Posts Tagged ‘blackboard’

Run mmsys.cpl if you get no audible output in a Blackboard IM call on your PC

  1. Problem: Blackboard IM (4.5.3), in its call window , gives you audio output volume meters image, but no actual audio output.
  2. Reason: Blackboard IM seems to have its on in-built idea which device to output audio to, even if you have no actual speakers plugged in to hear, and it is rather difficult to dissuade.
  3. Solution:
    1. Start / Run /”mmsys.cpl”, “OK”: Do the volume meters in there indicate that Blackboard IM outputs to another but your expected speaker (even if the other device is not the default)?
    2. imageimage
    3. Right-click on the other speaker device and Disable it.
    4. Also make sure to restart Blackboard IM. The built-in startup / dial tones will tell you immediately whether audio output works now

How to test Voice boards (Blackboard Collaborate, formerly Wimba voice) for Vista Higher Learning (Supersite3) Textbooks

2014/02/04 1 comment
  1. First I create a voice board,
    1. image
    2. image
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    4. and add an audio contribution so that students can respond:
    5. image
    6. Fail:
    7. image
    8. image
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    10. More fail
    11. image
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    13. The help offered is of no use: “If the Applet displayed the message “Audio Unavailable”, click here. “  This is neither the error message, nor does the help address Java (but rather audio hardware config) issues
    14. But if you refresh (F5 suffices) the window with the Setup Wizard, it starts working?
    15. image
    16. Even the audio recorder:
    17. image
    18. And the voice board (after F5):
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  2. What Java version is this under ?
    1. imagereally? have I restarted after uninstall of 7.54?
    2. The running process here is now Java 6.
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    4. Still need to test on Java 7.45.
  3. Now a user needs to test from the student view

How to test Blackboard IM (formerly Wimba Pronto) for Vista Higher Learning Textbooks

  1. After logging in on,
  2. the Software is linked on your “My courses”  page: image
  3. Download and install: image
  4. After install: image
  5. Mine was already enabled, but the help says: imageLog in (Note: my account info was different form my image
  6. image
  7. image
  8. Check out the Tools menu
    1. Audio settings should be especially interesting, but there ix no built-on test:
    2. image
    3. Need a partner for testing ..

eRepository: How to manage multimedia learning materials? Maybe with ShareStream

Target language audio and video materials – as well as other textual, multimedia and/or interactive materials – are crucial assets (and should become “reusable learning objects”) in learning centers – how best to manage them?

I have worked for a number of HE institutions, up to the very recent past, that charge their students between $30.000 and $40.000 per year, while their learning materials handling in the learning center consisted of what DVDs and VCR tapes fit into a shoe carton, for a lab assistant to frantically browse through when faced with a learner or teacher request for materials. Not to mention teachers spending inordinate amounts of time scanning stacks of make-believe VCR and DVD “libraries” in the learning center.

I have blogged here before about various solutions that attempt to remedy this: from home-baked stop-gap measures to the introduction of eRepository offerings for digital asset management.

Learning materials management: Links (1998-2004)
Learning materials management: Textbook exercises (2000-2008)
Learning materials management: Online_resources.xls I: Intranet (2003-2009)
Learning materials management: Online_resources.xls II: E-repository (2006-7)
Learning materials management: Offline resources (2005-2006)
Language Lab Techniques for Producing Audio Learning Materials
How to distribute learning materials using the Blackboard Content System
How to distribute learning materials using the Blackboard Content System
Managing learning materials: How to use an inventory spreadsheet

If you are familiar with these issues, you will understand that I am eagerly looking for better help with managing multimedia learning materials. ShareStream claims to provide a turnkey solution addressing these needs. Its architecture – according to the Tulane pilot – consists of a ShareStream server which serves as eRepository and metadata catalogue, a streaming server, and an encoding server (for lecture-capture: YAT (“yet another tag”)). ShareStream also integrates with the Blackboard LMS.

Have a look at the demo of the pilot at Georgetown University which they gave during MAALLT 2010 and which they now also offer workshops on. One interesting thing I figured out during the question period is that they avoid breaking the Digital Millennium Act when digitizing copy-protected DVD materials by capturing to digital only the analog AV output of a DVD – a reminder that a reform of copyright is sorely needed.

