Crossword puzzles can be an effective and entertaining way to help your students build vocabulary and grammar skills, study for tests, and work on their problem solving skills! Do you have a course that is heavily dependent on vocabulary? Or maybe just looking to add some student-content engagement in your content modules? Creating a crossword puzzle with Eclipse Crossword (FREE software!) is an easy way to do it! See below for complete instructions on how to download and install the software, how to create your first crossword, and how to embed that crossword into your Blackboard course.
STEP 1: Download and Install
Eclipse Crossword is a FREE software program that you can download and install directly on your computer. You can to go https://www.eclipsecrossword.com/ and click on the DOWNLOAD button located at the top of the page. (NOTE: If you are wanting to have this software installed on an OC campus computer, you will need to submit a SchoolDude ticket to request IT to come install it for you!)
On the next page, click on the large button in the center of the page that says DOWNLOAD ECLIPSE CROSSWORD.
A file named Install EclipseCrossword.msi will be downloaded to your computer.
Click on this file and select the RUN option.
Follow all the onscreen instructions of the Install Wizard for the program. The installation is very quick and very easy!
Once the program is installed successfully, you’ll be able to find the program in your computer’s program list. For some reason the program does not add a desktop icon when installation is finished – so make sure you look at your programs list to find it.
Windows Users – If you want to add a shortcut to it on your desktop, you can right-click on it from your programs menu and select SEND TO –> DESKTOP (Shortcut)
STEP 2: Create Your Crossword Puzzle!
Once the program is installed on your computer, you’re ready to begin creating your crossword puzzles. Launch the program by selecting it from your programs list or clicking on the program launch icon from your desktop.
On the launch screen, leave the option for “I would like to start a new crossword” selected and click on NEXT in the bottom-right corner.
On the Step 1 screen, leave the option for “Let me create a word list from scratch now” selected and click on NEXT in the bottom-right corner.
On the Step 2 screen, you will enter the words that you want to appear on the crossword in the top box on the right side. And below the word you will add the clue for the word. Once you’ve got both of these in place, click the “Add Word to List” button and you will see the word appear in the box on the left side.
Repeat this step as many times as you need to in order to build the full word list for your crossword. Once you’ve got your full word list built, click on the NEXT button in the bottom-right corner.
You will be prompted to save your crossword. I always recommend saving your crossword creator file just incase you want to go back and edit it and republish it later on. Click on YES to save.
When saving the file, give it a name. The file extension it will save as is .EWL.
On the Step 4 screen, you will have the ability to name your crossword puzzle. The name is important because it lets your learners know what the crossword is going to be about. You can also add your name as the author of the cross word puzzle (but this is optional – you can leave your name off if you don’t want that added). After giving it a title, click NEXT in the bottom-right corner to proceed to the next screen.
On the Step 5 screen, the puzzle maker will attempt to define the default size of the puzzle based on the word list that you provided (the more words you provide, the larger this size is likely to be). I always leave the settings on this page alone since it does all the work for you. Click on the NEXT button in the bottom-right corner to proceed to the next screen.
The resulting screen shows a preview of what your puzzle key looks like and how it has arranged your word list. If it looks satisfactory to you, click on the NEXT button in the bottom-right corner to proceed.
(NOTE: This file is different from the first file that you saved. The first file you saved (.EWL) is the program file used to MAKE the crossword. The file you are being asked to save at this step (.HTML) is the end-user interactive file, the one you’ll be adding to your course.)
Once you’ve saved the file, you should see it in the folder/location that you selected to save it to. Make sure you save it to a location that is easy to find, you’ll need it for the next part of this tutorial!
STEP 3: Embed your Crossword in a Blackboard Course
Once you have created the .HTML crossword file using Eclipse Crossword maker, you are ready to add this file to your Blackboard course! To get started, log into Blackboard and go to the course that you want to add it to. When you are in that course, go to the CONTROL PANEL area and click on CONTENT COLLECTION. In this area you will click the FIRST link that appears under content collection (this link is the direct link to the course files directory of your course).
Once you are in the content collection, bring your mouse-cursor over the UPLOAD option (upper-left corner) and select the option for UPLOAD FILES.
On this screen you will select the BROWSE MY COMPUTER button and locate the .HTML file that you saved of your crossword.
Once you see your HTML file is attached, click SUBMIT in the bottom right corner to add the file to the course content collection file list.
After the file has been submitted, click on the editing chevron beside the file and select EDIT SETTINGS.
On this page, you will want to highlight and COPY the link called PERMANENT URL.
Go to the COURSEWORK area of your course and navigate to the folder/module where you would like to add the crossword file. Use the BUILD CONTENT option and select ITEM from the list.
Give your crossword item a name in the NAME box. In the text description box, click on the INSERT/EDIT EMBEDDED MEDIA icon (third tool bar, 4th icon from the left).
In the new window that appears, click on the TYPE dropdown list and select the option for IFRAME.
In the File/URL area, you are going to PASTE the link to the crossword file that you copied. It should look something similar to this:
Once you’ve done this, change the dimensions of your Iframe (I usually recommend starting out with 600×600, but go larger if you have a larger puzzle). You’ll see a preview of the file you’re embedding in the iframe in the window below. When you are satisfied with the dimensions, click on the INSERT button in the bottom-right corner.
When the file is successfully embedded, you will see a yellow box inside of the text editor area. This just means that there is embedded media is there but does not have a live preview available. Click the SUBMIT button in the bottom-right corner to confirm the creation of the item.
And TA-DA! You have a working crossword embedded into your course content. 🙂
If you have any questions about this cool tool that wasn’t covered in the instructions above, please feel free to let us know and we’d be happy to help!