Policies and Procedures Related to Use of UTCOnline (Blackboard™)
1) Introduction -- definitions, CMS, tech fees funding, AUP, password standards, etc.
2) Access & Authentication
a. Default access
b. Faculty, Staff and Student Accounts
g. Length of Access to Course Site
h. Training & Support
1) Faculty & Staff
3) Other Resources
3) Course Management
a. Course Creation
1) Current Semester
1. Default class menu items
2) Access in subsequent semester(s)
b. Faculty Assignment/Instructor of record
1) Process to change faculty of record
2) Adding GA, DH, other faculty, etc.
c. Co-listed courses/Course Combine
d. Course Size Limitations
1) Best Practices
e. Gradebook Information
f. Class Rolls
g. Course Cartridges -- upload responsibility, consideration & adoption guidelines
End of Semester Procedure
4) Non-instructional Uses
5) Information Security – Best Practices Intro (Password, AUP, confidential)
a. Controlling Access to Student Information
b. Provisions for “Alias” Accounts
c. E-mail Address Display
d. Display of UTC-ID
6) Copyright Issues
a. Posting Copyrighted Materials
1) linking to library db files
b. Linking to External Sites from BB
c. Linking to BB from External Sites
7) Intellectual Property
a. Ownership of Course Sites
b. Student-created Materials on BB
c. System Management Data
8) System Administration
a. Who can be named as an administrator (training & position)
b. Authority of system administrators
c. Upgrades and Update responsibility and schedules
1. Advance Notice
Policies and Procedures Related to Use of UTCOnline (Blackboard™)
This document is intended to serve as a set of guidelines used for decision-making related to the use of UTCOnline (specifically Blackboard™ [BB]), a course management software [CMS]) licensed for use by the
The CMS is funded currently through a yearly grant from the University Technology Committee, with funds from the student technology fees. Included in these guidelines are statements related to Access, Course Management, Non-instructional Uses of the System, Information Security, Copyright, and Intellectual Property Rights, a timeline corresponding to the academic year, and system administration. These guidelines have been reviewed and approved by the Provost. For further information or clarification on any of these guidelines, contact the
This document is intended to be available solely online for ease in usability and access, as well as to ensure its currency. Do not rely on printed copies of this document without first verifying their accuracy against subsequent updates. Changes to these policies will be reflected in the “Last Updated” date listed at the beginning and end of the document.
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Access & Authentication
Access to the UTCOnline (BB) course management software, materials, and affiliated online tools is granted as follows.
Faculty, Staff and Student Accounts: All faculty, staff and students who have a current UTC-ID and are active in the UTC directory (http://people.utc.edu/) have access to the Blackboard system. All UTC students, faculty, and staff have one BB account each that is used for all of their BB activities. Even if these individuals are not involved with a course or organization (community) that is currently utilizing BB, they will be able to use the tools and features that are course-independent. Access to the BB software is authenticated through the UTC-ID (user name) and password for the Onenet e-mail system.
Exceptions: A limited number of users who may not be assigned a UTC-ID in time for their use during a semester may be provided an account that is a BB-only username and password. Requests for this type of account must be made by a UTC sponsor (faculty or staff member) via e-mail to the system administrator. Once an official UTC-ID is assigned, the temporary username and password is disabled and then deleted at the end of the semester.
Student Access: Students are
automatically enrolled in their registered classes in Blackboard within
48 hours of their enrollment. Instructors may, at their
discretion, provide full access to their course site(s) to currently
enrolled UTC students who are not yet registered for the course, or who
are in the process of adding the course to their schedule. It is
the instructor's responsibility to add these students to the
appropriate class. As students add courses to their schedule,
they will be automatically added to the appropriate BB rosters
(“enrolled”), typically within 48 hours. Students who drop
classes are NOT automatically removed from the courses online.
Students who drop courses must request that the instructor “deactivate”
their enrollment in the class to prevent unauthorized access to course
materials. Administrators will not remove or deactivate students
from courses. Students lose access to the BB system when their
Onenet accounts and access is disabled.
