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Blackboard Feature of the Week:
"Unpopped Kernels: The 'Other' Content Types"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Teaching and Getting Results"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Tech Support Q & A"
- For more, visit our
podcast notes page
for Episode 48.
Technology and Download News Briefs
The Academic Technology Resource Center now has an
overall email address for general communications
purposes. It is
Sketchup 6 was released this week. "Google
SketchUp is a powerful, easy-to-use 3D software
modeling tool that enables design professionals and
armchair enthusiasts alike to model the world for
professional use and sharing in Google Earth. Google
SketchUp 6 enables simpler, more realistic modeling
with the addition of new features and innovations.
- Photo Match – Users can now quickly and
easily trace a photo to create a 3D model of the
photographed object or match an existing model
with a background photo for near-instant
- Styles – New collections of display settings
including Watermarks (2D images behind or in
front of models) and Sketchy Effects (rendered
as though drawn by hand) enable users to create
3D models to fit their professional or personal
- 3D Text – Users can now convert text to 2D
outlines, filled surfaces, or extruded 3D
At the same time, Google announced a "Build
Your Campus in 3D" competition. The top
5-7 teams (max 50 people) will win a 3 day trip to
Google's Mountain View headquarters to participate
in a workshop with 3D modeling experts from Google.
FeedForAll version 2.0 has been officially
released. If you want a good XML generator to
create subscription files for your RSS feed or
podcast, this is the one.
with version 2, iTunes tags are supported, though be
warned, if you have labored over iTunes tags for
previous podcasts opening the XML file in this
program will wipe them out. You will either
have to re-create them (not recommended) or start
Click here for a product overview. This
program sells for about $30.00.
this week announced the release of a new commercial
product: Blackboard Outcomes System™. "The new
solution facilitates the continuous improvement of
academic and administrative processes with a focus
on student learning, academic programs and
co-curricular activities" (Blackboard
press release). The new product contains "Tools
enable building rubrics; documenting curriculum
maps; managing standards; collecting and evaluating
artifacts of student learning; surveying attitudes
and interests, running online course evaluations;
managing departmental improvement projects; analytic
and operational reporting, and other key
If we can be allowed to editorialize, this sounds
very much like a collection of tools that we already
have in our do-it-yourself toolkits, so we are not
sure the expense for this product would be merited
(no word on pricing, but you can bet it is high).
Planning and analysis are important, but would we
really find out anything we don't already know?
Given the choice, we would rather see any
discretionary funds spent on tools more directly
aimed at teaching, learning and community building.
We have a list...
Microsoft announced Wednesday that Windows Vista and
Office 2007 will be available for download from the
Internet starting January 30. "A relatively
low number of computer users are likely to get Vista
by downloading it from the Internet. But the mere
availability indicates that Microsoft is fiddling
with distribution methods for the extremely
profitable franchise at the core of its business."(MSNBC).
"To make it easier for households with multiple PCs
to make the move to Windows Vista, Microsoft is
launching a limited-time offer for customers who buy
retail copies of Windows Vista Ultimate. From Jan.
30 through June 30, the Windows Vista Family
Discount will allow North American customers to
license two additional copies of Windows Vista Home
Premium for use on other PCs in the home at the
reduced price of $49.99 each" (Official
Microsoft Press release).
Click here for more information on the Family
Also from Microsoft, ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2 is now available for
download. Please be aware that this is beta
software and SHOULD NOT be used in a production
Click here for information, install instructions
and download link from Microsoft.
- What browser are your students using?
Net Applications, browser usage in December 2006
was as follows:
In actual practice at Palomar IE usage far
exceeds even these data. Meanwhile,
Microsoft announced that over 100,000,000 users
have now installed IE 7 (Newsfactor.com).
12th annual TechEd conference is coming March 26-28
at the Ontario Convention Center. this year's
theme is Inspiring the Vision: " A K-20 event,
TechEd will ask where, in 2007 and beyond, can
technology take our students, and where can our
students take us?...The early-bird registration is
only $215 per person and group discounts are
available. That's only $215 for over 250 sessions,
200 exhibitors, three exciting keynotes and over
3000 of your colleagues across the nation and around
Click here for more information,
here to register. Big name sponsors
include Apple and Adobe (in fact, the opening day
keynote will be delivered by Apple VP of education
John Couch). Notably absent from the list of
sponsors is Microsoft.
Click here for the Microsoft summary security
bulletin for January. Important patch Tuesday updates
- Excel 2003 vulnerability (KB925257)
- A VML vulnerability in IE 7 (KB929969)
- Outlook 2003 security vulnerability (KB924085)
- A new Outlook junk email filterr (KB925534)
- Windows genuine validation required
- The normal Windows malicious software
removal tool (KB890830)
Cingular orange turning blue? AT&T now owns
100% of Cingular, and is wasting no time in doing
away with the old brand associations. "ComputerWorld
is reporting that AT&T will begin using dual
Cingular/AT&T branding this coming Monday. The new
scheme will be used for some as-yet-undetermined
period of time until everyone feels comfortable that
the general populace understands what exactly has
become of the nation's largest GSM carrier, at which
point the AT&T name'll go it alone" (engadget).
