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Opportunities Next Week
- The Blackboard Feature of the
- Teaching with Technology: "Pedagogical Uses of Underused Blackboard
Tools: The Survey"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Placing Your PowerPoint Presentations in
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
Political economy days are upon us once again.
The Economics, History and Political Science
department is organizing this once-a-semester
experience on October 17-18. The schedule of
speakers is extensive and controversial.
Click here for the web site,
here to download the PDF schedule of speakers.
Sessions held in the Governing Board room will be
webcast, but the webcast URL is not yet available.
We will publish it in the next newsletter, if
possible. Sample topics: "Can We End the
American Empire Before It Ends Us?"; "Why Does
Immigration Divide America?"; "Flattened by
Globalization"; "Health Care and the 2008
Presidential Election"; "Murder Most Foul"; "The
Environment and Peace" and many others.
UC Berkeley announced this week that they have
provided a number of full course lectures on YouTube,
with over 300 hours if programming on their own
YouTube Channel. Berkeley has been
webcasting academic content since 2001 and
publishing audio lectures on iTunes since 2006,
but this is a first for full academic courses on
YouTube. (Would that be YouTube U?).
Joost, free TV on Internet, is now available in
public beta. With Joost you can receive over
15,000 shows and 250 channels streamed over
Internet, provided you have downloaded and installed
the Joost beta software, for Windows XP or Vista or
Mac OS X. Please note it will NOT work on
campus because of firewall port issues, but should
work fine at home, if you have a broadband
here for the blog announcement).
A study titled "Beyond
Google: How do students conduct academic research?"
by Alison J. Head was published this month via
Educause. The principle finding?:
"...students may not be as reliant on public
Internet sites as previous research has reported.
Instead, students in our study used a hybrid
approach for conducting course–related research."
Course readings proved to be the most important
first step in student research:
- This week Microsoft announced the public
Health Vault. "The company’s consumer
health offering includes a personal health record,
as well as Internet search tailored for health
Times). The major concern, of course,
would be personal privacy. "The personal
information, Microsoft said, will be stored in a
secure, encrypted database. Its privacy controls,
the company said, are set entirely by the
individual, including what information goes in and
who gets to see it."
- Also from Microsoft, they announced this week
that they are extending the commercial availability
of Windows XP on new computers (OEM installs) for an
additional five months, until June 30, 2008.
The problem? A slower than expected adoption
rate for Windows Vista. According to Mike
Nash, a Microsoft VP, "While we’ve been pleased with
the positive response we’ve seen and heard from
customers using Windows Vista, there are some
customers who need a little more time to make the
switch to Windows Vista" (MS
press release). Nash hastened to add that
Vista is the fastest selling OS in history, but that
OEM distributors and customers are still more
resistant than expected to make the change from XP.
SP1 for Vista is in beta now, and due out early
2008. After it is delivered, it is expected
that adoption of Vista will gain momentum.
has announced a new version of their stand-alone
eBook reader, called "Reader." The new version
(the PRS-505) will be released in the upcoming days
and will feature faster-responding, higher-contrast
epaper, 8 levels of greyscale rather than 4, a
thinner profile than the old Reader, a better button
layout (it couldn't have been worse) and new color
schemes. Amazon is also releasing the "Kindle"
soon, which will compete head-to-head with the Sony
Reader. Rumor has it that Apple will also be
releasing an iPhone clone that will serve as an
eBook reader (CNet).
- A new public database (in beta), "AltLaw...tries
to make legal opinions easier to find. The database
currently provides full-text search of Supreme Court
and Federal Appellate opinions from the last decade
or so. It also allows for easy downloading of
decisions in PDF format or plain text. The goal is
to make US case law at the highest levels easily
available to citizens without requiring them to
subscribe to specialized legal databases or learn
the sometimes arcane art of navigating the various
appellate court web sites" (ars
- CCC Confer has a new econferencing system in
place with a new interface, faster application
sharing, easier web tours, file transfer, a
whiteboard print feature, student note taking
screens, and VOIP audio support.
is called Elluminate. Now is the time to get
trained on Elluminate. CCC Confer has live
online training, self-paced training, and practice
training rooms. Go to the Confer Training
Center online, or call CCC Confer client services at
(760) 744-1150 ext. 1537, ext. 1554 or ext. 1542.
- September 29 to October 6 is banned books week.
put together a web site on banned books which is
well worth viewing. Of the
100 best novels of the twentieth century
(according to the Radcliffe publishing course (now
transplanted to Columbia)) forty-two have been
challenged or banned
in the United
States. The most challenged/banned book of
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
and Peter Parnell. "[A] heartwarming tale.
