Blackboard: Uploading and embedding audio and video files into your Blackboard course

Introduction

This guide shows you how to upload and embed audio (MP3) and video (MP4) files  in your course, so that the content can be accessed by students in any Internet browser, and on any device.

How to embed Audio files

Prepare your files

To ensure that your files play correctly you will need to ensure that they are in the MP3 file format.

If your files are in a different format e.g. WMA then you should be able to convert them to MP3 using popular media players such as iTunes and VLC Player.

Upload your files

In your Blackboard courses, go into the content area where you want your files to reside. There are two options you can use to make your audio file available.

1. Create Item and embed the audio

Helpful tip!
The main advantage of this method is that it allows you to add accompanying text before or after the audio file

Item with embedded MP3 file

Click on Build Content > Item.

Build Content Menu, Create Item selected.

On the Create Item page, enter a title.

If you only see one row of the editing toolbar, click here to expand it to three rows.

Editing toolbar double chevron on the left of the screen

Click on the Insert Media icon.

Insert Media icon selected

A new, smaller window opens.

From the drop-down list, select HTML5 Audio.

Type drop down menu, selecting HTML5 Video

Then Browse to locate your file.

Helpful tip!
If you simply Browse for the file, Blackboard should recognise the filetype of the file you are uploading, and change the Type field accordingly.

 

General tab, with URL inserted and Audio player bar shown

Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab if you wish to select options such as Autoplay and Loop.

Otherwise, simply press Insert.

Advanced tab shown

The audio file will display as shown in the editing screen.

You can click on the ‘Preview’ icon to see how it will display to students.

Showing the preview icon in the Blackboard content editor

You can of course add text before or after the audio file, and attach a transcript of the audio.

Press Submit when done.

The file will then display as shown. Students will be able to click on the Play button and play the file directly within the browser.

Item with embedded MP3 file

 

2. Create Audio

Click on Build Content > Audio.

Build Content - Audio

Provide a title, then Browse to locate the audio file.

Choose the options you want. Notice that you can attach a transcript of the audio file.

audio file options

When done, press Submit.

The file displays to students as shown below.

Audio file

 

How to embed HTML5 Video

Prepare your files

To ensure that your files play correctly you will need to ensure that they are in the MP4 file format.

If your files are in a different format e.g. WMV, MOV or AVI then you should be able to convert them to MP4 using free software such as Handbrake.

The conversion of video files is potentially rather more complicated than converting audio files – if in doubt, please log a call with IT for advice.

Upload your files

You can follow exactly the same process as outlined above for audio files.

1. Create Item and embed the video

Helpful tip!
The main advantage of this method is that it allows you to add accompanying text before or after the video file.

 

Click on Build Content > Item, then click on the Insert Media icon.

A new, smaller window opens.

From the drop-down list, select HTML5 Video, then Browse for your file.

video file selected

 

Helpful tip!
If you simply Browse for the file, Blackboard should recognise the filetype of the file you are uploading, and change the Type field accordingly.

 

Blackboard sets the Dimensions for all videos as 320 x 240, regardless of the size of the original, so you may want to edit these settings.

video file dimensions

You can check the video’s dimensions by selecting the file in Windows Explorer, and viewing the information displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Showing the dimensions of a file as viewed in a windows folder

Press Insert to return to the editing screen. When done, press Submit.

The video will display as shown below.

Students will be able to click on the Play button and play the video directly within the browser.

Showing a video playing within the content area, with the fullscreen function button highlighted

Click this icon to view the video fullscreen (regardless of the dimensions chosen when embedding the video).

embedded video file - play full-screen

2. Create Video

Click on Build Content > Video.

Build Content - Video

Provide an name, then Browse to locate your file.

Select video file

Once you have selected the file to upload, you can set the desired options.

video options

By default, the video will display within Blackboard as 320 x 240 pixels. You can edit this by choosing Dimensions > Custom – although whatever size you set, students can opt to view the video full-screen.

View video full-screen

Other file types

This method currently only supports a limited range of file types:

MP3 and MP4 are the only types playable in all of the main Internet Browsers.

If you try to embed other file types as HTML5, Blackboard will change the ‘Type’ to the appropriate format, while Chrome will warn you if the format is unsupported.

Windows Media files (wma and wmv) are not supported, and should be avoided when uploading media content to Blackboard.

Unsupported media warning in the embedding editor.

 

Viewing previously-uploaded audio and video files

In an ideal world, audio and video content which you had uploaded to your course before Blackboard supported HTML5 would be automatically converted so that they displayed correctly in all browsers. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and if you have course content which still uses the old Flash-based method of displaying media files you will have to edit or recreate the links to these media files one by one.

If you uploaded content by using Create Content > Audio / Video

You will not be able to edit these existing links.

To take advantage of the new HTML5 functionality, you will have to create a new Item.

Remember, however, that you do not need to upload the media file again – the previously-uploaded file will already be in the course Content Collection (Fileshare), so you can simply click on Browse Content Collection to locate the file and link to it.

Embed content editor

Editing Items containing an embedded Audio or Video file

These can be edited, In the editing window, highlight the previously-embedded file as shown, then click on the Insert/Edit Media icon.

Insert Media Icon in the Blackboard text editor used to edit item

In the new window which opens, change ‘Embedded Audio’ to ‘HTML5 Audio’.

Embed drop down menu, file type options, and embedded audio selected to change to video

Press Insert, then Submit to save your changes.