Skip to main content
pdf?stylesheet=default
Blackboard Help

Creating Workflow Models

Workflow Models

Any Content Management user can create a workflow model that can be used many times (instances). A workflow model is similar to a word processor template, where an instance is when a copy of the model is sent to users to complete. For each workflow there is one model, but there can be many instances.

Workflow models are contained on the Create a Workflow Model: My Models page. This page is accessed in one of two ways:

  • Click the Create a Workflow Model link from the Tools menu.
  • Click the Design Workflow Model link from the collaboration splash page.

The Create a Workflow Model: My Models page contains the following functions:

Functions
Function Description
Create Model Click to display the Creating a Workflow Model page and create a new model.
Delete Click to remove selected workflows.
Copy Click to copy selected workflows.
Display Models Choose from the following options and clickGo:
  • All Models
  • My Models
  • Shared Models
Name/Designer Search for specific workflow models by the name or owner. Use the dropdown list and the text field to refine the search and click Go to execute the search.
Name The name of the model.
Designer The user who created the model.
Start Click the Start button to start the workflow.

How to Create a New Workflow Model

A model is not complete and cannot be started until it includes at least one action.

  1. Click Collaboration from the Menu Area.
  2. Click Design Workflow Model.
  3. Click Create Model.
  4. Enter a name for the model in the Name field.
  5. Enter a description of the model in the Instructions field. These are instructions for using the workflow. For example, if this is a shared workflow this section may be used to explain how others should use this workflow. (This step is optional.)
  6. Define the Action Status terms to be used in this model: In Progress, Approved, and Not Approved.
  7. Click Browse to link content items to this model.
  8. Add permissions for the item.
  9. Click Submit when finished.
  10. Select Build from the contextual menu for the newly created workflow.
  11. Click Create Milestone.
  12. Enter a Name for the milestone.
  13. Enter a Description field.
  14. Click either No Action or Go to Milestone and select a milestone number to define the milestone to repeat if blocked.
  15. Click Browse to link content items to this milestone.
  16. Add permissions for the item.
  17. Click Add Another File to add another content item to this milestone.
  18. Click Submit and Add Action to add an action to this milestone or Submit and Finish to go back to the Model Design page.

How to Edit a Workflow Model

Once a workflow model is created, it can be edited by its owner. These modifications affect the original model and any shared instances of that workflow model. Existing instances of the workflow are not affected by these modifications.

Workflow models that are in progress can be edited but only after they are stopped. Once stopped, the owner can edit any milestone that has not been started and any associated actions.

  1. Click Design Workflow Models.
  2. Select Edit, Build, or Share from the contextual menu for the appropriate model.
Options
Option Description
Edit Click this link to open the Edit page. The name, description, and status labels of a model can be edited there.
Build Click this link to open the Model Design page. Milestones and actions may be added or deleted.
Share Click this link to open the Workflow Model Sharing page. The settings for sharing the model are located there.

How to Copy a Workflow Model

Content management users can copy a workflow model they have created or one that has been shared with them. This is another method of quickly starting a workflow. Once the workflow model has been copied, the user can edit it accordingly.

If a user copies a shared workflow model they become the owner, meaning they can edit the model and reuse it, even if the original is deleted from the system or is unshared with them.

  1. Navigate to the Create a Workflow Model: My Models page.
  2. Select the workflow model to copy.
  3. Click Copy. The copy of the workflow model appears on the list.

Milestones

Workflows are made up of milestones that contain one or more actions. Milestones provide structure to a complex workflow by grouping actions together in a logical fashion. Milestones can only be added by workflow owners.

How to Add Milestones

The setting works as follows:

  1. From the Create a Workflow Model: My Models page, select Build from the contextual menu for the workflow.
  2. Click Create Milestone.
  3. Enter a Name.
  4. Enter a description for the milestone in the Description field.
  5. Click either No Action or Go to Milestone and select a milestone number to determine the milestone to repeat if blocked.
    • No Action is the default; the milestone continues. The workflow cannot proceed past this milestone because this action has failed, but other actions in the milestone can be completed.
    • Go to Milestone forces to workflow to go back to a specified milestone if this milestone fails. If this milestone fails, all statuses forward from this point revert to Not Started. All comment and history information remains intact.
  6. Click Browse to link content items to this milestone. Repeat this step to add another content item to this milestone.
  7. Add permissions to the item.
  8. Click Submit and Add Action to add an action to this milestone or Submit and Finish to go back to the Model Design page.

Actions

Actions are the individual tasks that make up the workflow; they are located within workflow milestones. Actions are the method for assigning tasks to users and can be assigned to a single user or a group. Workflow designers can add actions to the workflow model when it is being designed or when it is in progress, provided that the action is added to a milestone that has not started.

A model is not complete and cannot be started until it includes at least one action.

How to Access the Add Action Page

The Add Action page can be accessed in the following ways:

  • After adding a milestone during the workflow creation process, click Submit and Add Action.
  • Select Build from the contextual menu for the appropriate workflow on the Create a Workflow Model: My Models page. Click Create Action for the appropriate milestone.

How to Add an Action

When documents are linked to a workflow at the workflow or milestone level, they appear at the action level on the start workflow page when a workflow is started.

  1. Enter a name in the Name field.
  2. Enter a description of this action in the Description field.
  3. Determine whether or not this action is required by clicking either the Yes or No option.
  4. Determine a deadline by clicking the Specify Date option and use the date and time fields to choose a precise date and time for this deadline. If no deadline is required, click the None option.
  5. Click Browse to assign a person to this action.
  6. Click Browse to select a course to associate with this action.
  7. Assign this action to specific members of this course:
    • Click the All Course Members option to assign the action to all course members.
    • Click the Selected Roles option and select the roles from the following: Student, Guest, Teaching Assistant, Instructor, Course Builder, and Grader.
  8. Determine how the action is approved, by any of the assignees or all of them:
    • Click the Any Assignee May Approve option or
    • Click theAll Assignees Must Approve option.
  9. Click Browse to link content items to this action.
  10. Click Submit to finish the action and go back to the Model Design page.

Permissions

Permissions to workflow items are granted to the users involved in the actions at the beginning of a milestone and removed at the end of a milestone or if the workflow is stopped; these workflow permissions also appear on the permissions page for the item. Permissions may be selected when an item is added to the model and they can also be edited in the instance.

Permissions function within workflows as follows:

  • Permissions to items are granted when the workflow enters the milestone in which the action exists,
  • Permissions to items are removed when the workflow exits the milestone in which the action exists,
  • Permissions to items are removed when a workflow is stopped, and
  • Permissions to items are granted when a workflow is restarted (after being stopped).

If no permissions are added to an item, then a warning appears when the workflow is submitted stating that there are no permissions for an item and asking the user if they would like to continue.

  1. From the Add Workflow Model page, click Browse to add an item to the model.
  2. Select any or all of the following permissions by selecting its check box.
  3. Permissions
    Permission Description
    Read Allows a user to read or view this item.
    Write Allows a user to edit this item.
    Delete Allows a user to delete this item from the workflow.
    Manage Allows a user to manage the permissions for the item.
  4. Click Submit when finished.

Permissions for items associated with workflows can be extended in order to complete the workflow. Extensions remain in effect after the milestone and workflow are complete.

How to Extend the Permission for a Workflow Item

  1. Click Extend Permissions for a milestone within a workflow.
  2. Click Browse to select the names of users who need extended permission to access an item.
  3. Click Browse to link an item from the Content Collection.
  4. Add permissions to the item.
  5. Click Submit.