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Bb Vista Shell for EVERY Course & e-Reserves - Fall 2006

To all Faculty:

I apologize for the length of this message, but we want to convey to you critical information about the Bb Vista shells for Fall 2006 courses. Optional information and further details are placed at the end. Please read on.

All classes at NAU starting Fall 2006 will have a Bb Vista shell created automatically. (See below for more detail such as definition and discussion of what a Bb Vista shell is.) These shells will be created for ALL classes, not just online and hybrid classes. Bb Vista course shells can be accessed by going to and logging in using your Jan username and password.

For those of you teaching online or otherwise already using Bb Vista this may be repetitive information, for all others, please take note of the following important concepts:

e-Reserves on Bb Vista

The Cline Library will be providing e-Reserves only through these shells. The library's previous system of class web pages for e-Reserves will no longer be available. If you have already requested e-Reserves for the fall, you can find details on setting them up in Bb Vista by visiting the "Adding e-Reserves" link at

To place a request for e-Reserves, visit:

Cross-listed, Multi-section & Co-convened Classes

Any classes planned to use a single shell such as for co-convened or rolled-up sections need to be set up by your Class Scheduler prior to the start of the semester. In general, face-to-face classes for which you want to use a single shell for several sections will not be "rolled-up" in Peoplesoft. These will require special intervention by e-Learning to insure Bb Vista sections are merged as required. Please contact e-Learning for these cases before the start of classes. (Prior to Aug. 28th in most cases) If several sections are to use a single shell, and are not all face-to-face, that will require chair or dean approval.

Setting Up your Bb Vista Course

The first time you enter a class shell it must be set up. If you do not go to your course shells in Bb Vista and "set up" your class before the first day of the fall term, on that first day of the term an automated process will assign a special template to each class. If you want to work in your class shell prior to the start of classes, go to In your course select set up as a "blank" course, unless you have content to copy from another course. For more help see (Note: the special template has all student communication tools turned off.)

WebCT Campus Edition, the old course management system, is no longer available for delivering any classes.

NOTE: If you have questions, please read on then if needed, contact the e-Learning Center

ELC Faculty Help Line: (928) 523-5554 or 1-866-802-5256, by email

General Notes & Help

e-Learning will be scheduling and offering many short (45-60min) workshops to assist faculty in becoming acquainted and comfortable with the use of these new tools and resources. These will be starting in late August and continue throughout September, with less frequent offerings during the remainder of the academic year. More in depth training is available through e-Learning: Bb Vista Basics is a 3+ hour session and all faculty are eligible for a $125 stipend for attending this training. There are many Bb Vista Open Labs scheduled in the e-Learning Center. (See

Please see below for an overview of Bb Vista Shells and answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). More information about training times, online self-service instructions and guides are available on the e-Learning website. (see )

If you would like more information, have suggestions, or would like to discuss any of this with me please let me know.

Don Carter
Director, e-Learning


Optional use of Bb Vista

A Bb Vista shell is a set of tools and web pages arranged by class. Other than e-Reserves, there is no imperative that you use the shells. However, your students may very well appreciate the convenience that Bb Vista affords; including distribution of materials such as syllabi, seeing grades using the gradebook, and communication for discussion or frequently asked questions.

Course Preview Page

A system has been developed for students and prospective students to browse course information for ALL classes offered by NAU. The information includes the basic course data as in LOUIE, but with added value by displaying Course Preview Information, as setup in Bb Vista. This system will be a convenient recruitment tool and a resource for students to see course information such as required textbooks and any other information you would like to provide. To see the class information see To learn how to set up class preview information in Bb Vista see

More Detail

What is a Bb Vista "shell"?

Blackboard Bb Vista is NAU's web based course management system. A Bb Vista "shell" is a set of web pages and online tools that instructors can use to create, display, and distribute class materials. It also includes tools such as email, discussions, assignments, assessments, and an online gradebook that many students and instructors find useful in all kinds of classes, including in-person classes as well as fully online classes.