Temporary Accounts: Users that are not officially affiliated with UTC (guest discussants or mentors, for example) may be provided an account that is a Blackboard-only username and password at the request of a UTC “sponsor” (faculty or staff member). These accounts (referred to as “exceptions”) are considered temporary, but are renewable on an annual basis, with the approval of the UTC sponsor. Such accounts are assigned only to individuals who are working with UTC faculty/staff on officially recognized activities on the BB system (i.e., those included under the institution’s license for the software). In addition, the BB system allows an individual without an account (known as a “guest” in BB terminology) to gain access to specific areas of course sites, not including course rosters, user tools (e.g., user directory), or communication tools. Course sites may, at the discretion of the instructor, be made entirely or partially available to guests. The default setting (as determined by the UTC system administrators) for access to course sites locks each site entirely and may only be made accessible to guests by the instructor of record or system administrator at instructor’s request.
Unauthorized Access: Faculty, staff or students who are found to have given their UTC-ID and password to others to access the system may have their access to the system terminated. All users should follow best practices outlined in the UTC Acceptable Use Practices.
Length of Access to Course Site: Five weeks after any given semester, all courses from the previous semester are automatically made unavailable by the system administrator. Faculty will still have access to the past semester's courses for a minimum of two weeks into the following semester.
Faculty & Staff: Faculty
and staff can attend pre-scheduled training sessions on the system
Students: Student training and resources are located at the following web pages: http://utconline.utc.edu/. Students can also get help accessing the site from their instructors, the UTC Help Desk, or the online manual available through the Blackboard site.
Other Training Resources: Faculty and staff also have access to the Blackboard manuals through the corporate site.
Access in Subsequent Semesters: Faculty members may request that students continue to have access to a course site beyond these dates by completing the online request form at http://utconliune.utc.edu/. Reasons for extending course access might include providing access for students who are finishing “incompletes” or in progress classes, or the continuation of a multi-semester course. A student who is finishing an “incomplete” but who is not currently enrolled at UTC may be subject to loss of their UTC username. In this case, an exception account must be requested and established for that student at the request of the instructor. Access to the CMS will not to extend beyond the student’s deadline for completion of work required to receive a course grade. In general, retaining courses beyond the usual cut-off is discouraged due to the potential confusion for students, increased work created for the BB administrative staff, and possible copyright and security concerns. If a course from a previous semester remains on the system, it is the faculty's responsibility to ensure that past students do not have access to the course materials.
Faculty Assignment/Instructor of
Record: Faculty are assigned to the course based on the
course listing on the UTC Course Timetable web page. If an individual instructor has been
assigned a class by mistake, a request can be made to correct the
listing from the UTCOnline web pages. Faculty can also use online
forms to request an assignment to a class that may be missing.
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Process to change the faculty of record: Faculty not listed in the UTC Course Timetable will not be added to a course unless approval is received from the Department Head or the faculty of record.
Adding other Faculty/Users to the Course: No faculty or students will be added to the course unless they are listed in either the student information system as enrolled in the class or on the course timetable as teaching the class. All others must be approved and enrolled by the faculty of record. Department heads will not be added to the course unless approved by the faculty of record. Individual faculty/instructors may enroll graduate student(s), teaching assistants, or departmental support personnel to individual classes and may also assign them a supportive roll. System administrators will not enroll these additional users to classes.
The following user roles are available.
· Course Builder: User is able to add content to the course through the Content Areas and the Course Tools on the Course Control Panel. Course Builders are not listed on any of the e-mail lists and are seen by students as being a part of the course. Course Builders do not have access to the Gradebook, Gradebook Views or Course Statistics.
· Grader: User is able to access all areas under Content Areas, Announcements, Course Calendar, Assessments, the Digital Drop Box, and List/Modify Users.
