are more ready to try the untried when what we
do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many
inventions had their birth as toys." ~Eric
On the show:
We have removed course quotas in Blackboard;
Palomar's accreditation report is now available;
Whitehouse.gov has changed hands; in the latest
sign of a slumping economy Google, even Google,
is laying off employees; New York is
administering online sales taxes; the digital TV
switchover date is February 17, but are we
ready?; GIMP is a free photoshop-like graphics
editor; MERLOT is making a call for
presentations; Windows 7 beta is available for
download; we feature a tech book online on Excel
dynamic charts. David will describe how to
get help with common technical problems in his
Blackboard feature this week; Haydn will bring
you "Tips for Starting the Semester Right";
and my Tech Talk Topic this week will be about a
remarkable free program for PC and Mac called "Jing".
Technology News Briefs
podcast/newsletter we announced we were
on each Blackboard course. This
podcast/newsletter we are announcing that we are
removing that quota. We made discoveries about
the Blackboard quota system that we could not have
known had it not been applied to live data, and
decided on balance that it created more problems
than it solved. It is, consequently, no more.
The fact remains, however, that archives of courses
larger than 250MB cannot be restored to the system.
We will be running periodic reports on course sizes
and communicate with faculty members whose courses
are approaching that limit to assist them with
reducing the size of their courses or, at least, to
advise them that their archives will not work and
help them in developing alternative backup
strategies. Steps faculty members can take
include storing large files in their web space and
linking to them through Blackboard (if these files
can be stored publicly), optimizing photos,
especially photos embedded in PowerPoint,
eliminating unused materials imported via publisher
course cartridges, optimizing the size of PDF files,
especially scanned PDF documents. If you have
The 2009 Accreditation report is now available at
web site. Congratulations to those
who participated in this important self-study, led
by VP Cuaron and especially to
who supported the effort of all the writing teams.
The accreditation site visit will occur the week of
March 9, 2009.
only the second time in US history the
web site has
changed hands. The new web site features a
large picture of the new president, with links to a
blog (the previous president did not blog)
and the new national agenda.
Google announced this week that even they have been
affected by the grim economic times, and that some
engineers (around 100) will be reassigned or laid
off. This only matters because four Google
products are going to be discontinued, the most
useful being Google Notebook. The other
discontinued products are Google Video (most people
did not know it even exists in parallel with YouTube),
Jaiku (microblogging, like Tweeter) and Dodgeball
(cell phone social networking) (ars
The state government in New York, eager to retard
financial recovery, it seems, have required sales
tax to be collected on online sales made to New York
residents, even if the retailer has no physical
presence in New York. The law, called the
"Amazon tax", became effective in 2008 and has
survived two lawsuits. Appeals will continue,
but certain retailers, Amazon and Overstock.com are
currently being required to collect sales taxes for
sales in that state (ars
National digital TV switchover day is February
the pols are
persuaded to delay it. The
[PDF] has found that 5.7% of US households (n=6.5
million) are "completely unready" for the transition
to digital broadcasting and will be unable to
receive any full power broadcasts after the switch.
to provide $40 to the purchase of a converter box
ran out of money early this month. For more
information, see the federal government's
If you are looking for a program with the power of
Photoshop, but don't want to pay Photoshop prices,
try the free GIMP
(GNU Image Manipulation Program). "GIMP is a
freely distributed program for such tasks as photo
retouching, image composition and image authoring.
It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert
quality photo retouching program, an online batch
processing system, a mass production image renderer,
an image format converter, etc. GIMP is
expandable and extensible. It is designed to be
augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just
about anything. The advanced scripting interface
allows everything from the simplest task to the most
complex image manipulation procedures to be easily
scripted" (see the
review of GIMP for more).
has made a call for
proposals for the upcoming "Teaching
and Learning in a Networked World"
conference to be held in San Jose, California in
August, 2009. "MERLOT is a leading edge,
user-centered, searchable collection of peer
reviewed and selected higher education, online
learning materials, catalogued by registered members
and a set of faculty development support services.
