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Video Tools in Blackboard Learn Can Help Enhance Your Course

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By in Blackboard Learn, Content Development, Tools on .

For faculty looking to create videos to provide supplemental instruction to students, there may be questions on how to effectively deliver the videos to students.

There are three important considerations when creating videos for your students:

  • Blackboard Learn has a size quota in place for each individual course site, which could easily be exceeded if several videos are added within the course.
  • Students use a variety of devices and operating systems, whether they’re using a Windows or Mac computer, or a mobile device using iOS or Android.  Videos should be as platform-independent as possible.
  • While many students do have access to high-speed internet, some students may have slower internet services depending on where they live.

Fortunately, Purdue offers two video tools within Blackboard that can make it easy for faculty to both create and upload videos for student use.  These tools are Video Everywhere and Kaltura.  The benefits of both tools are:

  • Videos are saved to an external server, meaning that the videos will not impact the size quota for the course.
  • Videos will work on personal computers (Windows, Mac, etc) and mobile devices
  • Videos will be streamed, so students will not have to download the video files, and students with slower connections will be able to see the videos.

Both tools will also allow faculty to quickly create a video by using a webcam and microphone within the tools themselves.  For more advanced videos, faculty will be able to use the video recording hardware and editing software of their choice to create their videos for upload.

Video Everywhere

Video Everywhere is a feature within Blackboard that utilizes YouTube as the video creation and storage tool.  The link to Video Everywhere is located in the text editor.

Link to Video Everywhere

Video Everywhere gives users the option to either create a video with a webcam and microphone, or browse to find a video that has already been created by a user that has been uploaded to YouTube.  Faculty using this tool must have a YouTube account to be able to use Video Everywhere (note: having a Google account also provides a person with a YouTube account).

Videos created using Video Everywhere will be uploaded to YouTube as private videos, meaning that they will not be available when a user does a search on YouTube.  Users can change the visibility of your video in YouTube if they wish to make the video publicly available.

Video Everywhere videos will appear in the text editor as a thumbnail (which will open in a pop-up window when clicked) or they can be played directly on the page without a pop-up.  In both cases, no “suggested” videos will be displayed after the video completes playing.


Kaltura works in a manner similar to Video Everywhere, except it does not require logging in to a separate service in addition to logging into Blackboard.  You can create a video with a webcam, upload a video that has been created and edited with the hardware and software of the faculty member’s choice, or Kaltura can do a two hour screen capture with audio.

To add a Kaltura video in the text editor, click the Mashups menu, and select Kaltura Media.

Add Kaltura Media to Blackboard

A screen will open that will display any videos that may already be created.  To use an existing video, click Select for theKaltura Add Media button video to be used.  Otherwise, click Add Media in the upper right hand corner to select what type of video will be added to the course.

After you create or select the Kaltura media  you want, the video will appear in the text editor with video information to the right of the link.  This information can be modified or removed.  Once the link to the video is added, when clicked the video will pop-up in a new window.

Final Thoughts

Using video can be a great way to enhance your courses.  Faculty can go into greater detail on difficult topics, or provide a post-lecture “breakdown” to emphasize key concepts covered in lecture.  The Video Everywhere and Kaltura tools offer ways for faculty to quickly add video to their courses.  With the addition of Video Express labs on campus, faculty who create videos using these labs can use those labs in conjunction with the tools in Blackboard to quickly create and publish more complex videos for student use.

If you have questions about how to use Video Everywhere or Kaltura in your classes, please contact us at tlt-consulting@purdue.edu.

Brett Creech
Educational Technologist

Interactive Video


By in Tools on .

When instructors are redesigning their courses to engage students in active learning, passively watching video clips isn’t a great pedagogy. Interactive video technique could be adopted to blend interaction and linear video.

YouTube has Video Annotations feature for instructors to add interactive commentary to their own videos. It allows instructors to “add background information about the video, create stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene), and link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video” (YouTube Video Annotations).

