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CRN Numbers explained


A feature of the Banner system is the Course Reference Number (CRN). Each CRN is a different offering of a module. They are a five digit number and each year the series of five digits change to distinguish the current year, from previous academic year.

Table of contents

Course Reference Numbers explained

One module can have many offerings. An offering could be:

  1. In a different semester.
  2. On a different campus.
  3. Or for a different group of students.

Blackboard considers each CRN as a separate module as it is a different teaching unit of a module. Where versions of the same core module exist but currently have different codes, for example, on different campuses or in different semesters, these will be set up as sections of the module.

The Banner system will automatically allocate a unique 5 digit number (known as a Course Reference Number or CRN) to each of the sections of the module. This will help staff identify the correct section when requesting class lists through Student List and Email at:


Please note that the CRN will change from year to year. The CRN is valid for a specific academic year and each section will have a different CRN when it is rolled forward to the next academic year.

CRN Example in Blackboard

  1. NUR562

  2. It has several CRNs (versions). Three are for a Partner Institution, perhaps a franchised course at a Regional college and the remaining two take place over different campuses. This illustrates precisely why you need to choose the correct CRN code with the module code.


Module content will be made available to students by Semester teaching start dates, for example, if Semester 3 teaching begins Monday 22 July, students will not see content until that date.

How does this affect Blackboard?

Each CRN (NUR562 as above) is a separate Blackboard area, with separate students and material.