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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
As a reminder, and in accordance with our
longstanding policy, if you wish to have software
Academic Technology computer labs, you must
observe the following timeline:
||Software and proof of
network licensing must be received by
||June 30 prior
||November 30 prior
||April 30 prior
Google Groups are no longer in beta, but are now
a fully released and supported application from
Google: "In addition to dropping the
beta tag, Google will now offer Google Groups in
about 20 languages, and has made some minor changes
to its features. Rather than the usual
plain-text post and response boards, Google Groups
now allows users to create graphic content for their
pages, including color palettes and photos" (CNet).
Click here for the official notice from Google.
Google announced this week that they will be
digitizing more than a million books from the
University of Texas at Austin, including their world
renowned Latin American collection. The
volumes will be added to the
Google Book Search. "Soon,
researchers and history lovers all over the world
will be able to search more than one million books
and materials from the University of Texas,
including selections from these unique works from
early Latin American history."
And speaking of Google Book Search, the
Times of London reported this week that Google
is working on a plan for downloadable e-books that
could "...do for books what Apple's iPod has done
for music." It is described as a "platform
that will let publishers give readers full access to
a book online." Renting books for brief
periods, or purchasing segments of books may be a
viable option through this plan.
another Google announcement:
Earth 4 was released this week. Rich 3D
exploration, textured buildings, seasonal
animations, image overlays, a simpler, more
intuitive interface with a new, easy-to-use
navigation compass, and simpler ways to create and
share annotations are featured.
Click here for a What's New tour,
here for a video tour from CNet.
Good news for procrastinators: Microsoft announced
that Mainstream support for Windows XP and Windows
XP Media Center Addition will continue through
April, 2009, and that extended support will continue
for another five years beyond that (ars
Click here for the details on Microsoft's life
cycle support policy,
here for the official MS press release on this
Apple iTunes has been declared
illegal in Norway. Just this week "...Norway's
powerful consumer ombudsman ruled that its iTunes
online music store was illegal because it did not
allow downloaded songs to be played on rival
technology companies' devices...Sweden and Finland
have already backed Norway's stance, but have yet to
take action...and the Federation of German Consumer
Organisations and the French UFC Que Choisir are
addressing this important issue" (MSNBC).
Featured tech book online: New this week to
our Safari tech books online subscription:
Visual Quickstart Guide Microsoft Expression Web
(accessible from on-campus or with a
password off campus).
Web is the product that is replacing Microsoft
FrontPage. The District will be licensed for
SharePoint Designer 2007, which is the same thing,
with a little more scripting and database horsepower
added. Use this new visual quick start guide
to get up to speed in the changes from FrontPage to
SharePoint Designer. Chris Norcross will be
conducting a workshop on the new product this
semester, titled "So
Long FrontPage: The Future of Web Authoring at
Palomar College." Sign up for Chris's
workshop through the
Professional Development Office.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- 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.
- @ONE system Training
- 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
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 'Other' Content Types"
Have you ever made up a
big batch of popcorn, and when you were done munching it
realized you had some kernels left over that just didn’t
pop? The popped kernels made their presence known, but you
had to look to notice the ones that didn’t jump out at you.
In Blackboard, when
trying to add materials to a content area, the “big five”
content types have buttons all their own; they POP! This
makes adding Items, Folders, External Links, Course Links,
and Tests quite convenient.
However, there is a whole host of other
content that can be added to a content area. These other
types are on a drop-down list in the upper right corner of
the content area on a menu labeled “Select:”
The content at the top
of the list are those that come with Blackboard, and lower
on the list are materials resulting from Building Blocks we
have added to our system. Here, in brief, are descriptions
of their function:
– A set of content that includes a structures path for
progressing through the items.
– Similar to Tests, Surveys are intended for polling
purposes and evaluations. Questions in Surveys cannot be
assigned points, and results are anonymous.
– Content that instructors may mark based on a given
number of pints possible, such as class work.
