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Opportunities Next Week
- Teaching with Technology:
"TeacherTube" and "Preventing Students from
Printing Blackboard Tests"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Searching with Internet Explorer 7"
- For more, see
podcast notes page
for Episode 67.
Technology & Download News Briefs
There is a new version of iTunes out, version 7.3.2.
Click here to download.
to Apple, you can't be too thin, or too powerful.
They are talking about the new iMac, however, and
many say they could have placed the period after
new sleek iMacs are now available. Read
all about it in the
Apple press release. Apple also released a
new iLife '08, with new versions of iPhoto and "a
completely reinvented" iMovie.
Click here for the iLife press release.
iWork '08 was also released with its
own press release.
Microsoft was let off the hook this week for a 1.53
billion judgment rendered against them earlier this
year, the result of a Lucent patent infringement
suit. 1.53 billion dollars is more than chump
change even for Microsoft. Lucent will appeal,
but its a new ballgame. Their original
judgment cannot be restored. They call this
development "shocking and disturbing."
Microsoft called it "a victory for consumers of
digital music and a triumph for common sense in the
patent system." He said she said. Read
the full story from
and reliability" and "compatibility
and reliability" patches for Windows Vista have
been officially released by Microsoft. Even
though Vista SP1 has not been released (and probably
will not be for several months), the two patches
have. Genuine Windows validation is required
to download. The patches are not part of the
auto-update feature yet, and probably will not be
until SP1 is delivered as a whole.
Students who purchase Microsoft Student with Encarta
2008 at most retailers will also receive free 75
minutes of live, online, one-on-one tutoring from
Tutor.com with a professional tutor.
“Sometimes students require help that only a live,
on-demand expert is capable of providing, and this
alliance will give students an increased opportunity
for academic success overall," according to Dave
Brooks, a Microsoft Manager.
Click here for the Microsoft press release,
here for tutor.com.
this one under, What's that puddle on the carpet?
Japanese manufacturers NEC and Hitachi have
announced a partnership to develop a liquid cooling
system for hard drives. A secondary goal of
the project (probably the primary goal when the
project began) is to produce a drive 5 decibels
quieter than any existing drive. The new
technology does both. Drives are wrapped in a
casing containing micro channels through which water
is re-circulated. The sound proofing does, in
fact, quite the dives to 25 dB. The resulting
heat caused by the insulation is dissipated through
the cooling system. (ars
In 2005 the California passed, with strong support
from Gov. Schwarzenegger, a law that required
retailers to label violent video games and prohibit
their sale to minors (see "Terminator
bans himself" at ars technica). The
law never went into effect because of a preliminary
inujunction. The injunction has now been made
permanent by Judge Ronald Whyte.
Whyte found the California law problematic on
several levels. He agreed with the Entertainment
Software Association's position—and that of other
courts—that the law was unconstitutional on First
Amendment grounds. He was also critical of arguments
that video game violence causes real-world violence.
'At this point, there has been no showing that
violent video games as defined in the Act, in the
absence of other violent media, cause injury to
children,' he wrote in his decision. 'Although some
reputable professional individuals and organizations
have expressed particular concern about the
interactive nature of video games, there is no
generally accepted study that supports that
Safari Tech Book Online:
Microsoft Windows Vista Help Desk, by Andy
"What do you do when your squeaky new Microsoft
operating system doesn't work? You moan and complain
and get personal about Bill Gates's haircut while
you wait for Microsoft to figure it out and issue a
fix in a hefty service pack in a year or so. Or
you could take the smart way out and use this
definitive troubleshooting book that will cure your
illin' Vista PC in no time flat." 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
- On Thursday, Aug. 16, from 3-5pm in room LL-109
David Gray and Dr. Haydn Davis will present a
- That same evening, from 7:15 to 9pm, in room
LL-109 Dr. Davis, David Gray and Terry Gray will
New in Academic Technology" for part-time
faculty members. The What's New workshop
will be repeated the next day, at 10:30am, in room
LL-109, for full-time faculty members.
