Archive for the ‘Graphics and Multimedia’ Category

My, what big files you have! (revisited)

Friday, September 9th, 2011

It’s that time of year when we want to remind you to implement some basic file size optimization methods since CFCC pays for Blackboard disk space and also to enable students to more easily view and/or download items.

Large files can be prohibitive to students who do not have high speed connections. Also, Blackboard is not a streaming server so any audio or video files must first download to the user’s computer before it will play. This can take a considerable amount of time.

Here are a few ways you can keep file size and storage space down:

    • Stream from the source: Do not store audio/video files in Blackboard. Instead, stream them from the source (such as NCLive).
    • Stream from YouTube: If you record short lectures or instructional videos or audio, stream them from YouTube (you have an account attached to your CFCC Gmail). You can make videos public or only accessible to people who have a link.
      You might consider attending a Lecture Recording on a Budget workshop offered later this month. See the DL Training Schedule for more information.
    • Stream from iTunesU: We also have iTunesU available for Podcasting, though this has proven to be a bit cumbersome.
    • Compress Images: The file size of documents is significantly increased when uncompressed images are included. There are ways to compress the images in Microsoft documents and in PDF files. Optimizing Files will take you through file optimization for MS Office and Adobe Acrobat Pro. You will learn how to compress images to significantly reduce the size of your files.
    • Use the Cloud: All CFCC employees have access to Google Apps and Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. This type of storage will not suit all of your needs, but it is a viable option for some types of activities.  Visit the LRC Instructional Technology page for information on how to use these tools to store documents online and to share with others.

If you have any questions about these issues, please feel free to contact me:

Liz Stover

Summer Courses: First week check-up

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

As the first week of classes is quickly approaching, I wanted to send a few reminders:

About the Technology

About the Pedagogy

  • The DL Course Development page offers resources to help you develop quality online courses.
  • Contact Liz Stover if you would like assistance developing your online courses or locating resources to help deliver rich, interactive content.

New Items and Fun Stuff

  • Create a Banner for Your Blackboard Course
    Learn how to easily create a banner for your course using a free web-based image editor, Pixlr.
  • Since CFCC now uses Gmail through the new portal, this also provides you with access to Google docs and YouTube (where you can post lectures and instructional multimedia), in addition to a number of other useful tools for your courses.  Access these through and click the Email link, which takes you the CFCC gmail, documents, etc.

Free eBooks and More

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Open Culture is a great site that identifies free resources available for education.

Among this week’s posts is a notice that Kaplan is offering 130 free eBooks through January 10 (for iPad, iPhone, iPhod, Nook, and Sony eReader). There are many SAT, GRE, GMAT, and other college exam study guides available.

Other things you will find listed at Open Culture include audio books, online courses, language lessons, eBooks, textbooks and movies. One example is To Kill a Mockingbird, shown below.

Visit the Learning Objects and Open Source Content to learn about other educational content you can use for your courses.

My, What Big Files You Have!

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Do you frequently create graphic-rich documents or presentations for your courses? If so, unless you are optimizing them, they are likely very large. While your images, charts, and photos do enhance the learning experience, you don’t want the file size to bog down disk space or become problematic when downloading, especially for students who do not have high speed connections.

There’s good news, though, as there are some simple ways for you to optimize your files, primarily by compressing the images in them. This applies to Office products (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and Adobe PDF files. Note that you must use Adobe Acrobat Professional (not just the free Adobe Reader) to take advantage of file optimization for this application.

Optimizing Files will take you through file optimization for Office 2007, Office 2003, Office for MAC, and Adobe Acrobat Pro.

So, if you’re ready to magically shrink your bloated files, check out Optimizing Files, for those times when size really does matter.

Free Graphics Editors

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Do you need to edit images for your course or are your students required to post graphics for assignments? If you do not have access to a nifty graphics editor like Photoshop, you will be interested to know that there are some free options available, which will provide you with many of the same features:

  • Photofiltre (free for educational or private use – Windows)
    This application includes many of the filters you find in PhotoShop and other software. The interface is intuitive and similar to other photo editing software so you’ll feel right at home for free.
  • LiveQuartz (MAC only)
    This one is for you MAC users. Created for Leopard, this free image editor uses layers and filters. View screencast of LiveQuartz.
  • Gimp Portable (Windows)
    Graphics application with many advanced features, a portable application that you can store on a flashdrive or other portable storage, interface is a bit complicated but the many features are worth it.
  • Photoscape (Windows)
    This graphics editor includes batch editing and a screen capture tool.

Make your course come to Life with NC LIVE

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

As an online or hybrid instructor, you are always looking for interesting and effective course content. NC LIVE is a statewide collaborative that offers you and your students access to more than 50,000 articles, e-books, and streaming videos.

This service is free to use for members of the North Carolina Community College System, University of North Carolina System, or public libraries of North Carolina. If you or your students access the site off campus, simply insert your CFCC username and password to gain access.

As of December 14, NC LIVE has added 379 new eBooks through MyiLibrary, covering subjects such as medicine, history, project management, and language learning. Other eBook resources include NetLibrary, Literary Reference Center, Learning Express Library, ABC-CLIO E-book Collection, and OAIster.

NC LIVE offers a wide range of video subjects, including history, the arts, business, and science. Many of the videos have close captioning available, providing an accessible format for users who are hearing impaired. Also, users can select video quality, depending on their Internet connection, providing access for students with slower connections.

The Learning Resource Center at CFCC has helpful guides to assist you with locating content at NC LIVE. If you get stuck, NC LIVE offers live chat help, so take advantage of this great resource to make your courses come to life.

Do you need audio, images, or other media for your course?

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Distance Learning has added a new blog page with audio, video, and graphics resources that are free for you to use.  Please visit our Free Media page to locate resources in the public domain or otherwise free from copyright restrictions. As always, you should read any disclaimers. Among the items you will find are digitized archives of old films, photographs, and music recordings.