Semester Quick Start Guide

Semester Quick Start Guide

We’ve gathered some frequently asked questions regarding the start of the semester in one place, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for while setting up your courses.

If you are having trouble finding the information you need, or if you have a question about something not included here, please feel free to contact us!


How do I copy my courses?

When preparing for the start of a semester, you may plan to use content from a previous semester. The easiest way to accomplish this is by going to the old course and using the Course Copy function to copy the materials into a new course. This Quick Start Guide will explain how to copy a course from the old semester shell into a new semester shell.

Step One: On the Control Panel, expand the Packages and Utilities menu and select Course Copy.

Browse for the course into which you want to copy.

Step Two: On the Copy Course page, click the Browse button to select the Destination Course ID. A popup window will open with a list of courses available to you in your account — select from this list the course into which you’d like to copy.

Browse for the course you want to copy into.

Step Three: Click the Select All button to copy the entire course, or select specific items to copy into a new course by checking the boxes in the list.

Select the contents you'd like to copy.

Step Four: At the bottom of the page, choose Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder) and click Submit.

Select from the file attachment options.

PDF: How do I copy my courses?


How do I merge my courses?

Merging courses allows instructors to manage multiple sections from one shell.  When merging sections the instructor will identify one of the sections to be the primary or ‘parent’ course and all enrollments from the sections known as ‘child’ courses will be merged into the parent.

diagram of course merge process

To merge a course:

Step 1: Access the course you wish to act as the ‘parent’ course. This is the course that contains content and will be the main section the course is managed from.

Step 2: Go to the Course Management Control Panel and expand the Course Tools menu.  Select Course Merge from the drop-down.

course merge tool

Step 3: Select the link to manage merged sections.

link to select or unselect merged courses.

Step 4: Place a check mark next to the sections you wish to merge into the parent course. Press Next.

add child pending screen

Step 5: Confirm the selected child courses.  Press Update Children.

update children screen

PDF: Merging your Blackboard courses


How do I make my courses available to students?

Beginning Fall 2016, all online and hybrid courses will be made available automatically on the first day of class. If you’re using your Blackboard course shell for your face-to-face sections, you’ll still need to make the course available by following the instructions below.

Keep in mind, there are two levels of availability related to course access. The first is enrollment availability, which is determined by the registration system. Enrollment availability does not turn on until the first day of class. The second level of availability is course availability, which can be determined by the instructor. This means faculty can delay access to the course, but cannot provide access prior to the start of classes because of the enrollment availability.

To adjust the availability setting for a course:

Step 1: Expand the Customization menu and select Properties.

Select "Properties" from the Customization menu.

Step 2: Select “Yes” and click Submit.

Adjust the radio buttons under "course availability."

PDF: How to make a course available


How can I backup a course taught in a previous semester?

As each semester comes to a close, on the day that grades are due, courses taught in the term two years prior will be removed from the system. Once this date has passed, these courses will no longer be accessible from the Blackboard interface.

This removal is part of our semesterly archival process, which allows us to manage the amount of space used by inactive courses on the server. The current process keeps courses dating back six semesters, or two academic years, available through the myBlackboard interface. Here’s an example of this schedule:

Semester Removed from LMS
Spring 2014 May 13, 2016
Summer II 2014 June 29, 2016
Summer I 2014 August 4, 2016
Summer IV 2014 August 10, 2016

If you want to retain a copy of a course for your own records, you can easily do so by archiving them yourself before the removal date and saving them to your computer. These archives are saved as a zip file that can later be imported into a blank course shell.

Learn more: How to Export and Archive Courses, How to Import Course Packages


How can I add users to my course?


Most users are added to the courses in which they belong automatically by our enrollment script, but either the instructor of record or the department chair can request the following types of access through the form:

  • Course Copy Access – allows users to copy course contents without being listed as instructor
  • Teaching Assistant – provides standard access for users assisting with grading and communicating with students

Additional levels of access can be granted by providing a short narrative regarding the nature of the request.

You may also request access to a course by using the form. Once you’ve submitted a request, we will contact the appropriate party for permission and notify you once the request has been completed.

Please keep in mind, we can’t add users as the instructor of a course; this must be assigned through Banner. Users in the student role must also be added to a course by the enrollment script, which happens automatically when they register for a course in BOSS.

On the STaR website: Blackboard Course Access Request Form