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Blackboard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Shell

What is a shell?

Shells allow faculty to develop their course materials by adding content and customizing Blackboard well in advance for upcoming courses. Shells also allow faculty to retain course materials in Blackboard after Courses are deleted (generally after 13 months). Shells can not be made available to students, and student enrollments are not added to Shells. If a Shell is made available, it will revert to being unavailable the next day. When the course is taught, a separate Course will then need to be requested to allow students access. Materials can then be copied from the Shell to the Course using the steps at http://blackboard.niu.edu/blackboard/build/migration/copy.shtml.

Learn more about requesting shells by watching the tutorial at http://blackboard.niu.edu/blackboard/tutorials/requestshell.shtml

Learn more about requesting courses at http://blackboard.niu.edu/blackboard/start/request.shtml.

What is the difference between a "Shell" and a "Course?"

A Shell allows faculty to add content and customize Blackboard before a Course can be requested, but cannot be used for teaching students. Shells are never deleted from Blackboard.

A Course can be requested midway through the semester prior to the on in which the course will be offered (request in mid-fall for spring courses and mid-spring for summer and fall courses) and automatically includes students based on enrollments in MyNIU. Courses can be made available to students. Courses are routinely deleted from Blackboard, generally 13 months after the course ends. It is necessary to request a Blackboard Course from ITS each semester.

To differentiate between a Shell and a Course, look at the Course ID. The ID for a Shell will start with SHELL, whereas Courses will start with the year the course is taught. do not.

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Last Updated: 08/28/2013