Blackboard Policies

EOU Blackboard Policies

Updated September 12, 2012

1. Accounts

1.1 – Account Creation

An account will be created for every EOU student, based on information in the university’s Banner Student Information System. An account will be created for every member of the teaching faculty, based on information in the Banner SIS and related administrative systems. Accounts for staff members who are not associated with a course as an instructor or student may be created upon request to the Blackboard administrator. For all users, the user name in Blackboard will be the same as the EOU e-mail account name (without the “”). The e-mail address associated with the user account will be the student, faculty, or staff’s EOU e-mail address. The user will not be able to change the user name or e-mail address. By default, the e-mail address is not visible to other students in the system.

1.2 – Password

A default password will be created for each account. This will be the user’s birth date in the format YYMMDD. For faculty and staff whose birth date is not recorded in Banner, an
alternate password will be created by EOU Blackboard support personnel. Users should
change their password to something more confidential and memorable as soon as possible, using the Personal Information option in the Tools section of the My EOU Blackboard page. If a user forgets his or her password, he or she should use the “Forgot password?” feature on the Blackboard login page. As this sends a link to the user’s EOU e-mail account, he or she should first make sure that the EOU e-mail account is activated. System administrators and support staff cannot view a user’s password. Only under extreme circumstances, and with proper identification, will a staff member change a user’s password.

1.3 – Name Changes

Name changes in Blackboard will be handled in a manner similar to that of EOU e-mailaccounts. If a student changes his or her name because of marriage, divorce, or other reasons, he or she should first contact the Registrar’s office to request a name change within the student records. He or she should also request a change of his/her e-mail account name. When this is changed within the Banner SIS, the user name and e-mail account will also be updated in Blackboard. As with the e-mail account, this will not be changed until after the end of the term in which the request is made.

1.4 – Roles

Within Blackboard, there are Administrative roles and Course roles. Most users will have
the Administrative role of “none,” which allows them to participate in teaching and learning with Blackboard, but not to make system-wide changes. Users will be assigned a role in each course according to his role in the course in Banner (instructor or student). The instructor may change a user’s role (such as Teaching Assistant) in individual courses. Such users must first be listed in the course in the Banner SIS. The Blackboard administrator may give varying privileges to a small number of users to help manage and support Blackboard. A new account will be created for the user in this case, to avoid potential conflict with a user name which may have an instructor or student role in a course.


2. Course Creation

2.1 – Every CRN

Each term, including summer, a course “shell” will be created for every CRN in the Banner SIS for two terms in advance of the current term, or when the course is given a CRN, whichever comes first. For example, at the beginning of Fall term, shells will exist for Fall, Winter, and Spring. In the following Winter, shells will be created for Summer, so there will be shells for Winter, Spring, and Summer shells; and so on. Faculty may begin working with the course shells as soon as they are created and appear in their list of “My Courses.” By default, all courses will be created as “unavailable,” meaning instructors and can see and work with the courses, but students cannot. Instructors will be responsible for making the course available or unavailable as needed before, during, and after the term. Blackboard is intended to be used for courses, not for other types of communication such as committee work. Existing shells for non-course collaboration (such as the Online Advisor Resource) will be maintained until such time as a suitable replacement is acquired for this purpose.

2.2. Development Courses

Upon approval, courses may be created outside of the automated processes for training or development purposes, or to accommodate students not yet admitted to the university (such as the Online Degree Planning Workshop). Depending on their purpose, these may be created on the testing server, rather than on the production server.

2.3 – Naming Scheme

Courses in Blackboard have both an ID and a name. These will be created as part of the automated course creation process, using information from the Banner SIS. The course ID will be created by combining the department prefix with the course number, followed by an underscore, the Course Record Number, another underscore, a letter for the term (F=Fall, W=Winter, S=Spring, U=Summer), and the last two digits of the academic year (DeptNum_CRN_Termcode). For example: ENGL195_32853_F07 The course name will be created by combining the department prefix with a space and the course number, followed by a colon and the course name as listed in Banner, then in parentheses the Course Record Number, a dash, a letter for the term (F=Fall, W=Winter, S=Spring, U=Summer), and the last two digits of the academic year – Dept Num: Title (CRN-Term), such as: ENGL 195: Introduction To Film*H/AH(32853-F07). Instructors who wish to modify the course name and description should do so in Banner. The course ID cannot be modified.

