Rolling over a Blackboard unit site

The following article discusses the process of copying the content from one Blackboard (MySCU) learning site to another. This is known as a site rollover or site copy.

Reusing content from a previous Blackboard learning site saves you the time required to create one from scratch. However, some content may relate to specific information about a prior teaching period, or contain cohort-specific references (such as discussion forum posts) that should not be shared with a new class.

Before you start

When rolling over content from an existing unit site you need to carefully consider what to include. Generally, you should avoid including wikis, discussion board forum posts,  Turnitin and other submitted assessments, grade centre, or announcements. It can also be helpful to thoughtfully browse the previously delivered unit site, taking note of the important content.

The process of rolling over content from a previous learning site to a new learning site is relatively simple. To get started you will need:

  1. Access to a previously delivered learning site (the old unit site)
  2. Access to the current learning site (the new unit site you will be delivering)
  3. An understanding of the rollover process including:
    1. review what to include in the rollover
    2. check the unit site data quota will not be exceeded.

1. How to Access a unit site

The learning sites you have access to are listed in the My Learning Sites section of the MySCU dashboard once you login: Unit Assessors are normally automatically enrolled in the unit sites they are delivering based on the unit details stored in the UCMS system. If you do not have access to a previous or current unit site, you can also request access by sending an email to

2. Review the unit site content

Some content may be obsolete, inaccurate, or include specific details about the cohort, UA or assessment which has changed. Take the time to browse the Unit Content, Discussion Board, and the Assessment Tasks and Submission folders in particular. Take note of the materials and site folders that you wish to include in the site copy. Copying over anything that you don't need will create an editing task later.

Check for Site links

A site link is a link created to content located within a learning site (as opposed to HTML links to other web pages). If the learning site includes site links, the content they link to needs to be included in the site copy process. For example, if a site link to a content folder is present but that folder is not included in the site copy, then the link will break in the site copy (since the linked content has not been transferred). You can find site links by checking the icons within the learning site content pages. Make note of any site links so you can test them later.

Site link to a content folder  Site link to an item or file

Check the new site too!

Don't forget to double-check the new learning site in case content has already been added (quickly scan site folders for content, readings or assessment information). If the unit-specific content is already there you do not need to complete a roll over; doing so will duplicate the site content.

3. Check the unit site quota

Files located in every unit site are stored in a repository called the Content Collection. Ensure that the data quota of a unit site does not exceed the 4.4GB unit site limit otherwise some files will fail to transfer.

The video below shows how to check how much data quota is available, and how to delete files in the content collection area to decrease data usage.

A note about videos

Look for video files that have been uploaded directly to unit learning sites, as these consume costly Blackboard server space and slow down the online experience for everyone. Where videos have been uploaded directly to a unit site, it is best practice to transfer these videos to MyMediasite, add them as a link, and then delete the original file from the learning site content collection area. This will ensure you don't run out of space and benefit everyone by reducing the Blackboard server bandwidth.

These videos can be identified in a content item by use of the Blackboard video player (below), or found in the site content collection area (note the video icon and .mp4 file extension in the example below).

How to complete a unit site rollover (site copy)

The process of rolling over a learning site is outlined below, including a video that walks through the required steps. Make sure to review the video and work through the steps in the previous section before you attempt a site copy.

  1. Open the Blackboard learning site you wish to duplicate. (Ensure you are enrolled in this site, contact Technology Services if you do not have access.)
  2. Navigate to the Control Panel, expand the Packages and Utilities section and select Site Copy. Select Copy Site Materials into an Existing Site.
  3. Select the Destination site by clicking browse and locate the unit site you want to copy content into (check the year and term). Once you have found the correct learning site, click the radio button to select that site and click Submit.
  4. Select the content to copy over by ticking the individual boxes. Review the warning messages and ensure you don't tick anything that is not essential.

    Don't tick everything!

    Carefully read each warning message to ensure that only necessary content is being copied over. Do not tick all the content! This will create editing challenges later.

    • Blackboard Tests and Pools will copy over, but must be redeployed in the new site where students can access them.
    • Turnitin links will copy into the Assessment Tasks and Submission section, however, to activate the portal, it is required that you click on the Turnitin link. When you click on the link in the new unit site, you will be asked to update the associated dates i.e. "Due Date". For Turnitin links that are copied over, students will need to access their feedback through the Turnitin portal as a hyperlink will not be available in "Grades and Feedback". This will need to be communicated to students.
    • Grade Centre will blend columns from both unit sites, so it's much easier to Set up Grade Centre Columns and Settings after all assessment has been recreated later.

    • Adaptive Release Rules and user progress information aren't included in a site copy so you'll need to reapply Adaptive Release Rules after the site copy is complete. 

  5. Click Submit to commence the site copy process. 

  6. An email will be sent to you once the process is complete. It usually takes around 5 minutes, depending on the amount of content.

Caution with file attachments

When rolling over a site that has been in use for a considerable time, the repeated duplication of older content can exceed the 4.4GB site limit. Files will not be copied once the limit is reached, and further content cannot be added to the site. For this reason, under the File attachments section, use the default top option Copy links and copies of the content. This will ensure that only files being used in the Blackboard learning site are copied and will reduce redundant files.

If you are 100% confident you need to include all the site files, tick the bottom option Copy links and copies of the content. Now you can click on the Calculate Size button to ensure that you are under the 4.5GB limit. You can use the Manage package Contents to reduce the file size by excluding content to be copied. Video files are generally the largest files that can be removed. These must instead be linked from external platforms that are designed to support streaming video, such as My Mediasite.

Getting more help

If you require further assistance with a site copy, please contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning:

What next?

After you have completed the site copy and the content has been added, you will receive a confirmation email and you can now log in to the new learning site.  It is strongly recommended to use Student View to confirm that the site content is working properly and to test all assessment links are working as required.

  • If you are using Turnitin, the assessment links will need to be activated by clicking on the link in the new unit site.
  • Grade Centre will need to be checked and set up correctly.
  • If you are using a Blackboard Test, it will need to be deployed again. 
  • If you are using Site links, test that each link is working correctly in the new site.
  • If you have applied Adaptive release rules these will need to be set up again in the new site.
  • If you wish to use Group Settings these will need to be applied.
  • Review dates and times throughout the unit site and update as needed.
  • Check the Contacts folder is up to date and that any individuals mentioned in the site are teaching the unit.

Test it out in Student View

It is strongly recommended to use Student View to confirm that the site content is working properly and to test all assessment links are working as required before the start of term to avoid any 'surprises'. 

Click the Enter Student Preview button on the top right side of the browser window to access.

Check Turnitin links

You should always test that Turnitin links are working correctly using Student View at the start of term, especially if you are unsure if the links were copied from another Blackboard site. You can submit a test assessment using a demo student account, and also check that the due dates and rubrics are correct. When you click Return to Teacher View you can open the submitted assessment and practise using the grading tools.

Testing Site links

You should always test that all site links are working on the new Blackboard site. The easiest way to test is to just click on the link. When a link is broken, you will receive an error message to this effect.

To rectify a broken Site Link;

  1. Turn in Edit mode 'On' and delete the site link (Click on the down chevron arrow and select 'delete').
  2. Create a new site link on the Build Content > Site Link menu.
  3. Browse to the item or folder you wish to link, enter the details and click submit.

Unit site checklist

For more information about setting up, checking, and managing a Blackboard learning site, a unit site checklist is available: Managing your unit