Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Uploading a Published Video Output Folder to D2L

Most of the time I recommend for instructors to produce their videos as a mp4, upload to Kaltura or YouTube, and give the students a URL but sometimes the functionality of the video requires it to be uploaded directly to D2L. In this case, there is usually a whole output folder to upload. Here are instructions on how to do that.

1. Zip the folder that was created by the program when you produced/published
  • On Windows: right click on it and choose "Send to" then Compressed (zipped) folder
  • On Mac: right click and choose "Compress [name of folder]"
2. Go into the appropriate D2L course.
3. Go to Manage Files by going to Content, then Table of Contents, and Related Tools (screenshot below).

4. Click Upload

5. Search for the zipped folder, upload, and Save.
6. Put your cursor in the white area next to the folder title to enable the blue drop down menu.
7. Click the downward facing arrow in the blue area for more functions. Then choose Unzip.

8. Go to the Content Page and under the Module which you would like the video to appear, choose New and Add from Manage Files.
9. This will open up the Manage Files area. Enter the folder you just unzipped (they should be in alphabetical order). The specifics will vary in the next part, but you will probably want to choose the file that includes the word "player" and ends in .html.
10. Click the blue Add button.
11. It will call the item (in this case) "excel error bars_player" so you will likely want to change the name to something more like "Excel Error Bars Video."
12. Make sure it works!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

404: Professor Not Found - Planning Ahead for When You Will Miss Class

Class doesn't have to stop if the professor isn't able to be there. Maybe you have a conference, family event, or want to be prepared for the inevitable snow/polar vortex day that will happen in Wisconsin. Here are some ideas.

Non-technological options: 

You could have the students...
  • Work on a group project or big assignment & submit an update or draft
  • Meet with a writing center tutor & submit a summary about the meeting
  • Field experiences related to the class & submit a write-up
  • Have them prepare something for the next class meeting such as a jigsaw activity in which they teach each other course concepts  
    • Make sure to include accountability so they do it. 

But this blog is about technology! 

  • Often the same objectives from your face-to-face class can be met online via D2L
  • You could also prepare an online "floating" module important to the class that can be done anytime
    • You could use it for an unexpected absence as well, or just have an online week
    • CETL/LTS Instructional Designers (April & Avonlea) can provide individual help and training         

Ideas for content the students can absorb:      

  • They can read: Textbook, articles, websites, etc. 
  • They can watch videos online: YouTube, Google Videos, we can stream DVDs, etc. 
  • They can watch a video you made: Audio in PPT, Screencastomatic, YouTube Record Webcam 
  • They can do a combination of these things (very common)

Ideas for activities students can do online: 

  • Reading or video guides: answer questions while reading or watching to ensure they get main points. Submit to dropbox for grading or just check off. 
  • Quizzes: can create a pool of questions and randomize so students get different questions or allow them to take multiple times for mastery (don’t provide answers at first)
  • Discussions - SO many options of how to do discussions! 
    • Tips: "Must post first" option in D2L discussion & grading (sorting by name, associating a grade item)


  • Make sure to include grading criteria
  • If you will not have time to grade, maybe use something automated like a quiz
  • Students' technology skills are often overestimated
  • Disability accessibility 

Avoid (usually): 

  • Filler activities such as having a guest speaker on a tangentially related topic 
  • Assigning busy work  
  • Meeting online via web conferencing at the same time you would have had class  
    • Technology problems are common & lack of visual cues and delay make it much less natural than f2f