Content Management System in Blackboard

Blackboard now includes a full-featured content management system that is available to all faculty.

So what’s a content management system?

A content management system is a tool that lets faculty and students manage and share files, documents, and digital assets in a secure, easy-to-use environment.  The Blackboard content management system is fully integrated into all your Blackboard course and organization sites.

How does Blackboard content management work?

The Blackboard content management system makes it easier and more efficient to store and back up your files, and to use them in your Blackboard courses and organizations.  Without content management, you had to upload documents to each course or organization in which you wanted to use them.

With content management, you can store your files in the content system once, and link to them from any Blackboard course or organization – or from any Web site or email.  As a content management user, you have your own personal  My Content folder.  Depending on how you set permissions, you can grant access to your files to other iSchool Blackboard users – or to others outside the iSchool community.

bb content management

Why would I use a content management system?

Content management lets you access your files from any networked computer – anytime, anywhere.  With the Blackboard content management system, you can:

  • Store all your course and personal documents securely.
  • Avoid emailing and receiving large files.
  • Make all your documents and files searchable.
  • Back up all your work against technology failure.
  • Share files with individuals and groups.
  • Share files with people outside iSchool.
  • Collect and turn in assignments through links in your Blackboard course.
  • Update your files easily and track versions of them.
  • Easily archive all your work and documents.
  • Store files only once, and use them in many Blackboard courses and organizations.

What do I need to use the Blackboard content management system?

Just like Blackboard, the content management system works on either Windows or Mac computers.

Where do I find the Blackboard content management system?

Blackboard content management lives right inside Blackboard.  Just log into Blackboard and look for the ContentCollection: My Collection module located in the Blackboard@SU tab.  Blackboard will recognize you by your login name and open the content system to your personal folder.  (For instructions on how to log in to the Blackboard content management sytem, see Blackboard Documentation > Content Management Features, Explore Content Collection.)

bb content collection

Can I organize my My Content area any way I want to?

You can create as many sub-folders inside your My Content area as you need to organize your files.  In fact, before you start adding files to your folder, you should plan how you will organize them, because, once you link to a file in your My Content area, you won’t want to change its location.  Moving files in your My Content area can result in broken links.  (For instructions on how to add folders and files to your My Content area, see Blackboard Documentation > Content Management Features, Adding Content.)

Are my files safe and secure in the content management system?

Yes.  One of the big advantages to the Blackboard content management system is that your files are stored on a secure server and backed up regularly.
NOTE:  Because the Blackboard content management system is Web-based, always remember to log out of Blackboard after using the content system – especially if you are using a public computer or are working in an iSchool cluster.  Simply closing your browser may not completely log you out of the system, and the next person to use that computer may have complete access to all your files and documents.

Top ten reasons for faculty to use Content Management:

  1. Access your files anywhere, anytime, from any networked computer
  2. Avoid sharing files via email attachments.
  3. Share files with individuals and groups.
  4. Share files with people outside the iSchool.
  5. Make all your documents and files searchable.
  6. Collect assignments through student links in your Blackboard course.
  7. Track versions of your files.
  8. Store all your course and personal documents securely.
  9. Back up all your work against technology failure.
  10. Archive all your work and documents.

Faculty Content Management  Examples:

    • I coordinate a large GenEd that has twelve sections.  There are four instructors of record and six TAs who teach these sections.  The core curriculum of each section is the same, although each section has some assignments specific to it.  I want to be able to distribute our core curriculum from a central point and keep all versions of it in sync.
    • I am working on a large grant with four other faculty members – two at SU and two at other institutions.  We need to work collaboratively on the grant application.
    • My department undergoes constant program review and a rigid accreditation process.  We need to track and document student progress and performance, then work together to make a case for our accrediting agency.
    • I am secretary of the faculty senate and need to store senate documents securely, then share with discrete groups of faculty on committees and with upper-level administrators.
    • I am involved in a research project with three colleagues from other institutions.  We need to share and collaborate on research data.
    • I work with post-docs doing research in the field.  They are spread all over the hemisphere.  They need to share their data with each other and with me.
    • I teach an upper-level course and want to include three students from another institution in our discussions.
    • I am on vacation and I my flight was just delayed for six hours.  I didn’t bring any of my files, and I’d really like to get some work done.  Now I can easily access my files and  prepare and share lessons from my hotel room/airport.

Building Accessible Courses with Blackboard

On Thursday, May 14th the iSchool will be hosting an Accessibility in Blackboard day. Blackboard will be coming to the iSchool and will conduct two sessions on how to build accessible courses with Blackboard. The sessions will be held in 011 Hinds Hall Innovation Studio and the times are as follows:

  • 9:30 – 11:00 am
  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm

Both sessions will be exactly the same so faculty and staff will have two chances of attending.

For more information and to sign up for a session, please click on the link below:

Building Accessible Courses with Blackboard

If you have any questions or for more information, please contact Jeff Fouts at or 443-8144.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Course Menu Components

The following table lists the types of content and tools you can include on the course menu. You can also include subheaders and divider lines to help visually organize the links for your users.

Type Description
Content area Content areas are the top-level course areas. They hold all of your course materials. You create, link, and manage them on the course menu. After you create a content area, you add content to it, such as online lectures, multimedia, tests, and communication tools. To learn more, see Create Course Areas for Content.
Blank page The blank page tool allows you to include files, images, and text as links on the course menu. Include blank pages on the course menu for critical information, as too many links on the course menu can overwhelm students. Remove blank pages from the course menu as soon as the information is no longer needed.
Tool link Create a link to an available tool in your course, such as the calendar or journals. You can also create a link to the Tools page.
Course link Create a shortcut to an existing area, tool, or item in a course.
Web link Create a link to a URL to provide quick access to a resource on the internet.
Module page Create a module page and choose the individual modules to include. The modules can be tools, such as a calculator, or the modules can display information, such as grades, alerts, and tasks.
Subheader A subheader is unlinked text. You can group related links under a subheader to help users find information quickly.
Divider A divider is a line that visually divides the course menu to help users find information quickly. After you create it, you can move it to the appropriate position.

Blackboard Course Menu

Course Menu

The course menu appears on the left side of your course window. It is the cornerstone for the organization and navigation of your course. You create links on the course menu to present tools and materials to users. You can customize its appearance and order the links.

The course menu appears in a list view, which displays only the top level of course materials. You can choose buttons or text for your links.

Click the Display Course Menu in New Window icon to view the course materials as a directory tree in a new window. Users can expand the view to show the hierarchy of course navigation.

Your institution can restrict options to maintain a consistent style for all courses. This can include making some tools unavailable or setting permanent course area names.

How to Create a Link on the Course Menu

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON and point to the plus sign above the course menu. The Add Menu Item drop-down list appears.
  2. Select the type of content to create.

    Image illustrating associated text

  3. Type a Name. Complete any other required text boxes, such as URL for Web Link.
  4. Select the Available to Users check box to allow users to see the link on the course menu. You can create content ahead of time, hide the link, and then show the link at the appropriate time.
  5. Click Submit. A link to the new content appears on the course menu.

Create an uncluttered course menu to maintain efficient navigation for your users, and try to limit the number of links included in the course menu. Use content areas to hold related items and give your course organization and structure.