believe that banking institutions are more
dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. " ~Thomas
On the show:
As far as Academic Technology news goes, we have
discontinued the PCPDF service, and after this
semester, we are discontinuing ftp/web services
to our student projects server Pluto; from
Microsoft, the Security Intelligence Report,
vol. 6, has been issued, the XP life cycle has
been extended again for potential Windows 7
downgrades, and Sharepoint Designer is now free;
Blockbuster may go bust; we tour a Google data
center; we report on the vulnerability of the US
electrical (and other infrastructure) grid; and
feature a book on iWork '09 Training. David's Blackboard Feature is
about the new Blackboard Learn app for the
iPhone and iPod Touch. Haydn discusses 10
Ways to Improve Blended Learning Course Design
in his Teaching with Technology segment. In our
Tech Talk Topic segment we discuss Google Earth
as an essential teaching tool.
Technology News Briefs
News of change in services from Academic Technology:
As of now, we will no longer be providing the
PCPDF document conversion service. The service
converted email attachments from native format to
PDF and emailed them back to sender as an
attachment. The latest Windows patches broke
the service, and we have elected not to pay to
upgrade it since there are several no-cost
alternative available to users.
Click here for a summary of no-cost
After the end of this semester, Academic
Technology will no longer be offering ftp/web
hosting services for student accounts. A few
courses had been using our server named Pluto to
host student web sites. The sites were updated
via a free ftp service. The server hosting
this service has gone out of warranty and we will
not be replacing it with a new server.
Instructors are urged to make other arrangements for
web site hosting, or upload assignments to
Microsoft released its
Security Intelligence Report (SIR) volume 6
recently for the period July-December 2008. An
important finding of the report is that "Spam makes
up close to 100 percent of all e-mail traffic on the
Internet...though most never made it to their
destinations thanks to server-side filtering."
If that's true, then there are an awful lot of junk
emails, I mean, an awful lot, we never see.
Also from Microsoft, file this one under Will XP
Never Die?!? "Microsoft has announced this week that
it will continue to offer downgrade options to both
volume licensing customers and end-users
when Windows 7 ships. Customers who purchase a
system from a qualifying OEM with a version of
Windows 7 that they don't want will be able to fall
back to equivalent versions of Vista or XP."
Here is some good news from Microsoft:
Microsoft Office Sharepoint Designer 2007, the web
authoring tool we use at Palomar, is now FREE.
to register and download.
Blockbuster is on the verge of financial failure.
ars technica: "Blockbuster may be counting down
the days until it's forced to close its retail
stores, the company revealed in a filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission this week. In the
filing, the company revealed that it may not be able
to meet the terms of a recent $250 million loan, and
that there was "substantial doubt" about its ability
to continue as a business in the near future."
Although Blockbuster has announced plans to stream
over internet and to mobile devices, it is far too
little too late. Netflix and Amazon got there
first and have divided the market between them.
Remember the Borg? You may, after you
take this YouTube tour of a Google container
server farm. The ideas are excellent, however,
and ought to be broadly implemented.
And speaking of electricity, you've heard about this
danger for years--in fact I recall seeing a Nova
shortly after 9/11 that discussed this very
scenario--which has now become real. According
Wall Street Journal, "Spies from other countries
have hacked into the United States' electricity
grid, leaving traces of their activity and raising
concerns over the security of the U.S. energy
infrastructure to cyberattacks...U.S. intelligence
agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials
worry about cyber attackers taking control of
electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or
financial networks via the Internet," as well they
might. It's a real danger. The US
decentralized system of privately held utility
suppliers is dangerously vulnerable. Get ready
for the lights to go out, your bank account to
drain, and the toilets to back up. Oh, wait.
That's already happening...
Safari Tech Book Online:
Series: iWoirk '09 by Richard Harrington.
"In the only Apple-certified book on iWork '09, you
will learn to create and publish everything from
first-rate business presentations to professional
marketing packages. Working step by step through
self-paced, real-world projects (everything you need
is on the DVD), you will use Keynote, Pages, and
Numbers to produce sophisticated results." Palomar maintains a subscription to Tech Books
Online, and the books can be accessed from any
computer on the campus network without as login, or
with your Palomar login and password from anywhere
in the world.
Click here for more information about off-campus
Training Opportunities - the next two weeks
Academic Technology Workshops
We have completed the Academic Technology
training schedule for spring 2009, but are always
available for TBA training, TBA departmental
training, and also have online, self-paced training
courses in Blackboard and other training materials
at our web site.
For example, we have developed (or linked to) sets of
screen videos (screencasts) that teach how to use the features of
the various technology tools available to faculty
members through Blackboard:
Maybe I’m atypical, but sometimes I’ll put a file
into Blackboard not intending to use it for a few
days or weeks. Then, when the time comes to use the
file, I can’t always remember where I put it, in
which Content Area or Folder.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just search for
content like you can search the Internet?
It is nice.
Thanks to the Search LX tool from Learning
Objects that we have added to Palomar’s Blackboard
system, faculty and students have the ability to
search their courses for content based on keywords.
The default “basic” search form will return
results from all types of content in the course, so
your search results may come back from text of
Items, uploaded documents, Announcements, etc.
