Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How to download many files at once from Blackboard

If you are using the Firefox browser, there is a solution which will allow you or your students to download all the files in a Blackboard folder at once (without requiring access to the Blackboard Control Panel)

Instructors often post many files in folders in their Blackboard courses. For students, the usual way of downloading these files is by clicking the links one at a time. To speed up this process, there is a plug-in for the Firefox browser called "DownThemAll!" that will go through all the links on a page, let you check the ones you want, and download all of them at once.

This plugin works well with Blackboard.

Using your Firefox browser, get the plug-in here:

-> https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/201


Here is a picture of "DownThemAll!" in use:





Note: For the Blackboard site, we recommend setting DownThemAll to download each file sequentially. Do to so, in Firefox, go to Tools > DownThemAll > Preferences and set "Max contemporary downloads" to 1. (Thanks to Colin for this tip)

For more instructions on how to use "DownThemAll!" see the developer's website here:

http://www.downthemall.net/howto/features

4 comments:

Colin said...

Hey -

This exact solution occurred to me and I've been trying to use it, but to no avail; Downthemall displays an error 500 for the majority of files I've tried to download, even though they're available if one downloads each one manually. Any idea why this happens? Is there any other way to access those files? I have a course with a ton of reading material online, and it's a reall pain to go through it all by hand...

Northeastern University ATS said...

Colin,

Thanks for your comment. As it turns out, you discovered that if you change DownThemAll's settings to limit it to _one_ download at a time, that eliminates the errors and makes it work.

Do to so, in Firefox, go to Tools > DownThemAll > Preferences and set "Max contemporary downloads" to 1.

Thanks for your comment and for your solution!

Javier said...

Is there any option for people using IE? If not, have you guys considered putting a link at the top of the page to download all files in the corresponding directory? For example, if there are 5 files in my course material page i could click on the course material directory and then up top click on a link to download all 5?

Thanks.

Northeastern University ATS said...

Javier,

We appreciate your suggestions. We have looked into it and have not yet found a tool equivalent to "DownThemAll" for the Internet Explorer browser.

We have made your recommendation to Blackboard to modify their application to support the automatic download of several files at once; unfortunately their development process can be rather long and there is no guarantee that they will incorporate our suggestion into their product in the short term.

Perhaps you could get Firefox (http://www.getfirefox.com) and only use it for those occasions when you want to download all the links on a page at once. You could of course continue to use Internet Explorer for your usual browser if desired.

Thanks again for your suggestion and for using Blackboard at Northeastern University.