Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Media/Social Tools

4 Strategies for Using Video More Effectively

On the Learn, Lead, Grow blog, Matt Bergman shared 4 Tips for Using Video More Effectively. These tips are easy to integrate!

Do Captions Help Students Learn?

The WCET Frontiers Blog featured Dr. Katie Linder, Oregon State University Ecampus, who discussed a national research project on student use of closed captions and transcriptions. The Oregon State University Ecampus Research unit and 3Play Media worked together to conduct a national study on student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcriptions.

The important results show that while these resources are not yet widely available, many students, even those who may not need these resources as an accommodation, are able to use transcriptions and captions to increase their success.

Creating Video Lectures

Narrated lectures, when properly structured and brief, can be a good tool to deliver course content to your students.

Chunk Your Content

We recommend that you “chunk” your lectures into smaller manageable pieces no longer than 5-7 minutes. Chunking accomplishes three things for you. First, by breaking the lectures into brief topics, the likelihood of being able reuse a lecture in another course increases. Second, it is easier to update or re-record a single short video than a longer video. Third, it is easier for your students to find time to sit and concentrate for less than 10 minutes.

Write a Script

Remember to write a script for your lectures. It will help keep you from using verbal fillers and keep your videos brief, but more importantly, the script gives an alternative content piece to present to students who cannot hear your lecture and for visually impaired students. It is also very easy to create captions for your lecture by using the YouTube caption editor.

Use Images & Visual Explanations

Narrated PowerPoint lectures give you the opportunity to present your materials in a visual way, and can help you reach students who are visual learners. Try to include images that enhance your lecture. Replace text descriptions with visual representations of your topic — flow charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, artwork, maps. Visuals will add value to your lecture and help to keep you from reading every word on your slide — something that students could easily do for themselves.

Creating video lectures using PowerPoint

Voice Training

Aerobics for your voice: Tips for sounding better on-air (NPR Article)

Converting Articulate Lectures to Kaltura Videos

If you have your original PowerPoint and Audio files, you can convert them to videos that can be uploaded to Kaltura.

  1. First, convert the PowerPoint and audio files to an .mp4 video using PowerPoint. If you do not have audio files outside of the PowerPoint/Articulate proprietary format, the audio files can be exported for this process.
  2. After the video file has been uploaded to Kaltura, you may add chapters to the video to mimic the table of contents feature in Articulate.
  3. The final step in any video creation for use at UIS is to be sure a transcript

Adding captions to videos hosted on YouTube

In a previous post, we explained two options supported by the university for hosting video content in your online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. Today, we will explain how to make sure your YouTube videos are fully accessible using YouTube’s built-in closed captioning feature.

To get started, you’ll need to upload a video using a computer, Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Next, select the option below that fits your situation:

Option 1: I already have a transcript.

By far the quickest and easiest way to make sure your videos are accessible is to prepare a script in advance before you record. In addition to assuring that you will not forget to cover any critical material, a script will also ensure that you stay on track and avoid tangents while recording. Once you’ve prepared your script and uploaded your video, follow these steps:

  1. Save your script as a plain text file (.txt). If you are using Microsoft Word, a settings pop-up will appear with file conversion options; be sure to select the option to “Allow character substitution.” You may leave all other settings at their default value. (If you do not select character substitution, YouTube may read common punctuation incorrectly, such as apostrophes or quotation marks.)Plain Text file
  2. When you are signed in to your YouTube account, navigate to your video and click the CC button directly underneath the video player.YouTube video options
  3. Click the blue button, Add new subtitles or CC, and select your language (usually English).
  4. Select the option to Upload a file.
  5. For file type, select transcript.
  6. Click Choose File, and find the plain text file that you created in step 1. Click Upload.
  7. Your transcript should then appear in the text box. You may watch your video once more and double-check your transcript for accuracy, or if you are confident with what you have uploaded, simply click the blue Set timings button.
  8. That’s it! YouTube will automatically scan your video and text, and create accurate, correctly-timed closed captions.

Option 2: I need to create a transcript for an existing recording.

