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- Blackboard Feature of the
- Teaching with Technology:
"The Pedagogy of Doing It Differently Next
Tech Talk Topic:
"Motion Paths in PowerPoint"
- For more, visit our
podcast notes page
for Episode 59.
Technology & Download News Briefs
Palomar College commencement
exercises will occur next Friday, May 18 at 5pm on
the football field. Congratulations to all our
graduates and transfer students.
The Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC)
has announced the availability for sale at very
large discounts for CC faculty and staff the new
Microsoft products: Windows Vista, Office 2007 and
SharePoint Designer 2007 (the replacement for
here to visit the purchase starting page.
(Click the learn more... link in the buy Microsoft
area of the page). Be sure to follow the link
Microsoft through the Microsoft Campus Agreement."
You will be required to print and fax/mail the order
form along with proof of college employment.
Through our campus agreement we can get Windows
Vista Business Edition (upgrade) for $45 plus tax,
Office 2007 Enterprise edition for $45 plus tax, and
SharePoint Designer for $40 plus tax.
We have updated our versions of Respondus (3.5.3)
and StudyMate (2.0.1), and will be renewing our
license on these products for the next academic
year. If you do not use them, go to our
download center to download and install
(requires Palomar authentication). If you
already have them installed, click the Help menu and
choose "Check for Update" and the program will
update itself. In addition to new versions, we
have preconfigured the Blackboard interface to make
it easier to connect the programs to our Blackboard
Windows Live Hotmail went live this week (Monday).
Click here for the web site. You start
with 2GB of storage, "improved" spam filtering, and
customizable design (including themes) that makes
Hotmail look a lot more like Microsoft Outlook,
including a preview pane and drag-and-drop filing.
May 9 Microsoft released a patch to correct
compatibility problems between Windows Vista and
Click here for the download page. The
patch addresses issues with data corruption on the
iPod when removed from a Vista computer. It is
available for download now, and will be
automatically available via Windows Update on
Tuesday, May 22.
Also on May 9 Sun released JavaFX, "the first
component of a new suite of Java-based development
tools intended to vastly simplify development of
rich interactive media applications that can run on
the desktop, in a web browser, or on mobile
devices...JavaFX isn't a completely independent
runtime; it is essentially designed as a layer that
sits on top of Java in order to make Java
better-suited for rich application development." (ars
technica). To find out more,
for the OpenJFX Project web site.
JavaFX is meant to compete with Adobe Flash, and so
is the release two weeks ago of Microsoft
Silverlight, in beta. Silverlight is
supposed to be the Flash killer, but most everyone
doubts it. It's worth visiting the web site
just to see the demos.
In addition to the Silverlight announcement,
Microsoft has also announed the availability of a
public beta of its SharedView product, a group
collaboration and sharing tool.
Click here to learn more and download the beta.
Mozilla announced the release of its open source
Thunderbird 2.0 email client about 2 weeks ago.
Click here for more information and the download
- Google also announced the development of
"Presently," its online presentation maker (and
purported PowerPoint killer). It is not here
yet, but will be soon (Wired).
Watch this space.
They have also announced a new feature called "Web
History," which tracks your browsing behavior in
order to more quickly retrieve relevant personal
searches. You have to give Google permission
to do this sort of tracking. Faust faced a
similar bargain with Mephistopheles. Find out
more about Web History at
- And speaking of that friendly giant, Google has been
named the most powerful world brand of 2007 in a
survey conducted by
Millward Brown (BBC).
The survey also attempts to associate brand with
value, assigning a value the brand is expected to
earn in the future. Google replaces Microsoft,
who was last year's winner. Here are the top
ten world brands:
(in billions $)
Click here for the top 100 report from
Millward Brown in PDF format.
File under "not so fast, Michael." Dell
announced this week that it will once again become
possible to get 4 models of Inspiron laptop and 2
models of Dimension desktops delivered new with
Windows XP, rather than Windows Vista. This is
after the company ran a poll at its
IdeaStorm web site and visitors voted
overwhelmingly to be able to specify the older
version of Windows. We concur. It is
just not time yet, because of driver and software
compatibility issues, to upgrade (theage.com.au).
