Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


How to Add Files to Blackboard from Language Lab

Instructions for adding Language Lab files to a class on Blackboard. To view a screenshot larger, click on it.

1. Add an item to any content area by hovering over “Build Content” in the upper left corner, then clicking on “Item” in the list of creation options

2. Once you are in item creation mode, scroll down to the “Attachments” section and click on “Browse Content Collection”

3. After entering the Content Collection, hover over “Browse” in the upper left corner, then click on “Library Content”

4. This will bring you to the library content, where you can click on the “Language Lab” section to see the audio files for each class.

5. To add the files you want, use the box on the left to select them, then hit “Submit”, which will add them to the item you are creating.



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.


Creating a Podcast assignment

Tools for creating podcasts (audio files)

Some suggestions for those interested in creating a ‘podcast’ (audio) assignment for their students. 

Have students create a script (double-spaced, 1 page is about 1 minute)

Easiest tool to use is either Audacity (free download / Garage Band (comes on all Macs). Here are some useful tutorials for using these tools. 

Audacity Podcast Tutorial

Garageband Podcast Tutorial

If your students need any assistance with the assignment, have them contact our media consultants at ocmc@oberlin.edu.  They have drop-in hours Sunday through Thursday from 7-10pm.  The are colocated with the Writing Associates in the back of the first floor of Mudd. Also, if students want to experiment with higher quality audio, A/V has two USB mics that would be ideal. A/V is located on the 4th floor of Mudd.

Submitting and grading the assignment

The best way to have students submit the podcast and script is through Blackboard Journal.  The beauty of this mechanism is that you can quickly go through each one AND the submissions can be made available to the students after everyone has turned in their assignments by simply editing 1 journal setting.

Get into journal settings:


Check the appropriate box so that students can see each other’s work: 



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.


Create and Print a Poster

Click here to access a poster on Creating Academic Posters with lots of useful tips!

Printing Services

  1. Printing Services prints posters for faculty or students who want to present their research findings.  If you have any questions about the process, you can contact OCTET at 775-8345 or octet@oberlin.edu Read More


Create a survey using Google Docs

In google docs one can create a ‘form.’  This form can then be used to collect data from users. Information on how to create and deploy such a survey can be found in google’s support documentation.

Google will provide a very basic report, the data will be stored in a google spreadsheet and the information can then be downloaded and analyzed using Excel or any other tool that accepts comma separated data.

Be sure to check with the Institutional Research Board before conducting any studies where you are asking people to provide information.

Watch how to construct a survey and learn more about the tools available in Google Forms in the video tutorial below:


Creating digital materials for your courses/organizations

Instructors can add file attachments to different areas in a course, such as to a content item, an assignment, or a Discussion Board post. Users open a file by clicking a link to the file that appears in the course.

Creating Audio files

  • When creating and saving audio files, be sure to save it as an MP3.
  • If at anytime you have questions or concerns about creating audio files for courses, please contact OCTET.

How can I acquire audio from different resources to use in my class?

  • You can link to audio files on the Internet.
  • You can import audio selections from CD’s using built in computer software (such as iTunes).
  • You can create your own audio using Audacity or Aviary (part of OCApps) to  record and edit audio files.

Creating Video files

  • When creating and saving video files, be sure to save it as an MP4 or MPEG.
  • If at anytime you have questions or concerns about creating video files for courses, please contact OCTET.

How can I acquire video from different resources to use in my class?

Creating PDFs 

  • When creating PDFs for distribution to students, it is recommended to save the file using the “Reduce File Size” option. Be sure to make the file compatible with Acrobat 4.0.
  • Try to scan documents in Black/White.  Scanning documents in greyscale or color increases the file size.

How can I make a PDF document to upload into Blackboard?

  • Articles and images can be scanned on OCTET’s scanner and converted into PDF files for easy access. These files can be posted on Blackboard for class use.
  • Most academic departments on campus have scanner/copies that can scan documents and send PDFs to your email address.  You’ll need to contact your departmental AA to verify if this is possible.
  • You can upload documents to GoogleDocs and export them as PDFs.

PowerPoint /Slides

Embedding Audio/Video files within PowerPoint:

If you plan to use audio and video within a PowerPoint presentation there are several things to consider:

If you just plan to show the PPT in class:

  • be sure that the audio/video clip is located somewhere on the computer (or media) you plan to use for the presentation
  • when you insert an audio/video clip in your PPT, it doesn’t actually add the file to the PPT.  Instead, it creates a link to the file, so it is very important that the file remains in the same location, otherwise PPT will not be able to locate it.

If you plan to show the PPT in class and make it available in Blackboard:

  • You will need to post the audio/video through Blackboard separately from the PPT.
  • If you create the PPT on a MAC, students using a Windows machine will not be able to view any inserted videos; if I am on a Windows machine, but the PPT was created on a MAC, it’s going to try to open QuickTime–which isn’t the default system player on a PC.
  • If you create the PPT on aWindows machine, students using a MAC will not be able to view any inserted videos; if I am on a MAC, but the PPT was created on a Windows machine, it’s going to try to open Windows Media Player–which isn’t the default system player.

Other file types for courses

Any file type can be uploaded to Blackboard.  However, remember that students need to be able to access the file when they download it.  This means that they need to have software that can open the file.  This can be especially useful to faculty who want to share files with students for specialized software that is only available in public labs on campus.  Students can access the files from their course sites while in the public lab.

Click here for more information about file attachments and recognized file types.