Course Copy Guide For Instructors

Generally, the Course Copy feature is used for copying course content from current or previous term courses to an upcoming term course.  Numerous factors and variables exist in consideration of using Course Copy.  The simplest approach is a complete course copy, which does not mean selection of all boxes.  Partial copies can be done, but only with a clear understanding of components that must be copied together.  Failure to follow guidelines can result in corrupt content and data in destination courses.  Below are preliminary considerations and steps for completing a complete course copy followed by guidelines for partial copies.

Do you want to merge enrollments from multiple sections into one Blackboard course?

  1. First determine if there will be multiple sections or cross-listed sections offered of this course in the upcoming term.
  2. If so, you will need to decide if you prefer to keep student enrollments separate, each with their own Blackboard course, or have the enrollments merged into one Blackboard course.
  3. If you have a merge configured, this would allow you to build only one course and manage all content, and all students from each section, in one Blackboard course.
  4. A course enrollment merge must be configured first, before completing the course copy.  The merge process involves creating a new merged parent course, so the existing child courses would no longer be used for content or student access.  Please read more about Enrollment Merges for information and instructions for requesting this configuration.

Is  your course ready to copy?

  1. Check destination course to ensure it is empty or only contains template content.  This is a precaution in case you or another enrolled instructor may have already completed a copy.
    • If other content exists, compare to intended source in consideration of copy already having been done.  Other content may exist that may or may not indicate a problem.  Consult with Online@JSU staff as needed.
  2. Return to Blackboard Home and from My Courses, copy destination course ID to clipboard and/or a plain text editor such as Notepad for future use.
  3. Evaluate source course:
    • Is it in good working order?  If not, you may want to address any issues prior to copying.
    • Is there any duplicate content?  If so, you may want to remove the duplicate content prior to copying.
    • Are there any hidden or duplicate Grade Center columns?  If so, you may want to consider validity of those columns, and removal of unwanted columns prior to course copy.
    • Do Discussion Board forums have any instructor starter threads?  This relates to Step 6 below, so you will need to remember this information when completing the course copy.   Starter threads are any thread at the top level within a forum.  Notice if you have both instructor starter threads and student starter threads, just instructor starter threads, or only student starter threads.  You will have options that affect whether or not these threads are copied, and then you will have actions to take after the copy based on the selection you made.  Note that replies (any post beyond the top level) to starter threads are never copied.
    • Is there template content, which is content that was automatically added upon course creation as arranged by your Dean/Department Head/Director?  If so, that content can be omitted from the copy only if it is isolated in a content area of its own.  Otherwise, the resulting duplication will need to be removed from the destination course after the copy.  This relates to Step 5 below.
    • Review the Quotas page to ensure your course is small enough to copy.

Complete Course Copy:

  1. In the course control panel, under Packages and Utilities, click Course Copy.
  2. Copy Type should read, "Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course".
  3. Paste destination course ID into available entry box or browse to locate destination course.  If course ID was previously copied/pasted to a plain text editor, you can either copy/paste it from that location or just paste if nothing else has been copied to the clipboard after copying the course ID.
  4. Typically, clicking "Select All" is appropriate.  There are standard omissions under "Settings" when using this selection, which are appropriate.  The only selections that should be selected under "Settings" are Banner Image, Language Pack, and Navigation Settings.
  5. SPECIAL NOTE:  Do not copy "Contacts".  Deselect "Contacts" after choosing "Select All".  You will need to re-create your contact information in the "Instructor(s)" area of the menu in your destination course.  Blackboard is currently experiencing an issue that corrupts a course when including contacts in a course copy procedure.
  6. Deselect content areas containing only template content.  This will help you avoid duplicating that content since the new course already has the template content.  If you have added content to those areas in the source course, you will have to go ahead and include it in the copy selection, then remove the duplicate content after the copy has been completed and confirmed.
  7. Decide which Discussion Board option to choose based on whether or not instructor starter posts exist.  If you have no instructor posts at all in Discussion Board forums, you should choose, "Include only the forums, with no starter posts".  If you only have instructor threads at the top level, and no student threads at the top level, then you may choose "Include starter posts for each thread in each forum (anonymized)" if you wish to copy those to the new course.  If you have a mix of instructor and student threads at the top level, you will have to decide whether it is easier to add your instructor threads back into the new course, or remove unwanted student posts from the new course (keeping in mind both kinds are anonymized).  Replies (any post beyond the top level) to starter threads are never copied. Make your selection accordingly.
  8. Regarding the Course Files selection in the File Attachments section:
    • In most cases, select "Copy links and copies of the content" which will copy all content and links to the destination course, establishing new links to the destination course location rather than keeping the link pointed towards the original location in the source course, but will not copy files in course content that are not linked from within the course (such as from Assignments, Items, Tests, etc.).  Llnks in courses that link to content in the My Content or Institution areas of the Content Collection will always be copied as links only.  Files not linked in the course, but that you want to retain, should be relocated to the "My Content" area.
    • "Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder)" will copy all content and links to the destination course, establishing new links to the destination course location rather than keeping the link pointed towards the original location in the source course.  This also includes content that only exists in course files though not linked from anywhere in the course.  Links in courses that link to content in the My Content or Institution areas of the Content Collection will always be copied as links only.  We don't recommend using this option.  Instead, files not linked in the course, but that you want to retain, should be relocated to the "My Content" area.
    • "Copy links to Course Files" will only copy links, leaving the original link reference pointing to the source course.  We don't recommend using this option.
  9. DO NOT SELECT "Include Enrollments in the Copy".  Normally, this option does not show up for instructors.
  10. If an option appears to include course cartridge content in the copy, select it.
  11. Click "Submit"