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
YouTube, the web site that allows users to
upload videos that anyone can see has become so popular it
is now part of the national vocabulary. The recently
sponsored Democratic Presidential candidate debates shows
how respectable this site has become. It obviously impressed
Google which last year purchased it for $1.65 billion!
A persistent complaint about YouTube is
that, while there are many entertaining and even educational
videos posted there, much of the content is pretty
worthless. The enormous popularity of the site particularly
with young people stimulated many in the education arena to
wonder if the site could be used to promote educational
On March 6th TeacherTube was launched.
This site is similar to YouTube but provides instructors a
more educationally focused site. Here instructors upload
videos designed to teach something: a difficult concept,
procedure, or skill. According to an eSchool News online
article: “Users are able to rate videos and leave comments;
search for videos by tags; find, join, and create video
groups to connect with people who have similar interests;
and even customize their experience by subscribing to member
videos, saving favorites, and creating playlists.” The site
is free of charge and enables users to make their videos
public or restrict them to only those you wish to view them.
With the easy ability to link videos from
Blackboard, this site has potential to connect with our
students in a way that they enjoy.
Prevent Students from Printing
A persistent concern among online faculty
is that cheating is easier in online classes. While students
love the convenience of taking tests and quizzes online,
many instructors worry that students will print the test and
show it to another student. To minimize this instructors
have implemented various strategies such as requiring
students to submit a test one question at a time. Even this
strategy would make printing a test more difficult, it could
still be done – one page at a time.
The approach listed below prevents
students from printing tests although it does require that
tests be presented all at once – in other words all test
items are displayed and students answer them all before
submitting the test. The way to do this is very simple, it
involves entering one line of text into the first test
question; text that is hidden from students.
To prevent printing, open the test in Test
Manager, go to the first test question and click modify.
When the text modify box opens enter HTML mode by clicking
the down arrow as shown below:
After clicking the down arrow, more
options will open. Click the HTML symbol:
When you are inHTML mode,
position the cursor at the very beginning of the
first question and type in the text below exactly as shown.
Then click Submit to save the question with the text added
(students will not see this text).
Now when the student clicks Print, only a
blank page will display and students cannot print the test.
For a brief (1-page) PDF summary of this
click here (courtesy of St. Louis Community College).
Here is the exact code that must be entered at the start of
There are some things to remember when
using this technique, however:
- You must enter the HTML script at the
beginning of the first question in the test.
- If you use randomizing, you must use
the same first question on every student's test and add
the randomized items below question one.
- You will need to use the "All at
once" presentation mode--otherwise you will would need
to enter the script at the beginning of each question.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Podcasting with the Oscelot Podcaster
Audio Considerations. If your intention is to present a straightforward
audio file to your students, a greeting,
instructions, your lectures, or an explanation of a
special topic, all you need do is 1) record the
audio; 2) convert it (if necessary) to a compressed
audio format (we recommend either WMA (Windows Media
Audio) or MP3 (MPEG 1 Layer 3) formats--DO NOT use
an uncompressed format like WAV); 3) upload the
audio file to your Blackboard course or web site;
and 4) Create a link to the audio file.
This is all very straightforward and easily
accomplished. We have published how-to
articles on these topics before:
Academic Technology has digital voice recorders
checkout, WS-100s or WS-300s. They are
very easy to work with, and record in compressed WMA
format. If you wish to convert your files to
the more universal MP3 format, you will need to use
a free utility to do so (WMA
to MP3 on Windows XP,
Switch on Windows Vista or Mac OS X).
Remember that voice audio does not have to be
encoded at high bitrates. 32kbps or even lower
is fine. Remember also that WMA files can be
played with QuickTime on the Mac if Mac OS X users
install the free
Windows Media Components for QuickTime from
Flip4Mac. There is no real need to convert to
MP3 unless you are simply presenting a
straightforward audio file.
If you wish to record your audio with a
microphone attached to your sound card, you will
need a program with which to record. We
recommend the free, open source
Audacity. Audacity permits editing of the
audio, and export to MP3 format.
