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Blackboard Learn by default installs into a home directory named blackboard. It is represented in all examples and paths as blackboard_home. This directory not only holds all of the application files, but it is also the location where content items and log files are stored.

Administrators should not have any reason to delete or modify any of the application files. Doing so may cause the system to fail. This topic reviews several of the more important areas of the file system.

Command line tools

Most of the command line utilities are stored in blackboard_home/tools/admin directory. The tools for batch archive/restore/export/import and batch copy are found in the blackboard_home/apps/content-exchange/bin.

To learn more about the command line tools, see Using Command Line Tools. To learn more about the batch archive/restore/export/import and batch copy tools, see Export, Archive, and Restore Courses.

HTTP compression

Enable GZip compression through the bb-config.properties file by toggling it on or off. Both IIS and Apache™ HTTP Server support GZip as a native compression ability. To learn more, see bb-config.properties File.

Content storage

Content is stored in the blackboard_home/content/vi directory. Each directory contains the following folders:

  • admin: This directory stores images associated with System Reporting.
  • branding: This directory stores the HTML that determines how the Gateway page is displayed. To learn more about customizing the Gateway page, see Customizing the Gateway Page.
  • Courses: This directory includes storage areas for each Course and Organization. Content items uploaded to the Course or Organization are stored here.
  • images: This directory stores images used on the system.
  • modules: This directory stores JSP pages for portal modules.
  • plugins: This directory stores System Extensions.
  • recyclebin: This directory includes deleted Course content. Content must be removed from this directory or it will be stored indefinitely.
  • sessions: This directory stores session-specific data for users.
  • sponsors: This directory stores sponsorship information and images.


Paged searching is used in admin panel user and course searches, course search/catalog, and the user directory. Only one page of necessary data records are loaded at a time by using highly tuned SQL queries. The consumption of memory is relatively low with this type of query, and results in a short Garbage Collection time to reclaim the used memory.

Hierarchical data uses the native database syntax CONNECT BY statements in Oracle, and recursive Common Table Expressions in SQL Server when performing a hierarchical query.


All logs are stored in the blackboard_home\logs directory. Logs can be managed and viewed from the Logs link on the System Control Panel in the user interface. Notable logs are bb-session-log.txt which records suspicious session fingerprint activity, and bb-sms-log.txt which records automatic sync attempts. To learn more about managing and viewing logs, see Managing System Logs.

The verbosity of some logs can be adjusted to provide more or less information. Run PushConfigUpdates to activate the changes. To learn more, see PushConfigUpdates.

The verbosity of theblackboard_home/logs/bb-services-log.txt log is controlled by the blackboard.service.log.param.logdef.default.verbosity property in the service-config.properties file. The default value, fatal, logs only fatal events. The valid options from less verbosity to more verbosity are: "fatal," "error," "warning," "information," "debug". Run PushConfigUpdates to activate the changes. To learn more, see PushConfigUpdates.