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Blackboard Feature of the Week:
"Support Call Roundup"
"Time Management Strategies"
"Tabbed Browsing in IE7"
- For more, visit our
podcast notes for Episode 41.
Technology and Download News Briefs
The California Virtual Campus (CVC)) is sponsoring
an Online Education Awards Program.
$1,000.00 stipend and an opportunity to compete for
additional compensation will be awarded "...to
faculty members who submit winning proposals for
improving an existing online course or for
developing an online course that has been approved
through the curriculum peer-review process of their
Click here to find out more and
apply online. Applications will be accepted
through December 8, 2006.
are repeating this announcement from two episodes
released its official "call for proposals" this week
for the 2007 Blackboard Greenhouse Grant Program.
Winners will receive a $25,000 Greenhouse Grant:
$25,000 grants are designed to help build a
collective body of knowledge, and rewards clients
who have successfully developed and deployed
initiatives that promote best practices in the
adoption of Internet technology in the educational
Click here [PDF] to get the official rules and
call for proposals.
Click here for an explanatory web page with
links to the 2006 winners. Filing deadline is
February 16, 2007.
iTunes has been updated to version 7.0.2.
Click here for the download site.
According to Apple, " iTunes 7.0.2 adds support for
the Second Generation iPod shuffle and addresses a
variety of stability and performance issues found in
iTunes 7 and 7.0.1."
Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced
its 2006 Holiday Lectures on Science.
will be four lectures, as usual, by Douglas A.
Melton, HHMI Investigator at Harvard University, and
Nadia Rosenthal, Senior Scientist at EMBL
Monterontondo, under the title "Potent Biology: Stem
Cells, Cloning and Regeneration." The lectures
will be delivered via live webcast, lectures 1 and 2
on November 30 at 7am (PT) and lectures 3 and 4 on
December 1 at 7am (PT).
Click here to register. The lectures will
also be available via
on-demand webcast beginning December 4, and
distributed free on DVD in the Spring of 2007.
If you are not familiar with the outstanding medical
and biology educational materials distributed free
click here for their catalog.
A start page has been added to the collection of
Google Apps. Google Apps are a collection
of free, hosted web applications including Gmail,
Google Talk, Google Calendar and Google Page Creator
that can be branded for any organization. The
new Start Page feature "...lets you easily create a
unique, dynamic place for internal or external users
to find relevant, essential information, preview
their inboxes and calendars, and search the web.
You customize the layout, header information and
color scheme, as well as the page's default content,
which can include Google Personalized Homepage
modules, your organization's custom content and
links, and RSS feeds."
Microsoft's new Zune Digital Media Player was
released to store shelves on Tuesday, November 14.
Click here for the Microsoft press release,
here for the Zune home page,
here for the CNet
here for the slashdot review. (To
see the RooTV video,
click here). Early general technology
press has not been good, judged by these snippets
- Engadget has a blow-by-blow walkthrough of
installing the Zune software, saying that “Installing
the Zune sucked.”
PC World says it’s a good first effort, but “the
Zune’s features don’t seem compelling enough to make
it a serious threat to take a big chunk out of iPod
Popular Mechanics calls the Zune “the
husky, ugly cousin of the iPod”.
- Gizmodo says
the brown Zune looks like it’s made of swamp water
jello. We’re not sure what that means, but it
- USA Today says “it’s
no iPod.” Reviewer Edward C. Baig adds “I’d like
to see more offerings in the store, and less
stringent wireless restrictions. And Microsoft
should rethink the silly points system. For now, I’m
sticking with iPod.”
- The New York Times review, by David Pogue,
agrees, noting that a list of things that iPods do
that Zunes don’t
could stretch to Steve Ballmer’s house and back 10
SeattlePI’s review is one of more the positive
reviews, but concludes “We hate to send a Dear Zune
after such a brief courtship, but at the end of the
night there is no doubt who we’re going to go home
with” (an iPod).
Walt Mossberg liked several aspects of the Zune,
but concludes that the “first Zune has too many
compromises and missing features to be as good a
choice as the iPod for most users.”
- Business Week calls the Zune “a
This amounts to a not unanticipated start for
Microsoft. The iPod has become nearly a
national institution, and to unseat it will take a
lot of work. It is very early days for the Zune, and
it is worth remembering that Microsoft never gives
up. Rumors of the resurfacing of
Microsoft Bob still run rampant. Bill
already announced that the wireless features of
the Zune will soon be updated, "adding
interoperability with Xbox 360 and PCs."
It was Patch Tuesday this week from Microsoft.
The following patches were issued in their automatic
- Security patch for MS XML 4.0 SP2: "A
vulnerability exists in the XMLHTTP ActiveX control
within Microsoft XML Core Services that could allow
for remote code execution"
- Security patch for MS XML 6.0 RTM: "A
vulnerability exists in the XMLHTTP ActiveX control
within Microsoft XML Core Services that could allow
for remote code execution" (KB927977).
