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Opportunities Next Week
- Blackboard Feature of the
"The Coming Thing"
- Teaching with Technology:
"What do students think of lecture podcasts?"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Embedding a YouTube Video"
- For more, see
podcast notes page
for Episode 65.
Technology & Download News Briefs
big news over the last couple of weeks, of course,
has been about the release of the
iPhone on June 29. We are going to remain
neutral on this one. Judy Phillips of
behavioral science stood in line for 5.5 hours on
the 29th to be one of the first purchasers in the
county, and then attended iPhone classes the
following weekend to learn all about it. She
brought it by for evaluation, and it is, as they
say, really cool. Judy was not alone.
They sold 500,000 of them the first week. As
usual, success breeds detractors. Here, via
ExtremeTech, is an article on "Ten
Reasons Why You Shouldn't Buy an iPhone," (empty
headed Applephobic nonsense, in our opinion) and "No
BS iPhone Review" which recommends waiting to
buy (which might not be such bad advice).
Click here for another very thorough review from
iTunes 7.3 was released two
weeks ago with two new features: the ability to
wirelessly share digital photos from computer with
iTunes to AppleTV, and support for the iPhone
(surprised? - support is to activate and sync the
library to the iPhone). Just yesterday,
version 7.3.1 with QuickTime 7.2 (!) was released,
to fix bugs and to add export to iPhone
functionality to QuickTime.
Click here to download.
a move that proves that Google now owns Feedburner,
Feedburner announced Tuesday,
via their blog, that the former for-pay services
at Feedburner, Feedburner Stats Pro and Feedburner
MyBrand, are now free. Read the post to find
out how to use them.
Google this week acquired
Postini, an on-demand communications security
solutions company, for $625 million. "'With
this transaction, we're reinforcing our commitment
to delivering compelling hosted applications to
businesses of all sizes.
the addition of Postini, our apps are not just
simple and appealing to users -- they can also
streamline the complex information security mandates
within these organizations,' said Eric Schmidt,
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of
Google." Still think Google isn't interested
in edging out Microsoft in the desktop application
arena? Think again. See the
Google press release for details.
Microsoft Malware Protection Center is now open
to the public and is a great resource for
understanding computer security concerns.
Also from Microsoft, Patch
Tuesday occurred this week (7/10/07). It was,
reportedly going to be small potatoes, with only 6 updates, 3
critical, but my experience was 13 updates on
Windows Vista and Office 2007 combined. A
rather larger potato. For details, see the
Microsoft Security Bulletin.
ZDNet reported this week that Microsoft is set
to release the beta 1 of SP1 to Windows Vista in
mid-July, probably next week, with the final version
probably due in November. It is stronly
recommended that District computers running Vista
NOT update to the beta service pack, but rather to
wait for the official release.
Dr. Carey Carpenter for his new blog "Anatomy
Word of the Day," published on blogspot.
Carey adds a new anatomical term each week day.
He is writing a book on the origin of anatomical
terms (tentatively titled "Tough Mother in a Turkish
Saddle"!!! and is having fun sharing his
wealth of wisdom on his blog. It is for
anatomists, etymologists, and historians alike.
In the battle of Blu-ray v. HD
DVD, most experts are quick to say that Blu-ray is
winning but its not over yet. To emphasize
that point, Toshiba, prime backer of the HD-DVD
format, announced support for Internet interactivity
for HD-DVD titles (See the
ars technica report).
"The first title is the Japanese animated film
Freedom, released last week. Freedom sports the
relatively modest features of downloading an
additional movie trailer, changing menu styles, and
downloading different subtitles. A networked HD DVD
player will grab all of this content from an online
"The HD DVD version of the hit film 300, due out at
the end of July, will offer more substantial bonuses
such as a strategy game and the ability to re-edit
the movie in a different sequence and upload the
results to a server hosted by Warner Bros. Blood
Diamond, coming out on July 3 in HD DVD format, will
offer an online poll as part of the special
features." The cheapest HD-DVD player
now goes for $299, the cheapest Blu-ray player for
$499. Still, Blu-ray has major studio support
and Blockbuster has announced that it is the format
of choice for their stores. Sony, inventor of
Blu-ray will soon be adding interactive content
also. The battle continues.
