Blackboard: Master Course Shells


What is a YSU Blackboard Master Course Shell and what are the benefits of using one?


A Master Course Shell is a course designated for one or more instructors to build, maintain and copy course structure and content into a new course each semester. We have used Master Course Shells at YSU for many years but not in an organized manner inside of Blackboard. Master Course Shells will be assigned a specific Term named "Master Course Shells" along with a standard course naming practice to assist in keeping courses organized. 

One of the steps in this process will be cleaning up old master course shells and templates that do not follow these standards or that are no longer used. The Cyberlearning Department and IDDC will assist in the process of creating and maintaining these courses.

What are the storage limitations of Master Course Shells?
Master Course Shells have a course size limit of 2 GB. This is to assist with aligning to course management best practices. Master Course Shells serve as the single source content for courses it is copied to, eliminating duplicate sources of data, ballooning course size and confusion regarding file versions. 

What if a course is taught by more than one instructor?
Any number of instructors can be assigned the instructor role in a Master Course Shell to build and maintain content. It is up to the department and group of instructors to maintain each Master Course Shell access list. Blackboard Administrators and Cyberlearning Department can assist with modifying this list. 

What if a single course needs multiple Master Course Shells?
It is possible to setup multiple Master Course Shells for a single course. This may be due to instructors that would like to teach a specific set of content for a course that is not shared with all instructors teaching the same course. It is best to discuss this with your department chair and other instructors who are teaching the same course to keep organized. 

What are the advantages of using a Master Course Shell?

  • Master Course Shells will stay active on Blackboard Production server as long as the course is taught at YSU.
  • They will not be removed like courses that are taught each semester as part of YSU's Blackboard Course Retention Guidelines. 
  • They can assist a department by organizing and managing teaching materials for better consistency across curriculums, accreditation review, course design and course lifecycle management. 

What are the disadvantages of using a Master Course Shell?

  • If changes are made to a live course during a semester, those same modifications may need to be made to the Master Course Shell as well, which requires additional time for maintenance. 

How do I request a Master Course Shell and what do I do if I already have a course shell that isn't part of this newer process?
You can open a Request Master Course Shell Service Request (Coming in the next few weeks, please contact the Cyberlearning Department in the interim) from the ITS Service Portal. If you already have a course shell, there are a few steps you may need to walk through depending on your situation. 

  • All Master Course Shells will be created in Ultra Course View.
  • If you have an Original Course, it will require you to recreate your course using the Ultra Course View.
  • If you already have an Ultra Course, you may be required to recreate your course using the new Master Course Shell depending on how it was built. This will be reviewed by the Cyberlearning Department during the building process. Copying from another course into a Master Course Shell is to be avoided as the Master Course Shell is intended to be pristine as not to cause issues copying into other courses. 


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Article ID: 146538
Thu 6/16/22 4:42 PM
Thu 1/26/23 2:02 PM