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-18-9A Critical Issues (2018/19)
  • the RISIS programme UFMICRO BSc Microbiology is represented by Blackboard course UFMICRO-18-9PR BSc Microbiology (2018/19)

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 situations you may want to set up a shared Blackboard space, with enrolments pulled from a number of RISIS module or programme codes. There are two options available:

  • Merged Courses
    Used when you have a set of closely related RISIS 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.


Caution!Please note: Supplementary Courses can not be used to deliver summative assessment, as this is not supported by the EMA Blackboard-RISIS integration.


Merged Courses

When you have a set of closely related RISIS 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 ‘child’ Blackboard courses.

  • When a Merged Course is requested, IT will create a new Blackboard course to act as the ‘Parent’ course. All courses merged into the Parent become ‘Child’ courses.
  • A student who is enrolled on any of the Child courses will see that course displayed in their ‘My Modules’  list, but clicking on the course link takes them to the Merged (‘Parent’) course.
  • A member of staff who is enrolled on either the Parent, or any of the Child courses, will access the Parent course – it is not possible to make any edits to a Child course.
  • When first introduced in 2018-19, the code for a merged course ended in MRG. From 2019-20 the course code will end in MOD – further details.

Screencast: How Merged Courses work for students and staff

Steps to take if you want to use a Merged Course in 2019-20

  1. Request a new Merged Course
    You will need to identify all of the RISIS module codes which are to be merged.
  1. Or, if you want to copy content from an existing Blackboard course, please Request a Course Copy


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.

  • 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


Steps to take if you want to use a Supplementary Course in 2019-20

  1. For a completely new Supplementary Course, please Request a new Supplementary Course.
  2. Or, to copy content from an existing Blackboard course, please Request a Course Copy

Please note:
* a Supplementary course should never be used for summative assessment
* Supplementary courses are not supported by the EMA Blackboard-RISIS integration.



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.