Beginning in January, 2011, NAU is transitioning from Vista to Blackboard Learn. e-Learning will assist faculty who want to migrate their course content from the old system to the new one. This information is a review of the migration process and an instructor's guide to working in a newly migrated course. We will focus on navigation and feature differences between the old and new Learning Management Systems.
Please visit e-Learning's Bb Learn information page for more about NAU's transition from Vista to Bb Learn.
- Request a migration of your course from Vista to Bb Learn.
- Suggested Deadlines for requesting course migrations:
If you're teaching in
Request your course migration by
March 1, 2011
April 1, 2011
Spring 2012 or later
May 1, 2011
Even if the deadline has passed, please get your migration request to us as soon as possible.
After we notify you that the migration is completed, you can access the course here: http://bblearn.nau.edu. Use the regular login button to "Log in to Bb Learn."
Unless you had already logged into an NAU service, you will be prompted by NAU's central authentication service (CAS) to enter your user ID and password.
Differences between Vista and Blackboard
In Vista, there were often problems depending on which web browser you used. There was a "check browser" link to test for compatibility. Bb Learn is more consistent across browsers, and you no longer need to check for compatibility.
The Back Button Works!
In Vista, it often caused problems if you used the back button in the browser. In Bb Learn, the forward and back navigation buttons in the browser are safe to use. This is much more intuitive for a web-based tool.
The HTML Editor
In Vista the HTML editor didn't work very well, especially on a Mac, and it opened in a tiny box no matter how big you made your browser window. For this reason, most people used DreamWeaver or created their content outside Vista in some other manner. The HTML editor in Bb Learn is much improved and we recommend you use it for the majority of content creation.
The Assignment Dropbox
In Vista, assignments were submitted through the Assignment Dropbox. In Blackboard Learn, when you create an Assignment, a column is automatically built in the Grade Center, and you will access uploaded assignments there.
When you logged into Vista, you could select a course from the Course List. Bb Learn is much the same, but the list is now called My Courses. In Vista, you would click on the My Vista link to return to the course list from within a course. In Bb Learn, you click on the My Bb Learn tab to return to the list of courses.
The "breadcrumb trail," which shows you the path to your current location in the course, is much the same as it was in Vista. You can click on any listed item in the breadcrumb trail to go to that location.
Vista had three tabs called Build, Teach, and Student View.
In Bb Learn, Build and Teach modes are combined. When the Edit Mode switch is in the On position, you can build and teach. When the Edit Mode switch is in the Off position, you are in Student View.
File Management and Content Creation
In Vista, most people built their course content outside the system using DreamWeaver or Microsoft Word, and then loaded the content into Vista's File Manager. This is still possible. In Bb Learn, the Content Collection is the place where externally created content resides. However, Bb Learn's internal editor is much better than Vista's so creating and editing content inside Bb Learn is another good option. There are distinctions between these two methods of content creation. If you build content outside Bb Learn, you can only edit it outside Bb Learn and then load it into the "Content Collection." If you build it inside Bb Learn, you can only edit it inside Bb Learn but these documents don't appear in the content collection. You can copy/paste from Word or DreamWeaver into the internal editor, and from that point forward edit internally. (Blackboard promises that in a coming upgrade at the end of 2011, the internal editor will be able to edit externally created HTML files.) See our Creating Course Content tutorial and the DreamWeaver tutorial for more information.
Create a Test Student
As in Vista, there are some limitations of the Student View, and there are times when you will want to log into your course as a student so that you can check the adaptive release or take a test, for example. You can create a single student account (for yourself only) by following these instructions.
Create the "Test Student" account from the Course Tools area of the Control Panel on the left, by clicking Add Test Student.
Be sure to write down the password you select because this password is not the same as your regular NAU password.
To login as the test student, use the special Guest Login link at the bottom of the Bb Learn login page:
Your student account will have the following username and password:
username: abc12-student (replace abc12 with your own NAU user id)
password: you will decide on the password; be sure to write it down! This password is not synchronized with your regular NAU password. You will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a problem with this password.