MERLOT's vision is to be a premiere online community
where faculty, staff, and students from around the
world share their learning materials and pedagogy."
A release date for Windows 7 is complete speculation
at this point, but the beta is
download now. [Note: Do not
install the Windows 7 beta on Palomar College
production computers.] Microsoft has announced
a 3-year development cycle for the new windows,
which will contain evolutionary improvements to
Windows Vista. To find out more,
for an early overview,
for sneak preview videos, and
here for the Windows 7 blog.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Charts in Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007
and Beyond by Reinhold Scheck. "Extend your Excel
2007 skills, and create dynamic charts that present
information more effectively - no programming
required! Explore a new world of possibilities -
first, by learning the fundamental design and
communication principles for creating impressive
charts." 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
The Academic Technology training schedule has
been published for the spring 2009 semester.
for the schedule, and
for the training description page. New this
spring will be four "technology fridays" where a
topic will be pursued by a limited number of
participants (15) in depth for six hours (including
an hour for lunch, which will be provided free).
Those interested in technology fridays are
encouraged to sign-up early, since seating and lunch
reservations are limited.
In addition, we have developed a set of
self-paced, online workshops on various technology
essentials topics in the Academic Technology
Training Blackboard course. All faculty and
staff members are pre-enrolled in this course.
You will find it in the My Courses area when you
login to Blackboard under the "Courses in which you
are enrolled" section.
We have also developed (or linked to) sets of
screen videos that teach how to use the features of
the various technology tools available to faculty
members through Blackboard:
Folks contact us for support all the time, but
often we aren’t actually able to solve their
problems. It’s not that we don’t wish to, but that
we cannot. There are several different offices at
Palomar that you can contact for support, and who
can help depends not just on what you are having
trouble with but who you are.
Here are some of the common support issues that
arise, and what to do:
Problem: A student is unable to log into
Blackboard, who enrolled in classes less than an
Solution: Wait until an hour has passed before
trying to log into Blackboard. The data integration
process takes time.
Problem: A student is unable to log into
Blackboard, although they have been able to in the
past. Solution: Go and reset the account password,
which is done in
Problem: A student logs into Blackboard,
but the class they just enrolled in does not show up
on their list of courses in Blackboard.
Solution: Wait until an hour has passed. The
data integration process takes time.
Problem: A student logs into Blackboard
and sees a listing for their course, but it is
marked as Unavailable. Solution: Contact the instructor of the
course and let her know that the course isn’t
available for students to use.
Problem: A faculty member logs into
Blackboard, but only sees courses for the current
semester and has no Control Panel when accessing the
course sites. Solution: Log out, and log in with your
instructor account. Faculty do have two accounts,
and logging in with a username of the nine-digit ID
number will only allow student access. The username
based around their name (typically the first initial
and last name) should be used to function as an
instructor in Blackboard.
Problem: A student wants to enroll in a
class, or has an add code and wants to add a class. Solution: Go use the
to enroll. Just be aware that the new enrollment
will take a while to show up in Blackboard.
Problem: A faculty member wants email from
Blackboard to go to a different email address. Solution: Contact
The only way to have your Blackboard email address
changed is to contact HR and tell them what you want
it changed to. This is true for both your instructor
and student accounts, and those can be set to direct
email to different addresses.
Problem: A student wants email from
Blackboard to go to a different email address. Solution:Change the email
address listed in eServices. Just be
aware that it will take up to an hour before the
change is applied to Blackboard.
Problem: A student wants to know if they
should take an online class. Solution: There is a
that can help students self-evaluate and see if they
are ready to take an online class. However, it may
also be wise to
academic counselor and discuss the
matter. Online classes are not a good fit for
everyone, so careful consideration is indicated.
