Skip to main content
Blackboard Help

Preparing the Data Files

Blackboard IM requires four data files for synchronization:

  • Properties: allows you to customize the formatting and fields of the Users, Courses, and Memberships files to meet the conventions used by your institution. This file should be created first.
  • Users: provides information about the people at your institution.
  • Courses: includes information about the courses and organizations at your institution.
  • Memberships: contains data associating people in the Users file with courses and organizations in the Courses file. This file should be created last.

The synchronization rejects data files if they are not named correctly; this includes case-sensitivity (all file names must be lowercase). The exact file names are as follows:

  • users.csv
  • courses.csv
  • memberships.csv

You can use any text editor to create or edit the data files; Microsoft Excel provides an easy way to save spreadsheets in .csv (Comma Separated Values) format. Ensure that the correct extension (.properties or .csv) appears at the end of the filename and that it is not appended onto another file type (such as .txt).

All .csv files must contain a header row that consists of field names; each file has its own set of required field names and field values.

The Properties file consists of name-value pairs; the name and value are separated by an equals sign (i.e., modification_threshold=25).

All field names in the .csv files are case sensitive, and names in the Properties file must appear exactly as they are specified in this guide, otherwise they will be ignored and may cause synchronization failure (in the case of required items). Be sure to thoroughly review the tables included in this guide for full details.

Field values are case sensitive, except for usernames (user_name) and course identifiers (course_id and external_course_key). Ensure that all information appears accurately within your data files.