Depending on the length and complexity of your video and the content, creating transcripts can be a time-consuming process. YouTube does have several powerful features to make it a bit easier, though:

  • YouTube auto-captions
    YouTube’s auto-captioning feature is surely not perfect, but it is getting more accurate as time goes on and Google is able to harvest more and more voice data. Auto-captions are created automatically after you upload a video, usually within several hours after uploading. (Sometimes, it may take up to one day before auto-captions will appear. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this process up; all you can do is keep checking after you’ve uploaded a video to see if they are ready.)To check if auto-captions are ready for your video, go to your video’s closed-captioning settings using the directions in step 2 above. Once they have been created, they will appear like this:YouTube auto captionsClick on the captions, usually titled “English (Automatic)“, and then click the blue Edit button.Editing YouTube auto captionsYou can then play the video and jump from caption to caption to edit for accuracy. Once you are finished, simply click the blue Publish edits button.
  • Create a transcript from scratch
    This option is the most time and labor intensive option, but usually produces the best results (if you didn’t use a script).To use YouTube’s built-in transcription feature, simply follow steps 2 and 3 above (go to your video’s closed caption settings, and select the option to “Add new subtitles or CC.”) However, instead of uploading a file, you’ll select the option to Transcribe and auto-sync.On the following page, you may play your video and begin typing what is spoken into the text box. YouTube will pause the video while you are typing automatically, making it easier to type what you hear, as you hear it, without falling too far behind. When you have finished typing what is spoken in your video, click the blue Set timings button. After several minutes, YouTube will have automatically timed the text to the video, creating accurately timed closed captions.Transcribe and auto sync

This is overwhelming. HELP!

We get it – you are busy, and it takes time to make sure your content is accessible. The technology behind accessibility can also feel overwhelming at times. We’re here to help you, though!

Any of the professionals at COLRS are available for one-on-one tutorials or departmental workshops in which we can teach you, face to face, how to use this technology and ensure your content is accessible to all students. To set something up, or if you just need some help along the way as you try this yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Creating accessible videos for online courses

UIS offers instructors two options for posting accessible videos with captioning in online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between both options, and when it’s better to use one over the other.


Kaltura is a premium video service supported by ITS that provides instructors with several advantages:

Kaltura also has several disadvantages:

  • Increasing storage costs for the university as video uploads increase


All faculty, staff, and students at UIS have access to individual YouTube accounts through our Google Apps for Education license. This means that practically anyone affiliated with the university has access to most Google products, including YouTube, with their existing UIS NetID and password.

Many instructors are moving from Kaltura to YouTube to host accessible videos with captioning. Some advantages of YouTube include:

  • Unlimited individual video storage and video retention
  • Better mobile support
  • An increasingly-accurate auto-captioning service that automatically creates captions for any video that you upload, in dozens of different languages
  • A user-friendly integrated transcription feature
  • The ability to upload closed-captions (.srt files) and pre-existing plain-text transcripts
  • An auto-timing feature that easily converts transcriptions to closed-captions

Disadvantages of YouTube include:

  • Privacy concerns: While individuals have full control over whether their videos may appear in public searches, anyone with a link to a video that is not “private” will be able to watch it or embed it on other websites
  • Advertising: Because YouTube is an ad-supported service, students may be subjected to ads that you do not control, unless they pay for a premium YouTube subscription
  • More limited analytics that are restricted to video views

Accessibility for Videos


Regardless of the video platform you choose to use, you should ensure that your content is accessible, and that you have proper copyright permissions if you use anything that you did not produce yourself. Learn how to use YouTube to make closed-captions. Please feel free to contact COLRS anytime to further discuss Kaltura, YouTube, captioning, and accessibility.

New York Public Library Makes 180,000 High-Res Images Available Online

The New York Public Library’s digital collections are vast. In early January 2016, they added more than 180,000 of its public-domain holdings to the digital collection. Visitors will find maps, posters, manuscripts, sheet music, drawings, photographs, letters, ancient texts, all available as high-resolution downloads. “These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.

Documents range from literary manuscripts and sheet music to maps, atlases, and stereoscopic views. The library also notes that the documents include Farm Security Administration photographs, papers from Founding Fathers, WPA-era art by African-American artists, the 16th-century Handscrolls of the Tales of Genji, and illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.

The materials can be viewed and downloaded at the Digital Collections site.

Having trouble imagining what 180,000 images might look like? The NYPL also created a visualization of all the materials, sorted by date, genre, collection or even color.

Other cool projects that the NYPL has created — to fuel inspiration for others to use their open API of the collection:

  • a game based on public-domain mansion floor plans
  • a comparison of 1911 street photos with 2015 Google Street View images
  • a trip planner based on a guide to where black visitors would be welcomed in the 1930s-1960s

A sampling of the newly-available high-res images from the NYPL:

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898. B.W. Kilburn/New York Public Library

"Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma'badah's tribe," from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

“Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma’badah’s tribe,” from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, "Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island," is part of the NYPL's photography collection.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, “Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island,” is part of the NYPL’s photography collection.