Older readers will most appreciate the...larger
theme of tolerance at work in this touching tale." -
Featured Safari Tech Book Online:
Your First Notebook PC by Michael Miller.
"Using a notebook PC is different from using a
desktop PC. Not only are the keyboard and screen
smaller, you have to deal with battery life,
notebook security, connecting to the Internet at
Wi-Fi hot spots, and figuring out how to enter
numbers without a numeric keypad. How do you do what
you need to do on your new notebook PC?"
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 -14:46]
- Academic Technology Training
- Elluminate 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
Feature of the Week - David Gray
I log into Blackboard it says my courses are
unavailable, and I can’t access them. What is going
on?” “Why is my name listed in the gradebook?” “Why
does my name show up on the class roster in
Blackboard?” These, and several other questions, are
asked at Blackboard training workshops frequently.
The answer can give you a useful tool for using your
own Blackboard course.
On the Blackboard system faculty actually have
two accounts. The account typically used has
instructor access on courses, and the username for
this account is based on name; that is, “John Smith”
would have a username of “jsmith”. However, there is
another account, also named after the faculty
member, which is given student access to courses;
the username for this account is the nine-digit
EmplID number for the faculty.
So, simply, the reason a faculty member’s name is
listed in the gradebook (and in the class roster
list) is that their second account is actually a
student in their course. (The follow up question to
this, “how do I get rid of it,” is merely “you
cannot.” That student account cannot be removed from
the Blackboard course.)
So why are some faculty unable to access their
own, unavailable, Blackboard courses? They logged in
using their EmplID number with student access rather
than using their named account with instructor
access. This can sometimes be confusing, since the
eServices access for instructors uses the nine-digit
number as username to allow faculty access. Just
remember that, in Blackboard, if you use your name
you are an instructor, if you use your number you
will be a student.
The inevitable question at this point is “what
good is this second account?” Actually there have
been a number of reasons that faculty have wanted
this “faux-student” account; the common ones are:
- With student access faculty can actually
take tests or submit assignments, and have the
results recorded in the gradebook.
- Instructors are unable to view some screens
in Blackboard, such as the student “My Grades”
list, so the student account is the only way for
faculty to see this interface.
- There are some fairly advanced ways to
release content in Blackboard to students under
certain circumstances; without a student account
the faculty can use, they’re never sure if the
release rules are working properly.
Other reasons to use the “faux-student” account
have come up intermittently, but as with most
problems just knowing the student-access account is
there may be a solution all on its own. Now you
know. (And knowing is half the battle!)
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Pedagogical Uses of Underused Blackboard
Tools: The Survey
my Teaching with Technology segments I’ll
periodically highlight underused, but valuable,
Blackboard tools. In this one I want to point out
some uses for the Survey tool. Many instructors do
use Blackboard surveys in their classes but they may
not have considered some uses for which the Survey
tool is quite appropriate.
Surveys in Blackboard are anonymous (the
Gradebook only indicates, with a check mark, who has
submitted a survey). Instructors wanted to give
students an opportunity to voice their honest
opinions without concern about having their names
associated with their responses - the tool provided
by Blackboard for that purpose is the Survey.
Surveys are easy to create and can be deployed in
any content area in the course. There are some 17
different types of questions, including a Likert-scale
type, that can be included in a survey and you can
pull questions from other sources as well. Once
created and deployed, you have an option to
automatically send an announcement about the survey.
The steps for creating and deploying a survey are
included at the end of this document for those who
have not done it.
What are some pedagogical uses of the survey?
Here are some suggested ways to use Blackboard
surveys effectively in both online and on-campus
- Use as a pre-and-post assessment of a unit
of study; if misunderstandings continue to
exist, the posttest will reveal them;
- Use it to gather anonymous opinions about a
controversial topic, then present the results
for an online or on-campus discussion (current
events in one’s discipline is one obvious
- Present a list of topics to be covered (or
ones that have been covered) and ask students
which need to be explained or covered more;
- Use as an assessment of the class after
first few weeks to find out what students think
is working well, not working so well, things
students want you to do more, do less and so on;
- Surveys can be used to gather opinions about
a hot topic that could lead to an interesting
online or in-class discussion.
