Prepare your Blackboard course for the next academic year

This is a quick guide to finding, requesting and preparing your courses for the next academic year, including how to roll-over content from a previous year’s course.

Types of Blackboard course

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

Some setup and request processes are changing for 21/22 courses:

Banner (module) courses

21-22 blank module courses are set up in Blackboard for each module CRN (5 digit, course reference number) recorded in the Banner student information system. Users are automatically enrolled in the Blackboard course via their enrolment in Banner.

Zero-credit modules can be set up in Banner to cover courses outside the assessed curriculum such as: optional study skills sessions, introductory sessions, special events etc – these modules can be optional or compulsory. Blackboard set-up and enrolment is then handled via Banner. Contact your CQA office for more information. 

Merged Banner module courses

If you are teaching closely related modules, you can request to have the enrolments merged into a single “parent” Blackboard course. New for 21/22 – merging is now in Blackboard and will look different for students. More information and  Request a merged course.

Programme Course (New for 21/22)

You can request a Blackboard Programme Course to hold programme level information and communication. Students can be auto-enrolled and the course will appear under a separate heading on the Blackboard Home page. More information and Request a Programme course.

Arbitrary Courses

An “arbitrary” course is set up independently in Blackboard and does not have an equivalent module code in Banner. Arbitrary courses are used to cover sub-modules, special events, projects, and so on. New request formRequest a new Arbitrary course or rollover an Arbitrary course for 21/22.

Sandbox course (new for 21/22)

A sandbox is your personal Blackboard course used for training and testing. Request a personal Sandbox course.


Finding your new courses

Courses for the next academic year will now appear on the Blackboard Home Page

If you cannot see a Banner course

If you don’t see a Blackboard course for a module (CRN) you need access to, it is likely that you are not yet enrolled on the course in Banner. See the guide to Banner course enrolments below.

If you cannot see an Arbitrary course

If you do not see an Arbitrary course on the Blackboard Home Page, check your full Courses list. If the Arbitary course does not have the academic year (21-22) in the course ID, it will not automatically appear on the Home Page.

If you need to be added to an existing Arbitrary course, please contact your faculty office, or an instructor on the course, who will be able to enrol you.

If you would like your Arbitrary course to appear on the Blackboard Home page contact SerivceLine.

Check staff and student enrolments

Who is enrolled on my course?

See this guide on how to view course users  Reviewing who is on your Blackboard course

Banner course enrolments.

New staff and student enrolments will come through to Blackboard as they are enrolled on the module in Banner. Any updates in Banner will appear in the corresponding Blackboard course within 24 hours of the Banner update.

Adding a student:

      • Contact the relevant student office if you have any queries about student, or auditing student, enrolments – students need to be added to Blackboard via Banner enrolments.
      • If you are trying to add a cohort from another module to your Blackboard course, you can request merged enrolments instead – see more information on merged enrolments.

Adding staff members or requesting Blackboard access for yourself:

      • Course Instructors and Teaching Assistants can be added to current year courses via Banner enrolments – Contact your CQA office or fill in this form to request access: Please complete the Request Staff Access to Modules in Student Systems form.
      • If you want access to previous years’ Blackboard content, contact ServiceLine or ask your school office to add you manually to old courses.
      • You can manually add staff to a Banner module course, but if they are responsible for teaching the course, enrolments should be via Banner. 

Manually adding users to your course

Users are usually manually added to Arbitrary courses. Note: If you are manually adding students to a course, you can contact ServiceLine as we may have a better solution for you. 

Copy (rollover) content from a previous year’s course.

Courses created for the new academic year will contain no content.  If you wish to copy your course material over from an earlier course, follow these rollover instructions.

If you are re-using Panopto content from previous years, make sure you have moved them into the Panopto parent folder for your module so that all your students will have permission to view them. See the guide to rolling over Panopto content.

Make your course available to students.

When courses are created, they are set to be unavailable to students. Instructors can make the course available when content is ready or teaching is about to start.
Follow this guide to make your course available to students

If you would like your old course to still be available to your old students for revision purposes then leave it set to available. If you wish to close access to the course make it unavailable.

Further guides to the layout and content of your course 

Create a Team from your Blackboard Course (new for 21/22)

With our new Blackboard/Teams integration, you can create a Microsoft Team from the Tools area of your Blackboard Course and the Team enrolments will stay in sync with the Blackboard course.

Customise the course menu 

Find out how to edit the course menu and add links to integrated services such as Past Papers and Talis Reading lists.

CHEP guidance on the Blackboard Baseline 

You may want to read through the University’s Blackboard Baseline which is available on the CHEP SharePoint site. The Blackboard Baseline provides recommended minimum standards for course site structure and organisation within Blackboard. The baseline is aligned to the Common Framework for Online Education, is based on student and staff feedback and sets out what a student at the University of Southampton can expect to find in Blackboard to support their studies.” 

Excellence in VLE awards

For inspiration and examples of good practice

Blackboard Ally (New 21/22)

We are pleased to announce a new digital accessibility support tool arriving this summer, Blackboard Ally.  This tool works in the background to help lecturers deliver more accessible learning content. For more information, including an introductory webinar, visit the Blackboard Ally eLearn page.

The Blackboard course An Introduction to Digital Accessibility is designed give you an introduction to digital accessibility: what it is, why it is so important and how you can play your part in creating a learning environment where nobody is excluded.