This spring MSU Denver decided to change learning management systems from Blackboard to Canvas. While the institution planned to migrate systems over 18 months, the migration occurred in two months due to COVID-19 to ensure all fall courses would be offered in one system.
Now that all current and future courses will be offered in Canvas, the Blackboard contract is redundant. It extends to January 31, 2022, but in an effort to save resources and funding, MSU will retire Blackboard one year early on January 31, 2021.
Materials that may currently only exist in Blackboard including student grade information and student materials may have an impact on grade appeals, grade changes, and “incomplete” grades, and this page describes action faculty should take to retrieve information from Blackboard. It also describes how faculty can retrieve course materials or personal files from Blackboard.
Additionally, two tools (Voicethread and Collaborate) will no longer be available since they are part of the Blackboard contract. MSU Denver has available tools that overlap with the functionality of these tools making them redundant. Since they each come at a cost, they will also be decommissioned along with Blackboard.
Below are the topics faculty should consider and actions they should take related to the decommissioning of Blackboard, along with tutorials to assist in their effort.
Manage Incomplete Grades
2019/20 Catalog Policy: https://catalog.msudenver.edu/content.php?catoid=32&navoid=2081#incomplete
Relevant policy language: Incomplete work denoted by the Incomplete "I" notation must be completed within one calendar year or earlier, at the discretion of the faculty member.
2020/21 Catalog Policy: https://catalog.msudenver.edu/content.php?catoid=35&navoid=2335#incomplete
Relevant policy language: Incomplete work must be completed within the subsequent long semester (fall or spring) or earlier, at the discretion of the faculty member.
1) Review the spreadsheet sent to affected faculty via email. If you did not receive an email, you likely do not have a student with an outstanding “I” in a Blackboard course.
2) Find the enrollment term.
a) Students enrolled prior to Fall 2019 have missed their window unless you provided an extension.
b) Students enrolled in Fall 2019 will see their window to change an “I” grade close this December (end of Fall 2020 courses). Feel free to inform them they have until the end of this term to change their grade.
c) Students enrolled in Spring 2020 have until Spring 2021 to change their grade, and students enrolled in Summer 2020 have until Summer 2021, unless you inform them you plan to shorten their window.
i) Option 1: Complete the steps in the Export Grades from Past Courses section and consider if you need to export student materials to determine the grade change.
ii) Option 2: Inform the student you are changing the window and they now have until some date you determine before January 31st, 2021 to change their grade.
3) For any “I” you are allowing to remain open (by policy or through an extension), inform the student of their deadline and complete the steps described in the below Export Grades from Past Courses section.
Manage Grade Appeals
2019/20 Catalog Policy: https://catalog.msudenver.edu/content.php?catoid=32&navoid=2081#GradeAppeal
Relevant policy language: If students have reason to question the validity of a grade received in a course, they must make their request for a change before the end of the fourth week of the semester following the completion of the course.
Faculty Action: None. Students needed to provide graded materials in the appeal process, not the university (or instructors). Classes ended August 1st, and since Blackboard was last used in Summer 2020 term, students had four weeks until August 28th to submit their appeals. We are beyond this deadline.
Manage Grade Changes
2019/20 Catalog Policy: https://catalog.msudenver.edu/content.php?catoid=32&navoid=2081#GradeChanges
Relevant policy language: Grade changes must be submitted within the first seven weeks of the semester following the completion of the class. Spring semester grades can be changed through the seventh week of the following fall semester.
Faculty Action: None. The grade change window already closed for all courses that used Blackboard. If you have outstanding “I” grades in your Blackboard classes, see the Manage Incomplete Grades section.
Export Grades from Past Courses
A Step-by-step tutorial has been built to assist this effort titled Export Blackboard Grade Center to Excel Spreadsheet.
Export/Import Course Content and Faculty Files
In preparation for a future migration, the university completed a complex migration of most courses already, completed a batch migration of every course starting in Spring 2018 through Summer 2020, and already has tapes of all course materials but not including student materials or grades.
We have copies of all course materials starting in Spring 2018 though Summer 2020. However, to avoid needing to make a request for these materials or to have confidence all materials are retained including anything prior to Spring 2018, faculty should use these tutorials to export/import materials. Tutorials include Open Blackboard and Canvas Simultaneously, Copy a Course from Blackboard to Canvas (Equivalent to "Tier 2 Migration"), Copy Content from Blackboard to Canvas, copy Files from Blackboard to Canvas, Copy Assessments from Blackboard to Canvas, Copy Assignments from Blackboard to Canvas, Copy a Canvas Course Using an Export File, Export Blackboard Course Archive, and Download Content from the "My Content" Area in Blackboard.
Faculty should consider the course materials, personal files, and student materials/data they would like to use as artifacts during evaluation processes such as Retention, Tenure, Promotion, and Post-Tenure Review. Blackboard will no longer be available to retrieve these materials.
Blackboard Personal Files (My Content)
If you have stored files in the Blackboard “My Content” content collection (outside of a Blackboard course), you will need to download those files separately. A step-by-step tutorial called “Download Content from the ‘My Content’ Area in Blackboard” has been built to assist these efforts.
Decommissioning Voicethread and Blackboard Collaborate
As Voicethread and Collaborate are part of our Blackboard contract, they will also be decommissioned along with Blackboard. All individual users and departments have been informed these tools will no longer be available, and step-by-step tutorials have been built to assist in transitioning to other resources. The tutorials include “Replace Blackboard Collaborate with Teams”, “Replace Voicethread with Yuja and Canvas Discussions”, and “Yuja Discussions – Student Perspective”.