Info for Fall 2021

All Online & Graduate Level Courses Will be Hosted on GPS Blackboard

Beginning with the Fall 2021 semester, all online and graduate-level Blackboard course sites will be hosted on the GPS instance of Blackboard. Undergraduate in-person and undergraduate virtual course sites will continue to be hosted on the IT instance of Blackboard. This page contains important information for instructors who are teaching online or graduate in-person courses during the Fall 2021 semester. If you are teaching an undergraduate, in-person course, please visit IT’s Blackboard information page to access resources and your Blackboard course sites.

ONLINE UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE TEACHERS – If you have taught either an undergraduate or graduate course online with GPS, and are continuing to do so, then nothing is changing for you. GPS will continue to host all online course(s), load your course content from a previous semester, add students to your course site, and provide support. We are planning to create Fall 2021 Blackboard course sites for online courses around July 23, and will communicate with you when they are available.

ON-CAMPUS AND VIRTUAL GRADUATE TEACHERS – Starting with the Fall 2021 semester, GPS will provide blank Blackboard sites for all of your courses, add students to your course site(s), make available to you the same 3rd-party tools you had on IT’s Blackboard (i.e., Zoom, Gradescope), and provide support and training as you transition to the GPS instance of Blackboard. As a part of this transition, GPS will also migrate your Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 courses to the GPS instance so that you can access a prior term’s course materials moving forward. We are planning to create Fall 2021 Blackboard course sites for on-campus and virtual graduate courses on July 10 during the week of July 26, and will communicate with you when they are available.

Getting Going with GPS Blackboard

If you are new to GPS Blackboard, then the information below will provide you with some options for self-service to get up and running for Fall 2021, but 24x7 technical support or summer drop-in sessions are also available if you'd like additional support.

We are planning to create Fall 2021 Blackboard course sites in early July. Once you have access to your new courses, instructors who are teaching graduate-level on-campus and virtual courses will have the following options:

  1. Start from scratch with a blank Blackboard site
  2. Copy select materials from one Blackboard course into your Fall 2021 Blackboard site
  3. Copy an entire course into your Fall 2021 Blackboard site

Options #2 and #3 are new for GPS and only available to faculty teaching on-campus or virtual graduate-level courses. We are giving you the ability to copy a previous term's materials, including an entire course, into your new course site. It only takes a few clicks and minutes, and if you run into issues then we can assist.

5-Step Getting Started Guide for Fall 2021 Blackboard Sites 

Here are some additional set-up guides that may be useful as you start building for Fall 2021:

Blackboard Access and Support

YOUR BLACKBOARD COURSE - If you are teaching online or a graduate-level course during Fall 21, your course site in GPS Blackboard will be available for you in early July. Online courses will have your content from a previous semester pre-loaded, while virtual and on campus courses will have a blank template pre-loaded. If you don't see your course site in Blackboard, or would like to request a site for a Directed Study, please email or

LOGIN PROBLEMS – You can login to GPS Blackboard using your UML username and password. Retrieve your UML password or set your password retrieval security questions at the UMass Lowell MyPassword website.

STUDENT AND TA ACCESS TO BLACKBOARD - Students are loaded into Blackboard courses a few days prior to the start of each term, and then incrementally each day thereafter 2x daily. Faculty can request TA or Grader access to their Blackboard course site by emailing or

CROSS-LISTED COURSES - We will automatically merge all cross-listed courses in Blackboard based on SIS.

CALENDAR AND IMPORTANT DATES - Fall Term 2021 Start I begins on September 1, 2021. Start II begins on October 25, 2021. Faculty should refer to the Academic Calendar and Fall Class Dates for semester start/end dates, holidays, and final exam days. 

Weekly Course Dates for Fall 2021

Week 1 : Sept 1 - 5
Week 2 : Sept 6 - 12
Week 3 : Sept 13 - 19
Week 4 : Sept 20 - 26
Week 5 : Sept 27 - Oct 3
Week 6 : Oct 4 - 10
Week 7 : Oct 11 - 17
Week 8 : Oct 18 - 24 (end of Session I 8-week semester)
Week 9 : Oct 25 - 31 (start of Session II 8-week semester)
Week 10 : Nov 1 - 7 (end of 10-week semester)
Week 11 : Nov 8 - 14
Week 12 : Nov 15 - 21
Week 13 : Nov 22 - 28
Week 14 : Nov 29 - Dec 5
Week 15 : Dec 6 - Dec 12
Blank      : Dec 13 - Dec 18 (Finals Week / end of Session II 8 week semester) semester ends on Saturday

WHAT'S NEW - GPS has decided to turn on Zoom by default for all course sites. This means that faculty can add the Zoom integration to their site, schedule and launch meetings right from Blackboard, and have students join and watch recordings of meetings. You can still use Collaborate if you like, but Zoom is also an option if you prefer it.

Technical Support