Problem: A student is having problems
using their student Palomar email address. Solution: Contact the Enrollment Services
Help Line by phone at 760-744-1150 ext. 3143, or the
Financial Aid Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These two offices handle technical support for the
Palomar student email system.
Problem: A faculty member is having
problems using their Palomar email address. Solution: Contact the Information Services
Helpdesk by phone at 760-744-1150 ext. 2140 or by
Of course people are always welcome to ask us for
support, either by
support ticket, by emailing us at
email@example.com, or by phoning
us at 760-744-1150 ext. 2862. Just be aware that we
may have to refer you to someone else.
the index of Dave's previous
"Blackboard Feature of the Week"
Teaching with Technology - Dr.
Some Ideas For Getting The Semester Off To A
Good Start (With Technology)
Tip #1: Try it first!
If you plan to use any type of technology in your
on-campus classroom, be sure you get into the
classroom before your class begins. ideally, you’ll
be able to get into the classroom a few days before
your first class to make sure everything works as
you expect. For instance, make sure you know how to
turn on the overhead projector, change the output
between video and computer, and so on. Most
classrooms have a control unit on the wall that
allows you to change the settings to display either
the computer output or a DVD or VCR output.
Of course you’ll need to make sure the classroom
computer has all the software you need (and the
correct version). For example, if you have developed
Power Point 2007 slides you’ll need to be sure that
version of Power Point is on the computer you’ll be
using, otherwise you’ll need to save your Power
Point file in 2003 format.
If you plan to use specialized programs or
devices you’ll need to actually try them first
(without students watching your every move) to make
sure it all works. For example, if you plan to use
the Clickers in your classroom you may need to
download the latest version of that software.
Tip #2: Play music
A nice change of pace is to begin each class by
playing a song (while students are settling down and
you are getting your materials together). Then, when
you stop the music, it is a clear signal that class
is starting. You can make it more interactive by
asking students to identify the song and artist. If
the song relates to the day’s topic, it’s even
better and seeing if anyone could articulate the
connection between the song and the lecture topic
could provide an interesting transition to the
Tip #3: Take their photo
Students are impressed and pleased when we
remember their names. An easy way to do this is to
take photos of students and make sure you have a
list of names that corresponds to the photos. Then,
if you bring it to class on a regular basis to
review or take attendance with, you’ll begin to
learn the names. Even more impressive is to get the
photo and names list, study it over a weekend, say,
and surprise the class by recognizing them by name.
Palomar has an official photographer who might be
able to do this for you, Elaine Armstrong in
Academic Technology might as well. Or, it easy
enough to simply spend 5-10 minutes in class to do
it yourself with a digital camera.
Tip #4: Show short video clips
If you take an hour to so to go to You Tube and
do a search for topics you will be lecturing about,
you will come up with a lot of video clips. True,
most will be worthless but some will be useful, even
provocative. When you find them save them to your
You Tube “Favorites” folder and show them in class.
Alternatively, you can give students extra credit
for finding some good, course-relevant video clips.
Showing a short Comedy Central clip can be a nice
break in a long lecture.
Tip #5: Students can sync with Facebook
The reality is that many of our students spend a
lot of time on Facebook. Now, you can point out to
them that they can sync their Blackboard course with
Facebook. After doing this they will be alerted,
while in Facebook, about any changes in their
Blackboard class. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but
maybe some students then will be motivated to go
into their Blackboard course.
the index of Haydn's previous
"Teaching with Technology" segments.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
is a free, downloadable program from TechSmith for
Mac and PC that allows you to a) "Snap a picture of
your screen" (or any part of it); or b) "Record
video of onscreen actions"; and then c) Share what
you have captured instantly over the web, email, IM,
even custom uploads to Flickr, your own FTP server,
including faculty.palomar.edu. Jing is great.
It is so easy to use that the technology becomes
almost transparent. After you get used to it,
you will think of all sorts of academic--and
other--uses for Jing. Basically, it replaces
the need to type a long set of instructions when
describing how to do something on a computer.