On the other hand, the Advanced search will allow
you to select which type of search to run, so you
could ask for results back specifically from PDF
documents, or only from Announcements, or any
combination, as well as use some different search
In either event, the search results returned will
show the name of the content, how related to your
search term the content is, and a brief summary of
the item. The icon next to each search result will
let you know if the result is an item, an
Announcement, a PDF, or whatever, and there are
details on where the content is located in the
course and when it was last modified.
To use this tool, all you have to do is go into
the Tools Area of your course (which can be reached
by the Course Tools link turned on by default below
the Course Menu), and click the link near the bottom
that says Search.
So, “where did I put that file?” Doesn’t matter,
I can just search for it when I need it.
the index of Dave's previous
"Blackboard Feature of the Week"
Teaching with Technology - Dr.
Class Management 101
Is it the recession? The post Spring Break
mindset? In the last week I’ve talked to several
colleagues who have complained about disruptive
students. In one of my classes two young women
students had gotten into the habit of getting out of
their chairs about 30 minutes before class ended and
walking out of the class. At first I ignored it but
after the third time it happened I took one of them
aside before class and asked her about the behavior.
When it was clear there was no good excuse I told
her that I thought it was kind of rude and besides,
it was disruptive to the other students who were
trying to sleep. The talk may have worked: So far
they have stayed to the end of class.
With this issue in mind I found a recent edition
of the Faculty Focus newsletter particularly
interesting. The title of the issue is “10 Effective
Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member
Should Know.” This issue of the newsletter, which is
free, will be available in the program notes page
for this podcast.
I would like to report on two of the articles but
and I’ll read the table of contents in case anyone
is interested in any of the articles.
The two articles I will discuss are: “Conditions
Associated with Classroom Conflict” and “How to Get
Wet without Plunging In: Creative Ways to Start
The first article reports on a survey of
psychology professors who were asked about classes
in which they experienced student conflict. Two
categories of disruptiveness were identified: Openly
Hostile and Inattentive and Passive. While students
do occasionally directly challenge the instructor’s
authority, the study found that most disruptive
behavior is more passive. “They arrive late, leave
early, talk during class, and don’t even bother to
hide their boredom.” One of the research questions
asked whether instructor characteristics correlated
with the students’ disruptive behavior. The study
reported on in this article found that “ . . .
things like the instructor’s gender, race, age,
years of teaching experience, full-time versus
part-time status, and class size did not relate to
the amount of reported conflict.” See? Not our fault
folks! A couple of interesting findings emerged from
the research including
“the use of lecture correlated directly with
inattentive classroom conflict. On the other
hand, using discussion or active learning
related inversely with inattentive classroom
lower conflict was reported when instructors
were perceived as respectful toward students,
warm, and approachable; and
“Even though more than 61 percent of this
sample reported that they ignored conflict” this
approach didn’t work well.
So the bottom line here seems to be that, to
minimize student disruptive behavior, we need to be
approachable and, if disruptive behavior does
surface, confront it directly in an assertive but
not aggressive way.
The second article discusses a problem familiar
to all classroom teachers – making a smooth
transition from the previous class meeting to this
one. The professor who wrote this article has worked
to engage her students and states that “I now begin
each lesson with a creative review of the last
week’s material. The reviews involve a variety of
techniques for getting students to reflect on
previous content and ready to move on to new
information.” One of the strategies reported
involves taking important points from the previous
lecture and making a jigsaw puzzle out of it. The
different points are presented separately to groups
of students who then have to work with others to
piece the puzzle together. The objective is to
promote active synthesis of the material in an
active learning format. According to the professor
“I have found that the preparation for these
activities takes very little time and that the
results are very worthwhile. My student anticipate
the activities, and I look forward to having the
students in a place where they are ready to learn.”
the index of Haydn's previous
"Teaching with Technology" segments.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Kindle 2 - A Review by Chris Norcross
Amazon released the Kindle 2, an updated model of
their wireless reading device, in February. At $359,
the device is priced the same as the original.
Having been a heavy user of the previous model, I
was looking forward to giving the new one a spin.
The main new features of the Kindle 2 are:
Slimmer design (just over 1/3 of an inch)
Improved display (supports 16 shades of
Longer battery life
More storage (holds over 1,500 books)
Faster page turns
Text to speech
After a few weeks of testing, I am very pleased
with the updated model. The sleek design is
appreciated as the original version was very angular
and slightly less comfortable to hold. The longer
battery life and faster page turns are welcome
There were improvements to the physical user
interface as well. Amazon took care of one common
complaint by making the buttons slightly less prone
to accidental pressing. The software interface was
slightly improved by making it easier to highlight
and annotate content.
My only complaints about the new model are the
absence of an SD-card slot for adding more memory
and the inability to change the battery without
sending the whole Kindle to Amazon.
Despite not having many complaints about the first
version, I find the Kindle 2 to be a big improvement
overall and strongly recommend it for heavy readers.
an index of previous "Tech Talk
music for today's show was provided by
Magnatune.com, and is used through
their Creative Commons license for
podcasts. Today's featured album
Alma Nova. "Alma Nova is a
talented, classically trained flute and
guitar duo presenting an eclectic
program of music from all over the
"Anything too stupid to
be said is sung." ~ Voltaire