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Technology & Download News Briefs
There will not be a podcast next week. We will
resume podcasting on April 27.
The Blackboard system will be unavailable Saturday,
April 21 from 12:01am to approximately 5pm in order
to update to version 7.2 of Blackboard. See
the "Blackboard Feature of the Week" below for an
explanation of the nature of the upgrade. The
upgrade should have only very minor feature set
impact, but does fix several bugs that have been
reported by users of Blackboard at Palomar.
Blackboard, Inc. recommends we make the upgrade as
soon as possible. For these reasons, we have
decided to proceed with the Blackboard before the
end of the semester, which is when we would normally
perform system upgrades.
On Friday, April 20 Fulbright Scholar Cory Doctorow
will be discussing his latest book, Set Top Cop:
Hollywood's Secret War on Your Living Room a
nonfiction book about the interaction of technology
control systems, democracy, culture and competition
and free speech.
Mr. Doctorow is an award winning science-fiction
writer, Mr. copyright reform activist, blogger,
public speaker and technology person.
He recently released his second short story
collection, Overclocked: Stories of the Future
Present from Thunder’s Mouth Press.
His science-fiction novels include Down and Out in
the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe and
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.
Doctorow is an advocate of freely sharing
information and as a result makes much of his work
available free online as Creative Commons-licensed
downloads. He's also the co-editor of
Boing Boing, an online "directory of wonderful
things." For four years, he served as the director
of European affairs for the Electronic Frontier
which he describes as "a technology advocacy
nonprofit that works to uphold liberty in technology
law, policy and standards." To learn more about Cory
Cory will speak in room P-32 from 9-11am.
Admission is free. Seating is limited to RSVP
to Patrick O'Brien at (760) 744-1150 ext. 2577 or
- Academic Technology Training
- On Friday, April 20 from 1-3pm in room LL-109
David Gray will present "Creating
Assessments in Blackboard."
- On Tuesday, April 24, from 2-4pm, Chris Norcross
is present "So
Long FrontPage: The Future of Web Authoring at
Palomar College," where Chris will introduce the
curious and committed to SharePoint Designer 2007.
- On Wednesday, April 25, from 10-11am in room
LL-111, Haydn Davis will present "Engaging
the Online Learner."
- On Thursday, April 26, from 1-3pm, Terry Gray
will present "Using
RSS, Blogs and Podcasts to Communicate."
The workshop will be held in room LL-111.
@ONE training resources:
- 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
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
The Upgrade to Blackboard 7.2
All in all, the changes which will come from the
upgrade to Blackboard 7.2 should be negligible to
the average user. There are several new or improved
features, but unless used these features will not
impact the course material at all. There are also
several fixes for issues seen here at Palomar which
we are anxious to see applied to the system, as well
as performance increases into grading and statistics
subsystems. So the changes should seem minor to
users, but should improve the overall experience of
using Blackboard. Specific noteworthy changes are
There are a number of enhancements to current
- Announcements – An extra checkbox now
appears on the Add Announcement page, which will
send an email to all course users about the new
announcement. This vastly simplifies a Best
Practice of posting an announcement whenever an
email goes out to all students.
- Email – Although the Email tool still does
not allow use of the Visual Text Box Editor, now
emails sent from within Blackboard can contain
HTML. If an email is sent in conjunction with a
posted Announcement (as above) the limited
Visual Text Box Editor of the Announcement tool
can be used to format the email text.
- Gradebook - Instructors can now add and
store optional notes or explanations with each
grade that is visible to students. A “Modify
Comments” button is available when an instructor
edits a grade, and a corresponding “View
Comments” button displays in the student My
Grades list if a comment has been provided.
- Discussion Board – Several enhancements to
the Discussion Board screens have been added,
including the ability to search for posts on a
specific date range without having other text to
search for. Also the Thread Detail page may be
switched from the top or bottom of the page for
easier navigation of threads.
- Discussion Board Grading – Grades based on
the Discussion Board are now included in
gradebook calculations by default. Also, when
students drop from the course they will no
longer show up in the Discussion Board grading
- Performance Improvements – The Discussion
Board forum lists and Performance Dashboard
information should load much faster in all
The Early Warning System tool is added into
course Control Panels. This tool, although
originally designed for K-12 institutions, may be of
use in identifying trends (both positive and
negative) in student performance. Similar to
grade-based Adaptive Release, Early Warning rules
are established which will allow instructors to
receive lists of students meeting the rule criteria,
with tools to easily email students listed for any
desired follow-up contact.
New OS and Browser combinations may also be used
with this new Blackboard version, including Windows
Vista with either IE 7 or Firefox 2. Firefox 2 is
also supported on both Windows XP and OS X 10.4.
In addition to these new abilities, this version
increase of Blackboard will fix several reported
known issues, such as:
- Posting graded Discussion Boards on a copied
course causes the Discussion Board grades to
disappear from the gradebook in the source
- When a Course Copy is processed, all content
is placed into a single content area, instead of
properly distributed across multiple content
- When a Course Link is added to an
Announcement, the link appears at first, but
vanishes after a user clicks on the link.
There are other fixes included, but these three
items have actually been seen on Palomar’s
Podcast Episode 58 |
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