Adding Content

Numerous options exist for storing and deploying course content in Blackboard.  A few Content Areas exist in the Course Menu by default, but faculty members can create additional content areas and provide unique names for their content areas.

Screenshot highlighting the three main content types

After selecting the content area, the content to be added may be selected from the Build Content menu.

1. Create

  • Item: A general piece of content, such as a file, image, text, or link to which a description and other items may be attached.
  • File: An HTML file that can be used in the course. These files can be viewed as a page within the course or as a separate piece of content in a separate browser window.
  • Audio: Link to an audio file stored locally on a faculty member's computer or within the Content Collection.
  • Image: Link to an image file stored locally on a faculty member's computer or within the Content Collection.
  • Video: Link to a video file stored locally on a faculty member's computer or within the Content Collection.
  • Web Link: Link to an outside Web site or resource.
  • Learning Module: A set of content that includes a structured path for progressing through the items.
  • Lesson Plan: A Lesson Plan is special content type that combines information about the lesson itself with the curriculum resources used to teach it.
  • Syllabus: Content item that enables a faculty member to build an electronic Course Syllabus by walking through a series of steps.
  • Course Link: A shortcut to an item, tool, or area in a Blackboard Course.
  • Content Package (SCORM): These are shareable Content Objects gathered together into a compressed, zipped file, which can be unpackaged and played through a content player

2. New Page

  • Content Folder: An organizational element that contains Content Items. Folders allow content to be structured with a hierarchy or categories.   
  • Module Page: A page containing dynamic personalized content modules that help users keep track of tasks, Tests, assignments, and new content added to the course.
  • Blank Page: Add a Blank Page and customize it to fit your Course.

3. Mashups

  • Flickr Photo: A Mashup that includes a link to a site for viewing and sharing photographic images.
  • Slideshare Presentation: A Mashup that includes a link to a site for viewing and sharing slide presentations and documents.
  • YouTube Video: A Mashup that includes a link to a site for viewing and sharing online videos.
  • xpLor Content: A Mashup that allows faculty to share and collaborate on learning objects with colleagues at local institutions or across the globe .

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get started organizing my course content?

Course organization will vary from discipline to discipline. Some basic planning will save you from having to restructure once your course creation is underway. One recommended approach includes the following steps:

  • Establish a rough syllabus
  • Consider where (in the course structure) students would logically look for the various types of class materials
  • Determine how the material will be presented: by units, weeks, individual class periods.
  • Begin building your folder structure in the most logical area--considering your discipline
  • Decide what components should be included in each folder (as topic overview, objectives, reading assignments, group project, online discussion topic, etc.)
  • Collect materials for each unit
    • Reformat material according to how students will use it (HTML for read-only files; Word or RTF for files students will download and complete; etc.)
  • Begin transferring files into the folder structure
  • Decide what types of multimedia will be needed.
    • Transfer files to course
    • Test the files for remote accessibility
  • Build formative and summative assessment opportunities
What happens to my course(s) when the semester ends?

Courses will remain on the campus servers for a minimum of 13 months. After that time, faculty will be notified that courses will be removed from the system. Courses can be copied and reused/redeveloped an infinite number of times.

I use Camtasia and Articulate software to record lectures and produce other course-related materials. How do I upload these files into my Blackboard course?

Uploading Camtasia or Articulate files into Blackboard can be done by following these steps:

Load Package into Blackboard

  1. Log in to Blackboard and navigate to the correct course
  2. In the Control Panel, click the action link to the right of Content Collection
  3. Click Create Folder
  4. Name the new folder and click Submit
  5. Click on Upload and select Upload Package
  6. Browse for your Articulate / Camtasia .zip file and click Submit

Add the Tutorial to a Content Area

  1. In the Course Menu, navigate to the content area where you would like the file to be accessed
  2. Under Build Content, select Item
  3. Type in a name for he tutorial
  4. Next to Attach File, click Browse Content Collection
  5. Navigate to the folder with the tutorial, and click the checkbox next to player.html
Blackboard won't let me add more content to my course because I have reached my quota. What should I do?New

At NIU, every course in Blackboard has a 2 GB quota set by the Division of IT. We recommend working proactively to minimize your course files to avoid exceeding the quota through the following measures:

  • Do not upload video or audio files directly to Blackboard. Instead, upload them to Kaltura or Microsoft OneDrive. If you use Kaltura, you can easily embed the media in your course for students to view and you get access to additional analytics on how students engage with your media. Kaltura will also provide students using mobile devices with streaming media that is optimized for their device and connection speed.
  • Keep file sizes below 50-60 MB whenever possible. Larger files can be difficult for students to access if they do not have consistent and reliable broadband Internet access, or if they use a metered connection like a cellular data plan. You can easily compress images in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to reduce the file size. Adobe Acrobat Pro has features to help you optimize PDF files and reduce their size.
  • If you have recorded audio narration into a PowerPoint file, use the Export option to generate a video file and upload it to Kaltura.

If you have exceeded your quota, you can use the Content Collection to view and identify large files that you can move to other storage and then delete. Be sure to also remove them from the Recycling Bin to recover the space.

You can also request that your course quota be increased in 1 GB increments. You will need to submit the request separately for each course and again each semester.

  1. Go to and log in if prompted
  2. Click the Get Help button
  3. Click the Submit a Form button
  4. Under Academic Technologies Support, click Extend Blackboard Quota
  5. Click the checkbox for Extend Quota by 1GB for this Blackboard Course Name: and enter your course designator (e.g., UNIV 101 section 2)
  6. Click the Submit button

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