1 TB Optical Disks? Researchers with the
Microholas Project have discovered a technique
that allows storage of 500GB of data on a DVD-sized
disk. It is expected that by refining the
technique it will be possible to store 1TB of data
on the same disk by 2010.
Project aims to implement a microholographic
recording techniques which record data to
nanostructures in the recording process. By
combining multilayer storage and holographic
multiplexing, "microholography" allows data to be
stored in three dimensions. The technology works by
replacing the two-dimensional pit-land structures
currently found on CDs and DVDs with microgratings,
which are "holographically induced" using two laser
beams. In other words, instead of recording to a
series of bumps and pits like standard CDs, the new
technology creates three-dimensional holographic
grids that can be used for reading and writing data
throughout the physical structure of the disc" (ars
Want to send a Twittergram? Dave Winer thinks
you ought to. Winer, the inventor of
podcasting, is experimenting with a new publishing
medium called the Twittergram. It is a brief
(no more than 75 charaters, text message coupled to
a small (no bigger than 200K) mp3 file. You
create an account on the Twitter server and send
Twittergrams to your friends, who click the links
and listen to the audio files.
to try it.
Wondering how to do just about anything? There
are two new video how-to sites which pretty much
cover the waterfront of human activities:
Click here for example, here is a video from
VideoJug on How To Use An RSS Feed.
More to the point,
click here for how to make
a Strawberry Daiquiri, from
Find money with MS Virtual
Earth! From bink.com: "Bank of America is the
latest customer to adopt Virtual Earth for their
retail locator application. Enter your street,
city and state for the most accurate results or just
put in a postal code. You can preselect the type of
outlet you want - banking centers, ATMs or talking
ATMs; as well, you can specify if you want just
results or a map with results. Results will be
produced in distance order along with the address,
distance to the branch (as the crow flies) and links
to driving directions and hours and phone numbers,
respectively. Hovering over an icon will give you
detailed information including lobby and drive up
Starting this month Microsoft
and its partners will be selling the IQ PC in India.
At first, in Banalore and Pune, with plans to expand
nationwide by November. The computer will sell
for 21,000 rupees ($513) but Microsoft hopes to
bring the price down over time.
computers are aimed at k-12 students, and will
include Vista Basic, Works and Student 2007.
"India faces a serious challenge in providing
quality education, a critical factor in ensuring
that children begin with a fair level of
opportunity," Microsoft Senior Vice President
Orlando Ayala. "If applied correctly,
technology holds great potential to meet this
by the way, Microsoft will be developing its new
generation of information workers in the process
while, of course, turning a profit. (CNet).
If you are a TiVo owner, beginning this week
(Tuesday 7/10) you can order Amazon Unbox movies
directly through your TV, bypassing the computer as
the middleman. (NY
CCC Confer and Elluminate, Inc. officially announced
that Elluminate's Elluminate Live! will become the
new econferencing system used by Confer (with a
corresponding Blackboard component for distance
education) for the next year.
Click here for the press release.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Flash CS3 Professional
in 24 hours, by Phillip Kerman. "In
just 24 lessons of one hour or less, you will be
able to create dynamic animations using Adobe®
Flash® CS3 Professional. Using a straightforward,
step-by-step approach, each lesson builds on the
previous ones, enabling you to learn the essentials
of Flash from the ground up." 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.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
- We have published the Academic Technology fall
2007 training schedule.
Click here for the training overview page,
here for the schedule. You can also
view/download the schedule in PDF format by
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
The Coming Thing
This week finds me "on location" in Boston, for
the Blackboard World convention. This marks the
tenth anniversary of Blackboard, and the first time
they've held a convention combining both their
normal Blackboard product line and their newly
acquired WebCT products. This caused some of the
conference focus to be on products we don't license
at Palomar, but there were plenty of announcements
that will apply for us too.
The first significant announcement was for the
release of yet another Application Pack for version
7 of Blackboard. I can't go into the details of what
changes this will mean (although that will certainly
be a topic for a later date) but one set of changes
leaped out at everyone during the conference
announcements: In version 7.1 of Blackboard the
Discussion Board system changed significantly. The
current version of our Discussion Board is...
imperfect. With this new version a great many
Discussion Board looks will revert of the "old
style," which should make quite a few people happy.
However, I haven't yet reviewed all the proposed
changes, so... more on that later, too.
announcement is that Blackboard is integrating their
own plagiarism prevention tool, called SafeAssign,
into the products that we currently license.
