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Opportunities Next Week
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Building Castles in the Sand"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Principles for Effective Teaching"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Burning CDs and DVDs with Windows Vista"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
A new Blackboard Sandbox is available
to Palomar faculty members. Dave will discuss
it in his Blackboard feature of the week, but just
to place the announcement in a place it may not be
missed we are putting it first in the news too.
BbSandbox is an area where faculty members can see
what new Blackboard features are going to look
like and how they will behave. See Dave's
feature below for more.
On Monday of this week
Yahoo Mail came out of beta
and began offering some cool new features to its
users, including the ability to send text messages
from the mail interface to cell phones, for free.
There is also a new shortcut menu that makes working
with contacts simpler and intergrates mapping and
searching with contacts. You can now also send
IM messages to users of Windows Live Messenger (msnbc).
Click here for the Yahoo Mail user's guide.
Last weekend the Windows Genuine Advantage system
suffered the effects of a "human error" (Oh sure,
blame the humans) when pre-production code was
loaded on them resulting in validation requests
being rejected and valid versions of Windows being
labeled as unauthentic. Only 12,000 users
worldwide were affected (of an installed user base
of about 1 billion), and most of those have
Click here for the Windows Genuine Advantage
here for WGA tech support online,
here for the WGA web site.
in its "Net
threats" report for September warned that
threats from identity theft and phishing scams are
still present and ubiquitous. Among the
findings of the report:
Your chances of becoming a
cybervictim are about 1 in 4;
38% of respondents reported
virus infections in the past two years;
34% reported spyware
8% report falling victim to a
17% report that they do not
have anti-virus software installed;
33% do not have anti-spyware
software in place;
50% of those with wireless
routers at home have not taken basic precautions,
"such as enabling encryption;"
13% report children under age
14 registered at MySpace.com. The MySpace
minimum age is 14.
new report [PDF] by two Villanova School of
Business professors, the argument is made that
"...giving electronic tests can actually reduce
cheating and save faculty time" (see
HTML summary from Inside Higher Ed). Timed
tests drawn from randomly drawn from questions pools
were used. "Forty-five percent of students who
took part in the study reported that the electronic
testing system reduced the likelihood of their
cheating during the course." Further,
"...professors reported recouping an average of 80
hours by using the e-exams" (Educause
announced this week that they will begin selling an
8 GB flash drive in their Cruzer Micro USB flash
series in mid-September for $130 per unit.
Their 4GB drive wells for $70 and their 2GB for $40
Dell has launched a new Optiplex, the 755 desktop.
"Dubbed the "world's most manageable, energy
efficient commercial desktop ever," the system touts
Energy Star 4.0 compliance and an Electronic
Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)
"Gold" rating. Additionally, the 755 can be snapped
up with Intel's newly-unveiled Core 2 Duo with vPro
technology, a 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 graphics
card, up to 8GB of RAM, and your choice of
mini-tower, desktop, or small form factor enclosure"
Windows Vista developers
announced the imminent release of a Service Pack
1 public beta (in the next few weeks). The
release to manufacturing is expected in the first
quarter of 2008.
Click here for a detailed white paper on what
the beta will contain. Performance
enhancements should include:
Improves the speed of copying
and extracting files.
Improves the time to become
active from Hibernate and Resume modes.
Improves the performance of
domain-joined PCs when operating off the domain; in
the current release version of Windows Vista, users
would experience long delays when opening the File
Improves performance of
Windows® Internet Explorer® 7 in Windows Vista,
Improves battery life by
reducing CPU utilization by not redrawing the screen
as frequently, on certain computers.
Improves the logon experience
by removing the occasional 10-second delay between
pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL and the password prompt
-- the third largest PC company globally -- just
announced a definitive agreement to acquire Gateway.
The acquisition has been approved unanimously by
both boards and is expected to close by December
2007...it would appear that the Gateway (and
eMachines) brands will continue under Acer's new
'multi-branded company'" (engadget).
