Frequently Asked Questions

Browse this list of frequently asked questions about applications available to USM faculty, or click the button to go to a specific topic.

Blackboard

Essentials

Why can’t I make changes to my course in Blackboard?

If editing options aren’t appearing when you’re in your Blackboard course, it’s likely that Edit Mode has been turned off.

Before you can make changes to your course, Edit Mode will need to be turned on.

  1. Click the Edit Mode button at the top-right corner of any page in your course. Options for adding content will now appear.
  2. Click the Edit Mode button again when you’re done making changes. This will allow you to see a less cluttered interface and focus on other tasks like grading, participating in discussions, etc.
Screenshot of the location of the Edit Mode button in Blackboard
Step 1: Locating the Edit Mode button in Blackboard
Why can’t students see my Blackboard course?

If students are reporting that they can’t see your course in Blackboard, you likely need to change its availability setting.

By default, your Blackboard course starts as “unavailable” to students. There will also be no students in the enrollment list. This allows you time to set up your course before they can access it. MaineStreet will add students to your course automatically the day after it has been made available.

Try to make your course available at least one week before the start of the semester to allow enough time for the system to add your students to your course and to accommodate anxious/ambitious students who like to check in early.

View Video
Blackboard’s YouTube video, How to Make your Course Available to Students, covers these steps.
Once you’re ready to open your course for students, you’ll need to manually change its availability setting before they can access it. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the course you want to make available.
  2. Click the Customization link in the “Course Management” section of the left-hand menu to display its options. (If you don’t see the Customization link, click the Control Panel link to make sure all of its menu options are visible.)
  3. Click the Properties link. A page with your course’s properties options will be displayed; scroll down to find the “Set Availability” section.
  4. Select Yes for the option next to “Make Course Available.”
  5. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right corner of the page. Your course is now available, and students will be automatically enrolled in it from MaineStreet within 24 hours.
NOTE
If students officially drop your course in MaineStreet, they’ll be automatically dropped from your Blackboard course as well. Students who have dropped your course will still appear in its Grade Center, and any work they submitted will be saved in Blackboard, but they’ll no longer have access to the course site.
Screenshot showing where a link to a course's properties is located in Blackboard
Steps 2 & 3: Navigating to your course’s properties options in Blackboard
Screenshot showing the location of a course's availability settings on its properties page
Step 4: Changing a course’s availability settings on its properties page
Can I copy content from one course to another?

Yes! Everything you’ve set up in one Blackboard course can be copied into another one. This can save you a lot of time, particularly if you teach the same course frequently.

Generally, it’s easier to copy an entire course and delete any content that you don’t want after the copy is complete than it is to copy parts of a course. (See the note below for more information.)

  1. Go to the older course, i.e., the one that has material you want to copy into a new course.
  2. Click the Packages and Utilities link in the Course Management section of the left-hand menu to display its options. (If you don’t see the Packages and Utilities link, click the Control Panel link to make sure all of its menu options are visible.)
  3. Click the Course Copy link. The Copy Course page will open.
  4. Click the Browse button next to the “Destination Course ID” textbox to select the course you’ll be copying content into. A pop-up window that displays a list of your courses will open.
  5. Click the course to select it.
  6. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right side of the window. The pop-up window will close, and the code for the course into which you’re copying content will now appear in the “Destination Course ID” textbox.
  7. Select checkboxes for the specific types of content that you want to copy. We recommend that you click the Select All button, then deselect checkboxes for content that might be outdated, like announcements. (See the note below if you’re copying discussions, assignments, and/or test and surveys.)
  8. Select the Copy links and copies of content (include entire course home folder) option in the File Attachments section. This will ensure that you retain copies of the course’s files long term; if you only link to them, they’ll be deleted after two years.
  9. Click the Submit button on the bottom-right side of the page. You’ll see a confirmation message that your course copy has started.

The copy process might take several minutes; you’ll receive an email once it’s fully complete. New content that you’ve copied will be listed at the bottom of your course’s menu.

Screenshot showing the location of the Course Copy link in the Packages and Utilities menu's options
Steps 2 & 3: Locating the Course Copy link under the Packages and Utilities menu
Screenshot showing the locations of the Browse and Select All buttons on the Copy Course page
Step 4: Browsing for the course you want to copy content into; and Step 7: The Select All button, our recommended option for selecting content to copy
Screenshot showing the location of the correct option in the File Attachments section
Step 8: Selecting the “Copy links and copies of the content (include entire course home folder)” option in the File Attachments section
NOTE
Copying certain types of content can be tricky. Here are some considerations:

  • Discussions: To remove threads and replies and include only the original forum when you copy discussions from one course to another, select the Include only the forums, with no starter posts option. Otherwise, students in your new course will see posts made by students in your old one.
  • Assignments: Be sure to select both Grade Center Columns & Settings and the Content Area an assignment is in. Otherwise, it won’t copy properly.
  • Tests or Surveys: Be sure to select 3 items: Grade Center Columns & Settings, Tests, Surveys, and Pools, and the Content Area the test or survey is in. Otherwise, it won’t copy properly.
How do I create an announcement?

Announcements are an ideal tool for communicating time-sensitive material to students, such as reminders about upcoming due dates or changes to your syllabus. They appear in the Announcements section of your course menu and can be optionally emailed to all of your students.

View Video
Blackboard’s YouTube video, How to Create Announcements in your Course, covers these steps.
  1. Click Announcements in the course menu (if it isn’t already set to be the first page that opens in your course).
  2. Click the Create Announcement button. A page with settings for your new announcement will open.
  3. Type a title for your announcement in the Subject textbox.
  4. Type the body of your announcement in the Message textbox.
  5. Select whether the announcement is date restricted, i.e., it’s only viewable after and/or until a specific date. If it is, click Date Restricted, then enter dates in the textboxes that appear.
  6. Select the Send a copy of this announcement immediately next to the Email Announcement option if you want students to receive a copy of your announcement via email.
  7. Click the Browse button if you want to create a link to an area in your course.
  8. Click the Submit button on the bottom-right corner of the page.
NOTE
If your course does not have an Announcements link in its course menu, please see Blackboard’s How to Add a Tool Link to your Course video for a step-by-step demonstration on adding one.
Can I see what my Blackboard course will look like for students?

