If you’ve embedded content in your Bb course shell (e.g., TED-Ed video, content from another Web site, etc.) and it is no longer showing up when you (or your students) use Firefox, it’s because of a new security “feature” in the latest version of Firefox that blocks this content. I had this problem in my Elementary Greek course; here’s the video I made to show students how to get around the problem (NB: Firefox users will have to follow these steps every time s/he browses to the page):
It may be less of a hassle to change to a different browser. At this point, all content displays in Chrome.
Have you noticed as you use Blackboard (and other Web sites) in Safari or Chrome on Mac that the scroll bars don’t always show up in the Grade Center? It makes navigating through the grade book a pain. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not a browser problem. In fact, it’s not a problem at all—it’s a “feature” of Mac OS. Here’s how to tell your Mac to display the scroll bars all the time.
- Open System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the launch bar or by clicking the Apple menu and selecting System Preferences.
- Click into “General.”
- Under “Show Scroll Bars” select “Always.”
- Changes are saved automatically, so you can close System Preferences.
To make a course available, follow these instructions:
- In the course control panel, click Customization to expand the customization menu.
- Click Properties to open the course properties page.
- Scroll to 3. Set Availability (about the middle of the properties page).
- Click the radio button for Yes.
- Click Submit.
If you’ve been in the updated version of Blackboard, you’ve probably noticed that not a lot has changed in terms of the interface. Yet, there are a few new features, and some of things you’ve grown used to have moved around. One simple thing that has moved is the link to log out of the system. Now, instead of clicking a text link at the top center of the Bb page, you click a button in the top right corner of the page.
Our Blackboard system was updated August 18, 2013. There aren’t any major changes to the interface, but there are a few little changes about which you need to be aware. In this post, I want to draw your attention to the updated text editor that you use any time you’re adding content to your Bb course (e.g., folder, item, etc.).
The default view of the editor has collapsed toolbars. The toolbar that shows has all the basic formatting controls, but you may need or want to see more.
Here’s how to display the other toolbars. On the right end of the default toolbar, locate the drop-down menu button (downward pointing chevron). Click that button to display more toolbars.
If you’re new to Mac, you might not know that QuickTime Player can also be used to record media and not merely to play media files. You can use QuickTime to record a new movie, a screen recording, or an audio file. Simply launch QuickTime Player, click the File menu, and choose the option you need (“New Movie Recording,” “New Audio Recording,” or “New Screen Recording”). A movie recording uses your built-in iSight camera and the internal mic to capture video and audio. When you choose this option, the recorder opens, the camera turns, on and you are ready to click the record button and go. Not surprisingly, the video file is saved as a .MOV (QuickTime movie) file in your movies folder.
When you choose “New Audio Recording,” the audio recorder pops up. Simply click the record button and start recording. Your audio recording is saved as a .M4A file in your movies folder. Also, if you’re using an external mic like, say, the Studio Projects Little Square Mic (which is awesome), you will need to select that mic from the options menu (see below).
Finally, choose “New Screen Recording” if you want to record what you’re doing on your screen to a movie file. One note here: for whatever reason, the mic is turned off by default, so if you want to record audio with the screen video, you will need to choose your mic from the options menu (pretty much just like choosing a mic for the audio player [see above image]). Your recording is saved as a .MOV file in your movies folder. Here is a sample screen recording (please note, the audio is pretty low; sorry about that):
In How Learning Works, Ambrose, et. al., suggest that although memorizing discrete facts (e.g., the dates of Alexander the Great’s rule) is a necessary form of learning, the kind of knowledge that results is “sparse and superficial” (p. 46). Deeper, more connected, and more meaningful knowledge—understanding—happens when learners intentionally organize knowledge into meaningful relationships. Consider the process of learning to parse nouns in biblical Greek. In this process, students learn to identify certain morphological features that tell them how to interpret the noun. For example, a student looking at the word θεῷ will, after a little training, recognize the stem of the noun (*θε), the lengthened connecting vowel (ο to ω), and the case ending (ι, which is subscripted under the lengthened vowel [the circumflex accent is a clue that some sort of morph has occurred]). These things signal that the lexeme is θεός (God, god), its gender is Masculine, its case is Dative, and its number is Singular.
A student could get that far with memorization and s/he may even be able to gloss the word to English (“to/for/by/with God”); this will get her/him points on the homework or test. But there’s more to “learning Greek” than this—that is, there is more to learning Greek if one actually wants to benefit from learning it. To really learn Greek, one must, as Ambrose et. al. have demonstrated from their research, make deeper connections. One might be able to recognize Dative case of a noun, but what is the semantics (i.e., meaning, significance) of the Dative case? What does case tell a reader about how the word is functioning in the word group or the clause? What is the semantics of gender? What is the semantics of number? How do these things affect the way the word is to be read and understood? And, then, of course, there is the semantics of θεός: Is this a reference to the Judeo-Christian God or to some other god? In what context is the word used?
From this one can see that although memorization may result in some knowledge, that knowledge will be shallow and of limited usefulness. However, making deeper connections—organizing knowledge into meaningful relationships from “concrete” to “abstract”—results in a much deeper and more useful “knowledge.”
In the spirit of Web 2.0, more and more sites are allowing us to share their content by embedding in other pages. Often, these sites provide the embed code necessary for this; you just highlight the code snippet, copy it, and then paste it into your own context (e.g., embedding a YouTube video into a Blackboard course site). Sometimes, however, the embed code is not provided. No worries. If you know the URL (a.k.a., “web address”) to the content you want to embed in your site, you can use the tool below to generate the embed code (if you don’t see the form below, click here). Please note that, as is indicated, this tool is still in alpha; you may use it “as is.” Although it should work just fine, there’s no guarantee that it will always work. Also, a good rule of thumb when it comes to embedding: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Sometimes simply linking to a resource is the best way to go.