Using Course Templates

What is a Course Template?

A template is a “storage” course that allows faculty to retain their course materials from one academic year to the next. Students are never loaded to templates and templates are never deleted. Templates are also helpful for new course preps. The Course link for a live course always begins with the year and the semester e.g. 202009 whereas a Template course always begins with the word TEMPLATE. 

The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning HIGHLY recommends faculty using Blackboard, request a template for each live course they teach. After the template is created, unless requested, it will not be removed. Note: A new template is not needed for each semester. You are responsible for managing your template to ensure content is up to date.

Why Would I Need One? 

Creating a course in Blackboard takes time and energy. Courses in Blackboard are archived six weeks after the end date in Banner. This means that faculty will no longer have access to the content that was created in that course. One way to save the course content is to request a template. This saves all course content including assessments, learning activities, and other learning materials so that you have a copy of it the next time you teach it. Instead of starting from scratch, you can use the content in the template to start the next semester. Once the template has been copied into your new course, (see copying a template to your course below) you can edit, remove or update any of the learning materials. 

NOTE: A template for Remove Delivery is now available. See Standard Course Template for Remote Delivery below for more information

How Do I Get One? 

After you have taught a course for the first time you can request a template by contacting the Service Desk. They will need the course code, name, and CRN Example: 202501 COMM10148 5123, along with the request to have a new template created. 

NOTE: If you already have a template for the course you will not need to request a new one. You can simply update your template with the new content. 

Standard Course Template for Remote Delivery

As we work through remote delivery options, it will be important to consider the student experience, particularly when it comes to course navigation. The optional Remote Delivery Standard Course Template has been devised by Instructional Designers and has an evidence-based design.

What is it?

Our standard course template

  • is a zipped file that faculty can upload to the Bb course shells
  • contains a standard, simple structure with straightforward navigation
  • includes a Home Page (Stay on Track) with folders and a menu with basic tools
  • includes design tips
  • is fully modifiable and not prescriptive in terms of teaching style
  • can weave in learning design considerations as suggested in Remote Teaching Tips
  • can be customized so each program area has its own look or specific elements (connect with your Chair or Coordinator about program-specific templates).

Who benefits?

  • Students
    • helps ensure that students have a consistent experience in terms of navigating their courses
    • reduces exertion to figure out where to find materials and tools with each course they start
    • can support persistence and satisfaction (by enabling focus on learning tasks, reducing confusion)
  • Faculty
    • provides a quick-start environment  that eliminates the need to build a course structure from scratch
    • contains tips for modifying elements, and carry out other actions based on their preference
  • Chairs/Deans
    • helps ensure consistency across courses within programs
    • can fast-track new faculty in learning Blackboard and course standards
  • Support services:
    • when a course has a standard structure, it is much easier for support areas (such as CATL, service desk, Accessibility) to provide more efficient support to faculty
    • helps reduce student requests for help in navigating disparate courses
  • Academic Community
    • a common course structure facilitates easier collaboration on shared course resources and exchange of course ideas
    • enables faculty to more easily give peer support when there are questions about adding content or tools

Download the template here

The Standard Course Template can be downloaded to the right. It is a .zip file that you can save to your local computer or storage device and then upload to your Blackboard course shells.​See the instructions below for information on uploading it to your course shells. Download FileClick the above link to download. Be sure to note where the file is downloaded so that you can select it when uploading into Blackboard.

How to Upload the Template to Your Bb Course Shell

To see the basics on how to import the template into your course shells, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download the attached file

Step 2. Open up the course shell(s) that you want to copy the template into

Step 3. In the grey course administration menu on the left side, click ‘Packages and Utilities’

Step 4. A sub-menu will expand; select ‘Import Package/View Logs’

Step 5. In the screen that appears, click the ‘Import Package‘ button

Step 6. Click the ‘Browse my Computer’ button, then browse for the zip file that you downloaded

Step 7. Click the ‘Open’ button;

Step 8. Under the Course Materials section, click the ‘Select All’ button

Step 9. Click the ‘Submit’ button; the course will be copied promptly and you can then make any modifications you wish to your newly-templated course.

