Blackboard – What are the different types of courses?

Staff Guide: Introduction to the different types of Blackboard courses and how to request them.

How Blackboard courses are linked to Banner

Most courses, and course enrolments, are automatically added to Blackboard from the Banner student information system. 

It should not be necessary to manually add students to Blackboard courses – if you are doing this then please contact ServiceLine for advice on the best course setup for your needs.

See the guide to managing course enrolment for more information on how to enrol users correctly on courses.

The different types of Blackboard course

Blank Blackboard module courses are set up each year for every course reference number (CRN) recorded in the Banner student information system. Instructors and students are enrolled in the Blackboard course via their enrolment in Banner. Contact your faculty CQA office if you have questions about module setup.

See this guide to finding and preparing Banner module courses for the next academic year.

You can request a Banner zero credit module for courses that fall outside the assessed curriculum – for example, study skills sessions, introductory sessions, language skills, dissertation information ahead of module delivery etc.  Blackboard course set-up and enrolment is then handled automatically via Banner.Contact your faculty CQA office to request a compulsory or optional zero-credit module. 

Merged Banner module courses

If you are teaching closely related modules, enrolments can be merged into a single “parent” course for teaching purposes. Students will continue to access the parent course via the course code they are enrolled on in Banner and will be unaware that their course has been merged with another.

It is very important that you merge Blackboard enrolments rather than manually add students from one course to another. With merged enrolments, student enrolments stay in sync with Banner enrolments and match the student timetable. Student work will also be archived if a student is removed from the Blackboard course.

Module leads can merge and unmerge courses they are enrolled on via our Blackboard CourseManager app. Follow this link to our guide on merged enrolments.

Programme Courses

A Blackboard Programme Course can support Programme Leaders to open a communication channel, develop an online community with students, and share programme-level content.

You can use the link in this guide to request a Blackboard Programme Course. Students are auto-enrolled via programme codes and the course will appear under a separate heading on the Blackboard Home page. 

Custom (arbitrary) courses

A custom course is set up independently in Blackboard and does not have an equivalent module code in Banner. Custom courses are used for anything that cannot be set up as a zero-credit module, or content that cannot be included in a Programme course – for example, faculty, school or department-wide information courses and general staff training.  

See this guide to Request a Custom (arbitrary) course. Users can be manually added to custom courses, or iSoltuions can set up self-enrol or custom enrolment feeds.

Sandbox courses

A Sandbox is a course used for personal training and testing. You can create a Sandbox course in the current Original course format or the new ULTRA format.

You can also request Sandbox courses if you need a space to set up a draft course ahead of a Banner course being available.

Follow this link to create a Sandbox course.

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