Blackboard - The content editor
This guide gives an introduction to the content editor, which is found several places in Blackboard Learn.
Norsk versjon - Blackboard - Verktøy for tekstbehandling
What is the content editor? #
The content editor allows instructors to add descriptions of other content which they create or link to. It is the text box which appears when adding new content to your course. In many cases it will be sufficient to use the editor to add a plain, descriptive text, but you also have the option of doing more advanced editing, such as adding links and embedding files, audio, images, video and external resources. It is also possible to use the content editor to format content using HTML and CSS, such use is mainly for experienced users and will not be covered in any depth by this guide.
The content editor has to modes: a simple and an advanced mode. In the simple mode only a single row of buttons is visible. Enter advanced mode by clicking on the icon shaped as a double chevron on the right hand side of the editor.
In advanced mode to more rows of buttons are available.
To increase the available work space, either click on and drag the bottom right-hand corner (D) to adjust the height, or enter full screen by clicking the icon with four arrows (C) poiting towards the corners.
To preview content while you are working on it, press the preview icon (A), shaped as a computer screen.The icon shaped as an i (B) will open a pop-up window with descriptions of what the other buttons do. Note that this help also includes some buttons which are not available in the content editor found in the NTNU installation of Blackboard Learn.
For a short description of what each button does, let the cursor rest a second over a button a short, explanatory text appears:
Working with text #
Most of the content editor buttons are recognizable from Microsoft Word and other text editor software and will not be covered in this guide. These are:
- formating such as bold, italic, underlined, strikethrough, superscript and subscript
- buttons for heading styles
- choices for font and font size
- bulleted and ordered lists
- buttons for text and background colour
- buttons for copying, cutting and pasting text
- undo and redo buttons
- buttons for justifying and for aligning text to the left, center and right
- buttons for creating and removing an indent
- a button to add symbols and a button to show or hide non-printing characters
- buttons for formating tables
When you work in the editor you can paste text, including tables, from other sources, such as from web pages or friom Microsoft Word. It maybe useful to learn the shortcut keys for cutting (Ctrl/Cmd+X), copying (Ctrl/Cmd+C) and pasting (Ctrl/Cmd+V) text.
When you right-click on text or other content, you will see a context menu with options adjusted to the given content. In the image below, the user has right-clicked on a link and consequently the contex menu gives the option of editing or removing that link.
Linking to and embedding content #
Links and files #
The content editor has two buttons which have more or less the same functionality, letting you link to web pages as well as files: the link icon (Insert/Edit Link) and the paper clip icon (Insert File).
Which button you use is a matter of personal preference but note that
- With the paper clip button (A) you can add several files or web pages at once. These will be placed at the cursor's position, without space inbetween and using the file name/URL as link text. If you click this button while having selected text, the selected text will be overwritten rather than becoming link text.
- To use the link button (B) you must first select the text which is to be your link text. This method allows you to link up only one file or web page at the time.
To use the paper clip icon, follow this procedure:
- Place the cursor where you want to add a file to the text. Not that if you select text before clicking the paper clip icon, the selected text will simply be overwritten.
- Click the paper clip icon (Insert File) to get this:
- Choose Browse My Computer, Browse Content Collection or give a Source URL (3).
- Choose an Alt Text (2), this is used by assistive technology to help the visually impaired.
- It is recomended to always select Yes on Open in new window (3).
- Repeat to add more files. The new files will show under the one you have already uploaded (4).
- Click Submit (5) to insert the links.
To use the link icon, follow this procedure:
- Select the text you wish to use as link text
- Click on the link icon (Insert/Edit Link), and the following window appears:
- Specify the Link Path (1). Note that this can be a web page (URL) or a file of your choise either by using Browse My Computer or Browse Content Collection. If you select a file from your computer, this will be uploaded to Blackboard Learn and receive a URL whch is fed into the link path field.
- Under Target (2), specify whether the link should open in current or in a new window. It is recomended to choose that the link should open in a new window.
- Title (3) is the text that is shown when the cursor hovers over the link.
- Let Class (4) remain Not Set.