- Three similar security patches for Windows XP:
"A security issue has been identified that could
allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based
system and gain control over it." (KB920213),
- An Office 2003 patch: "Microsoft has released an
update for Microsoft Office 2003 that fixes a
problem in the Local Cache Cleanup Wizard plug-in
for the Disk Cleanup Wizard" (KB919029).
- The standard updates for Windows Defender
the Outlook 2003 junk mail filter (KB921587),
and the malicious software removal tool (KB890830).
Read more about the patches
- While on the subject of
Microsoft, on November 15
Office Live left beta, where it had been for
nine months, and became a public offering. In
spite of the name, Office Live is a set of web tools
and services aimed at small businesses (take note
Business department) to assist them in creating a
web presence (with your own domain name registered
through Office Live) and attracting new customers.
There is a tiered set of products and services, the
basic level being free. Rajesh Jha, corporate
vice president for Microsoft Office Live said: “Most
small businesses lack IT expertise...Office Live is
a one-stop shop that levels the playing field for
companies with 10 or fewer employees by providing
software and services that make a big difference;
Office Live can impact business growth and
profitability. Small businesses that sign up for
Microsoft Office Live will now find it easier and
cheaper than ever before to build and manage their
business online" (bink).
Internet Explorer 7 is
distributed slowly via the Automatic Update
process. Microsoft stresses that "...users
will not be forced to accept IE7 nor will we
silently install IE7. .. users will see a dialog box
offering IE7. Users can choose “Install”, “Don’t
Install”, or “Ask me later”. If you have
automatic updates turned on, watch for these choices
some Wednesday morning in the near future. (Source:
- The University of Virginia has joined the
Google Books Library Project. "Google
will digitize hundreds of thousands of books from
the Library, including selected portions of the
Library's American history, literature, and
humanities works collections, and make them
searchable online through Google Book Search" (Google
the Google Books project also includes "...the
University of California, Harvard University,
University Complutense of Madrid, University of
Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford
University, Stanford University and the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. Google is also conducting a
pilot project with the Library of Congress."
Click here to learn how Google Book Search
For the first
time ever, the three major search engines, Google,
Yahoo! and Microsoft have agreed to support a common
way for "...webmasters to notify search engines
about their websites and be indexed more
comprehensively and efficiently..." The
standard is called Sitemaps (http://www.sitemaps.org).
"A Sitemap is an XML file
that can be made available on a website and acts as
a marker for search engines to crawl certain pages"
Basically, it is a singe, easy to manipulate method
for providing metadata to the search engines.
EFF: "This week, Sun Microsystems
announced that it is releasing the Java source code
under the GPL [General Public License] free software
license, meaning anyone is free to copy,
redistribute, modify, and make many other uses of
the code. Free Software Foundation founder Richard
Stallman hailed the release as one of the most
significant software contributions by any company to
the free software community." Sun's web site
has more details at:
Listen to the news [mp3 -
The Blackboard Feature of the Week - David Gray
The Support Call Roundup
- The Digital Drop Box yields
an ugly error message when a file is submitted,
only if the file name contains the pound symbol
(#). Please avoid the pound sign in file
names until Blackboard fixes this bug.
- Discussion Board posts
contain no text if submitted using Safari or
Firefox on a Mac with the Visual Text Box
Editor. If the user disables the Visual Text Box
Editor and re-posts to the Discussion Board,
posting will be successful.
- Students should log in using
the same information as for eServices; username
is their nine-digit Palomar student ID number.
If the Blackboard login attempt returns an
error, go to eServices and reset the password,
as shown in this online demonstration at
- Courses are created as
Unavailable to students, and students will be
unable to access the course site until the
instructor manually makes the course available.
A demonstration of the course availability
change may be viewed online at
- Course materials can be
copied into your next semester’s Bb course using
the Course Copy tool, as shown in the online
- Course materials can be
backed up using the Export Course or Archive
Course functions. An example of this is given
And that’s what’s ringing our
phone these days.
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Teaching with Technology - Dr. Haydn Davis
Time Management Strategies for
Online Instructors and Students
With the current semester winding
down, it seemed like a good time to address something
that probably seems especially pressing to many these
days: Time Management. My comments in this podcast will
be particularly geared to the online community but many
of the ideas will apply equally well to the on-campus
Online instructors appreciate the
flexibility inherent in online teaching but many
discover, sometimes to their surprise, that their
workload actually increases - often significantly, when
they begin teaching online. Online instructors quickly
realize that their workload is different from teaching
on-campus and, because the difference is often
time-related, they need new time management strategies.
