Blackboard Content Collection

Blackboard’s Content Collection is a file repository that allows staff to store, manage, and share content. The Content Collection functions as a virtual hard drive that can be accessed from any computer by logging into a user’s Blackboard account. Files stored in the Content Collection can be easily reused and linked to from any Blackboard module/organisation offering a single source file solution. Updating a file that is linked to in the Content Collection saves time and avoids duplication of effort, eliminating the need to go into each module/organisation to upload an updated version of a file.


What is it?

Existing users of Blackboard should already be familiar with managing files through the 'Files area in the Control Panel’.

Course Files menu

This has now been replaced by Blackboard’s Content Collection.

There are 5 folders in it, as explained below.

Content Collection menu

  1. Specific module/organisation repository : You can still store files specific for a particular module/organisation in its associated file repository. This is the default location for file storage when adding files through any content area of Blackboard.
  2. My Content : Access to your own personal filing repository. The benefit of using this area for storing any files is that, like all the orher areas of the Content Collection, they are always available to you from anywhere that you have an internet connection.
  3. All Courses Content You can easily access and view all files across modules.
  4. All Organisations Content You can also easily access and view all files across organisations.
  5. Institution Content : The main advantage is that for content that is replicated throughout modules, you will only have to upload this content once and can then link to it numerous times from various modules/organisations. In this area you will also find specific folders for your subject area so that you can also upload and share resources with other colleagues.

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How do you access it?

You can access the collection from the Control Panel of any module or organisation. Alternatively you can use the Content Collection tab at the top of Blackboard.

Content Collection tab

When accessed through the tab you will notice that the view is slightly different, although the same folders are available. In addition from this view you can set up bookmarks to favourite files and adjust personal settings, such as the folder you would like to be shown upon first accessing this area. (Please do not worry about Workflow notification settings as we are not using this part of the system at this time).

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Default Structure for the Institutional Repository

The general view for the Institution folder for staff members is shown in the example below.

Institution folder

Each member of staff can access their own Faculty folder and drill down to School level to add shared resources.

Please note that there is no delete option availble in the Content System, simply a Recycle option. Files which are stored in the Recycle Bin can therfore be rescued (upto 30 days after having been recycled).

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Types of Content

There are two types of content that make up the Content Collection:

  • Folders — Folders are storage “bins” for other folders and files. Folders can be created within other folders or can be standalone folders.
  • Items — Item is a generic description that refers to any type of file, including MS Office, PDF, and other file types.

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Managing Permissions

Access to files in modules and organisations remains the same as before. Basically if you are enrolled on the module/organisation as a module leader you have full access to all files contained in it.

At Institution Level, you will have the following access rights:

Institution Content > [Your faculty] > [Your School] – all file management rights so we recommend that if you upload to this folder that you lock files so that they cannot be edited or deleted.
Institution Content > [Your faculty] > [All Schools] – You can only view the resources uploaded into any other School folder in your faculty.

We recommend that you always use this method for uploading content to be reused or shared since you can clearly locate the appropriate Institutional level folder for your Faculty > School > Subject beforehand.

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Uploading files using the Content Collection

  1. Access the Content Collection

  2. Navigate to the area and folder that will contain the Item. Note that files to be shared should be placed in your associated Institutional Repository (see more information on Default Structure for the Institutional Repository).

  3. On the action bar, click Upload and select either Upload Files or Upload Package (for zipped folders) Uploading multiple files and folders requires the Java plug-in, version 1.5 or later. If the plug-in is not available the error message “unable to load applet” is dsiplayed. If this is the case use the Single File option to add files one at a time.

    Multiple Files error

  4. When uploading files to any of the Institution level folders we recommend that you lock the file(s). This will mean that others can link to and view the file(s) but will not be able to edit or recycle the file.

  5. Click Submit when finished

Once uploaded you can then link to the file via any of the content areas in your module/organisation. See Adding a simple link to a file stored in the Content Collection and Linking to a file using 'linked text’

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Adding a simple link to a file stored in the Content Collection

This is the simplest and easiest way to add a link to a file. However you may like to consider an alternative good practice approach using linked text

  1. Navigate to the module/organisation where you would like to link the file.

  2. Select a Content Area from where you would like to add a link to the file, for example in a typical mdule this would be the Learning Materials page.

  3. From the action bar, select Build Content > Item (recommended so that you can add some additional informative text) or Build Content > File.

  4. Click the Browse Content Collection button found under section 2. Attachments.

    and navigate to the desired file.

  5. Attach file

  6. Click the Check boxes to select one or more files.

  7. Click Submit when finished.

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Linking to a file using 'linked text’

The following video shows you how to add a link to a file in such a way that the linking text is embedded naturally within a sentence.This is a good practice approach, helpful to all learners including those with screen readers.

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Uploading a newer version of an existing file

You can easily update an existing file to replace it with the most up to date version by using the Overwrite option.

To do this you will need to locate the file in the content collection and then select the chevrons to the right of the file name to access the Overwrite menu

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Other options available for Organising and managing content

Each folder or file within the Content Collection has the following menu of main options. These can be accessed by locating the file in the content collection and then selecting the chevrons to the right of the file name.

File management options

  • Open — Opens the selected file.
  • 360⁰ View — Provides information such as a file’s Owner, Created by, Created on, Last Edit, Comments, Versions, File Activity, courses where file is deployed, Permissions, and Subfolders or Files.
  • Edit — Allows for editing of file name and options, including Lock File, Share Comments, Enable Versioning, Enable Tracking.
  • Overwrite File — (Files only) Use this option when you want to reupload a newer version of the file.
  • Permissions — Before a file is shared, its permission should be determined. Options include whether others can read, write, remove, or manage a file.
  • Download Package —Files can be downloaded into a .zip package and stored on your local workstation.
  • Copy — Copying a file creates an exact replica of that file. The file can be copied to the same location or a new location.
  • Move — Moving a file removes it from its current location and stores it in a new location. It is possible to select multiple files for moving, making it easy to transport large batches of content to new locations.
  • Recycle — Selecting this option does not permanently delete an Item/Folder. The item is removed from it’s original location in the Content Collection and then moved to the Recycle Bin and stored for 30 days so that within this period of time it can be recovered if necessary.

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