Assignments have file upload capability built in.
– Provides a link to either the list of forums, or to a
specific forum in the Discussion Boards list.
– Provides a link to either the list of collaboration
sessions, or to a specific Chat session.
as Chat, only with an option to link to the Virtual
Classroom types of collaboration sessions.
– Provides a link to either the Group Pages
communications area, or to a specific group’s tools.
Links to specific groups will deny access to users not
in that group, however.
– Creates a link to any one of a long
list of course tools, including Announcements, Messages,
Glossary, and even the Tools Area itself.
– A tool allowing an existing syllabus file to be
uploaded, or use of a wizard to aid in building an
– Content that adheres to Sharable Content Object
Reference Model (SCORM) standards.
Packaging – Content that
matches IMS specifications.
Click here for additional information.
– A package of content developed by the National
Learning Network (NLN). Additional information may be
– Provided by a Building Block, this allows a compressed
(.zip) file of folders and files to be imported into a
Click here [PDF] for additional information.
– Provides a link to either the list of Live Classrooms,
to a specific Live Classroom collaboration setting, or
to an archive established for a previous session.
Additional information may be found by
Assignment – Functioning
similar to an Assignment, this allows student-uploaded
files to be submitted to the Turnitin Anti-plagiarism
system to generate originality reports.
Click here for instructions and additional
– Places a recording in the content area for all
students to play back. Additional information for this
and the other Horizon Wimba Voice tools may be found by
Click here for specific instructions for using this
tool. Remember, use of the voice recorder in any
content area in Blackboard is fine. Do not,
however, use the voice announcement tool. It
contains a bug and will not work correctly with the
Blackboard visual text editor.
– Provides a link which may be
used to send emails to students containing a voice
recording. Note: this tool makes a link, but does not
send a voice email itself. To send a voice email you
must create the link, then use it to send the voice
Click here for instructions.
– Places a tool into the content area allowing voice
recordings to be made by students and instructor
together in a discussion board-style environment.
Click here for instructions on use.
– Places a tool which may be
used to conduct synchronous voice conversations without
the use of a telephone.
Presentation - The voice
presentation tool makes it possible for instructors to
display URLs while simultaneously, audibly narrating
them. They are ideal for conducting web tours or
explaining web page contents to students and can be
configured to allow audible/textual student replies.
Click here [mp3] for additional information.
– Provides a course-based podcast solution, which
students may subscribe to using iTunes or other
Click here for additional information and
That’s quite a list;
just keep in mind that there are a lot of alternatives, if
you feel like having more than just folders of attached
content in your course. To add any of these, just select
them from the list and click the “Go” button next to the
menu. And, should you need help with these “unpopped
kernels”, or just some extra butter, contact Blackboard
Technical Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Technology - Dr. Haydn Davis
Teaching and Getting Results
In a couple of hours I’ll be talking to a
group of faculty who signed up for our
Blackboard Certificate Program. It is a mix of full-time
and part-time instructors and I’ve been going over some of
the resources I’ve reviewed in the almost a year now that
I’ve been serving as Academic Technology Coordinator.
A couple of resources that I’ll mention to
the Certificate group focus on preparing instructors to get
results. The first site focuses more on face-to-face
teaching and the second more on online teaching. Both,
though, share the virtue of being very well organized and
contain useful tips and suggestions.
The first site
funded by the National Science Foundation and produced by
WGBH in Boston. It really does an excellent job of modeling
how to deliver a thoughtful, well designed lesson –
definitely worth taking a look at in my opinion.
The second site would be of interest to
our faculty who use Blackboard. The site,
is titled appropriately enough, Teaching with Blackboard.
This site also is well designed and contains instructions
and tips for using Blackboard effectively.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Tech Support Q & A
This was the second week of the spring
semester, and here is a sampling of the most
asked tech support questions this week:
Q. How do I make my Blackboard
class available? (Actually, this question
came in numerous times from students, rather
than professors, asking why they couldn't access
the Blackboard materials their teacher had told
them were available.)
