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 master 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 creation of a master course.
Separate requests are necessary each semester. Note: Courses with different course numbers can now be combined, including honors sections, permit sections, dual level courses, and cross-listed courses.
What Happens Next
After submitting a request for a master course and selecting which additional course sections to combine, the courses will appear in the list of My Courses in Blackboard by the end of the next business day. Student rosters from the MyNIU database will be automatically populated into the section that you selected to be the master section from all sections being consolidated. Drops and additions will be automatically maintained in the master section with daily feeds from the MyNIU database. Both the master and related sections will appear in your Blackboard course list. You only need to add new content to the master section and set that one to be available to students. You do not need to do anything with the related sections.
Maintaining Individual Sections
When a consolidated master 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 master course available and leaves the other sections unavailable so the students only see the master course. The usual procedure at this time is to designate the first section as the master. 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 master 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 master 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 master course.
Reversing a Master Course Relationship
While it is possible to reverse a master course relationship and therefore undo the combination of multiple sections in Blackboard, it is highly recommended to NOT reverse a master course relationship after the semester has started and students have been using it. If it is necessary to do so for some reason, the faculty member should consider downloading the Grade Center and possibly an archive of the course first. Whatever student records (discussion posts, assignments, tests, grades) are in the master course will NOT be moved to the related section(s) when the relationship is removed and will be disabled in the master section (except for the students actually enrolled in the section that was the master.)
Frequently Asked Questions