Blackboard Transition

Blackboard Transition

Over the course of this semester, Eastern will be taking steps to transition from the multi-institutional managed hosted (MH) instance of Blackboard Learn we currently share with the other Connecticut State Universities and the Community Colleges, to our own Software as a Service (SaaS) instance of Blackboard Learn. This transition will give Eastern greater control over the system, as well as a new level of service from Blackboard.

At the point of transition, which is slated for Spring 2017, faculty will be logging into a new instance of Blackboard learn 9. The majority of that transition is logistical and while it does represent some awareness of certain dates, it does not represent a significant version change or require significant training for faculty and students. In fact, we expect it to include fixes for some long standing issues we’ve had with our current product such as the notification service, which will be back and function correctly.

The transition to the new service (SaaS) also means faster response times from Blackboard when addressing issues, as well as more technical support availability from Blackboard for faculty and students. Lastly, the transition sets Eastern up for a more gentle transition to new versions of Blackboard as they become available, namely the Ultra Experience. As more details develop, they will be emailed to all faculty as well as listed here.


  • Oct 15: Courses that are from Wintersession 2015 through Summer 2016 will be migrated by Blackboard to the new service after Oct. 15th. This represents two years prior to the point of transition (Spring 2017). Changes made to these older courses in the current Blackboard environment (MH) after Oct 15. will not be reflected in the new service (SaaS). Fall 2016, Wintersession 2017, and Spring 2017 are not affected at this point and development on them in the current Managed Hosted service may continue.
  • Oct. 19: Blackboard will host a series of informational sessions at Eastern for faculty and staff.
  • Oct. 20: Blackboard will host a series of meetings at Eastern for the ITS staff.
  • Dec. 30: Spring 2017 courses will be migrated by Blackboard and upon completion, will become available for development in preparation for the Spring 2017 term.
  • Jan. 30: Fall 2016 and Wintersession 2017, courses will be migrated by Blackboard.
  • June 1: Access to the old service (Managed Hosting) will be removed.

Material not included in the terms identified above will still be available in the old service for the duration of the Spring 2017 term. Faculty will still be able to access older material and download a backup that can be imported into the new service.

The email regarding the BlackBoard Transition and the Oct. 15th milestone generated some questions. The following information should offer some clarification:

  • Faculty will have access to all their BlackBoard courses in the current system until June 1st 2017.
  • Spring 2017 will be the 1st term on BlackBoard (SaaS) for faculty and students.
  • Any changes made after Oct 15th 2016 to courses from semesters previous to Fall 2016 will not be reflected in the new system (SaaS).
  • You can still copy them forward to Spring 2017. Spring 2017 courses will be migrated Dec. 30th.

No action is required by Oct. 15, 2016 if your process is to change your material after copying it forward.

Regarding course copying in preparation for Spring 2017:

  • If you don’t do anything until Dec 30th, you will have access to the new system with the older courses from Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Summer 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, and Summer 2016 copied as they exist now. That leaves 17 days until the start of classes to copy older courses into the Spring 2017 term and develop them further.
  • If you prefer more time to prepare, you can copy any course in the current system into the Spring 2017 term and work on it in the old system up until Dec. 30th at which point it will be migrated.
  • If the version of the material you want to copy to Spring 2017 is in the Fall 2016 or Winter 2017 terms, you won’t see those courses in the new system until Jan. 30th 2017. Therefore, you will have to download the backup and upload it into the new system using the instructions below.
  • If the version of the material you want to copy to Spring 2017 is in a term older than Winters 2015, you won’t see those courses in the system at all. Therefore, you will have to download the backup and upload it into the new system using the instructions below.

Instructions for downloading backups from Blackboard are in Article 167: Blackboard Section Purge Policy.


Cross-Listed Courses

Until now cross listed courses have been created with generic names by the Blackboard system and manually renamed by BOR staff to reflect the names of the courses that you have cross listed. This name is only visible to the faculty member, whereas students actually see the name of the course they registered for (either one of the cross listed names). Moving forward with the new system we will not be able to continue to rename them. In the new system, the integration with Banner that keeps the course updated with enrollment also keeps the course name updated when sections get cancelled and section numbers change. Any manual changes to the name will eventually revert to the original name in the system.

Fortunately the course list in Blackboard shows the child courses, and the text below them shows the parent course name, so you can reference the course name. Additionally, we can give you instructions on managing your course list to only show active courses to help keep things organized.  The following link details shows how you can find the parent course name from the child course information:

Article 484: Identifying Cross-Listed Courses

Additionally, faculty who have had to request section number changes in Blackboard because they were not updated will no longer have that issue.

Please email if you have any other questions.