without desire spoils the memory, and it retains
nothing that it takes in." ~Leonardo
On the show:
We remind you of a scheduled Blackboard outage,
scheduled for June 6-8; we also nag about the
demise of Pluto, our student ftp server; we
announce the date for our summer tech camp, and
our fall training schedule; Windows 7 is on the
loose; the Kindle DX has debuted; as has Della;
Blackboard buys Angel; the BBC finds national
defense secrets on eBay hardrives; and we
feature a Manga tech book on line. David's
Blackboard Feature answers questions about
questions. Haydn discusses
evaluating Online Learning
in his Teaching with Technology segment. In our
Tech Talk Topic we discuss YouTube.
Technology News Briefs
Blackboard will be down for a scheduled upgrade June
6-8, 2009. Tasks to be performed are 1)
upgrade Blackboard to service pack 5;
2) fully backup the Blackboard system; 3) transfer
file server data to a new file server, and 4) configure
the new server into the system; 5) completely rebuild
the database server; and, 6) restore the databases to it. We
realize that this is after the second week of intersession
classes, but these upgrades must be performed.
The file server is going out of warranty (and will
be out by June 1), the service pack contains fixes
to known issues, and the database server must have a
larger drive partition to run in a stable fashion.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Remember, at the end of this semester our student
project server "Pluto" is long out of warranty and
will be de-commissioned and no longer available.
second annual SUMMER TECH CAMP will be held August
4-6. Come join the Academic
Technology staff for three full days of learning and
practicing your teaching-with-technology skills—and
get Professional Development credit for it too. We
will be meeting 9am-3pm each day. Sign up early
because seating is limited. There will be food,
giveaways and prizes along with exposure to a skill
set aimed at increasing your ability to use the new
media effectively in your fall classes.
The Academic Technology fall 2009 workshop schedule
has been published.
for a general description of our training and
detailed descriptions of each of the workshops, and
for the schedule in tabular form. Sign-up for
the workshops through the
Release Candidate (RC) is now available
for public download.
The product key for this download will expire March
2010. The actual Release To Manufacturing is
targeted for January 2010. Do not install
Windows 7 on any Palomar College domain computers.
Amazon introduced the big-screen Kindle last week.
The Kindle DX has "two and a half times" the screen
size of the new Kindle 2. The large format
display can accommodate PDF documents natively,
eliminating reflow and scrolling problems inherent
in those documents on the smaller screen model.
The new Kindle will go on sale later this summer,
but can, of course, be pre-ordered now. The
price gives one pause, however: $489 for the
device, another $50 for a cover, and another $105
for an extended warranty. Pretty soon you are
in pretty substantial laptop territory and have to
decide which you would rather buy, unless money is
no object. Amazon is touting deals with
textbook publishers as one of the new device's
selling points, since one of the criticisms of the
previous Kindle models has been that they do not
handle large form books, like textbooks, well.
Now they do. They will be tested at six
universities in the fall, with many texts available
in Kindle format. The new device is also being
touted as the salvation of the newspaper industry,
but the chances of that happening are slimmer than
that textbooks will become a major sales incentive
for the new device (NY
like Dell do not do things without their marketing
departments suggesting they will work, so meet
That's right. Dell has designed a web site
just for ladies. "...the site presents a
shopping experience thaYt is presumably less manish
and annoying than good ole' Dell proper -- with lots
of photos of women lounging around at the beach,
drinking coffee, and browsin' the 'net in small
groups on beautifully matched neutral-toned
furniture sets...we do find it a bit disconcerting
that they mention "finding recipes," "counting
calories," and blissing out to "guided meditations"
on the Tech Tips page" (engadget).
Whatever, girlfriend. We're not going to be
the ones to say "sexist."
If you weren't aware of it, Blackboard is the Borg.
After consuming and not entirely digesting WebCT,
Blackboard, Inc. has now acquired what was left of
the competition, Angel Learning. Or, put more
politely, "ANGEL Learning and Blackboard® have
decided to join forces" in the words of the
The BBC recently published a story indicating that
34% of personal computers randomly purchased at
computer fairs and online auction sites still
contained personal data. Personal enough data,
in fact, to "expose individuals and firms to fraud
and identity theft." Even more alarmingly,
"Details of test launch procedures for the THAAD
(Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) ground-to-air
missile defense system was found on a disk bought on
eBay." The THAAD system is supposed to be our
defense against Korean or other rogue state missile
launches. For more,
or watch the video embedded below.
Safari Tech Book Online:
The Manga Guide to Electricity by
Kazuhiro Fujitaki. "Rereko is just your
average high-school girl from Electopia, the land of
electricity, but she's totally failed her final
electricity exam! Now she has to go to summer school
on Earth. And this time, she has to pass.
Luckily, her ever-patient tutor Hikaru is there to
help. Join them in the pages of The Manga Guide to
Electricity as Rereko examines everyday electrical
devices like flashlights, heaters, and circuit
breakers, and learns the meaning of abstract
concepts like voltage, potential, current,
resistance, conductivity, and electrostatic
force.The real-world examples that you'll find in
The Manga Guide to Electricity will teach you: What
electricity is, how it works, how it's created, and
how it can be used." 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.
