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7 Tips to Wrap Up Your Blackboard Course for the Semester

Checklist to close out your course as the semester ends

Ease stress during the final weeks of your semester with our closing checklist. Leverage these Blackboard course tools to complete helpful and simple tasks for a successful semester conclusion. Each tip takes you through an important step in your closing checklist for your course.

1. Insert Automatic Zeros (Ultra only)

In your Ultra course, you can set the gradebook to automatically assign zeros for any missing work beyond the due date. This feature can be enabled any time in the semester. If enabled earlier, students can still submit work after a zero is assigned, if you allow late work, and you can grade the submission. Automatic zeros apply to assignments, tests, and discussions, but do not apply to offline assignments.

2. Download Your Gradebook (Original / Ultra)

As a matter of best practice, you should always download a copy of your gradebook after you are finished entering grades and submitting final marks to PeopleSoft, the official record. Remember, while your Blackboard gradebook is downloadable in CSV format, which can be opened in Excel or Google Sheets, it does not synchronize to PeopleSoft.

3. Download Student Submissions (Original / Ultra)

If you need to refer to student work after a class ends, it is faster to download the entire collection of student submissions to review at a later date rather than go back into your course and find the individual file for a specific assignment. You can download student submissions in bulk for both Original and Ultra courses.

4. Clean Up Your Course Files (Original / Ultra)

While a course export is created in Blackboard’s proprietary format, instructors can download and access course files uploaded to the Content Collection. Once these files are on your computer, you can review and remove duplicate or outdated documents, presentations, handouts, etc. Be sure to move media files (audio and video) to Panopto to optimize your students' streaming experience and keep your course quota healthy.

5. Export Your Course (Original / Ultra)

While your course to course preparations will leverage the course copy tool, it is helpful to have your own back-up of your course content. Generate an export at the end of the semester and save it in the cloud for your future reference. When courses are retired, you will already have a copy of your courses with syllabi, rubrics, handouts, presentations, etc. 

NOTE: If you do nothing else in your end of semester course wrap-up process, this is the most important tip!

6. Modify Course Duration (Original only)

By default, DoIT sets all Blackboard course shell durations to expire approximately 6 weeks after the end of a given semester. Some instructors change the duration of an Original course to continuous, which means the course always appears as “current” to both instructors and students. This can be frustrating to students who see courses they’ve already completed on the main Courses page as a new semester starts. Therefore, make sure you change the course duration back to a reasonable end date.

7. Identify Students Who Need Incomplete Access (Original / Ultra)

If a course has an end date, and the end date passes, then students can't access the course any longer, whether or not the course is still available. For example, by default, all Fall 2021 shells will be made unavailable to student access January 9, 2022. Instructors can request special access to their courses for students who need to continue to work in a course beyond the semester’s conclusion. You may need to adjust any relevant dates within the course so students can access content or assignments.

Once the semester over, grades are submitted, and your Blackboard course closing checklist is complete, take a deep breath and enjoy your break.

Do you have a tip to share with other faculty? Please comment in this post and let us know!

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Posted: December 7, 2021, 9:46 AM