Saving Blackboard Course Content

This page explains how the end access to Blackboard will affect access to course materials and student data in old Blackboard courses. It provides instructions for saving various bits of data that can be used 'offline' outside of the Blackboard environment.

Introduction: Course Content vs Course Data

Blackboard Export Package = Course Content

Canvas logo with checkmarkBlackboard can create a course export package of a course (.zip) for use in an LMS. The export package only includes the course activities and materials. The package is saved onto a local computer and then can be uploaded into a shell in Canvas.  Canvas will translate the Blackboard content inside the package (such as assignments, tests, and discussions) into their equivalent activities in Canvas.

How to create a Bb export package

However, the Blackboard course export package contains no student data related to the course:

  • No grades
  • No rosters
  • No student submissions of any kind
  • No student discussion threads
  • No test, quiz, or exam attempts
Note: The export file cannot be used outside of an LMS – do not try to open the .zip file and expect to find usable content.

Blackboard Archive File = Course Data

Canvas logo - not ready for CanvasBlackboard can also create a course archive package of a course. This is the closest you can get to a true 'backup' of the course.  Archives contain the course content as well as all of the data about the course: grades, submissions, discussion posts, test attempts, etc.  However, the archive cannot be imported into Canvas. It is functionally useless outside of the Blackboard environment and can only be read if it is imported into a Blackboard system.

Saving Blackboard Course Data

Even though the Blackboard archive file is not usable outside of Blackboard, it is still possible to retrieve some student data from a course that can be opened and reviewed if necessary.

Note: Instructors are encouraged to download relevant Blackboard data and content before May 31, 2021.  After May 31, instructors will not be able to login to Blackboard and will need to open a support ticket with OAT for assistance. Contact


The method for saving student data depends on the type of data involved. In all cases, creating a Blackboard course archive file is not part of the process.

Data Types

  1. Course grades spreadsheet
  2. Assignment submissions
  3. Discussion forums and posts
  4. Test, quiz, exam results

Data Type #1: Course Grades Spreadsheet

This is just the basic spreadsheet of students and grades across the whole course.  To save the spreadsheet for a course:

  1. Open the course and go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Open the Work Offline menu on the upper right, above the grade table.
  3. Choose Download.
    Bb Work Offline menu with Download hightlighted
  4. On the next screen, you can accept the default settings and simply click Submit at the bottom of the page. Blackboard will then create the grade spreadsheet file.
  5. Click the Download button to retrieve the file.  It can be opened in any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, etc.

Return to Data Types

Data Type #2: Assignment Submissions

Instructors can package student submissions for an individual assignment. The package will not contain any instructor feedback that may have been added during the course. The package only contains the original files uploaded by the students.  To save these submissions:

  1. Open the course and go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Find the assignment and open the tools menu at the top of the column.
  3. Click Assignment File Download.
    Blackboard assignment files download menu
  4. On the next page, select the checkbox at the top of the table to include all students in the download package.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. On the next page, click the link to download the .zip file of the submissions.  This zip can be opened on your computer and you will find all the submission files inside.
About Submission Feedback
It is not possible to download instructor feedback as a batch for an entire assignment. Feedback can be copy-pasted out of Blackboard for each student into an external file, such as a Word file.

Return to Data Types

Data Type #3: Discussion Forums

Activity in a forum can be collected and prepared into a PDF file for download and later reference.

  1. Go to the forum and view the list of threads.
  2. Click the check box to select all the threads in the forum.
  3. Click Collect. The next page displays all of the posts in the forum, organized by student.
    Blackboard collect discussion posts
  4. Click Print Preview to open the print dialog in your web browser. Configure the settings to create a PDF file instead of a physical printout. Steps to do this vary by web browser and computer operating system.

Return to Data Types

Data Type #4: Tests, Quizzes, Exams Results

Instructors can save a spreadsheet of student data for attempts in a Blackboard test. The spreadsheet shows each question and the students' answers.

  1. Go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Find the test and open the Tools menu
  3. Choose Download Results.
    Download Blackboard test results
  4. On the next page, accept the default settings and click Click to download results. The spreadsheet is generated and downloaded.
  5. Open the spreadsheet in any spreadsheet software.

Return to Data Types