Yes! A button on the top-ride side of any page in your Blackboard course site will turn on Student Preview mode.

Blackboard’s Student Preview mode lets you see your course exactly as it appears to your students.

  1. Go to the course you want to preview as a student.
  2. Click the Student Preview icon on the top-right corner of the page. (It’s a circle with two arrows around it.) Student Preview mode will turn on, and you can view your course exactly as a student sees it.
  3. Click the Exit Preview button on the top-right corner of the page when you’re ready to close Student Preview mode.
How do I change the page that students see first in my course?

By default, Blackboard shows the home page as the first page students see when they enter your course, but you can change this by setting a new Entry Point for your course.

View Video
Blackboard’s How to Design your Course Entry Point video on YouTube covers these steps and more.
  1. Go to the Customization section in your course menu. If it isn’t visible,
    1. Click the Control Panel link to expand its menu (if it isn’t already visible), then
    2. Click the Customization link to view its menu.
  2. Click the Teaching Style link. A page with your course’s style settings options will be displayed.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Select Course Entry Point section.
  4. Click the Entry Point dropdown menu, then select a new entry point for your course, i.e., Announcements or another page.
  5. Click the blue Submit button in the lower-right of the page.
How do I add new tools to the Course Menu?

You can add links to various Blackboard Tools to the Course Menu such as Zoom or My Grades. Follow the steps below or watch Blackboards own, “How to Add a Tool Link to your Course” video to learn how.

Add a Tool Link to your course menu

In this example, we will add a link to the My Grades to tool so students can check their progress in your course.

  1. Hover over the + icon at the top-left side of your course menu until its dropdown menu opens, then click the Tool Link option.
  2. Enter a name for the link, such as “My Grades”.
  3. Click the “Type” dropdown menu, then select My Grades. It’s the very last option on a very long list.
  4. Check the “Available to Users” box.
  5. Click the Submit button. The link to My Grades will now appear as the last link in your course menu.
Screenshot showing the option for adding a tool link to a Blackboard course menu
Step 1: Locating the option for adding a tool link to your course menu
Adding My Grades Tool Link
Adding My Grades Tool Link

Adding Materials

How do I add a file on my computer to my Blackboard course?

“Content areas” and “content folders” are effectively the same thing in Blackboard. The main difference is that content areas appear as links in your course menu and are created in the course menu’s options, but content folders do not appear in the course menu are created within a content area. Yes, it’s silly. Blame Blackboard.

  1. Navigate to the content area or content folder in which you want to add your file.
  2. Hover over the (a) Build Content menu button so that its dropdown menu opens, then select (b) Item.
  3. Enter a name for the file you’re adding in the “Name” textbox, e.g., “Course Schedule.”
  4. Enter information about the file in the “Text” textbox. If your file doesn’t have more than a page of text, copy and paste it into this textbox. Although this might seem redundant since you’re also attaching the file itself, it allows students to simply read your file’s text directly in Blackboard without having to download the file.
  5. Click the Browse My Computer button in the “Attachments” section.
  6. Select the file on your computer.
  7. Click the Submit button.
NOTE
Avoid using the File option in the “Build Content” menu. It doesn’t allow you to enter a description, and your file will not be viewable on some students’ computers. The method presented here allows your file to be compatible and accessible for everyone.
Illustration of Step 2.
Step 2a & b: Options for creating a new “Item” within a content area
How do I add an embed code to my Blackboard course?

Some websites and applications, like VoiceThread or YouTube, will provide you with an embed code, which will allow you to embed a video or other media within a textbox in Blackboard, including ones for content items, announcements, discussion threads, and assignment descriptions, among other parts of your course site.

To paste your embed code in a textbox in Blackboard,

  1. Go to where you want to embed your presentation in Blackboard, i.e., a new announcement, content item, discussion thread, etc.
  2. Click the HTML button on the bottom-right side of the “Message” textbox’s toolbar. The “HTML code view” window will open.
  3. Paste your presentation’s embed code in this window (i.e., click CTRL + V on a PC or Command + V on a Mac).
  4. Click the Update button at the bottom-right side of the window. The window will close, and a blank box, which is a placeholder for your presentation, will appear in the “Message” textbox. Once you submit your thread, your presentation will appear in place of the blank box.
Screenshot showing the location of the HTML button in a Blackboard textbox's editing menu
Step 2: Opening the HTML window in a textbox in Blackboard
Screenshot demonstrating how to paste an embed code into Blackboard
Steps 3 & 4: Pasting your presentation’s embed code in Blackboard
How do I move content around in Blackboard?

When people put things in the wrong folder in Blackboard (also known as a “content area”), they often delete it and recreate it in the right folder. However, Blackboard has a Move tool that makes this task much easier.

To use Blackboard’s Move tool,

  1. Be sure Edit Mode is On.
  2. Find the item in Blackboard you want to move.
  3. Click the drop-down arrow next to the item’s name, then select Move from its menu options. The Move page will open.
  4. Choose the Destination Course from its dropdown menu. Which course do you want to move this item to?
  5. Click the Browse button to select where in the destination course you want it to go.
  6. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right corner of the page.
That’s it! The item was moved to the new location you selected.
NOTE
Use this technique to move ONE item. If you want to copy a whole course, follow instructions on the Blackboard Help site.

Course Menu

Can I change my Blackboard course menu?

Yes! The course menu, which appears on the left side of every page in your Blackboard course site, is initially a default one, but you have many options for changing it.

“Content area” is Blackboard’s term for a link in your course’s left-hand menu under which you can organize all sorts of course content, including files, text, links, etc. They are also sometimes referred to as “content folders.”

