About Size Limits on Blackboard Learn Ultra (FAQs)

Drake University is committed to providing the resources for improving accessibility of the teaching and learning services we provide. Improved accessibility supports usability regardless of age, ability, or situation. Large file sizes and large course sizes are not accessible for short- or long-term storage, restoration, or good data stewardship. The following policies have been implemented to build a sustainable and accessible learning management system (LMS) environment.

Blackboard Learn Ultra File Upload Limits

Policies and Impacts

  • File upload limit is 256MB per file.
  • Limits apply to all Blackboard users – students and faculty alike – anyone who uploads files.
  • Any individual file would be restricted the size limit.
  • If the file in an attempted upload is too large, alternate locations to upload and share the files would have to be used by the user attempting the upload. Limited instructions would automatically pop-up to the user during their attempted upload about alternate routes to store and share large files.
  • If a large file were a part of a multi-file upload, the user would be notified which file(s) exceeds the limits. The other files that meet the requirements will continue to upload. 
  • If an assessment requires a file upload and the warning is provided for a large file size, the student would have another opportunity to choose a file within the limitations before submitting the assessment.

Upload Limit Details

File upload limit is 256MB per file.

  • Exceeding the above limit will show a warning. The warning includes:
    • the maximum upload limit
    • the size of the file in the attempted upload
    • instructions for other storage locations
    • link to local support page for large file options

Large File Upload Alternatives

Larger files need to be distributed using alternate methods. Best practices for different file types include the following options:

  • Videos created for courses
    • Use a cloud video storage and streaming solution. (Drake University licenses and supports the use of Panopto for teaching and learning - including student video content for assignment/assessment submissions.)
  • Documents
    • Can you split the information into multiple files to reduce the file size? You are able to upload multiple files within Blackboard.
    • Are the files instructions for student work? Skip using a file and write the instructions directly in a Blackboard tool (Workflow typically looks like: Content > Create > Document/Assignment/etc.. > type instructions in text box provided).
  • If the above does not meet your needs, submit a Blackboard Learn Ultra Issue.

Blackboard Learn Ultra Course Size Limit

The current expectation for a full course size being restricted to 2GB for content (courses during Summer 2022 and beyond).

  • This maximum limit is based on the reality that we cannot archive or restore courses larger than 2GB – even with the assistance of Blackboard Support. 2GB is the upper limit of archive and restore capabilities.
  • This limit only impacts faculty, as student submission uploads are not counted as a part of this 2GB limit on course storage.
  • We are currently maintaining our storage limit license by keeping a 2 year live course retention policy, and a multi-year cold storage archive of courses that may be restored for a limited time on the live system upon request.
  • Restricting file size on uploads assists the policy to maintain video storage on our approved, licensed, and supported Panopto Video storage and streaming solution. Panopto easily integrates with Blackboard course content building and with student video creation and submission for assignments/assessments.

About Blackboard Storage

NOTE: Student uploads of large files do impact our overall storage allotment as a part of our license and budget. Therefore, we are including student uploads in our policy restricting file uploads.  

What are the Impacts of Large Courses?

You have more control over your content and can archive a course and maintain it locally on your own computer when your course is less than 1GB in size. A course between 1-2GB requires assistance from Blackboard to archive.

Once a course is removed from the LMS, you will no longer have easy access to the course content and will require a course restore request to access this data, which takes a minimum of 5 working days to fulfill. To request a course restoration, provide the specific term, course number, and CRN in order to find the archive in our repository. 

Drake Size Policies Background and Evidence

  • The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged high use of the learning management system. Many videos were uploaded, increasing storage capacity above our financial input.  Drake purchased 400% additional storage for the entire system to support increased usage.
  • In order to maintain increased storage capacity and not incur further financial impacts on Drake University, we implemented 5GB course size caps in Fall 2021.  We soon found out about the 2GB archive and restore limitation when we attempted to restore a larger course with large image/video uploads and were denied the capability to restore beyond 2GB per course. 
  • To reduce remote learning support needs of course builders new to online learning best practices, the 5GB limit was changed to 2GB in Summer 2022 to prepare for Fall 2022 courses. This change will assist the University in maintaining storage limitations going forward.
  • Each term we see fewer course builders who attempt to upload videos and larger file types directly to Blackboard and exceed the course size limit of 2GB.  The course cap warning restricting additional content uploads encourages storage clean up, current methods of providing content, and teachable moments.
    • This limit impacts the flow of the course and possible student success.
    • Instructors are provided support to learn Panopto capabilities to store their video content. 
    • Data shows that many course builders understand that videos need to be stored on alternate streaming platforms and linked to courses rather than uploading videos and large files directly to Blackboard courses.

Summary of Stewardship

  • The upload limit of 256MB will allow a majority of content-based large file sizes without allowing extremely large file sizes to be uploaded directly to Blackboard.
  • The upload limit encourages the use of video streaming services for video content and avoidance of reaching the maximum course size limit restricting further content uploads.
  • The course size cap and upload limit will support our core values for stewardship in maintaining Blackboard storage rather than costing us additional budget funds for increased Blackboard storage licensing.
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Article ID: 144500
Tue 6/28/22 7:55 AM
Mon 11/28/22 1:02 PM

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