You can change your student account password. Click on the My Bb Learn tab and select the Personal Information link in the Tools box. Then click on the Change Password link. Note that this only works for the test student password. Your regular NAU password can be changed here on ITS's website.
Hint: The best way to view your course as both a student and as an instructor at the same time is to open two separate browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox for example, and use one for the Instructor view and the other for the Student view. If you've been looking for an excuse to buy a bigger or second monitor, this is it! Most modern web browsers, such as IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera will work fine.
When migrating content from Vista to Bb Learn, we had to make some minor changes to your content organization because of differences between the two systems. Below are some of the changes that may have resulted.
We have set a consistent Course Menu with links to the Home Page, Content, Tools and Help. You are free to add other links to the Course Menu if you wish (e.g., a link directly to Messages or Discussions, or to a specific Content folder). You can add links to the Course Menu by clicking on the dark blue '+' button in the upper left corner of the course menu.
Assignments and Assessments
If you were using Assignments and/or Assessments in Bb Vista, we have placed those in a folder on your Content page called Assessments. This will give you one place to edit and update the actual assignment, quiz, etc., even if there are course links to the item in one or more other locations in the course.
Be sure not to make this folder Unavailable (Actionlink: Edit: Options: Permit Users to View this Content set to No), as this will make any links to the items in this folder unavailable to users. You may certainly move the items contained in that folder elsewhere if you prefer, but remember that deleting the folder will delete all of the items (assignments, quizzes, etc.) contained therein!
Group management and discussions are structured very differently in Bb Learn. If you are using groups, please spend time learning the new features. If you are using group discussions in Bb Vista, you will need to set these up as group discussion forums in Bb Learn, as the migration process placed ALL discussion topics to the general discussion board and none in the group discussion boards. Please read through the documentation, tutorials and online help; and feel free to schedule a session with an e-Learning Center Instructional Technologist to learn how best to set up group discussion activity for your class needs.
If you were using Weblinks (icons that point to external web pages) in Bb Vista, we have placed those in a folder on your Content page called Weblinks. In Bb Learn, you can perform the same function from the Content page, by choosing Build Content:URL.
Due to inconsistencies in the way Learning Modules behave in Bb Learn, we have converted any Learning Modules in your course on Bb Vista to Content Folders on Bb Learn.
Anything that was Hidden by you on Bb Vista now shows up as "Availability: Item is not available." You can make it available with the Actionlink next to the item (Actionlink: Edit: Options: Permit Users to View this Content set to Yes).
Dates and Selective Release
- If you were using Selective Release in Bb Vista to make certain items available only on certain dates, to certain users, etc., this was not updated for you. You will still need to adjust the Adaptive Release (as its known in Bb Learn).
- You still need to adjust all dates as necessary (e.g., Assignment due dates, Test availability, etc. just as you would do when preparing for a new semester).
Course Entry Point
We set the "Home Page" module, which contains a collection of notification tools, as the Course Entry Point; you are free to change that to the Course Content page (or other things) from Control Panel: Customization: Style if you want to make Bb Learn look more like Vista.
If you were using Grading Forms in Bb Vista to grade assignments or discussions, we have re-created the Grading Form as a Rubric in Bb Learn, and have attached it to the appropriate column(s) in your Grading Center. Be aware that the Rubric tool in Bb Learn does not work in the same way that the Grading Forms did in Bb Vista. Please review this tool.
Course content that was migrated from Vista has been placed into the Bb Learn Content Collection. It can be edited externally with DreamWeaver, but not with the internal HTML editor. See the "File Management and Content Creation" section above for more details.
- SafeAssign assignments will need to be re-created in Bb Learn.
- Elluminate meetings and links will need to be re-created in Bb Learn.
- iTunesU links will need to be re-created in Bb Learn.
- Goals will need to be created in either the Lesson Plan tool or as a page in Bb Learn.
If you have Vista-specific instructions in your course, please be sure to check these for accuracy and update as needed.
Questions and Follow-up Support
If you have any basic questions about Bb Learn, please review our tutorials and videos or contact the e-Learning Center's Faculty Support Desk at email@example.com. For more in-depth discussion, you can also schedule an appointment with an Instructional Technologist to review your migrated course.