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Blackboard Support

The following provides information on how Blackboard is supported at Cal Poly Pomona:

System Downtime

Quarterly Maintenance

Typically performed over two days following grade submission, Blackboard may experience planned downtime for upgrades, building block installation, application of security patches, course backups, and student enrollment for the upcoming quarter.

The Service Desk will notify faculty, staff, and students via email before each scheduled Quarterly Maintenance. Updates are also posted to the eLearning Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as the Blackboard login page.

Accounts and Access

Bronco Accounts

All Cal Poly Pomona faculty, staff, and students with a Cal Poly BroncoName and password are also granted Blackboard accounts. This is the same username and password used to log into BroncoDirect and CPP email.

Faculty not currently teaching will be restricted from accessing Blackboard. If access is needed, please email us at blackboard@cpp.edu. Your Blackboard account will be re-enabled the morning after we receive your request. 

Students will have access to Blackboard for one year after leaving Cal Poly Pomona.

For non-Cal Poly Pomona faculty, staff, and student access, please review the Guest Accounts section.

Additional Instructor Access

eLearning can only grant additional instructor access to Blackboard courses with the expressed consent of the course's original instructor. Consent may be emailed to blackboard@cpp.edu. Alternatively, the original instructor can manually enroll users into their courses using Blackboard’s How to Find Users to Enroll tutorial.

Guest Accounts

Guests are individuals who do not have a Bronco ID number, such as guest lecturers from other universities, guest consultants from related companies, and guest students. The guest or affiliate must have a valid reason for having an account and follow these procedures:

  1. A Cal Poly Pomona faculty or staff, acting as the guest’s sponsor, may prompt the guest to submit the Guest Account Request Form.
  2. After carefully reading all stated requirements, the guest must complete the form and accept the usage agreement.
  3. Upon submitting the form, the guest and sponsor will receive an email confirmation to authorize the guest account creation.
  4. Once the sponsor has accepted authorization of the account, the guest account will be created in the Blackboard system within an hour.
  5. The guest will receive an additional email with Blackboard log in instruction.
  6. The sponsor will be informed via email that the guest be manually added into the course or organization.

Student Preview

With student preview, instructors can experience their courses exactly as their students do. Learn more at Blackboard’s Student Preview help article.

Course Creation Services

New Course Creation

All courses offered through BroncoDirect are provided with a course shell in Blackboard automatically. Course shells for the following quarter are created approximately 30 days before the end of the current quarter. New sections and instructor changes in BroncoDirect will be reflected in Blackboard the following morning.

New Blackboard courses are created as unavailable to students. Instructors must make them available to allow student access.

Combine Course Rosters

Faculty may request course rosters in Blackboard to be combined for the purposes of delivering content or allowing cross-section interaction. Such a request must meet the following criteria:

  • Course sections to be combined are of like subject and catalog number
  • No student submissions have been made in the separate Blackboard sections (e.g. assignments, Discussion Board posts, Blog posts, etc.)

Upon approval, a new Blackboard course shell will be created and the original separate course shells will be made unavailable to the instructor and students. The combined rosters will be automatically enrolled into the new course within 24 hours.

Instructors can easily discern which sections their students originated from by navigating to their combined course’s Control Panel > Users and Groups > Users. The student’s original section will appear under the 'Child Course ID' column.

Course combine requests may be sent to blackboard@cpp.edu.

Enrollment Services

Automatic Course Enrollments

During Quarterly Maintenance, all students who have officially enrolled into courses using BroncoDirect will be automatically synchronized into Blackboard courses for the upcoming quarter. After which, enrollments are synchronized daily between 8:00 am to 9:00 am and 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm for the remainder of the quarter. 

Manual Course Enrollments

Instructor may manually enroll users who are not registered through BroncoDirect into their Blackboard courses, including teaching assistants, guest consultants, guest lecturers, and guest students.

For users with a valid Cal Poly Pomona account, please follow the instructions on how to manually enroll a user.

For users without a valid Cal Poly Pomona account, please refer to the Guest Accounts section.

Open University Students

Once an Open University student receives a BroncoName and claim code, disclosed by the Office of Admissions and Outreach through email, they must claim their account. The Service Desk has provided instructions on how to claim a Bronco account.

After their Bronco account has been claimed, the Open University student will be automatically added to Blackboard's user database within 24 hours. The Open University student will be automatically enrolled into the Blackboard course if they are officially enrolled through BroncoDirect.

Remove Users

Instructors have the power to manually remove users. When a user is removed from a course, all associated information (including grades, submitted files, and Discussion Board posts) is removed.

Content Management Services

Course Copy

Blackboard allows copying of materials from one course to another, using one of two methods:

  • In Blackboard, navigate to the course containing content and use the "Copy Course" feature under “Packages and Utilities” in the Control Panel.
  • Faculty may request the copying of course materials using eLearning's Request Form. Once submitted, the process will take up to two business days.

Course Quota

Each Blackboard course and organization is given a quota of 200 Megabytes and 50 Megabytes, respectively. This quota is used for content uploaded by the instructor or organization leader. 

Quota increases are available on request. Quota increase requests that push a course or organization’s total quota over 500 Megabytes must be approved by IT Systems.

Blackboard has an inherent single-file upload limit of 200 Megabytes. Large uploads, including audio and video files, are better housed on servers separate from Blackboard, and then linked to from within the Blackboard course. For consultation on such uploads, please contact us at blackboard@cpp.edu.

Cleaning Up Unused Course Files

All files uploaded into Blackboard are automatically stored into Content Collection spaces, which are tied to individual courses and organizations. When an instructor deletes a file (like in the Course Documents area), the link to that file is broken but the file itself still remains in the Content Collection. To permanently remove content and reduce quota usage, an instructor will need to do so directly from their course’s Content Collection space.

