Faculty can request a master course by filling out the form below. You will be contacted when the courses are created and made available to you to use.
Please allow up to 48 hours for your master courses to be created. You'll receive an email when the requested course(s) are available for you to use.
What is a Master Course?
A Master Course is a template course created as a master copy for the purpose of copying content to the Blackboard course shell for an upcoming semester. The Master Course is created as a blank shell for the instructors to build their materials and is a pure original. This means all material is added or created natively within the Master Course and there is no course copy into the Master Course.
There are several issues that can occur in the process of copying a previous production course from one semester to another. One main issue is filling the course files with multiple copies of previous course file imports/copies that can cause problems with the function of the current semester's course. Often the result will be broken links, duplicate copies of materials, complications for students, and a lot of additional work for the instructor.
Therefore, it is a best practice to create all course materials in one Master Course. Once built, the Master Course can then copied to the current semester's Blackboard course for many semesters to come. It allows for a clean copy every semester, rather than copy of a copy, of a copy, etc.
Is this different than a Development Course?
Development, or DEV, courses are typically used as a "sandbox" or course shells to try out new features and ideas. Because of the "sandbox" nature of how Development Courses are used, these courses can have many duplicate copies, years worth of materials, and messy file structures. Thus, even if a development course is available to you, it is not the best choice to copy forward to a new semester because it brings with it the messy file structure and all of the materials that may have been copied into it.
How do I use my Master Course?
Our recommended best practice is to use your Master Course as your true Master, or original, source of your course content. Create all materials natively within the Master Course shell, and course copy or export only from the Master, never into the Master, and never from a production course to another production course.
Best Practices for using a Blackboard Master Course.
- Request a Master Course for each course that you regularly teach.
Have a Master Template Course for each course and modality that you teach. For example, if you regularly teach PSY 121 in the seated format during the fall semesters but online during the spring semesters, consider requesting a Master Template Course for seated sections and one for online sections.
- Use your Master Course as your true Master, or original, source of your course content.
Build the entire course structure directly within the Master Course. DO NOT copy the course structure from last semester's course into your Master Course, as doing so negates the purpose of having a Master Course.
- Never Course Copy from an existing course into a Master Template Course.
Master Template Courses should never be used as the destination course for course copies.
Create all materials natively within the Master Course shell.
Create new items (e.g., syllabus, video lectures, etc.) directly within your new Master Course, and avoid copying content items from previous live courses. This ensures that all items in the Master Course are new items with no chance of future broken links.
Consider storing content items in Content Collection.
Content Collection can help you set up content for sharing with peer instructors and linking across courses and semesters, and can also be helpful if you regularly teach multiple sections of the same course, For more information on using Content Collection and Folder Organization see our related Experts Articles on those topics.
Course Copy or Export only from the Master Course.
Simply perform a course copy from your Master Course into your current semester's live production course. Keep in mind that you should never copy into the Master Course, and never from a production course to another production course.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to assist. You might also want to join us during our Blackboard “Ask the Experts” open sessions. We’re here every Friday from 1:30 – 4:30pm. You can visit us in person in Meyer Library 205, or join us ‘virtually’ by clicking this link: Log in to Ask the Experts Virtual Office Hours.
The links below provide resources with content management and course copy in the learning mangement system.