I have a question on a very specific use of the merge enrollments feature in Blackboard 9.1 SP8. I understand that this feature allows for one "parent" course with multiple "children" courses under it that all share content from the "parent" course. The courses also all share a discussion board and gradebook.
I need to know if there is a way to take the sharing of content feature from the merge enrollments, but leave gradebooks and discussion boards seperate. Basically, I have multiple sections of a course taught by different teachers that need to only see students placed into their specific course section code.
I want to share content from a "parent" course, but not share gradebooks, discussion baords, announcements, etc.
Does anyone know a way this can be done?
I've only just started playing with the merge feature, but so far it looks as if it does exactly what the name implies: takes all the enrollments from the "child" courses, and puts them into the "parent" course.
So, the courses don't really "share" content, discussion board and gradebook--the students from all the child courses are enrolled into the parent course, and use the content, discussion board, and grade center from it. The child courses still have grade centers, discussion boards, etc., but those child courses are set to be not available to students.
Since all you want to do is share content across classes, and NOT actually combine enrollments for the classes, the "merge enrollments" feature might not be the best tool to use. If you have the content system, you can put the materials in a central content directory and set them to be shared with the child course, and manually link to them. (I don't have content system, so I don't know the details of this...) Or if you have the content in the parent course set up before the beginning of the term, you can use it as a template and copy it into the child courses, but it won't be dynamically updated if things change in the parent course.
I just checked, and it IS possible to change the availability settings on those child courses to make them available to students, so you could possibly use the parent class for content and the child classes for discussion board, grade center, etc. It will be a little confusing to students, because both classes will (to them) have the course name/ID of the child course that they're enrolled in. Also, if you have any online tests or assignments, you will have to deploy those in the content areas of the child courses not the parent course, since the attempts have top be directed to the grade center in the child courses. There may be other complications as well, since Blackboard does not seem to intend for those child courses to be used by students.
I've been trying to do what you described in making the child course of a merged course available but when I go to the action arrow beside the course ID the option to make the course availble is not listed.
Is there esomewhere else I should be looking for this?
You can make the child course available if you go into the course and do it from the course control panel. At least, you can if you allow instructors to set their course availability--I don't know how it works if you control it strictly via availability dates in the course properties.
Mike, thanks for your great information. One more question though. Since the parent course contains the all the enrollments of the child courses and uses its own grade book rather than the gradbook of the child courses, what are the implications of uploading grades from Blackboard merged course to Peoplesoft's SIS? Is there any remaining connection at all within Blackboard between the parent course and its child courses?
As far as I know, aside from enrollment management, there's no connection between the parent and child courses, and whatever grades are entered in the parent course are not transferred to the child course.
Since there is currently no built-in mechanism within Blackboard to upload grades from Blackboard to the SIS system, I'm not sure what the implications would be--it probably depends on how you do it. If you are trying to implement such an upload, you would probably want to look at pulling in the child course identifier that's used to display the student's child course in the parent course grade center.
Thanks! So I think you may have answered my main question. Even though grades reside with the parent course, in general, the parent course is "aware" or has the course id of the child courses if I understood you correctly. In other words there is a true parent child key relationship between the two it sounds like at least in terms of enrollment (not Grade Center and content though).
For example, Course A and Course B are merged into a parent course called "My Merged Course". The two courses together have a total of 5 students enrolled.
So forgetting about Grade Center for a second, in terms of enrollment only, My Merged Course "knows" that Student A, Student B, and Student C came from Course A and Student D and Student E came from Course B. I guess, for me anyway, it isn't quite clear in the literature yet what the key relationships are if there are any. But if we can know where each student came from so to speak, I think making any connections back to our SIS are manageable (with coding effort of course).
Again I very much appreciate your help! I apologize if this seems like a very basic question!
The parent course "knows" what child course the student is in because there's a column in the grade center of the parent course that displays the student's child course. I'm not sure exactly where that information resides, though--I haven't looked very deeply into how the course merge process is implemented within the application yet.
Our organization is just starting to investigate moving final grades from Blackboard to PeopleSoft. Please contact me if you are willing to share a bit about your implementation.
kmcdonald @ sl.on.ca remove spaces
St. Lawrence College
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