The NYPL's digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton --€” and George Washington's recipe for "small beer." (

The NYPL’s digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton –€” and George Washington’s recipe for “small beer.”

(A transcription of Washington’s recipe is available here.) 

The NYPL's digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.

The NYPL’s digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.

Creating Course Content with FREE Adobe Voice and Slate iPad Apps

Explore the new Adobe Slate and Voice iPad apps, which allow you to tell stories. Slate allows you to create scrolling stories from pictures and text. Voice helps you to create videos from text and images with background music and transitions. Beyond being attractive, these stories are mobile-friendly!

The apps are currently FREE to download. Slate is also available for use through a web browser on your desktop, though handout focuses on the iPad app only (they work in the same manner). You will need to create a free Adobe ID in order to use these tools.

Consider this tool for use in presenting course content and for student presentations. Topics included: navigating and building projects with the apps, importing photos, importing text, project privacy, making projects accessible, and including projects in Blackboard courses.

Using Adobe Slate
Using Adobe Voice

How to create a Google Site for your online class, a presentation, an e-portfolio, and more

Because ITS subscribes to Google Apps, we have a plethora of free Google tools at our disposal that we can use to enhance online education and research. The best part is that everyone with a UIS NetID has access to all that Google has to offer, without having to register for a new account! One of these tools is Google Sites.

There are a variety of ways that you can use Google Sites right now in your online classes, or for professional development or research purposes: You can use Google Sites to create an e-portfolio, to showcase your CV, or even as a more accessible alternative to PowerPoint.

To get started, just sign in to Google Apps for Education:

Click Login.

  • Sign in with your regular NetID and password.
  • Next, click the Apps button at the top of your screen, to the left of your email address. Select Sites.

Click the Apps button, and then select Sites.

  • Click Create.

Click Create.


  • You will now be directed to a page where you will be able to choose different details about your site. First, you may choose a template for your site based on its purpose. To view more templates, choose “Browse the gallery for more,” which will give you the option to choose the best template for your site.
    Note: For faculty completing online professional development through COLRS, search for “Online Faculty Development ePortfolio.” Select this as your template.

    Or choose “Blank template” to start a site from scratch.
  • After selecting a template, you will name your site and complete the URL at which your site will be located.
  • There are also two optional menus that can be expanded: Click on “Select a theme” to choose a color scheme for your site, and click on “More options” to enter site categories and a short description of your site. Most people do not change anything here and leave them blank.
  • Once you are done choosing your template, naming your site, and typing a short URL, click Create at the top of the page.


  •  You will now be at the homepage of your site!

What to do next

You are now ready to begin adding content, including additional pages, images, documents, videos, and more!

Google provides quite a bit of documentation on how to manage your site. Please explore the links below for the most up to date information on how to accomplish various tasks within Google Sites:

We are always available to assist you in brainstorming ideas on how you might implement Google Sites in your courses, or to help you set up a Google Site before a big presentation at a conference. We can also provide guidance with the Online Faculty Development ePortfolio template.

If you need additional tech support, contact ITS at 206-6000, or

How to create narrated video lectures in PowerPoint

  • First, open your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Make sure the presentation is saved as a Macro-Enabled PowerPoint Presentation (.pptm)
  • For each slide you wish to narrate:
    1. Go to the slide.

    2. Click ‘Insert’ -> ‘Media’ -> ‘Audio’ -> ’Record Audio’.

    3. To begin recording, click the record button. It has a red circle.

    4. Read the content for that slide. Make sure to speak into your microphone. 
    5. To stop recording, click the stop button. It has a blue square.

    6. Optional: To test that your recording sounds acceptable, click the play button. It has a green triangle.

    7. Click ‘OK’ when finished to complete the recording for the slide.

    8. Repeat these steps for each slide you wish to narrate.
  • Finally, you can export to video when audio recording has been completed.
    1. Click ‘File’ -> ‘Export’ -> ‘Create a Video’.

    2. For the video quality, select ‘Computer & HD Displays’ to ensure the highest quality.

    3. For timings and narrations, select ‘Use Recorded Timings and Narrations’ to ensure your recordings are included in the video.

