Blackboard Retention Policy
The purpose of this policy and its procedures is to outline the methods and responsibilities associated with the preservation, archiving, or removal of Blackboard courses and associated student records on MyASU and WPCareyOnline. The management and preservation of Blackboard courses, course materials, and student records require resources and ongoing management which may require the regular archiving or removal of materials to provide optimal use of system resources.
W. P. Carey School of Business faculty members currently have access to two Blackboard Course Management Systems (CMS). The first system which is often referred to as MyASU (http://myasucourses.asu.edu) is administered and maintained by the University Technology Office (UTO). MyASU is used to support and manage graduate and undergraduate courses within the W. P. Carey School, and to support and manage student and departmental organizations, such as the Honors Marketing Association and the W. P. Carey School of Business Residential Community.
A second system administered by Business Information Technology (BIT) is reserved for the W. P. Carey MBA Online program, and online programs offered by the Center for Executive and Professional Development. Often referred to as WPCareyOnline, the system is segregated from MyASU to insure the security, reliability, and functionality requirements of their particular program.
MyASU: (UTO Blackboard)
Currently UTO has not established a specific course archiving policy. Instead, UTO utilizes an "upgrade-and-preserve" methodology. UTO does not upgrade major versions of Blackboard (i.e. Version 7 to version 8) but constructs a new infrastructure, renames the existing infrastructure and moves forward. As of October 2009, http://my7.asu.edu (Blackboard version 7) is still active; this version encompass courses from the fall of 2005 forward.
MyASU is offered as a service;therefore UTO does not express nor convey responsibility for individual courses supported by that service. As a result, UTO does not routinely delete courses without a request to do so. Consequently existing courses are preserved for an indeterminate span of time on both current and old systems until the determination is made by UTO that those systems can no longer be supported. Furthermore, UTO places ultimate responsibility for securing and preserving teaching materials in the hands of the instructor who "owns" a given course.
WPCareyOnline is managed by the BIT Instructional Systems group. Active courses are rolled forward with the help of the Instructional Designers from the Instructional Media team. Courses on this server are linked to a given cohort of students and, as such, they are treated as a group or package of courses. Each group of courses delivered from this server is maintained for three years from the time a given cohort graduates. After that time, they are deleted from the server along with the cohort’s student information.
Archive and Restoration Tools
Both MyASU and WPCareyOnline have archive and restoration tools built into the Blackboard CMS that are accessible from the administrative or instructor control panel. However, their effectiveness can be limited by factors such as system load, the physical file size of a given course, and the inconsistencies between different installation versions and configurations of Blackboard. As a result, the intervention of a BIT systems specialist may be required to utilize these tools on the occasions when the administrative or instructor control panel fails.
Additionally, these tools produce a file that is suitable only for uploading to another Blackboard system. Therefore, the intended use for a Blackboard archive file is not to preserve individual files that can be recovered by an instructor, but to provide a recovery strategy for the loss of an entire course in Blackboard.
Recommendations on preserving your work
Your safest bet is to always save copies of the key elements of your course in the original document form on your hard disk or on another system such as BIT’s network server. While the systems administrators of both Blackboard systems go to great lengths to preserve your online courses, there are no absolute guarantees. If you are teaching a course year after year, you can count on your Blackboard course material to be available to roll from one year to the next. If you plan on being away for a time or are not sure when you might teach that course again, taking proactive steps to preserve the material is your safest bet. If you need help, contact your Blackboard administrator through our 1-Stop number (5-9737).