Prepare your Blackboard course shells

If you are teaching during the summer session, you will soon need to get your Blackboard course site ready. Summer course shells are already available, and you can perform a course copy yourself.

Instructions to copy your own course or to request a course copy can be found at Blackboard Learn course copy. Please note that you must be the instructor of record in both course sites to copy one course to another.

Some tips to perform your copy successfully include:

  1. Before course copy (in your old course):
  2. Check your Course Menu for duplicated items and delete any unnecessary items (in the course menu, click the chevron to open the contextualization menu and click Delete). Before you start adding content to your new course shell, please take time to determine whether all files must be copied or not.
  3. Delete any old files from previous semesters (syllabi, PowerPoints, Word documents, images, unused files) to maximize the amount of storage you will have in your new course. It is best practice to keep courses free of old content, keeping only the files that students need. You can find those in the Course Content Collection
  4. When copying Discussion Boards, select the option “Include only the forums, with no starter posts.” Student entries will not be copied over. Only the forums you created will be copied.
  5. Course Announcements will be copied over unless you deselect that copy option. Review whether you have included key information in previous course announcements.
  6. Organize your Course Content. Move all menus and folders to desired locations. See Move and Copy Content.

NOTE: Keep in mind that large files may be stored in a UIC-supported cloud storage tool such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Box and can be linked to your course instead of uploaded to Blackboard directly. This way, you will not store copies of the same file every time you copy your Blackboard course, and you can modify files on your desktop computer by syncing them to the cloud storage tool of your choice. It is best practice to use the flexibility of cloud storage to host large files. The video Google Drive files in Blackboard Learn shows you how to link large files using UIC Google Drive, but it is very similar with other cloud storage tools.

  1. After course copy (in your new course):
  2. Update course documents – check syllabus and lecture notes; delete any items that you may have missed before the course copy.
  3. Update due dates in course assignments.
  4. Delete old Tests, Pools, and Surveys that are no longer used in the course (Click on Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Click the chevron next to the test name -> Click ‘Delete’).
  5. Set Course Entry Point so students open the course right where you want.

Alternatively, you can request course content to be copied from a previous semester’s Blackboard course to a new one by submitting a Blackboard Course Site Copy Request form to the LTS support team. Your course copy will be ready within a week of the request receipt. Please plan ahead if you are using this method.

If you have questions about copying your Blackboard courses, please contact the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence Support team at or request an appointment with one of CATE’s Instructional Designers.

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