Course Files is the file repository available with all Blackboard Learn courses. However, if your institution licenses content management, the Content Collection is the file repository.
With Course Files, instructors have access to all of their files for a specific course, not for other courses they teach. They can move a large amount of content from their computers or network drives to Course Files quickly or upload files while creating content. They can organize, view, manage, and link to those files as suits their needs. Instructors can create folders and subfolders in Course Files to organize their content in a way that is logical to them.
Students do not have access to Course Files, but they can view files in the course that are linked to Course Files.
Default directory for Course Files
The default directory for Course Files in each course is /courses/COURSEID.
With the release of 9.1, Blackboard recommends using the /courses directory for Course Files storage. The reuse of course packages works seamlessly with /courses and the system properly stores and organizes files any time course materials are reused. In 9.0 and earlier versions, some institutions that licensed content management turned off the /courses storage area. The primary reason for doing so was that removing or recycling a course removed the files from the /courses directory, causing problems with course reuse.
Course Files solves this issue. Users can select to include the content, not only the links, when creating a course package. When the content is included, the original course can be removed or recycled with no effect on the copied course.
In addition, Course Files is a simplified storage solution. Instructors do not have to think about where they are supposed to store their course content. They do not need to worry that they are going to link a file in the course and then not be able to find the file again in their personal storage space. The system sets up an easy-to-find space and gives users a direct view into it from their courses. Additionally, administrators do not have to spend time figuring out how to support file management within the course for instructors, as the system does it for them.
If your institution licenses content management and decides to use another Content Collection directory, such as /institution to store files related to courses, please keep a few things in mind:
- When the release 9.1 installer is run, the /courses directory is turned on automatically; the administrator must turn it off once the installer is finished before allowing users access to the system.
- Tools are available to set up the default directories, if you are not using /courses. The default directory for each course can be changed to point to a different part of the Content Collection. For example, the default directory for all History courses can be changed to point to /institutions/History Dept/. In this case, any files attached to any of the History courses will be stored in the same place. To change the directory, see How to Change Default Directories in Course Files Command Line Tools.
- Tools are available to define permissions on the default directories. The default directories must be created before the permissions tool is run. To learn more about permissions for the directories, see How to Change Permissions for Individual Course Directories and How to Change Permissions for the /courses Directory in Course Files Command Line Tools.
Permissions required for adding content
To add Course Files content from a course package to a destination directory using the Restore, Copy, or Import operations, the user performing the operation must have Manage permission on the course directory.
To include Course Files content in a course package using the Export, Archive, or Copy operations, the user must have Manage permission on the course directory.
If your institution licenses content management, only Read permission is required to include links to course content, while Manage permission is required to include links and copies of the course content. Because the Restore, Copy, and Import Course operations require that the user performing the operation has Manage permission on the course directory, this can result in some, but not all, of the content being included in the package. When package operations are performed by an administrator with Manage permission, all content is included.
To learn about user and folder permissions in Course Files, see Manage Permissions in Course Files.
To perform batch changes to course directory permissions using the command line, see Course Files Command Line Tools.
Content included when creating course packages
If your institution does not license content management, all Course Files content within the home directory of the course is included when creating course packages using the Export, Archive, or Copy operations, regardless of whether the course links to the content.
If your institution licenses content management, users can choose to include only the links to the course content or the links and copies of the content. Links to content outside of the course home directory are included in both cases, but copies of that content are not included. Users can also remove files and folders from the package.
Content included when reusing course packages
When you reuse course packages using the Restore, Copy, or Import operations, all Course Files content is placed in the Course Files home directory of the new course. The directory structure and file names of the Course Files content in the original course are maintained, and all links in the new course point to the content in the course package.
To reuse the Course Files content, users must have Manage permission on the Course Files home directory.
When you reuse a package that includes copies of the content, links to files or folders included in the package will point to the items in the Course Files directory of the new course. Links to files or folders not included in the package will point to the items in the Course Files directory of the source course.
The All Course Users List, which includes students, receives Read permission on all Course Files content linked in the course. By default, the following roles receive Manage permission on all Course Files content:
- Course Builders
- Teaching Assistants
Course Files folder structure
When adding Course Files content to a destination directory using the Restore, Copy, or Import operations, all Course Files content is stored in the Course Files directory for the course.
If the course to which the content is being added currently contains no content and no users, the content is added directly to the Course Files directory. If the course contains content or users, the content is added to a subfolder named using the following format: COURSEID_ImportedContent_DATETIMESTAMP. The content is not be added directly to the Course Files directory folder because a user may have created content in this area and it may cause collisions.
The structure of the Course Files directory reflects the structure of the course menu, but an instructor may make changes to the folder structure after the files are moved.
If your institution licenses content management, an administrator selects the destination folder in the Content Collection to which the content will be moved. If the destination folder is the home directory, the content is placed directly in that folder. If the destination folder is in another location, the content is placed in a subfolder named using the following format: COURSEID_ImportedContent_DATETIMESTAMP.
If a file with the same name exists in the folder, the name of the moved file is saved with a number appended to the name. For example, Course_Assignment.doc becomes Course_Assignment(1).doc.
When adding Course Files content to a destination directory using the Restore, Copy, or Import operations, the system checks whether enough disk space is available for the Course Files content. If not, an error is returned and the operation is not performed. You can increase the disk quota. To learn about course quota settings, see Creating Default Settings for Courses.
To learn more about setting the maximum size for Course Files content included in course packages during Archive, Import, and Copy, see Setting the Course Files Package Size.
Blackboard Learn uses multiple types of storage, including course files, hidden/private storage, and local storage. Only course files are counted in determining a course's quota. For example, attachments to Discussion Board threads, blogs, journals, and Wikis are saved in hidden/private storage, so these do not count toward a course's quota.
Default maximum upload limit
The default size limit for content uploaded through the user interface is 2500 MB. When attempting to upload files larger than 2500 MB using the interface, users will receive an error.
This limit does not apply to Web Folder or Blackboard Drive uploads. To learn more about Drive, see Blackboard Drive.
Even if a file is under the limit, the connection speed between the user's browser and the Learn server might create browser timeout issues when uploading very large files.
To upload larger files, you can upload the files using the command line or you can increase the default size limit.
To learn about uploading files using the command line, see Course Files Command Line Tools.
About web folders and shared locations (WebDAV)
On Mac, a web folder is called a shared location.
WebDAV is used for sharing files over the internet and is compatible with most operating systems. When used with Blackboard Learn, WebDAV is a means for users to add to and access content in Course Files or the Content Collection, as if it were any other network drive or folder on their computers.
For users who have moved pre-9.1 content containing HTML files, they can use a web folder or shared location to access their files for editing in the program of their choice.
An administrator must make web folders/shared locations available before they can be used with Blackboard Learn. To learn more about WebDAV, see Configuring WebDAV for Web Folders and Shared Locations.