· Guest: User is able to view areas of the course, but cannot participate in any way. Guests cannot see the course listing upon log in to the system, but may access the class through the Catalog. Guests can only access portions of the class that have been designated for Guest Access.
· Instructor: User is able to control all aspects of the course through the Course Control Panel.
· Student: User is able to access all available course content and will be graded on Assessments.
Teacher's Assistant: User is
able to control most aspects of the course through the Course Control
Panel. TA's cannot add to or remove participants from the course.
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Course Size Limitations: At this time, there is no defined limitation on the size of course sites. Faculty whose BB courses contain extremely large files (video clips, for example) may request advice and assistance to help compress files to utilize space as efficiently as possible. If course files and file size negatively impact the system performance, limits may be set by the administrator.
Best Practices: For faculty who wish to make large digital files (video clips, PowerPoint files, large graphic image files) available to their students, the following best practices are offered.
· PowerPoint files: Create handouts of the PowerPoint files with either four slides or six slides per page in pdf format. This will allow more students to access the large files and conserve on printing. In addition, by using the pdf format, students do not have to have a full version of PowerPoint to access the information.
· Video files: Place video files on individual faculty Onenet space and link to them from the Blackboard course. Remember that students who access the Internet from a modem may have trouble accessing the typically large video files.
· Graphic files: Create these and save them as pdf files for easier access by students.
Gradebook Information: The Gradebook can be maintained by the faculty as a way to communicate mid-course grades to students. The Blackboard Gradebook is not an official record of student grades, nor should it be considered a legally binding record of student scores. Faculty are strongly encouraged to periodically print out (download) a copy of the online Gradebook, and to print a final copy for their records at the semester end. Faculty are also strongly encouraged to post student grades only in the secure BB gradebook as other posting of grades may violate Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other privacy laws.
Class Rolls: Class rolls in
Blackboard are NOT considered official class rolls. Regular
downloads for class rolls are uploaded each night, but students who
have dropped the class are never removed from the online course.
Instructors should regularly compare their BB class rolls to the rolls
available through WebASIS and delete, remove, or make unavailable
students who have dropped the course.
Course Cartridges: Course cartridges enable instructors to gain
access to complete sets of teaching tools provided by academic
publishers. Instructors who choose to use course cartridges must get
the appropriate download key from the publisher and load the course
cartridge him/herself. Before adopting books or course
cartridges, please consult with the Blackboard Administrator or the
A Blackboard Course Cartridge is a "cartridge" made up of content that can be loaded, as a unit, into Blackboard, the system used by UTCOnline. Course Cartridges are provided by textbook publishers as supplements (in some cases replacements) for textbooks. Exported or archived classes are not course cartridges.
Before deciding to use a course cartridge, please check with the BB system administrator to ensure that our system can accommodate the cartridge. You may need to request the system version number and license agreement to ensure that our system will accommodate the cartridges under consideration.
· Course cartridges are course content and not part of the UTCOnline system. Thus, they are the responsibility of the faculty member or department representative employing them, not the UTCOnline staff, except as specified below.
· Course cartridges can require very long download times and reduce availability of the UTCOnline server. Any faculty member or department representative that needs to have course cartridges downloaded must inform the Blackboard administrator four (4) weeks before the first day of classes for the semester in which the cartridge will be used. At this time, UTCOnline staff will consult on the best time to download the cartridge.
· Only UTCOnline staff can download course cartridges and will do so when provided with the ""Course Cartridge Instructor Download Key." However, responsibility for coordinating with the publisher, the publisher's technical support and for obtaining the "Course Cartridge Instructor Download Key" will remain with the faculty member or department representative.
· The "Course Cartridge Instructor Download Key" must be provided to UTCOnline staff no later than four (4) weeks before the first day of classes for the semester in which the cartridge will be used. In some cases, the publisher may require a unique download key for each section. In this case, it is the responsibility of the faculty member or department representative to obtain one unique key for each section. UTCOnline staff will not request additional keys should they become required.