To add a content area to your course,

  1. Click the + icon on the top-left side of your Blackboard course site. A dropdown menu will open.
  2. Select the Content Area option. The “Add Content Area” pop-up window will open.
  3. Enter a name for your new content area.
  4. Select the “Available to Users” checkbox if you want students to be able to see the content area right away; if you’d rather set up the content area before it’s visible to students, leave this box unchecked.
  5. Click the Submit button.

You’re all set! A link to your new content area will show up as the last item in your course menu. If you want to reorder it, follow the directions below.

Want to see this as a video? Check out University College’s version on YouTube.

How do I add a web link to my Blackboard course menu?

You can add a link to an external website or Google Suite file (like a Google Doc or Sheet) to your course menu, but be sure to follow steps 7 and 8 so that the link opens in a new window. Otherwise, some web browsers may prevent it from opening.

  1. Click the plus sign (+) at the top of your course menu on the left side of the screen. A dropdown menu will open.
  2. Click the Web Link option. The “Add Web Link” pop-up window will open.
  3. Type a name for the link as you’d like it to appear in the menu (e.g., “Syllabus” or “USM Library”).
  4. Type or paste the webpage’s address in the “URL” textbox (e.g., “https://usm.maine.edu”).
  5. Select the Available to Users checkbox (otherwise, the link will not be visible to students).
  6. Click Submit. The pop-up window will close, and the new link will appear as the last item in your course menu.
  7. Hover over your new link until a gray dropdown-arrow icon appears, then click this icon to open its menu.
  8. Click Set Link to Open in a New Window. The menu will close, and your link will now open in a new tab or window in your browser.
Illustration of steps 1 and 2.
Steps 1 & 2: Adding a web link option in the course menu
Illustration of steps 3 through 6.
Steps 3–6: Naming the web link and adding its address
Illustration of step 8.
Step 8: Setting the web link to open in a new window
How do I add a new content area to my Blackboard course menu?

“Content area” is Blackboard’s term for a link in your course’s left-hand menu under which you can organize all sorts of course content, including files, text, links, etc. They are also sometimes referred to as “content folders.”

To add a content area to your course,

  1. Click the + icon on the top-left side of your Blackboard course site. A dropdown menu will open.
  2. Select the Content Area option. The “Add Content Area” pop-up window will open.
  3. Enter a name for your new content area.
  4. Select the “Available to Users” checkbox if you want students to be able to see the content area right away; if you’d rather set up the content area before it’s visible to students, leave this box unchecked.
  5. Click the Submit button.

You’re all set! A link to your new content area will show up as the last item in your course menu. If you want to reorder it, follow the directions below.

Want to see this as a video? Check out University College’s version on YouTube.

How do I reorder links in my course menu?
Blackboard displays most of your course’s content in lists—not only the course menu but also discussions, announcements, content areas, etc. You can re-order these lists in one of two ways:

  1. Up/down arrows: Most lists have an up/down-arrow button at their top. Clicking this button opens a pop-up window with a list of your items and up-arrow and down-arrow buttons. Simply click an item to select it, then move it up or down the list by clicking the arrow buttons.
  2. Drag & drop: List items can often be reorganized by dragging them. Simply hover over the item you want to move until a yellow vertical bar appears to the left of its name and your pointer changes to a directional arrow. You can then drag and drop the item to a new place in the list.
How do I remove links from my course menu?
To delete a link from your course menu,

  1. Hover over the item you want to remove until a gray down dropdown arrow appears to the right of its name.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow, then select the Delete option on its menu. An “Are you Sure?” pop-up window will open.
  3. Click the Delete content link. A warning message will appear.
  4. Click the Delete button. The pop-up window will close, and the item will be removed from your course menu.
Screenshot showing the location of the Delete option for an item in the course menu
Step 2: Locating the Delete option for an item in the course menu

Grades

Where can I find grades in Blackboard?

A Grade Center link appears in the left-hand menu in your Blackboard course under the Course Management heading.

When you click Grade Center in the course menu, a few different options appear:

  • Needs Grading displays all outstanding items, i.e., assignments, discussions, manually graded quizzes, etc. that students have submitted but you haven’t graded yet.
  •  Full Grade Center shows every grade item’s column in your Grade Center and gives you access to all of its settings.
  • Assignments and Tests show only these two types of grade items.
How do I add a new assignment to Grade Center?

In Blackboard’s Grade Center, your gradebook is set up in a table, much like a spreadsheet, and each assignment, quiz, etc. has its own “Grade Column.” How you add a new grade column varies depending for different types of assessments.

Some grade columns are created when you set up an assessment, but others must be created manually.

  • Assignments: Blackboard automatically creates a grade column.
  • Discussions: Blackboard gives you the option to create a grade column in a discussion forum’s settings.
  • Tests and quizzes: Blackboard automatically creates a grade column.
  • All other assessments: You need to manually create a grade column.

To manually create a grade column,

  1. Click Full Grade Center in the course menu.
  2. Click Create Column in the menu above the grades table. The Create Grade Column page will open.
  3. Enter a name in the Column Name textbox.
  4. Enter the number of points the graded activity will be worth in the Points Possible textbox. (See the note below about other grade column options.)
  5. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right corner of the page. Your new grade column will appear as the right-most column in your grades table.
NOTE
Only a name and a points value are required to create a grade column; for an explanation of other grade column settings, visit the Blackboard Help site.
Can I set up weighted grades in Blackboard?

Yes! If you use percentages rather than points for the grading breakdown in your syllabus, you can change the Grades Area settings in your Blackboard course to do the same.

You can create a Weighted Total Column in your course’s grade center, and Blackboard will do all of the math for figuring out your students’ grades.

With a weighted total column, you can select multiple grade columns or categories, then set the value of each of them as a percentage of students’ overall course grade. You can also opt to have Blackboard automatically drop students’ grades for a series of assignments, e.g., you could require 6 quizzes during the semester but drop students’ lowest quiz score.

