Combining Blackboard Course Rosters Using the Roster Merge Tool

What is the Roster Merge Tool?

Information Technology Services (ITS) automatically creates a Blackboard course for each course listed on USC’s schedule of classes. If you teach a cross-listed course (i.e., a class offered under two or more unique course codes) or multiple sections of the same course, ITS will automatically create a Blackboard course for each of those courses.

The Roster Merge Tool lets you combine rosters from multiple, current semester Blackboard courses that you are teaching into a single, current semester Blackboard course. For example, if you are teaching three sections of the same class this semester, you can use the Roster Merge Tool to combine the rosters from all three courses into a single Blackboard course.

When a student enrolls in or withdraws from any USC course—including a merged course—that student’s enrollment is automatically processed by USC’s Student Information Systems (SIS) into the appropriate Blackboard course. Using Figure 1 (above) as an example, if a student enrolls into Course 2 or Course 3 in SIS after those courses’ rosters have been combined into Course 1, Blackboard will automatically enroll that student into Course 1.

You should use the Roster Merge Tool only if ALL of the following apply to you:

  • You want to combine the rosters of multiple current semester Blackboard courses or sections into a single ‘master’ course which will automatically ‘delete’ from Blackboard the current semester courses you no longer need. The Roster Merge Tool makes it easy for you to combine the rosters of multiple current semester courses into a single, ‘master’ course and then it automatically ‘deletes’ the current semester Blackboard course(s) you no longer need (see Figure 1, above).
  • You want to combine the rosters of multiple current semester Blackboard courses or sections but not the contents of those courses. The Roster Merge Tool combines rosters only, not course content or grades. To copy content from one Blackboard course to another, see “Copying Content from One Course to Another” at goo.gl/JL8mv
  • All of the courses whose rosters you wish to combine are empty – they do not yet contain any files, grades, student-submitted assignments, discussion board posts, group work, tests, or surveys. Remember, once a course’s roster has been merged into another, that course and all of its contents are automatically ‘deleted’ from Blackboard (see Figure 1).
  • You would rather have one large Blackboard course and grade book with many students instead of many smaller courses and separate grade books. Once you merge course rosters, you and your students will be able to access a single ‘master’ course on Blackboard rather than multiple courses.
  • You are an instructor in each of the courses for which you wish to merge rosters. To combine your roster(s) with the roster(s) of another course in which you are not yet an instructor, contact your department’s course scheduling coordinator and request to be added as an instructor for that course in USC’s Student Information Systems (SIS).
  • You want the rosters of your courses to remain merged for the entire semester. Once course rosters have been merged, the only way to unmerge the courses is to send an email to blackboard@usc.edu. Unmerging is strongly discouraged because all student work and grades submitted while the courses are merged will be lost once the courses are unmerged. There is no way to transfer student work or grades from the master course back to the source course(s) once the course rosters have been merged.

Again, you should use the Roster Merge Tool only if ALL of the preceding apply to you.

Combining Rosters

  1. Login to Blackboard and under Tools on the Home tab, click Roster Merge Tool.
  1. Read the on-screen instructions carefully and then click Setup New Merged Course.
  1. Click the Name column header twice. The first time you click Name your oldest courses appear first. The second time you click Name your current semester courses appear at the top of the list.
  1. Select the current semester courses whose rosters you wish to merge. The first four digits in both the ID and Name columns are the year that the course is/was taught (e.g., 2011, 2010, 2009) and the fifth digit is the semester (1 = spring, 2 = summer, 3 = fall).
  1. REMEMBER: Once a course’s roster has been merged into another, the course and all of its contents are automatically ‘deleted’ from Blackboard. Only if you agree to this should you scroll down and, in the bottom right corner of the page, click Submit.
  1. Select the current semester course to serve as a ‘master’ course into which the rosters you selected will be merged. Remember: The Roster Merge Tool combines rosters only, not course content or grades.
  1. Scroll down and, in the bottom right corner of the page, click Submit.
  2. To reduce student confusion, we strongly suggest that you send an email to your students from your new, master (merged) course informing them that they are now enrolled in a new Blackboard course.