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- Blackboard Feature of the
"Filling the Pool"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Online Student Help: The Good, The Bad,
and the ...""
Topic: "Using Google Book Search"
- For more, visit our
podcast notes page
for Episode 51.
Technology News Briefs
Microsoft has released the
XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack Version 1.0
as a free download. It contains components
that enable users to generate and index XPS
Documents. (Microsoft's rival standard to
Adobe PDF format).
- Also from
Microsoft Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft
Office has been released, another free download.
Learning essentials includes "templates and
tutorials to help educators and students stay
organized and create high quality work." It is
a very large download, at 260MB, and will add
features within the Office 2007 or 2003 programs.
Windows genuine validation is required.
- The Microsoft educational products group, the
one responsible for Encarta, is working on a new
product called "Grava."
It can be used by publishers, software developers,
and especially educators as a way "to easily
develop up-to-date, relevant instructional materials
that will appeal to the unique styles of every
learner." Open trials will be available in the
Spring of 2007.
Click here to email Microsoft and be placed on
the trial list.
- Microsoft even now has available an upgrade to
its free Learning Essentials pack, Learning
Essentials 2.0, a set of templates and tools
integrated into Office (Office XP, 2003 or 2007)
- It was a very large Patch Tuesday from
- A cumulative security patch for IE 7 (KB928090)
- Security update for Learning Essentials 1.0, 1.1
and 1.5 (KB929437)
- Two general security updates for Office 2003 (KB920813)
- Seven security update for Windows XP (KB918118),
- A security update for Word 2003 (KB929057)
- Windows genuine validation required.
- An update to Excel 2003 (KB929058)
- Windows genuine validation required.
- An update for Office 2003 (KB925251)
- Windows genuine validation required.
- An update for PowerPoint 2003 (KB929060)
- Windows genuine validation required.
- The cumulative time zone update for Windows XP (KB931836)
- The usual updated junk mail filter for Outlook
- The usual updated malicious software removal
- On Wednesday,
Google's GMail finally shed the last of its
"invitation only" requirements, and is now freely
available in the countries where it had previously
been limited (US, Canada, Mexico, swaths of Asia and
Click here for more...
- Also new this week,
Blackboard on Wednesday announced the launch of
Scholar, a social bookmarking service designed
to connect faculty and students. Since
November (see our
episode 40 - Training Opportunities) Blackboard
has been working on Scholar, their first "Blackboard
Beyond" service. "Scholar
allows members of the Blackboard community to save
and classify bookmarks and searches, share resources
with faculty, students and administrators from other
institutions, automatically update courses with
dynamic content feeds, and enable student
contributions to course collections" (Blackboard
press release). It seems to be modeled on
del.icio.us. Scholar can be accessed
http://www.scholar.com. We expect to be
installing the Scholar building block in our
Blackboard soon, and once we do, it will be
optionally available within our online learning
- For those of you unwilling to choke up the $50
or 60 per year to buy one of the big three
anti-virus products (McAfee, Symantec or Windows
OneCare), Grisoft has announced a new free version
AVG Anti-Virus Free and AVG Anti-Spyware Free.
There may be excellent reasons to use one of the
for-pay products, but a free anti-virus tool is
better than no anti-virus tool. And speaking
of anti-virus, Trend Micro is offering something
called "Housecall," a free, web-based virus and
spyware scan of your PC. You don't need this
if you have a full-featured anti-virus product
- Do you love opera? If so, Dr. Dennis
O'Neil has a recommendation for you:
Opera Talk, an outreach of the San Diego Opera.
The Opera Talk website contains downloadable mp4
videos or "Play Now" episodes of UCSD-TV's Opera
Talk series and also a
subscription address to their mp3 podcast.
Click here for the UCSD-TV schedule.
International Imaging Association (I3A) has
recently launched its "Consumer Photo Preservation"
web site, called "Save
My Memories." It was "...created to
educate and motivate people to take steps to protect
and preserve their digital photos..."