Patch Tuesday occurred this week. There were
cumulative patches for IE7, the Office 2003
productivity programs, Windows XP and Windows Vista.
We will no longer be reporting specific patches
since the OS/Office/browser canvas has become just
too complex. Those interested will find
details on Microsoft security patches at
And while we are filing, file this one under "get 'em
hooked then reel 'em in." Microsoft announced
this week that in an effort to raise their user base
from 1,000,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 by 2015 they
will be providing at almost no cost (an average of
$3.00 per bundle) their most valuable software to
the world's most needy users. The bundle will
include Windows XP, Microsoft Office Home and
Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning
Essentials 2.0, and Windows Live Mail desktop (Ars
technica). A kind hearted gesture?
In their own version of good cop bad cop, Bill Gates
said "All human beings deserve a chance to achieve
their full potential," while Microsoft senior
vp Orlando Ayala said, "This is a business, not a
philanthropic effort" (bink)
thanks Orlando, we were confused.
Encyclopedia of Life (eol.org) commenced this
week. It is the dream child of world renowned
E. O. Wilson.
Click here to see his TED prize wish, calling
for the creation of the eol. "Comprehensive,
collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the
Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites
that makes all key information about life on Earth
accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Our
goal is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia
that lives on the Internet, with contributions from
scientists and amateurs alike;" Sort of the
Wikipedia of life sciences.
Click here for a set of sample pages.
"“This is one of those great things that will help
everyone,” says Cristián Samper, the acting
secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. “It’s one
of those fun projects for humanity" (MSNBC).
Click here for the official, inaugural press
University Libraries and Academic Information
Resources has developed the
Copyright Renewal Database with a grant from the
Hewlett Foundation. The database has been nicknamed
the 'Copyright Determinator.'
copyright status of books has become a pressing
issue as libraries and businesses develop plans to
digitize materials and make works in the public
domain widely available. In order to appropriately
select books for digitization, these organizations
need to determine efficiently and with some
certainty the copyright status of each work in a
large collection. The Determinator supports this
process, bringing all [U.S.] 1923-1963 book-renewal
records together in a single database and, more
significantly, making searchable renewal records
that had previously been distributed only in print"
- "The Pew Internet & American Life Project
released on Sunday a study
(PDF: A Typology of Information and Communication
Technology Users) of people's 'evolving
relationships to cyberspace.' Pew found in a
survey that 73 percent of U.S. adults own a cell
phone, 68 percent have a desktop computer, 30
percent possess a laptop, and 73 percent connect to
the Internet, but that very few use them to express
themselves publicly via Web 2.0 applications" (CNet).
Safari Tech Book Online: YouTube 4 You by
Michael Miller. "VIEW. UPLOAD. SHARE. That's
what YouTube is all about–viewing, uploading, and
sharing your favorite videos. And the book you hold
in your hands will help you get the most out of this
hot website. You'll learn how to find the latest
viral videos, share your favorite videos with
friends and the YouTube community, and shoot and
upload your own videos to the YouTube website.
YouTube 4 You is
the first book to take you inside YouTube, show you
how the site works, and provide tips and tricks for
becoming a more successful YouTuber!" Palomar maintains a
subscription to Tech Books Online, and the books can
be accessed from any computer on the campus network,
or from off the network with a password
obtainable from the library.
- Academic Technology Training
- We have completed our training schedule for
Spring 07. We will announce the new schedule
in this space in a couple of weeks.
- Palomar Office 2007 Training
- The Information Services department will be
offering training next week, on May 14, 16 and 17,
In Word, Excel and Outlook 2007. Contact the
help desk (phone ext. 2140) to schedule a time.
@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
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
Thank God It’s Finals! – A Blackboard
Ten days from now the first of the summer
classes officially begin, but for the moment let’s all try
to get done with Spring. Obviously the most important thing
looming for faculty right now is submitting final grades for
their students. Here are a couple of Gradebook tips to make
that process go more smoothly:
- Change your point of view – The
gradebook spreadsheet view is quite daunting, with
dozens of students assignment columns meeting in a grid
that requires horizontal scrolling on even the largest
monitors. It may help to use the Gradebook Views
feature, linked right under the Gradebook in the middle
right of the Control Panel, to look at all student
grades for a specific item, or all item grades for a
- Explain grades to students in
Blackboard – A “new with version 7.2” feature of the
Blackboard gradebook is the ability to post comments
back to students directly linked with their gradebook
entries. When you click on a grade in the gradebook, you
should now see an Edit Comment button over at the right,
which will let you send secure messages about that grade
back to show up on the student My Grades list.
