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Course Archives

Since its adoption in 1999, the Blackboard system has grown to a cumbersome 35,000 course sites, negatively impacting response time and impeding system maintenance.  The Dean of the Faculty and  the Dean of the College have decided to archive older course sites, removing them from the Blackboard system and storing them online for retrieval as needed.  While many schools choose to keep only two to four years of data on Blackboard, we will retain seven years of course information. The initial archive process, to be implemented in December 2014, will leave us with active Blackboard courses from Fall 2007 to the present.

After the initial archiving, the process will recur every June as part of OIT’s annual maintenance, with the oldest year of courses being archived and the most recent seven years remaining..

What happens to the archived courses?

The archived courses will be stored on a NAS (Network Attached-Storage) server as individual zip files that can be accessed and restored to our Blackboard system upon request, or given to owners to store a copy for themselves or to take to another institution.  These zip files, however, are not readable in a usable manner outside of a leaning management system.  Additionally, as the Blackboard application continues to evolve, restoring the archived courses may eventually result in degradation, with some or all content becoming unreadable.

Who has ownership of these course archives?

Please see our Copyright information page.

What if I want to copy the contents of an archived course into a new version of the course?

You would contact the Blackboard staff (609.258.0737 or blackboard@princeton.edu) and ask us to restore the old course for you. Then after you confirm you have copied what you need to the new course, we will again remove the old course.

Can I extract the content of my old courses to keep for myself?

Yes you can.  You have two options.  You may just want to have a copy of all the files you added to a course site, or you may want to have a complete archive of your course site to carry to another institution, should you change jobs.  Most places using Blackboard should be able to import the content into a course in their system. We do it successfully for new instructors who bring such files to us.  Even some schools using other leaning management system may be able to extract some of the content.  

OPTION 1: EXTRACTING JUST YOUR FILES 

For courses to older than June 2011, first contact Blackboard support (blackboard@princeton.edu) and ask us to move the content in the course site to the Files area.

  1. In the Control Panel, click Files, then click the course ID which is revealed below Files.
  2. On the page that shows your files, scroll to the bottom, and if there is a indication of multiple pages, click the Show All button.
  3. Now scroll back up and tick the box next the the column heading File Type, which will tick the boxes next to all your files.
  4. Now click the Download Package button and save the file to someplace you will have easy access, such as your desktop.

OPTION 2: EXTRACTING A COMPLETE ARCHIVE THAT CAN BE RESTORED ON ANOTHER SYSTEM

For courses to older than June 2011, first contact Blackboard support (blackboard@princeton.edu) and ask us to move the content in the course site to the Files area.

  1. In the Control Panel, click Course Copy Tools > Export/Archive Course.
  2. Click the Archive Course button.
  3. On the page that opens, do not select the Include Grade Center History option, as it will not be of use to you.
  4. Click the Manage Package Contents button.
  5. On the Manage Contents page that opens, scroll down and click the Show All button.
  6. Scroll back up and tick the box next to Type in the header bar, which will cause the boxes next to every file to be ticked.
  7. Scroll down and click Submit.
  8. You will now be back on the Course Archive page.  Click Submit.
  9. Wait until you receive an email confirming the process is complete. This may take up to a few minutes, depending on course size.
  10. Click the Refresh button on the Export/Archive Course page to reveal a link to the archive zip file.
  11. Click the link and save to file to someplace you will have easy access, such as your desktop.