ELearning software and authoring tools provide more choices to do interactive video. Instructors across campus have been using Captivate, Camtasia,or Articulate to make screen capture videos, add autotext captions, insert hyperlinks, do scenario branching and embed self-assessments. Even though these softwares are not free, some of them do have educational discounts. If you would like some help considering Interactive Video for your course(s) please let us know – itap@purdue.edu

Creating Mobile-Ready Videos

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By in Content Development, Mobile, Uncategorized on .

As bandwidth and computer technologies improve for the general consumer, it is becoming more and more apparent that online options for support, training, and course work will continue to increase in demand.  In the past, online course materials have, out of the necessity of bandwidth limitations, been offered in general print-ready formats as well as lower-resolution audio/video formats such as SWF and FLV.  While broadband internet is still not a risk-free assumption, its multiple home (cable, DSL) and portable (wifi, 3g, 4g) channels have helped it increase in availability and use.   This increased amount of broadband has changed the way many students access course resources.

The introduction of powerful mobile devices, however, has started to change student expectations for provided video.  As more and more people buy smartphones and tablets that are also media and web devices, they will expect to be able to access course on their mobile devices.  This presents an issue, however, in that many mobile devices live within their own operating system and ecosystem and cannot be as easily modified as computers running full versions of standard operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS.  iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) cannot play Flash or SWF movies natively (such as those created by Presenter), and Apple has proactively blocked user-submitted applications to add this functionality.  Android devices can play a minimal version of Flash, but can still have issues loading it on the fly.  Considering that tablets are the growth area in the tech industry with 20 million sold in 2010 (7.3 million were iPads in Q4 alone) and a projection of 180 million tablets to be sold in 2014, it would seem prudent to keep these devices in mind when choosing file formats for newly created materials, especially for technology-savvy students who will want mobile options for accessing course materials.

The good news is that mobile-ready videos can be created right now with tools already available.  Narrated presentations, for example, can be created in PowerPoint 2010 using its built-in narration tool.  The entire presentation, including audio, can then be saved as a movie file (.wmv).  This resulting video can be uploaded to a conversion/hosting tool (DoubleTake, Echo 360, YouTube, etc) and then shared with students through Blackboard or any other preferred means of communication in a mobile-ready format.  (Note: Unfortunately PowerPoint 2011 for Mac will not currently export audio when saved as a movie, so this option is not yet viable for Mac users)

As mobile devices become more popular and more powerful, it seems reasonable to assume that students will increasingly expect to be able to access course materials on them.  Proactively working now to create materials that are mobile-ready will not only increase the current accessibility of materials, but may also reduce the need to recreate non-accessible materials in the future.

Adding Captions/Subtitles to Your Video and Audio in PowerPoint

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By in Accessibility, Tools on .

Tips for Using the Subtitling Text Add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

Microsoft recently made STAMP (Subtitling Text Add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2010) available as a free public beta. STAMP makes it possible to add closed captions to video and audio files in your PowerPoint 2010 presentations. You can create captions yourself within PowerPoint, or import existing caption files that are in TTML format. Download STAMP from Microsoft

I couldn’t find any practical guidance online for using STAMP. So, I’m sharing what I learned during my explorations.

Creating new captions

  • Details of adding captions are found in the Microsoft Office article on STAMP.
  • I found the Caption Editor tool straightforward to use.
  • STAMP gives an error if the time stamp is identical for the end of one caption and the beginning of the next.
  • To see your captions play with the video or audio, you must be in Slide Show view. They will not play in standard slide view.

Changing caption placement or font

  • Daniel Hubbell from Microsoft told conference attendees recently that the captions are text boxes, so can be acted on like text boxes.
  • Once captions were created, I discovered that I could use the mouse to draw a selection window around all of the layered caption text boxes in the standard slide view. With all the text boxes selected, I could act on them together as a unit. For example, I was able to move the captions down so they didn’t overlap the video. I also successfully changed the font on all the captions in the same way.

STAMP isn’t a magic bullet for providing captions/subtitles for all your online videos. However, I find it an easy-to-use solution for captioning video or audio that’s part of your PowerPoint presentation.

I’m sure you will learn more as you work with STAMP. Feel free to share what you learn back on this site so others can benefit from your experience.