Blackboard (Faculty) - Creation of Course Shells in Blackboard

This document provides an overview of the creation of Course Shells in Blackboard.

ITS will automatically create a Blackboard shell for every scheduled course listed in CougarNet/Banner. The Blackboard course shells will automatically be created three months prior to the start of the upcoming semester (ex: October for SP17 courses); ITS will notify the campus when the courses have been created. Classes added to CougarNet/Banner after the initial course creation will have a course shell created in Blackboard by the following day. 

  •  Instructor of Record: TBA
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

      1. Access CougarNet/Banner at
      2. Click on Class Schedule.
      3. Search by Term: click on the drop-down box and select the semester and year.

        Select term and year

      4. Click the Submit button.
      5. Subject: Select the subject or department
      6. Course Number: Enter the course number

        Course Subject and number

      7. Click the Class Search button at the bottom of the page.
      8. Identify the section. In the "Instructors" column, listed will be the name of the instructor, "TA Graduate Assistant," and/or "TBA."
      9. If the teaching faculty is not listed in Banner/CougarNet as the Instructor of Record, the faculty or department must contact the Registrar's Office

      Instructor's name
      TA Graduate Assistant

  •  Instructor of Record: "TA/Graduate Assistant"
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • [Doc 67329 is unavailable at this time.]

  •  Instructor Changes
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • Instructor Added
      If an instructor for a course is changed or is added in CougarNet/Banner, the new or changed instructor will automatically be added as an instructor to the Blackboard course shell. All work previously completed in the course shell will remain.

      Instructor Removed
      If an instructor for a course is removed from CougarNet/Banner, the instructor will be removed from the Blackboard course shell and will no longer have access to that course shell.  All work completed by the instructor in the Blackboard course shell will remain.

  •  CRN Changes
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • The CRN is an automatically generated five-digit course number in CougarNet/Banner. This number is tied to a corresponding course in Blackboard. If the CRN changes, enrollments in the corresponding Blackboard course will be affected. For example, if a course section is deleted from CougarNet/Banner, students and instructors will be removed from the Blackboard course associated with the old CRN and will be enrolled in the Blackboard course shell with the new CRN.

      The Blackboard course shell associated with the new CRN will be blank. The instructor will temporarily lose access to the content in the Blackboard course shell with the old CRN number. The instructor should send an email to the Blackboard Admin at and ask to be added to the Blackboard course shell associated with the old CRN number.

  •  Adding Users
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • Add or Remove Users in a Blackboard Course Shell

      Only the Blackboard Admin can add or remove users in a Blackboard course shell. Neither faculty nor Blackboard techs can add or remove users.

      To request a user be added or removed from a Blackboard course shell, the faculty member assigned to teach the course must complete the Add/Remove User form.

      Add Students to a Blackboard Course Shell

      Once a student enrolls in a course and is listed in CougarNet/Banner, the student will be automatically be added to the Blackboard course shell within 24 hours.

      Remove Students to a Blackboard Course Shell

      Once a student has dropped the course and the student is dropped from CougarNet/Banner, the student will automatically be removed from Blackboard course shell. 

      If the student has not dropped the course, contact the Blackboard Admin at

      Educard Students

      Educard students or students auditing the course must be added manually. Contact the Blackboard Admin at

  •  Merging Courses/Cross-listed Courses
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • Request to Merge Course Shells

      1. Fill out the Request to Merge Course Shells form.
      The merged course shell will appear like this in Blackboard:

      Merged course shell

      NURS-472R-502-201615 and
      NURS-472R-CP1-201615 are the individual courses or "child shells" created by CougarNet/Banner

      NURS-472R-502and-CP1-201615 is the merged course or the "parent shell."
      • The child shells are the source for the student enrollment.
      • Do not make the child shells available to the students.
      • The child shells cannot be deleted or the students will be removed from the parent shell.
      • All work must be added to the parent shell and not the child shells. 

      Merge Shell vs. One Shell for Each Section

      When should you merge course shell and when should you leave each section in an individual course shell?

      Merged Shell Benefits

      • Merged shells allow you to upload content once, and all course sections will see it. This is beneficial when you make frequent changes or additions to your course.
      • Once location to access all students. You would send one email or announcement and all sections would receive it, rather than composing an email or an announcement for each section.

      Merged Shell Drawbacks

      • Large Grade Centers - students from all courses are listed alphabetically and not by course section. This can be resolved by creating a Smart View for each section. See knowledge base article for Smart Views for more information.
      • Discussion boards can be complicated and overwhelming with large amount of students participating. Setting up sections in Groups can help overcome the magnitude of the postings. See the knowledge base article for Groups for more information.
      • If sections meet at different times, organizing tests or assignment due dates can get complicated.

      Individual Shell Benefits

      • Smaller amounts of students for discussion boards and projects.
      • Assigning specific due dates for assignments and tests based on individual course sections.

      Individual Shell Drawbacks

      • All work must be duplicated across the section's shells. Every change or update must be repeated with each shell.
      • Must access each section's shell to post announcements, emails, grades, etc. 

  •  Developmental Course Shell Request
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

    • If you need to begin work on your course earlier than when the course shells are automatically created, request a developmental course shell by completing the Administrative Course Request Form. The contents of the developmental shell can then be exported and imported into the course shell when it is created three months prior to the beginning of the semester.

  •  Make Courses Available
    (Click on the + to expand the instructions.)

      1. Log into Blackboard and go into the course.
      2. Go to a page in your course other than the Announcements page (e.g. click on Coursework or Discussions). 
      3. Click on the Lock in the upper-right corner of the screen.

        Click on lock to make course available

      4. The lock icon will "open" and your course will be available to students. 


      1. Under the Control Panel section within the Blackboard course, click on Customization to expand the options there.
      2. Click on Properties.
      3. In the "Set Availability" section, change the radio button from No to Yes.
        make course available

      4. Click Submit.
      Note: Do not change any other settings on the Properties page. These are preset and when changed it can cause issues with enrollments or availability dates.

Keywords:blackboard, black board, bb, course shells, course, courses, developmental shell, play shell, generate, dev shell, sandbox course, request a course, get a blackboard course,   Doc ID:67338
Owner:Laura M.Group:Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Created:2016-09-28 15:34 CDTUpdated:2017-05-24 16:32 CDT
Sites:Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
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