Significant planning and preparation is necessary to upgrade all sections to Blackboard Learn courses successfully. The steps involved depend on licensing, hardware, existing Blackboard systems, and institutional policies and procedures.
Users and sections are moved from Vista 8 to Blackboard Learn using various export and import operations. Upgrading from Vista 8 to Blackboard Learn involves the following steps:
Step 2: Export All Data from Vista 8 from Vista 8. This data will be used throughout the upgrade process.
During the upgrade process, you have a variety of choices that depend on your institution’s needs. It is important to decide when and what data you plan to move.
After all sections have been moved and are active in Blackboard Learn, you can archive and then turn off the legacy Vista 8 system. All users in the institution 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 your institution hosts active sections 365 days per year, you will need to run both the Blackboard Learn system and the legacy Vista 8 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 Vista 8 system as Inactive in Blackboard Learn until the sections on Vista 8 have ended. When the section ends, you can activate the course in Blackboard Learn.
Deciding Which Sections to Move
All of the Vista 8 sections can be exported and moved to Blackboard Learn as courses, but you may not want to export older versions of the same section or other groups of sections. Thebackup_request.xml file, described in Step 4: Export Section Content Packages from Vista 8, can be edited to specify which sections to export.
Depending on your institution’s needs, some faculty will want to upgrade their Vista 8 section to Blackboard Learn while other faculty will want to build new courses in Blackboard Learn. If you do not want to import a particular section, the content package for a section can be removed from the migrate directory before the import as described in Step 5: Import Vista 8 Sections into Blackboard Learn as Courses. As a result, the course will be created in Blackboard Learn, but the Vista 8 content will not be imported.
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 Vista 8 with the data source key “VISTA_FALL_2009” and all Spring 2010 records with the data source key “VISTA_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 school term (or group of terms, if desired) and assigning that data source key to the appropriate courses during Step 5: Import Vista 8 Sections into Blackboard Learn as Courses. 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 completing Step 3: Import Vista 8 User Data into Blackboard Learn and Step 5: Import Vista 8 Sections into Blackboard Learn as Courses. Without one of these switches, data collisions may cause the import to fail. To learn more, see LMSImport Switches for Vista 8.
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 Vista 8 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 school 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.