Introduction

This document contains policies that govern the administration and use of the enterprise learning management system (LMS) at Boston University (BU), currently Blackboard Learn. These policies have been developed by members of the LMS Steering Committee, the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT), and Information Services and Technology (IS&T) by the approval of the Teaching and Learning Governance Committee and reflect existing practices and recommended guidelines to implement. The Office of the Provost has approved these policies and these policies are to govern the use of any university-wide LMS at BU.

The policies described in this document refer to the current LMS (Blackboard Learn) which is centrally supported through the IS&T Service Desk and administered by IS&T. The policies do not apply to LMS deployments supported by individual schools and colleges, or to emerging LMS services under development or in use for a specialized purpose.

Changing, modifying and adding policies

These policies reflect a collection of ideas put forth by academic professionals at BU. These policies can be modified, amended, or removed and new policies can be set in place by the following process:

  1. A formal request must be made by an academic dean and sent to CEIT for review.
  2. Said request will be forwarded to the LMS Steering Committee for review.
  3. If approved, the request will be sent to the Teaching and Learning Governance Committee.
  4. If approved with a 2/3-majority vote, the request will be submitted to the Office of the Provost for implementation and approval for campus-wide implementation.

Version: 1.8

Updated: 2/24/2015

Table of Contents

Section 1: LMS Functionality

User Accounts

Course Roles

Enrollment Request

Requesting New Course Roles

Course Copy

Copyright

Section 2: System Administration

Third-party Tools and Functionality

Course Availability & Retention

Appendices

Appendix A – Course Role Definitions & Privileges

Appendix B – New Course Role Request Workflow

Appendix C – Building Block Request Workflow

 

Section 1: Teaching & Learning Functionality

User Accounts

User accounts are considered any account created and listed in the learning management system (LMS), making the account available for course, institution, or system use as governed by roles assigned to the account.

All members of the Boston University community with a BU login name and Kerberos password have a user account within the appropriate LMS. This includes faculty, students, and administrative and academic staff. Members outside of the BU community who need access to an LMS learning space can do so by requesting sponsorship from an individual or a department from the BU community. The individual must then have an account created for them and be enrolled into a course by the request of the instructor. For more information about BU login names, please visit the IS&T website at www.bu.edu/tech

Course Roles

This section is intended to clarify the Blackboard Learn roles and their use. Each role has a specific function within a course, but does not affect any information within the LMS.

All roles created and maintained by the Office of Distance Education do not fall under these policies.

Course Roles at a Glance

Instructor Teaching Assistant Course Builder Grader Student Visitor Guest
Access to Course (at a glance) Full Limited Limited Limited Read-only Read-only Read-only
Add/Remove/Edit course content Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Edit Course Tools Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Access to Control Panel Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Access to Grade Center Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Manage/Enroll users Yes No Yes No No No No
Listed in Grade Center N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes No No
Does instructor need to enable access? Must be enabled on guest/observer access page

For more details see Appendix A – Course Role Definitions & Privileges

Enrollment Requests

No individual may request access to a course for him- or herself unless they are the instructor of record for the course. If the individual is not the instructor of record for a course, they must request access from someone with a high level of access to that course, as described in the following table. Furthermore, individuals may not request enrollments for users with the same level of access as themselves.

Anyone who is officially registered through the University Registrar as a student will be added to the course at the instructor’s request.

Requests for course enrollment may be fulfilled based on the role of the requestor (as shown below).

A person with the Blackboard Learn course role of… May request access for… Can be given access by…
Instructor Anyone Faculty Link or Department Chair or Dean
TA Course Builder, Grader, Student, Guest Instructor
Grader/Course Builder Students and Guest Instructor or TA
Student or Guest or Visitor None Instructor, TA or Course Builder

Any role listed as “Distance Education” does not fall under these policies.

Additional Requests 

Enrollment of Additional Faculty or Administrative Personnel

The IS&T Service Desk must receive a formal request from a dean, department chair, or the instructor of record to enroll additional faculty or administrative personnel into a course or multiple courses either temporarily or for continued access in a particular. When this is done, that account will be flagged in the IS&T ticket tracking system (currently Service Now) as someone with the authority to make course copy and enrollment requests for a particular course(s) or departmental courses with no further authorization required.

Requesting New Course, Institution or System Roles

If a faculty member, dean, department chair or associated administrative support staff requires a role that is currently unavailable or does not fit their needs, a request can be made to the Service Desk for a new course, institution or system role. The Service Desk will submit the request to the LMS Steering Committee for further review.

Any Blackboard user whose primary interaction with the system is in a student, guest, or observer capacity is not permitted to request roles.

The full workflow can be found in Appendix B – New Course Role Request Workflow

Course Copy

Requests to copy a Blackboard Learn course site (and its content) from a previous semester must be submitted by the instructor of the source course site, assumed to be the creator and owner of the site and its content.

