Making your course unavailable until you’re ready

Yes, you can do this. Be careful what you wish for. 😉

If you hide it, you have to remember to make it available. And when your students call the help desk, we’re just going to refer them to you!

Go into the Control Panel, Customization, Properties.

Go to item #3. The default is “yes” which means the course is available.

Set it to “no” to turn off ALL access. Students can’t see Announcements or anything; just that the course is not available. IMPORTANT: If you turn it off, it stays off until you turn it back on.

Or select “use term availability” which is set to August 23, the Thursday before classes start. At least you don’t have to remember anything.


Moving material from ‘sandbox’ to production

The words:

  • In the SANDBOX course (i.e. this is a ‘push’ from your sandbox to production)
  • Control panel
  • Packages and utilities
  • Course Copy
  • Select copy type: Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course
  • Use browse to find the course (watch those cross listed courses!)
  • Select All (don’t think, just click on “select all”)
  • Leave the rest
  • Submit

The pictures 🙂

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Hey! Where’d all my old course materials go?

If you still need to move course materials and/or access the ‘old’ Blackboard

  • Log into Genesis
  • On the “My Courses” page, scroll down
  • Look for the “Access to Courses Prior to Fall 2012” and click on the “access your WebCT courses here”
  • Click “Run” on the pop up box if you get it.
  • Counter-intuitive step: Click on the link that says “Please click this link to return to ‘myWebCT’”
  • You should be on the old “My Blackboard Courses” page and have a list of all of your courses
  • This system will be available until next summer (Summer 2013); we’ll remind you to get materials off of it regularly
  • IF YOU HAVE STUDENTS WITH SPRING 2012 or SUMMER 2012 IPs, you must contact me or Harold for assistance in getting your students into the old system.


“Online” Training Option

There have been questions about the online training option for the new BB9, so I want to put more words to it.

There are 2 sets of online resources. (and this is the link I fat-fingered when we gave it out before, sorry!)

This is a link to a series of online tutorials about specific topics. These are mostly videos, they are short (2 to 5 minutes) and very targeted about the tools within Blackboard. There’s no ‘context’ in terms of how one might use the tool, they are technical videos about how to use a tool (or parts of a tool).

At the top, there are 3 sections:

  • understanding & building your course
  • communicating & collaboration
  • assessing learners

They are very helpful, but they are not enough. Like I said, not a lot of context.

This is an external web site, run by Blackboard. You need to create an account and sign in to this resource.  It will ask you about creating a course, you can do that if you want (and sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow than to fight the forms that pop up!). You can use the sandbox course to practice the techniques you learn inside.

Once you have logged in, if it takes you inside the course you created, look for the “My Course Sites” link at the top of the page and click on that. (clicky on hte pics to make them bigger!)

Then look for the box on the right that says “My Courses” and then the link that says “Getting  Started with Course Sites”

Work your way through all the “Steps” to complete the online training.  You’ve done reasonably well if you know how to (1) make a menu that looks like either of the ones below and (2) how they created the “Introduction: Start Here” module. If you can re-create those things, you’re on the right track. Think of those tasks as measurable SLOs.  ::grin::

That isn’t everything, but it’s a big step.

If you do work through the online training, do feel free to ask me questions…. More than willing to give pointers and discuss the philosophical “why did they do it that way; I’d prefer to do it this way” sorts of questions. I have my own bias, but willing to debate the question!

I’ll re-post all this on the blog at later today so we can point to it again at the end of July!

If all this makes your eyes cross, we’re still taking sign-ups for the in person training sessions. Dates and registration information available here:

Talk to you soon!


Training – Updates

We’ve updated the training schedule (see the tab above) for new dates, a couple of evening sessions and some Saturdays.

Now that we’ve done our first session, two days is the best, if you have the time. It’s an investment in sanity.

In the two days we just did this week, one person pretty much moved all her face-to-face course materials to the new shell and it’s ready to go for summer! Which is an incentive to the rest of you folk to take the time to take advantage of the sessions that are available between now and the start of summer.

Folk teaching fully online will probably take a bit longer — just being honest — but it’s a good thing to work on.

We’ll have the Thursday afternoon / Friday morning session this coming week (March 22 & 23) then be off on March 29/30 since Harold and I will be learning more so we can do training better.

Come! Learn! It’s cool!


Training, Day 1

There’s a brave group of souls on campus on a soggy, gray day (although the sun is predicted for later!) for Day 1 of Blackboard 9.1 training.

I’m going to tell you more tomorrow about today’s topics but just wanted to let you know that Training for Bb 9.1 is started and will be ongoing.

Yes, two pretty full days is the plan. There are lots of thoughts about that. There are enough new things in Bb 9.1 that we don’t want to skimp over them. But a lot of folk are experienced in using Blackboard CE and don’t need to spend a lot of time talking about why one uses discussions, just what’s new in discussions.

This is the plan, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday Agenda

  • Understanding the changes
  • Getting started with a course moved from CE 8
  • Getting started with the course environment
  • Getting started with course content

Wednesday Agenda

  • Getting started with Assignments
  • Getting started with building a test
  • Getting started with the Grade Center

More tomorrow!

Go “Live” Update

From Harold….


My intentions are always to do what is right for you and your students. Conversations and meetings with you over the past couple of weeks have caused me to reevaluate our complete move to Blackboard 9.1 for the Summer semester. This morning I made a recommendation that we maintain and operate both versions of Blackboard over the Summer with a full transition to Blackboard 9.1 for the Fall. My recommendation was considered and approved. I still need to work out the details on how both systems will be accessed and that information will be shared with you in the next couple of days.

After the Summer semester all Fall semester courses will be in Blackboard 9.1.

Your Summer options are now:

  1. Use our current version of Blackboard to deliver your Summer courses while you work on preparing Blackboard 9.1 courses for the Fall semester.
  2. Use Blackboard 9.1 to deliver your Summer courses while you work on preparing Blackboard 9.1 courses for the Fall semester.

The training schedule will remain the same with some additional evening and weekend sessions yet to be determined.

I really believe that Blackboard 9.1 gives you the best tool possible to deliver great instruction. I look forward to working with each of you and to a smooth transition.

I do listen and I truly appreciate your input, suggestions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me about anything relative to our move to Blackboard 9.1.

With much respect,