A Blackboard 9 – YouTube Mashup Problem

As of this writing (January 28, 2011) the YouTube Mashup tool in Blackboard version 9.1 (at least our implementation of it) is broken.  If you attempt to add a YouTube Mashup to a content area–or if your or your students attempt to add it through the visual textbox editor, you will receive the following error.

It does not matter whether you attempt to find the YouTube video using search terms, or search directly on the video URL, you will receive this error.  End of story.

It is pure speculation on our part–though perhaps not unfounded–but we believe the cause must be that YouTube has made certain changes to their API and Blackboard has not yet addressed those changes.  At least, as I say, in the implementation we are running.  These are matters for developers, not normal mortals.  We simply live with the consequences.  Any videos you have embedded using the Mashup tool prior to this change will still work, but until it is fixed by Blackboard, you will not be able to use the Mashup tool to add new YouTube video content.

There is, however a workaround, but with a caveat.

YouTube has also changed the default embed code they use,switching from the old flash object code to code that uses an iframe.  You will find it documented at the YouTube API blog.

Do not use this iframe embed code to embed YouTube videos in a Blackboard content area.  It will break the page in unpredictable ways,from, at the very least, making menus inaccessible, to, at worst–at least the worst we have seen so far–making content areas uncontrollable and breaking access to items within content areas.  Whatever you think of iframes, they do not play nice in Blackboard, at least not for now, so do not use them.

The workaround that does seem to work is to use the object code, which is still available from YouTube, but you need to look closely to know how to get it.

When you click the Embed button at YouTube, beneath the code the checkbox for suppressing the related videos, etc. appears, and a new item has been added to it that says “Use old embed code.”

Select it, and deselect the “Include related videos” box.  Set the player size option you want, and then copy the object embed code.  This code you will be able to successfully embed in Blackboard as you always could.

Here is a screen video that explains in detail the problem and temporary workaround.

3 thoughts on “A Blackboard 9 – YouTube Mashup Problem

  1. I wanted to thank you for writing this blog entry. My colleagues and I noticed the same issue. We are using Learn 9.1. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed entry explaining the issue and workaround. We are currently using the same workaround as you explained above (using the old embed code from youtube).

  2. Just ran into this problem today before reading this [ost!

    I embedded an iframe code from YouTube, and now the video player displays in such a large size that it covers the chevron drop-down (item options) beside the item title in the menu, so I cannot delete the item. Grrrr!

    Now I”ll know the correct workarounds. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for this. My youtubes for the first two weeks uploaded so beautifully I was stunned. They when I went to do so yesterday, well, sadface. I”ll try the work around next week–for this, they”ll just be given a link!

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