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Blackboard Help

Best Practice: Reuse and Save Content

You can reuse and save content from one of your courses using the archive, export, and course copy features in Blackboard Learn. Use the following information to decide which option is best for your needs.

1  Archive Course

The archive course feature creates a frozen snapshot or permanent record of your course. An archive includes all the content, course statistics, users, and course interactions, such as blog posts, discussions, and grades.

The system saves an archived course as a ZIP file—a compressed file containing the course's content. ZIP files are also called "packages." You can restore a ZIP file on the same or a different server.

When to use: Archive a course to maintain a record of your course—a point-in-time backup. When archiving a course, choose to Include Grade Center History and to Copy links and include copies of the files.

You can restore archive packages, but they are not intended for teaching the course again as all user interactions are restored as well. Be aware that this file will contain FERPA-protected student data and work. Store archive packages in a secure location.

To learn more, see How to Archive a Course.

2  Export Course

The export course feature creates a ZIP file of the course content that you can import and use to teach another course with the same content. You can also share your exported course with others. Unlike the archive course feature, the export course feature does not include any users or user interactions with the course. An export only includes the content and the tools you select during the export process.

On the Export page, you can choose to export the course in IMS Common Cartridge format. Common Cartridge provides a cross-LMS course package in compliance with IMS Common Cartridge standards. These standards allow you to share content across learning management systems. To learn more, see Common Cartridges.

When to use: Export a course when you want to reuse course materials at a later time to teach a new set of students.

To learn more, see How to Export a Course.

3  Course Copy

You can copy courses and use them as a convenient way to reuse and adapt existing course structures, materials, and content.

A course copy operation does not create a ZIP file. You have options when making a copy.

You can copy one course's content to create a new course. You can copy all or part of the content into a new course or an existing course. This is a good way to copy part of one course into another without overwriting any of the existing course's content. You can also make an exact copy, which brings all the users and user data into the new course.


When to use: If you are creating a course that has many of the same features as an existing course, you can copy the existing course to create a new course. For example, if two courses use the same materials but have a different set of students, you can copy the course materials from one course to another without copying the user enrollments. If one course is the first semester of a two-semester course that includes the same students, you can copy some of the course materials and the enrollments.

To learn more, see Copying Courses.