Distributed Learning Technologies

LMS Policies and Procedures

General

What is Blackboard?

  • Blackboard is a Learning Management System (LMS) which is used by CSU Chico students, faculty, and staff for academic and research purposes.
  • It is web-based, which means you can access it anywhere there is internet access.
  • It is cross-platform for Windows and Mac users.

CSU Chico is currently using:

  • Blackboard version 9.1 Q4 2017 CU2(3300.0.2-rel.137+ba130da) Release
  • Integrations in Use (Blackboard Add-Ins)

The administrators of Blackboard will make every effort to:

  • Safeguard the privacy of individuals using the system
  • Ensure backup and recovery procedures are current and functional
  • Follow established change management(opens in new window) procedures for upgrades and maintenance

Acceptable Use

CSU Chico Computer and Network Acceptable Use Policy(opens in new window)

CSU Chico Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities(opens in new window)

Account Creation

User accounts in Blackboard are created and updated by Account Center (AC). Accounts are created or disabled automatically by Account Center, based on a user's active affiliation records, such as student status or employment status, as listed in PeopleSoft.

Account Center assigns the following information for each account:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Username
  • Student ID number
  • Primary Institution Role

The Email field will be set to either a user's WildcatMail address (*@mail.csuchico.edu) or their Exchange address (*@csuchico.edu). Users who wish to receive email at a different address will need to set up email forwarding.

The Primary Institution Role will be set to one of the following: Student, Staff, or Faculty. This role controls which Home tab a user sees, but does not affect their access or privileges within courses; course roles are tracked separately for each individual course.

Does having an account give me access to courses?

Most of the content in Blackboard is kept in courses and organizations. You must have an account before you can gain access to those, but an account by itself does not grant any course/org access.

Do all students, faculty, and staff have Blackboard accounts?

All current/active students, faculty, and staff have Blackboard accounts; this includes employees of university auxiliaries.

Do former students have access to Blackboard?

Former students will have their Blackboard accounts disabled after 12 months.

What about other users, such as volunteers or consultants?

After appropriate paperwork is on file, registered volunteers and consultants can request access to Blackboard by opening a ticket at IT Support Services (ITSS).

Course Sites

Course Access

General access to Blackboard system: Blackboard (Bb) policy is aligned with FERPA requirements, CSU Chico computer and network use policies, and reviewed and approved by the Registrar’s office in collaboration with General Counsel. Bb course sites are created based on information verified in Peoplesoft, including Subject, Catalog Numbers, and Class Number. Course sites are populated with users based on information verified in Peoplesoft: Instructor and Students. Other users added to course sites are received through requests by the instructor of the course. These additional requests normally include Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graders, and Co-Instructors. All other users must have a documented “educational purpose” for their enrollment into the Bb course site. Enrollment of other users must be approved by the instructor of the course. The only users enrolled in the course who have access to making changes in the grade center should be the instructor and, if appropriate, TA or Grader. An exception to this guideline may be made to assist the instructor with technical issues in the grade center on a short-term by the support staff or after approval from appropriate administrators.

Course enrollments are primarily controlled through PeopleSoft. Enrollment changes in PeopleSoft will normally sync over to Blackboard within 1-2 hours, provided that certain conditions are met:

  • All enrollments are held until the user's Blackboard account exists
  • Faculty enrollments are held until HR finishes processing the user's I-9 paperwork
  • Changes to prior or future terms may not be processed automatically

Course Roles

  • Instructor – has access to posting content, copying a course, user management, posting grades, and making the course available/unavailable.
  • TA = provides access to everything included with the instructor role, except course copy and user management.
  • Course Builder – provides access to everything included with the instructor role, except user management, and Grade Center.
  • Grader – provides access to the course Grade Center to post grades.
  • Student – provides access to all areas of the course, excluding the control panel.
  • Spectator – provides guest access

What are the prep areas?

As soon as an instructor is assigned to a class in Peoplesoft, each instructor is given access to several "prep area" courses, which are essentially sandboxed courses that will never receive any student enrollments. Prep areas can be useful to prepare content, experiment with Blackboard features, or share collaborative space with other instructors. To rename a prep area or request additional prep areas(opens in new window), please submit a service ticket in TeamDynamix.

