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Understanding the Process

Significant planning and preparation is necessary to upgrade all courses to Blackboard Learn successfully. The steps involved depend on licensing, hardware, existing Blackboard systems, and institutional policies and procedures.

Users and courses are moved from CE 4 to Blackboard Learn using various export and import operations. Upgrading from CE 4 to Blackboard Learn involves the following steps:

  1. Install Blackboard Learn on separate hardware.
  2. Export All Data From CE 4. This data will be used throughout the upgrade process.
  3. Import CE 4 User Data Into Blackboard Learn.
  4. Export Course Content Packages From CE 4.
  5. Import CE 4 Courses Into Blackboard Learn.
  6. Import CE 4 Enrollments Into Blackboard Learn. If you have an SIS integration with Blackboard Learn or plan to manage enrollments manually, you can skip this step.

During the upgrade process, you have a variety of choices that depend on your needs. It is important to decide when and what data you plan to move.

After all courses have been moved and are active in Blackboard Learn, you can archive and then turn off the legacy CE 4 system. All users will log into Blackboard Learn using a new password, and the legacy system will no longer need to be used or maintained.

Deciding When to Upgrade

It is important to decide how Blackboard Learn will be introduced to faculty and students. Blackboard recommends moving courses between terms to minimize disruptions.

If you host active courses 365 days per year, you will need to run both the Blackboard Learn system and the legacy CE 4 system in production mode while you complete your upgrade. Blackboard recommends that you move all of your data to the Blackboard Learn system and then set the courses that are still being hosted in the production CE 4 system as Inactive in Blackboard Learn until the courses on CE 4 have ended. When the CE 4 course ends, you can activate the course in Blackboard Learn.

Deciding Which Courses to Move

Depending on your needs, some faculty will want to upgrade their CE 4 course to Blackboard Learn while other faculty will want to build new courses in Blackboard Learn.

All of the CE 4 courses can be exported and moved to Blackboard Learn, but you may not want to export older versions of the same course or other groups of courses. If you do not want to import a particular course, the content package for a course can be removed from the migrate directory before the import as described in Step 5: Import CE 4 Courses Into Blackboard Learn. As a result, the course will be created in Blackboard Learn, but the CE 4 content will not be imported.

Assigning Data Source Keys

When using Blackboard Learn - Enterprise Edition, all data that is moved to the Blackboard Learn database is tagged with a data source identifier, called a data source key, so that the dataset can be managed using the snapshot/bin tool. For example, you may choose to identify all Fall 2008 records imported from CE 4 with the data source key “CE_FALL_2009” and all Spring 2010 records with the data source key “CE_SPRING_2010.”

Enterprise Edition clients should consider creating a data source key for each set of courses being moved. Blackboard recommends creating a data source key for each term (or group of terms, if desired) and assigning that data source key to the appropriate courses during Step 5: Import CE 4 Courses Into Blackboard Learn.

For steps to verify or create a data source key, see Data Source Keys. To learn more about data source keys and the snapshot/bin tool, see Snapshot Command Line Tool.

Resolving Data Conflicts

If your Blackboard Learn system contains any pre-existing data, Blackboard strongly recommends using a conflict resolution switch when complete Step 3: Import CE 4 User Data Into Blackboard Learn and  Step 5: Import CE 4 Courses Into Blackboard Learn. Without one of these switches, data collisions may cause the import to fail. To learn more, see LMSImport Switches for CE 4.

Including Enrollments

When you move your data, you can choose whether to include all enrollments or to include only instructor enrollments as described in Step 6: Import CE 4 Enrollments Into Blackboard Learn. Your decision depends on whether you have built an SIS integration against Blackboard Learn.

If you have an SIS integration, you do not need to import the enrollments into Blackboard Learn. The SIS integration will handle the new enrollments for upcoming terms.

If you do not have an SIS integration and you will be manually updating user enrollments in Blackboard Learn, it may be easier for you to include these enrollments.