So much for straightforward. If you wish to
podcast your audio, however, you will find it easy
to use the Oscelot Podcaster, which is new in
Blackboard this semester (fall 2007).
Previously we had installed the Horizon Wimba
podcaster, but we no longer have access to the
Horizon Wimba voice tools. The Oscelot
Podcaster is a free, open source product.
The difference between a straightforward audio
link and a podcast is that a podcast is intended to
be a series of audio (or video) files that can be
subscribed to using RSS (really simple syndication)
in a program called a "podcatcher," like Apple's
iTunes. It sounds much more complicated than
it is. Actually, after you try the Oscelot
podcaster you may decide that you want to use it for
your straightforward audio uploads too. That's
up to you.
Using the Oscelot Podcaster.
Podcasts can be created in any content area in
Blackboard, and different episodes of the podcast
can be placed in different content areas. Open
the content area where you wish to create your
podcast, click "Edit View" in the upper right of the
screen, click the "Select" drop-down on the right
end of the Edit toolbar, and choose "Podcast
Episode," then click "Go."
An "Add Podcast Episode" screen will appear with
five areas to be filled in.
Note that the audio (or video) file
for the podcast must be pre-recorded. Podcasting
with the Oscelot Podcaster supports the following audio
and video formats:
This means that if you use the WS-100 or
WS-300 digital voice recorders to record your audio, you
will need to convert it to mp3 for use with the podcaster.
You do not record the audio within
Blackboard, as you did with the Wimba Podcaster. You
can optionally attach supporting documents or other media,
which will remain associated with your podcast audio.
You may, for example, audio record a lecture and wish to
attach an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, a textual
transcript of the Podcast, and an ancillary
After creating this first episode to your
course podcast, you may wish to add others. The
Oscelot Podcaster permits placing other episodes in any
course content area you wish. Let's say you have
assigned a particularly difficult project to your students
and wish to provide further instructions and encouragement
to them through an audio message.
The real strength of podcasting is that
podcasts can be subscribed to via a web protocol called RSS,
or "really simple syndication." To create the RSS
"feed" for your course podcast, enter the Control Panel for
In the "Course Tools" area of the Control
Panel click on "Manage Podcast."
A 4-part Blackboard form will appear.
In part 3 of that form, "Options" click the radio button
next to "Everyone. Available to the public."
This is the option that creates the RSS fee and makes your
Note that part 2 of this form is the area
where you can include iTunes meatadata, like category
descriptions and album art that will appear in iTunes.
Click submit and the RSS feed is created. If you
choose not to make your podcast subscribable, you may still
wish to use the Oscelot Podcaster because it is a simple way
to upload/link audio files to your course, and has the
advantage of keeping links to ancillary materials along with
the audio link.
Your students subscribe to the RSS feed by
clicking the "Course Tools" area of their Blackboard course,
and then clicking "Podcast."
Any/all podcast "episodes" can be played
from this area. This is the area that contains the
We have a
tutorial on podcast subscription available, but most
students will not need it. They will be used to using
iTunes to sync their iPods with their music collections, so
we recommend that iTunes be used as their default podcast
receiver. Their are two ways to subscribe in iTunes.
First, the user can have both iTunes and Blackboard running
simultaneously, and can then crag the iTunes icon from
Blackboard onto the podcast screen in iTunes (this is the
cool way); or, more simply, the user can click the iTunes
icon in Blackboard. iTunes will be invoked and the
user will be subscribed to the podcast. iTunes is not
the most efficient Windows program, so give it some time to
start and do its thing. It runs much more quickly on
The strong advantage to subscribing in
iTunes (or any podcatching program or service) is that the
student will receive all the audio files automatically
without ever having to check back into their Blackboard
course to see if new material has been published.
Secondly, it will also be the simplest way to get your
lectures or other audio materials onto the student's iPod or
other mp3 player. Thirdly, the student can play the
episodes from within iTunes at any time in the future, when
preparing for a test, for example.
The Oscelot Podcaster is a simple to use,
but powerful podcast/audio solution for those who wish to
provide audio materials to their students.
For a screencast on using the Oscelot
click here for one from the University of Nebraska at
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