When are terms loaded into Blackboard?

Several months before each term starts, Blackboard will begin loading courses and instructor enrollments; roughly ten days before the first day of classes, Blackboard will begin loading student enrollments. This gives instructors time to prepare course content before students arrive.

How do instructors get access to courses?

Once HR populates an instructor's data in PeopleSoft, their department office can assign them to teach courses. Instructor enrollments will begin processing as soon as a term is loaded into Blackboard.

How do students get access to courses?

Students register for courses through the Student Center in PeopleSoft. Student enrollments will begin processing roughly ten days before the first day of classes.

Can instructors add other users to courses?

Instructors can grant special access to courses (see TLP Guide: Adding New Users To Your Course(opens in new window)(opens in new window)).

Common Learning Environments

Several class definitions and use cases exist:

  • Lecture
  • Lecture and lab with all students
  • Large lecture with small breakouts

For reference, we're including the following glossary terms:

  • Combined Class  Two separate classes taught at the same time and location, such as Ballroom for men and women.
  • Cross-listed Course  One class owned by two departments, such as Women's Studies and Psychology.
  • Common Learning Environment  Sharing one BbLearn space between two or more classes with different enrollment populations.

By default, each section of a course is given its own space in BBLearn. Instructors can request a common learning environment to group multiple sections together. For example, an instructor who is teaching one course with two lecture sections and four lab sections might prefer to keep all of their BBLearn content in one place.

To request a common learning environment, contact your department’s ASC, who can configure sections in PeopleSoft.

Note for ASCs: when editing a common learning environment that already exists, please notify DLT if you remove a section, or change the master section.

Organization Sites

Organization Site Request

Instructors, students, and staff can request organization sites for committees, groups, and organizations by opening a ticket(opens in new window).

Organization Access

Roles

  • Organization Leader - provides access to all areas of the organization including the control panel for posting content and managing users. 
  • Organization Co-Leader - provides access to everything included with the Leader role, except managing users.
  • Participant - provides access to all areas of the organization, excluding the control panel.

Add or Remove User

Leaders can manage the users in an organization.

(see TLP Guide: Adding New Users To Your Course(opens in new window)(opens in new window)).

Technical Administration

  • System Administrators – DLT is responsible for complete system administration and has four employees with system access
  • Backup & Recovery – Our Blackboard system is hosted by Blackboard and they provide full disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Routine Maintenance schedule – during the semester we avoid any maintenance that involves downtime. Scheduled System Maintenance hours without downtime are Thursday 12-2AM. All times are PST.
  • Planned upgrades and advanced maintenance – planned upgrades and advanced maintenance will be posted via Blackboard banners and in Campus Announcements. These upgrades typically occur twice a year in June and December

Privacy

University and Blackboard - specific policies are relevant to Blackboard users because they address:

  • Possible abuse of the system that could affect privacy and access.
  • Rights of the authors of the materials placed on Blackboard.
  • Retention and safeguarding of information placed on the system.
    • System Administration
      • The administrators of Blackboard (Distributed Learning Technologies) make every effort to minimize the amount of personal information about students and instructor that resides on the system. Information used to create user accounts includes the student ID and instructor/staff Empl ID, first, middle and last name, and e-mail address.
    • Student Privacy (FERPA)
      • Instructor, students, and staff should become familiar with the FERPA guidelines regarding education records. The instructor should consider student privacy issues when making choices regarding access to areas in their Blackboard courses for users not enrolled in the courses. Areas of concern include grade center, discussions, blogs, wikis, student homepages, and class roster.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

  • All materials placed on the Blackboard servers by faculty and students are governed by the CSU Chico's general intellectual property policy, aligned with the NDUS policy.
  • The Blackboard system is intended solely for support of teaching and learning at CSU Chico.
  • No use will be made of any materials posted by faculty and students on these servers other than those intended by the faculty member teaching the course.
  • The faculty member teaching the course is responsible for informing students about the use he or she will make of materials that students post on the system.
  • Links to more information:
  1. TEACH Act(opens in new window)
  2. US Copyright Office-Fair Use(opens in new window)
  3. Library of Congress – Copyright(opens in new window)
  4. Creative Commons(opens in new window)
  5. CSU Chico Intellectual Property(opens in new window)