    4. Optional: If you have slides without narration, you can adjust the default duration of 5 seconds for these slides.

    5. Click ‘Create Video’. You can name your video and select where to save it.

Now that you’ve created your video, follow these instructions to upload the video to Kalutra through Blackboard.

Emerging Technologies for Education

On February 17, the COLRS Staff offered a presentation titled “Emerging Technologies for Education” through the UIS Faculty Development Office. The following is a list of technologies presented along with others that are among the new favorites for online educators.


YouTube Auto-Captioning

Even if you haven’t added captions to your video, YouTube may use speech recognition technology to automatically make captions available.
Since these are automatically generated, the quality of the captions may vary from video to video. As the video owner, you can always edit the captions to improve accuracy, or remove them from your video if you do not want them to be available for your viewers.
If your video does not have automatic captions, it could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
• The language in the video is not yet supported by automatic captions
• The video is too long
• The video has poor sound quality or contains speech that YouTube doesn’t recognize
• There is a long period of silence at the beginning of the video
• There are multiple speakers whose speech overlap

Fangs Screen-Reader Emulator

Fangs renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The ambition is to help developers understand how an assistive device would present a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.



Presentme-Edu is the fastest and easiest way to add video or audio to your document or presentation, so that who ever is viewing gets the whole story – as if you were in the room with them!



Vialogues (which derives from “video dialogues”) is an award-winning discussion platform that proves that videos are both powerful teaching resources and the ultimate conversation starters. Vialogues provides a space for users to hold meaningful and dynamic time-stamped discussions about videos.



The ShowMe iPad app lets you create lessons using a whiteboard. The app is free and there is no limit what you can teach! Our community has created millions of ShowMes, from chemistry to history to football strategy – and more knowledge is being shared everyday.



Swivl was founded in 2010 by Brian Lamb and Vladimir Tetelbaum, with the idea of making video a more useful tool with robotics. They launched the first concept to market through crowdfunding on IndieGoGo, and have been engaging with users and improving solutions ever since.  This culminated with the launch of the second generation Swivl and Swivl Cloud in April 2014.



Leap Motion

The Leap Motion Controller senses how you naturally move your hands and lets you use your computer in a whole new way. Point, wave, reach, grab. Pick something up and move it. Do things you never dreamed possible.




Expand your classroom:  Students can join from home or even from other schools to make the classroom community even bigger.

Embrace the backchannel: The backchannel improves meetings, presentations, Socratic seminars and fishbowls, movies and silent activities, reviews and snow days, and more.

Empower learners:  TodaysMeet gives everyone the floor and lets even the quietest students express themselves.


A simple, easy-to-use, cross-platform tool that helps you organize your life.



BibMe is an automatic citation creator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. BibMe leverages external databases to quickly fill citation information for you. BibMe will then format the citation information and compile a bibliography according to the guidelines of the style manuals.




Flipboard is a social-network aggregation, magazine-format mobile app localized in more than 20 languages. The software collects content from social media and other websites, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company.

Flipboard is produced by Flipboard, Inc., a United-States-based software company founded in 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll and headquartered in Palo Alto, California.



WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging app for smartphones that operates under a subscription business model. The proprietary, cross-platform app enables users of select feature phones to use the Internet to communicate. In addition to text messaging, WhatsApp can be used to send images, video, and audio media messages. WhatsApp has also started rolling out the much awaited voice calling feature.  Locations can also be shared through the use of integrated mapping features.



s a suite of integrated mobile productivity apps. The company’s first product, the task management app, was launched on Android in November 2011 and later for iPhone and Chrome on June 3, 2012.’s namesake to-do list app was released on November 10, 2011 on the Android platform and TechCrunch reported it to have 500,000 downloads in its first 30 days after launch. It was later released on iOS in June 2012 and reached another milestone with 100,000 iPhone downloads in its first day on the platform. includes numerous planning and task management functions:

  • Unlimited, customizable task folders
  • Task sharing and delegation
  • Built-in microphone can be used for voice entry of tasks
  • Auto-suggest feature with predictive text
  • Time- and location-based reminders
  • Cloud sync across all of a user’s devices



Remind (formerly Remind101) is a private mobile messaging platform that enables teachers to send Reminders to students and parents via text and email.The platform has over 10 million users and sends over 65 million messages per month. As of February 2014, 15% of the K-12 teacher population in the U.S used Remind101.


Including Video in an Online Course

Videos can enhance your course by offering examples, explanations of concepts, and can be a visual for your students to refer to when learning new content.

