In your Course Menu (the upper-left area above the Control Panel) you will find your site’s main Content Areas (which is where all of your teaching and learning materials are contained and accessed from). When you receive your Blackboard site, we provide you with a default set of Content Areas (e.g. Information, Content, Assessments, etc.) which you can choose to use or edit; or you can create your own course menu content areas [tell me how?]
To add new content to a Content Area, or to edit existing content in a Content Area requires the Edit Mode toggle switch to be set to the ON position. The Edit Mode toggle switch can be found in the top right corner of your Blackboard course page.
Clicking the button toggles it back and forth between ON and OFF.
When ON – instructors will be able to add and edit course content as you wish
When OFF – instructors will not be able to add, edit or change anything on the course.
Setting the Edit Mode toggle switch to OFF is a good way to view your course as a student would see it.
(For obvious reasons, Students do not have the Edit Mode toggle switch available to them on their Blackboard pages).
If you wish to edit an existing content area you can select the content area from your course menu, or you can create a new content area [tell me how?]. The tools available in all content areas are – Build Content, Assessments and Tools – and are located in the toolbar along the top of the content area. Each of these ‘content builders’ have further options which allow you to build your content area.
Build Content: Add files, links or other content such as documents, videos, audio, images
Assessments: Add tests, surveys and assignments
Tools: Add group and communication tools such as blogs, wikis, discussion boards, chat sessions
Any Content Area, Content Folder, or Item that has been added to Blackboard can be edited by instructors.
To access the Edit tools menu for a particular piece of content click the down arrow button that appears next to the item that you wish to edit. A dropdown menu with available editing tools will appear.
You can upload nearly any file type into Blackboard. Just be sure that your students have the proper software application to open the files you use. The following file formats are commonly used in Blackboard content areas:
* Adobe PDF
* MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
* JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG images
* Archived web sites (“zipped” HTML + images)
* PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD VIDEO FILES DIRECTLY TO BLACKBOARD – digital video files can be extremely large, and if uploaded directly to a Blackboard course will take up valuable space on the Blackboard servers. A DMU repository for video files has been created into which you can upload videos that can then be shown on your Blackboard course pages [tell me more?]
Blackboard has a problem with certain special characters used in file names. These characters traditionally act as a parser, so Blackboard saves the file with a different name and as a result breaks the link that you just tried to create. Characters to avoid include commas, ?, @, #, $, %, &, *, !, (, ), ‘, and “. The safest way to create a file name is to only use alphanumeric characters, the hyphen, and underscore (instead of blank spaces).
Blackboard gives you two basic ways of getting content into your course site: typing/pasting it in directly to a course page/area or uploading it from your computer. In the latter method, the system automatically generates links to your uploaded files on the course pages to which they were uploaded, and so requires no reformatting of your documents.
To delete an item:
1. Navigate to the item you wish to delete.
2. Click the double down arrows to the right of the title to bring up more menu options.
3. Select Delete.
4. A pop up window will confirm that you wish to delete the item. Click OK.
To delete an entire content area:
Note: Each button represents a content area. Please note that deleting the button will delete the entire content area and any documents therein.
1. Navigate to the button representing the content area you wish to delete.
2. Click the double down arrows to the right of the button to bring up more menu options.
3. Select Delete.
4. A pop up window will confirm that you wish to delete the item and warning that any “children” or items within that content area will also be deleted. If you do not wish to delete these items, consider the option to Hide Link below. If you do wish to delete them, click OK.
Q: Why should I save and upload my files as HTML?
A: Uploading HTML documents to Blackboard allows your students to directly access the information from within the Blackboard page. This is preferable for course information and documents, such as assignment instructions and timelines, which students may need to check often. There may also be times where you want to upload files for download, such as templates or forms that need to be modified or copied or longer documents that students will want to print. In those cases, leaving the document in its original form (.doc, .xls) would be preferable.
Q: What kind of media files are supported by Blackboard?
A: The following media files can be viewed within Blackboard.
- Graphics: GIF and JPEG
- Video: MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, WMV
- Audio: WAV and AIFF
- Flash Video (.SWF or FLV)
Note: students will need the appropriate software and plug-ins to view the media files.
Q: How fast (or slow) will my files be downloaded?
A: When developing your course materials, remember that the students may be connecting to the Internet via a dial-up modem. Files should be kept small enough so users with slower connections will still be able to access the files in a reasonable amount of time. If you cannot keep the file size down, an alternative is to use the text field in the Add Item area to provide the student with information describing what the file is, how large it is, and why it is important that they view it. Often, simply letting a student know that the download may take longer than usual will diffuse any frustration associated with the long process. Keep in mind that download time will vary based on Internet traffic and connection speed.