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In this course, Patrick Crispen teaches the ins and outs of Blackboard 9 so that educators and trainers can get up to speed in the system quickly—even if they've never used Blackboard before. The course explores customizing a course site, managing users, and adding and organizing content, including multimedia. It also shows how to perform student assessments in the Grade Center, as well as how to communicate with students and encourage participation and collaboration.
Blackboard's text editor appears in many locations within Blackboard, and it's a way for you to add and format text, equations, and multimedia. Now, a few institutions disable this tool, but it should be available in your version of Blackboard. What I am going to do is I am in the Course Documents, I am going to click on Week 1. I want to give my students something to think about prior to class. I am going to click on Build Content and Create Item, and instead of attaching something this time, I am actually going to have them think about some stuff.
So I am going to create some content in Blackboard, and I am going to ask the question in this case, "Question for next week." Let me put some text in here and rather than making look it how solidly I type, I'll just paste some text. So I have got this text here, and I want you to notice that we've got this text editor that looks an awful lot like a word processor, and it turns out it is a word processor. The default text that we see here is 12-point left-justified Arial, but I can, if I want to, change that.
So I can say I want to highlight chapter 2 and make it in a different font, so I can choose Arial Black, and then I can say for cognitive theories, I can go and change that to oh, say Comic Sans. However, friends do not let friends use Comic Sans. Notice that I have got the ability here to go and change some of the formatting here. I can go here and highlight the word 'large'. I can make it bold. I can make it italic. I do not recommend underlining. The reason why is if I were to go and underline, the students are going to see something that's underlined on their web browser, they are going to think it's a hyperlink.
They are going to try to click on it. My recommendation in this case is don't underline anything. I've got the ability to strike through. I can do subscript and superscript. I can change the alignment--left, center, right--pretty much like Microsoft Word. If you've used Word, you've pretty much got this. I've got the ability to change the direction. I can add lists. I can even do indents and outdents. That really is the first row of the text editor. Second row, there is a spell check, there is a cut, there is a copy and a paste.
There is an ability for you to clear formatting. So in this case, I can highlight everything and clear the formatting. It should take me back to the original version that I had. It sort of works, but I will show you an example in just a minute where it doesn't work as well as I hoped it would. I've got the ability to undo and redo. I can actually insert a hyperlink. I will link to some place on the Internet, can do a table, insert a line. I can actually go here and let's go and make chapter 2 bold again. I can change the text color to say red-- click on Apply to make that happen.
I have got the ability, if I want to, to pick a symbol. I can do a highlighting. And if you play around with equations, notice that Blackboard does have WebEQ and MathML, and we will talk about this HTML Toggle HTML Source Code. If you know HTML, this is actually kind of helpful for you to get into the HTML view. There is also a Markup Validation. Last row are the Attach features. We'll I'll talk about that in an upcoming movie, but I want to show you a particular problem, and this isn't actually Blackboard problem.
It's kind of an Internet problem. It's the way the Internet works, and it's a Microsoft Word problem. I have got this paragraph here. This in Microsoft Word. This is from the Results chapter, which is part of the exercise files, but if you don't have it, you can use anything. I am going to copy this. I am going to go back now, and I want you to notice something. If I go here and I try to paste, it may not work. I might not have anything happen. Or it might pop up a message saying, do you give me permission to access your clipboard? In this case, that's what it's doing.
That's not actually a Blackboard issue. It turns out that the cutting and pasting buttons in some web browsers just may not work, and it's not really a Blackboard issue. It's because your browser doesn't have permission to access your computer's clipboard. Your operating system will actually put a wall between your browser and your clipboard. It's a security feature to keep you from getting a virus on your computer. So if you try to click on these buttons and they don't work, that's not a big problem, because it turns out the keyboard shortcuts, and even the mouse shortcuts, still work.
So I could write here, go click and paste it, and it's going to paste it in. So you may notice here that this Microsoft Word pasted text just doesn't actually look very good. It doesn't match, and it turns out what's going on--and if you click on the HTML Source Code, you'd be able to see this-- is that the formatting is out of whack. It's not really a Blackboard issue, it's a Microsoft issue. Microsoft Word will also include a whole bunch of just weird HTML. It's true across multiple browsers.
In fact, Dreamweaver has a Cleanup Word HTML command. There is a way here--and we will try it, it may work, it may not--where I can go and try to Clear Formatting. This case it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Actually, in this case I have still got double space, so it didn't completely clear the formatting. That's why I say that clear formatting doesn't work as well as I hope it would. But remember, when you are cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word, it sometimes presents a problem, and formatting is going to be out of whack, and this is going to be a problem when you start cutting and pasting test questions.
We will talk about that in a minute. My recommendation is, instead of cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word directly into Blackboard, go to your computer's text editor first-- not Blackboard's text editor, but your computer's text editor. If you've got a PC, there is a program on your computer called Notepad. If you've got a Mac, you've got TextEdit. Cut and paste from Microsoft Word into Notepad or text editor and then cut and paste from the text editor into Blackboard.
That will remove all the formatting and make sure it looks absolutely the way you want it to look. So that's the text editor in a nutshell. In our next movie we are going to talk about how to insert a multimedia file into your Blackboard course.
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