Case study: Admin documents in Blackboard's Content System


School of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
University of Bristol

Part of the IeLS Project

Tools used



To provide consistent materials embedded within existing Blackboard courses to support students.


In 2009/10 the School of Law developed a pilot use of the Content system with Education Services, designed to provide students with access to a group of materials related to online submission of assignments. The Law School has been doing online submission for a number of years and academics are familiar with the process.

The benefit of using the Content System is its ability to maintain a single version of any document, which can be displayed in multiple locations, while also ensuring students always see the up-to-date version.

What was done

Administrative staff manually replaced the existing documents within Blackboard courses with links to the documents stored on the Content System.  While this was initially labour intensive it ensured the materials remained in the part of the course that the academics wished them to be located in, and that the version of the document displayed was current and could be easily updated.


From the point of view of the academics nothing changed, they still had their submission points and the guidance was updated to reflect current practices as normally happens each year.  It is important to note that due to the nature of the School of Law, the submission guidance is detailed and comprehensive and covers all permutations with the submission processes (imagine a legal document explaining submission).

From the point of view of the administrative staff, while they still needed to replace the materials in every course; they could now be confident that all of the students were receiving exactly the same guidance. The biggest benefit of the change will be seen next year when updating these core documents will take minutes rather than hours.