Course copy

Learn how to copy content from the 2019 academic year into Aston’s new course template for 2020.

Check you have the right permissions to copy

To course copy from one year to the next, you will need to be an instructor on both the 2019 Blackboard course (the source), and its 2020 equivalent (the destination).

If you are not an instructor on the:

  • 2019 course: contact the TEL Team to obtain access.
  • 2020 course: speak to your college’s/school’s/department’s SITS administrator to be added to the Blackboard course.

Check the content in last year’s course

Navigate to the 2019 Blackboard course and (re)familiarise yourself with the content and tools in use, keeping in mind that there are a few methods to get your 2020 Blackboard course ready:

  • Do a course copy – selecting the content areas you wish to copy across, moving the items into the appropriate content area for the new template, and then deleting the old content areas.
  • Copy individual content items from 2019 into 2020.
  • Rebuild your course for the new template.

Adobe Flash End of Life

Adobe will no longer support the Flash player at the end of December 2020. The major browsers have announced they will be removing Flash player at the same time (Chrome, Safari/Webkit, Firefox, Microsoft).

Any content that requires the Flash Player will cease to work in December 2020.

You will need to ensure you have replaced any of this content prior to that date.

At Aston, these may be materials created with older versions of…

  • Adobe Presenter
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Articulate Storyline

… although this is not an exhaustive list. You may also have content developed by third parties which requires Flash.

Blackboard Collaborate Original: End of Life

If you wish to keep access to any recordings from last year’s Blackboard Collaborate Original sessions, you will need to download these by 30 September 2020, where you can then upload them into Panopto.

Check last year’s content area names

If the course area in the source course and the course area in the destination course have the same name and are of the same type, the content from the source course will be added, but will not replace the content in the area in the destination course. You may want to prevent this – if so, rename the content area in the source course.

Perform a course copy

Browse to the 2019 Blackboard course.

In the Course Management section (underneath the course menu, on the left-hand side), expand Package and Utilities in the Control Panel and click Course Copy. The Copy Course screen will open. There are four steps to complete on this screen, prior to starting the course copy:

  1. Select copy type
  2. Select copy options
  3. File attachments
  4. Enrolments

Step 1: Select copy type

Leave this at the default setting – there are no other options listed in the dropdown.

Step 2: Select copy options

Destination Course ID

Click Browse.

A new window/tab will open to let you browse or search for the destination course:


Click the radio button [a] next to the required course then click Submit [b] This will close the window/tab and take you back to the previous screen.

Select Course Materials, tools, and options

This is where you select the content to copy from the source course into the destination.

Content areas are listed first, followed by the various Blackboard tools and settings you can make use of (e.g. blogs, wikis, course availability etc).

To copy a content area/tool into the destination course, ensure that the box is checked.

Your college/school may create Turnitin or Blackboard assignments for you – they may ask for you not to copy these.

The Blackboard Help site has details on the specifics of the options of the built in Blackboard tools. We have highlighted some common ones below.

To record content for this year’s course – you will need to provision the course.

To make previous Panopto content available to the current year’s course – you will need to provision the course, then select the relevant Panopto folder in last years Blackboard course.

If you tick Grade center columns and settings, your Turnitin assignments will be copied across – you will need to amend the dates for each one.

If you do not tick this, you will need to delete and recreate your Turnitin assignments in the 2016 course.

If you tick Tests surveys and pools and Grade center columns and settings

Your tests and surveys will remain deployed in the relevant content area and the grade centre column will remain intact, minus any values.

If you do not tick Grade center columns and settings (unchecked)

Your tests, surveys and question pools will be copied but your tests and surveys will be removed from the content area and will have to be redeployed.

Blackboard Assignments

If you wish to copy Assignments, counter-intuitively you must tick Tests surveys and poolsand Grade center columns and settings during the course copy procedure.

These tools will keep their basic structure but minus any of the student-generated content.

No existing session recordings will be available via the Collaborate scheduler. If you want to give students in the 2020 course access to a session recording from 2019, you will need to download the recording and upload it into Panopto.

Please contact TEL Support, for any support requests.

Step 3: File attachments – aka Course Files

Everything you upload into a Blackboard course gets saved into the Course Files area.

Select Copy links and copies of the content. This will copy files that have been linked from items in the course (i.e. attached to an item).

Does your course have any HTML sites, Adobe Presenter, Articulate, or any other similar content?

If so, you will need to select Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder) to ensure that all files for that material are copied to the destination course, not just the file that launches the viewer (eg index.html).

If you leave the default Copy links and copies of the content option selected, your presentations will not work for the students enrolled on the 2020 Blackboard course.

Step 4: Enrolments

Do not include enrolments in the copy

Student enrolments are managed for you based on the module’s record in SITS. Leave this box unchecked.

Step 5: Begin the course copy

Click Submit at the top or bottom of the page

The course copy process will not happen instantly.

The request will go into a queue and you will be emailed when it is complete. Do not attempt the course copy process again!

Check the progress of a course copy

If you want to check on the process of your course copy, navigate to the destination course. The status of the copy will be shown at the top of the page.

Course copy is waiting

You don’t need to keep checking the destination course – you will also receive an email when the copy is complete.

Move/amend content

Content areas copied over from the 2019 course are added to the bottom of the course menu. You will need to move content items from out of those content areas into the appropriate ones for the new Aston course template.

If you are making use of dates for adaptive release, availability, or Blackboard assignment due dates, you can use the Date Management tool to change these in bulk rather than edit them one by one.

Delete unneeded content areas from the course menu

When you’ve all the items you need out of the copied content areas, delete them.

Check the 2020 course

Use Blackboard’s Student Preview mode to see the course as a student.

  • Does the structure make sense?
  • Does the content work?
  • Does any of the content use Adobe Flash Player?


Contact the TEL Team.