Why do I have a Bb Vista shell for my class?

NAU has adopted a policy of providing a Bb Vista shell for every class. Increasingly, students prefer to have online access to class information, and having a Bb Vista shell for every class provides a way for each instructor to give students that access. Additionally, if you want electronic reserve readings for your class, you'll need to use your Bb Vista shell. The Cline Library is making electronic reserves available only in Bb Vista. For more information on electronic reserves and Bb Vista, contact or call (928) 523-9142.

My class isn't a web class; it's a face-to-face class. Why do I need a Bb Vista shell?

At a minimum, the Bb Vista shell is a good place to post your syllabus. If you typically use paper handouts in class, you can post those in your Bb Vista shell too. Any electronic reserve readings that the Cline Library creates for your class will be posted only in Bb Vista.

Beyond those basics, some instructors of in-person classes use their Bb Vista shell to conduct online office hours using the Bb Vista Chat tool. Others like to use the Bb Vista gradebook so that students can check on their grades at any time. Still others set up discussion groups in Bb Vista so students can communicate easily outside of class.

Do I have to use the Bb Vista shell?

No, but you are encouraged to do so, especially as student "demand" for online access to materials increases. Note that if you have asked the Cline Library to create electronic reserve readings for your class, those will be posted in Bb Vista.

If I don't want to use the Bb Vista shell, do I need to notify someone?

Yes. We are working on this process. Updates will be forthcoming.

Roster questions

How does my class roster get into my Bb Vista class shell?

Several weeks before a term begins, ITS turns on the roster import function, and class rosters are then automatically imported into Bb Vista from the Peoplesoft Schedule of Classes. The rosters are then updated every two hours to reflect adds and drops. No instructor intervention is required.

How do I know when the roster has been imported into my Bb Vista class?

When the roster is first imported, you will receive an email from ITS listing all of the students who are in your class at that time. As students add or drop your class, you will receive email updates.

Why doesn't my co-instructor or teaching assistant have access to my Bb Vista class?

Check the listing for your class in the Schedule of Classes. Instructors and teaching assistants must be correctly indicated in the Peoplesoft Schedule of Classes to gain access to a Bb Vista shell. If they are not correctly indicated, contact your class scheduler.

When do students have access to my Bb Vista class?

Students can log in to your class on the official first day of class as indicated in the Schedule of Classes. For example, if the start date for your class is August 28, students can log in beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 28. Students can access course information you setup in Bb Vista as Preview information as soon as you set it up. (see To learn how to setup class preview information in Bb Vista (see

Why can't I give students early access to my Bb Vista class?

To be fair to all students, NAU has adopted a policy that the official start date is when students can have access to a Bb Vista class. If you would like to make information about your class available to students and prospective students before the start date, you are encouraged to include information on the Bb Vista "course preview page", but you cannot expect or allow students to begin any work for your Bb Vista class before the official start date.

What happens in my Bb Vista shell when a student drops my class?

The student is made inactive but is not removed from the class. We do it this way to retain the student's work to date so that if the student later is added back into the course, no work is lost. This approach is needed when, for example, a student is administratively dropped due to lack of payment, perhaps because of a delay in financial aid, and then the student's fees are paid a day or two later when the financial aid award arrives. The student is then reinstated in the class, and none of the student's work is lost.

After my class ends, how long do students have access to it?

Students can continue to log in to your Bb Vista class for two weeks after the end date. For example, if your class ends December 15, students can log into it until 11:59 p.m. on December 29. At that time, ITS un-enrolls the students, and the class no longer appears on students' list of courses when they log in to Bb Vista.

It's a good idea to remind your students to keep copies of their class work on their own computers if they want continued access to it beyond two weeks past the end of the class.

How do I add someone to my class?

That depends on the role of the person you want to add. Students are added by being officially registered for the class. Instructors and teaching assistants need to be added through the Schedule of Classes.

If you want to add a reviewer, guest speaker, or other visitor there is a process that will be detailed on the e-Learning website.