The Center for Teaching and Learning put guidelines in place to help you and the CTL staff work better together to complete your request.

Blackboard Shell:

Shells for all GSU courses are automatically created for the new semester, approximately several weeks prior to the start of classes. If your course is not listed in your Blackboard Course List, but is listed in the GSU Class Schedule, please contact Blackboard Support.

Blackboard Course Size Limit (NEW):

Since Governors State University moved Blackboard to the cloud in the beginning of 2022, there is a total course size limit of 3GB, with a course package size of 2.5GB (course copy or course import), to all courses within Blackboard. This will help ensure that our servers run efficiently and we remain below our allotted server space.

Faculty members may receive a warning/error message when trying to copy or import a course larger than the default course size limit. You can find instructions on how to check the current size of your course.
-Checking Course Size
-Identify and Delete Duplicate Files
-Create Web Links to Video files

Adding Teaching Assistant to Blackboard Course:

When a student changes to a higher role in Blackboard, they are required to complete a FERPA. To access FERPA, please have the student use the link below. The student must send an electronic copy (from the website) AND print out a hard copy (with the Blackboard option selected), sign, and forward for the appropriate signatures. The FERPA form should be sent to Hugo Solano ( or Emma Ziems ( of IT to process. Once approved by IT, an email should be sent to the user. Once the email is received from IT, please forward to Blackboard Support to enroll the student as a TA in the appropriate course.

Accessing Other Instructor Course Content:

We require an email approved by a department chair, department head, or dean to providing the specific user (first name, last name, and username) access to the specific course ID (i.e. ONTL-1000-01_18SP).

Cross-Listing Courses:

Blackboard courses are created from the Colleague course ID's. Once the Blackboard course creation script is run, all of the courses and instructors are added to Blackboard.

Cross-listing is merging two or more courses/sections together for one course shell in Blackboard. This must be approved by the department chair. If the department chair approves, the department will add the cross-listed courses/sections to Colleague. Once in Colleague, the cross-listed course will be created in Blackboard when the course creation script is run.

Request for Additional Shells:

Every course section will have a Blackboard course shell that is created. However, there are circumstances that may require you to have an additional shell provided for course building and not for live course use. Instructors may request any of the following types of shells below, but will have to provide chair or dean approval. Please note that these types of shells are separate from the Non-Academic Course shells mentioned in the next section below.

  • MASTER: (Master shell will remain for online only)
  • HB-MASTER: (Hybrid Master shell only)
  • F2F-MASTER: (Face-to-Face Master shell only)
  • DEV: (Development shell)

Request for "Non-Academic Course" Blackboard Shell:

Blackboard course shells may be requested for "academic use" only and are subject to approval by your department. Please review the guidelines and procedures for requesting course shells for non-course academic use.

  1. Shell must be for academic use only.
  2. Requester must submit a shell creation request approved by a department chair, department head, or dean that describes in detail how the course shell will be used and its proposed content.
  3. The requester is solely responsible for maintaining the shell. Maintenance includes:
    • Enrollment of all users: The requester must provide CTL a list of names, usernames, and role in the course each term.
    • Deletion of users: If necessary, the requester must provide CTL a list of names and usernames each term.
    • Monitoring and updating course content and functionality: This includes monitoring the course shell for appropriate and legal content.
    • Providing student support for content.
  4. Support for Blackboard courses for academic credit takes priority over non-course Blackboard shell allocation and development. Development support for non-course Blackboard shells will be done on a time-available basis.
  5. With the exception of accreditation teams, only GSU students currently registered for classes and GSU faculty can be enrolled in the shell(s).
  6. The course shell cannot contain any embedded multimedia or video. Links to YouTube or other streaming media are acceptable.
  7. The course shell must remain less than 500MB in size.
  8. Script automation (auto-enrolling students), is not available for non-course Blackboard shells.
  9. Enrollments in Blackboard shells are not anonymous. Therefore, Blackboard shells should not be used for confidential information.

Organizing your Content:

If you would like “quick help” instructions on how to add materials to your course shell, proceed to the Faculty Tutorials page. Otherwise, please request to meet with a CTL Online Instruction Specialist for further assistance.