Although we currently run the Turnitin tool, we'll
have to do some comparisons to see if it makes sense
to continue licensing that separately or if we
should just begin using Blackboard's new offering.
Again, details are for another time, but if you are
interested the news release of the SafeAssign
product may be found online at
I got to take a look at the Elluminate system, which
has been acquired by the CCC Confer people to
replace the Wimba LiveClassroom system we'd used
previously. My impression is that, once we get this
in place, faculty are going to be quite happy with
the new system. But, once again, that will be a
topic whose details must wait for a future date.
So, although I can't give you specific details on
upcoming tools, I can say that some significant
changes are en route, and the details should be
trickling out over the next month in coming
episodes. Something to look forward to...
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
What do students think of lecture podcasts?
audio players have been around for some time but
with the introduction of Apple’s iPod a few years
ago they really took off. I challenge you to go
anywhere now and not see people of all ages walking,
exercising, driving, in meetings, even sleeping -
with little ear phones dangling from their ears! A
natural question to those of us interested in using
technology in our teaching is: Could this phenomenon
be used advantageously in our classes?
In this Teaching with Technology segment I will
take a first look at educational podcasts. Podcasts,
the way I’m using the term, consist of audio and/or
video content that is available for downloading over
the internet into a portable player such as an iPod
and, now, also into cell phones such as the recently
released iPhone. Podcasts follow a subscription
model such that, when you request the first podcast,
you can automatically receive all future ones
without doing anything further.
Faculty are beginning to experiment with using
podcasts in their classes, typically as an optional
activity. Why would they do this? Well the
objectives vary, some instructors record their
entire lectures; students can listen to it at a time
and place convenient to them in order to get
something they missed during the lecture, or maybe
they missed class that day. Some students appreciate
having the audio lectures in order to review a
difficult concept. Some instructors use podcasts for
test review purposes. Some instructors podcast
pre-lecture material and post-lecture discussions.
Podcasts are being used in a lot of creative ways. I
know several Palomar faculty are doing lecture
podcasts and a couple of questions immediately
- Is the effort required to make this happen
- What do students think of lecture podcasts?
and universities around the country are jumping on
the podcast bandwagon. For example, in 2004 Duke
University began giving each incoming freshmen a new
iPod. And in 2005 Drexel University’s School of
Education began doing the same thing. Stanford
University is making podcast lectures available to
their alumni. There certainly seems to be an
audience out there –the American University
Washington College of Law saw the number of its
listeners grow from 400 in September, 2005 to 15,500
in early November, 2005 – just two months later!
There isn’t much empirical literature published
yet about how effective educational podcasts are but
a recent study published in the Journal of Online
Learning and Teaching (June, 2007) is interesting.
The study doesn’t address the pedagogical
effectiveness of educational podcasts but did
explore the important question of whether or not
students would listen to them. The lead author of
the study is affiliated with the Pennsylvania State
University system and tracked the use and attitudes
of students toward lecture podcasts. Students
responded to survey questions that asked whether or
not they owned a computer, an MP3 player or
iPod-like device, if they listened to the lecture
podcasts from the class, and how well they liked
them. Only one-third of the students who responded
to the survey reported owning an MP3 player/iPod;
this surprised me. However, the class podcasts were
made available as a downloadable file so all
students could listen to them from any computer with
Proving, I guess, that university students are no
different from Palomar students, the study reports
that, even though all students were informed about
the lecture podcasts and how to get them, a
mid-semester survey indicated that about 40% of the
students were unaware of them.
In addition to surveying the students about
whether or not they listened, the study employed a
more objective measure. A tracking feature in ANGEL,
the university’s course management system analogous
to our Blackboard, recorded which students clicked
on the link to open or download the podcast files.
These data indicated that while 40% of the
students accessed the first class podcast, the
numbers went down dramatically from there. Eight
students (out of 68) listened to all the podcasts,
five did not listen to any, and 30% of the students
listened to two of the podcasts. Looking at the data
a general summary statement might be: About 15% of
the students listened to many of the class podcasts.