2.4 – Combining Sections


When there are multiple sections taught in the same time/place/location, there is a cross-list created in Banner. Some examples of this are undergrad/grad courses that are taught by the same instructor in the same room (e.g., ED 432/ED 532) or when the same course is taught under different subject codes (e.g., GEND 341/HIST 341). In these cases, individual course shells will be created for each section, then two others for the cross-list (a total of 4 courses for each example: CourseA, Course B, CourseACourseB and CourseBCourseA). The individual course shells will have only the enrollment for that section and the cross-listed shells will have the enrollments for the students in all the sections involved in the cross-list. The instructor can choose to make available the individual section shell or either one of the cross-list shells. As all course shells are created as unavailable by default, the students will only see the shell the instructor makes


Combined shells will also be created when the instructor of record is the same for a given course (subject code/course number). For example: if there are 2 sections of ENGL 104 taught by the same instructor in a given term, individual course shells will be created for each section, plus two other shells for the two sections combined. Like the crosslisted shells, instructors can use (and make available) the individual section shells or one of the combined shells.

2.5 – Enrollments

Beginning two weeks before the start of the term, and continuing until the end of the term, Blackboard will be updated several times each day with enrollment data from the Banner SIS. Students who are enrolled in a course in Banner will be added, if necessary, to the corresponding course in Blackboard. Students who drop a course in Banner will be removed from the Blackboard course. Users will be assigned a role in each course according to their role in the course in Banner (instructor or student). To preserve the integrity of the enrollment data between Banner SIS and Blackboard, instructors will not be able to add or remove students from their courses in Blackboard. Other instructors or teaching assistants must be associated with the course in Banner to be added to the Blackboard course, except upon special action by the Blackboard Administrator. A well substantiated request will need to be made to the Blackboard Administrator for such special action. Instructors may allow visitors who are not enrolled in the course or the Blackboard system to access individual courses by turning on Guest Access. By default, this access is turned off. Guests may view course content, but not participate in online communications or post materials.

2.6 – Copying Course Materials

To preserve the integrity of the enrollment data between Banner SIS and Blackboard,
instructors must use the new course shell created each term. They will not be able to recycle a course or otherwise use the same shell/course ID from term to term. Faculty will be able to copy materials from one course to another, including from previous terms, as long as the older course is still available on the Blackboard system. This can be accomplished through the “Copy Materials into Existing Course” or Export/Import features. The primary responsibility for this task rests with the instructor. In transitioning from the old server after Spring 2006, courses and their materials were not copied to the new server. The old server remained available for one year so that faculty could export course materials from the old system and import them into their courses on the new system, as needed. The old server has been retired from service and its contents have been deleted.

2.7 – Limitations

To make the most efficient use of limited server resources and bandwidth, each course will have limited disk storage space, with the amount of storage space set by the Blackboard Administrator in accordance with system capacity. Each individual file uploaded to the system will be limited to a certain size, in accordance with available bandwidth and other system capacities.

3. Course Retention

3.1 – System Management of Courses

In accordance with OUS record retention policies and to allow instructors to copy materials from one year to the next, while also making efficient use of disk space and backup resources, courses will remain on the server for two years after their creation. After that time, individual courses will be archived to a backup system, then removed from the system.

3.2 – Individual Management of Courses

Instructors are encouraged to make their own backup copies of course materials through the export or archive process. Instructors will be able to import these materials into existing courses, but will not be able to restore courses in their entirety.

4. Training & Support

Training and support to faculty and students will be provided through the Department of Information Technology (IT) or its 3rd party contractors (who provide 24/7 support and help services, thus insuring support beyond standard working hours).

5. Exceptions

All exceptions to these policies must be approved and implemented by the Blackboard
Administrator, who is currently the Academic Technology Consultant in EOU’s
Department of Information Technology. Requests for exceptions which conflict with information in Banner SIS or which interfere with the automated processes that integrate SIS and Blackboard will generally not be honored.

6. Privacy & Liability

6.1 – Privacy

Policies and practices will be implemented to maintain individual privacy, such as masking e-mail addresses. Instructors and other individuals with access to private student information must continue to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information regarding FERPA, see or contact the Registrar’s office.

6.2 – SSL

Encryption techniques, such as Secure Socket Layers (SSL), will be employed to help
maintain privacy and security for some or all of the Blackboard site.

6.3 – System Availability & Liability

As with all its enterprise systems, it is the intention of the Department of Information
Technology to maintain maximum availability of the Blackboard system. Numerous steps
are taken to protect and preserve systems and data. This is not, however, an implied
guarantee that the system will always be available. Neither the IT staff nor other EOU
administration will be liable for delays or lost data because of system failures or other
technical difficulties, or for breach of privacy because of malicious acts. In addition to unforeseeable interruptions of service, which are historically rare and short lived, certain periods of planned downtime for backups and maintenance will occasionally make the system unavailable. These planned downtimes will be publicized through Blackboard. Faculty and students are responsible for adjusting their activities around planned downtimes.


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