Blackboard recently supplied us with fixes, which are now in place on our production Blackboard Lean system, for two problems, one of them very long-standing. There is further information also on the Mac OS X PDF problem using Safari and Firefox.
Upload Multiple Files
The long-standing problem was that bulk upload of files did not work on our system. You could upload files one at a time, but not in a group (unless they were zipped (i.e., “packaged,” in Blackboard-ese). Now you can select a group of files and upload them. Here’s how:
Login, enter your course, and click on the Files field in the Control Panel.
Click on the link to your course files.
If you want the files to be in a separate folder create it and enter the folder. If not, proceed as follows.
Click the Upload drop-down and select Upload Files.
Now either drag and drop files and folders from your system to the resulting dialog box (see below), or click the Browse button and browse your system for files and folders to upload.
WMA and WMV Links
The second problem that was solved yesterday was more obscure. It had to do with WMA (windows media audio) and WMV (windows media video) files not playing when linked directly. They now do play.
PDF Files on the Mac
A problem that has cropped up just this semester has been that users of Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 who use Safari or Firefox have not been able to open PDF documents from within Blackboard. At first we thought it might be related to the upgrade to Blackboard version 9.1 Service Pack 6, but not so. It turns out that is a product of the feud between the two corporate giants Apple and Adobe. Safari and Firefox users on the Mac no longer have a functional plugin that will view PDF documents.
Those browsers try to use a non-existent PDF plugin to display the PDF file. Clicking on the “Missing Plug-in” error message returns no results, because Adobe does not release a PDF plugin for Mac OSX. Google Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer, which correctly displays the embedded PDF file.
Until a permanent solution is delivered from Blackboard, the workaround is to install a third-party PDF plugin.
The Schubert IT PDF plugin (from http://www.schubert-it.com/pluginpdf/), is one recommended by the Blackboard Learn user community, and is free for educational use. Once installed, restart the web browser, and it should be activated.
As indicated, a second alternative is to use the Chrome browser.
More details can be found at: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/908/cpsid_90885.html.