- Switch to a filtered brand – Not
cigarettes, but gradebook filters. You can filter the
Blackboard gradebook view to show only the student names
and Totals, which really can streamline the process of
submitting final grades. An instructional video on this
topic may be found
An additional reminder should be given at
this time too; in line with our policy of removing
Blackboard courses a year after the semester they were
offered in, the Spring 2006 courses will be removed from our
Blackboard system on May 19th, 2007. If you haven’t already,
you may want to archive your course, as in the instructional
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
of Doing It Differently Next Time: Online Teaching Tips
Increasingly, it seems that one semester
runs right into the next – particularly for those of us who
teach over the summer. But, as many of my colleagues have
commented, each new semester gives us an opportunity to do
things a bit differently. In this segment I will comment on
a few simple strategies that will help you do your next
online class more efficiently and more effectively. While no
one will adopt all of these tips, my hope is that the
readers will find one or two of the following strategies
Those of us who teach the same online course each semester
tend to use similar announcements (e.g. welcome
announcement) over and over. Why not develop your
announcements as a word processing file? This way, you can
copy and paste in relevant announcements as appropriate and
maintain a record of them. Over time you might develop
categories of announcements to make searching easier.
Discussion Board: Best Practice.
Developing and maintaining a robust discussion board takes
work. First, the evidence is clear: If you want students to
post you have to reward the behavior, this usually means
points. Second, your expectations and requirements should be
clearly defined. A best practice strategy online instructors
are using is to reproduce a short discussion
post-and-response example (perhaps copied from a previous
class). Students are much more likely to post well when they
have clear guidelines and clear examples of what is
Keep Discussion Board Posts.
If you populate your discussion board forums with initial
threads, you can keep these in a word processing file then
copy and paste into a new discussion board as needed. I
frequently collect and later post (anonymously) particularly
thoughtful student comments and then ask others to respond
to them (e.g. “A former student said . . . how would you
respond to him?”); these too can be maintained in a word
processing file and posted into a current discussion board.
Syllabus Quiz. How often do students carefully read the
syllabus we spend so much time creating? Probably not as
much time as we’d like. “Encourage” them to read it
carefully by posting a syllabus quiz and award a couple of
points for anyone who gets 90% or higher. Alternatively, use
Blackboard’s adaptive release feature to only release other
material after students have achieved a certain score on the
An underused Blackboard feature is the student homepage
tool. To promote a sense of community, have students develop
their homepages and then construct a “Mystery Student
Contest” in which you ask questions about some of the
students in the class (obtained from the homepages). The
first 5 people to answer all the questions (i.e. identify
the mystery students) receive bonus points. (Click
here for an example).
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Motion Paths in PowerPoint
Humans are keen to detect small motions;
perhaps an inheritance from our species hunter-gatherer
past. In any event, for Homo PowerPointicus, a
little motion goes a long way in improving a PowerPoint
presentation. There is a simple, flash-like process
built in to PowerPoint that most people do not use. It
is called the "motion path." Motion paths allow you to
animate objects on your PowerPoint slides, that is, make
them move in a predefined or custom path across the slide.
To animate an object with a motion path,
first create the object. That is, place a graphic on
screen, type some text, or draw something on the slide,
either using the drawing tools, Autoshapes, or freehand.
Now select the object. You will see the sizing handles
appear around the borders of its invisible "container."
On the Custom Animation task pane (if your task pane is not
visible on the right of your screen, press Ctrl-F1 to turn
it on) select Motion Paths > Draw Custom Path > Scribble.
(Of course if you want to use one of the predefined paths
("Bounce Right," "Diagonal Down right," "Up," and so on) so
much the easier).
Now, place your cursor (which has become a
little pencil icon) over the object you wish to animate and
draw the motion path.
You can control its appearance, speed,
reverse its course, and so on using the Custom Animation
controls on the task pane.
Simple and effective.
Podcast Episode 59 |
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