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- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Ciao, Hallo, Olá, こんにちは,
- Teaching with Technology:
"A Reminder and a Cool Resource"
Tech Talk Topic:
"The Amazon Kindle, Part 1"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
to see more Office 2007 documents from students in
2008. To open Office 2007 Word, Excel or
PowerPoint files with the older 2003 version of
Office you need to install the Microsoft
Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
2007 File Formats. If you are ready to
make the change, contact information services to
have Office 2007 installed on your Office computer.
Part-time faculty members can
purchase Office 2007 at a very low price from
the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
If you have installed Office 2007, be sure to
install the Microsoft
Add-in which permits saving Office format
documents in PDF format.
- Panasonic displayed a 128GB Solid State drive (SSD)
at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, dealing
yet another blow to the future of Hard Disk Drives.
SSDs run faster, with much lower power consumption
and will last indefinitely because they have no
moving parts. The tipping point will be
reached when capacities increase to HDD standards
and price, the most important factor, declines due
to economies of scale. The new Panasonic drive
should begin to appear in laptops by mid-2008.
- It was Patch Tuesday this week.
Click here for a description of the critical and
moderate patches applied to your Microsoft products,
and for other vulnerability information.
- Apple released a
new Mac Pro this week, an 8-core 3.32 GHz tower
priced at just under $3,000--and a lot more if you
want to trick it out. And to make that new Mac
useful, Office 2008 for Mac is coming very close to
release date (January 15 is the target). It
preordered now at the Apple Store.
is a new printing technology announced at this
year's CES called Zink, which stands for "Zero Ink."
Zink embeds cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals
into a special paper covered with a ploymer
overcoat, the crystals are finely tuned and can be
activated independently with very specific bursts of
heat to produce any possible color. Whether it
will catch on widely will depend on the price of the
paper and the price of the devices needed to
activate the crystals, of course.
Click here for more information.
- A new study by the
Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals
that 48% of Internet users have been to a
video-sharing site like YouTube, up 45% from a year
ago. 15% of respondents said they had been to
such a site "yesterday," up 100% from a year ago.
Click here to read the report [PDF].
- Speaking of YouTube, see your tax dollars at
work. Sunny the NOAA weather robot
"represents" the federal agency at the Consumer
Click here to see the YouTube video.
- Newsgator RSS feed reading tools are now free.
The company has given up charging for their personal
client products and now offer them completely free.
Click here to find out more.
- Microsoft is on the acquisition
trail in a serious way again. They have made a
1.2 billion dollar bid for Norwegian search company
Fast Search and Transfer in "In an effort to add more
tools to its lucrative Office products, but was also
being done with an eye toward fending off
Times). They are also reported to be
nearing a takeover bid for Zurich-based Logitech,
stock has surged based upon the report.
to be thought entirely grasping, Microsoft this week
singed an agreement with the Library of Congress to
"change the way visitors experience U.S.
history. Through the Microsoft investment of
funding, software and technology expertise, training
and support services, the Library will deliver its
New Visitors Experience through a complex technology
system with interactive kiosks in the Jefferson
Building as well as rich Internet applications
delivered through a robust Web infrastructure"
Click here for a demo on pre-Columbian artifacts
(Silverlight required (and will be installed if you
do not have it) if you want to watch the animation).
- Apparently the blu-ray vs. HD-DVD war is nearly
over, and blu-ray, unsurprisingly, has won.
Warner agreed last week to support blu-ray
exclusively, and Universal and Paramount are
poised to do so. It proves your purchase
of the PS3 was a wise one... What does this
mean for XBox owners?
Even Microsoft is now waffling on format
Sony BMG signed this week with
Amazon.com to provide DRM free music at the Amazon
MP3 store. This completes an all major label
alignment with Amazon (Universal, EMI and Warner had
previously signed with Amazon) and is the final
death blow for Digital Rights Management for music.
The record companies have two goals: 1) to
destabilize the downloadable music market dominance
of Apple; and 2) to stop coming across like Big
Nurse with their highly unpopular DRM strategy.
(Oh yeah, and their third goal is to make lots more
money, but that goes without saying).
Safari Tech Book Online:
Photopedia: The Ultimate Digital Photography
Resource, by Michael Miller. "Whether you
own a low-cost point-and-shoot camera or an
expensive digital SLR, great photographs are within
your reach–with the help of this book. Photopedia:
The Ultimate Digital Photography Resource shows you
everything you need to know to take great-looking
digital photos, from basic camera operation to
advanced Photoshop techniques. "
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
Feature of the Week - David Gray.
Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Ciao,
Hallo, Olá, こんにちは, 你好, Ellohay
Palomar’s Blackboard system the default language setting,
for fairly obvious reasons, is set to English (United
States). However, there may be reasons to change the
language, either for a user of for a course. So I’d like to
expound a bit on the language options in Blackboard.