In short, surveys can be used in many creative
ways to promote deeper and more critical thinking
about topics. It’s not so much the survey itself
that promotes this pedagogical objective but what
the survey data reveals and how these data are used.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Placing Your PowerPoint Presentations in
Simply uploading a PPT file is not the best
strategy for placing your PowerPoint presentations
in Blackboard. Why not? Because a) it
requires your students to own PowerPoint or the
PowerPoint viewer. (It is true the PowerPoint
viewer is free from Microsoft, but they have to
figure out how to download and install it, which may
be problematic); b) Those large, graphical files
take a long time to download and install; and c) the
student ends up with a copy of your PowerPoint PPT
file on their own system, not something you may want
So what is the best way to place those
presentations into Blackboard? Simple as
1. Save the presentation for the web;
2. Zip the presentation into a compressed,
3. Upload, unpackage and link the
presentation all in one simple operation within
Here are the details.
1. Save for the Web. The
procedure for saving your presentation for the web
will differ slightly depending on whether you are
using PowerPoint 2003 or 2007.
Open your presentation in PowerPoint 2003 and
choose File > Save as a Web Page.... In
the Save As dialog box, navigate to where you
want to save the file, in the Save as type: box
click the drop-down and choose "Web Page (*.htm;
*.html)." Click the Publish button to be
sure the settings for saving as a web page are
In the Publish as Web Page dialog box,
de-select the "Display speaker notes" check box
if you do not want speaker notes displayed.
Click the Web Options button, then the Files
tab, and be sure "Organize supporting files in a
folder" is checked. Then click OK and then
click the Publish button at the bottom of the
"Publish as Web Page" dialog box.
You are done with PowerPoint and can close
If you are using PowerPoint 2007, the procure
Open your presentation, click on the Office
button, hover over Save As, and choose "Other
When the Save As dialog box appears, click
the drop down for "Save as type" and choose "Web
Page (*.htm; *.html)," just as with 2003.
In both cases, be careful NOT to choose "Single
File Web Page (*.mht; *.mhtml)."
You will now see the Publish as Web Page
dialog as illutstrated above. The settings
should be the same. Click Publish and you
are done with PowerPoint.
2. Zip the saved presentation.
The next step is to go to the file location
where you saved the PowerPoint presentation for
the web. In that location you will see two
objects: a file named
presentation_name.htm (where "presentation-name
= the actual name of your presentation--for
example, if my presentation were oginally names
College.PPT, this file would be named
College.htm); and a folder named presentation-name_files
(once again, where "presentation-name" = the
actual name of your presentation). This
folder contains all the supporting files, like
graphics, style sheets, fonts, etc. for your
Just to be clear, let's say my presentation
was originally called "College.PPT." After
saving for the web, I will have two new objects
in my destination folder: college.htm and
a folder named college_files.
Now, select both objects by clicking on one,
holding down the Ctrl key, and clicking on the
other. Then place your mouse cursor over
the htm file and right-click. Hover your
mouse over "Send To" and then select "Compressed
(zipped) folder." The terminology will be
the same for Windows XP and Windows Vista,
regardless of the version of PowerPoint being
3. Upload, unpackage, and link in
Blackboard. Login to Blackboard, enter
the course content area where you wish to link
the presentation, click the "Edit View" button
on the upper right of the screen, and choose Add
Item ffrom the toolbar that will appear.
The Add Item page will
appear. Give the item a name in the
Content information area.
In the Blackboard “Content
Area” click the Browse button next to the
“Attach local file” box and locate and click on
the zip file you created in Part 1 above.
Type some link text for the
link in the “Name of Link to File” box.
Choose “Unpackage this
file” in the “Special Action” drop-down.
This is the magic that makes it work.
Set view, date and tracking
options if you wish in the Options area, then
click Submit on the lower right of the screen.
You may have to scroll down to see the Submit
button. It must be clicked. None of
this will work if you forget to click Submit.
After clicking Submit, you
will then see a “Content Actions” screen, with
an “Embedded Media Information” area. From the
list of files in the box, select the
presentation Entry Point—that is, that .htm
document that was originally saved by
PowerPoint. In our example above, it would be
called “College.htm.” Click on this file to
select it. If you wish the presentation to
launch in a new window on top of the Blackboard
window, select Yes in the “Launch in new windows
area.” If you leave the default set to No, the
presentation will play in the Blackboard content
frame. Click Submit to complete this step.
Your link will appear in
Blackboard. Click “Display View” (upper right
of screen) and test it.
Note that your students will
be able to click the Slide Show controls, even
if you have chosen to display the presentation
within the Blackboard contents frame, and it
will display full screen on top of Blackboard.
Pressing Escape (the Esc key in the upper left
of the keyboard) will cancel full-screen mode
and return your students to the Blackboard
That's it. Three simple steps, but they
will make a world of difference in delivering
your presentations in a straightforward,
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