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Creating Courses by Using Batch Files

Last Modified
12:49, 14 Mar 2013

Batch files are delimited files that allow you to create or copy as many as 500 courses at one time. To learn more about creating batch files, see Batch File Guidelines for Courses.

How to Create Courses in Batch

  1. On the Administrator Panel, in the Courses section, click Courses.
  2. On the action bar, point to Create Course to access the drop-down list.

  3. Select Batch.
  4. On the Batch Create Courses page, click the File Location field or click Browse.
  5. In the File Upload dialog box, navigate to the batch file and click Open.
  6. Select the file Delimiter Type that the batch file uses. If you select Automatic, Blackboard Learn analyzes the batch file and determines the delimiter based on the frequency of the character in the file.
  7. If the batch file does not include the Button_Style attribute, use the Style Settings to format the navigation menu of the course. If the batch file specifies a Button_Style attribute for a course, the batch file value overrides any style settings you enter here.

    The following table describes the available fields. [r] indicates a required field.

    Style Settings Available Fields
    Field Description
    Select Menu Style
    Preview You can design the course to have text-only navigation links or to use images from the Blackboard Learn button library. Each time you change the text or button style, the preview updates to show the current design.
    Style (Text) Select Text to create text navigation links for the course.

    To define colors, access the contextual menu for Background Color or Text Color. Click a swatch to select a color or provide a Color Value in hexadecimal format (for example, 00FF00 for bright green). If you provide a hexadecimal code or click Skip, the swatch selection closes. Click Preview to view the color you provided. Click Apply.

    Image illustrating associated text

    1. Provide a color value in hexadecimal code.
    2. Click a swatch to select a color.
    3. View a preview of the selected color.
    Style (Buttons) Select Buttons to create image navigation links for the course. If necessary, click the plus sign (+) to expand the Button Library.

    Use the drop-down lists to filter the buttons by Button Type such as Pattern or Solid and by Button Shape such as Rectangular or Rounded Corners.

    To filter by Button Color, provide a search term and click Search. For example, type "blue" to find all buttons with "blue" in their names. You can also search by partial word. For example, type "bl" to find all buttons with "bl" in their name, such as Lace Black or Solstice Blue.

    Image illustrating associated text

    1. Use the drop-down lists and search box to filter the button library.
    2. View buttons that match the filter criteria.
    Default Content View
    Content View This setting controls how course files appear. Select Icon Only to show only a file type icon, Text Only to show only the file name, or Icon and Text to show both icon and file name.
  8. Click Submit.

How to Copy Courses in Batch

To better serve your integration needs, the new SIS Framework provides an improved interface for managing and processing Snapshot based data. While current command line based snapshots will continue to work with legacy data objects, the Snapshot command line tool and the Snapshot XML data format are deprecated in Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 8 and will receive only maintenance fixes. Additionally, the Snapshot command line tools will be removed in a future release. For the suggested alternative, see Student Information System (SIS).

You can copy multiple courses at once by using a batch file and the Snapshot command line tool.

The batch copy performs an exact copy of each source course. An exact copy includes user enrollments along with course information and materials.

You can create new courses with the batch copy or you can copy course information and content into an existing course. If the destination course already exists, the batch copy updates the course information but does not overwrite any course content.

  1. Create the batch file. The batch copy file format does not follow the same rules as the batch file for creating a new course. Instead, the batch copy uses the Snapshot flat file format.
  2. Run the batch copy command in Snapshot from the Web/app server. The command syntax is as follows, where path_to_file is the full path to the copy batch file:

    Windows Syntax: C:\Blackboard\tools\admin\BatchCourseCopy.cmd path_to_file

    UNIX Syntax: /usr/local/blackboard/tools/admin/BatchCourseCopy.sh path_to_file

    The exact path to the Blackboard Learn directory may be different based on where Blackboard Learn was installed.

    The command only processes a batch copy on the default virtual installation. To perform a batch copy on another virtual installation, use the COPYINTO Snapshot command.

How to Create the Batch File

In the Snapshot format, the first row defines the attributes to copy and the subsequent rows provide the values for each attribute. The file must be a .txt file, and the delimiter used in the file must match the delimiter defined in the snapshot.properties file. The default delimiter is the pipe (|).

 

This example shows a batch copy file that will create three new courses.

EXTERNAL_COURSE_KEY|COURSE_ID|COURSE_NAME|TEMPLATE_COURSE_KEY

HIST101a|HIST101a|Introduction to American History until 1865|HIST101
HIST102a|HIST102a|Introduction to American History from 1865|HIST102
HIST103a|HIST103a|Introduction to Central American History|HIST103

The EXTERNAL_COURSE_KEY is an attribute used for advanced data management. If the course was created through the Administrator Panel, the EXTERNAL_COURSE_KEY value is the same as the course ID.

The TEMPLATE_COURSE_KEY attribute defines the source course to copy. The COURSE_ID and COURSE_NAME attributes define the values for the new course.

 

This example shows a batch copy file that will copy course information and user enrollments from one course into three courses that already exist.

EXTERNAL_COURSE_KEY|TEMPLATE_COURSE_KEY

HIST101a|HIST101 HIST102|HIST101 HIST103|HIST101

In this case, you do not use the course ID or course name attributes. The EXTERNAL_COURSE_KEY attribute defines the course ID of the destination course. The TEMPLATE_COURSE_KEY attribute defines the source course to copy.

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