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Technology and Download News Briefs
Yesterday, November 30, was a new day for business.
At least that is how Microsoft was billing it.
It was the day Windows Vista and Office 2007 were
released for sale to business customers. The
products will be available to consumers January 30,
2007, though new computers are now being delivered
upgrade coupons even now. As with all new
OS introductions, adoption will be gradual.
The Gartner Dataquest projects 57% of computers
shipped in 2007 will come with Vista (see chart
below), and that adoption rates throughout 2007 will
be a mix.
Click here for an MSNBC article, with sidebar
showing a video of Steve Ballmer expounding,
here for the NY Times article,
here for the official Microsoft press release,
here for generally useful Microsoft resources..
Also released yesterday were backend products
Exchange 2007 and SharePoint server 2007.
Version 9 of Adobe's
Flash Player for Internet Explorer has been
Click here to download/install. Be careful
to uncheck the Yahoo! Toolbar selection before
downloading if you do not want it. Version 9
of the player is Windows Vista ready, meaning it has
been designed to run in Vista's new "protected mode"
once you have installed Vista. For more on
Flash and Vista,
Horizon Wimba voice tools building block has
been updated on our Blackboard server from version
5.0 to 5.1. With the ugrade come two new
tools: the Wimba podcaster and the voice presenter. The
podcaster makes it easy to create a podcast with a
related RSS feed. The presenter allows for
audio annotations to any URL. We are testing
these products now, and will make them available for
the Spring 2007 semester. Academic Technology
will provide TBA training to departments,
individuals or small groups who wish to use these or
the other voice tools. Contact Academic
Haydn Davis (ext. 3626) to arrange for training.
There is an "urgent" driver upgrade for Dell
wireless WLAN cards. The upgrade affects those
who reside in the US. It supports "...the Dell
Wireless 1350, 1370, 1450,1390, 1490, and 1500
series Mini Card, MiniPCI and PC Card devices (not
Click here to find out more and download.
If you have reason to browse or edit XML files, the
Microsoft XML Notepad 2007 is now available for
Live Toolbar 3.0 was updated this week.
According to Microsoft "These upgrades let Windows
Live Toolbar 3.0 integrate with other Microsoft
products and provide more features and
If you are not a user of the toolbar,
click here for more information and an
opportunity to download. We use the toolbar
and can recommend it highly.
"Starting in the spring of 2007, daylight saving
time (DST) start and end dates for the United States
will transition to comply with the Energy Policy Act
of 2005. DST dates in the United States will start
three weeks earlier (2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday
in March) and will end one week later (2:00 A.M. on
the first Sunday in November)" (MS
KB928388). If you have not already
downloaded and installed the Windows XP patch to
make your computer update daylight savings time
correctly for 2007,
Also from Microsoft, the Virtual Earth 3D (beta) is
available. "Virtual Earth 3D brings you
another step closer to knowing "what it is like out
there". You can search, browse, and organize local
information viewed in three dimensions, just the way
it exists in the real world. This enables you to
more effectively find the data that is relevant to
you, making Live Maps more useful than ever."
Click here to download.
"Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded
a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a
later time. However, few internet users are
downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1%
report downloading a podcast on a typical day."
The 12% figure is up from 7% when the identical
survey was run last Spring, and therefore shows
significant growth. This is from the latest report from the
Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Click here for a pdf version of the report (4
pages). The survey also revealed that online
men are twice as likely to download a podcast than
online women, and that Internet veterans (with 6
years of use or more) are twice as likely to listen
to podcasts as Internet late-comers.
"The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-Cert)
issued the alert after security researchers produced
code that could exploit the DMG bug.
involves the way OS X handles disk images and could
be used to crash or take over a vulnerable
machine...So far the DMG bug has only been shown to
work under laboratory conditions and has not been
seen in the wild" (BBC).
