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Opportunities Next Week
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Student Procrastination Detection"
- Teaching with Technology:
"The Pedagogy of Discussion Board Settings"
Tech Talk Topic:
"That Windows Key"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode 69.
Technology & Download News Briefs
News of grants: We have two to report, the
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) "Digital
Humanities Start-up Grants" for public and state
controlled institutions of higher education,
deadline for application October 16; and the
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
"Digital Innovation Fellowships," deadline for
application October 3. The NEH
grants are involve new, digital approaches to
presenting information in the humanities.
Click here for full information. The ACLS
grants require the applicant have a PH. D.
They support work for an academic year on a major
scholarly project that takes a digital form.
Click here for full explanations.
Remember when Skype was down for three days
last week? Skype has reported that the problem
was related to massive, simultaneous PC reboots
after the Microsoft update on Patch Tuesday.
"Normally Skype's peer-to-peer network has an
inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event
revealed a previously unseen software bug within the
network resource allocation algorithm which
prevented the self-healing function from working
quickly." Though several news reports
indicated Skype was blaming Microsoft, they were
untrue. Skype took full responsibility for
their own software bugs. They still do not
know why previous MS patches did not cause the
problem. The term "Perfect Storm" has been
bruited about (ars
College Television (PCTV) can help you make a
promotional video for an under-enrolled class, to
publicize your event or program, or for any other
reason, from 30 second promos through recording an
entire course lecture series.
Click here to view a video featuring Bill
Wisneski that explains how (windows media).
Call Bill at ext. 2722, or email,
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Microsoft announced this week that their new
Windows Home Server product has been
released to manufacturing, meaning it will be
available in retail outlets within about two months.
Click here for Paul Thurrott's pre-review.
Gizmodo reports price/availability "leaks" from
Amazon at $599 for the 500GB model and $759 for the
1TB, available September 15.
Google announced this week a simple way to embed
Google maps in websites or blogs. It is as
simple as copying and pasting a snippet of HTML
code. Go to
Google Maps, find a desired location, and click
the "Link to this page" link. Copy and paste
the resulting HTML into any web page (Google
Adobe has announed a flash player 9 version, out now
in beta, which incorporates codecs for HD TV quality
video: "the latest update for Adobe® Flash®
Player 9 software, code-named Moviestar, which
includes H.264 standard video support -- the same
standard deployed in Blu-Ray® and HD-DVD® high
definition video players --
High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support, as well
as hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full
screen video playback. These advancements will
extend Adobe's leadership position in Web video by
enabling the delivery of HD television quality and
premium audio content through the ubiquitous Adobe
Flash Player and pave the way to expand rich media
Flash experiences on the desktop and H.264 ready
consumer devices." Download the beta flash
Adobe Labs (Yahoo
A study conducted in the UK by the Confederation fo
British Industry and Pertemps Employment Trends
found that 92% of employers are happy with the IT
skills of students taking the General Certificate of
Secondary Education exams. "Their fluency with
and MySpace has translated well into the
workplace, and often gives them an edge over their
bosses" (CNET). Conversely, 52% of employers
are dissatisfied with the basic literacy of those
who have completed secondary school, and 50% said
the same about numerical skills. iPods and
MySpace yes, math and English, not so much.
has signed an agreement with the
Internet Archive to digitize and host media
documenting 50 years of NASA history. The
collection, once it is available, will contain 12
million NASA photographs, 100,000 hours of video,
audio files and computer animations. The site,
once it is mounted, will be at Nasaimages.org.
Access to the site will be free. The Internet
Archive is a rival of Google's, with a similar
mission statement, so it is surprising that NASA
elected to use them, given the close working
relationship between NASA and Google on projects
Google Mars (CNet).
first major change in the blu-ray v. HD DVD battle
has occurred. Blu-ray had appeared to have
achieved a commanding lead, but this week Paramount
and Dreamworks announced that they are abandoning
blu-ray in favor of distribution of media in HD DVD
format only. The companies had previously
released video in both formats (engadget).
Safari Tech Book Online:
Google in Education, by William Lawrence. "Google
technologies can pull far-flung places into your
classroom and make historical events come alive for
your students. Students can express themselves
through blogs, collaborative writing, and
slideshows. Google provides the necessary tools to
bring your classroom or educational institution into
the 21st century, while also giving you the means to
protect users' privacy. " Palomar maintains a
subscription to Tech Books Online, and the books can
be accessed from any computer on the campus network.
Contact the library for information about off-campus
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
- Elluminate is our new econferencing system.
There are many excellent training resources
available through the
Elluminate training center. Live,
instructor led training seminars--conducted through
the Elluminate interface--occur regularly and
may be scheduled through their web site.
