Bb Course Lifespan Guidelines

During the Fall 2014 term, Information Technology Services will begin implementing a new plan to remove old course data from the live Blackboard system. There are two main reasons that old course content can no longer be stored on the live system indefinitely:

  • Ever-increasing database sizes negatively impact overall system performance. In a fast-paced world, faculty and students demand immediate and responsive performance. We will work to ensure that database growth does not impact users’ daily workflow in Blackboard.
  • Whether our system is hosted on campus or offsite, the growing cost for enterprise-level file storage is a real concern. At the same time, the expectation grows for smooth online delivery of larger and larger files (video and other media). Retaining this content, and often many copies of the same content, is cost prohibitive.


The Academic Technology Committee has approved the following “course lifespan” plan, which was developed after carefully considering faculty/student impact, cost, and standard industry practices.


This plan impacts “Courses” that exist inside of the “Courses” tab on Blackboard, not Community Sites.


  • Blackboard courses will be archived two (2) years after the end of the semester in which they were offered. At that time, these courses will be downloaded, stored and deleted from the live Blackboard system. Since ITS will retain archives of courses older than two years, instructors can request that a course be kept on the live system or restored from archive.
  • Archived courses will be kept offline for three (3) years after they are archived (five years after the semester in which the course was taught). If an instructor has a need to retain archives for a longer period, they should request this through ITS Online Learning Services.
  • This means that instructors can access access a course up to five (5) years after the end of the term in which it was taught unless other arrangements have been made.


Here is an example course lifespan for English 101, CRN 1234, offered Fall of 2009:


Course Lifespan Example Timeline



We understand that changing the protocol of keeping all content indefinitely is a big change. For that reason, we will ease into this plan. Courses from terms between Fall 2004 and Summer II 2011 will be archived and removed from the live system starting in November. They will not be deleted for some time but you are strongly encouraged to browse these courses and let us know if there is anything that you need ongoing access to. Over time, we will “catch up” with the timing of the lifecycle, as outlined above.

If you have any questions or need to make arrangement to keep content on the live system for a longer period of time, please ask!