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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Converting Documents to an LMS Ready Format

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Where possible, convert textual information to HTML files for posting to the LMS (Learning Management System). This will reduce the number of plugins, software packages and hyperlinks that will have to be navigated in order to access learning materials.

When converting materials to HTML is not possible or feasible post a link to the materials, or scan and covert the documents to PDF or Flash files. The following sections provide guidelines for accomplishing this task.

Creating Durable Links to Database Articles

Many major database systems like ProQuest and Ebsco, offer durable links to their article content. If you have ever cut and pasted the URL of an article onto a web page or course page, chances are that 24 hours or later that link no longer worked. These links, usually very lengthy, are dynamic and are created on the fly as the article database posts the document into the browser window. Durable links, on the other hand, last many months or years. Obtaining the durable link for a specific article will vary across database systems, but once had, the durable link can be cut and pasted on a Blackboard resource page. To access the article students simply click on the link and the article will appear in the course page. The example below and/or the reference librarians will explain how to obtain a durable link within a database – and which ones make it possible. A key advantage to this technique is that since most libraries are already paying for copyright clearance through its subscriptions to the databases, simply creating a link back to the article in a licensed database raises no copyright infringement concerns. Do keep in mind that students wanting to access the readings from off-campus will need a valid database access codes to view an article.

ProQuest Example

Once articles have been located in the database, follow the procedure provided for obtaining or creating and posting the durable link.

  1. Mark all of the articles that you would like to save. Then click on the [Export Links] button. Skip to Step 4.

proquest screen

  1. If you have marked articles but not downloaded or copied there URLS into Blackboard – click on the [Marked List] tab. The following screen will be displayed.

proquest screen

  1. Click on the “Download” link. The ProQuest system will display the following page.

ProQuest search results Screen

  1. Next, copy the URL of the article that you would like included in your Blackboard course.

copy url from results screen

  1. Then open a new browser window and navigate to Blackboard.
  2. Select the course that will contain the durable links.
  3. Next, click on the “Control Panel” link. The Course Management window will be displayed.
  1. Select the content area that the durable link will be housed under.
  1. Click on the [External Link] button. An “Add Item” screen will be displayed.
  1. Provide a name for the link in the “Name” field.
  2. Paste the URL copied in Step 5 into the URL field (press the [Ctrl] + [p] keys at the same time when the cursor is in the field).
  3. Enter a description of the article or provide instructions to the students in the “Description” field.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and then press the [Submit] button. The “Content Receipt” page will be displayed.
  5. Review the posting, and then press the [OK] button.

Once the durable link has been added to the course site, when students click on the link to the article, it will appear in the course software interface, as shown here.

This makes it convenient for students to access the articles you want them to read without requiring them to search them on their own or for you to print them out and distribute them.

Guidelines when Creating PDF or Flash Paper files

  • Clear all copyrights
  • Photocopy colored documents as black ‘n white and then scan the copy.
  • Unbind books that do not lay flat for copying and scanning.
  • Insert a dark colored page behind books having thin pages when scanning.
  • Use Document Structure for sectioning document parts in your file.
  • Provide students with links to appropriate viewer plugins.

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2007 by in Instructional Design.

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