With the implementation of a new version of Blackboard comes a new method for course combinations, called Course Merge. Course combinations have always been available for faculty, however there were drawbacks.
What is Course Combination?
When an instructor is teaching more than one section of the same course where the content is exactly the same, it is often easier and more efficient to have one central course to upload materials and track grades. Previously, these combinations would be done through IT@Sam and one course would be placed into another – meaning the request needed to be made as early as possible in the semester and could result in the loss of some data.
With Course Merge, a container or “master course” is created into which the combined sections, or “child courses” are placed, much like placing several small containers inside one large container. The instructor sees one master course and all child courses on their Blackboard page, but the students will only see the section for which they are registered – and the instructor need only update the master course for all sections to be updated.
In this image, you can see that instead of combining all sections into one, “child courses” are placed inside a master.
Pictured below is how a Merge appears on the Instructor’s My Courses module:
The master course is shown as well as the sections, which are listed as child courses of the master course.
Also with the older method, once combined, there was no easy way to tell which students were registered for which section. With Course Merge, a column is added to the Grade Center of the master course that indicates which section the student is in. In the image below, the column is highlighted that indicates which section the student is in:
The table below breaks down the differences between the old method and the new method:
|All students placed in one course, no way to tell which student was in which section||Grade Center column in master course indicates which section a student is in|
|One course placed inside another, possibly resulting in loss of uploaded materials or grades||Child courses placed into a master course, no loss of data|
|Students see combined section in their course list||Students only see the section in which they are registered|
|Instructor sees only combined course in course list||Instructor sees master course in course list, as well as child courses with an indication that these courses are Merged into a master course|
Course Merge can be done at any time during the semester, as no data is lost. Keep in mind that although you can access the individual child courses, any changes made therein will not be seen by students, only changes made in the master course. An orange banner will appear when accessing the child courses, alerting that any changes made there will not be seen and that changes must be made in the master course.
If you are interested in doing a Course Merge for sections you are teaching, please contact DELTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (936)294-4780.