Information was adapted with permission from George Brown College

What If I Already Have a Template? 

If you already have a template you can update it at the end of each semester by copying the content from your live course into the template for the next semester. This needs to be done before the courses are archived so remember to pay attention to the end date in Banner. 

At the beginning of the next semester, you can then copy the content from your template into your course. The steps for this process are listed below. 

At the end of the semester, you have the option to save your content by copying your course into a template. If you do not have a template for a specific course see the section How Do I Get One?

If you already have a template you can follow the steps below.

Step 1. Go to your Live Course.  Your live course begins with the session code, followed by the course code, crn, and course name.  Example. 201909_COMM1048_3456_College Writing Skills.

Step 2. On the Control Panel, under Packages and Utilities, click Course Copy.

Course copy highlighted in the Packages and Utilities menu

Step 3. Select: “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course”

Copy Course materials in an Existing Course in the drop down options

Step 4. Next, you must identify the template that you would like to copy your course into. To do this, click “Browse” beside the Destination Course ID to browse your courses and templates. Select the appropriate template and click “Submit”.

Destination Course Browse

Step 5. Next, select the Course Materials that you want to copy over to your template. You can select “Select All” to copy the entire course into your template, or you can select individual content areas to copy.
Options for selecting course materials with select all circled in red

Step 6. Click Submit

Step 7. Once the “Course Copy” is completed you will receive a success message.

At the start of the semester, you have the option to use the content from the previous semester by copying your course template content into a live course. If you do not have a template for a specific course you will have to start from scratch. 

The following steps outline how to copy from a template to a course. 

Step 1. Go to your template. Your Template begins with the word TEMPLATE, followed by the course name, and course code.  Example. TEMPLATE: College Writing Skills COMM1048

Step 2. On the Control Panel, under Packages and Utilities, click Course Copy.

Course copy highlighted in the Packages and Utilities menu

Step 3. Select: “Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course”

Copy Course materials in an Existing Course in the drop down options

Step 4. Next, you must identify the course that you would like to copy your template into. To do this, click “Browse” beside the Destination Course ID to browse your courses. Select the appropriate course and click “Submit”.

Destination Course Browse

Step 5. Next, select the Course Materials that you want to copy over to your live course. You can select “Select All” to copy the entire course into your template, or you can select individual content areas to copy.
Options for selecting course materials with select all circled in red

Step 6. Click Submit

Step 7. Once the “Copy” is completed you will receive a success message.

Step 8. You can now update, delete or edit any content and information so that it is relevant for the current semester.

 

When you course copy, the process does not overwrite any content that is currently in the template. This means that you may have duplicate items. To avoid duplication and to ensure you are using the most recent content you have the option to bulk delete the template before you copy the most recent live course. 

If you want to keep older versions of assessments, learning activities or other resources do not bulk delete the template. If you have any questions feel free to contact CATL. 

NOTE: DO NOT BULK DELETE A LIVE COURSE

To bulk delete a template follow the steps below. 

Step 1. Open the TEMPLATE. Remember to check that you are in the TEMPLATE and not a live course. 

Step 2. Go to the control panel and then Packages and Utilities and then Bulk Delete

Package and Utilities with the Bulk Delete option outlined in red

Step 3. In the Select Content Materials to Delete section, select the boxes for the content areas in the course that you want to delete. If something is left unchecked it will not be deleted from the template. 

Options for deleting materials

Step 4. In the Select Other Materials to Delete section, select the boxes for content found in other areas of the course that you want to delete. 

Other course materials options

Step 5. In the Confirmation section, type “Delete” in the box to confirm the bulk delete.

Step 6. Select Submit.

Step 7. Once the template is empty you can then copy your live course content into the template for the following semester. See Copying a Live Course into a Template