Safari Tech Books Online featured book this week is
What's New in Windows Vista by Brian Culp:
"Get ready for a quick blast through this
significant change to Windows! This guide will give
you a quick look at many of the most significant new
features in Vista, Microsoft's first revision of
Windows in nearly six years." Safari Tech
Books Online are accessible from on-campus or with
password off campus.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
we will be conducting 2 workshops:
Academic Technology Resources and Information:
Click here to access the general ATRC
Click here to read a description of the various
workshops within their competencies.
to read a description of the new Blackboard
Dr. Haydn Davis with questions about TBA
training (or call ext. 2341);
- Register for all Academic Technology workshops
Professional Development web site.
- @ONE courses next week
@One also announced their Spring Technical
Institute will be held at San Jacinto College on
April 2-5. Three workshops will be offered:
Click here for registration information.
Cost is only $50.00.
- Free training from
- 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
all of which are available for use in
our Blackboard system. According to Steve
Montano, our H-W representative, the Live Classroom
training has been completely revised.
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
Filling the Pool
If you’ve ever tried to create an online test in
Blackboard, you know that filling in all the
questions is a time-consuming process. This process
gets much simpler if you can get pools of questions
into Blackboard first, though.
There are a number of ways to assemble pools of
questions in Blackboard, ranging from manually
creating question pools all the way up to
automatically pulling in large amounts of
publisher-created pools. So to start off a
discussion of options for getting pools of questions
into your course, we can start with the
1. Import a Course Cartridge – Course cartridges
typically contain hosts of question pools. The
publishers also pre-assemble much of these questions
into tests, but the questions can easily be
assembled into your own custom tests quite easily.
2. Receive Pools from a Publisher – If your
publisher doesn’t have a course cartridge, or if you
simply don’t want to adopt a cartridge, you can ask
your publisher’s rep if they can send you exported
pools of questions. These files (in .zip format) can
be imported directly into the Pool Manager in
Blackboard, and then assembled into tests.
3. Create Pools from a Publisher’s CD – Often
textbooks come with a CD containing test generation
software. (ExamView is a commonly mentioned
program.) Although these programs can generate paper
tests for printing, many of them also have an option
to export pools of questions in a Blackboard format;
these pools can be imported directly into the Pool
Manager in Blackboard as well.
There are, of course, methods of creating pools
of questions without having to procure them from
textbook publishers. We can examine more methods in
later segments, but if you are starting from scratch
you will likely want to at least try out some of the
publisher options before re-inventing the wheel
entirely on your own.
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Online Student Help: The Good, The Bad, and
the . . .
Online students often feel isolated and
disconnected from their professor and classmates.
Online instructors realized this and provide tools
and strategies to keep students motivated and
engaged. Past podcasts have talked about some of
these strategies. Today I want to talk briefly about
some of the online help that is available to
Online students will probably first think of
reaching out to their instructor and fellow students
when they want a question answered – either through
email, Pronto, the class Discussion Board, voice
boards, or even the phone. However, many times the
student is working when others are not online or
available. What can they do then? Well, it turns
out, quite a lot!
Some of the resources that I describe are
valuable and instructors might consider putting the
links in their course but others are a waste of
time. Of course there are plenty of the Cliff Notes
sites that basically encourage students to not
bother reading the book! Fortunately, we now have
the TurnItIn anti plagiarism service available
through all instructors Blackboard courses.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Using Google Book Search
About Book Search.
Access Google Book Search at
http://books.google.com. The goal of
Google Book Search is to (as the
Googlepedia puts it) "...let you search the full
text of any book ever published, and then provide
the option of reading that book on line (for
selected books), purchasing the book (from selected
booksellers), or finding out where you can borrow a
copy of the book (from participating libraries)."
