Blackboard Tip: Avoid Bringing Last Quarter’s Discussion with Course Copy

This tip comes with a bit of a mea culpa: I’ve given out some slightly misleading information about the course copy process and now I want to make sure that I get the record set straight.

When you use course copy to move from one course to another, Blackboard asks you to select which course materials you’d like to move from the template course into the destination course. IDS has recommended that you click “Select All” and that’s all you need to do, but that’s not entirely correct. When you’re pushing out a copy of a live course’s content (moving your fall course into a winter shell, for example), there’s one more small step you need to do.

Under the Select Copy Options area, you can still use the select all feature, but make sure that you change the Discussion Board setting to “Include only the forums, with no starter posts.”


If you leave the default (“Include starter posts for each thread in each forum (anonymized),” you’ll end up copying your previous quarter’s discussions — all your fall students’ work on the forums, for example, will show in your winter course.

If you do accidentally bring in the “starter posts,” you’ll need to delete them. To do that, go into each of the forums and then click the select all box at the upper left (under “Thread Actions”) to select all the threads in the forum and then click on delete.


As a reminder, here’s the full explanation of how to complete the course copy process, updated to reflect the forum setting.

How to Use Course Copy to Export Content from One Course to Another

Blackboard’s guides to this process mention the ability to create a new course in copying, but we have that turned off at MCC. So “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course” is your only option. Next, you’ll click browse to find your destination course.


Find your destination course (there’s a search bar in the popup to help), click the checkbox next to it, then click Submit in the popup window.

After you submit on the popup, you’ll see the course ID in the destination box and next will need to select the course materials that you’re actually bringing over in your course copy. I recommend clicking on the select all button and then scrolling down to the discussion board options.

All the defaults once you click select all are just fine except for the discussion one. If you’re moving from a live course into a master or to another live course (going from fall to winter, for example), make sure that you change from “Include starter posts for each thread” to “Include only the forums.”

Change the discussion settings to include only the forums.

Change the discussion settings to include only the forums.

If you don’t make this change, you will copy all your previous quarter students’ discussion posts into your new course. That can be fixed, but it’s a bit of a pain in the butt. Just remember to change this setting and you’ll be good to go.

You can leave the default file attachments setting (“Copy links and copies of the content”) as-is.


But you do not want to include enrollments. (Blackboard Support will handle all enrollment issues.) When you’re copying courses, make sure you don’t have “Include Enrollments” (at the bottom) checked.

3With all your settings checked, click submit at the top or the bottom of the copy course screen. The course copy will take a few minutes to run and email you once it’s complete. I recommend not “touching” it while running; you can work on other stuff with Blackboard open in another tab.

Once your copy is complete, make sure the new course is set up correctly, starting with the course menu.

How to Build a Course Menu

Course copy moves all the course menu items from the course you copied, but it doesn’t replace anything you had in the destination course (remember, bulk delete does not delete blank pages linked in a course menu) and it can sometimes mess up the order of the stuff you brought over. If that happens, just hover your mouse over the link’s far left side, click and drag to move the order. The home page will whatever’s on the top of the menu. (If not, check your course entry point.)

If you need to add anything to your new course’s menu, you can use the “plus” in the upper right to add content areas, blank pages, tool links or web links.


The course menu varies by program area, but here are the IDS recommendations:

  1. Home Page – blank page
  2. Announcements – tool link
  3. Syllabus – blank page (copy and paste your syllabus text and attach it as a doc or PDF; see also How to Post Your Syllabus)
  4. Calendar – tool link
  5. Lessons – content area
  6. Send Email – tool link
  7. Check Email – web link to
  8. My Grades – tool link
  9. Blackboard Help – web link to

To add tool links, click the plus, name it, then select the appropriate tool from the dropdown.


You always have to make sure it’s available. You can check this by looking at your menu for boxes next to your links. A box with a slash through it indicates that course menu item is hidden, which you may want for some things that are just for you. An empty box indicates an area without content.


Note: Make sure any web links are set to open in a new window. If you click the edit chevron and see “Set Link to Open in Current Window,” you’re good to go. If you see “Open in a New Window,” make sure to click on it to get the right settings.

9Now you’re on your way to setting up your new course. Next, I would recommend checking that your gradebook is in tip-top shape.


Alex is online course support technician at IDS, working to support all online, hybrid and LMS-enhanced instructors and students in using Blackboard and several media servers. She's also the administrator for the MCC Blogs network. You can reach her at

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Blackboard, Blackboard Course Prep, Blackboard Learn for instructors
2 comments on “Blackboard Tip: Avoid Bringing Last Quarter’s Discussion with Course Copy
  1. […] quarter students’ discussion posts into your new course. That can be fixed, but it’s a bit of a pain. Just remember to change this setting and you’ll be good to […]

  2. […] quarter students’ discussion posts into your new course. That can be fixed, but it’s a bit of a pain. Just remember to change this setting and you’ll be good to […]

Let us know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: