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Using Word with Blackboard

Note: some of this is opinion rather than fact. If some of you have different experiences, please let us know.

Many of you compose your content with Microsoft Word and then upload the files into Blackboard. This works well if:

  1. All your users have Word on their computer. For Word to work, it needs to be installed on a computer.
  2. Your user has sufficient RAM to have Word and a browser (IE or Netscape) both open.
  3. Your user has a fast enough connection to get the file to open (Word files can be 5 times the size of an HTML file).

So even if you save in .rtf (Rich Text Format) your students could have a problem. Some labs on our campuses don't have Microsoft Word. I understand there might be a free reader from Microsoft...but I'm unable to find it on their web site.

So what should you do if you want formatting?

  1. If you work in Word, save as HTML. This way, the document you upload will display correctly (not perfectly rendered...but most formatting will be retained.) Save first as a Word document (.doc)...and then save as HTML. The HTML which Word produces is very messy (unless you are using Mac Office 98). But it is a pretty good solution. To alter the document, open up the .doc and then save it again as .html.
  2. A slightly better solution is to download from the Star Office Suite. It is free, and does a much better job at producing HTML.
  3. A much better solution is to work in a good WYSIWYG HTML editor (like Dreamweaver or GoLive) or even FrontPage (which has problems of its own but is free for SLCC computers).

Dreamweaver is very close to Word...and in a couple of weeks you should be able to use it with equal facility to using Word (not pushing the program...but just doing normal formating, tables, etc.)

Hope this helps clarify the Word/Blackboard issue.

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Last Revised 10 January 2001