Saving Blackboard Course Content
Moving a Blackboard course into Canvas, or recreating a course from scratch in Canvas, ensures that much of your course content is stored and will be available for future access. You may have some content in Blackboard that you don’t need to use for your teaching, but that you’ll need to archive before Blackboard becomes unavailable, though. The easiest way to do this is to individually archive every Blackboard course you have access to, and move those files into either Canvas (for teaching) or Box (for long-term storage).
The best practice is to save your courses as .zip files. After June 2018 no UNMC user will have access to Blackboard; it will be possible, though, to import archived Blackboard courses into Canvas to retrieve old content.
Steps to saving Blackboard Course Content
- In the Blackboard Control Panel select Export/Archive Course
- Select Export Package (not Archive)
- Select the box for “Copy links and include copies of the files outside of the course default directory” (this will grab any files that might be in the Content Collection)
- Select the button “Calculate Size” (There is a 1 GB limit on the export)
Courses over the limit will not have a complete export. Check the instructions below in “Saving Large Blackboard Courses” for courses over 1 GB.
If the course is under the 1 GB limit, proceed by selecting the box to “Select All” content to export and click “Submit.”
Depending on the size of the course, it could take a few minutes for the .zip file to be created. You can wait a few minutes and click the “Refresh” button or come back later after the file is finished.
To download your course content, right click on the file and save it to your computer. Do not unzip this file (it is compressed in a special format that Canvas will be able to read. Unzipping and re-zipping will break the format).
Users can import a Blackboard export .zip file to a Canvas shell to access any old course information that is not stored on a computer or storage device.
Saving Large Blackboard Courses (over 1 GB)
Blackboard is limited on how much can be exported. During your export, check the size of what is being exported by clicking the “Calculate Size” button. An over-large course will yield the following error:
Such a warning indicates that additional steps are needed to achieve a complete course export. The course needs to be exported in parts. One of the ways to do this is by selecting the “Manage Package Contents.” Doing so allows users to manage what is being exported.
The image below details the “Manage Package Contents” process:
Any folders that are duplicated, unneeded, or contain large media files can be excluded from the export. When the export file is less than 1 GB, the export will process fully and generate a .zip file that can later be imported into Canvas.
Dealing with Large Media Files
Users can individually download these large files in Blackboard by doing the following:
- In the “Control Panel” select “Content Collection”
- Click on your course name
- Here you will see a list of all files stored in your course
- Select the files that you didn’t export like the large video files
- Download these files and store them on your computer, or store them in Box
Saving Student Grades
Teachers should always download and save all grade data from the grade center at the end of every semester. This is something that should be done every semester in both Canvas or Blackboard. It is possible to download grade data from past Blackboard courses that are no longer in use.
To download the course grades in Blackboard, do the following:
- Enter the Full Grade Center
- Select Work Offline - Download
- On the next screen select the following
a. Full Grade Center
b. Delimiter – Tab
c. Include Hidden Information – check
d. Save – My Computer
You’ll see a Download button that will provide you with a file that can be easily opened in a spreadsheet program such as Excel.
Note: If you didn’t download the grade book at the end of the semester, it’s possible that you may be missing some student data. Students may no longer appear in your course/gradebook after they graduate or are inactive in the system for two semesters after the last registered term.