Two differences in particular stand out. First, the
course planning stage is different: f2f instructors
often plan the overall structure of the course and rough
dates when they’ll cover certain topics but develop the
details as the class progresses. Online instructors need
to develop more of the course documents and other
materials in advance as technology-related materials
require more time to develop. Second, the level of
interaction is different. In a f2f class it is typical
for an instructor to lecture and answer questions during
class. Interaction occurs only during class times and
office hours (although more students are emailing their
f2f instructors these days). Interaction is different
for an online instructor – while real-time interaction
can occur via Chat or IM, most of the interaction occurs
through the class discussion board and email. There is
much more of an expectation from students that the
online instructor will respond to them individually –
For these reasons and more, an online
instructor is well served to learn strategies to manage
time and the online class well. The ideas I’ll present
here come from an article published in the February 2006
International Journal of Instructional Technology &
Distance Learning. (http://itdl.org/Journal/Feb_06/article01.htm)
The article was based on a study done with a group of
online instructors who taught in Indiana University’s
online program. From the article: “Below are six proven
strategies for time management in teaching an online
1. write concisely and clearly – keep
it short, highlight key words & phrases, use bullet
2. organize information in an easy-to-follow order –
chunk into weekly modules
3. be explicit about time requirements – provide clear
4. manage asynchronous discussions – be explicit about
5. take advantage of the technical tools – many Bb tools
are underutilized (DB grading, Assignment tool)
6. utilize other resources – MERLOT, colleagues
What about students? There are some
excellent resources to help students manage their time.
A site maintained by Virginia Tech is particularly
interesting as it contains a wealth of very practical
tips and strategies to ensure student success (http://www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/stdyhlp.html).
Among the tools I liked at this site was the time
management quiz that assessed one’s time management
skills. After taking the quiz you can discover four
steps to improve your time management and learn about
seven strategies for making your schedule work.
A couple of other sites also contained
practical advice for students (or anyone for that
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Tabbed Browsing in IE7
Firefox has long had tabbed browsing, and in fact
that is the single feature that has gained it the
market share it has among browsers (anywhere between
10 and 40% of browser users, depending on who you
believe). In any event, now IE7 is out and it
also has tabbed browsing. Since IE7 is
compatible with Blackboard, and Firefox versions
since 1.0 have not been compatible, we will cover
the use of tabbed browsing in the approved browser
in this article.
For those of you completely new to tabbed
browsing, it is a feature within the browser which
permits simultaneously open web pages "located" on a
system of tabs within the overall browser window.
No longer do you have to guess at which browser
session is represented by a confusing set of icons
on the taskbar. To access any of the open web
pages, simply click its tab:
Any tab acts like an independent browser window,
but the power of tabbed browsing is in having
multiple tabs containing the various web sites you
are using for your research open simultaneously.
It makes it extremely easy to click back and forth
between sites when gathering materials or searching
for information. If you click on a standard
link on a tabbed page, the link will open in that
tab, but if you Ctrl-click the link, it will open in
a new tab of its own (clicking it with the middle
mouse button (or wheel) will do the same thing).
Any tab can be closed by clicking the little X on
the tab itself, or clicking the tab anywhere with
the middle mouse button (or wheel). To close
all but the current tab, press Ctrl-Alt-F4.
Another way to open a new page on a tab of its
own is to click the new tab button and then open the
page in the standard manner (i.e., type its address in
the address bar, pick it from the drop-down list on
the address bar, pick it from your favorites (Ctrl-I
opens the new "favorites center"), press Ctrl-O then
type its URL, etc). A shortcut to opening a
new tab is to press Ctrl-T.
If you are searching with the new IE7 search box,
pressing Alt-Enter after your search term will open
the search results on a new tab. This can be
especially useful. You can open search result
links on new tabs to evaluate them, and easily
return to your search results tab without having to
backtrack multiple pages.
An extremely convenient feature of tabbed
browsing is the ability to save a group of tabs
which can then be opened simultaneously. To do
so, first open all the tabs you wish to save as a
group, click the new "Add to Favorites" button (),
from the menu choose "Add Tab Group to Favorites..."
Give the group a folder name:
And click Add.
To open the group of tabs simultaneously, open
the favorites center (Ctrl-I), hover your mouse over
the folder containing the group, and click the arrow
to the right of the folder name. The pages
will open each on their own tab.
IE7 has a very nice feature called "Quick Tabs"
which makes it simple to jump to any open tab using
a system of thumbnails of the various pages
currently open. To activate Quick Tabs click
the Quick Tabs button ()
or press Ctrl-Q. To open any of the tabs,
simply click its thumbnail from the Quick Tabs View.
To close it, right click its thumbnail and choose
"Close." To return to the open tab you were on
when you entered Quick Tab mode, click the Quick Tab
button again or press Ctrl-Q again.
The drop-down next to the Quick Tab button will
display a list of web pages on the various tabs.
You can also jump to one by clicking its title from
To set a group of tabs as your home page, first
open the pages on a set of tabs, then click the
drop-down next to the Home button and choose Add or
Change Home Page...
Then select "Use the current tab set as your home
page" and click Yes.
The active tab when you next open your browser
will be the leftmost, first in the series of tabs.
You may also manually enter URLs to be part of your
home page tab set using the Internet Options choice
on the Tools menu:
To change the default IE7 behavior of tabs, use
the Settings button in the Tabs area on the General
tab of those same Internet Options:
The settings you see illustrated above are the
IE7 default settings. If you decide you do not
like the change you have made, re-enter this area
and click the "Restore defaults" button.
Once you become used to tabbed browsing, you will
wonder how you ever got along without it.
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