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Brightspace Tip #452: Master Course Shell

D2L Brightspace @ XULA

Instructors who want to build their course before the normal course creation schedule can request a Brightspace Master Course Shell that can be used to develop and maintain their course materials.

A Master Course Shell:

  • Is a course environment an instructor uses to develop and maintain course materials that are used from semester to semester.
  • Is not tied to Banner. Therefore, no students or other users are enrolled into this Shell.
  • Can be used as a "master" where one keeps permanent changes to a course.
  • Faculty may copy content from a Master Course Shell into a Brightspace Course shell as long as they are enrolled as an instructor in both shells.
  • Master Course Shells are not deleted except upon the request of the instructor or when the instructor is no longer employed at Xavier.

A Time-Saving Tool for Instructors

Master Course Shells can be a timesaving tool for instructors. Using a Master Course Shell gives instructors time to build their courses the way they want, when they want, and update it as needed. Think of a Master Course Shell as a template course instructors can build once and use repeatedly. Here's how instructors typically use Master Course Shells:

  1. Build Master Course: Develop a course (e.g., lectures, assignments, instructional materials, assessments) in the Master Shell. This becomes your baseline course structure.
  2. Copy to Current Course: When ITC has created your course for the new semester, copy the Master Course Shell contents into your new empty course that ITC created.
  3. Adapt for the Semester (Optional): Instructors can customize the copied course content to fit their needs for the current semester. This might involve adding new material, removing outdated content, or adjusting deadlines.
  4. Keeping the Master Course Shell Up-to-Date: If you make significant changes to the active course during the semester, the Master Course Shell becomes outdated. To update the Master Course Shell with these changes, you can request a Course Reset for your Master Course Shell. A course reset permanently deletes course content, activities, and associated files. After the reset, you would copy the contents from the active course into your Master Course Shell. So, now your Master Course Shell has the latest course materials and information.

NOTE: To request a course reset for a Master Course Shell, send an email to and include the exact name of the Master Course Shell that you would like reset.

Follow these steps to do it.

If you want to build your course from scratch before your Brightspace course shell for the upcoming semester is made available, you should:

  • Fill out the Brightspace Master Course Request Form.
  • Add your content and learning activities to your Master Course Shell.
  • Copy the Master Course Shell contents into your “empty” Brightspace course once the course becomes available. Follow these steps:
    1. In the NavBar of your "empty" Brightspace course, click on "Course Admin".
    2. Click on the "Import/Export/Copy Components" link.
    3. Click on the "Copy Components from another Org Unit" radio button.
    4. In the Course to Copy option, click the "Search for Offering" button.
    5. Click on the magnifying glass in the "Search for" field.
    6. Click on the radio button to the right of your Master Course Shell and then click on "Add Selected".
    7. Verify your selections are correct before proceeding.
    8. At the bottom on the browser window you will click on either "Copy all Components" OR "Select Components" and follow the prompts.

Want more information?

Brightspace Master Course Request Form
Brightspace Tip #426: Copy Course or Copy Components
Import/Export/Copy - Copy Components video [1:31]

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or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

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