by George Rosa

As a campus Blackboard administrator I am occasionally asked by instructors to recover old Blackboard course sections that have disappeared from their “My Courses” due to the CUNY CIS-managed process of purging and archiving old courses.  CUNY usually sets a date for when a semester’s courses are archived, and when that date arrives the courses are no longer available in the Blackboard Home tab and they, along with their content, student work and Grade Center entries go into storage.  If an instructor wishes to recover an archived course then he/she needs to make a request to EdTech, which passes the request on to CUNY CIS.  A new section is then created in the instructor’s My Courses with content from the old archived course.  Usually this process takes 1-2 days.

Faculty can and should periodically perform their own course back-up.  There are basically two kinds of back-up: Export and Archive. Export stores the instructor’s course content and settings into a .zip package file.  The .zip file can then be used to load content into a different section of the same course using the Import Package tool in the Control Panel.   So Export is a good way to store a course and reload it into a new section each semester.  Also, exporting a course is one of the best ways for different faculty to “share” course content between their courses, because a normal Course Copy cannot be performed between professors teaching different course sections.

Archiving a course section differs from Export in that student records at the time of archiving are stored with the course.  Enrollment, Grade Center, assignments and SafeAssignments (both directly entered content and uploaded files), discussion boards and student online exams are saved together in the .zip file along with the course content. it is one of the most convenient ways for an instructor to store student records and coursework.  To recover the archived section along with the student work the instructor needs to ask EdTech to create a course shell in Blackboard.  Once that’s done the instructor can import the package into the shell using the Import Package tool in the Control Panel.


1. Export/Archive
In the Control Panel, go to Packages and Utilities > Export/Archive Course









2. Export/Archive
You have the option to Export or Archive







3. Export Course
…options are similar to Course Copy










4. Archive Course
…packs the entire course content, including enrollment and student work



It’s highly recommended that faculty archive their courses at the end of each semester.  Also departments should consider establishing the practice of archiving all their courses when the semester ends.  There are many advantages for faculty archiving their own courses including:

  • When CUNY purges and archives the courses of a particular semester you have a copy at hand, with all its content and student work.
  • As backup if the course gets corrupted.
  • The instructor can remove the old course from his/her My Courses, making the Blackboard Home Tab a  little more manageable.

The tools for Export/Archive course are located in the Control Panel under Packages and Utilities.  If you are going to archive a course, first use the Move Files to Course Files, also located under Packages and Utilities.   For guidance on backing up your Blackboard courses, please visit or set up an appointment with an EdTech staff member.  Toaccess tutorials on this and other Blackboard features go to:



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