Blackboard Content

This document explains how to manage your content in Blackboard. To jump directly to a section, select a link!

  • Adding New Content - Where to place your content, building new course content, adding videos, and advanced content management (importing course cartridges, accessing MERLOT materials, and Adaptive Release).
  • Reusing Content - Performing a course copy and importing course packages.
  • Organizing Content - Reordering and moving content, using the content collection, and advanced techniques (including copying files to the Collection)
  • Saving Content - Archiving (backing up) your course.

Adding Content

Where to Place Content

Course areas are simply containers for your course materials. Course areas that appear on the Course Menu are called Content Areas. These primary sections can be subdivided into smaller course areas such as folders, enabling course materials to be organized by week, module, topic, or another appropriate arrangement. Thoughtful organization of course content benefits instructors and students both by making materials easier to find. Folders can remain visible for the duration of the course, or can appear or disappear (to the student) at predetermined times. Folders will always remain visible to instructors (when viewed in edit mode).

Instructors may modify currently existing content aras, create additional content areas and blank pages, or remove unused content areas or pages as needed.

Disclaimer: The Blackboard Learn version depicted in the screenshots contained in the above links is not specific to the University of Kentucky; please disregard any difference you notice in the tools available.

Building Course Content

Instructors can create basic course content directly in Blackboard (Item, File, Content Folder, Module Page, Blank Page, etc.), or upload pre-created files (including text and HTML documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, audio/video clips, and graphic images) from a personal computer.

Instructors can also add hyperlinks (URLs) to direct students to specific online resources outside of Blackboard, link to tools or an area of a tool (for example: Instructor can link to the Discussion Board or to a specific Discussion Board Forum), or create a Mashup inside Blackboard using multimedia content from external sites like Flickr, SlideShare, or YouTube.

For detailed instructions on adding content such as files, URLs, etc. click on Creating Content in a Course Area, below, and navigate to the drop-down menu most relevant to your topic.

Adding Videos

Kaltura is a new Blackboard building-block that allows easy upload and management of videos directly to Blackboard. In addition to the ability to link to outside public sources such as Youtube, Vimeo, Echo360, etc., both instructors and students can now vlog, share tutorials, demonstrations, video presentations, and creative projects in the private scope of a Blackboard course.

For a quick and easy way to add a video to your course, see Uploading Videos: Kaltura Method, below. However, if you think you will want to add the same video to multiple courses, or if you would like students to be able to upload their own videos, please use the MyMedia method. Student-uploaded videos are, by default, not visible to students until the Instructor makes the video available. Instructions for how to do so are included in the Course Media Gallery instructions.

Advanced Content Tools

Course Cartridges - Many textbook publishers sell assessments, content, multimedia, and sometimes entire textbooks. These packages are usually available in a compressed zip file, or cartridge, already formatted for Blackboard, and often include importing instructions and technical support. A Download Key, obtainable from the publisher, will be required before Course Cartridge content can be added. Remember, for students to have access, the following conditions must be met:

  • The student must be enrolled in the course.
  • The student must have purchased the required textbook or other publisher-provided materials that contain the Access Key. When first accessing the Course content, Students will be required to enter an Access Key. Once validated, Students will no longer need the Access Key.

SCORM - In addition to Course Cartridges, you can also upload SCORM packages. For more information, or to learn how to upload SCORM packages, please visit Creating Content in a Course Area, linked below, and scroll down to the section labeled How to Add Content Packages to Use the Content Player. If you have used SCORM packages in Blackboard before, please note that the upload process has changed.

MERLOT - Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching is a peer-reviewed database of higher education online learning materials, catalogued by registerd members and a set of faculty development support services. To add MERLOT content to your course, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are in the course in which you would like to work and that you have the Edit Mode to ON.
  • In the Content Area in which you want to add Merlot content, mouse over Tools and select MERLOT Search within the drop-down menu.
  • On the new page that opens, enter the search criteria. You may enter the Merlot title for the material if known.
  • Select Submit.
  • Select the material by clicking the check box next to the material that you would like to add. You can select multiple items to link at once.
  • Click the Insert button.
  • Do not click Return. Navigate back to your course by selecting My Bb and choosing your course from the Course List.

