UAA Blackboard Use Policy

I. Purpose of Document

This document states the current policies and procedures for the use, management and operation of Blackboard Learn at UAA. Blackboard Learn is UA's web-based learning management system (LMS) that allows instructors to develop and deliver course materials online.

II. Definitions

  1. Instructor of record. The individual listed in UAOnline as the instructor for a course. Other individuals may be added as instructors, but only the instructor of record can enter final grades in UAOnline.
  2. User. Anyone with access to Blackboard, no matter what the role.
  3. Disable(d). Restricting access to a user account, course, or enrollment record without permanent deletion. All content associated with the record(s) will remain intact and will be accessible when the record is re-enabled.
  4. Delete(d). Removing and completely deleting a user account, course, or enrollment record. All associated content is permanently deleted and cannot be retrieved.
  5. Course Shell. A unique area where users can share content. Individual container/area. A template for either academic courses or development courses.
  6. 0template. The default template for all course shells.
  7. Registration system. Banner database with UAOnline user interface for faculty and students.

III. Appropriate Use Policy

  1. Appropriate behavior. Like all users of UAA technology, Blackboard Learn students, faculty, and staff must adhere to the behavior standards outlined in UAA's "Acceptable Use Policy". Individual instructors may also elect to set standards for behavior that exceed these minimum requirements on a course-by-course basis.
  2. Content disclaimer. UAA is not responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and/or legality of the content uploaded to Blackboard Learn courses by its users. Users who upload material to Blackboard Learn are legally responsible for their content.
  3. Removal of inappropriate content. Blackboard Learn administrators or instructors will remove offensive or illegal content from a course if asked to by the instructor of record or by the department chair/director and/or dean. All instructors will be notified of the removal by the UAA Technical Support Center.
  4. Non-sanctioned uses of Blackboard courses. Instructors are not permitted to use UAA's Blackboard Learn system for purposes other than university-affiliated activities.
  5. Removal of users for inappropriate behavior. An instructor can remove a student’s access to a Blackboard course using the Control Panel to change the student’s availability. The UAA Technical Support Center can disable an enrolled student from a course upon written request of the instructor of record and confirmation from the Dean of Students. The UAA Technical Support Center can disable a user from a course shell upon written request of the instructor of record and department chair or director.

IV. User Management

  1. User accounts. All current UAA students, staff, and faculty are assigned an account on the Blackboard Learn system. Users who are not formally teaching or taking a UAA course, administrative staff for example, may log on to Blackboard Learn and make use of the system-wide portal tools available.
  2. Account creation. Blackboard Learn accounts are automatically created for students, staff, and faculty within 24 hours of being added to UAOnline.
  3. User access and login. Users access Blackboard Learn with their UA username and password created by the UAA Technical Support Center, which is the same username and password used to access UA email, UAOnline, and other UAA service. Access to an individual academic course is limited to enrolled students, the instructor of record, any co-instructor(s), and any additional users authorized by the instructor, the department chair/director or dean. Users may be added to a course by the instructor or UAA Technical Support Center. Users who are not teaching or taking a UAA course do not have access to individual Blackboard Learn academic courses unless they have previously been enrolled in an academic course and if the instructor still has it available.
  4. Populating courses with enrolled users. The registration system automatically adds/removes registered students and instructors to/from Blackboard Learn current semester and upcoming semester courses every ten minutes.
  5. Process for manually adding users to courses. Additional instructors, staff members, TAs, course builders, and patrons are manually added to a course by an instructor or at the request of the appropriate department chair/director and/or dean through the UAA Technical Support Center or Instructional Designer.
  6. Administrator roles. Support Administrator roles are assigned to UAA Technical Support Center staff, instructional designers, and eLearning staff. System Administrator roles are assigned to the LMS administrator, IT engineers, and UAA Technical Support Center leads. Submit requests for administrator access to the UAA Technical Support Center. Administrator access will be reviewed annually by the LMS administrator.
  7. Patron accounts. A university sponsor can request a patron account for an individual who does not have an active UA account to access the Blackboard Learn system for a university activity. The university employee who sponsors the account requests its creation by the UAA Technical Support Center. The university sponsor of the patron account is responsible for the appropriate use and access of Blackboard shells by the individual to whom the credentials are given. The sponsor is responsible for adding the account to the appropriate Blackboard Learn development or academic course and assigning the appropriate role in Blackboard. If the patron will have access to student information, they must complete FERPA training. The sponsor can request the UAA Technical Support Center change the password for the patron account or request the account be disabled if it’s no longer needed. The sponsor can reach out the the university Registrar with specific questions regarding FERPA compliance.
  8. Automated disabling of students from courses. Students who withdraw or drop a course will be automatically disabled in a Blackboard Learn course within ten minutes of the change in UAOnline.
  9. Authority to disable course users. Users may be disabled from a course at the request of the instructor, department chair/director, and/or dean. Instructors should be notified of any change requested by a non-instructor, such as a dean and/or department chair/director, by the requesting party.

V. Accessibility

  1. Federal and state accessibility requirements. Although the Blackboard Learn software program is compliant with federal and state accessibility requirements, not all uploaded content or features used (colors, themes, etc) in Blackboard Learn are compliant. Instructors are required to make their uploaded content and materials accessible to users with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Disability Support Services (DSS) provides support for students with disabilities. Academic Innovations and eLearning provides guidance and support for faculty to create accessible content.
  2. Blackboard Ally.  Blackboard Ally is a feature designed to help instructors make their course content accessible for students.

VI. Course Management

  1. Course size limitations. The size limitation associated with UAA Blackboard Learn courses is 5GB.
  2. Creation schedule for new courses. Summer and Fall courses will be created no later than March 31st of the respective year and Spring courses will be created no later than October 31st of the preceding year.
  3. Copying courses. The instructor has the ability to copy the content of one course into the shell of a pre-existing course which he/she has an instructor or TA role.
  4. Exporting courses  The instructor has the ability to export the course. This feature creates a zipped format of the course content that can be imported to create a new course without any users or user interactions with the course. The export only includes what you select from the list. Export is an alternative to course copy.
  5. Archiving courses. The instructor has the ability to archive his/her courses at any time. Archiving a course does not delete the course from the system. Instead, it simply provides the instructor with an offline copy of that course in zipped format that includes all course data and includes student submissions/data. An archived course in a zipped format may be restored into the Blackboard Learn system by contacting the UAA Technical Support Center and requesting a course restore.
  6. Instructor initiated deletion of courses. The instructor of record can “bulk delete” the content of any course he/she is teaching. If an instructor wants an existing course shell to be fully deleted, then he/she must contact the UAA Technical Support Center to have that request processed. The UAA Technical Support Center must have the approval of the faculty member’s department chair/director or dean before deletion of a course. Approval is not required to delete development shells.
  7. Automated deletion of courses. Blackboard courses will remain in the system for a minimum of three years from the last day of the semester in which the course was taught (thus, a course taught in fall 2016 will only be eligible for deletion after December 2019). Each year, courses eligible for deletion (including development shells) will be deleted on April 15. On the previous March 1, communication about such deletions will be shared with the general university community in a manner deemed appropriate by Academic Innovations and eLearning (AI&e). Additionally, on that same day, email notifications of impending course deletions will be sent to each instructor. Instructors will have until April 1 to email the UAA Technical Support Center and request that a particular course be retained for an additional year. Instructors wanting to save a copy of their courses before April 15 may do so by using the archive or export features in the control panel (see sections 4 and 5, above, for course retention options).
  8. Cancelled Courses. Courses that are cancelled will be disabled after the change in Banner has processed and will no longer be available to students or instructors. For assistance recovering the course content please contact the UAA Technical Support Center during that semester.
  9. Non Academic/Development course shells. Non academic/development course shells refer to a course on the Blackboard system that is not a formal UAOnline course. They are functionally identical to a formal course. Development courses are generally set up for faculty and staff who would like to develop a new course, practice using Blackboard, or participate in departmental/committee groups. A course shell may be requested by faculty and staff using the Blackboard Course Shell Request. The maximum turnaround time for development course requests is 48 hours. Development course shells will follow the automated deletion process timeline and will be deleted if the course has not been accessed in the past three years.
  10. Course availability settings. By default, all newly created courses in Blackboard are "unavailable" to student users. That means that while a newly created course is automatically "on" and accessible to the instructor of record, the course is automatically "off" and inaccessible to all students in the class. Instructors are responsible for manually turning “on” each of their courses for their students and they can also choose to turn it “off” after the semester via the control panel.
  11. Course merging.  In some cases, multiple Blackboard Learn courses can be merged together. More information on the process can be found on the Blackboard Course Merge Request page.

