Whether you’re new to the College and creating a course in Blackboard for the first time or are just trying to collaborate with a colleague on course development, there may be times when you want to access a course section where you’re not an instructor. Great!
But before you get started, there are some guidelines in place for this process. These guidelines exist to protect student privacy and preserve academic records, so while they might add a few extra steps to getting into a course, they’re important for the College to follow.
Here, we’ll explain the process of requesting access to courses and course materials so you know who to contact and what to expect from start to finish.
When Can Access be Granted to Course Sections?
Most of the time, faculty members cannot be granted direct access to a course section where they were not listed as an instructor. However, there are a couple of exceptions.
- When an instructor takes over for another instructor within a term. If you are taking over for another instructor, you won’t need to request access—you’ll simply be assigned the course in Colleague.
- If an instructor handles an incomplete for a student when the original instructor is unavailable. After the term ends, Colleague will no longer send changes in faculty assignments or enrollments. In this case, your division office will need to open a help desk call to IT so that you can be manually added to the class.
These are the only two scenarios where access can be granted to an additional instructor. Why? For a couple of reasons. First, giving access to a course also gives access to the course gradebook. This violates FERPA so it’s a big no-no. Secondly, a course has to be maintained unchanged even after it has ended in case there is an academic dispute at a later date.
So what if you just want access to see course materials or use the course as a model for creating your own course? That’s where this next section comes in!
Getting Access to Content from Another Course Section
In order to gain access to courses or course content, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Get permission from your dean. You will need to explain why you need the course or course materials and get written permission from your dean to do so.
You will need to request a zDev shell from IT and have the course copied into it. A zDev shell can be a place where you can work collaboratively and/or where you can utilize the course materials from an existing course via a course copy.
When requesting the zDev shell, you should indicate in the request whether you want a standard blank course shell or if you would like a copy of an existing course. If requesting a copy, you need to include the original course ID of the course to be copied.
Once the shell is created, the copy completed and course content imported, you will be able to make any changes or access any materials that you would like.
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