Faculty who teach multiple sections of the same course in a given semester have the option of consolidating these course sections in Blackboard into one combined course. Please review the information provided below on this process and contact the IT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 or email ServiceDesk@niu.edu with any further questions.
Use the Blackboard Faculty Tools to request your course. On the course list screen, select all of the sections you wish to combine and click the Combine Sections button. Then, select the section that will be the primary section (the one that all of the students from the combined sections will access), set a start date, and select the course view.
Courses with different course numbers can be combined, including honors sections, permit sections, dual level courses, and cross-listed courses, as long as you are an instructor of record in MyNIU for each of the sections. To create a combined course with sections taught by different faculty, you will need to submit a request to the IT Service Desk at it.niu.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Happens Next
After submitting a request for a combined course and selecting the primary course, the courses will appear in the list of My Courses in Blackboard immediately. Student rosters from the MyNIU database will be automatically populated into the section that you selected to be the primary course (designated with PRIM in the course name) from all sections being combined. Drops and additions will be automatically maintained in the master section with daily feeds from the MyNIU database. Both the primary and secondary sections will appear in your Blackboard course list. You only need to add new content to the primary section and set that one to be available to students. You do not need to do anything with the secondary sections.
Maintaining Individual Sections
When a combined course is created, each of the individual sections is also created and the rosters are filled by the Registration and Records database. Typically, a faculty member only makes the primary (PRIM) course available and leaves the other sections unavailable so the students only see the primary course. The usual procedure at this time is to designate the first section as the primary. The roster of that course is populated with the students from all the sections that have been associated with it.
Course Availability and Multiple Sections
When the upcoming semester starts, you only need to make the primary (PRIM) section available, not the other sections. You can just ignore the other sections in your course list. The enrollment for all the combined sections should show up in the primary course roster and be updated automatically by Registration and Records when there are add/drops. Once you set it to be available, all the students in the roster will see the primary course.
Reversing a Master Course Relationship
While it is possible to reverse a combined course relationship and therefore undo the combination of multiple sections in Blackboard, it is highly recommended to NOT reverse a combined course relationship after the semester has started and students have been using it. If it is necessary to do so for some reason, be sure to download the Grade Center and possibly an archive of the course first. Whatever student records (discussion posts, assignments, tests, grades) are in the primary course will NOT be moved to the related section(s) when the relationship is removed and will be disabled in the primary section (except for the students actually enrolled in the section that was the primary one.)
Frequently Asked Questions