Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BB9 Redux: Posting Video links

Beginning of semester and ASU goes live with Blackboard Learn. Most faculty here will readily tell you this is a misnomer at our site as it's been down a good deal of the time since the semester started two weeks ago. But let's put that aside and talk about how very different BB9 is and how a few aspects are seemingly not possible in BB9 that were simple in previous versions. This is not to negate a few exciting new features, but focusing today on VIDEO. Especially the desire to stay within the BB environ while watching the video. It used to be rather straightforward to 'Create Item' and choose 'Display media file within the page'. But that was then, and this is BB 9. (ASU tells me that BB wants us to call it BB Learn. Really? I'll call it BB Learn if/when it actually functions at ASU and we can use it to teach/learn. Fair?).

Display media file within the page: Well you can choose that item forever, and it doesn't seem to embed video. Not the way it used to work. So, depending on the type of video link you're attempting to post, your options will now be different. I note that YouTube embed code works, but only because the Blackboard site states they optimized for YouTube and a few other commercial sites. Embed code doesn't work for sites we often use at ASU (like Films on Demand), but we'll get to that in a minute.

For YouTube users wanting to embed inside your course, preserving navigation bar (old look):
you still Create Item, but now you click on html button in the toolbar, and post the YouTube-provided source code. (How to find the embed code at a YouTube site shown here: click on embed button under the video at YouTube and copy source code that appears).

At the BB site, you then click on the html button on the Create Item toolbar, and paste your code. You now have an embedded video just the way you'd expect it to look.

Most other sites, because they're not optimized by BB to work, won't work with html embed code, no matter how carefully you write the code. I tried. Give up. Here's the work-around that isn't the same, as the learner does loose the left navigation back to class content, but allows you to keep the learner in the course framework with navigation back to home page for course at the TOP of the page.

To embed video link in your course you use a full frame embed:
Build menu, create external link.
Copy the link, choose CREATE EXTERNAL LINK.
(You can of course do this with YouTube as well, IF you want only top navigation).

Paste your link, Choose "Display media file within the page." (Feature works in this setting).
Remember to choose "Open in New Window"=NO if you want to embed in course window.
Here's a pic of these two choices on the Create External Link object page.

So, things change. Nothing remains the same. Mostly, we don't like change but in the end we adapt. That's what we do. Happy adapting. When things settle down, we'll talk about the worthy new features in BB9.

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