@ONE training resources:
Feature of the Week - David Gray
Student Procrastination Detection
Blackboard has some features that may be of
assistance in keeping students within deadlines, and
can aid faculty in sheepherding students through
projects. The two prime movers in this effort are
the Performance Dashboard and the Early Warning
Buried over on the right of the Control Panel,
near the link to the Gradebook, are links to these
tools. If you’re looking to check up on the overall
progress of your students, the Performance Dashboard
is your friend. If, on the other hand, you’re
looking to send a prompt to students who aren’t
keeping up, the Early Warning System may be the tool
The Performance Dashboard contains an entry for
each user in the course, all the students and
instructors. Convenient columns of numbers will tell
you the last time each user accessed the course
site, so you’ll know that if Billy hasn’t logged in
for twelve days he certainly didn’t see the new
assignment posted on Monday. You can see overviews
on student use of the Review Status tool, Discussion
Board postings, and even the student Grade Lists.
Clicking on any of these numbers and icons will give
more detail on the work done by individual students.
The Early Warning System can be used to easily
find which students haven’t met some criteria; you
can set up different rules, depending on student
performance by Grade, assignment Due Dates, or even
the last time they accessed the course. Each rule
will generate a list of students meeting the
criteria, for example a list of students who haven’t
accessed the course in twelve days.
This tool differs from the Performance Dashboard
by making it convenient to email any or all of the
students on this list, to give a reminder or warning
to them. Similar lists of students could be
generated for those who earn less than 75% on a
particular test, or fail to turn in a draft of an
essay to Blackboard by the assigned due date. The
Early Warning System can really minimize the amount
of time faculty spend searching through the
gradebook or assignment list trying to find which
students are failing to keep up. (Of course, the
System can just as easily pinpoint students doing
especially well, to deliver congratulations if
Sometimes students don’t keep up with their
coursework; the Performance Dashboard and Early
Warning System can help you identify and communicate
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
of Discussion Board Settings
The class Discussion Board plays a central
role in most online classes. Within the class Discussion
Board an instructor can create as many different forums as
deemed desirable. Of course Discussion Board forums can
serve many purposes and, consequently, each forum can
contain its own settings. Let’s consider forum settings in
light of the pedagogical purpose they support.
Anonymous Posts. The first setting is
whether or not to allow anonymous posts. As the name
implies, this means that, when users (students or
instructors), post comments to the forum, the post will not
reveal their name. If this setting is not enabled (e.g. if
it is unchecked as shown in the graphic below) then the
user’s name will be shown next to the post made.
Note how the posts display differently
with Anonymous not enabled, and then with it enabled.
The second setting asks whether or not you want to allow the
author to remove his/her own posts. Instructors differ on
their approach to this setting. An argument in favor of
allowing it is that sometimes students realize only after
posting a comment that they really didn’t want to say what
they posted; if this box is checked, students would be able
to remove their post. Instructors who don’t allow this argue
that students should think carefully before they post and,
posting something they really didn’t want to, will encourage
them to be more careful the next time.
I do allow students to remove their posts because I also
enable the next checkbox “Allow author to modify own
published posts,” and if you do that, then they can always
go in and modify their post by erasing it which effectively
removes it anyway. Allowing students to modify a post
they’ve made seems reasonable to me as it allows one to
correct a typo or even edit a comment to make it clearer. Of
course the argument against allowing this is similar to the
one for not allowing students to remove their posts: if they
think carefully beforehand, they will not need to modify
their post. And some instructors argue that students can
always clarify a post by posting an additional, clarifying
Do you want to allow students to attach files to their
posts? When might this be desirable? If you want students to
share files they can do it by attaching a document to a
Discussion Board post. The attached file can then be
downloaded and reviewed by everyone. Check this box if you
want to permit file attachments.
Create New Threads.
If you check this box students will be able to start new
conversational topics. Many instructors do want their
students to start new topics and believe it works to engage
student participation. One argument against allowing this
option is that a forum can lose focus if there are too many
different threads. Often, the objective of the forum
influences whether or not to allow students to start new
threads. If the objective is to ask students to respond to a
post or series of posts by the instructor, then allowing
students to create new threads is inappropriate. On the
other hand, if the forum is intended to generate students’
opinions or personal experiences, then allowing students to
create new threads makes sense. It really boils down to how
tightly controlled the instructor wants the forum to be.
Subscribe to Threads.
If this box is checked it will place a “subscribe” link in
the thread next to the Reply button (as shown below).
When this option exists, users can click
it to subscribe to that thread which means they will receive
an email alert any time that thread is updated with a new
post or reply. Note that the email notification does not
contain the post, users must still log into Blackboard to
read the post. Why would this option be used? This can be
useful to students who may want to know whenever anyone
responds to a particular thread. It can be useful to
instructors who want to keep tabs on a particular thread for
some reason. The downside is obvious: more email. Users can
always click an “Unsubscribe” button if they change their
mind after they have subscribed.
