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Why Shouldn't I Cut-and-Paste from Microsoft Word into Blackboard?

The Problem:

Text that is copied/cut and pasted directly from Microsoft Word into Blackboard can create some unexpected results: formatting can go awry, images can disappear, and so on. We strongly recommend that users do not copy/cut and paste directly from Microsoft Word into a Blackboard.

The Recommendation:

To compose text outside of Blackboard, Online Learning recommends using a simple Plain Text Editor, like:

  • TextEdit (Mac)
  • Notepad (Windows)

Both options are free and come pre-installed.

The Details:

Here's a nice summary by Randy Anderson of Maricopa about why this issue exists:

W3C is a world organization that was founded in 1994 at MIT with other worldwide organizations to guide the architecture of the World Wide Web so that it could reach its full potential. A vision in which every person in the world could participate, share & build knowledge and create a world of trust and understanding. They are the ones that set standards and show industry how to manufacture products that will speak to each other from every corner of the world.

They are the ones that create the structure that allows things like: the Internet, iPad's, mobile devices, cell phones, gaming devices (think Play station), computers, networks, security systems, global communications systems and Learning Management Systems to, not only work together, but to work together very well.

Blackboard adheres to W3C standards so that it can work with things like: iPad's, SoftChalk, Respondus, Wimba, YouTube, Publishers Course Cartridges, Building Block, custom Building Blocks, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Learning Objects, etc, etc, etc... The list is endless! If Bb didn't adhere to W3C standards none of this would work! At all!

Then there is Microsoft, who decides to not to adhere to W3C standards and creates its own version of HTML, DHTML, XHTML, XML, etc. Microsoft knew full well that their version/s may or may not work with all the rest of the hardware and software in the world, and yet they moved forward.

[S]hould Bb have followed world standards OR should they have adapted Microsoft's standards and hoped for the best? Folks, it is not a perfect world, and we have to deal with the reality of the things around us. I say this only to make your life easier: please [do] not copy and paste from Microsoft Word.

Randy Anderson, M.Ed.
Programming Analyst Instructional Systems
Maricopa Community Colleges
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