Creating Course Materials in Blackboard

Questions with their answers

Can I change the course menu?

You can add, remove, reorder, and rename items on the course menu.

To rename an item on the course menu, follow these steps:

  1. Hover your mouse over the course menu item you would like to change.
  2. Click on the downward arrow that appears to the right of the item name.
  3. Click Rename Link.
  4. Type the new name of the menu item in the text box.
  5. Click the green check or hit Enter on your keyboard to save.

Learn more about the Blackboard Course Menu.

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How do I upload course files?

There are a few different ways to add files to a Blackboard course. But, most of the time, adding a Content Item will suit your needs. To create a Content Item, follow these steps:

  1. On your Blackboard course menu, click on any of the Content Areas such as Outline.
  2. On the Content Area page, hover over Build Content, then click on Item under Create.
  3. On the resulting form, Name your item and proceed to the Content Editor window. 
  4. Within the Content Editor, author your material or paste from another source.
  5. Optionally, attach files or media.
  6. Click Submit.

Learn more about creating Content Items in Blackboard.

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Can I upload video files into a course?

While you can upload any type of file to Blackboard, each course has a size quota. So, for larger video files, it is recommended you host them on the Echo360 Platform, which can be linked to your Blackboard course.

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Can I embed videos into a course?

Yes, you can embed videos in your Blackboard course using an Item. You also can embed YouTube videos using Blackboard's Mashup tool.

To embed a video file you have on your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Blackboard course and click on any Content Area such as Syllabus.
  2. On the Content Area page, click Build Content, then choose Item.
  3. On the resulting form, Name your item and proceed to the Content Editor window.
  4. On the third row of the Content Editor tools, click the Insert/Edit Embedded Media icon.
  5. Browse your local computer for the video file and click Open.
  6. Adjust the video's dimensions and advanced settings if necessary.
  7. Click Insert.
  8. When back on the Create Item page, click Submit.

Learn more about embedding multimedia in Blackboard.

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How can I create online lectures for students?

Create and edit customized instructional video content on your computer using the Echo 360 Universal Capture: Personal software. Echo 360 Universal Capture: Personal is available to all GW faculty.

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How can I add captions to my video?

Echo360 has an auto-transcript feature that you can utilize. You can also edit the auto-transcript and apply it as captions.

First, you would need to create an Echo360 course section on Blackboard and upload your video to it. Auto-transcripts are then made available about 30 minutes after the video is published to the course section. Students can view the transcript while they watch your video.

To create an Echo360 course section in Blackboard and upload a video from your computer, use the following instructions:

To create an Echo360 course section in Blackboard and use Echo360 Universal Capture: Personal to record and publish your videos, use the following instructions:

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Can I copy and paste from Word or another resource?

Yes, you can paste text from an external source into Blackboard; however, you will have the best results if you type your text directly in the editor and format it with the available options. You may see formatting issues when you paste text from a website or a Word document directly into the editor.

Additionally, pasting text into the content editor using a right-click of the mouse results in a message alerting you that your browser does not support this behavior. You can still copy and paste using the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Copy: Windows - Control + C, Mac - Command + C
  • Cut: Windows - Control + X, Mac - Command + X
  • Paste: Windows - Control + V, Mac - Command + V

Learn more about working with text in Blackboard's Content Editor.

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Can I restrict access to certain materials?

You can make content unavailable to all students or apply date and time restrictions to control when it appears. You can even apply Adaptive Release Rules to content to control which students can access it and when.

To set a simple Date/Time restriction on content:

  1. Open your Blackboard course and find the content that you want to edit.
  2. Put your mouse on the content's name, click the downward arrow that appears to the right, and then click Edit.
  3. Choose Yes to make the content available.
  4. Find the Display After and Display Until section and set your restriction.
  5. Click Submit.

Learn more about controlling the availability of content in Blackboard.

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Can I copy course materials into next semester's course?

You can copy all the materials from a Blackboard course or just specific sections.

  1. Open your ORIGIN course, the course FROM which you want to copy.
  2. Go to the Control Panel, click on Packages and Utilities, and click on Course Copy.
  3. On the Course Copy page, click Browse next to Destination Course ID.
  4. In the pop-up window, find the course that you want to copy INTO, select the radio button to the left of the Course Name, and then click Submit.
  5. Back on the Course Copy page, either choose to Select All or check off the materials you want to copy.
  6. Click Submit once to start the course copy process. You will receive an email when the course copy is complete. All copied content can be modified in the destination course.