- Click Update (5) to insert the link.
Note that if you want to edit the elements retrospectively, it can only be done one at a time even if you inserted multiple elements at the same time.
To insert an image, follow this procedure:
- Click the image icon (1):
- Set Image URL (2). This can be a URL or a file of your choise either by using Browse My Computer or Browse Content Collection. If you chose a file from your computer this will be allocated a URL that is automatically put in the Image URL field.
- Set an Image Description (3), so that people with visual imparities can get a description of the image read out loud.
- Add a Title (4), this is what comes up when you hover your cursor over the image.
- Now, you can either click Insert and add the image, or you can go to Appearance (5). Here you will find settings for size and placement:
- The placement of image is chosen under Alignment (6).
- Dimensions (7) gives the size of the image in pixels.
- Vertical Space and Horizontal Space (8) gives the space in number of pixels from the image and to other content horizontaly and vertically.
- Border (9) sets the width in pixels of the border.
- Click Insert (10) to insert the image.
To insert a video, follow this procedure:
- With the cursor in the position in which you want to insert the video, click the video icon:
- Set File/URL (1). This can be a URL or a file of your choise either by using Browse My Computer or Browse Content Collection. Type will change automatically based on the file or URL that is chosen.
- Set the size of the video under Dimensions (2). Once a video is uploaded this field is automatically filled in.
- Click Insert to insert the video.
Mashups lets you easily embed content from supported services. You can access this functionality under the Mashups button in the content editor:
Under Mashups you can choose between URKUND Plagiarism Checker, Flickr Photo, YouTube Video and SlideShare Presentation.
All of these are integrated in Blackboard Learn and will let you search for their content without leaving Blackboard.
To add a SlideShare-presentation, follow this procedure:
- Click SlideShare Presentation under Mashups:
- Start by adding Search type (1). Here you can choose; text which is found in the presentation (Full text), words that the presentation is tagged by (Tags only) or if you have the URL of a specific presentation (Specific presentastion (URL)).
- Set the search word; Search (2).
- If you only want presentations with a sertain language, specify this under Language (3)
- Hit Go (4) and the search results will appear below.
- If you wish, the search results can be sorted by relevance (5) or filtered by License (6).
- You can also Preview (7) a presentation.
- When you have found the presentation you want, press Select (8), a new window will open with more options:
- Set the Name (9) you want for the presentation.
- At View (10), choose how you want to integrate your presentation. Your choices are; a miniature image that the students can click on and start the presentation (Thumbnail), a link which opens presentation (Text Link with Player) or that the presentation is embeded and can be presented directly (Embed Presentation).
- You can also choose to Show SlideShare URL or Show SlideShare information (11)
- If you want you can press Preview (12) to show how the students will see it.
- Click Submit (13) and the presentation will be inserted in the content editor.
Embedding content using its HTML code #
It is also possible to embed other sources than those found under Mashups. Other services such as Padlet, Quizlet or Mazemap can be integrated in Blackboard using an HTML code available for you to copy from these services. The process of finding the HTML code varies between services, but is usually found under a share-button and is often symbolized with: </>.
When you have found such an "embed-code", it can be inserted by following this procedure, using MazeMap as an example:
- Select and copy the code (Ctrl/Cmd + C, or right click and select "Copy"):
- Go back to the content editor and press the HTML button:
- Paste the code (Ctrl/Cmd + V, or right click and select "Paste"), and click Update.
- A yellow box indicates that the item has been placed in the content editor.
How to Preview and Edit embedded items #
When the items are embedded you can only see them as a yellow box as long as you are in the content editor. To get a preview of the content, press the preview icon:
To change the size of the items you can click the box and drag the frame (be aware that if you are in chrome you might have to right click to be able to chose the box):
This will however not change the propositions of the item.
A way to do this is by accessing the window used when inserting the content. This can be done either by right clicking the box and choosing Edit Embedded Media, or by clicking the icon you used when inserting the content:
Here you will be able to choose the precise pixel size and to choose to alter the proportions.
See also #
Orakel Support Services can help if you have questions or if you encounter difficulties.