Verify that the Web Link is in the Content area that you have chosen; this is where the Students will access it.

Adaptive Release -Adaptive Release (also known as conditional availability) is an advanced feature that allows instructors to set conditions (one or more rules) for when and to whom a test, a folder, or almost any other content item will become visible. Adaptive Release can be used to support mastery learning, for example, or to make a test available to different groups at different times.

Instructors planning to use adaptive release should use Student View (edit mode off) to ensure the conditions are set up properly. The content should disappear when any criterion to access the content is not met. To verify that the adaptive release rules work when membership is involved, an Instructor can include their own user ID in the membership list.

Access Adaptive Release by:

(1) Entering any area of the course that contains content,

(2) Confirming that Edit Mode is ON,

(3) Clicking the drop-down menu next to a content item's name, and

(4) From the menu, selecting either Adaptive Release or Adaptive Release: Advanced (User Progress is also located here).

For more information, see any of the Adaptive Release instructional pages below:

  • About Adaptive Release (written instructions) -- Blackboard Help. General overview of Adaptive Release.
  • Adding Adaptive Release Criteria (written instructions) -- Blackboard Help. Detailed explanations of rule criteria.
  • Managing Adaptive Release Rules (written instructions) -- Blackboard Help. Instructions for creating and managing rules.
  • Create Multiple Rules for a Content Item (tutorial video)
  • Adaptive Release Basic (PDF) -- Illustrated step-by-step. Create basic rules for an item. Only one rule per item can be created, but the rule can have multiple criteria. All of the criteria must be met before the student can access the content.
  • Adaptive Release Advanced (PDF) -- Illustrated step-by-step. Create complex combinations of release rules by adding multiple rules with multiple criteria to a single content item. Users must meet all of the criteria of ONE of the rules to gain access.
  • User Progress (PDF) -- Illustrated step-by-step. View the details on an item for all users in a course. This page includes information about whether the item is visible to the user and whether the user has marked the item as reviewed.

Reusing Content

Performing a Course Copy

If you wish to re-use content from another course, you can perform a Course Copy. First, log in to Blackboard and click on the course containing the materials you wish to copy. Then follow the steps below.

  • From the Packages and Utilities sub-menu in the Control Panel, click on Course Copy.
  • “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course” should be selected by default for Copy Type. This is the only copy type available to Instructors.
  • Click Browse for the Courses pop-up window (If your browser employs a pop-up blocker, set your options to allow pop-ups for uky.edu.
  • You will then scroll to select the course into which you wish to copy before clicking Submit.
  • Select the course materials you would like to copy into the new course. Below are some important details and precautions when selecting course materials:
    • If the course you are copying from (the one you are in) is a course from Spring 2009 or before, DO NOT CLICK SETTINGS. This will copy in the settings from a Blackboard 8 course and could result in formatting problems. However, if you are certain that the course you are copying is more recent, you may check the Settings box to reduce your workload after copying the course.
    • Before Tests (deployments) and Assignments are copied over, "Grade Center Column and Settings" must be checked. The following errors will occur if "Grade Center Columns and Settings" is not checked:
      • SafeAssign assignments are copied, but no grade columns are created for them. (Once any of the SafeAssign assignmnets are edited by the Instructor, the grade columns will be created.)
      • Tests (and test options) are copied over, but not deployed.
      • Assignments are not copied over.
  • When you have selected everything you want copied, click Submit.
  • Blackboard will present you with a confirmation screen.
  • When the course-copy process has completed, you will receive an email in your Blackboard-recognized inbox.

[Please wait five minutes after receiving the confirmation email to move onto the next step]

  • You should now have the course shell and all the materials ready for you to modify and get ready for your students.

    • If you have copied over SafeAssignments: Please note, within the new course, you must navigate to the Course Tools sub-menu of the Control Panel and select SafeAssign and the SafeAssignments to "Synchronize this course".
  • If you don't see your content, please navigate to the Packages and Utilities sub-menu of the Control Panel and select "Import Package / View Logs". If the Course Copy has completed a log will show in this page, giving information about errors, if any.

