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Create and Use Reusable Objects

The creation of reusable objects enables you to reuse and share course elements stored in the Content Collection. You can create them quickly, and they are categorized for ease of use. You can add reusable objects to several areas of your course.

Your institution determines whether you can create and discover reusable objects.

How to Create Reusable Objects in the Content Collection

  1. Click the Content Collection tab and navigate to the course content folder that you want to create the reusable object in. If you access the Content Collection through your course's Control Panel, you do not have access to the Build drop-down list and the six categories of reusable objects.
  2. On the action bar, point to Build and select a reusable object type. To learn more about the types, see About Reusable Objects.

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  3. On the Create Reusable Object page, type a name, which becomes the file name in the Content Collection.
  4. Type information in the Content box. Optionally, use the content editor functions to format the text and include files, images, web links, multimedia, and mashups. The files you upload from your computer are saved in the Content Collection in the same folder.

    For the External Link reusable object, you can only provide a URL. The content editor is not available.

  5. Click Submit.

    The reusable object appears in the selected folder in the Content Collection. The system adds the .html extension to the file name, except for External Links. In the Content Collection folder list, note that all reusable objects have the same icon ( File:en-us/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor/140_Content_Collection/060_Organize_and_Manage_Content/040_Reusable_Objects/040_Create_Use_Reusable_Objects_Content/icon_reusable_object.png ), except for External LinksFile:en-us/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor/140_Content_Collection/060_Organize_and_Manage_Content/040_Reusable_Objects/040_Create_Use_Reusable_Objects_Content/icon_external_link.png ).

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How to View a List of Reusable Objects in the Learning Objects Catalog

In the learning objects catalog, you can view the entire collection of reusable objects that you created and those shared with you by other users at your institution.

  1. Access the Content Collection.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click the arrow to expand the Jump To... menu.
  3. Click the arrow to expand the Learning Objects section.
  4. Click View Catalog.
  5. In the content frame, in the Browse Reusable Objects section, you can view the categories of reusable objects. Expand a category to see a list of reusable objects. External Links are not available to view. In the Content Collection, External Links appear only in the folder you created them in.

    You cannot add reusable objects to your course from this area.

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How to Set Permissions to Allow Others to Discover Your Reusable Objects

To share reusable objects in the Content Collection, set permissions for an individual reusable object or its folder. When setting permissions, select which users or groups have access to the item or folder and determine their level of access—read, write, remove, or manage.

For example, you can start by allowing only read permission. Next, consider creating a folder specifically for collaboration and give the appropriate users read and write permissions to the folder. Then, those users with read and write permissions can customize the reusable object by uploading new files and folders, and editing the information.

The following table describes the privileges for each type of permission.

Permissions and Privileges
Type of Permission Privileges
Read View and download.
Write Edit and overwrite.

Upload files and folders to a folder.

Remove Delete files from the folder or the folder itself.
Manage Control properties.

Determine permissions on the Manage Permissions page.

Use the following steps to assign permissions to individual users:

  1. In the Content Collection, navigate to the folder or file you want to assign permissions to.
  2. In the file or folder's row, click the icon in the Permissions column.

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  3. On the Manage Permissions page, click Select Specific Users on the action bar.

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  4. On the Add User page, type one or more usernames, separated by commas, or click Browse.
  5. If browsing, in the Search For box, type the search criteria and click Search.
  6. Select the check boxes next to the appropriate users and click Submit.
  7. On the Add User page, select the check boxes for the appropriate permissions.
  8. Click Submit.

You can assign permissions to predefined groups of users, including the following users:

  • All members of a course you are instructing
  • All users with specific roles in a course you are instructing, such as all students or all teaching assistants
  • All users assigned to select groups in a course you are instructing

When you set permissions for a group, the options vary depending on the group selected. For this example, you can select all members of a course.

  1. In the Content Collection, navigate to the folder or file you want to assign permissions to.
  2. In the file or folder's row, click the icon in the Permissions column.
  3. On the Manage Permissions page, click Select Specific Users by Place on the action bar.
  4. From the drop-down list, select a group.
  5. On the Add Course User List page, in the Choose Courses section, select the check boxes next to the appropriate courses.
  6. In the Select Roles section—only available for some user groups, select the check box next to All Course Users. Alternatively, narrow your selection by role.
  7. In the Set Permissions section, select the check boxes for the appropriate permissions.
  8. Click Submit.

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How to Discover Reusable Content in Your Course

You may need to make a setting in your course so you are able to discover reusable objects that you and other users have created in the Content Collection. Other users have to set the appropriate permissions on their reusable objects to allow you to discover them.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and select Properties.
  2. On the Properties page, in the Course Files section, select the option for Display all Content Collection options.


  3. Click Submit. The Discover Content function appears on the action bar in content areas, the discussion board, and the Grade Center.

In this example, you add a reusable object to a content area using the Discover Content function.

  1. Access a content area and change Edit Mode to ON.
  2. On the action bar, click Discover Content to access the Discover Usable Objects drop-down list.
  3. Select a reusable object type:
    • Assignment
    • Course Content
    • Discussion Topic
    • Grade Center
    • HTML Object

      To add an External Link reusable object you created in the Content Collection, you must create a content item. Then, browse the Content Collection for the external link reusable object and link it to the content item. Also, when building content in a content area, you cannot use the web link content type to access the external link reusable objects.

  4. Click Go.

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  5. In the Learning Objects window, the reusable objects for that type appear. Select the item to add.
  6. Click Submit. The Create Item page appears.
  7. Provide a name for the reusable object.
  8. Provide the appropriate information in the remaining fields.
  9. Click Submit.

Editing and Deleting Reusable Objects

You are allowed to edit most reusable objects in the Content Collection using the Edit in Blackboard option in their contextual menus. For External Links, select Overwrite URL and change the address. The changes you make in the Content Collection to External Links and Assignment reusable objects are reflected wherever it is linked in your courses. Edits you make to Grade Center, Discussion Topic, HTML Object, and Course Content reusable objects will not appear where the links already appear in your courses. The edits you make will be in affect when you add them to your courses the next time.

If you attached a file to a reusable object, you can update the file in the Content Collection using the file's Overwrite function. The new file will appear in the reusable object in your course as long as the file format is the same. For example, if you originally attached a PNG file, you need to overwrite with a new PNG file.

If you delete a reusable object from your course where it is linked, it is not deleted from the Content Collection. The link to the reusable object in your course is deleted.

If you want to delete a reusable object from the Content Collection and it is linked in your course, a warning message appears alerting you that the deletion will introduce broken links. You can access the 360° View report to see where the file is linked before continuing the deletion. To learn more about the 360° View report, see How to View a File or Folder's Course Links in Course Files.

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