Instructors may easily access their course's Content Collection files by navigating to their course, going to their Control Panel (bottom-left menu), and clicking the right arrow icon (->) next to ‘Content Collection.’ From here, check the box to the left of any file and then click the ‘Delete’ button. If any files are still linked within the course, the instructor will be notified and given the option to delete or keep those files.

Recycle Course

Faculty may request to have all content deleted from their courses by contacting the LMS Support team at blackboard@cpp.edu.

Copyright

Material uploaded by Cal Poly Pomona faculty, staff, or students is expected to fall within copyright guidelines.

Browser Time-Out Issues

Blackboard is set to trigger a browser time-out, which will automatically log users out of the system, at three hours. This practice has been adopted for security purposes to ensure that users are not logged in indefinitely (e.g. user neglecting to click “Logout” after logging in using a public computer).

Activities that will take longer than three hours to complete must be broken into multiple sections.

It is also recommended that users log out of the system and then log back in before starting a test.

Course Retention and Restoration Services

Retention Practices

Courses remain in Blackboard for 13 quarters and are then removed entirely during Quarterly Maintenance. This time frame is adhered to for the following reasons:

  • To allow easy access to course material that will be used again
  • To allow easy access to Blackboard grades for grade appeals
  • To allow incomplete students to complete courses at the faculty member’s discretion

In addition, IT separately maintains 9 quarters worth of course archives in zip format. Zip course archives are captured at the end of each quarter, providing a point-in-time snapshot that can be restored upon request.

Organizations that are not accessed by anyone for 1 year are marked as ‘inactive’ and placed in queue for deletion. If an inactive organization is accessed again within the following quarter, it will be marked as ‘active’ and taken out of the deletion queue. If an inactive organization is not accessed during the following quarter, it will be deleted from Blackboard entirely during the following Quarterly Maintenance. Organization leaders will be notified via email multiple times before an organization’s removal occurs.

Course Restoration

Blackboard has the ability to restore a course from any point in time over the past 30 days. Point in time restoration requests may be sent to blackboard@cpp.edu.

Faculty who have personally stored Blackboard backups or archival zip files may request a course restore via eLearning's Request Form, indicating that an archival zip file has already been generated in the special instructions field. Upon form submission, the faculty must deliver the zip archive file to eLearning immediately physically or via email at blackboard@cpp.edu.

Accessibility

Course Content

Material uploaded by Cal Poly Pomona faculty and staff is expected to fall within Section 508 compliance.

Learn about making common file types accessible at eLearning’s Creating Accessible Materials page.

Blackboard Learn Accessibility Resources

Blackboard’s Accessibility Resources provides best practices, usage guidelines, and system features regarding accessible compliance.

Building Block Adoption

Purpose

To ensure requests for new instructional and institutional Blackboard Building Blocks or other Bb-integrated tools are completed in a consistent and timely fashion.

Background

In the past Learning Management Systems (LMS) support has been contacted directly by building block vendors and/or individual faculty about installing building blocks on the Cal Poly Pomona Blackboard system. A procedure is needed to help structure the management of the increased amount of building block requests. In order to meet the most critical needs of the university, LMS support has developed such a procedure. It will provide a consistent and timely response to all requests.

Procedure

  1. A new Blackboard Building Block or other Bb-integrated tool request must be requested by the faculty by submitting the Building Block request form which includes the following information:
    1. A reason or need for the building block.
    2. Background and institutional benefits of the building block.
    3. How this tool is going to be utilized in Blackboard
    4. Any costs for the building block, vendor fees, etc.
    5. An estimate of how many faculty and/or staff would be using the building block.
    6. The preferred timeframe (urgency) of implementation of the building block.
  2. Upon receipt of the request, a confirmation email will be sent to requestor within 2 business days.
  3. LMS support will determine if the new building block is compatible with the Blackboard System.  If compatible, the requester will be provided with details about proceeding with testing and implementation. Otherwise, a reason for declining the request will be presented.
  4. LMS support will provide a plan to the requester for the following actions and will implement them as per the timeline in the plan:
    1. Acquire and install the building block on a test system
    2. Research, document configurations, and verify basic functionality
    3. Inform the requester of any changes to the estimated timeframe
  5. Once the building block is acquired, installed, configured, and basic functionality tested (on the test system), the requester will be notified and asked to proceed with pilot testing. Once pilot testing is complete, the requester is responsible for following-up with LMS support as to whether or not the building block meets their needs, if their testing was successful, and if any issues were encountered.
  6. Depending on successfulness and completion time of pilot testing, LMS support will schedule to make the building block available system-wide and the requester will be notified of this schedule. Note: Installation of Blackboard Building Blocks or other Bb-integrated tools are performed only during the Quarterly Maintenance period.

Addendums

  1. Any building block developers and/or vendors contacting eLearning about new instructional building blocks should be instructed to contact the faculty.
  2. LMS support will attempt to assist with building block functionality issues but support may be limited to and provided by the vendor/developer.
  3. The timeline of Building Block implementation takes a month to three month depends on the tool and support from its vendor.
  4. If an upgrade or patch to the Blackboard system renders a building block inoperable, it is the responsibility of the vendor to provide us with an updated version of the building block or a specific fix to address the issue and bring the building block back online. In such cases Blackboard upgrades installed by Cal Poly Pomona shall take precedence over Building Blocks.  
  5. LMS support has the right to disable or remove a building block if a security vulnerability surfaces after it has been deployed to the production environment.