There are several ways to add video to your course:

Hollywood movies or documentaries (copyrighted)

Brookens Library has many films freely available through film collections to which the campus subscribes. If you find a video you would like to include, contact the library for help linking to it in your Blackboard site.

If the film you wish to show is not available in these collections, it may be available in the library’s film collection or available for purchase. The library can work with you to find obtain copyright clearance for the film.

You can also request that your students find a film at a local library or video store. Contact your Brookens Library Liaison for help teaching your students to use the WorldCat database to find films at their local library.

Free videos from the Web

YouTube and are just two of many great sites for free video on the Web. The embed codes provided by sites like these make it easy to add the videos to Blackboard.

To embed a video player from or in your Blackboard course site:

  1. Copy the embed code from the video website.
  2. Go to your Blackboard course.
  3. In the upper right corner of your Blackboard site, make sure Edit Mode is ON.
  4. Click on the content area in which you would like the video to appear (for example, Course Materials or Course Information).
  5. Click on Create Item.
  6. Enter the title of your video next to Name.
  7. In the Text box that appears on the screen, click on the HTML button to view the HTML code.
  8. Paste the embed code you previously copied.
  9. Click Submit.

Create your own video

Check out a digital video camera from ITS or record your screen using Camtasia Relay. Once you have created your video, you need to put up for your students to see it.

Please upload the video to Kaltura Media through Blackboard. Learn more about Kaltura Media here.

Hints about videos in online courses

  • Remember that large files can take a long time to download if a student has dial up internet service. Please be careful not to upload videos directly into your Blackboard course. Always link from an outside source as stated above.
  • Videos should supplement content. Use videos to explain text book content more in depth, create examples of concepts, and extend the learning environment with outside curriculum resources.
  • Other purposes for video in your course might be:
    • Introduce yourself to students
    • Student presentations
    • Specific examples of past projects
    • Feedback on assignments

SoftChalk at UIS

SoftChalk is a tool to help enhance text-based lectures. It allows instructors to “chunk” their content into smaller pages, add images, flashcards, graded or self-test quizzes, and more. Learn more about SoftChalk.

Instructors may access SoftChalk using Citrix Virtual Desktop. View instructions for installing and using the Virtual Desktop app.

Kaltura Media Overview

Kaltura Media is the video management solution at UIS. Faculty and students may upload video from other sources (MS Lync, camcorders or phones) or record web cam and/or screen capture videos through Kaltura Capture Space Lite. A fantastic feature of Kaltura is the statistics for video use. It will tell you the percentage of your video that each student watch, how many times it was access, and the average view time. Across UIS, the average view time for a video is 7 minutes and 35 seconds, which is on the longer side of the recommended 5-7 minute length for video lectures.

For detailed videos on how to use Kaltura, please see the Kaltura Company’s training videos on Kaltura and Capture Space Lite.

UIS Kaltura Resources

Access and Upload Videos to Kaltura Media

Faculty and students access Kaltura Media through Blackboard.

  1. Go to the “My Blackboard” tab and locate the My Media module on the page. Click on “My Media.”
  2. Click on “Add New” and then select “Media Upload.”
  3. Click “Choose a file to upload” and select your file.
  4. Your video will upload automatically. Depending on the size, this may take a while.
  5. After your video uploads, edit the name, description, tags (key words), and privacy settings.
  6. Click “Save”  to complete the upload process.
  7. Follow the steps in this post to add your video a Blackboard course.

Adding Kaltura Media Videos to Blackboard Courses

Kaltura Media is a media management tool built into Blackboard. Recordings made with Capture Space Lite are automatically published to Kaltura. You may also upload videos you’ve created with other tools to Kaltura. Learn More about Kaltura and Capture Space Lite.


The thumbnail option adds a preview image to the content area of your Blackboard. When students click on the video, it opens to full size.

  1. Navigate to your course and the content area to which you would like to add the video.
  2. Click on “Tools,” and select “Kaltura Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click the search icon. Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click “Select” next to the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Enter a descriptive title for the video.
  6. Click “Submit.”


  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “My Media” box on the left side of the page and click on “My Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Share” button that appears below the video. (See image below.)

