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Process Change: Linking Files from Box to Blackboard and Locking for Further Editing

We are making some significant changes to processes, specifically how we add content to Blackboard and attempting to reduce issues where faculty make changes to curricular materials after they have already been made available to students. Here is a summary of the process change (also sent to most block/theme leaders, staff, coordinators, etc). Block and theme leads should work closely with teaching faculty to ensure they understand these processes and avoid making changes to materials. Note that DoCS and Medical Colloquia coordinators will be trained on this process change in November 2022.

Old Process

In the past, coordinators downloaded materials (e.g., PPTX, PDF, etc.) from where they are stored in Box and then uploaded the materials to Blackboard for students to access. Students download the materials to save it to their preference of cloud storage.

We are no longer doing it this way as we have exhausted our quotas for courses (amount of space allocated to each course for files and other resources by the university). The university is enforcing a policy with a 2GB threshold for all courses. We use Blackboard in a different way than other programs as we load ~10 courses into one giant course shell vs each course having its own course shell in Phase 1 and load all clerkships in one giant course for Phase 2. 

New Process

Project Managers (PM’s Gretchen Strasser for Blocks 1-4, Libra Peray for Blocks 5-7, Erica Litzey for Synthesis Weeks, and Block 8) create a ‘share link’ from Box to share materials to Blackboard for students to access. I thank Gretchen, Libra, and Erica for helping to iron out this process!

NOTE: this process is not officially in place for DoCS and Medical Colloquia until October or November 2022.

For example, designated PM creates a share link for files we would normally download from Box and then upload directly to Blackboard. The ‘share link’ is added to Blackboard in the same format material had previously been shared creating as little impact on students as possible. To the student, it looks almost identical to what they have already experienced. The file in Box will also be locked to further editing by faculty.

What do faculty need to know

Please refrain from making changes to your files close to when the activity takes place. This is like what we have asked of faculty in the past when coordinators downloaded files from Box and uploaded them to Blackboard. This can have a potentially serious impact on exam / quiz performance if students are not informed of these changes to materials. 

To ensure this does not happen, files in Materials Presented to Students (MPTS) folders in Box will be considered final. Once these files are shared to students via Blackboard, they will be locked for further editing by project managers or local coordinators. This means you will no longer be able to edit the file. If there is something egregiously incorrect in your materials that have already been shared with students through Blackboard and it’s within a week of when the activity takes place, please let the project managers know asap so they can work with you to make the change and inform students. In practice, there should be no changes so close to when a teaching and learning activity takes place.

Facts about linking from Box to Blackboard

  • By linking files from a secure Box folder to Blackboard such as in Materials Presented to Students (MPTS), this process does not add students to the secure Box folders. Students can only download the file or save it to their own Box folders.
  • Students cannot see any Box comments for files. We do not invite students to access Box folders such as MPTS therefore they cannot see any of this kind of information. Students should not be added to these private folders regardless.
  • Students cannot see all versions of files or that there is a different version (e.g., icon in Box indicating there are multiple versions).
  • This process is expanded from Block 1 where it’s been a pilot to all other blocks for Classes of 2025 & 2026 going forward. We have ironed out some issues that have arisen in the past couple weeks.

If you have questions about this process, please contact me via email or send me a direct message via Slack.

Thank you to everyone who has helped ensure this process is smooth(er): Leslie Hammersmith, Gretchen Strasser, Libra Peray, Erica Litzsey, local coordinators at each campus, faculty, EAGLs, certain students in Phase 1, etc. This has been a collective process from representatives at each campus.