Stetson University

Blackboard Policy

This page contains Blackboard information and policies for faculty.

Use of Blackboard

Blackboard is the course management system used at Stetson University.

Creation of Courses

A Blackboard course shell is automatically created for each course taught at Stetson University. Therefore, instructors do not need to request the creation of a Blackboard course shell for a course listed in the current class schedule. Shells for an upcoming semester are created eight weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester. Stetson University faculty and staff who wish to request the creation of a Blackboard course shell for purposes other than courses listed in the Stetson University Catalog need to contact the I.T. Help Desk.

Creation of Student Accounts

New and returning students are added to Blackboard throughout the academic year. Prior to the beginning of each semester, registered students are automatically brought into Blackboard from Banner and are added to the correct course according to the course reference number (C.R.N.). Additionally, student enrollment information is updated daily from Banner. Updates resulting from students dropping or adding courses will be reflected in Blackboard within one to two hours of a change in Banner. Students will continue to have access to courses for at least one month following the posting of final grades. If a student needs access after that period, they must contact the course instructor. If a student adds or drops a class during the first week of school, the instructor needs to manually add or remove the student from their Blackboard course. If an attempt is made to add a student to a Blackboard course, and that student cannot be located in the Blackboard database, the instructor should contact the Blackboard administrator via "Contact System Administrator" under Help in the Blackboard Control Panel. The following information must be included in the message:

  • Student's name
  • Student's SUID
  • C.R.N. for the class the student needs to be enrolled in

Blackboard Account and Password Information

The Blackboard username and password are the same as those for network and email accounts. If a student or faculty member forgets their password, they should contact the I.T. Help Desk.

Guest Access

Since Blackboard is only used for Stetson University courses, guest access has been disabled. Only current Stetson University students are allowed to access Blackboard with the use of their designated username and password. If you have a guest who needs access, contact the I.T. Help Desk to discuss possible options.

Problems with Blackboard Accounts or Blackboard Server

If you encounter any problems with Blackboard, please contact the I.T. Help Desk. You may also submit a question via "Contact System Administrator" under Help in the Blackboard Control Panel or contact blackboard@stetson.edu. This is the only way the Blackboard administrator will know about your problem.

End of Semester

One month after the end of a semester, all courses will be deactivated from Blackboard and archived on a Stetson University server. The Blackboard administrator will send emails prior to the end of the semester reminding faculty that all classes will be archived. If an alternative to this procedure is desired, please contact the I.T. Help Desk.

Blackboard Data Backup

The Blackboard server is backed up daily. The backups are for full restoration purposes only. If for some reason the system fails, these backups will be used to restore the database. If you have deleted or changed any individual items, IT may not be able to retrieve them. It is important that you maintain your own copies and archives. The following are categories of archives, exports and downloads that are available within Blackboard:

  • Full Course Archive: creates a permanent record of a course including all the content and user interactions. Archived courses are a permanent record of the course.
  • Export Course: creates a package of the course content only that can later be imported into a Blackboard system.
  • Export Grade Center: downloads and saves the Grade Center as a comma-delimited file for use in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  • Download Assignments: enables the instructor to download student assignments and save them.

Course Content Backup

Your course will remain active in Blackboard for the current semester. If you teach your course more than once a year, you can copy your course content into your next semester's course with Course Copy under Packages and Utilities in the Control Panel. You can also back up your course content locally to your personal computer. I.T. will also archive all courses. These archived courses can be requested for reactivation by contacting the I.T. Help Desk. After three calendar years, all archived courses will be deleted.

Student Content Backup

If you would like to keep your students' files after the current semester, you must keep your own records of grades and assignments. Instructors can export and save the Grade Center with Blackboard's export feature. This information can be saved as an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. All student files uploaded as Assignments or Tests can be downloaded to a faculty member's computer and stored for future reference.

Account Deletion

User accounts will remain active for the duration of their affiliation with the university. Once a user's affiliation with Stetson University ceases, their Blackboard account will be removed. For students, this will normally occur after two consecutive terms of non-enrollment. For faculty and staff, cessation of affiliation normally means termination of employment. Faculty who leave the university but need to maintain their involvement in an active course site may request that their Blackboard accounts be converted for external access. Departing faculty who wish to assign ownership of their Stetson University Blackboard sites or the sites' content to another Stetson University faculty or staff member may freely do so.

Course Site Longevity

Four weeks after the end of each semester, all course sites will be archived and removed from the active Blackboard server. This is to provide space for future semesters as well as to ensure that the Blackboard database, which stores student and test data, performs at its optimal capacity. Instructors will be given advance notice of the course site removal date via both email and a Blackboard system announcement.

Retention of Student Coursework and Grade Data

I.T.'s data retention policy does not allow the retention of student grade data or coursework after the end of the semester. When course sites are removed from the server, student data will not be copied or retained. Therefore, prior to the removal date, it is the instructor's responsibility to download a copy of their sites' Grade Center pages and any other student data that they need to retain in order to comply with the university's policies on records retention. It is strongly recommended that instructors create and save a full archive of each of their course sites at the end of each semester. A full archive should contain all student data, such as submitted assignments, discussion board postings and test responses.

Course and File Size Quotas

The default course size limit for faculty and staff for each Blackboard site is 250 MB. When a Blackboard site's size approaches the quota limit, an automatic warning email will be sent to the Blackboard administrator, who will contact the instructor to review options. The maximum size for a single file upload on Blackboard is 100 MB when uploading assignments and digital files. This file upload quota means that you will not be able to upload files over 100 MB into Blackboard. However, faculty and staff can request additional auxiliary storage for large multimedia files that can be linked to their Blackboard course site. Instructors who require a larger disk quota for either themselves or their students may contact the I.T. Help Desk, detailing their need for additional file storage. Large multimedia files associated with a Blackboard course can be stored and accessed on a dedicated Stetson University media server that is linked from the course's Blackboard site. The Office of Learning Technologies can also work with instructors and students to reduce file size with reformatting or streaming.

Blackboard Help

The Help link at the top of every Blackboard page leads to online FAQs and videos posted by the Stetson University I.T. staff. The Help link also offers a connection to video tutorials at Atomic Learning. Once connected to Atomic Learning, use the drop-down menu to select "Blackboard" in Applications and "9.1" in Versions. Choose your device (PC or Mac) in Platforms. The Help link in the Control Panel also offers "Blackboard Help" from Blackboard Learn, and includes an "On Demand" tab with additional assistance. The Office of Learning Technologies also offers hands-on Blackboard training. Watch for workshops as they are announced.

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