OCTET

Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching

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Converting video/audio files

Since we are mostly a Mac campus, most of our video and audio is saved in a .mov format. Many Windows machines and browsers are not very good at automatically displaying these files. Therefore, we’ve been asked if there is any way to easily convert .mov files to something more compatible e.g. MP3 or MP4 format.

Here is one approach that seems very simple:

1) Place all files you want to convert into the same folder. If they are in Blackboard use the Shared Location Setup function in the FILE section of the control panel to map the course files to a folder on your desktop.

2) Choose the file you wish convert (hold “shift” while selecting the file to select multiple files)

3) Select the desired converted format and adjust quality settings. For audio or stripping the audio from a video file, MP3 with the default settings will work.

4) Hit the “convert” button. This will do the conversion on each file and, when done, zip the files into a single compressed file.

5) Download converted files.  This will be a 1-step process because all the files will be in 1 zip file).

6) Open the zip file on your machine.
7) If these are to replace files already in Blackboard, go to the Blackboard>>File option in your course. Don’t just replace the .mov files in the Shared Location folder on your desktop. If you do this, you will lose the connection to the quiz question or item where the file is deployed.
8) To overwrite Blackboard files, once in the content collection/Files area, click on the down carat next to the appropriate  file you want to replace and select ‘Overwrite File.’  This method will retain all the connections that particular file has to any item, quiz, posting etc in your site.

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Accounting for extra credit in the Blackboard grade center

A very useful video explaining how to add extra credit to a final grade or exclusively to a set of assignments, and have that update the grade a student sees in the Blackboard grade center.

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Photo Roster giving a JAVA error

In some cases trying to access the photo roster is producing a page full of error messages.  This is due to an interaction between the notification system and the way we've implemented the photo roster. While we ultimately would like to fix this, the quickest solution is to dismiss the notification (see the image below for details).

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Librarian Access to BB

There are two ways to give librarians the ability to upload documents to your Blackboard site (eReserves).

Ask your librarian which is the most appropriate.  Option 1 or 2 are for Art and Conservatory courses. Option 3 is for all A&S courses.

Option 1. From the Need Help tab from Blackboard, the right column has a series of request forms. Fill out the form “Give library reserves access” form. If you want to get it done quickly, go to Option 2.

Option 2. From your BB site, you can categorize a course as ERes. Under Course Management, click “Customization” and then “Properties”. Under “Categorize Course”, move “ERes (Library Support)” to the Selected Items box using the arrow pointing to the right. The box on the right hand side should now have ERes listed. Be sure to submit changes.
NB: IF YOU WANT THE ART LIBRARIANS TO HAVE ACCESS, USE THE CATEGORY: ‘ERes-ARTS (Library Support (ARTS))

Option 3. From the Menu area add a Tool to the menu.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 1.35.02 PM

Select the eReserves tool from the dropdown menu that appears.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 1.35.19 PM

Title the new menu area ‘eReserves’ or ‘Readings’ or anything else that will be useful to your students. Check off the ‘make available’ options and click on Submit. This will link directly to the content that was added by the librarian to your course eReserve folder.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 1.35.43 PM

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Putting a desktop icon of your Blackboard file system on your desktop.

This is in reference to the ‘Shared Location’ option found in the file system menu.

Blackboard allows you to create a server connection directly to the file system for a given course or organization. This will put an icon on your desktop and allow you to treat the Blackboard folder as you would a folder on your desktop. Once this is done you can upload, rearrange and delete files in your Blackboard course without logging in to Blackboard via a browser.

Here are the instructions for setting up the alias on a Mac or Windows for the course/org files area in Blackboard.

Blackboard’s instructions recommend that you disconnect from the server by either putting the icon in the trash or restarting the machine.  In cases where you are the only person working on that particular machine, you may want to retain access to the folder/server even after restarting your machine i.e. make the icon ‘stick.’  To do this you will need to

  1. Control and left click on the new drive connection on the desktop and select “Make Alias”.
  2. Rename the alias something else.
  3. When you restart the machine or disconnect the initial icon, the Alias will remain and can be used to easily reconnect. It will ask you to log in again.

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Basic Blackboard Course/Org Interface

*Click on the image to see larger.  It will open up the image and you must click on it a second time.*

Instructor course page

A.  Page header: The area at the top of the page that contains the tabs, the global navigation menu, and Logout.  The tabs you see in the page header depend on your school’s licenses.
B.  Tabs: Blackboard Learn includes two common sets of tabs, discussed in the following tables.
C.  Content frame: Displays the selected tool or content area. By default, when you enter a course, the Home Page appears. You select the first page called the course entry point.
D.  Course menu: The access point for all course content. You decide which links are available here.
E.  Control Panel: The central access point for course management functions. You can manage the course style, course tools, and users from this area. Students do not see anything under the Course Management heading i.e. Control Panel functions.
F.  Action bar: Rows at the top of the page containing page-level actions such as Build Content, Search, Delete, and Upload. The functions on the action bar change depending on where you are in your course. The action bar can contain multiple rows of functions such as on the main Grade Center page.
G.  Edit Mode: When Edit Mode is ON, all the instructor functions appear, such as Build Content on the action bar in a content area or the appearance of contextual menus. When Edit Mode is OFF, you are viewing the page in student view. The Edit Mode function appears to users with a role of instructor, teaching assistant, course builder, and administrator.
H.  Breadcrumbs: As items and links are viewed in a content area, use the breadcrumbs to navigate to previous pages. Breadcrumbs trace the path to and from each item. Breadcrumbs, not the browser back button, are the best way to navigate backwards.