March 4, 2013

Create Mobile Versions of Blackboard Collaborate Archives Using New MP3/MP4 Recording Converter

player picture from Blackboard SAS Recording GuideFor those who conduct live online sessions using Blackboard Collaborate, a new feature is now available that will allow recorded sessions to be easily converted into an MP3/MP4 archive. The converter is part of Blackboard Collaborate tool within any Blackboard course and is called the Recording Converter.

You may have heard of an “MP3 Player,” the digital audio player that first appeared on the market in the early 2000s. A file saved as an MP3 format is an audio file only, where an MP4 format can include both audio and video content. When converting Blackboard Collaborate recorded sessions, MP4 will not only include audio, but also the whiteboard and application sharing.

The Advantages

The advantage is now you can quickly and easily create formats that your students can view using any device that supports playing these formats.  This includes iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad, but viewers can also use Android devices and most other internet enabled devices.  It is recommended iOS users download to their desktop or laptop computers and then use iTunes to copy/sync the files for use on the iPhone or iPad. A hosted streaming service can be used to stream the sessions, synced locally and played back offline.

Session owners simply create the mobile friendly archives through the Recordings page within Blackboard Learn.  An MP3 conversion should only take a few minutes whereas an MP4 conversion will take at least the length of time the original session took and in some cases more than twice as long.  More often than not you will want make an MP4 recording with audio and video.  The system will suggest that you check back later.

When students are accessing the recorded session, which was converted into an MP3 or MP4 format, they will be provided with an option to view the session in that format.  Session owners set up access by choosing an email notification, a course utility, the Recordings area, or a link added to a website.

Limitations

Currently the Recording Converter supports MP3 and MP4 and not .wmv and .mov formats.  The tool does not generate captioning fields or chat transcripts; however, text transcripts can be generated using the Publish Client application.  When the original Collaborate recording file is deleted, the MP3 or MP4 format archive file will be deleted.  However to avoid the loss of the file, the user can make a local copy on their computer.

Learn More

The MP3/MP4 Recording Converter is available at Northern Illinois University! The following tutorial demonstrates how easy it is for faculty to create MP3/MP4 recordings from Blackboard Collaborate archives:

Reminders

  • Plan accordingly as it may take up to 24 hours for the conversion process to finish.
  • Use the Recordings page within the Blackboard Collaborate tool in Blackboard to convert recordings to MP3/MP4 files.
  • Look for quick guides and tutorials on the Teaching with Blackboard Web site.

For more information about conducting live online class sessions using Blackboard Collaborate, visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/communicate/collaborate.shtml

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