View Video
UMS’s training center has a series of tutorials on Blackboard’s Grade Center, including creating weighted grade columns. Note that you might be prompted to log in with your UMS credentials to access these tutorials.
To create a weighted grade column,

  1. Go to the Full Grade Center in your course.
  2. Find the Weighted Total column in the grades table, then click the down arrow to the right of its name. A menu will appear.
  3. Click Edit Column Information. The Edit Weighted Column page will open.
  4. Select what type of grade will be displayed for students in the Primary Display dropdown menu. (By default, this option is set to percentage, but you can opt to display a score or letter grade instead.)
  5. Select the grade columns and categories that will be calculated in the weighted column in the Select Columns section. (You may need to scroll down the page to find this section.) To select an item, simply
    1. click on its name, then
    2. click the right-arrow icon next to the Selected Columns box.
  6. Enter a percentage for each item. (See the note below about options for weighting categories.)
  7. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right side of the page when you are done.
NOTE
When you add a category to a weighted column, you can opt to have Blackboard automatically drop students’ highest or lowest scores through the “Drop Grades” option, or you can have Blackboard calculate the weighted grade using only students’ highest or lowest score through the “Use only the” option.
Screenshot showing the location of the Edit Column Information option
Steps 2 & 3: Locating the Edit Column Information option
Screenshot showing how to select columns and categories for the weighted column and specify their percentages
Steps 5 & 6: Selecting columns and categories for the weighted column and specifying their percentages
Can I delete a grade column in Blackboard?

Yes. If you have columns in your course’s Grade Center that you no longer need, it’s simple to delete them.

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of the grade column’s title to display its options menu.
  2. Click Delete Column. A confirmation pop-up window will open.
  3. Click the OK button. The window will close, and the grade column will no longer be in your course’s Grade Center.
NOTE
If you don’t see the Delete Column option in a grade column’s menu, then it’s still associated with an activity in your course (i.e., a quiz, discussion, assignment folder, etc.). You’ll need to delete the activity before you can delete the grade column.
How does Blackboard know whether to count a missing assignment as exempt or zero?

You determine how Blackboard counts missing assignments yourself by choosing the setting for Running Total in the Grade Center.

Exempt (recommended)

By default, Running Total is turned ON in each column in the Grade Center, which means that empty cells are not counted in any calculations. If there is no grade, it doesn’t count against the student, i.e., it is exempt.

However, if you want this grade to count against the student’s overall total because they didn’t submit the assignment, you must enter a zero in its cell in its grade column. It’s important to do this before the end of the semester so students know how these missing assignments impact their overall grade. If you leave grades for missing assignments blank, students’ grades appear artificially inflated.

Zero (not recommended)

You might be asking yourself, “Well, why don’t I just turn off Running Total?” If you turn off Running Total, then every blank cell in the Grade Center counts as a zero. If you set up all of your columns in the Grade Center at the beginning of the semester, that’s a lot of zeros! Students’ grades appear artificially low for most of the term; for example, their scores for the first assignment might bring their grade up from 0% to 2%, which they could find pretty discouraging.

We recommend leaving Running Total on and adding zeros to empty columns as you enter grades. This gives students a realistic picture of their course grade at any point in the semester.


Google

Google Docs

How do I share a Google Doc?
To share a Google Doc, you first need to turn on link sharing for it, then you can paste a link to it in your Blackboard course or an email.

  1. Open the Google Doc you would like to share.
  2. Click the Share button on the top-right side of the screen. A pop-up window that displays a summary of the document’s sharing settings will open.
  3. Click the Advanced link in the lower-right corner of the window. All of the document’s sharing settings will be displayed.
  4. Click the Change… link in the “Who has access” table. Link sharing options will be displayed.
  5.  Select the appropriate link sharing option. We recommend On – Anyone with the link.
  6. Change the Access menu option (optional). By default, it’s set to “Can view,” so you’ll only need to change your document’s access setting if you want to allow others to add comments or make edits to your document.
  7. Click the Save button. You’ll return to the “Sharing settings” options.
  8. Copy the text in the “Link to share” link box to your clipboard:
    • Windows users, hold down the Ctrl key and press the C key.
    • Mac users, hold down the Command key and press the C key.
  9. Paste your Google Doc’s link wherever it’s needed:
    • Windows users, hold down the Ctrl key and press the V key.
    • Mac users, hold down the Command key and press the V key.
NOTE
These instructions will also work with most of the other apps in GSuite, including Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Sites, and Google Drawings.
Screenshot showing the location of the Share button in Google Docs.
Step 2: Locating a Google Doc’s sharing options
Screenshot showing the option that opens a Google Doc's advanced sharing options
Step 3: Opening the advanced sharing settings for a Google Doc
Screenshot showing the link sharing options described in steps 4-6
Steps 5-7: Selecting link sharing options for your Google Doc

Google Meet

How do I access Google Meet?

Google Meet is part of Google Suite, so you can access it by clicking the waffle icon at the top right of the page from your Gmail or Google Drive account, or you can simply go to meet.google.com.

Should I use Google Meet or Zoom?

Zoom has significantly easier-to-meet recommended bandwidth requirements (1.5 Mbps) than Google Meet (3.4 Mbps), so we recommend that you use Zoom rather than Google Meet if you’ll have more than 6 participants in a meeting and/or if some of your participants have slower internet access.

NOTE
Any time you want to test your internet speed, simply perform a Google search for “test my internet speed,” and the first result will be Google’s internet speed test app. Click the blue Run Speed Test button, then wait for the results to display in a pop-up window.

Google Suite

How do I get to Google Suite?

Quick answer:

Whenever you’re logged into a Google Suite application, all of its other applications are accessible through the “waffle” icon that appears on the top-right side of the page.

Full details:

If you use the USM MyCampus portal to log-in and check your Maine.edu email, you’re already using Google Suite (a.k.a. G Suite) without realizing it! Our Maine.edu accounts are also Gmail accounts, which is a part of G Suite.