Vint Cerf, "godfather of the Internet" (does that
make him related to Al Gore?) in an
interview with the Guardian predicts the end of
television as we know it. "85% of all video we
watch is pre-recorded, so you can set your system to
download it all the time," he said. "You're still
going to need live television for certain things -
like news, sporting events and emergencies - but
increasingly it is going to be almost like the iPod,
where you download content to look at later."
Can you say a smaller, friendlier DVR with Internet
hooks? How about lighting up those existing
firewire ports so we can attach net enabled gizmos
to them, Cox? Cerf predicts the end of
broadcast TV in favor of screens where we select
what we want to download, like iTunes or the way
pay-per-view works now, one supposes.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Microsoft Windows Home Server Unleashed by Paul
McFedries. "This book will tell you what
to expect from Windows Home Server, what equipment
is required, and how to install and configure the
system. The book will provide in-depth discussions
on adding devices to the network, creating user
accounts, configuring Home Server storage, sharing
files and folders, connecting to computers through
the network and via the Internet, sharing and
streaming digital media, and using the Windows Home
Server network backup capabilities." 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
Building Castles in the Sand
alluded to this as “coming soon” several times in the past,
and now it is here! We have established a Blackboard Sandbox
system for use by Palomar faculty.
What is a sandbox system? A partial
definition from Wikipedia (full article at
seems appropriate: A sandbox “is intended principally for
learning and outright experimentation with features,”
although it could also mean other things. For our purposes,
the versions of Blackboard that will reside on this
BbSandbox system will be full releases from Blackboard, and
faculty can try out new or changed features BEFORE the
production environment which students use will be upgraded.
When new versions of Blackboard are
released, we test them on servers, to see what sort of
technical problems may crop up, but until now there hasn’t
been a place for faculty to try new features without waiting
until they were using them “live.” When the BbSandbox system
is updated to a new version a notice will go out, and I’ll
try to give a short list of things to watch for in the new
version. For example, the current sandbox version is
Blackboard 7.3, and the main difference between that and our
current 7.2 system is a restructuring of controls in the
Discussion Board. So, if you choose to check out the
BbSandbox system, pay particular attention to the way the
new Discussion Board works.
My advice for testing things is for
faculty to export a course of their own from our production
Blackboard system, then import the materials into a course
in BbSandbox. Training videos on how to do these functions
may be found online at
So head on over to
http://bbsandbox.palomar.edu/ and try out features of
Blackboard version 7.3 on our new BbSandbox.
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
for Effective Teaching
This Teaching with Technology comment is a
follow-on from an earlier podcast in which I described the
very influential article by Arthur Chickering and Zelda
Gamson titled Seven Principles For Good Practice In
Undergraduate Education. Chickering and Gamson discuss
practices that rest on several decades of research and grew
out of a conference devoted to identifying principles that
exemplary teachers use.
In the article Chickering and Gamson
“offer seven principles based on research on good teaching
and learning in colleges and universities.” The seven
principles state that “Good practice in undergraduate
- encourages contact between students
- develops reciprocity and cooperation
- encourages active learning,
- gives prompt feedback,
- emphasizes time on task,
- communicates high expectations, and
- respects diverse talents and ways of
These guidelines for good practice are
applicable to academic classes, professional classes, and
classes taught on-campus as well as classes taught online.
Each of the seven principles is appropriate and, when used
together, become particularly powerful.
The program notes for this segment will contain documents
that provide concrete examples of how to implement the seven
principles – in both the classroom and online. One example
here will illustrate this point, and, I hope, motivate
people to review the documents.
Principle 1: Good Practice Encourages Contacts Between
Students and Faculty.
Implement by this principle by:
- Being accessible and approachable
(some instructors require students to meet during office
hours, at least once)
- Learn students’ names – some
instructors take digital photos of their students
(online students can upload a photo to their Blackboard
- Send a welcome email to students
before class begins (through eServices or Blackboard)
- Hold out of class review sessions
(online classes can use the Chat room on scheduled
dates)Provide a Discussion Board Forum where students
can ask questions about the class, you could also set
one up for test review questions
- Contact students regarding their
progress in the course (Blackboard has a number of tools
that can help in this regard such as Performance
Dashboard, leaving notes on the Gradebook, and Early
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Burning CDs and DVDs with Windows
Windows Vista has two file systems that it can
use to burn CD and DVD data disks. I'm not
talking now about music CDs or video DVDs. I'm
talking about data (files and folders) saved to a CD
or DVD from your Windows Vista workstation.
