Friday – May 3, 2013 Big Announcement

03 May

Blackboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This email is quite lengthy.  Be prepared to print this out for reference.

Important News! Pending final approval by the MDE ITS Department and the MDE Board of Education, the conversion from Blackboard to Instructure Canvas will take place July 1, 2013. All Mississippi Community Colleges have made the decision to move to Canvas so we want our students to be prepared as they move to community college opportunities and articulation agreements. Thank you for your support and willingness to work towards a successful transition.

RCU Information

Hello!  Exciting news is coming to you with this email. After much discussion, MDE has decided to make the transfer from Blackboard to Canvas for our learning management system (LMS). This has not been an easy decision and was not made quickly or lightly. Much time and effort has gone into comparing the current system to the new system. Based on many factors, the decision to change to Canvas was made. This change will go into effect on July, 2013 with some areas opening June 1, 2013.

I will be sending emails frequently to support you in the transition to Canvas. These emails will consist of instructions for you to follow in making sure that you have every opportunity to save your valuable, hard work from Blackboard. We know that you will want to use it in the new system. It is imperative that you read emails that I send in the coming days. When Blackboard comes down, we will NOT have access to your information any longer. We will not be able to retrieve your work.

You will find in this email instructions for tasks that you will need to complete such as downloading your course gradebooks and exporting course material. There are written instructions included in this email to assist you with the process.  You will also find a link that will take you to the same instructions that include pictures which might be helpful.  I will also suggest that you save individual files that were used in your Blackboard course to your computer.

Please know that Craig and I are working to create tutorials and instructions to assist you with this process.  There will be training available online and at MS ACTE for current Blackboard users.  We want this transition to be as seamless as possible for you.

Before you leave school for the summer, you need to do the following:

  1. Download your gradebook.
  2. Export your Blackboard course and save the zipped file to your computer.
  3. Confirmation Checklist for Completion

Download the Grade Center

Instructors have the ability download the Grade Center data as a delimited file that can be used in other applications such as Spreadsheet programs or statistical analysis programs.  Instructors can select specific data to download or download the complete Grade Center data set.  Downloaded files can be saved on a local computer drive or in the Content System if it is available.  This is especially handy as part of your end of the year tasks.

Access Grade Center

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click Grade Center.
  3. Click Full Grade Center.

Work Offline

In the Full Grade Center, click the Work Offline button.  It is circled above.


From the Work Offline drop-down menu, choose Download.

Full Grade Center Download

  1. Because we are using this as an end of the year back-up of the Grade Center, we are going to download the full Grade Center.  Make sure that Full Grade Center is selected in section 1 Data.
  2. Under Options in section 2, be sure the Delimiter Type is Tab.  We wish to select Tab delimited because delimited files can be opened in most editing software.
  3. Include Hidden Information should be checked No.


Choose to save the gradebook file on your Desktop.  Therefore, choose My Computer for Download Location.


Click the Submit button.

Download Grades

After you click Submit, you will choose the Download button.

Save As

After clicking the Download button, you will need to access the Save As window and choose where to save the grade center file.  You will need to save the gradebook somewhere that is relevant on your computer and able to be found.  Give it a good name that is recognizable in real life.

Exporting a Course

The following information was taken from the Blackboard Help content.

Exporting Courses

The Export Course page organizes all export packages that are created from the course. When the course is exported, a link to the package appears on this page. You can download the package to a local computer, and then use it in the future for import or restore operations.

When a package is exported, it does not appear on this page immediately. An email is sent to you as soon as the system has created the package. You can then open this page to find the package and download it.

Note: It is recommended that packages be deleted from this page once they are downloaded. Each package counts against the course quota; so keeping packages on this page may result in limited space to add additional content to the course.

The Export Course feature creates a package of the course content that can later be imported and used to teach another course with the same content. It is important to note that, unlike the Archive Course feature, Export Course does not include any user interactions with the course—it only includes the content and the tools.

Note: Files within Course Files that are not used in the course or not linked in the course are not included when exporting.

Export packages are downloaded as compressed .zip files and are imported in the same format. Do not unzip an export package or delete files from the package, otherwise the package will not be imported correctly.

Export a Course

  1. Go to the Control Panel in your course.
  2. Click Packages and Utilities.
  3. Click Export/Archive Course.


Click the Export button.

Sections 1 and 2

You do not need to change anything in Sections 1 and 2.  You should leave the radio buttons marked for links and content to be copies as shown above.  Generally, you will not use the Calculate Size and Manage Package Contents buttons either.

Select Course Materials (Section 3)

You have the option of selecting individual items for exporting.  To choose some items and not others, you will take your mouse and click in the box to the left of course item.  This will leave a check for the item and indicate to Blackboard what to include the Export file.

I generally click Select All so that all items are selected at once and to ensure that I do not overlook an area.  I have circled the Select All button above.

Select Course Materials (Section 3) Continued

Notice items have been selected items for exporting.  There are checkmarks beside items like Tests and Wikis.

After making items selections, you are ready to proceed to Section 4 and Submit the request.


Click the Submit button.


If you have completed the above steps correctly, you will see a green Success message stating your request is queued for processing.  You will receive an email when the process is complete.  You can also click back to the Export/Archive link to see the zipped file that is created as well.

Keep in mind that the larger the course (a large amount of content, activities, and such), the longer it will take the Export process to complete.

Export Complete

When you have completed the above steps correctly for the Export process, you will see the Export zip file appear when you click again on the Export/Archive link.  See above example.

Let’s proceed with the final steps in the Export process.  Click the Export zipped file link as shown in your course.  You are to download the zipped file to your computer where you can find it later.

Save As

After you click the zipped file link, you will see the above request.  Click Save As.

Save As Dialog Box

Locate where the zipped file should be downloaded for storage on your computer and click Save.

That is all there is to the Export process.

REMEMBER – Do NOT try to open the zipped file.  It is only to be used in a Blackboard course for importing.

Exporting Your Content from Blackboard

  1. When you are logged into Blackboard, click the tab named Content Collection.
  2. Click the names of the folders that you wish to download.  This will put a checkmark in the square beside the folder name to indicate the folder is selected.
  3. Choose Download Package.
  4. In the dialogue box that appears, be sure to save the file in a location that you can easily find on your computer.
  5. 1.      From the Courses tab after you are logged in Blackboard, look at the Course List.  Courses that you are instructor are listed at the top of the listed courses under a heading called Courses where you are: Instructor.
  6. Any course that is listed under this heading will need to have its ID copied and pasted into a word processed document like Microsoft Word.
  7. To see the course ID, look at the information in BEFORE the colon (:).  See example below.

How to Find Your Course ID

ONLINEPD_ADBB_Summer11: Advanced Blackboard

Information that is highlighted in yellow above is the Course ID.  It is ONLINEPD_ADBB_Summer11.  This is the information BEFORE the colon (:).

  1. Select the Course ID by taking your mouse and left clicking and dragging across the Course ID.
  2. Copy the Course ID by right clicking the mouse on the selected text.
  3. Choose COPY from the pop-up menu.
  4. Move to an open word processing window like Microsoft Word.  (You should have opened this already.)
  5. In the word processing window, click the paste button or press CTRL+V on your keyboard.
  6. After you have all of the Course IDs for courses that you are the instructor copied and pasted into the word processing window, save this file on your computer in a location that you will find easily for the checklist completion.

Final Steps

Please visit  to confirm checklist completion. You will be asked to supply your name, school, course ID, and completion status of downloading gradebook and exporting course and course content.

More Information

Please visit for an in-depth overview and instructions for CANVAS migration.


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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in General News


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