Clear Test Attempt
Instructors guide to the Turn-it-in (Tii) anti-plagiarism tool Tii Instructors manual Use: The Negative Points Tool
Read: Survey Results      


Assessments: Respondus test editing software

Respondus Quick Start Guide User Guide for Bb Deploying a Test Importing a Text file

Obtaining Respondus

For installing Respondus on your office computer, please either call the Help Desk at (x4357) or file a ticket with the online Help Desk – request type: Blackboard/Assessments. Help Desk personnel will push the software on your office computer.

For help installing Respondus on your private (home) computer, please file a ticket with the online Help Desk -- request type: Blackboard/Assessments – and we’ll provide with instructions for installing the software. Our license with Respondus Corp. doesn’t permit us to post this information publicly.


Course Reports & Retention Center

This tool provides an easy way for you to discover which students in your course are at risk.

Retention Center, PDF Quick Hit video: 1:43 min. On Demand video: 4:30 min. Retention Center in Action
Reports: Course Reports Observe Student Activity Discern Usage of Course Tools
  Detailed Course Reports    



Introduction: Access Portfolio About Portfolios Create Portfolio Portfolio Artifacts
Share Portfolio


End of the Semester

Export course Archive a course (machine readable) Restore/Import Archive/Export/Restore [Doc]


Pages in category "Blackboard - Faculty"

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