Apple released a patch for the vulnerability on
Click here for the story from US-Cert,
here for a tighter lipped, more euphemistic
version from Apple, along with links to download the
patch, I mean, update.
Merriam-Webster has announced that they will be
determining the 2006 word of the year in a new
manner, by conducting an online vote.
Click here to vote. Submissions will be
accepted through December 4.
do the Eifel tower, television and
The University of Maryland announced last week
the availability of a new collection in their
libraries titled "A
Treasury of World's Fair Art and Architecture."
For five years the U. or M. has been digitizing
photos, graphics and essays related to mainly 19th
century world's fairs.
announced this week that they are abandoning
their for-pay research service called
Google Answers. You can browse the
questions asked over the last four years of the
project, but Google is no longer accepting new
questions. Mean while, competitor Yahoo's
free answer service continues to thrive, and has
been joined by other free sites such as Microsoft's
Answerbag.com, (both of the latter leaning to
the airhead side of things) and the far more
authoritative and serious site (in my opinion)
Palomar recently obtained a subscription to
Safari Tech Books Online (login required from
non-Palomar network computers) from
Proquest. Safari is billed as "an
e-reference library for programmers and IT
professionals" but it is far more general than that.
O'Reily, the inventor of Safari, describes the
service as "... a virtual library that lets you
easily search thousands of top tech books, cut and
paste code samples, download chapters, and find
quick answers when you need the most accurate,
current information." Of interest to our
listeners is the recently added book
iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual.
Check out this great resource and become familiar
with the Safari database to help answer your
technology questions and build tech skills.
Use the following RSS button to subscribe to a feed
of the latest titles as they are added to Safari:
Monday and Tuesday, December 4th and 5th, students
from Psychology 230 will be holding poster sessions
from 10am to 12pm. Come by room BE6 to check
out what our advanced psychology students have been
investigating. It will be a big encouragement
to the students. For more information contact
Fred Rose at ext. 2344.
Click here for a PDF [54K] describing the
student projects. The event is described as a
morning of food and discovery.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
presenting one workshop only next week, the final
one for the Fall semester. Terry Gray will be
About Blogging" on Friday, December 8 at 10am in
room LL-111. The workshop will last for one
Academic Technology schedule of training workshops
for Spring 2007 has been published.
Click here to access the schedule,
here to read a description of the various
workshops within their competencies and also the new
Blackboard Certificate program and TBA training.
New in the Spring will be a re-designed
Blackboard Certificate Program, an expanded
Copyright Essentials online workshop, and new
workshops on IE7, digital projectors, new Blackboard
voice tools, drawing in PowerPoint, charts and
diagrams in PowerPoint, and one we are calling "So
Long FrontPage," where Chris Norcross will be
demonstrating the replacement product for FrontPage
from Microsoft called Web Expression. Along
with the new workshops will be the most popular of
the standard offerings in Blackboard, PowerPoint,
Acrobat, FrontPage, Photoshop, Windows and others.
Register for all Academic Technology workshops
Professional Development web site.
- As a re-reminder, the @ONE in-person Winter
Institute will be held at MiraCosta college January
Click here for information and registration.
Online Teaching, Podcasting, Flash
and Voice Over IP, are among the workshop tracks for
which you may register.
- @ONE also has self-paced courses and streaming training videos on
Click here for descriptions and use.
- Microsoft webcasts:
- Free Microsoft eLearning courses: for a limited time access
to these excellent e-Learning products on Office
2007 is available.
Click here to access a gateway to sign-up for
training in the new Office interface, Access 2007,
Excel 2007, Infopath 2007, OneNote 2007, Outlook
2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007, Visio 2007, and
Groove 2007. You may also download a free
e-book from this site titled
First Look 2007 Microsoft Office System in
- Free online training is available for Horizon
Live Classroom and the Horizon Wimba
Voice Tools, both of which we have access to in
our Blackboard system.
