Merged Courses and Supplementary Courses (formerly Shared Courses)


Most Blackboard courses are linked directly to a single programme or module in RISIS e.g.

  • the RISIS module EN2CRI Critical Issues is represented by Blackboard course EN2CRI-17-8A Critical Issues (2017/18)
  • the RISIS programme UFMICRO BSc Microbiology is represented by Blackboard course UFMICRO-17-8PR BSc Microbiology (2017/18)

As long as they are scheduled to run in RISIS, such courses are automatically created in Blackboard, and students enrolled on them in RISIS are automatically enrolled onto the corresponding Blackboard course.

In some cases it may be desirable to set up a shared Blackboard space, with enrolments pulled from a number of RISIS module or programme codes. Up until now, we have created a Shared Course to cover this situation. However

  • the term ‘Shared Course’ has been used for a range of different scenarios
  • Shared Courses are not compatible with the RISIS-Blackboard integration being introduced as part of the EMA Programme.

So we are introducing some changes for 2018-19.

We will be distinguishing between

  • Merged Courses
    Used when you have a set of closely related modules, and you want to administer them as a single course in Blackboard.
    A Merged Course always replaces the Blackboard courses for individual RISIS modules.
  • Supplementary Courses
    Used when you want a shared Blackboard space in addition to individual RISIS modules or programmes.
    Please note: Supplementary Courses should not be used to deliver summative assessment, as this is not supported by the forthcoming Blackboard-RISIS integration.


Merged Courses

When you have a set of closely related modules, you can administer them as a single course in Blackboard by merging the courses into one. This may be desirable when students from more than one RISIS module are taught together, and need access to the same learning materials.


  • 10 and 20 credit versions of the same module e.g.
    ST2LM Linear Models (10 credit module)
    ST2LMD Linear Models and Data Analysis (20 credit module)
  • credit and non credit-bearing versions of the same module e.g.
    LA1PG3 IWLP German 3 (credit-bearing)
    LA1PG3N IWLP German 3 (non credit-bearing)
  • Part 3 and Masters versions of a module, where students are taught together e.g.
    FB3GSE Sensory Evaluation of Food (Part 3 UG)
    FBMFSEN Sensory Evaluation of Food (Masters)
  • the same module coded to two separate Schools e.g.
    ML2STA Society, Thought, and Art in Modern Europe (School of Literature and Languages)
    HS2STA Society, Thought, and Art in Modern Europe (School of Humanities)
  • the same module delivered on multiple Programmes e.g.
    PY3EP, PY3P, PY3PPP, PY4PR (all final year UG Psychology Project modules)
  • other permutations e.g.
    LA1PA8 IWLP Arabic 1 (credit-bearing)
    LA1PA8N IWLP Arabic 1 (non credit-bearing)
    LA1PA9 IWLP Arabic 1 (credit-bearing with Script Support)
    LA1PA9N IWLP Arabic 1 (non credit-bearing with Script Support)


A Merged Course always replaces the individual Blackboard courses.

  • When a Merged Course is requested, IT will create a Blackboard course with an ID ending MRG. This will act as the ‘Parent’ course. All courses merged with the Parent become ‘Child’ courses.
  • A student who is enrolled on any of the Child courses will access the Parent course, although this will appear to students as the course they are officially enrolled on.
  • A member of staff who is enrolled on either the Parent, or any of the Child courses, will access the Parent course – it will not be possible to make any edits to a Child course.

Screencast: How Merged Courses work for students and staff

Steps to take if you want to use a Merged Course in 2018-19

  1. Request a new Merged Course
    You will need to identify all of the RISIS module codes which are to be merged.
  1. Optionally, Request a Course Copy
    If you want content to be copied from the 2017-18 Shared Course to the new Merged Course, you will need to use these options

    • Select Type of Course Copy: choose Shared -> Merged.
    • Select a Source Course (course to be copied): select your 2017-18 Shared Course from the drop-down list.
    • Destination Course Code (course you are copying to): a code will be generated automatically, but you can edit this if required.

You can request all of this as part of Course Rollover, but you will actually be able to submit a request at any point before course delivery begins.

DEADLINE to be included in the main Course Rollover: 26th June.


Supplementary Courses and Organisations

When a shared Blackboard space is required in addition to the Blackboard courses created for RISIS modules or programmes, there are two options

  • request an Organisation
  • request a Supplementary Course

When deciding which is best for you the key question is: Do I need a distinct Blackboard site each year / for each new student cohort?

  • If the answer to this question is yes, then you should request a Supplementary Course.
  • If you do not need your Blackboard site to be linked to a specific academic year or cohort, an Organisation will be more appropriate.

In either case, enrolments can be automatically pulled in from multiple RISIS modules or programmes.

  • A Supplementary Course will always be set up for a specific academic year.
    You will need to submit a request each year in order to have a Supplementary Course created for the coming academic year (either a new blank course, or a copy of the previous year’s course).
  • An Organisation is not linked to a specific academic year. Content on it should be updated as required, so that students enrolled on the organisation always have access to the most up-to-date information. As students complete their programme of study, their enrolment on the Organisation will be disabled, and the new cohort enrolled on it.
    We plan to assign an Expiry Date to all Organisations, but there will be a simple process for requesting renewal to keep the organisation active.


Screencast: Supplementary Courses and Organisations in Blackboard


Please contact the TEL team for advice via

Supplementary Courses

If you are responsible for a Shared Course which is used in addition to the individual RISIS modules or programmes, and you want it copied forward for use as a Supplementary Course in 2018-19, please use the Course Copy Request Form.

Under ‘Select Type of Course Copy’ select Shared -> Supplementary, and make any changes required.

DEADLINE to be included in the main Course Rollover: 26th June.


For a completely new Supplmentary Course, please Request a new Supplementary Course

Please note: a Supplementary Course should never be used for summative assessment.



To request a new Organisation, please use this form: Request an Organisation.

Students can be automatically enrolled onto the organisation  based on their RISIS programme/module registration. Please use this form to specify the enrolment criteria: Request automatic enrolments onto an Organisation.

Please note: an Organisation should never be used for summative assessment.