The two new file systems, or ore correctly
"formats," are called Live File System format and
"Mastered" format. The default is Live File
System, but it is important to know the difference.
Let's walk through the steps of writing data to a
CD-R (this discussion with minor variations
discussed later applies to CD-RWs also).
First, insert a blank CD-R into the CD-RW or DVD-RW
drive (DVD-RW drives can also write CDs, but CD-RW
drives cannot write to DVDs). You will see
something like the following dialog box.
I say "something like" this dialog box because
its contents will vary depending on the software you
have installed. If you have the Roxio, Nero,
or other CD/DVD burning utilities on your system you
will see choices for them. For our purposes of
using Windows Vista to burn your disk, choose "Burn
files to disc" as illustrated. You will see a
dialog where you can enter a volume title, like
As indicated in the illustration above, the Live
File System makes your CD almost like a floppy disk.
You can add files to it over time, and from
different computers, and continue to do so until you
"close" it. (See below). When you
"erase" a file from it, however, you do not regain
the space on the disc on CD-R media. Windows
Vista actually burns pits into the disk surface,
writing files as you go. "Erasing" one of
these files eliminates any reference to it in the
file allocation structure, so that it appears to be
gone from the CD, but the pits are still really
there, which is why you can't re-write that part of
the disc and why you cannot regain the disc space
taken up by an "erased" file. The one down
side to using the Live File System is that it is
only readable by Windows Vista and Windows XP
operating systems. It cannot be read on
earlier systems, or on other devices.
After clicking "Next" from the Burn a Disc
dialog, your CD-R will be formatted:
Then the Windows Explorer (Vista version) will
appear and you can begin adding files to the disc.
You can copy and paste them onto the CD-RW drive, as
it is represented in the Windows Explorer, or drag
them there, or right-click and "Send To" them there.
It doesn't matter. As soon as you begin adding
files to the Explorer window, the CD-RW drives
begins writing them to the disc.
You can return to add more files later. If
you eject the disc, Windows will tell you it is
closing the session so that the disc can be used on
other computers. This does not mean that you
can no longer add files to the disc. As long
as you use the disc on another Windows Vista
computer, you can continue to add or "erase" files.
If you remove the disc and take it to a Windows XP
computer, however, you will be able to read the
disc, but not add to it.
The drawback, if it is one, with the Live File
System is that discs created with it cannot be read
on non-Windows Vista or XP computers, or CD/DVD
players. To make a disc that is compatible
with the widest array of equipment, you should use
the "Mastered" format. If you have ever
created a data CD with Windows XP, you know how the
Mastered format works. You select files from
throughout your file system and "place" them on the
disc. What actually happens is that pointers
to the files get placed in a temporary work space.
They are not actually written to the disc until you
issue the write command. One write operation
occurs, and then the disc is finalized so that it
cannot be used again. Here is an illustration
of files waiting to be written to disc.
Click the "Burn to disc" button (or just
right-click anywhere in the window and choose "Burn
to disc" to perform the write operation. When
done, Windows will finalize the disc, and offer to
When you create a disc using the Live File
System, Windows will not offer to burn another
because it writes as it goes. With the
Mastered format Windows knows the disc is complete,
but still retains the pointers to the files to be
written in a temporary location. If you choose
not to create another disc, the pointers will be
erased and the disc ejected.
Which format is best? Obviously, they serve
different purposes. It's nice to have the
option of adding and deleting files from a CD or DVD
using the Live File System, and especially useful
for incremental backups. On the other hand, if
you move between many computers and need to be sure
you can read your data on any device, then the
Mastered format is what you should use.
For more details from Microsoft,
Send us your comments