Learn more about the behavior of copied materials on Blackboard.

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Troubleshooting

Allowing Third-party cookies

If you receive an error in Blackboard or cannot access videos or tools like Collaborate Ultra, Echo360, or VoiceThread, you may need to configure your browser's cookie settings to allow third-party cookies. It is best to restart your computer after updating any settings.

To unblock or allow third-party cookies in your browser, follow the browser-specific steps below:

Also, check that you are using a supported browser for the tool you are using:

Contact the Instructional Technology Lab for assistance.

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PDF does not load past the first page and I'm being asked to log in.

There is a current issue on some versions of the Chrome browser where a PDF file does not load past the first page or two and users are being asked to log in.

It is not a Blackboard issue but actually has to do with a PDF setting referred to as Fast Web View, which is meant to allow for a PDF to be downloaded one page at a time for faster web viewing. However, Chrome handles this differently from other browsers resulting in the PDF not loading and you being asked to log in.

To view the document, you can:

  1. Use a different browser to view the PDF, like Firefox, Edge, etc.
     
  2. Download the file to your computer and open it from there:
    • Right-click on the file name and choose to Save link as
      OR
    • In Chrome, enter chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments in the address bar and choose to download PDF files instead of automatically opening them.

To fix the file, you can disable the Fast Web View setting in Adobe Acrobat, re-save the PDF, and replace the file in Blackboard with the modified PDF.

To disable Fast Web View in Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open the program Adobe Acrobat. (If you don't have this installed, you can install it from GW IT's website. Their number is 202-994-4948 if you need assistance.)
  2. Go to Preferences.
  3. In the Categories list, select Documents.
  4. Under Save Settings, on the right, uncheck the box for Save As Optimizes For Fast Web View.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Open the PDF and re-save it using Save As. This will force the file to be re-saved using the new setting you enabled. Future PDFs that you create/save as on your computer should now automatically be saved without Fast Web View.
  7. You can then upload the newly saved PDF to Blackboard.

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Why did the formatting change after I pasted text into Blackboard?

Pasting text from word processing software or other websites can sometimes give unpredictable results. You'll have the best results if you type your text directly in Blackboard's content editor and format it with the available options.

To fix formatting issues in Blackboard, you can remove the formatting and reformat it with the options in the editor.

To remove the Word formatting after you paste the text in the editor, select all the text, and select the Remove Formatting icon. Only use this option if you understand that all formatting will be removed. All bullets, numbered lists, indentations, line spacing, centered text, and font formatting and sizing will be removed.

Blackboard's content editor

Alternatively, before you paste your text into Blackboard, you can paste it into an offline simple text editor, such as Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac), and clear the formatting. Then, you can paste the text into the editor and format it as you want.

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What does “The content below is outside of the Blackboard Learn environment” mean?

Clicking a link to an outside website or resource that is set to open within Blackboard will result in a message stating, “The content below is outside the Blackboard Learn environment.”

This message is not an error; it just means that the content displayed is not on Blackboard. If you want to avoid this message, set external links to Open in a New Window.

Learn more about adding links to external web sources on Blackboard.

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Why can’t I share my screen, camera, or microphone when recording with Echo360 Universal Capture?

In newer releases of macOS, all applications now require individual user permission to be set manually for Echo360 to access your camera and microphone or to record your computer’s Desktop (Display):

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Go to Security & Privacy and click the Privacy pane.
  3. Select Screen Recording from the available options and select the checkbox for Echo360 Capture in the apps list.
  4. Repeat step 3 for the Microphone and Camera, if necessary.
Enable screen recording permissions in macOS for Echo360 capture

Learn more about allowing access to inputs in macOS.

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Why can’t I log in to Echo360 or view videos?

Under some circumstances, users have issues viewing Echo360 videos or when trying to log into Echo360. To resolve this, you may need to configure your browser's cookie settings to allow third-party cookies.

Follow the browser-specific recommendations below to be sure your browser has the correct settings:

Contact the Instructional Technology Lab for assistance.

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