Blackboard: Content System: Ancillary digital textbook material reuse (publish to course participants, roll-over between terms)

If you have a well administered language program, your admin should have uploaded all digital (text, audio, textbook and table of contents) materials that come with your textbook for convenient reuse between sections and terms into the Blackboard content system.

As a Blackboard course administrator, you can easily give all course participants access in 1 step (as course administrator, you can also access the audio materials during classes from the Blackboard content system directly).

Here is a video recording of a real-world walkthrough of this process – voice-over is in German, but Blackboard interface is in English:  blackboard-content-system-finding-adding-existing-content-item-to-course-access-play.wmv

Start Time



overview of teaching and learning procedure


course add item / content collection link


how to search for content. Remember: Search is your friend, if you have a consistent metadata system for your content (start with meaningful file names):


hot to add permissions for other users


add to course for for students


listen to an example audio from course

Once you have given course participants access to the audio materials, and you teach the course again next term, it is even easier to roll over the access: Just use the Copy link in the Blackboard Control Panel.

Face-to-face and beyond: Smart-board with digitized textbooks and classroom protocols, using MS_Remote Desktop, MS_Zoomit, wireless keyboard, network shares and the Blackboard: Content System

  1. This post strings together some already supported or freely available technologies for an effortless way to integrate technology into teaching and learning.
  2.  I had lab assistants scan my textbook. I stored the scans on the teacher-only network share.
  3. In the classroom, I connect to my office computer with mstsc.
    1. you may have to change screen resolution in mstsc. You can save your connection settings on the teacher network share.
  4. To save precious class contact time, on my office computer, I have already opened and prepared the class outline and relevant textbook scan pages with the default windows viewer.
  5. Using zoomit, I can mark on the textbook scan pages for my students, and save the resulting pages, later easily (drag and drop all pages at once) store them in the content system or my students to review my notes.
    1. you may want to adjust the font size in zoomit options.
  6. this technique may also help with fading out document cameras which may, among other things, help with finding enough space to put.


How a teacher grades a Blackboard audio recording assignment

  1. Switch to interactive view, if your vertical scrollbar does not show up, and thus the assignment column is hidden (or reduce the font size in Firefox, e.g. by holding CTRL and rolling the mouse scroll wheel): clip_image002
  2. Once you see the assignment column, you can either download all submissions as a zip file, open it with the built-in zip tools in Windows (XP or newer). This is especially practical if you want to then select all recordings and drag and drop them into an audacity window, for doing easy to comparative grading of student submissions, as described earlier.
  3. To grade,
    1. you still need to click next to the green exclamation marks which indicate where there is an assignment to be graded, clip_image002[5]
    2. on the arrow keys which unfold a menu.clip_image002[7]
  4. This gets you to the grade details: clip_image002
  5. You can also listen to the student recording submission by clicking on the file linked behind “users; file”. clip_image002[5]
  6. Fill out your grade comments and grade.
  7. Instead of doing (only) written comments, you could also oral feedback grade the student recording, and re-upload this new recording.
  8. Finish by clicking button:”submit”.
  9. Next in series: How the student reviews a grade Blackboard audio recording assignments: TBA
  10. First in Series: A better way to do student homework audio recordings in the Sanako LAB 300, using Blackboard:Assignment.

How a student submits a Blackboard model imitation audio recording assignments

  1. Access the assignment in the location of your Blackboard course that your instructor pointed you to.
  2. Download the model audio recording attached to the assignment to your desktop (if any).
  3. Right-click on the downloaded file, choose open with (something else but the Sanako Duo which you will use to record).
  4. Play and listen to the model.
  5. Imitate the model, recording yourself using the previous instruction, using pause/play as needed.
  6. Upload the recording into the Blackboard assignment by clicking “browse to local file” [i.e. where you saved your recording].
  7. Click “submit”. If you get an error “Not a valid file’, try using another web browser to open the assignment and submit the file.
  8. Next steps: see How the teacher grades a Blackboard audio recording assignments
  9. First in series: A better way to do student homework audio recordings in the Sanako LAB 300, using Blackboard:Assignment