From these statistics it might appear as though
students are not exactly clamoring for lecture
that some time and effort on the instructor’s part
is required to implement a podcast strategy, it
would certainly be instructive to learn whether or
not students thought the resource was valuable. In
spite of the fact that many students did not take
advantage of the lecture podcasts, they unanimously
thought that the podcasts were valuable and assisted
their learning – 100% of the respondents answered
Yes to that question. And all the students
recommended that the instructor keep doing it.
So what’s the bottom line here?
- First, iPods and other MP3 players are
extremely popular with students and all
indications are that this popularity will
- Second, podcasts of various kinds are
becoming increasingly available – Apple has
established a repository for educational
podcasts that can be freely downloaded. They
call the higher education site iTunesU.
- Third, effective ways to integrate
educational podcasts into classes are still
being worked out.
Here are some practical suggestions to those who
might want to experiment with this technology.
- Conduct a hands-on information workshop with
the class before making the lecture podcasts
available. In this workshop students would
practice downloading a podcast and the
instructor could stress the benefit of listening
on a regular basis.
- Start small. While some may choose to
podcast all their lectures, it might be better
to start with a shorter podcast such as a weekly
summary of important or difficult lecture
- Of course including a couple of sample test
questions in a podcast or the answer to a
question you will ask at the next class would be
an incentive to listen.
In short, faculty are just beginning to develop
academically creative ways to use a technology
(iPods) that our students are very comfortable with.
In a follow-up segment I’ll discuss the effect of
podcasting on learning outcomes and student
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Embedding a YouTube Video
There are plenty of ridiculous videos on YouTube,
in fact, it is hard to find a non-ridiculous video
on YouTube, but they exist. Ridiculous or not,
professors may want to embed YouTube (or other, like VideoJug
and ExpertVillage) videos
on their web sites or within Blackboard. Read
on to find out how.
First, do you really want to embed, that is,
place the video window on your web page, or do you
want to link. To link, simply make a normal
hyperlink using FrontPage, SharePoint Designer,
Dreamweaver, or the Blackboard External Link tool
(if you want a stand alone item) or the Blackboard
visual text editor (if you want to link inline with
other text). Linking is preferable when you
don't want to give up a lot of page real estate for
the large YouTube video window, or when you are
sending an email and your users' mail clients are
liable to block scripted contents.
If you really want to embed, however, you have to insert some HTML
code directly into your web page or Blackboard
content item. Here is how to do it.
First, get the embed code from YouTube.
Each YouTube video is accompanied by a URL for
linking (see above), and Embed code for embedding.
Copy the Embed code to the clipboard by selecting
it (a simple click on the code will do it),
right-clicking (Mac control-click) and choose Copy.
Now open the web page you want to embed the video
Using FrontPage or SharePoint Designer on a standard web page, choose
Insert > Web Component... > Advanced Controls > HTLM
When the HTML Markup box opens, paste in the
embed code you copied from YouTube and click OK.
Now save the page (all you will see visually on the
page is a little yellow box with a question mark in
Now, save the page and preview it to be sure it
In the Blackboard Visual Text Editor type
whatever prefatory text you wish, then click the
Click the HTML control again to return to visual
text edit mode. Now click Submit, then test
the video within Blackboard to be sure it plays
Could there be copyright problems with doing
this? According to the EFF (Electronic
Frontier Foundation) "...where inline links [the
embed code illustrated above is an inline link] are
concerned, there is absolutely no direct copyright
infringement liability" (see the
entire article for details). It is
possible there could be something called
"contributory infringement," ("a kind of 'aiding and
abetting' liability") but to qualify for this you
must a) link to a video that you know is infringing
and b) your link materially contributes to the
infringement. The EFF article gives two rules
of thumb for avoiding even this peripheral copyright
danger: "(1) don't embed videos that are
obviously infringing, and (2) consider removing
embedded videos once you've been notified by a
copyright owner that they are infringing."
In summary, copyright infringement even on a
public web site is extremely unlikely, especially if
you are reasonably certain the video is not
infringing in the first place, but even if this is
in question, you can avoid any sort of liability if
you remove the video once you receive a takedown
notice. After all, you are protected by the
same laws that protect Google and Yahoo when they
link to content. In an academic environment,
there are further protections if the video is being
used to educate. First, a fair use argument
could be made. Secondly, if the video is being
used for distance education, the TEACH Act can be
applied, provided the video was placed in
Click here [PDF] for the excellent fair use
worksheet, and here for the equally excellent
TEACH Act check list, both from North Carolina
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