NOTE: Blackboard does not stop you from copying the material into a pre-existing course (even if that material already exists). Therefore if you have a folder with the same name, like Course Documents, you will then have two Course Documents folders on your new Course Menu (the new one will be lower on the Course Menu). You will then need to manage the duplicates, either by hiding or deleting them.

Importing Course Packages

If you have archive a previous course (see Saving Content, below), whether in Blackboard or from another Learning Management System (in this case, it must be saved as a Common Cartridge), you may use this saved copy to restore the old materials to your new course by importing the content.

To import all or parts of Course materials into an existing Course (except the Student data itself), first make sure you are in the course you would like to copy material into and that you have the edit mode set to ON. Then follow the steps below.

  • In the Packages and Utilities sub-menu of the Control Panel, select Import Package/View Logs.
  • Select Import Package from the Action Bar.
  • In the Import Package page, select "Browse My Computer" to browse for the zip file of the exported Course materials. Note: Uploading large files may take a long time.
  • Next, select all the Course Materials you would like to include in the import process. Note: To recreate a course from an archive package, including user records, please contact the IT Service Desk at 218help@uky.edu to request a Restore of an archived zip folder instead of Import and Exported zip folder.
  • Select Submit to finish.

Synchronizing Your Course

After importing a new course or copying an existing course containing SafeAssignments, you must synchronize your course. If you fail to do so, errors will occur when you begin to use your SafeAssignments. For example, your students may not be able to upload SafeAssignments, they may upload them and be inaccessible by the Instructor, or they may appear but be ungradable. To avoid these problems, please follow these instructions for syncronizing your course:

  • In the Control Panel, open the Course Tools drop-down menu and select SafeAssign.

  • Click on SafeAssignments.

  • Click on Synchronize This Course, found in the top right corner.

Organizing Content

We have organized the default Content Areas into the sections listed below. If you wish, you can change their names and reorganize the Course Menu to show the content you want to show.

Course Information - Use for material that describes the course itself, such as a syllabus, course outline, or assignment schedule. May also be used for information about the instructor, such as a profile or office hours and location, or for general information that may be helpful for your students to know, such as tips about relevant academic resources, guidelines for participating in a distance learning course, or links to Blackboard support options.

Course Content - Use for educational materials. Items can be organized by week, module, topic, or other appropriate arrangement. Some instructors choose to place assignments and exams in this area as well, either as stand-alone content, or in-line with other materials from the same topic or time period.

Assignments - Use for distributing and receiving assignments if you would like to present them to students in an area separate from the rest of your course materials.

Class Capture - This menu item will only appear in courses that are linked to the Echo360 lecture capture system. Whenever the Echo server has finished processing a piece of course content, links to the lecture media will automatically appear in the Echo Captures folder in this area of the course.

Reordering and Moving Content

Instructors can easily rearrange the order of most content created/added to a Blackboard course. Please see the instructions below for step-by-step how-tos. If you would like to manage links in the Course Menu, click on Course Components (linked below), and scroll down to the section titled Reordering and Managing the Links on the Course Menu.

The Content Collection

For advanced content management, Blackboard provides the Content Collection, a location where instructors can store content that they wish to reuse across multiple courses or share with other instructors. Instructors may also access materials shared within their department or college, or materials shared for the entire university.

To access the Content Collection, click the Content tab, located next to the My Bb tab near the top of the Blackboard browser window.

Instructors have two options for adding items from the Content Collection to a Course:

(1) Items may be added through the Browse Content Collection option available when building Content Areas.

(2) Items can also be added with the third row action buttons available in the Text Box Editor.

Saving Content

Archive Course

Archive Course creates a permanent record of a Course including all the content and user interactions available at the time the Archive is initiated. It is essential to back up your course content and grades frequently as the course proceeds. It is recommended to save an archive of your course to your computer after any big change, such as a test or assignment submission, that includes critical data for student grades. However, you are welcome to create archives for your courses as often as you wish. If it is necessary to restore missing data, an archive can be sent to the Blackboard Administrator to restore on the Blackboard server.

Archiving is a two-part process: creating the zip file and saving it to an optimal location on your computer or storage device. Your course is not fully archived or backed up until you have completed the downloading process.

Download Archiving Your Blackboard Course (below) for illustrated step-by-step instructions on this process.

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