The Blackboard Feature of the Week - David Gray
The Performance Dashboard - Revisited
First, a couple of Blackboard
According to the Blackboard course
lifecycle (as discussed in episode 17) the Fall 2005
courses will be removed from Blackboard on Tuesday,
December 19th. If you need to backup your old
materials, you should Archive your old Blackboard
course, as in the instructions
Also, for those who think the
'courses you teach' list is too ponderous,
instructors can remove entries from their “My
Courses” list in Blackboard (as discussed in episode
7), which can dramatically clean up the appearance
when you first log in. Instructions on removing
these courses may be
Now, to the dashboard:
The Performance Dashboard (which
was discussed in episode 4) is linked from the
middle right of the Control Panel, and displays a
list of users in the course. Outside of the vital
statistics (Name, Username, Role), there are some
particularly useful columns in the dashboard:
- Last Course Access – this
shows the last date and time that a user
accessed materials in the course.
- Days Since Last Course Access
– so you don’t have to count the days since the
user was last in.
- Review Status – this is a
count of how many items each user has
“reviewed”. Clicking the number gives a list of
all items in the course with Review Status
enabled, and shows the status of each item for
that user. (Review Status was discussed in
- Adaptive Release – click the
icon in this column to see a map of course
content, with the Visibility and Review status
for each item, which allows an instructor to
tell what each individual student can see in the
- Discussion Board – this is a
count of how many forums a user has posted in.
Clicking the number gives a list of the forums,
with a count of the users’ posts within that
forum. Clicking those counts give a summary of
the posts in the forum, with information such as
average post length, as well as a display of all
the posts by that user in that forum. If
discussion board grading by forum is active,
there is a choice to submit a grade here as
- View Grades – this brings up
the user grade list, similar to the Gradebook
View by User listing.
The list of users in the dashboard
can be sorted based on any of the columns, with the
exception of Adaptive Release and View Grades (which
are only icons in the dashboard anyway).
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Teaching with Technology - Dr. Haydn Davis
What is Effective Online Teaching:
Student Survey Says...
As the end of the semester approaches,
evaluations are on many minds. Instructors are having their
classes evaluated and of course student performance will be
evaluated and given a course grade. Evaluation of online
courses has been mostly unsatisfactory however. We do have a
system in place to allow online students to evaluate their
online courses but the evaluation survey return rate has
been so poor that no meaningful conclusions can be drawn.
What do online students think of their
learning experience with online classes? A recent report
published in the American Journal of Distance Education
journal attempted to answer that question. The report
discusses students’ views of online teaching and identified
the major variables associated with effective online
- adapts to student needs
- uses meaningful examples
- motivates students to do their best
- facilitates the course effectively
- delivers a valuable course
- communicates effectively
- shows concern for students’ learning
In some of the open-ended comments,
students stated that they really appreciated – and found
most effective – instructors who were “visibly and actively
involved” in promoting their learning and who created a
structured but flexible learning environment.
Listen to this segment only [mp3 - play time =
Journal of Distance Education, Vol. 20, No.
the index of
Haydn's previous "Teaching with
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Using the Horizon Wimba Voice Board within
Would you like to:
- Provide vocal feedback to your students on
their work on an assignment?
- Have your students do a reading, ie recite a
poem, do a verbal interpretation of a text,
simply introduce themselves?
- Create a verbal assessment?
- Hold an asynchronous, online, threaded,
Are you a foreign language or ESL instructor who
- Your students to practice pronunciation
verbally in a manner that you can review, yet
will be private for each student?
- Have your students conduct a verbal
discussion in the language you are teaching?
- Ask your students to read passages in the
language you are teaching for practice or
In general, would you like to create:
- A get acquainted area where students can
verbally express a little about themselves and
- An online forum where you can introduce
yourself and ask students to respond to
ice-breaker open ended questions?
- An ask-the-experts web area where students
can pose questions, verbally, to a researcher or
other expert and receive their answers,
verbally, at a later time?
