Exporting Collaborate Archives as Video Files

If you’ve tried exporting an archive file from Bb Collaborate recently, you may have noticed it takes an exceedingly long time for the file to finish converting. Unreasonably long, one might say. When you click the CONVERT link on Knowledge, you’re actually ordering a process that takes place at Blackboard, alongside every other CONVERT link clicked by every other faculty person at every other institution that uses Blackboard Collaborate. There are quite a few of those. As a result, these conversions take quite a lot of time. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut.

You can use Collaborate Publish (confusingly branded as Elluminate Publish when you get it installed on your desktop) to do the conversion work on your own machine. It’s still pretty time consuming (it may take you longer to publish the file than it took you to record it), but you’ll still probably be done quicker than if you waited for Blackboard to do the work for you.

Here’s how you do it:

First, you need to download and install Collaborate / Elluminate Publish. Go to the Publish web page. If you’re on Windows 8, we recommend installing the 32 bit version (the one that says “Download for Windows XP/Vista/7 (32-bit)”). You may have problems with the 64 bit version finding Java.

The Publish software will probably run as soon as you finish the install. You can leave it open, but set it aside for now. First you need to save that JNLP file you usually just RUN when launching a Collaborate session. Go to your course on Knowledge, find the archive file you want to convert, and launch the session. When you’re prompted whether you’d like to download or save PLAY.JNLP, choose SAVE instead of RUN. If your computer doesn’t ask you where you want to save, it’ll go to your downloads folder. Otherwise, pick someplace obvious (like the desktop). You’ll need it in a minute.

Downloading that PLAY.JNLP file won’t take a minute. Now bring back up the Publish software. If you closed it, hit your Windows button and start typing “elluminate publish”. It will likely show up before you finish typing.

The top line of the Publish window is RECORDING. Click the BROWSE button to the right of that line and locate your PLAY.JNLP file. If you didn’t pick a spot for it to be saved, look in DOWNLOADS.

The default options are probably fine for your publication. We recommend using the OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE size — it’ll be a better experience for a broader range of users. Feel free to re-publish at desktop resolution if you have the time (or if you decide the smaller version just doesn’t have the level of detail you need).

Click CONVERT. It will ask you where you want to save the file. Select a location that makes sense, hit CONVERT, and be patient. Eventually, you’ll have a video and an audio file you can load up to Blackboard for your students to download and view at their leisure.

Remember, while Collaborate is convenient, it’s not the best tool for pre-recording content for your students. The Instructional Design Studio recommends using Camtasia Studio to create pre-recorded content. It’s easy to use, IDS even has laptops you can check out with the software installed, and a designer would be glad to publish your recordings and put them on your course site for you.