Blackboard migration

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Blackboard systems

The way Blackboard and WebCT named their products is confusing!

For the purpose of migration to Moodle, Blackboard can be categorised into 3 different systems, each with a different migration procedure.

  • CE 4.0/CE 4.1 (rebranded WebCT)
  • Standard Blackboard (5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9.1)
  • Vista3/Vista4/Vista8 and CE 6/CE 8 (rebranded WebCT)

CE 4.0/CE 4.1

CE 4.0, 4.1(rebranded WebCT) can use the webctimport tool with the "IMS Content Migration Utility" here: - This tool has not been updated to work with 2.x, you must use it in a 1.9 site, backup the courses and restore the 1.9 Moodle backups on a Moodle 2.1 site (1.9 backups are not supported in 2.x)

Standard Blackboard

Moodle Course Restore

From Moodle 1.5- 1.9,(Not yet supported in 2.0) Moodle's "course restore" facility can import courses from Blackboard 5.5 and 6.0 -- you have to use the 'export' facility in BB to get the files in the correct format from BB. For question pools, there is a dedicated import facility in the Quiz Module.

There's a screen-by-screen walk-through by Matt Campbell - he says:

We recently migrated about 200 courses from Blackboard 6 to Moodle 1.5+, and I made a PowerPoint for this routine. I've been asked to make a Captivate just on the import routine and will work on that.

For the above to work, you will need to have the XSLT and Sablotron extensions.

Some question types are not supported by Moodle directly -- see below for contrib question types that add that support.

For Moodle 1.4.x Blackboard content conversion tool is available. It was designed to migrate Blackboard 6.1 to Moodle 1.4+ - it may be possible to make it work with other versions.

According to Michael Penney in the forum discussion Migrating 10000 students from Blackboard to Moodle?

"It works pretty well with a couple of caveats:
1) It doesn't import all Blackboard question types: at CSU H, we wrote an essay question type and a 'rendered match' question type and a BB pool importer, we'd like to work with SF and others to get our qtype importer into theirs.
2) SF's tool is designed to make you think about your course when you import it and redesign it. That is a nice idea, however it can be pretty time consuming when you have hundreds of documents in a course (<rant>Blackboard's poor content development tools encourage what I call the 'datadump' course format, instead of delivering information in an effective elearning tool like Moodle's lesson, with BB folks tend to post hundreds of office documents and then massive quizzes about them</rant>)."

Example Migration of One Test Course

by Jeffrey Silverman, The Johns Hopkins University (Note: I am a novice Moodler. This is a description of what I did to move a single exported BlackBoard course to my out-of-the-box Moodle test installation. I had a number of questions about the process and I hope this example helps answer them for someone else.)


This test procedure was performed during the week of 20-Aug-2007


  • Moodle 1.8
  • BlackBoard 7.1 "basic" (unconfirmed)


  1. Export course content from Bb. This step was done by someone else! I do not know how to do this, what options were chosen, etc. I do know that I got a .zip file that I think is a "Course Archive".
  2. Import course into Moodle. (Needs to be done by a user with the necessary privileges. I have only one user in my Moodle installation, the "Admin" user, and he (she?) is the "Site Administrator").
    1. Create new course
    2. Go to "Restore" under the course administrative tools
    3. Choose a file to upload; upload the Bb .zip file
    4. Choose "Restore" (in the Action column) -- in another page or two you will get to say to restore this as a "New Course"


Some of my questions were as follows:

  1. Do you have to create a new course?
    1. Apparent answer: YES. Personally, I found this very counter-intuitive, as "importing a course" or "restore from backup" or other similar administrative tasks seem to me to be on a level outside a specific course. For example, having the "Restore" feature only available in the admin tools for a particular course makes it seem like the restoration will only work for that course—but that is not true. You can use any course's "Restore" link in the admin tools and choose "Create a New Course" mid-way through the retoration procedure. But creating a new course from backup that has nothing to do with the course in which one has clicked the "Restore" link is, like I said, counter-intuitive. And, to top it off, I could find no mention of this until I had already clicked on "Restore". Looks like I need to add some information to the "administrative tools" or "backup/restore" docs, hm? :)
  2. Is there a specific "Bb-to-Moodle" conversion tool?
    1. Answer: NO. Unlike the WebCT-to-Moodle conversion, which requires a specific add-on, Bb conversion is now built in.
  3. What format does the Bb export have to be in?
    1. The Bb "export" should be an archive of the Bb course, rather than an export; otherwise you can't restore the course because it is missing a name (and possibly other fields).
  4. What versions of Bb and Moodle will this work for?
  5. There is a tool floating around called "Blackboard Content Conversion Tool (CCT)" that sounds useful for converting Bb to Moodle. Do I need it?
    1. Answer: NO. Actually, I had a bunch of questions about that tool, too, but ultimately I did not need it.
      1. Does the CCT run on the server where Bb is running?
      2. Does it interact, somehow, directly with the Bb instance?
      3. Or does it run on the Moodle server and do the import from Bb into Moodle?

Vista CE 6/CE 8

Vista3/Vista4/Vista8 and CE 6/CE 8 unfortunately encrypt their backup files and there isn't currently any open source method to convert the full courses yourself.

  • Learning Modules can be exported as IMS packages by going to Learning Modules and choosing Export in Bb Vista. However, Moodle does not recognize these via it's standard Resource > Add an IMS Package feature. The Bb Vista manifest must first be converted. John Tutchins has written an IMS converter for this purpose in PHP.
  • Bb Vista IMS packages might be importable using the WebCT CE 4 Import.
  • Files for each course can be extracted as a zip then placed inside the new course, however they require manual re-linking (Another option would be to move to a digital repository, such as Equella, which can move the files from CE8 to Equella, and add links to the files into the Moodle courses) See videos on moving files here: Part 1 (files): [1] Part 2: [2]
  • Quiz questions can be exported as IMS packages by going to Assessments in Bb Vista. They can also be extracted with Respondus and you can create an IMS QTI file to import into Moodle.
    • If you use Respondus version 4 or later (download 30 day free demo here: [3], you can retrieve the quizzes and publish to Moodle directly from Respondus if the Moodle server has the "Respondus Web Service Extension for Moodle" (download here: [4]. See a video on how to do this here: [5] and here: [6]
  • Newer versions have some useful Database views inside the Blackboard database that allow retrieving of some of the information. It's really easy to get course names/users/enrolments and grades directly out using the DB Views "RPT_PERSON", "RPT_MEMBER","RPT_LEARNING_CONTEXT" and "RPT_GRADEBOOK"

doing it manually also gives you the forced opportunity for your lecturers/staff to clean things up a bit and learn a bit more about the differences between Blackboard and Moodle

  • Assignments can be set up manually, copied/pasted. Migrating assignments video: [7]
  • Migrating a discussion topic video: [8]

See also

Using Moodle forum discussions