· If UTCOnline staff are not made aware of the need to download course cartridges at least four (4) weeks before the first day of classes for the semester in which the cartridge will be used, the cartridge will not be downloaded until three (3) weeks AFTER the beginning of the semester.
· UTCOnline uses the Blackboard 6 learning system. WebCT e-Packs are intended for a different CMS system (WebCT) cannot be loaded onto UTCOnline. Some publishers offer both WebCT e-Packs and Blackboard Course Cartridges.
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End of Semester Procedure:
End of Semester Notification: During exam week and for up to five weeks after the end of each semester, all BB faculty will receive an e-mail message detailing their options for re-using or deleting course sites. Faculty have the option of archiving and exporting course files and may choose to do both. UTC will NOT archive or export any courses for back up. Classes from the previous semester will be deleted the fifth week after the start of the following semester.
Courses Kept on the BB Server: To meet the goal of using server space efficiently, the only course sites that may be maintained on the BB server are those in use during the current semester or those being prepared for upcoming semesters. Faculty must export any class or course information they wish to keep for future use.
Course Archives for Record Keeping: Faculty may make an archive for later retrieval through the course control panel. Course Archives create a compressed file of all items from the specific course, including specific student and gradebook information. Archiving a course creates a permanent record of the course for a specific semester, without deleting any information. If an archive needs to be restored, that must be done by e-mailing the archived file (in .zip format) to the BB Administrator and requesting that the class be restored. Retrieving these records from the archive is a time-consuming and imperfect process, and should be considered a last resort for retroactive grade information. Courses will only be retrieved upon request of the original instructor of record who created/offered it. The exception to this would be if the BB Administrator received written permission from the original instructor to make the archived course materials available to another instructor/staff member.
Exporting Courses for Future Use: Instructors may export their course materials for re-use in a future semester. Instructors can do this through the control panel by exporting the course. When the semester for the course begins, the instructor(s) and/or their designee have the rights to import the exported course documents into the new semester course.
Transferring Course Sites: Instructors may elect to transfer their course site and its materials to another faculty member, or give other faculty members, department heads, graduate students, etc. access to their course site. Course sites will not be re-assigned to a new instructor for re-use without written permission from the original instructor. If a faculty member leaves UTC for other employment, they may export their course site(s) for use at their new campus.
Non-instructional Uses: The course management system is maintained for instructional use (i.e., to support courses offered by UTC). Campus units, departments, UTC committees, and student clubs may request the set up of organizational areas by sending an e-mail to the administrator that includes the name of the organization and an electronic list (excel file is acceptable) of the UTC-IDs for the individuals to be enrolled in the organization and the on campus sponsor for the organization/group. All organizations must have a faculty/staff sponsor identified before set up will be approved. Other organizational uses may be approved by the UTC Information Technology Advisory Council.
Information Security: The BB user database is uploaded directly from the UTC Automated Student Information System (ASIS). The security of these systems is of paramount importance in maintaining a reliable and trusted resource for virtually available instructional materials and tools.
Controlling Access to Student Information: As with other university records, faculty are cautioned to take care that student information (including, but not limited to, grades, test scores, user names, or ID numbers) be closely guarded. As noted in the gradebook information section above, grades should not be posted so that students may see scores belonging to anyone but themselves (for example, in a spreadsheet uploaded to the course site). UTC-IDs are used for access to the Blackboard system. UTC-IDs are only listed for users who have access to enroll users, list or modify users, remove users or to the gradebook and assessments area.
Provisions for "Alias" Accounts:
E-mail Addresses: Blackboard only uses the UTC assigned e-mail address for students, faculty and staff. E-mail addresses are not available to the general user although users may e-mail other students as a part of a class. E-mail addresses are displayed for other users in the course.
Display of UTC-IDs: UTC-IDs are displayed in certain areas of the course. In particular, the group function displays UTC-IDs as a part of the file sharing function.
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Copyright Issues: Faculty are strongly encouraged to respect the property of others by obeying copyright law and requesting permission, when appropriate, before using the work of others.
