Blackboard: Course Shells

What is a course shell?

blackboard menu: home, getting started, syllabus, course materials
The course menu after a shell is imported.

The course shell is a starter structure for your course.  This shell is based on a set of online course design guidelines from UVM’s Continuing and Distance Education and the Center For Teaching and Learning.  It contains a pre-packaged set of menu items and content areas that you can import into the course.  To see an example of the structure, see this document (PDF).

Benefits of the using the course shell

Since the shell provides an organizational structure for your course, you can focus your time on developing content. It does not preclude or restrict your use of Blackboard tools or other University-supported tools. Students have reported that they find it easier to have a familiar structure from week to week, and from course to course.

How to Import the Course Shell

Downloading the Zip File

The first step in copying the course shell is to choose the appropriate zip file and save it to your computer. To do so, click the appropriate link below, and then save the .zip file to your own computer:

Putting the Course Shell Into Your Course

Once you have the .zip file on your own computer, please follow these steps to put the course shell into your course:

  1. Log into Blackboard.
  2. Click into the class where you’d like to put the shell.
  3. From the menu on the left, scroll down and click Packages and Utilities.
  4. Click Import Course Package/View Logs.
  5. Click Import Package.
  6. In the “Select a Package” area, click Browse My Computer.
  7. Select the archive .zip file, and click Open.
  8. Scroll down to the “Select Course Materials” area, and then click Select All. You’ll see checkmarks appear in all of the boxes below, after you do so. You can accept all of the defaults here.
  9. Scroll to the bottom, and click Submit.

Adjusting Your Course Menu

Once Blackboard imports the course shell, you will need to adjust your course menu. To do so,  click the very left of each menu item (before the text begins) and drag it to where it should be located. You can delete any duplicate menu items by clicking the down arrow to the right of the item, and then selecting Delete.

Moving Existing Content Into the Course Shell

Adding the course shell to an existing course will not overwrite content in the course. If you have existing materials in your course, you will need to move them into the new content areas created when you import the shell.  For more information on moving content within a course, see this article from Blackboard’s help documentation.

Updated on May 12, 2020

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