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Transitioning from WebCT to Blackboard

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WebCT has been purchased by Bb and is being phased out as a CMS. The last semester of operation of WebCT within our district is Spring 09 (June 23). All instructors must migrate their courses after that. June 23, 2009 will be the last date to access data.

Unfortunately, there is no conversion tool to allow quick and easy migration (and there is none planned). Give yourself plenty of time to complete the transition. Here are some of the major differences between WebCT and Blackboard and how to best handle the migration process. Note that the best way to learn Blackboard might be use some of the Tutorials or go to other areas on this site.

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  • Content: You an certainly use any material that you have created external to WebCT. PowerPoint presentations, papers, assignment descriptions, multimedia elements, etc. can easily be imported into Bb (in fact, they will probably work better). And, if your files only exist within WebCT, you can export most of these files (not WebCT created/formatted files) to your hard disk (see the "Upload" button) and then import them into Bb. Your old WebCT courses will be available in the WebCT archives until 1/2010.
  • Organization: You can also recreate your general organization: divisions, calendar periods, assignments, exams. Note that what WebCT calls "Organizer Pages," Bb calls "Learning Units" or "Folders"
  • Test Questions: Questions cannot be imported or converted directly from WebCT to Bb, but here are some options:
    • Recreate tests anew from within Bb.
    • Use Respondus to convert any uploaded WebCT tests to the Bb format (see Rhonda Bauerlein: 660-4013 for college use of Respondus).
    • If your test banks were created in Word, use the Word conversion link in Rhonda's tutorials (see Bb Tutorials & Links )
    • Ask your textbook publisher for Bb compatible test banks.
  • Dbs: These cannot be imported in any way. The only way that works easily is to: 1) recreate each new thread title, then 2) copy/paste each separate thread post from WebCT to Bb (or drag the content from an open WebCT window to an open Bb window). Time consuming, yes - but it does give you the chance to rethink and rephrase all your Dbs.

Some Major Differences

The instructor must manually add students into WebCT (and create accounts if necessary). Students accounts are automated created and students are automatically added into Bb by A&R (and automatically dropped at the start of the semester). See Rosters for a complete explanation
Design and Operate Course

Control Panel
(pages are added from here)

Control Panel
(more options, pages are added from main course menu)
Icons scattered on screen Buttons on left side menu bar
Adding and Deleting Files
Files are first added to central File Manager
No central file manager; all files are directly added or deleted from location (or assignment) within course pages
Email (internal)

Email (external and sent to home/school email addresses)
Messaging (internal similar to WebCT but no alert when email is received)

Bulletins within calendar appear outside course pages Separate announcements area - appear on opening course page (more more useful) Bb's system is much more effective - always appearing on the opening page and much easier to configure
Easy customized with bulletins Not easily customized, "events" appear on the Bb welcome screen Better to make your own calendar and import it (use tables in Word and save as html)
Assignments and Pages
Added from Control Panel
Added from page menu bar, and external files imported
Instructor/Student Views
View/Designer Options Tab
Display View/Edit View Tab
Assignment Submission
Digital Dropbox or submit directly on assignment page

Questions can be added from question sets you create




Tests can be changed (including modification of questions and answer choices) after students have taken the tests.




Tests are created in the "Test Manager" either by creating questions in the test itself or questions can be imported into tests from question pools you create in the "Pool Manager."


Only text fields can be modified after students have begun taking tests - you should not add or remove questions or answers or change settings. Changes could corrupt entire assignments and grading.


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Sidebar - In Focus

Tom Doyle talks about his experience converting his course from WebCT to Bb.