November 19, 2013

Why I Love Embedded Video... and Why I Do NOT Love D2L

I wanted to say something today about the power of embedded video since that is one of my favorite things about video: embedding it exactly where it needs to be! Inside a webpage, a blog post, a course management system - wherever! I really like video services that allow embedding (YouTube), and I am not at all impressed by video services that do not make it possible to embed videos.

I am also very unhappy about something that seems to be happening at the new "secure" version of the Desire2Learn website. Here's the sage of what happened to the video I embedded in my class announcements yesterday. I had embedded two videos, in fact - a short video about the history of the English language from Open University at YouTube, along with a film clip from a Canadian documentary showing on our campus. Here are the two videos:

Yet when I included both those clips in the class announcements, it caused the display of the announcements to break inside Desire2Learn. I use the announcements blog as my landing page in the lower frame of my Desire2Learn course page (and yes, D2L is written in frames... believe it or not). It wasn't just that the offending video clip was not being displayed; the entire frame was completely blank and none of the announcements could be read. This was because, presumably, that Canadian Film Board video clip, embedded with iframe, came from an http source (not https)... so Desire2Learn, in its desire to protect my students from such dangerous stuff, decided to suppress the entire frame. I wouldn't have minded if it suppressed the video... but to remove all the announcements completely was a disaster!

So, I had to remove that embedded video from the announcements, simply in order to appease the D2L security algorithm. As a teacher, that really frustrates me - another example of a machine algorithm trying to rule my life in a completely inappropriate way. I already keep my use of Desire2Learn to an absolute bare minimum... and this is exactly the kind of reason why. Luckily, the class announcements look great at Blogger, and it was very frustrating for me to have to remove the video from the announcements blog in order to appease Desire2Learn.

Details about my D2L woes in the embedded Google+ posts below:


  1. So does this also count for all content areas in D2L/

  2. Hi Stacy, I never put any content in D2L, but I think not... unless someone does in the Content area what I do in the homepage, which is to display an actual webpage in the frame. So, if someone has a link in their content and fails to tell D2L to open that webpage in another tab, then the page will open in the frame, presumably with all the pitfalls I am now experiencing as a result of the upgrade (this is my first semester with the blog as my landing page; after the summer upgrade, my widget-driven homepage approach did not work anymore). The solution is obviously to open everything in a new tab, but of course if someone has a webpage opening inside the content area that they are not the author of, there is no telling what the link behavior is set for.
    The worst I found is in Firefox: if you click on a link in Firefox that goes to an http site (as obviously tons of links do), not only does the link not work (as in Chrome and Safari), but it also totally blanks out the whole frame and you have to reload the page to get back what you had before.


If the comment form misbehaves, you can also find me at Twitter: @OnlineCrsLady. (Sometimes convos are faster and easier there in fact.)