Preparing for the new Academic Year: Setting up your Sites
Blackboard uses standardised school-level templates to ensure that students within a school enjoy a consistent VLE experience. We have put together this short guide detailing how to prepare module sites for the next academic year in a way that makes best use of your school template.
- Module leaders are automatically enrolled as Instructors on relevant modules. Staff teaching on a module will be enrolled automatically once Timetables are confirmed in mid-September.
- If you have not been automatically enrolled on a module you coordinate, email firstname.lastname@example.org to update your details. Changes take 24 hours to take effect.
- A new Blackboard site is created for every module. The sites has the template for the School that owns the module. The sites are empty upon creation and need to be populated with content.
ABOUT: Site Copying
- If copying learning materials from a past site, it is best to copy folders and files individually from the old site to the new site (see Part One below).
- We do not recommend staff to use ‘Select all’ within ‘Site Copy’. The Site Copy process – if not done carefully – can undermine the consistency of templates across a school by creating additional menu buttons, importing out of date staff guidance and overwriting new banners. Copied Turnitin Submission points can cause issues for student submissions. Guidance is below.
PART ONE: Copying content from previous year
- Open the module site where the material is to be copied from.
- Click on Content Store and click where you see your username followed by the word content (e.g. Jsmith Content’).
- On the breadcrumb trail, click Content Store.
- Click Show All on the bottom of the page.
- Check the box in the right hand corner and click Download Package. A zip file will download to your computer containing all the files uploaded to your BB site.
- Unzip the downloaded file.
- You can then upload any files you plan to re-use onto your 2021 Bb site in the appropriate Content Folder.
An alternative method is detailed here.
Important: You must be enrolled as an Instructor on both sites.
- Open the module site where materials will be copied from.
- Ensure Edit Mode is on.
- Go through the learning materials section and decide on the materials to copy. Check that the materials are relevant and up to date.
- Click the drop down menu next to an item or folder and select Copy.
- Select the destination site from the drop down list.
- Click the Browse button to display a site map of the destination site.
- Select the destination folder in the site map.
- Click Submit.
- Repeat the process for all other items and folders to be copied.
PART TWO: Copying Staff Details and Tests, Surveys and Pools
In general, doing a Site Copy is not recommended for copying across materials due to the adverse impacts of copying process can have when “select all” is chosen. This copies unnecessary elements, duplicates guidance, overwrites the banner and unbalances the agreed template. It is best used to move across content such as Staff Details which cannot be copied by any other method.
Note: It would not be appropriate to copy across all site materials such as Announcements, Assignments or Discussion Boards as these historical items would not be relevant to the new site.
- In the Site Management panel, select Packages and Utilities and Select Site Copy.
- Select the Destination Site. Type in the Site ID or click Browse. Do not click ‘Select All’ as choosing this option causes the issue with the template. Mark the tick boxes to identify the material from the current site that you wish to copy e.g. Contacts to copy the Staff Details folder.
- To maintain the integrity of the template, only the options marked in red can be selected safely. The boxes not highlighted in red (e.g. Adaptive Release Rules for Content, Announcements) can cause problems if ticked and copied over.
- Do not check the ‘Include Enrolments in the Copy’
- Do select the ‘Copy links and copies of the content’
- Click Submit.
- Check the destination site carefully to confirm the Site Copy was successful.
PART THREE: Getting the site ready
- Once learning materials have been moved, add a Welcome Announcement. Remember that the Welcome Announcement is the first thing students see when entering a site.
- Create a discussion forum. Go to the Discussion Board and create at least one forum so that students have an area to communicate with each other. You may even want to initiate discussion by starting a thread.
- Set up any Submission Points (see helpsheets in Help and Support area on Blackboard).
- Turn on Student Preview to see the site from a student perspective.
- Enrol any colleagues on the site who need access for teaching or support purposes.
PART FOUR: Making the Site Available
When you are ready for students to access the site, make it available.
- Navigate to the module site and look for the top menu where you will see the ‘Edit Mode’ button.
- To the left of the ‘Edit Mode’ will be a small padlock symbol. If your site is not available it will be red.
- To make your site available, click the padlock and it will turn grey and open. This means the site is now available and visible to students.
- To hide the site again from students, repeat the steps above in reverse.