When “Rate Posts” is enabled it permits instructors to
implement a peer review process wherein students can rate
posts made by others. The rating is on a 1-5 rating scale
Force Moderation of Posts.
Enabling this option requires that the instructor or someone
designated as a moderator review all posts before they
actually show up in the discussion thread. If this box is
checked the instructor will see a “Moderate Forum” link as
shown below. When the instructor clicks the “Moderate Forum”
link, a Moderation Queue with a list of the posts waiting
approval will appear. The instructor can choose to Publish
or Return each post.
Why might an instructor want to enable
this option? One creative use of this feature I’ve seen is
when an instructor wanted students to post their response to
a question she had posted – but she didn’t want them to see
each other’s comments until all had posted. By forcing
moderation of posts she was able to have all the students
post their comments without viewing each others’; when all
had responded, she released the posts so everyone could read
what each other wrote. Another reason to use this feature
might be if a student was posting inappropriate comments.
This would allow you to view the comment first, before
publishing it to the forum.
Enabling grading of Discussion Board forums or threads is
very convenient. The instructor has three options as shown
below: No grading, Grade Forum, or Grade Threads.
The instructor can grade the students’
participation in the forum as a whole or grade by forum
threads. If Grade Forum is chosen, a Gradebook item is
automatically created. If Grade Threads is chosen you will
be able to enter points for that thread when it is created.
If Grade Threads is selected, students will not be able to
create new threads. In general, use Grade Forum when a forum
will contain a number of threads and you’re more interested
in overall participation. Use Grade Threads when you want to
evaluate contributions to a limited number of specific
discussion board topics.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
That Windows Key
of us at Palomar have PCs (sorry, Mac users), and
most PCs (maybe all) at Palomar use the modern
Windows keyboard that have the Windows keys on them.
Look at your keyboard. Along the bottom row of
keys, between the Alt and Ctrl keys, do you see a
key with the Windows Logo on it? It may have
the word "Start" on it also. Some keyboards
will have it on both sides, to the outside of the
Alt key, some will only have it on the left.
What does that key do?
- The key's functionality varies depending
upon the keyboard and keyboard software that is
installed, and also depending on the version of
Windows. The functionality in Vista is
somewhat different than in XP, but here are the
- Pressing the Windows key alone brings up the
- Pressing (and holding down) the Windows key
and then pressing the E key brings up the
- Pressing the Windows key + the F key brings
up the File Search box. This is truly
useful with the new, powerful search
capabilities of Windows Vista.
- Pressing the Windows key + the R key brings
up the Run dialog box, most useful if you wish
to run the DOS command window by entering "cmd"
(without the quotes) and pressing Enter.
You can also start t Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
Notepad, the Windows Calculator, or invoke the
Windows Control Panel by entering the following
commands into the Run command dialog and
- Pressing the Windows key + the Break key
(look in the upper right of your keyboard)
brings up the system properties panel.
This is most useful if you want to know the
speed of your computer, installed RAM, OS
version, computer name, and so on.
- Pressing the Windows key + L locks your
computer. To me, this is the most useful
of the Windows key combinations. When you
step away from your computer, you would like it
to be inaccessible to others, but you do not
want to discontinue the programs you have
running. The solution is to lock your
console. Pressing any key after locking
the console requires a login to unlock.
(This only works when a password is required to
logon in the first place).
- Pressing the Windows key + M minimizes all
open Windows. Then pressing the Windows
Key + Shift + M brings up all minimized Windows
again. A variation of this is to press the
Windows Key + D to minimize all Windows and
Display the Desktop. These two actions,
even though they look the same, are slightly
different. The desktop is just another
window in a stack of windows, and Winkey + D
brings it to the top. It is easier to
appreciate this in Windows Vista than in earlier
versions. The Winkey + D keystroke is also
known as the "Here comes the boss" command.
- Pressing the Windows key + F1 brings up the
Windows Help and Support Center.
- In Windows XP, pressing the Windows key +
the Tab key cycles through the applications on
the taskbar. In Windows Vista (running the
Aero interface) it invokes the new 3D flip,
switch between windows mode where you will see a
graphic representation on screen of all the
applications running and can cycle through them
by repeatedly pressing the tab key. This
looks like album flow art in iTunes, if you have
not seen it, and is a very intuitive way to
handle multiple open windows. The window
"on top" when you release the Windows key will
be maximized with the focus of the screen.
For those with other keyboards or other Microsoft
keyboard software (like the Natural keyboard, or MS
click here for a Microsoft web site that
explains other available keyboard shortcuts.
||Run command dialog
||System properties panel
||Lock your computer
||Minimize all Windows
||Display the desktop
||Windows help and support
||XP: cycle through
applications on the task bar; Vista Aero
switch between Windows
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