Here's how it works.
After you download and install Jing, the "Jing
Sun" will appear at the top of your screen (or the
upper right, on a Mac). Roll your mouse over
the Jing "sun" and it will grow three little rays
that are the interface to the program.
You don't have to use the Jing sun to access Jing
features. You can define a hotkey that
activates it instead, but you will soon learn to
love the convenience of the sun.
To make a capture, click the crosshairs icon.
A set of guides will appear on your screen.
Adjust the guides to capture the portion of the
screen you want to capture and release your mouse
button. When you do, the Jing capture dialog
will appear beneath the screen area you have
defined. Jing will tell you how much of the
screen you have chosen to capture (by giving you
width and height dimensions in pixels) and will
await your command:
If you are capturing a screen image for inclusion
in a blog or a Blackboard content frame, it is a
good idea to make it no larger than 550px wide so
that users will not have to scroll horizontally to
see it all.
If you elect to capture a static screen image, as
soon as you click the capture icon the image will
appear in the Jing screen capture editor. You
may now annotate it with arrows, text, frames or
highlighter. By default the capture is named
by date/time it was taken, but this can be changed
to whatever you wish.
You can have up to 8 output buttons. By
default, you will get the following:
Upload capture to screencast.com. You will
get an automatic--and free--2GB of storage space
on TechSmith's screencast.com web site to store
your Jing captures. If you choose this
option, Jing will return a URL after you
captutre that you can paste into a web page, a
blog entry, an IM client, or an email in order
to share your capture with anyone you wish.
Save your Jing capture to your file system.
Jing will save static graphics in png format.
Copy your Jing capture to the clipboard--that
invisible area of computer memory where an
object is stored, ready to be pasted into some
application like a Word document, an email form,
a web page, what have you.
Cancel the capture operation.
Configure your Jing buttons.
If you click the configure icon, you will be
permitted to add FTP buttons, which can contain
custom embed code for static images and videos both,
a Flickr button for static images, and, if you
purchase Jing Pro ($14.95 per year) a direct to
YouTube upload button for video images.
When getting started with Jing, stick with the
defaults until you have time to go through the
outstanding Jing online manual (constructed of brief
Jing videos and to-the-point textual descriptions)
which will teach you how to configure custom
When you capture a static image, and choose to
upload to screencast.com, you will see a brief
upload dialog appear, and then the message that your
capture has been uploaded and the link is ready to
paste into whatever application you wish.
To really get the idea,
for a Jing screencast that explains the steps to
taking your first screen capture.
If a static image is good, a screen video is
better when there are a series of steps to perform.
Consider this one, for example, which I saved to
Jing passes your YouTube login credentials
silently behind the scenes, so the whole operation
happens seamlessly. Jing Pro also gives you
the ability to save in a new format. Standard
Jing, which is free, saves video in SWF format,
shockwave flash format, the very familiar web-video
format we see every day. Jing Pro permits
saving videos in the higher quality H.264 format.
This format excels at high-motion video, so if you
were trying to record part of a very fast moving
video game, for example, this format would be ideal.
Note that you are limited to 5 minutes of video
The Jing history button retains links to your
videos indefinitely. When you finally delete
them from the history button, they are also deleted
on the source, whether it be your file system, an
ftp server, YouTube, Flickr, whatever. The
settings button permits access to all the program
options, though there aren't many. Jing is
incredibly easy to use and trouble free.
Jing incorporates parts of two for-pay Techsmith
products which have become industry standards:
a screen capture program, and
a screen video program. It will probably do
everything you want, however, and has the enormous
advantage of being free. See the
Jing help center,
itself a model of clarity that uses Jing to explain
things, and also the
for much more information.
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 featured album was "The
Four Seasons by Vivaldi"
American Baroque. We
featured this one last time also.
This week we used only tracks from
"By all means
marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If
you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher." ~