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How Course Content is Displayed


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Blackboard Content Icons


Course materials can be organized in many different ways within Blackboard. Therefore, you may find that each course you have available on Blackboard will have a different look and design.

The content icons will help you identify what type of tasks you may need to complete, below is a chart of the commonly used icons and what they represent.

Commonly Used Icons for Course Materials:

 Folder icon The Folder icon is often used by Instructors to organize information. A folder may contain other folders, and may also contain online lectures, videos, website links, documents for downloading, quizzes/tests and more.
 Test icon The Item icon indicates content that you will need to read such as lecture notes. Sometimes Items are links to content or contain links to attached documents that you can open to view, download to save, or print.
 bb_stu_FileLink_icon The File icon indicates content that you may need to read such as lecture notes. A File link contains an attached document that you open to view, download to save, or print.
 Test icon The Test icon indicates an assessment such as a quiz/test. If you click on the assessment link you will get a message asking if you are ready to actually take the test. If you are ready, select Begin but if you are not ready, select Cancel.
Assignment icon The Assignment icon indicates that you will use the Assignment tool to view and submit activities for your course. Instructors may provide a document that they want you to download (save), complete and then submit the completed assignment.
 Turnitin icon The Turnitin Assignment icon indicates an assignment that you will submit through Turnitin. Turnitin is the leading academic plagiarism detector, utilized by teachers and students to avoid plagiarism and ensure academic integrity.
 Course Link icon The Course Links icon indicates a link to course materials that are located in another section of your Blackboard course such as the course syllabus.
Web Link icon The URL or External Link icon indicates a link to a website outside of Blackboard. These external links often direct you to important resources provided by your instructor.
Bb Collaborate Voice Presentation The Voice Presentation icon indicates a link to an audio and text presentation. These presentations can provide you with audio explanations of visual course materials.
 Discussion Board Link icon The Discussion Board Link icon indicates a link to the the discussion forum page or to a specific discussion board forum.
 Blog icon The Blog Link icon indicates a link to the the blog page or to a specific blog.
 Journal icon The Journal Link icon indicates a link to the the journals page or to a specific journal.
Wiki icon The Wikis Link icon indicates a link to the the wikis page or to a specific wiki.

Tip! Using the right mouse button will allow you to do many things quickly. For example, on a folder or item link you can use the right mouse button to select “open in new window” which allows you to get a bigger view on your screen. You can also use this trick to save/download a file to your own computer to use offline.


Example: Text on a Blackboard Page


The majority of content in Blackboard is displayed as text that you can read right from the screen (see image below). However, Blackboard has the capability to display many electronic file formats. The most common file you will find instructors using, and expecting students to use, is Microsoft Word. That is because Microsoft Word is the official software installed on all instructor and student computers at Hudson Valley Community College. If you send your instructor a file in Word Perfect or Microsoft Works formats, then your instructor will not be able to open it, unless it has been saved in a different format such as Rich Text Format

As discussed previously, instructors have many ways to organize their course materials. For example, some content may be within Folders while other content takes you out of Blackboard to another website. You could also find that the reading materials are available as a printable documents or is set up as a PowerPoint and/or Audio Presentations.

What’s important is to read through any information that is provided by your instructor and to select the various links to view any additional materials that may be provided.

Example of Content Displayed on a Bb page


Example: Content Displayed on Blackboard Page with Attachments


Besides text, you will also have content available as “files.” The Internet allows you to display content in many different file formats. In order to open many of these files, you must have the application associated with them. Therefore, you can’t read a Word file unless you have Microsoft Office Word installed on your computer. You can’t read a PDF file unless you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download “free” readers for most common file formats.

Image of Bb page displaying text with attachments

The most common file types and extensions used are:

Microsoft Word: requires Microsoft Office Word (open, edit, and print file) or Word viewer (open, print, and cannot edit file). The File Name ends with .doc or .docx extensions.

RTF (Rich Text Format): is universal and can be opened by any word processing program or computer system, BUT formatting such as underline and italics may be lost; it’s just a basic text file and the File Name ends with .rtf

PowerPoint (PPT): requires Microsoft Office PowerPoint (open, print and edit file) or PowerPoint viewer (open, print and cannot edit file), and the File Name ends with .ppt or .pptx extensions.

PDF (Portable Document Format): requires Adobe Acrobat (open and edit or create file) or Adobe Acrobat Reader (open and cannot edit or create file), and the File Name ends with .pdf extension.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): PICTURE files, require an Image program to open, which most computers have, and the File Name ends with either .jpg or .gif extensions. They can also be displayed on a web page and you do not need an image program to view them.

If you cannot open a particular file attachment, then you may need to download a plug-in viewer for that file type.


Links to Web Pages Outside of Blackboard


Some web links will be set to open in a new window/tab so you don’t lose your Blackboard browser tab and spot within the course.

While other web links may be set to open within a Blackboard frame, meaning the link is not set to open in a new window/tab. With these links a warning message appears indicating that you are about to leave the Blackboard environment because the link is taking you outside of Blackboard. To avoid losing your place in Blackboard, select the browser Back arrow button (this is the one time using the Back button is allowed). Or, use the bread crumb trail to return to the section of the course you were working in.

Tip! Right mouse click on the web link and select either Open in New Tab or Open in New Window. Now the web page to the plug-ins page opens without a scary message and you kept your spot in Blackboard.


Applications for Multimedia


Some courses have videos that can be watched online. Most computers have video viewers such as, Windows Media Player or QuickTime installed on them. But, you may also need Adobe Flash and/or Shockwave players to participate with interactive resources your instructor has made available to you.

Hudson Valley also uses Real Media to display videos. Since, the Real Media application is not as common as some others you may have to download the RealPlayer Viewer to view videos.

These viewers and players are free downloads.

Adobe Reader icon Adobe Reader software is the global standard for electronic document sharing. It is the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all PDF documents.You may need this in order to view documents your instructor has posted or to view audio presentations within a course.
Adobe Flash icon Adobe® Flash® Player is a cross-platform browser-based application runtime that delivers uncompromised viewing of expressive applications, content, and videos across screens and browsers.You may need this to interact with publisher resources, to view flash cards, videos, etc. provided in a course.
Adobe Shockwave Over 450 million Internet-enabled desktops have installed Adobe Shockwave Player. These people now have access to some of the best the Web has to offer – including dazzling 3D games and entertainment, interactive product demonstrations, and online learning applications.Like Flash, you may need this to interact with publisher resources, to view flash cards, videos, etc. provided in a course.
RealPlayer icon RealPlayer is a universal media player that automatically recognizes the file format of the video or audio file you want to play.You may need this to play/watch streaming videos provided in a course.
Flip4Mac icon With Windows Media Components for QuickTime by Flip4Mac, you can play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a web browser.You may need this to play/watch Windows Media audio or video provided in a course if you are a MAC user.
Quicktime icon QuickTime is an extensible multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity.You may need this to play/watch audio or video provided in a course.
Java Runtime icon Java allows you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D, just to name a few. It’s also integral to the intranet applications and other e-business solutions that are the foundation of corporate computing.

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