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3 - Digitizing and Sharing Content

Content folders are one of the ways faculty can organize their Blackboard courses into chunks. Students need organized, consistent content that is easy to follow. You don’t want your students to spend all their time trying to find things. You want to avoid a ‘content dump’. Whether you use folders or modules, you will need to include lots and lots of text throughout – instructions, helpful tips, and key learning takeaways. Don’t just plunk the materials into the course without an introduction for each piece. This helps them to ‘hear’ you as they are going through the materials and close some of that distance.

To create a folder in Blackboard:

  1. Go to any content area of your course (such as Assignments).
  2. Click the Build Content button > Click Content Folder.
  3. In the Create Content Folder window, enter a Name for the folder, and optionally a description under text. 
  4. Make sure users can view the content and set other options as needed. 
  5. When done, click Submit. 
  6. After creating the folder, you can add content. Simply click on the folder title, then add files, images, assignments as you normally do.
     
    NOTE: Inside the content folders, you will see the four buttons you usually do:  Build Content, Assessments, Tools and Partner Content.  Folders can also be built within other folders to further chunk out material.  Please try to keep the amount of clicks students must do to consume content down to 3 or less.

 

Files can be uploaded into Blackboard in one of two ways:

  • As an Item, allowing multiple files to be attached to the same block at a time.
  • As a File, only allowing one file to be attached at a time.

Below are steps for creating both:

Adding Content as an Item

  1. Navigate to any content area in your course (e.g. Course Documents, Assignments, etc.)
  2. Click the Build Content button > Item.
  3. Give the item a name and optionally enter some descriptive text into the text box below that.
  4. Under Attachments, you have the option to:
    1. Drag and drop files from your computer into the dotted line area.
    2. Click Browse My Computer and search for your files
    3. Click Browse My Course and find files you have already used elsewhere in your course.
    4. Click Browse Cloud Storage and browse OneDrive, Box, OneDrive for Business, Dropbox or Google Drive for your files.
  5. Under Standard Optionsset availability, tracking and date restrictions.

Adding Content as a File

  1. Navigate to any content area in your course (e.g. Course Documents, Assignments, etc.)
  2. Click the Build Content button > File.
  3. Give the item a name.  Note that there is NO textbox feature under files.
  4. There are only 2 options for finding a file:
    1. Click Browse My Computer and search for your files
    2. Click Browse My Course and find files you have already used elsewhere in your course.
  5. Under File Options, click Yes next to Open in New Window so users maintain the Blackboard Environment without having to hit the back button when a file opens.
  6. Under Standard Optionsset availability, tracking and date restrictions.

 

Here are some of our tips for getting content scanned and uploaded to Blackboard or OneDrive for sharing with your students.

  1. When possible, use a digital format - go back to the native Word Document or find the article online that has searchable text. We want the document to be as accessible as possible to students. How do you know it's searchable text?  Try highlighting some of the text... if you can highlight letters and words, it's searchable.  If you cannot, it was scanned in as a static image, which is not accessible to students using screen readers and other assistive devices. 
  2. Scan using a copier in your department or in the library (if you are on campus) - make sure you select Scan as Searchable text or OCR (Optical Character Recognition).  
  3. If you have a scanned/digital version of the document already, you can run it through a free program online to convert it to searchable text. Go to https://ally.ac/covid19/ to transform your file into an accessible format.  Video on how to use the File Transformer.
  4. Microsoft Lens Video - Use your smartphone to scan and convert a document to an accessible format in Microsoft Word for sharing in Blackboard or OneDrive.

Kaltura is University of Hartford's streaming media server (in-house YouTube) that stores video and audio files (replacing Ensemble).  Once uploaded to Kaltura, videos/audio clips can be streamed via Blackboard, the website or via links.

Kaltura itself is just the repository where these videos/audio files are stored.  However, Kaltura Capture is a downloadable app in Kaltura that allows you to screen share and narrate videos over PowerPoint or any other application.

Kaltura resides directly within Blackboard and you do not need to fill out a request form.

Get Started with Kaltura (PDF)