  6. Press CTRL + C to copy the embed code to your computer’s clipboard.
  7. Next, go to your course content area (Weekly Materials, Assignments, Syllabus, etc).
  8. Click on “Build Content,”  and then “Item.”
  9. Enter a descriptive name for the item.
  10. In the text box, be sure your menu is expanded (see image below).
  11. Click on the “HTML” button on the text box menu. This will open a pop-up window. Paste (CTRL + V or Command + V) the code you copied to the clipboard in #6 and click “Update.”
  12. Click Submit.


  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “My Media” box on the left side of the page and click on “My Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Actions” button that appears below the video. (See image below.)
  6. Click “Edit.”
  7. Click the “Share” icon in the lower, right-hand corner of the video. (See image below.)
  8. Click the the URL (it should begin…), and press Press CTRL + C to copy the URL to your computer’s clipboard.
  9. Next, go to your course content area (Weekly Materials, Assignments, Syllabus, etc).
  10. Click on “Build Content,”  and then “Web Link.”
  11. Enter a descriptive Name for the item.
  12. Paste (CTRL + V or Command + V) the code you copied to the clipboard in #8 in the “URL” area.
  13. Under “Web Link Option,” select “yes” to open the video in a new window. If you do not open the video in a new window, students will not be able to view the video.
  14. Click “Submit.”

Add to Course Gallery

The course gallery option allows you to add a link to your course menu that takes students to all videos for your course.

Add a Course Gallery Link to your course menu

  1. Go to your course.
  2. Click on the “+” above your course menu.
  3. Choose “Tool Link”
  4. Enter a name for the link (Media Gallery or Course Videos, perhaps).
  5. Select “Media Gallery” for the Type.
  6. Check the box to make the area available to users.
  7. Click “Submit.”

Add a video to your course gallery

  1. Log in to Blackboard.
  2. On the “My Blackboard” tab, locate the “My Media” box on the left side of the page and click on “My Media.”
  3. Enter your search terms (name of the video or any descriptive tags you added to your video) and click “Go.” Also, know that the most recently published videos appear at the top of the list.
  4. Click on the video you wish to add to your course.
  5. Click on the “Actions” button that appears below the video. (See image below.)
  6. Click “Publish.”
  7. Select “Published,” and then select the individual courses to which you would like to publish the video to the media gallery.
  8. Click “Save.”

Mobile Learning

SlideShare Presentation: Online and on the move 






Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions

Carefully Organize Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure to create an outline for your session.
  • What topics do you want to cover?
  • What materials will you need to share?
  • What questions will you ask?

Connecting to Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure you are using a high speed Internet connection. Audio and video sharing requires a stable, higher-bandwidth connection that some wireless networks aren’t capable of supplying.
  • Join the live session before the scheduled start time.
  • Conduct an audio check.

Synchronous Session Best Practices

  • Offer Students Options – Consider making the synchronous sessions optional or offering several sessions from which your students may choose.  Requiring synchronous sessions reduces the flexibility that appeals to, and is often necessary for the schedules of, many online students. They will appreciate your extra efforts in schedule accommodations.
  • Inform Your Students – Send an email or post information in Blackboard for your students explaining the technology and how they will use it.
  • Schedule a Trial Run – Test your web conferencing tool first, if possible, with someone who can log in from a different location as a “test audience.”  Then you can run through your materials early, checking that everything loads properly.
  • Use the Moderator Override Functions – Learn how to use moderator override functions, such as turning students’ mics down.
  • Mention Student Names – Use students’ names as frequently as possible. It grabs their attention and makes the online environment feel more personal.
  • Use Emoticons – Learn to use emoticons to substitute for facial expressions, and learn to interpret your students’ virtual facial expressions.
  • Get Comfortable with Instant Messaging – Learn to monitor the instant messaging feature while you, a guest speaker, or other students are using microphones. This ensures participants without microphones can fully participate.
  • Record Sessions – Recording your sessions allows students who could not attend to listen to the recorded session presentation.
  • Solicit Feedback – Ask for feedback from your students to help you improve content and delivery for your next course by using the polling feature

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous learning employs a software that provides a way for a groups to meet online, at the same time, and verbally communicate with each other. It allows for real-time learning and collaboration. Not only can participants communicate with each other, but they can also push content to the rest of the audience, such as a presentation or a web page. Additionally, class meetings should be recorded for students unable to attend the meeting or for future use.


  • Group Discussions
  • Debates
  • Instructor Lectures
  • Faculty and Student Presentations
  • Virtual Advising
  • Guest Speakers

Synchronous Learning Tools @ UIS

Microsoft Lync

Google+ Hangouts through the UIS Google Apps for Education