Optimize File Size for the Web
Large files require more time to download. This isn't a huge issue when on campus, but off-campus Internet connections for students, faculty, and TAs alike can vary significantly in bandwidth. Low-bandwidth connections can make it very difficult for students to access large files when off-campus. Large files also increase course size and make higher demands on our Blackboard servers (hosted and managed by Blackboard).
How do files get so large?
Video content, audio content, and graphics: A picture is worth a thousand words, but takes up a lot more space than those 1,000 words.
Images, audio, and video content are great tools to use in courses, so to ensure students can access them, please follow these steps when creating your content:
1. Audio and Video files
Have your audio and video converted and streamed from our server. Visit media streaming services and fill out the media request form. This bypasses the need to use Blackboard as repository, and students can stream the content directly from our server. The media will be transferred to our helix or wowza streaming server and the url can be added to your course.
2. Images uploaded directly into Blackboard
Images can be created and manipulated in a variety of software types. When saving your images for upload save them either in .jpg format (for photograph images) or .png format (for diagrams, visio files, etc) to minimize their size.
3. Powerpoint and/or Word files containing images
Powerpoint presentations can be attached to a Blackboard content area in the same way any other file might be attached. If your file is bloated because of images, reduce the size of these files with the following steps:
- Once you have finished creating your presentation, save the file as you normally would.
- Click on any image in the file, This will display PowerPoint Picture Tools at the very top of the window. Click on Format, immediately beneath Picture Tools to open the Picture Toolbar.
- Click on the Compress Pictures icon close to the left-hand side of the Pictures toolbar. This will display the Compress Pictures Dialogue Box.
- Do not check the Apply to selected pictures only .
- Click Options and check the button next to Screen (150ppi), Click OK.
- Click OK once more.
- The images added to your PowerPoint are now compressed and the resolution is set for use of the web. Save this PPT file to your hard drive under a different file name so that you retain your original file and the compressed file. Upload the compressed file to your Blackboard course.
- This same set of steps can be used to compress a Word file with images.
4. Pdfs of scanned documents
Scanned documents can produce very large files, often because of incorrect scanner settings. When scanning documents, make sure the scanner/copier is set up to scan in "black and white" document mode, and not a true color setting.