Policies and Procedures

Purpose and Permitted Use

The Blackboard Learning Management system (myCourses) is utilized for credit based courses scheduled in the UMass Dartmouth student information system (COIN). Course sites are typically used to supplement face-to-face instruction, also known as web-enhanced instruction, blended and fully online courses. The system may not be utilized for non-instructional purposes that fall outside of academic courses, such as organizations, committees, groups and clubs.


User Management and Access

User Accounts

Course access is granted to students who are officially registered in COIN and the faculty member who is listed as the course instructor of record. Students must be officially registered in COIN in order to gain access to the Blackboard course site. This includes course auditors.

Data synchronization between COIN and myCourses occurs 3 times per day, so that enrollments and faculty assignments in myCourses are accurate and match the COIN roster.

Student Course Enrollment

Student users are loaded into a myCourses site when the course instructor requests their course site(s). Students gain access to course sites on the official course start date listed in COIN. Student access to courses are removed 60 days after the course end date.

Faculty Access

All active UMass Dartmouth faculty are loaded into the myCourses Faculty Support course as they become active university employees and listed as the course instructor of record in COIN. In some instances, a temporary user account may be established for a new faculty member, in order to participate in myCourses training.

Teaching Assistants

Faculty may request to have a teaching or graduate assistant enrolled into their course site(s).

Steps to add student/TA in myCourses:

Request a TA to be added to a course(s) in MyCourses the following is needed:

  • Student/TA hiring authority in your department has created a placement for this position.
  • The student has been hired through CORSAIR jobs and has an active record.
  • The Ferpa_Form has been filled out by the student and a copy sent to the Registrar at registrar@umassd.edu.
  • The enrolled students are notified that a Teaching Assistant is monitoring the course.

Please fill out the TA Request form.

PLEASE REMEMBER:
Students cannot be added to the course until the placement is completely validated and the student has been notified that they have access to HRDirect.
Please make sure the student has completed all of the necessary paperwork to be hired through CORSAIR jobs.

Other Access

Access is permitted with written permission from the College Dean for the following:

  • Program Directors
  • Clinical Instructors
  • Faculty Peers (specific purpose must be detailed)

Contact Access Management if you have questions regarding any other myCourses access.

Length of Course Access

Student access to myCourses course sites is removed 60 days after the course end date. (see Incomplete information below)

Faculty retain access to their courses sites for a period of 3 semesters (14 months) from which the course was initially offered. Faculty are advised to backup their courses after each semester in order to retain a copy of the course for their records or should their service end at UMass Dartmouth.

Teaching Assistants, Course Graders, Course Builders, and employees are removed 7 days after the course end date.

Incomplete

Students who have been granted a grade of “I” (Incomplete) will retain access to the course site for 60 days after the course end date to complete their work. After the 60 day period, the instructor must make alternative arrangements for the student to complete the course work outside of the myCourses system.

Blackboard Administrator Access

Blackboard Administrators may access a course site without instructor permission or advance notice for the purposes of troubleshooting course site issues for students and faculty.

FERPA Information

UMass Dartmouth follows the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1975 (FERPA). These policies protect the privacy of student educational records. UMass Dartmouth faculty and staff must adhere to FERPA guidelines to protect sensitive information.

User Responsibilities

All users must adhere to UMass Dartmouth IT Policies.

All users are responsible for his/her account, including the safeguarding of access to myCourses. All activity originating from an account is deemed to be authored by the account holder and is the responsibility of that account holder.

Copyright and Fair Use

Faculty are responsible for the course content uploaded into their course site and therefore are responsible for following copyright laws and fair use guidelines when posting course materials into myCourses.


Course Management

Course Site Creation

Faculty are responsible for requesting their course sites each semester using the myCourses Site Setup Tool. The setup tool is also available via myUmassD under University Resources.

Combining/Cross-listed Course Sections

Faculty have the option to combine course sites. This process combines enrollments from multiple course sections and loads them into one master site.

Please Note: Combining courses is only available if you are teaching multiple sections of the same course (e.g. section 01, 02) or officially cross‐listed courses (e.g. PHL 300/WGS 300). If you have questions regarding combining or cross-listing, please contact Instructional Development.

Course Site Copy

Course sites can be easily copied/reused for a future semester course site. Faculty are responsible for copying the course content from a previous semester into a future course site.

Transferring Course Sites

Faculty have the option to share their course site content with other faculty members. Written permission from original course site instructor is required before course content can be transferred. Requests for content to be shared should be sent to Instructional Development.

myCourses Grade Center

The grade center feature of myCourses is intended for publication of grades for students and should not be used as a repository of grade records.

Course Backups

Faculty are responsible for retaining their own copies of course material placed on the myCourses system. This includes creating a back-up copy of all courses and keeping a copy of the course grade center. The grade center feature of myCourses is intended for publication of grades for students and should not be used as a repository of grade records.

Course Removal Process

Every June, all myCourses sites older than 24 months will be removed from the system in order to free up server space and make instructors’ course lists more manageable. Courses within the most recent 24 month period will be kept on the system. For example, for June 2019, everything prior to Summer 2017 will be removed.

Prior to the removal of any myCourses sites, faculty will always be notified via email and a reminder that will be posted to the myCourses dashboard.

Prior to the course removal date, faculty are responsible for:

  • creating a backup copy of their course(s),
  • downloading a copy of their course site gradebook, and
  • downloading any other student work (assignments, discussions), if you wish to retain copies for your records.

Please refer to the End of Semester Checklist

Archived Courses

Courses are archived at an off-campus facility and are only retrieved in the event of a grade challenge.


System Maintenance and Updates

Scheduled Maintenance

In order to ensure reliable performance of the Blackboard system, regular maintenance has been scheduled by our provider, UMassOnline/UITS. Regular maintenance outages are scheduled weekly and typically occur on Wednesdays 4am-7am. Scheduled maintenance requires that the system be inaccessible to end-users. Faculty, staff, and students should be mindful of the maintenance schedule when planning online course activities such as tests and assignment due dates.

In the event of an outage that occurs outside the regular maintenance schedule, myCourses users will be notified through email and an announcement will be posted within myUMassD.

System Updates

The myCourses learning management system will be updated periodically and may require extended outages. Every effort will be made to apply system updates during a time which avoids the least amount of disruption to teaching and learning. All myCourses users will be notified of system updates through an email notification and an announcement within myUMassD.