To access the rest of G Suite’s apps, simply click the Google apps icon at the top of your Gmail page. It looks like a waffle, i.e., a three-by-three grid of grey squares. You’ll see this icon at the top-right side of the page in almost all of G Suite’s apps.

Locating the Google apps icon, which has links to all G Suite applications

Kaltura

How do I access Kaltura?

You can log in to your Kaltura account at video.maine.edu using your maine.edu credentials, or you can access it through Blackboard.

A link to Kaltura automatically appears on Blackboard’s front page in a widget called “My Media.” To find it,

  1. Log in to your Blackboard account. The system’s home page will be displayed.
  2. Scroll down to bottom of the page. You’ll see a widget called My Media on the left side. (If you haven’t modified your Blackboard home page, it’ll appear under the “Blackboard Essentials for Students” widget.)
  3. Click the My Media link in this widget to open Kaltura.
TIP
Drag the My Media widget closer to the top of your Blackboard home page so that it’s easier to find in the future. Just under the Tools widget is a good spot.
Screenshot showing the location of the My Media link on the Blackboard homepage
Step 3: Locating the MyMedia link, which opens your Kaltura account
How do I record video or audio with Kaltura?

Recording audio and video for the first time with Kaltura is a two-step process. (If you’ve already installed CaptureSpace, skip to step two.)

Step 1: Install CaptureSpace

CaptureSpace is Kaltura’s application for recording video or audio. To install CaptureSpace,

  1. Click the My Media link in the My Media widget on your Blackboard front page. The My Media page will open.
  2. Click the Add New button.
  3. Select CaptureSpace from its dropdown menu.

If CaptureSpace has not already been set up on your computer, you’ll automatically be taken to a page to download and install it the first time you try to open it. University College has an introductory video that walks you through this.

Once you’ve installed CaptureSpace, it’ll open automatically whenever you select it in the Add New menu’s options.
NOTE
If you are unable to install CaptureSpace on your computer, contact the Technology Support Center at 1-800-696-4357 or support@maine.edu.
Screenshot showing the location of the link to Kaltura CaptureSpace
Steps 2 & 3: Finding the link to Kaltura CaptureSpace

Step 2: Record with CaptureSpace

This short video from Kaltura walks you through the basics of recording a video using CaptureSpace and uploading it to your My Media account.

If you want to create a podcast (i.e., an audio recording) instead of a video or screencast, the process is nearly the same. Just select the Voice option when CaptureSpace launches (rather than Screen or Webcam).

You can view this video and many others on the Kaltura Learning website. In addition, our friends at UMA University College also have a collection of help and tutorials on using Kaltura.

How do I add a video I recorded with Kaltura CaptureSpace to my course?

Once you’ve uploaded video or audio that you’ve recorded with CaptureSpace, it’ll appear in your My Media account. You can then add it to a Blackboard course in a couple of different ways.

You can share media as a content item, which means it’ll be displayed on its own, or you can embed it within a textbox with other content, like text, images, other videos, etc.

As a Content Item

  1. Go to the content area in your course where you want to add your media. (If you need to create a new content area first, follow instructions for changing your course menu.)
  2. Hover over Build Content in the top menu. Its dropdown menu will open.
  3. Click Kaltura Media; it’s the last link in the “Mashups” section. A list of all of the audio and video files in your My Media account will be displayed.
  4. Click the Select button to the right of the media file that you want to add to your course. The “Create Mashup Item” page will open.
  5. Enter a title for your media file.
  6. Click the Submit button on the bottom-right side of the page. Now your video or podcast should appear as an item in the content area.

Within a Textbox

You can add Kaltura media to any textbox in Blackboard that has a WYSIWYG editor (i.e., it has buttons for formatting options). This includes announcements, content items and folders, discussion threads, and assignment instructions.

  1. Click the Mashups button. Its dropdown menu will open.
  2. Select Kaltura Media. A list of all of the audio and video files in your My Media account will be displayed in a pop-up window.
  3. Click the Select button to the right of the media file you want to add to your course. The My Media window will close, and the media file you selected will appear within the textbox.
Can I share Kaltura media outside of Blackboard?

Yes. Any video or audio that you’ve uploaded to Kaltura can be embedded in a webpage or social media post.

Kaltura provides you with unique HTML code (called an “embed code”) for each of your media files, which allows you to embed it in other parts of the web, like Google Sites, webpages, social media posts, etc.

To find the embed code for one of your media files in Kaltura,

  1. Go to My Media. You can access it through a link on your Blackboard home page (the system homepage, not your course homepage) or at video.maine.edu.
  2. Click the thumbnail of the video you would like to embed. The video’s information page will open.
  3. Click the Share tab. It’s below the video, so you might need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find it. (If your browser window is small, the tabs will instead appear in a dropdown menu under the “Details” button.)
  4. Copy the text that appears in the “Embed” textbox. This is your embed code; it starts and ends with “iframe”.
  5. Paste the embed code into the new site where you want your media to be viewable.
NOTE
Different sites manage embed code in different ways. If your media doesn’t appear in a site after you paste your embed code from Kaltura, check its user guide for help.
How do I add captions to my videos?
  1. Record your video or audio (and follow your script as closely as possible).
  2. Upload your completed video or audio to the My Media tool in Blackboard (or at video.maine.edu). After your file is uploaded, Kaltura will add machine captions to the media (usually within 90 minutes). A “captioning complete” tag will appear on your media when the captioning process is done.
  3. Click the title of the video with captions you want to edit. A page with the video’s options will open.
  4. Click the (a) Actions link below the video to open its dropdown menu, then select the (b) Caption Requests option. A table that displays caption requests for the video will be displayed.
  5. Click the “Refresh List: CLICK HERE to see all caption requests for this media” link near the bottom of the screen if no caption requests are displayed. Information on the machine-generated captions that Kaltura automatically added to your video will be displayed in the table.
  6. Click the blue Edit button that appears in the Status column. The Customer Edit page will open.
  7. Examine the captions on the left-hand side of the page, and copy and paste text from your script into the yellow textbox in the middle of the page to fix incorrectly detected speech.
  8. Finish editing your captions using one of two options:
    • If you need to stop editing captions and come back to finish later, click Save. This will preserve your changes but not make them active when the video is watched.
    • If you’re done editing and are ready to make your revised captions viewable, click the green Save button, then the green Approve button next to it.