Training Opportunities - the next two weeks
Academic Technology Workshops
The Academic Technology schedule of workshops
has been published for fall 2009.
to access the schedule. We will be offering
workshops in various topics related to Blackboard,
classroom technology, Google Earth, our new Learning
Object products for journals, blogs, wikis and
podcasts, and traditional workshops in web site
development and PowerPoint. We are offering
many workshops on Fridays this semester, along with
an all-day web development workshop on a Saturday
which will include lunch.
Summer Tech camp has also been announced.
It will occur on August 4-6. Sign-up at the
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:
Way back in early 2007, in
episodes 51 through 55, I talked about using the
Pool Manager, and in episode 94 I described in
detail the Jumbled Word question type. However,
I’ve never really briefly described the list of
possible question types available in Blackboard…
and with Finals in the air, this seemed as good a
time as any.
Questions in Blackboard may be
used for both Surveys and Tests, as well as being
added to Pools for later use.
Calculated Formula – Generates different
mathematical questions, based on an input
The pages linked above are
excerpts from the Blackboard Instructor’s Manual,
which include a brief description of the question
and the steps needed to add such a question. The
audio recording of this segment also includes some
simple questions that could be asked with each, or
ideas of when a given question type would be useful.
the index of Dave's previous
"Blackboard Feature of the Week"
Teaching with Technology - Dr.
Assessing Online Learning: Strategies, Challenges
Assessment and SLOs (student learning outcomes) have
become buzz words at Palomar these days with the
recently concluded Accreditation visit. So it seems
propitious to talk about a recent special report
from Online Cl@ssroom titled “Assessing Online
Learning: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities.”
The full report (a free publication) will be
available along with the other notes and documents
Terry makes available after each podcast and I hope
listeners will take a look as this report contains
some very practical ideas about how to improve
assessments, particularly in an online environment.
The report contains 10 short (2-3 pages) articles
and I can almost guarantee that everyone will find
one or two good ideas, tips, or strategies in the
I want to talk briefly about two ideas that
connected with me. The first called to my attention
an incorrect assumption I make and the second was a
reminder of a good strategy that I don’t always do.
The first comment I’ll make comes from an article in
the report titled “Four Typical Online Learning
Assessment Mistakes.” The article leads into a
discussion of the four mistakes by stating that
People who build instruction make some typical
but unfortunate mistakes when designing learning
assessments, and these mistakes compromise both
their competence as designers of instruction and
the quality of the instruction they build. (p.
Mistake #1: Expecting a bell curve. “The bell curve
model is what might be expected without instruction.
Instruction should be specifically designed to
provide the instruction, practice, feedback, and
remediation needed to bring about achievement of the
desired outcomes.” (p. 4-5)
The second of my comments comes from the article
titled “Assessing Student Learning Online: It’s More
Than Multiple Choice.” The article makes a number of
good suggestions about how to assess the learning of
online students by using assessments other than
multiple-choice tests. It also comments on the
importance of keeping students actively engaged.
What is the best way to accomplish this? Requiring
small assessments that require the student to
connect with the course several times a week works
best. This advice would apply equally well to online
or on-campus students. The article suggests that we
provide short assessments that
require the student to access the course two or
three times a week. For example, Wednesday
requires a short, objective quiz on the assigned
reading material; Friday, a submission of a
written summary of this week’s activity and the
posting of a reflection of what was learned
through the assignment on the discussion board;
and finally, Sunday, a reply to a fellow
student’s reflection.” (p. 13)
These frequent, often small assessments, keeps
students on track and makes it easy for the
instructor to see who is falling behind or needs
So there we are, a couple of thoughts about a report
well worth reading.
the index of Haydn's previous
"Teaching with Technology" segments.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Controlling Embedded YouTube Videos
It has become very popular to embed YouTube
videos in Blackboard or on course or departmental
web pages. There are a couple of control
features you ought to be aware of, though, before
embedding. There is also a trick that I will
explain below that will permit you to "jump into"
the video at a predefined start point when linking
here's how to jump into a pre-defined
start point in an embedded YouTube video:
The syntax here is more complex. First, you
cannot use minutes and second. The amount of
time to jump into the video must be converted to
total seconds, X*60 + Y, where X and Y are minutes
and seconds. This value then must be inserted
in two places, at the end of the "value" URL
paramater, and at the end of the "embed src" URL
paramater, using the syntax &start=s, where s is
total seconds. Like this:
Once you have created this code, then you can
place it in Blackboard, in a Learning Objects or
other blog, or on a web page in order to embed
an index of previous "Tech Talk
music for today's show was provided by
and is used through their Creative
Commons license for podcasts.
Today's album is "Sky"
Ty Burhoe. "It's extraordinary how
seamlessly the intricate sounds of
Indian tabla merge with melodic piano
and soulful rhythms in this elegant
blend of jazz, classical, and world
me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no
choreography, and the dancers hit each other." ~