You can do any or all of these with a Horizon
Wimba voice board within your Palomar College
Blackboard course. All you need is your
computer with a properly connected microphone and
speakers--or a headset that combines both. To
respond to your audible comments to a voice board
your students will need the same, or can use any of
the computers in the Academic Technology labs, where
microphones are available on some computers, and by
request on any computer.
Creating a Voice Board
Creating a voice board within a Blackboard
content area is very simple. Login to your
Blackboard course, go to (or create) the content
area that you wish to use, change to edit view
(click the Edit View button in the upper right of
the content area screen), click the "Select:"
drop-down menu in the upper right of the screen, and
choose "Voice Board" and click Go.
The first time you select this, you may be
prompted to install a Java plug-in from Sun
Microsystems. As of July, 2006, the current plug-in
was version 1.5, called the "J2SE runtime
environment 5." This will install quickly on the
fly. Then, you may be warned by your computer about
trusting "the signed applet distributed by 'Horizon
Wimba'." Select "Always" to always trust Horizon
You may already have gone through these steps, in
which case you may not see both of these messages.
In any event, after the applet is installed you will
see the "Add Voice Board" Blackboard area. Begin by
naming the board and providing any textual
instructions you wish.
Configuring Your Voice Board
Next, select the settings which will control the
behavior of the voice board:
Audio Quality. We recommend
using "Superior Quality" audio, though there are
3 lesser choices. Even though the applet
describes this as "Broadband usage," 29.6 kbits/sec
is within the throughput capacity of a 56k
Message Length. Use this setting
to control your expectations for student
posting. Be sure to allow ample time
depending on the nature of the board and your
Short Message Titles. If this is
not selected (our recommendation) the message
titles as they appear in Blackboard will be
verbose, including subject line, name of poster,
length of record and posting date. If
short, subject and poster ID are the only thing
messages are displayed in the order in which
they were posted, with newest at top. If
you make this selection, oldest messages will
appear at top.
Students may start a new thread.
The default is for this item to be selected.
If deselected, students may only reply (which
could be useful in pronunciation or reading
exercizes) but not to start new topics.
Private threads. If discussion
threads are private only one-to-one
communication between instructor and student can
occur. If this selection is made only
instructors can compose new threads, students
can only see their own replies and replies from
the instructor while instructors can see all
After configuring your board, click "Submit" to
create it. From here on out things get much
Posting to Your Voice Board
To create your first post, click the "New" icon.
The "Compose" window will appear containing a
field to enter a subject (textually), a text message
area where you can enter any textual material you
wish (but not graphics or hot links), and a
recording tool (click the round button to record,
the pause button to pause/continue recording, and
the square stop button to end recording).
Click the triangular play button to listen to your
recording. If not satisfied, re-record.
When satisfied, click the "Send" arrow to post the
message to the voice board.
To reply, click the "Reply" button and go through
the same steps.
Your reply will appear indented, Discussion Board
style, in the message Window. Each thread will
be separate and indented in the usual way to
indicate postings and replies to postings.
Note the "Advanced Features" indicated by the
voice board control icons. You can forward any
message from the board (if this is allowed by the
instructor) via email (actually, what is sent is not
a voice file attachment but a link to the file on a
Horizon Wimba server). You can import audio
files in wav, mp3 or spx format (we recommend
working with mp3 files only). You can export
any/all files from the board. You can publish
any/all files to a web page (what you get if you
paste into any web page which will render the HW
player associated with the particular audio file).
You can also directly save any audio posting to a
board by clicking the triangular icon in the bottom
of the playback tool and choosing to save in one of
We recommend using mp3 format for size and
quality considerations. These mp3 files can
then be placed on any portable mp3 player, like the
iPod, for later review.
We recommend the use of voice boards to increase
course interactivity and student engagement, to
deliver customized instruction asynchronously, to
build student rhetorical skills, and for specialized
uses in foreign language and ESL instruction.
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