Caveats

  • Videos imported into Kaltura using the YouTube import tool do not get machine captions; however, if the video has captions in YouTube, they will be viewable in Kaltura’s player as well.
  • If you try to trim a video that has been captioned, you have to first delete the caption file, then trim the video. Then you’ll need to request new machine captions and fix mistakes in the caption file again.
Screenshot of step 4a and b, locating caption requests in Kaltura
Step 4a & 4b: Locating caption requests in Kaltura
Screenshot of steps 5a and 6, accessing a caption file for editing
Steps 5a & 6: Opening a caption file for Editing

Scalar

How do I access Scalar?

CTEL hosts a version of Scalar exclusively for the use of USM faculty and students. Send a request to CTELhelp@maine.edu if you’d like to request an account or have your students use Scalar for a project.


VoiceThread

How do I create a group in VoiceThread for my class?
You should create a new group for your class in VoiceThread each term if you’re using it to host discussions or student assignments. It ensures that students’ work remains viewable only to students enrolled in the course.

  1. Click your email address in the top-right corner of your VoiceThread home page to open its dropdown menu, then click Groups and Contacts. A pop-up window will open.
  2. Click the +Group button at the top of the window. Textboxes will appear.
  3. Enter a name for your group (required) and a description (optional).
  4. Click the Create Group button. Header image options will be displayed.
  5. Select a header image for your group, or upload one of your own.
  6. Click the OK button. You’ll return to the Groups and Contacts window, and a link for your group will appear.
  7. Click the Copy Link button to the right of the textbox that displays your group’s link.
  8. Go to your course site in Blackboard, and add your VoiceThread group’s link to its menu.
NOTE
Students should register for a VoiceThread account with their Maine.edu email address rather than a personal one. Also, they will likely experience problems if they try to join your class group through an existing VoiceThread account under a non-Maine.edu email address.
How do I make a presentation in VoiceThread?
Creating a narrated presentation in VoiceThread is a 3-step process:

  1. add media (files, images, video, etc.),
  2. record comments and annotations,
  3. share your presentation.

The short video, which was created by VoiceThread, walks you through all 3 of these steps, and you can find more detailed information on creating a presentation in VoiceThread in the Creating section of its support site, including importing copyright-free images and video from external sources like Flickr, Khan Academy, and others.

How do I share my VoiceThread presentation with my students?
You’ll need to consider your presentation’s playback and sharing settings before you share it with students. Then, you can link to or embed your presentation within Blackboard.

1: Check your presentation’s playback settings.

You’ll find all sorts of options in your presentation’s playback settings, including ones for restricting how students can comment on your presentation, limiting the length of audio comments, and more. To locate a presentation’s playback settings,

  1. Click Options on the top-right side of any page when you have a presentation open for editing.
  2. Click Playback Settings on its dropdown menu.
Screenshot showing how to access a presentation's playback settings
Step 1: Adjust your presentation’s playback settings.

2: Publish your presentation.

By default, all VoiceThread presentations are set to “private,” which means it’ll only be visible if you share it with a group or an individual person via email. You’ll need to change your presentation’s publication status if you want someone outside of your class to be able to access it, and even if you select the “Anyone can comment” or “Anyone can view” option, it won’t show up in search results. Someone will need to have the direct link to your presentation to find it.

To find your presentation’s publication setting,

  1. Click the Who Has Access tab in your presentation’s sharing settings.
  2. Click the box with a dropdown arrow under the “Publishing options” heading to display its menu, and select an option other than Private.
  3. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the window.
Screenshot showing the location of publishing options for your presentation
Step 2: Options for publishing your presentation

3: Select the right options when you share your VoiceThread with a group.

You can allow students in a class group to view, comment, and even edit your VoiceThread presentation. To find these settings,

  1. Click the Secure tab in your presentation’s sharing settings. (Group sharing settings are listed under this tab, separate from general sharing settings, which can be found under the Basic tab.)
  2. Select the appropriate group from your list of groups on the left side of the window.
  3. Select or de-select icons in the “Allow them to…” section to set students’ level of access to your presentation. (Both view and comment are selected by default.)
  4. Click the Share button. Your presentation will now be listed in your group’s page.
NOTE
If you’re sharing your VoiceThread presentations only within a group you’ve created for your class, remember that you’ll need to make a copy of your presentation each term, share it with the new class group, and update the links or code within your Blackboard course.
Screenshot showing options for sharing a presentation with a group
Step 3: Options for sharing a presentation with a group

4: Embed or link to your VoiceThread presentation in Blackboard.

Linking is pretty self-explanatory, but you can alternately paste an embed code for your presentation in any textbox with an editor in Blackboard, including a content item, content folder description, discussion forum or assignment folder description, or announcement. Then, students can view your presentation right within Blackboard.

To copy your presentation’s link or embed code,

  1. Click the Basic tab in its sharing settings. A link will display in this window when it opens, and you can copy it if you only want to link to your presentation.
  2. Click the Embed link on the left side of the window if you’d rather embed your presentation.
  3. Click the Copy Embed Code button. You can now paste this code into Blackboard. (See the Quickguide section below if you need instructions for embedding media in Blackboard.)
Screenshot showing the location of a presentation's embed code
Step 4: Copying the embed code for your presentation

Quickguide to Embedding Media in Blackboard

  1. Go to where you want to embed your presentation in Blackboard, i.e., a new announcement, content item, discussion thread, etc.
  2. Click the HTML button on the bottom-right side of the “Message” textbox’s toolbar. The “HTML code view” window will open.
  3. Paste your presentation’s embed code in this window (i.e., click CTRL + V on a PC or Command + V on a Mac).
  4. Click the Update button at the bottom-right side of the window. The window will close, and a blank box, which is a placeholder for your presentation, will appear in the “Message” textbox. Once you submit your thread, your presentation will appear in place of the blank box.
Screenshot showing the location of the HTML button in a Blackboard textbox's editing menu
Step 2: Opening the HTML window in a textbox in Blackboard
Screenshot demonstrating how to paste an embed code into Blackboard
Steps 3 & 4: Pasting your presentation’s embed code in Blackboard
Can I make a copy of a VoiceThread presentation without its comments?