- New to our
Safari Tech Books Online database are
The Zune Pocket Guide, by Bart Farkas,
Word 2007: The Missing Manual, by Guy
Windows Vista: The Missing Manual, by David
Pogue. Or, for you weirdos,
Object-Oriented PHP by Peter Lavin.
If you are unfamiliar with
Online, it is a searchable database of technical books that can
be accessed without a password from any campus
computer, and with a password from off campus (obtain
password through the library). You can
freely read, cut and paste, and print from any of
the thousands of technical books in the database.
Safari also includes a reference section for general
knowledge workers/users who need quick answers to
questions about desktop applications.
Welle, an English-language news site from Germany,
has introduced a podcast,
Beethoven Festival Bonn, that features
Beethoven’s most famous symphonies performed by
young orchestras. A recent episode features a
live recording of Beethoven’s
Ninth Symphony, performed by the
Ukrainian National Music Academy's symphony
Click here for notes and audio
Symphony Nr. 6 performed by Istanbul's
National Conservatory orchestra.
Netflix announced this week that they are
beginning a new "Watch Now" feature--at no
additional cost to their customers. About 1000
titles (soon to grow - as compared with about 250
available for paid download from iTunes) will be
made available immediately to Netflix customers to
you subscribe to the $6 per month plan, you will be
entitled 6 free hours of online viewing per month,
$10 per month, 10 hours, $18 per month, 18 hours.
The new feature will be phased in over the next six
months, so that by July all Netflix customers will
have it. Once you become one of the lucky
recipients, a "Watch Now" tab will appear for you in
Click here to view a screencast guided tour of
the new service,
here for the NY Times story via CNet.
Listen to the news [mp3 - 16:05]
- Academic Technology Training
we will be conducting 2 workshops:
Click here to access the general ATRC workshop schedule,
here to read a description of the various
workshops within their competencies. This spring we also
have a new
Blackboard Certificate program.
Click here to read a description. Finally,
we provide TBA training for instructors who cannot
attend workshops or have special interests.
Dr. Haydn Davis with questions about TBA
training (or call ext. 2341).
Register for all Academic Technology workshops
Professional Development web site.
- Faculty members may notice when they login to
Blackboard this semester that they are enrolled as
students in an "Academic Technology Training"
course. Whether you sign up for one of our
workshops or not, you will have access to the
training materials contained in this class. The
materials in this class will continue to grow over
- @ONE system Training
- @ONE has announced it's schedule of multi-week, online, instructor
facilitated courses for Spring 2007. Of
relevance to Palomar faculty will be courses on
Teaching Online, Teaching with Blackboard, and Using
Click here for more information and
- @ONE has also announced its Spring schedule of Lunch'n'Learn seminars.
Click here for the schedule and a registration link.
- @ONE also has a selection of self-paced courses
and streaming videos on demand that address various
Click here for more information.
- 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
- Upcoming Microsoft webcasts
- 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
Adding an item to a content area in
The most basic function in Blackboard is to
add an item. However, this is not a function that is
discussed a great deal, so this seemed a good time to cover
First, I am assuming that the course has a content area to
put content into; if not, there is a video which discusses
Adding a Content Area to the Course Menu that you may want
to watch. You go into the Control Panel, and into the
content area, and the button in the upper left will bring up
the form to add an item.
The only thing truly required for an item is a name, all
other parts are optional. There is a box to type in text,
and this can be anything from a few words to fifty pages of
text; as a rule of thumb, if there is only a couple of
paragraphs it is fine to have inline text, otherwise you
should probably consider attaching a file.
Right below the text box are the controls for attaching a
file. The “Browse…” button will let you pick a file from
your local computer, so you just have to track down the file
you want. If it is a textual document, such as a Word
document or PDF, the behavior you want is to link to the
file. Since that is the most common use of an attached file,
“Create a link to this file” is the default behavior of the
“Special Action” menu. If, however, your file is a graphic,
you may want to “Display media file within the page”. In the
event you are uploading a collection of related files, such
as a PowerPoint presentation saved for the web, you may want
to select the “Unpackage this file” option.
Finally you have some availability options, which boil down
to “Do you want this available to students at all?” and “Do
you want this available only after or until a specific
After you set those options, just remember to click the
Submit button in the lower right corner, and your content is
saved into the course. If you have attached a file, a copy
of that file is saved up on the server; if the file is very
large, it may take some time to upload. When the process is
done, you can go into your course and see the material, and
if it is set as available, so can your students.
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
How to create a Podcast within Blackboard
Let's start with the basics. What are
podcasts? Podcasts are audio files,
usually in mp3 format, that are automatically
delivered directly to your computer. They can be
transferred to an iPod or other MP3 player.
Those who listen to podcasts typically
"subscribe" to them (meaning they automatically
receive each episode as it is published) using
"podcatching" software. We recommend
but there are
many to choose from.
You may have some questions:
- We used the term "subscribe." Does
it cost anything? No.
