LMS Course Retention Policy

Learning management system courses are subject to removal from the system two (2) years following the end of the semester in which they are taught. For example, a course taught in spring 2018 may be removed in June 2020.  Learning management system courses created administratively rather than through the course registration system, referred to as non-integrated courses, are subject to removal following two (2) years of inactivity.


Course Retention Policy FAQ

  • Why does UA need to remove older courses from Blackboard Learn?
    • System health: UA’s LMS contains over 200,000 courses dating back a decade. Maintaining a system this large makes maintenance, upgrade, and support processes more arduous and potentially more fallible. Users can also face performance and function issues with large course lists.
    • Privacy and security: New privacy regulations around the world require that user data be kept for specific reasons and that it be removed upon request unless countermanded by a valid reason.
    • The LMS is not designed or equipped to be longterm storage. Instructors and students can use UA+Box or One Drive to store course content.

  • What content will not be removed from Blackboard Learn?
    • Academic courses from the past 2 years. For example, as of Jan 2021, any BbLearn course added prior to December 2018 is subject to removal.
    • Non-integrated (not integrated with Banner), practice, or developmental courses that have been accessed in the past two years. These can also be removed by request when no longer needed.

  • When will the courses be removed?
    • Courses affected by the policy will be disabled in Blackboard Learn on July 15, 2021.


  • How do instructors save course content?
  • How do students save course work?
    • Students should choose to save anything they may want to access later at the end of each semester. Collect all or some of your submitted work in UA Box or OneDrive for safe keeping, or save submissions as artifacts you can reference within Blackboard even when courses are no longer available.
    • How to Back Up Blackboard Content as a Student

  • How long are instructors required by UA to keep student work?
    • Student work completed or housed in Blackboard Learn and other instructional technology tools is not part of the institution’s “official student record”, which is required in order to produce a transcript. The “official student records” for a course are the final grades housed in myBama/Banner.
    • Departments, colleges, or programs may require instructors to save or submit semester grades outside of Blackboard Learn.
    • For incompletes or pending grade challenges, instructors and students should save outside of Blackboard any grades or coursework necessary to complete the course or assign a final grade.
      • Time frames for incompletes are outlined on the Registrar’s Grade Reporting Page: “For undergraduate students, one year following the assignment of an “I” grade, that grade will be changed to a grade of “F.” For graduate students, the grade of “I” will remain on the student’s record indefinitely until a Change of Grade request is submitted.”
      • Time frames for grade challenges or grievances are outlined on the Faculty Handbook’s Grievance Proceedure Page: “Grievances related to course grades normally should be filed during the semester in which the alleged action takes place, but such protest must be made not later than the last day of classes of the next succeeding regular semester.”

  • How was the policy developed?
    • The course content retention policy has existed since 2015-16 when Dr. Marilyn Staffo was Faculty Resource Center director. It was crafted based on other institutions’ policies and with discussion in the Technology and Learning Committee, which includes faculty representatives from across campus. The course retention policy was approved by Provost Whitaker and was okayed by the Registrar’s Office. When the FRC (now CIT) initially attempted to implement the policy several years ago, there were technical issues with removing courses from the Blackboard Learn system. The technical issues have been resolved for about 2 years. CIT had originally planned to apply the policy in Spring 2020 but delayed its implementation when the global pandemic changed our world.

  • Why do we need to do this now?
    • In August 2021, UA will move from our current hosting solution for Blackboard Learn (called Blackboard Managed Hosting) to a different hosting option (Blackboard SaaS). Moving to the new hosting option will keep UA on the most recent release of Blackboard Learn, allow for implementing new course layout and tool options, and prevent extended downtime currently needed for updates and maintenance. Because this change requires migrating the entire database, we have to clean up before the move. We have already deleted more than 300,000 user accounts and disabled some courses created prior to 2016.
Have questions?