Yes! In fact, we strongly recommend that you do this.

If you’re having students comment on a VoiceThread presentation, you’ll want to make a new version of it each term so that students in your new course won’t see comments added by students in earlier terms. Fortunately, VoiceThread makes it easy for you to make a copy of a presentation without including its comments.

  1. Hover over the presentation you want to make a copy of in your VoiceThread account, then click the copy icon, which looks like a pair of files. The “Copy VoiceThreads” window will open.
  2. Give your presentation a new title. By default, your presentation’s original title preceded by “Copy of” will be listed.
  3. Select an option in the “Which comments would you like to keep?” menu:
    • Select Include only my comments if you recorded narration for your presentation.
    • Select Don’t include any comments if you only responded to comments added by students.
  4. Click the Copy button at the bottom of the window. It will close, and the new copy of your presentation will appear on your main VoiceThread account page.
NOTE
If you copied your VoiceThread from within a group’s page, your new copy won’t appear on that page because copied presentations are not automatically shared with any groups. You’ll need to locate the new copy of the presentation in your main VoiceThread gallery, then share it with the appropriate group.

WordPress

Can I set up a website for my class?

Yes! CTEL manages a network of WordPress sites that are used as course websites or blogs at usmcourses.org. To request a WordPress site for your course on CTEL’s network, email its administrator.

Do you provide WordPress sites for students?

No. Due to resource constraints, CTEL only provides WordPress sites for use by a whole class, not for individual students or faculty members. If you want to have your students create individual WordPress sites as part of an assignment (or you want to create a personal one of your own), we recommend that you sign up with a low-cost service like Reclaim Hosting or WordPress itself.

How do I add students to my WordPress site?

If students will be adding blog posts or authoring pages in your WordPress site, you’ll need to add them as users. Users have to be added one at a time to your WordPress site, but the process is fairly simple.

  1. Go to the dashboard for your WordPress site.
  2. Click the Users link in the left-hand menu. A list of people who currently have access to your site will be displayed.
  3. Click the Add New button. It’s just to the right of the “Users” heading on the top-left side of the page. The “Add New User” page will open; it has two sections: 1) “Add Existing User,” which is on the top half of the page; and 2) “Add New User,” which is on the bottom half of the page. In this case, “new” user means someone who doesn’t already have access to CTEL’s WordPress network, so all of your students will likely be new users rather than existing ones.
  4. Enter a username for the student. It can’t have spaces or use punctuation.
  5. Enter the student’s email address.
  6. Select a level of access on the Role menu. We recommend the Author option if students will only be writing blog posts or the Editor option if they’ll be editing or adding pages.
  7. Leave the “Skip Confirmation Email” box unchecked. Students will need to receive a confirmation email from WordPress since it has a link to the site and login instructions.
  8. Click the Add New User button at the bottom of the page. The user account will now be created for the student.
Screenshot showing how to add a new user account in WordPress
Steps 2 & 3: Adding students as users in WordPress

 

Screenshot showing the fields for a new user account in WordPress
Steps 4-8: Setting up a new user account in WordPress

Zoom

Should I use Google Meet or Zoom?

Zoom has significantly easier-to-meet recommended bandwidth requirements (1.5 Mbps) than Google Meet (3.4 Mbps), so we recommend that you use Zoom rather than Google Meet if you’ll have more than 6 participants in a meeting and/or if some of your participants have slower internet access.

NOTE
Any time you want to test your internet speed, simply perform a Google search for “test my internet speed,” and the first result will be Google’s internet speed test app. Click the blue Run Speed Test button, then wait for the results to display in a pop-up window.
How do I start using Zoom?
You’ll want to sign in to Zoom to create your user account before you join your first meeting.

  1. Go to maine.zoom.us. The landing page for the University of Maine System’s Zoom instance will open. You can return to this page any time to access your Zoom account settings.
  2. Click the Sign In button.
  3. Enter your Maine.edu credentials. (Your user name is your email address without “@maine.edu”.) Once you log in, your Zoom account will be activated, and your account settings will be displayed.
Where can I find Zoom in Blackboard?

You can find a link to Zoom in 3 different places in a Blackboard course:

  • In the Tools menu under the More Tools link in any content area in your course.
  • As an option when you add a tool link to your course menu.
  • Under the Tools link in your course menu. This link is included in the default course menu provided by Blackboard. If you don’t see it, it may have been deleted at some point, but you can add it back. Watch Blackboard’s “How to Add a Tool Link to your Course” video for a step-by-step demonstration on adding one.

To schedule a Zoom meeting or series of meetings with your students, you’ll need to first add a link to Zoom within your Blackboard course, then you can use that link to access your Zoom account and schedule meetings. If you’re going to have multiple Zoom meetings throughout the term, we recommend that you add a link to Zoom in your course menu; however, if you’ll only have one or two Zoom meetings and your course is organized into weekly content areas, you could simply add a link to Zoom in one of them.