If a user wants to change their language
setting, they can either select one of the language choices
down at the bottom of the gateway page prior to logging in
to Blackboard, or go into the Personal Information area and
click the Select Language Pack link. By default this
language is set to “System Default”, but can be changed to
any language on the list. Once submitted, much of the
content in Blackboard will be displayed in the new language.
Be careful; if you set your language to one you do not
understand, you may have trouble changing it back again!
An instructor can specify the language set
for a course site, too. In the lower left of the Control
Panel is a link to Settings. On this list, along with Course
Availability, is a link for Set Language Pack. Again the
desired language can be selected, and upon submission the
Blackboard “boilerplate” and system messages will show in
the new language.
If a course is set to a specific language,
and a user has set their account to a different language,
the course will show in the different language for the user.
However, if an instructor wants to force all students to see
the course in that specific language there is a check box to
Enforce Language Pack in the course site, which overrides
user preferences. This could be used to, for example, force
an English as a Second Language course to always show up in
English, or a Spanish course to always show up in Spanish.
Bear in mind that this is not a
translator; all the language changes are in the Blackboard
dialog boxes and menus, any content loaded in the course
will still be in the original language. Language Packs only
handle the program interface, translating the meat of the
course is, as always, up to you.
Of the thirteen languages currently
available on our Blackboard system, eleven are… real.
However if you are looking for something to shake your
students up, be aware of the Pig Latin and Pirate Arrr
languages (the last of use on International Talk Like A
Even if you don’t want to try a course
Language Pack, while you’re in the Settings area of the
Control Panel don’t forget that you will have to manually
make your course available before your students can access
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
and a Cool Resource
Today’s Teaching with Technology tip
consists of reminding us of something we already know and a
fun but useful resource.
the reminder. What is the single most important factor in
whether or not students talking glowingly of a class?
Erudite lectures? Stimulating assignments? Thought provoking
writing assignments? Easy grading? None of the above? I
would argue that none of the above is the correct answer.
When I hear students rave about a class and recommend the
class to their friends it is always because the professor
engaged them. And what is the most important factor in
determining whether or not students feel engaged by a
professor? A good sense of humor? Providing entertaining and
informative lectures? Those qualities certainly don’t hurt
but I think there is another factor that is even more
important and I think educational research on the subject
will support my contention. What is it?
To answer that question I want to refer
briefly to Chickering and Gamson’s research which was
summarized in their seminal paper Seven Principles of Good
Practice in Undergraduate Education. The first of these
principles is, I believe, the answer to the question I posed
above. Perhaps the single most important factor in
motivating students and making them feel engaged with a
course is them feeling a personal connection with the
professor. It is hard to overestimate the effect we have on
students by simply showing a sincere interest in them and
expressing concern and encouragement when appropriate. The
first of the seven principles is: Good Practice Encourages
Contacts Between Students and Faculty.
of the best ways to begin to connect with students in
on-campus classes is to learn their names. I have digital
photos taken of my students during the first week or so of
class with their name written below their photo. Over the
next couple of weeks or so I make an effort to associate
their names and faces – it really isn’t that difficult, even
with a class size of 45 or so students. Other instructors
connect with their students in other ways. One of the most
popular, best liked professors on campus doesn’t ever learn
students’ names. But he does connect with his students by
showing them he is interested and concerned about them.
But what about if you teach an online class? In some ways
there is even more of an opportunity to have ongoing
contacts with online students. For example, most online
classes make a class discussion board an important part of
the class. If you monitor the discussion board very closely
the first couple of weeks and provide feedback to students’
comments you will establish a personal connection with
students that will be instrumental in their appraisal of the
A fun but still useful resource for those
who use the Blackboard system is to liven up your Blackboard
site by adding a colorful banner. The following web site
makes creating a banner a piece of cake. You simply choose
one of the pre-made banners, add whatever text you like,
save it to your desktop, and then upload it into your
Blackboard class. While the pre-made animations at the site
will work just fine in Blackboard I’d be careful with these
as they can be distracting after the first couple of times.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Shay
Amazon Kindle - Part 1
Our own Chris Norcross began a review of
the new Amazon Kindle this week, and here are his first
Amazon.com launched the Kindle, an
electronic book reading device, in November 2007. I finally
got my hands on one this week.
Overall I am very pleased with how the
device operates. The display is very easy to read,
especially when compared to reading on a computer monitor.
At only 10 ounces it is very easy to carry and fits easily
in a book bag or briefcase.
Click here to see a
photo slideshow of the “unboxing” of my Kindle.
Here is a summary of my thoughts on the
device so far:
- E-Ink display looks great
- Easy to use
- Small and lightweight
- Wireless download of books from
anywhere in the U.S.
- Easy to read in sunlight
- Long battery life (?)
- Great customer service
- Can store hundreds of books
- 88,000+ titles available at launch
- Expensive (currently $399)
- No color display
- No backlight (can't read in the dark)
- Textbooks not available
- RSS feeds require subscription fee
- Converting some types of files to
Kindle format difficult or not possible
- Difficult to type on small keyboard
Send us your comments