In the event the instructor of record is unavailable, the request for a course copy must be approved by the Dean of the school/college or the Chair of the appropriate academic department.

All content created and used in the LMS are subject to all rules and policies set forth in the University’s Copyright Policy.

Section 2: System Administration

Third-party Tools and Functionality Policy

Many vendors produce tools, commonly referred to as “building blocks,” which link their materials into an LMS. Building blocks can provide both faculty and students with supplemental information or functionality to complete coursework. The following policy describes the process for requesting and installing a building block.

A faculty or academic staff member with instructor access to a course may request the installation of a building block. Once the request is made, it will go through a process of approval and implementation prior to being available to the faculty and students (for additional details see Appendix C – Building Block Request Workflow).

The LMS Steering committee reserves the right to reject any request for a building block that does not comply with the system standards.

Course Availability & Retention Policy

Courses will be potentially available to students for five years after the course has ended (for example, a course ending May 2014 will be accessible until May 2019). During this time, the course instructor has the discretion to determine student availability as set in the course site’s options. Faculty may set the course availability as they choose or submit a request to the Service Desk to set the availability as requested.

After the course retention period has elapsed, all course sites will be removed from the active LMS and maintained for two years in a BU archive from which it is retrievable only upon request by the Instructor of record or designated representative.

Requests to retrieve a course site and its content from a previous semester must be submitted by the instructor of the source course site (assumed to be the creator and owner of the site and its content) or someone specifically identified by a higher authority than the individual in the IS&T ticket tracking system (currently Service Now). An example of such an individual would be a person who is responsible for the curriculum and course design of an academic program such as an administrative assistant, program coordinator or similar. Any other course copy request will require the client to have the college’s Dean or Chair of the appropriate academic department contact the Service Desk directly to make the request.

Appendices

Appendix A – Course Role Definitions & Privileges

The roles listed below are currently available within Blackboard Learn. If these roles do not address the needs of certain courses or organizations, new roles can be requested. Please see the policy regarding the request for new roles for further information.

Instructor (I)

An individual with the role of Instructor has full administrative rights for the course to which they are the instructor of record. They have the authority to manage users, content, and the Grade Center. For policies on access to another faculty member’s content, please see exceptions.

Overview of Privileges

Add/Remove/Edit course content Yes
Edit access to Course Tools Yes
Access to Control Panel Yes
Access to Grade Center Yes
Manage/Enroll users Yes

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A TA has almost full administrative access to a course. They do not, however, have enrollment privileges. A TA can be enrolled into a course by permission of the instructor, a department chair, or a dean.

Overview of Privileges 

Add/Remove/Edit course content Yes
Edit access to Course Tools Yes
Access to Control Panel Yes
Access to Grade Center Yes
Manage/Enroll users No

Course Builder (CB) 

Anyone with the role of Course Builder has the ability to add, edit, or delete course content. The primary role of the course builder is to add content, use the course tools from an instructor perspective, and help monitor student progress within a course tool (e.g., Discussions). Course Builders do not have access to Grade Center.

Overview of Privileges

Add/Remove/Edit course content Yes
Edit access to Course Tools Yes
Access to Control Panel Yes
Access to Grade Center No
Manage/Enroll users Yes

Grader (G)

A Grader’s primary role is managing grades. A Grader cannot add, edit, or remove course content.

Overview of Privileges 

Add/Remove/Edit course content No
Edit access to Course Tools No
Access to Control Panel Yes
Access to Grade Center Yes
Manage/Enroll users No

Student

A Student within a course has read-only access to content and can participate in course tools that have been set up by an Instructor, TA, or Course Builder. Results of assessments are recorded in the Grade Center for Students only (all others may take an assessment but their results will not be recorded).

 

Overview of Privileges

Add/Remove/Edit course content No
Edit access to Course Tools No
Access to Control Panel No
Access to Grade Center No
Manage/Enroll users No

 Guest

A Guest in a course has read-only access and cannot use course tools. They do not appear in the Grade Center and can only get access if the instructor enabled the option to allow guest access.

Overview of Privileges 

Add/Remove/Edit course content No
Edit access to Course Tools No
Access to Control Panel No
Access to Grade Center No
Manage/Enroll users No

Visitor

A Visitor in a course has read-only access and cannot use any course tools. They do not appear in the Grade Center.

Overview of Privileges

Add/Remove/Edit course content No
Edit access to Course Tools No
Access to Control Panel No
Access to Grade Center No
Manage/Enroll users No

 

Observer

An observer is an individual in Blackboard who is responsible for monitoring a single Blackboard user. Someone with the role of Observer can keep track of a student’s progress throughout the duration of their career at the university. They have no access to course materials.

Add/Remove/Edit course content No
Edit access to Course Tools No
Access to Control Panel No
Access to Grade Center No
Manage/Enroll users No

 

Appendix B – New Course Role Request Workflow

NewCourseRoleRequest

Appendix C – Building Block Request Workflow

BuildingBlockRequest