Add a Zoom link to your course menu

  1. Hover over the + icon at the top-left side of your course menu until its dropdown menu opens, then click the Tool Link option.
  2. Enter a name for the link.
  3. Click the “Type” dropdown menu, then select Zoom-Meeting. It’s the very last option on a very long list.
  4. Check the “Available to Users” box.
  5. Click the Submit button. The link to Zoom will now appear as the last link in your course menu.
Screenshot showing the option for adding a tool link to a Blackboard course menu
Step 1: Locating the option for adding a tool link to your course menu
Screenshot showing the settings for a tool link in your course menu
Steps 2-5: Creating the tool link in your course menu

Add a Zoom link to a content area

Go to any content area in your course, then follow these steps:

  1. Click Tools in the content area’s menu. Its long dropdown menu will open.
  2. Click More Tools to display even more menu options.
  3. Click Zoom Meeting. A “Create Link: Zoom-Meeting” page will open.
  4. Change the name for your Zoom link in the “Link Name” textbox if you want something more descriptive. By default, it’s simply “Zoom-Meeting.”
  5. Enter a description for your meetings in the “Text” textbox.
  6. Click the Submit button at the bottom-right side of the page. You’ll return to the content area in your Blackboard course, and the link you created will now appear as the last item in it. When you click this link, your Zoom account will open within Blackboard.
Screenshot showing the location of the Zoom link in a Blackboard content area
Steps 1-3: Locating a link to schedule a Zoom meeting in a content area in Blackboard
Screenshot showing the options for a Zoom meeting scheduled in Blackboard
Steps 4-6: Creating a link to a Zoom meeting in Blackboard
How do I schedule a Zoom meeting with my class?
  1. Click the Zoom link that you created in your course. Your Zoom meeting settings will be displayed within Blackboard.
  2. Click the Schedule a New Meeting button.
  3. Enter settings for your meeting, i.e., a title, description, start time, duration.
  4. Click the blue Save button at the bottom of the page. A confirmation page will be displayed that shows your meeting’s settings.
  5. Click the home icon to the left of the “Zoom Meeting” page title to return to your course site.
NOTE
Want to learn how to manage a Zoom meeting? Check out Zoom’s Host Controls in a Meeting page, which has both video and text instructions. Also, Zoom holds live virtual training sessions each week; you can sign up for one at zoom.us/livetraining.
Can I make a Zoom meeting in Google Calendar?
If you link your Zoom and Google accounts, you’ll be able to schedule a Zoom meeting right within your Google Calendar. Linking your accounts is a two-step process: (a) connect your Google account with Zoom, and (b) add an extension or plug-in to your browser.

Connecting your Google Account with Zoom

  1. Click the Meeting Settings link at the top of the left-hand menu from any page after you sign in to Zoom (either at maine.zoom.us or through the MyCampus portal). Your account settings will be displayed.
  2. Scroll down to the “Calendar Integration” section, and click the gray slider button on its right. The Add a Calendar Service link will appear.
  3.  Click the Add a Calendar Service link. A box with three calendar options will open.
  4. Click Google Calendar. A list of all Google accounts that you have will be displayed.
  5. Select your Maine.edu Google account. A page asking you to confirm whether Zoom can have access to your Google account will open.
  6. Click the Allow button at the bottom of the page. You’ll return to the Meeting Settings page in your Zoom account, and your Maine.edu email address will now appear in the “Calendar Integration” section.
Screenshot showing the location of calendar integration settings in your Zoom account
Step 2: Turning on calendar integration in your Zoom account settings
Screenshot showing how to confirm Zoom access to your Google calendar
Step 6: Confirming that Zoom can access your Google Calendar

Adding Zoom to your Browser

  1. Click Meetings in the left-hand menu in your Zoom account.
  2. Click the Download link for the browser you’re using, either Chrome or Firefox, which you’ll find in a tan box at the bottom of the page. A download page for the extension or plug-in will open in a new tab.
  3. Add Zoom to your browser:
    1. For Firefox, click the + Add to Firefox button. A dialog box may open that asks you to confirm whether you want to add Zoom; click Yes if it does. Once Zoom has been added to your browser, a confirmation dialog box will appear.
    2. For Chrome, click the + Add to Chrome button. A dialog box asking you to confirm that you want to add “Zoom Scheduler” will open; click the Add extension button. The dialog box will close, and once Zoom has been added to your browser, a confirm dialog box will appear.
NOTE
Currently, Zoom only provides extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Also, Zoom does not work well with Microsoft’s browsers, Edge and Internet Explorer.
Screenshot showing the location of the download links for Zoom browser extensions
Steps 1 & 2: Locating the download options for Zoom browser extensions
Screenshot showing the page for the Zoom add on for Firefox
Step 3b: Enabling the Zoom add on for Firefox
Screenshot showing the download page for the Zoom extension for Chrome
Step 3b: Adding the Zoom extension for Chrome
How do I add recorded Zoom meetings to Blackboard?
Zoom is synced with Kaltura, the University of Maine system’s video hosting application. Therefore, if you connect your Zoom and Kaltura accounts, any Zoom meetings that you record to the cloud will automatically be added to your Kaltura account, with no need to download video files from Zoom then upload them to Blackboard or elsewhere on the web.

To link your Zoom and Kaltura accounts,

  1. Click the Profile link at the top of the left-hand menu from any page after you sign in to Zoom (either at maine.zoom.us or through the MyCampus portal). Your account settings will be displayed.
  2. Scroll to the very bottom of the page to the “Kaltura User Id” section. It will likely be blank.
  3. Click the Edit button on the right side of this section. A textbox will open next to “Kaltura User Id.”
  4. Enter your UMS user name (your email address without “@maine.edu”) in the textbox.
  5. Click the Save Changes button. The textbox will close, and your UMS user name will now be listed in the “Kaltura User Id” section, which means your accounts are now linked.
NOTE
When you record a Zoom meeting, make sure you select the Record to the Cloud option, otherwise it’ll be saved on your computer rather than in your Kaltura account. Also, meetings recorded in Zoom need time to process before they appear in your Kaltura account. Basically, the longer your recorded meeting, the more time the video will need to process. Once it’s available, you’ll receive an email notification, which means it can be added to your Blackboard course. Check out our Kaltura guide for instructions.
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