With Content Collection, you can store course materials in one place and use them in multiple courses. You don't have to upload multiple copies of the same file whenever you want to share it with your students. Instead, you can link back to items in the Content Collection when you want to use those materials in a course or assignment.

Links to items in the Content Collection behave in different ways when you copy, import, or export a course.

Copy a course with Content Collection links

When you copy a course, the links to items in the Content Collection are copied too, as well as permissions for users to access those items. All users must have permission within the Content Collection to view these files. If a user without the appropriate permission selects a link to the item in the course, they will get an Access Denied message. If you want to grant a user additional permissions to an item, you must do so in the Content Collection.

More on folder permissions in the Content Collection

After copying a course with Content Collection item links, you'll see read permission for All Course Users in the Content Collection.

Your institution may enable the Course Copy Settings options to automatically edit permissions when a course is copied. When enabled, this setting automatically updates permissions for Content Collection items located in almost all course areas. The permissions for Content Collection items linked to in tests, surveys, and question pools are not automatically updated. Instructors must update the permissions to these items manually through Content Management.

The automatic permissions upgrade only applies to courses that are copied.

Import or restore a course with Content Collection links

When you export or archive a course in Blackboard Learn, links to any Content Collection files are included. If a package is then imported or restored, these links are included in the content. The behavior of these links depends on the state of the items in the Content Collection.

If the items are still stored in the original location within the Content Collection, the links to these items in the course will function properly. If the items have been moved or renamed, the links will be broken.

Similarly, if a course package is restored or imported to a course in Blackboard Learn without the Content Collection, all of the links to Content Collection items in the imported or restored course will be broken. This is because the course saves a link to each item, not the actual files. Instructors must delete the links to these items from the course. If the items are accessible, they are added to the Content Collection and linked to again from the course.

If the Content Collection is moved or deleted, the same behavior described above will occur. All of the links to the Content Collection items will be broken.

Blackboard Learn does not automatically update user permissions for Content Collection items with links in imported or restored courses.

Using SSO with direct links to content files or WebDAV

Authentication Providers in Learn can be based on two possible Authentication Mode types: IdP or challenge/response. In most cases, only "challenge/response" works well with WebDAV and direct links to content files. This typically is encountered when pasting a link into an email or medium that will be sent by email, such as an Announcement.

  • "IdP" (Identity Provider) type providers, such as SAML and CAS, hand off authentication to the remote authentication source which will handle the validation of the username/password. They are designed for SSO (Single Sign On) type scenarios where users will engage the SSO either directly through a dedicated portal or through a redirect or link on the Blackboard Learn login page. In both scenarios: the username and password are entered in the IdP portal provided login page and are never sent to Learn.
  • "Challenge/response" type providers, consist of the Learn Default and LDAP authenticators. These validate the username/password directly with the authentication source. These providers are called when the username/password is entered on the Blackboard Learn login page or when WebDAV client apps login. 

The IdP based authentication types will not work at all with WebDAV. They are suitable only for web-based SSO for browser-based application authentication use cases. To maintain compatibility with WebDAV, the Learn Application does not attempt to use redirection to authenticate unauthenticated users who access direct links to content collection URLs. However, if the user already has a Learn session, such links work.

A solution that can be used is to combine solutions: typically, IdP is backed by an X509 directory and the directory can be used as an LDAP provider directly or by proxy to read-only LDAP server. 

Video tutorials

Uploading Files to the Content Collection

Uploading a Zipped File to the Content Collection

Watch Downloading Files in a Zipped Package from the Content Collection