Requesting Courses

Once faculty have access to the Blackboard system, they can request a Blackboard course for those sections where they are listed as the Instructor of Record in MyNIU, anytime within 100 days from the start of the semester. Requests are made through the Blackboard Faculty Tools (BFT). Instructions for using the BFT are listed below. 

  • Timing: Requests made through the BFT will be processed immediately. You will receive an email notification to confirm that it has completed.
  • Availability: Courses are initially listed as unavailable. This means that students will not see the course, but you can begin working on it.  
  • Auto-Availability: When requesting a course, you may specify an "Auto-Availability" date. This would be when the course will automatically become available to your students. The default date specified is the official start date of the course, but you can enter any date you prefer, or you can opt-out of auto-availability entirely. If you opt-out, you will need to make the course available manually when you are ready for students to see the course.
  • Student Enrollments: Any student who is enrolled in the course in MyNIU will automatically be added to your Blackboard course, and enrollments will be updated twice a day as students add or drop your course. You may add other users, such as students or faculty, to your course, either to assist you with teaching the course or for them to view the material. 
  • Shells: You may request a shell for development purposes, if you want. Shells do not have students enrolled in them, and should not be used for instruction. If you make a shell available, it will become unavailable again within 24 hours. Shell names always begin with the word "Shell".

If you are teaching multiple sections of the same course in a given semester, you may want to consolidate the course sections into one master course.

Frequently Asked Questions

When I attempt to request courses in Blackboard, a message appears stating that I have to be the instructor of record in order to request the courses. What must I do to request the Blackboard courses for the course sections I'm teaching?

Your department office has to enter you in MyNIU as the instructor of record for the courses you are assigned to teach. Please contact your department office to make this assignment in MyNIU. After the assignment is processed in MyNIU, you will be able to request the courses using the Blackboard Faculty Tools (BFT). Note: It may take up to one business day for the course to be listed in the Blackboard Faculty Tools.

How do I request a Blackboard course for my thesis, graduate project, dissertation, or independent study students?

If you have students under your supervision who are working on a thesis, graduate project, dissertation, or an independent study and you’d like to use Blackboard Learn to facilitate the work, the best method is to ask your department to set up a section of the associated course in MyNIU with you as the instructor of record. Often, these courses are scheduled with a single section under the department chair, but that limits your ability to use university resources, like Blackboard, to work with your students.

If your department creates a section for you, then students can register directly to your section of the thesis, project, dissertation, or independent study course. You will also be able to request a course in Blackboard, like you would for a more traditional course.

It is recommended that the department create course sections for each faculty member in the department for each of these types of courses, every semester. This will automatically allow any faculty member to request the Blackboard course for those purposes. 

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