Blackboard Learn delivers teaching and learning materials to students through a Blackboard course. Each course contains content that is specific to an enrolled cohort of students and is usually associated with a particular faculty or department.
There are three types of Blackboard course available:
- Blackboard Curriculum courses
- Blackboard Informational courses
- Blackboard Sandbox courses
These shall be explored in more detail below.
Any member of Imperial College can be enrolled on a course with a given role, or courses can be made available to all users via self-enrolment. Please see our help materials on enrolling users for more information.
Once created, it is the responsibility of the course admin (usually the course leader), or Faculty Ed-Tech, to create content and to ensure that staff and students are enrolled on the course correctly. If you need further guidance with this, please contact your Faculty Ed-Tech team.
Curriculum courses are automatically created in Blackboard from the information in Imperial's student system Banner.
You can find out how to create modules by visiting our Module Registration Management web page. Curriculum courses will not be created or appear in Blackboard until these steps have been followed.
Blackboard Curriculum courses are created for an Imperial College accredited module and can contain any relevant content. They will usually contain some form of assessment, be part of the curriculum or be for credit. These courses can contain both formative and summative assessment content. They are created as a blank course shell that is unavailable to students.
Modules will need to be opted in for a corresponding course to be created in Blackboard.
Contact Registry if you need a curriculum module added to Blackboard.
For Blackboard Curriculum courses, students will be automatically enrolled, dependent on the information held in Banner.
The enrolling of members of staff to a course should be carried out by Faculty Ed-Tech teams. If you need further assistance with this, contact your Faculty Ed-Tech team or see our help materials on enrolling users.
Making your Blackboard Curriculum course available to students
Blackboard Curriculum courses are created as unavailable by default and it will need to be made available for students to participate in it. Unavailable courses are hidden from students but enrolled staff will still be able to access the course as normal and edit content and enrolments. The availability of a Blackboard course can be altered to suit the teaching delivery needs.
To change the course availability, carry out the following:
- Navigate to the required course in Blackboard.
- Under the Course Management menu, select Customisation.
- Select Properties to change the course availability.
From here you can select the appropriate availability options:
- Available – the course is openly available to enrolled student participants. If self-enrolment is activated, then users will be able to enrol in the course anytime they wish.
- Not available – the course is not available to students. Please note that enrolled staff will always be able to access a course.
In addition, the duration of the course can be specified to start and end on set dates. Please see the Blackboard support materials on course start and end dates for more information.
Course Rollovers and Templates
Modules opted into the Blackboard-Banner integration have courses automatically created in the summer term before the start of each academic year. They are created as a blank course shell that is unavailable to students. Students will be automatically enrolled onto a Blackboard course within 24 hours of being added to the corresponding module in Banner.
Note: This is a key difference between Banner and the previous DSS integration, where students would have only been enrolled on a specific date.
If you need to rollover content into a newly created Blackboard Curriculum course, or use a template, contact your Faculty Ed-Tech team before the start of the academic year and they will be able to facilitate this for you.
Cross-listed courses – (parent-child)
Blackboard courses can be arranged in a parent/child relationship, with enrolments from the child course being replicated in the parent course. This can be used when a course has multiple iterations in Banner, as it removes the need for courses to be duplicated multiple times in Blackboard for different cohorts.
Each parent course can have multiple child courses attached and content added to the parent course will be visible to all students enrolled on the child courses too.
These courses are for information purposes only and should not contain any form of summative assessment, be part of the curriculum or be for credit. These courses can contain formative assessment content.
To request a new Blackboard informational course please complete the New Blackboard Learn Course form in ASK Service Now.
Once a course has been created for you, it is your responsibility to organise and administer it. This includes ensuring that the course is populated with content and that students and staff are correctly enrolled upon it. If you need assistance with this, contact your Faculty Ed-Tech team.
If large numbers of Blackboard courses are required, these can be created in bulk. Please contact the ICT Service Desk for more information regarding this.
Course Rollovers and Templates
If you need to rollover existing content into a Blackboard informational course for the new academic year, please ensure that you specify the content required to be copied over when completing the ASK request form.
It is recommended that you consult with your Faculty Ed-Tech team, as they may be able to facilitate this process for you.
A Blackboard Sandbox course is a test area that allows you to trial and experiment with the different features, tools, integrations and content available in Blackboard. These can be used to help staff development course design skills and get to know their way around Blackboard, in a course that is only accessible to them.
All Blackboard Sandbox Courses have Blackboard Ally enabled by default, which will allow you to test Ally’s functionality and the accessibility of any content you upload to your course. Please see the Blackboard Ally staff user guide for more information on using Ally.
Blackboard Sandbox courses are limited to staff only. Each member of staff is allowed 3 courses each. Upon creation of the course, you will be automatically enrolled as a Course Admin.
Blackboard Sandbox courses are intended for personal use only and should not be used for teaching and learning. Students should not be enrolled on these courses.
To create a Blackboard Sandbox course, follow these instructions:
- Go to the Blackboard Sandbox course management page
- Enter your Imperial Username and Password and select Log In.
- A list of your current Blackboard Sandbox courses will be displayed. To create a new course, select New Sandbox.
- Read the disclaimer that is displayed and select the Agree button.
- Your new Blackboard Sandbox course will now be displayed. The course name will contain your username. Click on the Course ID link to access the course in Blackboard directly. Your Blackboard Sandbox courses will also be displayed in your My Courses list on the Blackboard home screen.
- If you need to delete a course, click on Delete.
Please note that this action will permanently delete the course, all the content will be lost and that this is irreversible.