A. All faculty are responsible
for making their own Bb courses available, that
way students don’t enter empty courses where the
prof. does not intend to use Bb. Do the
Login to Blackboard
Enter your course
Click on Control Panel
on the lower left of the screen
Click on “Settings” in
the Course Options area of the control panel
(once again, lower left)
Click on Course
Availability on the next screen
After “Make Course
Available” change it to Yes, then click
Now your students will be
able to login.
In case this was not
clear, we have a little screen video that
demonstrates it at:
You might find some of our
other “Teaching with Blackboard” screen videos
Q. How do I
access my web page using FrontPage? (This
one is often accompanied with something like,
'They just set up a new computer for me and I
lost all my old settings...').
A. Do the following:
Click on File > Open
Site.. (NOT, "Open," but "Open
When the Open Site
dialog appears, be sure "My Network Places"
Type the full URL to
your web page, including the "http://" part,
in the "Site name:" field:
You will be challenged
for a username/password. Enter your
FULL Palomar email address (including the "@palomar.edu"
part) for user name and Palomar email
password for password:
Your web will open.
Nearly all faculty web
pages are on the server named "faculty.palomar.edu,"
and nearly all web spaces are named faculty
first initial + last name, so if you have
forgotten the URL of your web, try this
combination and it will probably work. If
not, call Chris Norcross at ext. 3225 or email
For visual learners,
click here is a screencast showing this
Q. How do I
upload a PDF file to my web site using
A. Create the
PDF file, if you haven't already (see next
question) and then:
Connect to your web site
(see question above).
Choose File > Import...
In the Import dialog box,
click the "Add File" button (top right).
Navigate your file system
to find the PDF file, select it, and click
"Open." The file will be added to the
Import List. Repeat as often as necessary
to add the files you want, or, if they are all
in the same folder, you can select and import
them all at the same time:
Click OK and the PDF file
will be added to your web site. It will be
located in the folder you selected before you
started this operation. If you didn't
deliberately select a folder, it will be located
in the root of the web. Now create a link
to the file to make it available to your
Click here for a screencast that shows the
procedure (including making a link to the file).
Q. I don't
have Acrobat, how do I convert my Word documents
to PDF format?
A. Acrobat is
installed on all the computers in the computer
labs on campus, so you could use one of those,
but an even easier method, one you can access
from anywhere, is to use our PCPDF service.
It is web-based. What you do is:
Open a browser and go
Read the information on
that page and click the Login button.
You will be challenged
for a username and password. Use you
complete Palomar email address as username
and your Palomar email password as password.
Click the Browse...
button next to the "File to convert"
box (see illustration below).
Navigate your file
system, locate the file you want to convert,
select it, and click Open (you can convert
only one document at a time).
Supply your email
address in the "Your email address" box.
Click the "Submit
Your file will be
uploaded, converted, and emailed back to the
address you supply as a file attachment.
PCPDF handles over 180 file formats.
Click here for a screencast that
demonstrates the procedure.
How do I turn on captions in the Windows media player?
We have captioned for the web many of the videos that are
streamed from our Windows media servers. To view the
captions, do the following:
Start the media
player (the current version is
If you do not have
it configured to show menus (most people don't) then
right-click the title bar to make the menus visible.
Select Play >
Lyrics, Captions and Subtitles > On if Available
Play the video.
Now the captions will show up in the caption area just
under the video.
Q. How do I
check out a WS-100 digital voice recorder so
that I can record my lectures?
Click here. It will tell you all you
need to know, and provide a link to the checkout
request web form. You may keep the
recorder all semester, if you wish, or check one
out for a one-time occasion.
For more information on
click here. For information on setting
up an academic podcast outside of Blackboard,
click here. For information on setting
up a podcast within Blackboard using the "Wimba
Podcast Episode 48 |
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