First posted: Dec 1, 2000
Last update: Dec 31, 2000
|Note that the procedures described in this
document work for any MS Office 2000 document that is "saved as a web page"
-- using the auto conversion to html format MS Office offers. They work
for (complex) Powerpoint presentations, but they apply equally to simple
MS Word documents with just an image/chart or two.
However, in addition to the two options described below, BB/CI may be able to handle simpler documents (just a few images) directly. Simply specify the main (text) document as "file to be linked" and BB/CI may prompt explicitly for the associates images files (and these may reside in the same or a different subfolder as the text docuemnt on the local computer). So, for these files you may not need to create a zip file or make any changes to the converted MS Office file (as described below). Unfortunately, the BB/CI manual is not specific on when this direct method will work and when "zipping" is necessary.
However, what was one (ppt) file becomes a whole folder full of files (basically 3 files for each slide). Let's assume the original file was called Demotivational_posters.ppt. Then the automatic conversion creates a file Demotivational_posters.htm in the same folder as Demotivational_posters.ppt and a folder called Demotivational_posters_files. This folder contains all the different files produced during the conversion.
One of the drawbacks of BB is that it does not allow the user to fully control a subfolder structure among the files uploaded to a course page. Rather, all files associated with any single document to be placed on the course page (like a PP presentation) need to be packed into a "zip" file -- using third party software like WinZip (current version is 8.0, individual license $29). Then this zip file gets uploaded (make sure to select the "unpack" option when adding such a document to your BB course page and to select the main file as "entry point").
So, with any MS Office document (be it a PP presentation or a simple MS Word document with just an image or two) that you "save as web page" (auto convert to html) and want to put on a BB course web page, you have two choices:
2. Open WinZip and create a new "archive" (zip file). Where (in which folder) you put this archive does not matter; just remember where you put it, because this will become the file to be uploaded to BB later. Once created, click the ADD button and browse to the subfolder where the main html document is located (here: the subfolder specified in the address field in the screen shot above).
Make sure that the box "Include subfolders" is checked, but that "Save full path info" is not checked. Click on the "Add with wild cards" button. The results should look something like this:
Only a few of 85 files (making up the html version of one PP presentation) are shown in the screen shot above. Note that all but one (the main) file has a "path" listed. Simply close WinZip. In this example, I chose to name the resulting archive file "dem_posters.zip". But, again, name and location of this zip file do not matter.
3. Now we are ready to upload the PP presentation to BB. I will use a screen shot based on BB/CourseInfo 4.0, but things work the same in BB 5.02. I assume that you are familiar with the basic process of adding documents to a BB course page and will focus on the specifics of uploading complex documents (zip files).
Make sure that the zip file you created appears in the field next to
the "Browse" button, and select "Unpackage these file" from the "Special
Action" drop-down menu. Choose the other options as you please, then click
the "Submit" button further down (not shown in the screen shot).
Working with a PP presentation, this zip file may be quite large (the file used for this example is about 1.1Mb). So be patient, the upload may take a while (especially over a telephone modem connection). As BB does not provide any feedback on the status of the upload process and you may see only a message like "host online.cuny.edu contacted" in the status bar of your browser for quite some time you may wonder whether something is wrong with your connection. Again, be patient -- or, better yet, use third party software like DU Meter to keep track of your upload progress.
After the upload is complete, you will be presented with another window labeled "Content Options". Make sure that you click the main html file as the "entry point" (see screen shot below), then click Submit.
And here is how the document will be presented to your students:
1. Simply open Demotivational_posters.htm in any
text editor that has a "replace" function; I like UltraEdit,
but there are many others. Make sure that you treat this file as strictly
a (weird looking) "text" file. Using anything else but a simple text editor
(like MS Word, WordPerfect, or Netscape Composer) is likely to screw things
up as these programs try to be too helpful.
Then, replace the string "Demotivational_posters_files/" by nothing. Of course, you need to modify this according to what the name of your original file is. This changes all the relative links, so that now all associated files are expected to be in the same folder as Demotivational_posters.htm. Note, you have to change one file only, not the zillions of files produced in the conversion. Here are two screen shot showing the first part of the main html file before and after the editing:
2. Now, move Demotivational_posters.htm into the folder Demotivational_posters_files where all the other files are and use a zip program (like WinZip) to package them all together. The resulting zip file should like this:
3. The upload process to BB is exactly the same as before.
Also, the PP conversion in itself (independent
from BB) produces a framed version where less than half of the screen is
given to the actual slides and the sidebar is disproportionate large. One
could fiddle with the source code of Demotivational_posters.htm -- but
given that the code is not simple this may be more than most people are
willing and able to do.
Note that I made a mistake in creating the subfolder (which I had to correct later): I used a hyphen [-] rather than an underline [_] in the "mkdir" [make directory] command in the box at the bottom of the screen shot. As this mistake is easy to make, I decided to document it rather than showing a perfect process. So, type the name right (it must match exactly what you have on your local computer), then click "Go". The next screen shot shows the newly created subfolder on the "remote system" (the server). Double check that exactly the same folder name appears in the two top boxes.
Also, notice that the main file (Demotivational_posters.htm) has been uploaded to the "root" directory for this course. The next screen simply shows that the files have been uploaded to the new subfolder on the server. If your ftp program gives you a choice, make sure to upload all image files (.gif, .jpg) as "binary" rather than as "text" or "ASCII" files.
After the upload is completed, use the "page function" screens within ERes to put the presentation on the course start page using the main document (Demotivational_posters.htm) only. This is like adding any other document to your ERes page.
Take a look at the uploaded PP presentation within the TST111 course page on ERes.
While you can create subfolders and upload files to it, you will not be able to delete or overwrite such files. The built-in ERes routine to modify or delete files works for files in the course "root" directory only. To correct an error like the one I made (renaming the newly created subfolder to match the name used in the source code of the main document) you need "shell access" (a real account) on the maxweber server. For security reasons, only very few people are given shell accounts. Most people will have to ask the ERes manager for help, or simply create another subfolder.