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Decommissioning Blackboard

Retirement of learning environment will be final Jan. 31.

By Matt Griswold, Ed.D.

December 2, 2020

Student working on computer and taking notes in a notebook.Last spring, Metropolitan State University of Denver condensed an 18-month Blackboard to Canvas migration plan into two months to ensure that students had a consistent learning environment in fall courses. Now that we are offering all online courses in Canvas, Blackboard is redundant. The contract extends to Jan. 31, 2022, but to save resources and funding, we will retire Blackboard one year early this Jan. 31. Details on the subsequent efforts that individuals may need to take are described below and in detail on this Decommissioning Blackboard webpage.

In preparation for this change, the University completed migrations of course materials for courses offered in spring 2014 and after, and a request form will be made available in spring to retrieve these materials (individuals can currently retrieve what they need directly from Blackboard). However, we do not have copies of faculty/staff personal files, student grade information or student materials. These materials have an impact on outstanding grade appeals, grade changes and “incomplete” grades; include information that faculty may want as artifacts for teaching-evaluation purposes; and may be needed for program accreditation.

Additionally, three tools (VoiceThread, Collaborate and SafeAssign) will no longer be available since they are part of the Blackboard contract. MSU Denver has available tools that overlap with the functionality of VoiceThread and Collaborate, making them redundant. Additionally, a faculty-led working group recently selected Unicheck as our new Canvas-integrated plagiarism/originality checker which will be ready for use in spring courses.

Below are the topics faculty and staff should consider and actions they should take related to the decommissioning of Blackboard, along with tutorials to assist in their effort.

Who needs to take action?

  • Instructors with students with outstanding incomplete grades who used Blackboard to teach the course. These instructors have been emailed individually.
  • Instructors or staff with materials to retrieve. Anything currently in Blackboard that an instructor would like to have record of in “My Content,” or if they would prefer to export materials without needing to request it starting in spring, they can do so. Tutorials are provided on the included webpage.
  • Instructors who want to gather student materials or grade information for teaching-evaluation purposes.
  • Chairs who want student materials or grade information for program accreditation.
  • Instructors who use Voicethread or Collaborate. These departments and instructors have already engaged in plans to use alternative tools.

Decommissioning Blackboard creates a few different efforts, so please visit the Decommissioning Blackboard webpage or all related details. General questions can be sent to Matt Griswold at, and the included website shares Center for Teaching, Learning and Design and Information Technology Services contacts for specific questions.  

Topics: Academics, Online Learning

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