Quite a goal. Google and its library and
publisher partners are busily putting the full text
of millions of books in its databases as you
Every book in the Google Book Search database has
an "About this book" page containing basic
bibliographic information, links to bookstores where
the book can be purchased, and libraries where it
can be borrowed. Beyond that, the "view"
available of the book will vary depending on the
rights Google can legally claim vis-a-vis the
There are four possible views:
Full View - the book is out of copyright or
permission has been granted to display the
entire book. If the book is in the public
domain, it can be downloaded as a PDF document.
Limited Preview - for copyrighted material,
when the copyright holder joins the Google
Partner Program a few pages of the book are
available for preview, and multiple searches
within the book are allowed (Google has indeed
scanned the entire text) but the entire book
cannot be read online, and copy, save and print
functions are disabled.
Snippet View - when searching within the
book, up to three "snippets" will be displayed
to show the search term in context, but any
other browsing is not possible.
No Preview Available - only the "About this
book" page is available and even snippets are
As you might imagine, these "views" are
controversial and there are law suits pending as
certain publishers and authors attempt to "defend" their rights against
Google. Few publishers have bought into
the Internet mantra: the more you give away, the
more you sell. Google argues that if
publishers join the partners program, it will
In any event, the sources of the books in Google
Book Search are from
libraries (for the most part) and printers and
publishers who have joined the
partners program. Copyrighted library
books are scanned, but Google limits the view to
them in accordance with their interpretation of the
How to search.
Enter basic search
terms in the Google Book Search search box:
Note the filter for "Full view books" and also
the existence of an "Advanced Book Search" tool.
It is far better to use the advanced search tool
when you know details about the book you are
With the above advanced search, the first hit is
exactly the one we are searching for:
The Variation of animals and plants under
domestication v.2, published in 1868.
It also contains other works by Darwin that contain
the exact phrase "pangenesis." If we click on
our number 1 hit, since this is an out-of-copyright
work, Google displays the full text of page 357 of
that work, with the search term highlighted, and
with the various Google Book Search tools/links in a
side bar. Here is a reduced image of
Of course, there are page magnification,
formatting and navigation tools available at the top
of the screen:
The Google sidebar is the really useful
As you can see, it is possible to download the
entire book as a PDF, gather its
bibliographic/source information from the "About
this book" link, navigate through the book using its
table of contents, buy the book, with links to this
specific title at various vendors, locate it in a
nearby library using
OCLC's "WorldCat" database--and note that
foreign language versions and other editions of the
work will also be included in the library
search--search for any term within the book, and
read other editions, which in this case point to the
1876 edition. The OCLC WorldCat search will be
ordered by your zip code, so that you can find the
volume nearby for interlibrary loan. Worldcat
entries for works are also in a wiki format, which
permits reader posting of notes, subjects and
It gets even better. On the "About this
book" page for this volume, you will find links to
other, related volumes (Owen's On the Anatomy of
Vertebrates, for example, and Batesons's
Mendel's principles of heredity: A Defense--both
full view volumes. You will also find
references from scholarly works, and, leveraging the
power of Goolge Earth, a map of places mentioned in
The map is truly amazing. Each "pushpin" in
the map is clickable, with a call-out and citation
to the geographic reference in the work, with a link
back to the text:
It should be noted that where the work is not
public domain or scanned by permission of an author
or publisher, Google simply scans in library books
without any special permission. They limit the
view to these books, of course, but copyright
holders have taken a dim view and a number of law
suits against Google are pending. On the other
hand, some publishers view it as the promotional
opportunity it really is (in our view) and do not
have a problem with digitizing their property, as
long as it is not fully freely available at no cost,
except through lending libraries. Authors or
publishers works scanned by Google do have the
option to opt-out, but they argue (through a suit
brought by the Author's Guild) that they ought not
to be required to opt out and that Google is
violating copyright laws by making even snippets of
their works viewable and entire works searchable.
It will be years before the suits are settled,
and even then the Google enterprise will not have
lost its value when searching for primary documents
not covered by copyright. Taking the academic
view, there is no question, Google is our hero.
To keep up to date with happenings at Google Book
Search, view or subscribe to its
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