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Blackboard Help

Course Structures FAQs

This collection of frequently asked questions provides answers to common questions about course structures. It also provides links to more detailed information available in Blackboard Help.

Why do I want to use a course structure?

Course structures provide a jump-start to the process of building your course by including course menu links and related content designed for the teaching method you chose. You can use the content examples as templates for your own content. Even if you are an experienced Blackboard Learn instructor, you might find new ideas in a course structure.

Should I include content examples?

Content examples include pedagogical information, instructions, and course items. Even if you have experience working in Blackboard Learn, the pedagogical information and content examples can give you ideas about tools or new approaches.

Content examples are unavailable to students and you can edit, move, copy, or delete them.

How do I know what students see or do not see in my course?

Be sure to preview your content as a student. In the upper right of your course, change Edit Mode to OFF to see the student view. If an item is visible that you do not want students to see, change Edit Mode to ON and make the item unavailable or delete it. If you include a link to a tool in a content area, the tool’s content must be made available before students can access it.

If possible, log in as a mock student to experience your course exactly as a student does. Do you know where to start? Are the instructions complete? Do you know what to do next? Can you access what you need with as few clicks as possible?

What if I have some online content prepared already?

Course structures are added to your course and do not replace your existing content. Include content examples when you add a structure to your course and discover new ways to present the content you have already developed.

How do I limit the number of tools available to my students?

You can control which tools appear to students when they access the Tools page. For example, if you do not intend to use the course messages tool, make it unavailable. No one can see it or access it, including you, until it is available again. If a tool is unavailable, existing content is not deleted. After the tool is available again, the content becomes available.

If you want to determine which tools are available to students in your course, use the following steps.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and select Tool Availability.
  2. On the Tool Availability page, make the availability adjustments required.
    1. To make a tool available, select the tool’s check box.
    2. To make a tool unavailable, clear the tool’s check box.
  3. Click Submit.

If no selection check box appears for a tool, it has been turned off by your institution. Tools with a dash ( - ) in a column do not have availability settings in the system that can be changed.

To learn more, see Managing Tool Availability.

How do I copy or move content items?

You can copy and move content items to rearrange your course material. For example, if a content area contains a large number of items, move them into folders to help users navigate.

Some content items have copy and move restrictions. For example, you can copy or move a course link, but only to another area within the same course. You cannot copy assignments, tests, and surveys, but you can move them within the same course.

  • Copying content does not delete it from the original location in your course.
  • Moving content removes it from its original location in your course.

For items that cannot be copied, the Copy option does not appear in the item’s contextual menu.

If a course area contains items that cannot be moved to another course, such as a test, the option to move it to another course does not appear on the Move page.

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON.
  2. Access a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder containing the item to copy or move.
  3. For the item you want to copy or move, click its action link to access the contextual menu.
  4. Select Copy or Move. If Copy or Move is not available for an item, it does not appear in the contextual menu.
  5. On the Copy page or Move page, select the Destination Course from the drop-down list. The default setting is the current course. Only courses where an instructor has a role permitting content copying appear in the list. For items that cannot be moved out of the current course, Destination Course is already listed as the current course and the drop-down list does not appear.
  6. Click Browse to select the Destination Folder.
  7. Click Submit.

To learn more see Editing and Managing Course Areas and Content.

What if I have areas of my course that are "under construction" and not ready for students?

Planning is one of the most important aspects in developing your course. Develop an outline of what you want to include in your course, build your content, test it, and get feedback on your instructional methods.

Sometimes it is not possible to have all of your content prepared and tested by the first day of class. A strategy to consider is preparing and testing content for the first few weeks of class and making only that content available to students. Hide all content areas that you are still working on. You can develop and test the next portion of content as students are working on the material you have made available.

Check your course in the student view to be sure you only show the course areas that you intend to. In the upper right of your course, change Edit Mode to OFF to see the student view.