VII. Information Accuracy & Security

  1. User information. In accordance with FERPA, the current default settings in Blackboard Learn present only student directory information to other students and instructors in a course.
  2. Official course rosters. The official course roster for any course is contained within UAOnline. Student rosters contained within Blackboard are strictly informational and should be checked against the official course roster in UAOnline for accuracy. If there are discrepancies between the Blackboard roster and UAOnline roster, contact the UAA Technical Support Center.
  3. Official grades. Final course grades are entered into UAOnline and are considered the official grades for a course. Blackboard Grade Center and Blackboard Evaluation tools should be considered informational and advisory in nature.

VIII. Copyright & Ownership

  1. Copyright-protected materials. Current copyright law (including Fair Use Policy and the TEACH Act) allows students and instructors to post copyright-protected materials to Blackboard Learn for course-related activities without obtaining prior permission. Instructors are encouraged to accompany all copyright-protected works in Blackboard Learn with clearly identified references and indicate when materials may be subject to U.S. Copyright law and are not for further reproduction and transmission based on the copyright status. Instructors who seek to take advantage of the exemptions of the TEACH Act should make either their course or the specific copyrighted content item “unavailable” in Blackboard Learn once their use in the course has ended. Implementing both practices (marking materials as copyrighted and controlling access to online copyrighted material) is a requirement of the TEACH Act. Furthermore, all Blackboard Learn specific content is copyright Blackboard Inc.
  2. External links. For legal reasons, instructors creating external links to websites from within Blackboard Learn should select the option that reads "open in a new window” and indicate to the students that the content will open in a new window.

IX. System Maintenance, Outages, & Disaster Recovery

  1. Notification of scheduled outages. Scheduled maintenance outages in Blackboard Learn will always occur at some point between 1am and 8am on Saturdays. Academic Innovations & eLearning and the UAA Technical Support Center will use appropriate means to alert UAA students, staff, and faculty of scheduled maintenance outages at least 72 hours before the outage occurs. "Appropriate means" includes adding a message to the Blackboard Learn login page and at least one of the following: emailing the UAA Community listserv, recording a message to the UAA Technical Support Center phone line, or posting to UAA social media channels. In addition, all UA Blackboard Learn scheduled outages will be available under the scheduled maintenance section of the UA OIT Services Status page.
  2. Reporting unscheduled outages Blackboard Learn.  All unscheduled outages lasting over 1 hour will be reported by Academic Innovations & eLearning or the UAA Technical Support Center within 24 hours using appropriate means, as defined above, even if the problem has already been solved. All outages for Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate are listed on the UAA ITS Service Status page.
  3. Reporting outages and performance problems. Users who detect problems with the Blackboard system (e.g., outages, error messages, slow load time, etc.) should contact the UAA Technical Support Center immediately to report the issue.
  4. Outages and academic responsibility. An outage prevents an individual from participating in Blackboard Learn based activities. Instructors should keep themselves advised of outages in order to be aware and adjust expectations and deadlines accordingly. Other computer, connection or technology difficulties are the responsibility of the individual and make up opportunities are at the discretion of the instructor.

X. Add-Ons to Blackboard

One of the features of Blackboard Learn is the ability to add functionality through tools from third party vendors. Examples of tools from third party vendors include, but are not limited to: VoiceThread, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson. Instructors are encouraged to use the following resource to evaluate a new tool: Blackboard Tool Evaluation Survey.

Requests for third party tools can be made through the UAA Technical Support Center. Requests must be made by the prior semester textbook adoption date, or one semester in advance. In the request please include:

  1. Purpose of the request
  2. Funding information (does the requested add-on cost money, if so, who pays for it?)
  3. A message from the vendor stating their level of accessibility
  4. A copy of the tool’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) from the vendor
  5. Due to the complexity of Blackboard add-ons, singular use is discouraged. Other interested users at UAA must be identified, including a minimum of three instructors or five courses
  6. The vendors hours of operation for technical support

The process for adding a new tool to Blackboard Learn:

  1. Stakeholder request through the TSC self service portal
  2. Research by AI&e on the tool
  3. Approval by Blackboard Learn Advisory Committee to proceed with testing the tool
  4. Testing of the new tool by AI&e, IT Services and stakeholders
  5. Upon successful completion, the tool will be added to Blackboard Learn

This process does not guarantee success and may take several months. Please address any questions to the UAA Technical Support Center.

Last revised: December 2020