- Do you have to have an iPod or other MP3
player to listen to Podcasts? Once
again, no. In fact, podcasts are
predominantly heard on computers, not on mp3
- Can podcasts include textual material?
Yes. A textual description can
accompany a podcast.
- Are podcasts the same a streaming media?
No. Podcasts are downloadable audio
files. They are much easier for
instructors to use than streaming media.
Perhaps you have heard of large scale
implementations of podcasting in higher
education, such as
Stanford on iTunes U or
UC Berkeley on iTunes U. Do podcasts
really have educational value? Absolutely,
and especially in the context of a fully online
course. In fact, it is the easiest way to
"speak" to your students in an online
environment, with the
added benefit that they do not even have to
login to Blackboard or go to a certain website
once they have subscribed to your podcast.
The podcast episodes are delivered
automatically in iTunes or whatever software the
student chooses to use. You do not have to
record entire lectures, just brief explanations, instructions,
announcements or encouraging messages placed in a regular podcast can
be a very effective way to add to other online
The simplest way to create a podcast is to
use the "Wimba Podcaster," now available in our
Blackboard system. Here's how.
1. Login to Blackboard, enter your course,
and enter (or create) the course area where you
wish to place the Wimba podcast. Only one
podcast per course is permitted (though this may
change in future releases of the product).
2. Change to "Edit View" by clicking the Edit
View button in the upper right of the screen.
3. Click the drop-down on the "Select" tool
in the upper right of the screen, choose Wimba
Podcaster, and click "Go."
The first time you select this, you
may be prompted to install a Java plug-in from Sun
Microsystems. 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 Wimba applets.
You may already have gone through
these steps, in which case you will not see
4. In any event, after the applet
is installed you will see the "Add a link to the
Wimba Podcaster for this course" configuration page:
As you can see, there is very little
configuration to be done. Simply give your podcast a
name and click Submit. You can apply the standard content
availability and date availability filters to this
tool if you wish on the same screen. If you
later wish to apply
rules to this content
5. You will be returned to your course
content area, with a new item titled with the name
you just provided, and a link below it titled "Wimba
6. Click this "Wimba Podcaster" link. You will now
see the Wimba Podcaster in the course content frame:
7. To record an entry, click the New
8. The "Compose" window will appear:
9. Type a title for your recording in
the Subject field. Type any accompanying text
in the text box below the Subject. (This text
will appear in iTunes as the description for
your podcast). Then click the record button to record
A recording level meter will appear
as you record. The elapsed time of your
recording will also be displayed. You may
click the Pause button during recording and then
resume if you wish. When done, click the
square Stop button. You may record up
to 20 minutes.
Any microphone will do, Academic
Technology recommends the low-cost LabTech AM-32.
Click here for more information on headsets and
microphones. If you want higher quality
recordings, you may wish to use
Academic Technology audio recording facilities.
You may also record your audio outside the Wimba
Podcaster, using, for example, one of our
digital audio recorders, and then import the
audio file into the Podcaster using its Import
button. If you are going to import audio,
remember it must be in either wav or mp3 format
(we strongly recommend mp3). (If you use
one of our WS-100 digital voice recorders to
record your podcast, it will be recorded in wma
format. Convert it to mp3 format using the
WMA to MP3 converter from Jodix software).
Remember also that the file cannot be larger
10. Once you have recorded your audio in
the Compose window, and are satisfied with it (you
may re-record, if not) click the Send button:
You will see your podcast posted in
the Podcaster main screen:
That's it. You are done.
Remember that it takes about 5 minutes from the time
you record the podcast before your students can
receive it with their podcatching software.
Each time you record a new
"episode" in the Wimba podcaster, it will be
syndicated and received by those who have
subscribed to the podcast. Each new
episode will appear in the Wimba Podcaster
window in chronological order. Items
cannot be re-ordered (for the obvious reason
that they have been syndicated and received by
users in a certain order).
Subscribing to a Wimba
The real strength of this approach
to podcasting is the ability of your
students to subscribe to podcasts and receive them
automatically completely apart from the Blackboard
system. To subscribe to a podcast created with
the Wimba Podcaster use the "Subscribe" RSS feed
button or the 1-click button in the upper right
corner of the Podcaster in Blackboard:
1-click button is designed specifically for those
who use iTunes to receive podcasts. Click the
1-click button, wait for iTunes to load, wait for
the subscription to complete. It is very
simple. Alternatively, you can drag the RSS
feed button (not the 1-click button) to the
"Podcasts" window in iTunes and that will also
complete the subscription.
Other podcatching software.
To subscribe to the podcast using the built-in RSS readers in IE 7 or
Firefox 1.5 and above, simply click the RSS feed
button and then complete the subscription function
in IE 7 or Firefox. To subscribe using any
other podcatching software (such a
click the RSS feed button, copy the address from the
address bar of the browser or from the popup box it
appears in, and paste it into the subscribe field in
Once subscribed, you will receive
additional episodes of the podcast as they are
posted. If subscription to podcasts is new to
you, click here for an explanation.
Podcast Episode 48 |
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