Posting Copyrighted Materials: Copyright Law and Fair Use Guidelines allow faculty WHAT? Instructors are advised to consider the use of the online Lupton Library resources to avoid infringement.
Linking to Library Databases from within Blackboard: Best practice encourages faculty to link directly to articles and additional readings provided through the Library online databases. Instructions for how to make these links directly to specific articles are located in the online help materials.
Linking to External Sites from BB: The BB software provides an easy-to-use interface for integrating links to other websites into course materials. Instructors are encouraged to link to other sites, rather than attempting to integrate the desired materials directly into the BB course site. This alleviates copyright concerns and retains the integrity of the materials (and associated links) in their original environment. It is the responsibility of the instructor to confirm that links from BB to external sites are viable.
Linking to BB from External Sites: It is possible to link to a BB course site directly from websites external to BB. Users will, however, be prompted to log in with their recognized UTC-ID to prevent unauthorized access to materials residing on the system.
Intellectual Property: The
Ownership of Course Sites: Instructors who create course sites retain all rights to those materials, including the right to create an archived or exported copy of the site in digital format. Use of the site and access to its materials and tools are determined by the instructor, and these rights may be reassigned by that individual only.
Student-created Materials on BB: Instructors may choose to post student work (or expect students to post their own work) on the BB course site. Students must be informed of this (preferably in writing) at the beginning of the course. They must also be told if their work will be retained in the course site beyond the duration of the semester and whether others will have access to it. No evaluative commentary or grade information from the instructor may be included with student work if the work includes information identifying its creator. Students retain all rights to their work. These policies also apply to student-posted messages in a Discussion Forum.
System Management Data: Information
regarding BB system performance or usage is considered the property of
Administrator Access: A limited number of individuals have administrator accounts on the system. These individuals have advanced training on the CMS system. No faculty will be granted administrative access to the system.
Authority of System Administrators: System administrators have the authority to create classes and organizations; change and maintain the system look and feel; import users into courses and organizations and troubleshoot the system functions and server. In addition, system administrators can post system-wide announcements and academic calendar items for all users.
Upgrades and Update Responsibilities: System administrators will regularly upgrade and update the system and server software necessary to maintain the effectiveness of the entire system. System administrators will attempt to perform upgrades and updates during the normal maintenance time. If other times are needed, a system administrator will inform users of "scheduled" downtime via the system announcement function.
Downtime: System administrators are sensitive to the nature of the use of UTCOnline and try to limit the amount of downtime. In the event of an unscheduled downtime, please notify the Help Desk (x4000) or e-mail the Online Technologies Coordinator (Adam-Trowbridge@utc.edu).
Advance notice: System
administrator will make every attempt to provide advance notice of any
planned downtime that will occur at different days and times or last
longer than the normal maintenance schedule.
Four weeks before classes begin
Request upcoming semester courses from ITD, upload and assign faculty to courses
Two weeks before classes begin
Classes for the upcoming semester available for faculty
One week before class begins
Upload new students to the system and assign to classes
Students uploaded and enrolled in classes
Five weeks into the semester
Previous semester classes are deleted from the system
Two weeks after a semester is over
All previous semester classes made unavailable for students
For Blackboard purposes, all summer sessions are dealt with as one
semester. All summer classes are loaded and assigned at the same
time at the beginning of 1 summer AM and 1 summer PM.
CMS: Course management system. A computer software system designed to facilitate teaching and learning. Examples of course management systems are: Blackboard and WebCT. There are many other systems as well.
Course: A course on the CMS system is defined as a class that is created for a specific semester for a specific group of students.
Organization: Organizations (also referred to as Communities) are areas created and maintained in the CMS for activities and groups that span more than one semester and that do not relate to the academic course schedule.
Community: Communities (also referred to as Organizations) are areas created and maintained in the CMS for activities and groups that span more than one semester and that do not relate to the academic course schedule.
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