Checking Copy Results in Destination Course:

  1. Wait for confirmation email.
  2. Once confirmation is received, go to destination course.  Remaining steps are all completed in destination course.
  3. Click in a content area as an initial check.
  4. Open SafeAssign dashboard from Course Tools area of instructor Control Panel.
  5. If SafeAssign content exists, run the sync process and wait for it to complete.
  6. If Self and Peer Assessments exist, it is recommended that you delete them and re-create them as needed.
  7. If groups forums exist, remove any unwanted group forum posts.
  8. If cleanup is needed related to discussion board forums copied with instructor starter threads, complete this cleanup as needed, including de-anonymizing as appropriate.
  9. Remove any unwanted duplicate or other content.
  10. Use the Date Management tool to update due dates, start and end dates, etc. to appropriate dates for the new term.
  11. If you are copying a course from a term prior to Fall 2016, to a Fall 2016 course shell or term beyond that point, please be aware the default course menu and module pages are different in the Fall 2016 course shells, which means some of your content may not map accurately to the new course shell design initially, though it will be present in the new course.  An updated custom template design was created for Fall 2016 course shells and forward.  If you would like to adapt your copied course to the new design, this can be accomplished with renaming, removal, and/or relocation of menu items.  Please review more information about this new default design on our Blackboard - New Default Course Shell web page.  If you need assistance with this procedure, we are glad to help.  Please contact our office at
  12. Make any other changes needed.
  13. Click on Respondus LockDown Browser in Course Tools area of instructor Control Panel.
  14. If any tests are set to require the LDB, where applicable refresh LDB requirement as the last step after updating Test Options in the new course.  Refresh by removing and adding back the requirement after updating Test Options.
  15. Once you have the course ready, be sure to make it available to students by the first day of classes.

Partial copy considerations:

  • Grade Center should never by copied alone, unless no linked columns exist.
  • When copying content areas with tests, Grade Center and Tests, Surveys, and Pools must also be copied, but be aware of other linked content in Grade Center such as Assignments and graded forums, blogs, wikis, journals, etc.  Those areas will have to be included in the copy if linked columns exist.
  • When copying isolated content areas, be aware of the type of content in those areas.  If content linked to the Grade Center exists, the Grade Center must be copied.  Again, consider other linked columns in Grade Center not related to content in question.  There are exceptions for some type of content, such as Assignments.  When copying content areas containing, for example, regular non-graded items along with regular Assignments, those Assignments will not be copied if the Grade Center is not copied, which is a safe method.  However, legacy SafeAssignments are a different situation and can end up orphaned.  Legacy SafeAssignments are those created or copied from courses prior to August 2014.  Legacy SafeAssignments copied or built beginning August 2014 or after will be converted to the new integrated Assignment structure when copied.
  • In general, be aware of graded content and the links between the Grade Center and various types of content.  A combination of Item/Folder Copy along with limited Course Copy may be appropriate.

Self-Help References for Information Related to Course Copy:

Request Course Copy:

  • While Course Copy is now available for instructors to use, requests may also be sent to  Both the source and destination course ID's should be included, and any enrollment merge requests involving the destination course should be made first or along with the course copy request.