|Difficulty reading this?
- Upcoming Training
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Blackboard: A Class Act"
Tech Talk Topic:
"AutoArchiving in Outlook"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
We will be updating Blackboard to version 8 on June
21-22. The biggest change will be the
replacement of the current gradebook with the Grade
Center. For more on the upgrade,
click here; for more on the Grade Center,
3 beta 5 has been released as of April 2.
"Firefox 3 Beta 5 includes more than 750 changes
from the previous beta, improving stability and web
compatibility, providing platform and user interface
enhancements, and resulting in the fastest Firefox
Click here to find out more and download.
Adobe has released Photoshop Express, a free,
web-based, light version of their popular Photoshop
Elements desktop program.
Click here to try it. In another
development, Adobe also announced that the next
commercial version of Photoshop, CS4, will have a
64-bit version, but for the Windows platform only.
Mac users will have to await CS5. Read all
How do you provide a common web portal and support
system to 2.5 million students, more than 50,000
faculty and staff, and 109 campuses?
CCC Confer is unique in its delivery of free
e-conferencing services to the world's largest
higher education system, California Community
Colleges. Seamlessly integrated into the CCC Confer
portal, Elluminate Live! supports meeting, training,
tutoring, online student and library services, and
distance learning. Join Blaine Morrow, Confer
director and Catherine McKenzie, TTIP director, for
a free web presentation on the hows and whys of
CCCConfer and other CCC technology initiatives.
Click here for details.
Christian University announced last month that
they will be the first University in the world to
equip incoming freshmen with either an iPod touch or
an iPhone. Students will be able to receive
homework alerts, answer in-class quizzes, and use
various web applications the University has
This one is time sensitive, but important:
Join Dr. Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at
Brown University, and expert witness in the
Pennsylvania "intelligent design" case, in a free
webcast from the University of Texas titled "God,
Darwin, and Design: Lessons from the Dover Monkey
Click here for details. The webcast will
be held Friday, April 4, at 7PM Central Time (5pm
Wal-Mart has pulled the plug on its gPC experiment,
and the $199 devices are no longer available in
stores. What is--correction, was--the gPC?
A Linux-based PC sold without monitor or software,
except the OS, of course, off the shelf from
Wal-Mart stores. The price was right, but when
consumers got it home they discovered it couldn't
run anything they wanted to run (engadget).
And speaking of Wal-Mart, they have now been passed
by Apple, who is the new #1 music retailer in the
Do you Hulu?
is the new, ad-supported
video site from NBC/News Corp, with an incredible
array of content (if you can find it on the somewhat
confusing site), all free, if you can stand the ads,
which, to be fair, are surprisingly brief.
Click here to see
it in person.
- According to a new
Zogby International Survey, the Internet is the
top source of news for nearly half of Americans, and
two-thirds are dissatisfied with the quality of
journalism in traditional media. Key findings
- 48% said their primary source of news and
information is the Internet, up from 40% a year ago;
- only those in the over age 65 demographic favor
primary news sources other than the Internet;
- 29% said television was their main source of
news, 11% said radio, and 10% said newspapers;
- only 7% of those in the age 18-29 demographic
said they get most of their news from newspapers;
- 86% of Americans said web sites are an important
source of news;
- 64% say they are dissatisfied with the quality
of journalism, while 75% of Americans believe the
Internet has had a positive impact on the overall
quality of journalism.
- The largest academic music library in North America
is the Sibley Music Library at the University of
Rochester. The Sibley has for years now been
conducting a public domain scores digitization
project, and have made much of the riches publicly
available. They have placed the PDF images of
over 2600 scores freely available on the Internet.
Click here to access UR Research, then click on
"ESM-Sibley Music Library" and choose "Musical Score
Collection" to access a search box for the
The Section 108 Study Group is a select committee of
copyright experts charged with updating for the
digital world the Copyright Act's balance between
the rights of creators and copyright owners and the
needs of libraries and archives. The Study Group was
convened as an independent group by the National
Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation
program of the Library of Congress and by the U.S.
Copyright Office. The recommendations, conclusions,
and other outcomes have finally been published.
Click here for the PDF report.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Fonts and Encodings by Yannis Haralambous.
"This reference is a fascinating and complete guide
to using fonts and typography on the Web and across
a variety of operating systems and application
software. Fonts &
Encodings shows you how to take full
advantage of the incredible number of typographic
options available, with advanced material that
covers everything from designing glyphs to
developing software that creates and processes
Palomar maintains a subscription to Tech Books
Online, and the books can be accessed from any
computer on the campus network without as login, or
with your Palomar login and password from anywhere
in the world.
Click here for more information about off-campus
- Academic Technology Workshops
- 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.
Feature of the Week - David Gray.
Blackboard: A Class Act
Rather than dwell on specific tools in
Blackboard, this time I’d like to draw comparisons between
several of the options in Blackboard and actual in-classroom
functions. If you’re struggling to figure out what
Blackboard can do for you, perhaps this will help.
In class it’s useful to get a feel for
which students are attending regularly. Most of the time
this is done anecdotally by recognizing the students; in
Blackboard you can stop by the Performance Dashboard and
easily see the last time a student has accessed the course
In the classroom, if something out of the
ordinary is about to happen, or if something that’s been on
the schedule for a while is about to be due, you might write
a note on the chalkboard. With the truly important things,
you may even want to “DNE” it, so other classes do not erase
it. Clearly this is the Announcement tool in Blackboard,
even down to the Make Permanent function to “DNE” your
The most obvious comparison between
Blackboard and classroom functions is with handouts. If you
would have material photocopied and passed out in class, you
could have it posted as an item in Blackboard. A slightly
overlooked option is how Blackboard items also replicate
demonstration objects that you might bring into the
classroom. If you want your students to see an Asiatic mask,
or a monkey skull, or a topographic map of North America,
these things could also be displayed in Blackboard. Possibly
shooting a digital picture of the item would work, but there
are more freely available resources of complexity available
online than you might think; perhaps someone has a 3-D model
of that monkey skull, probably some governmental department
has the maps you need available. If you’re not sure how to
get started finding such resources, that’s a pretty
legitimate reason to call on Academic Technology for help.
If you do objective tests in class, you
likely have your students use a Scantron. If you just can’t
limit yourself to “pick A-E for each question” testing, you
may have to manually grade objective tests by hand, which is
never a fun exercise. Blackboard’s testing module excels at
automatically and immediately scoring objective test
questions, and may have more question choices than you’d
ever believe. Up to twenty possible answers per multiple
choice question, matching, ordering, multiple answer, fill
in the blank, and even “Where’s Waldo” style Hotspot
questions where the student answers by clicking a specific
spot on an image are all easily set up in a Blackboard test.
If you ever use blue books, you may want
to try instead having students type up their work and submit
it via a Blackboard assignment. Imagine never needing to
decipher student penmanship again… And if your concern is
over limiting the time in which the students are working,
just have the papers typed up in a monitored environment,
either by bringing the whole class into a computer lab for
that class session, or by having laptops rolled out to your
classroom for students to use during the class session. Of
course a fully online class would just want to assume all
writing assignments are open book anyway, but an on-campus
class would not need to.
If your students are ever invited to talk
about class material during class sessions, then using the
Blackboard Discussion Board could be a good idea. Just set
up a forum, possibly seed it with some questions, then tell
the students to “talk amongst yourselves.” Just because
students post to the forum doesn’t make it uncontrolled;
there are options to have moderated discussions, and you
could even allow some trusted students to moderate in your
place. If you just want to facilitate student discussion
without making it a normal part of class, just set up a
forum and let students know they can post there for any
extra things they wish to discuss.
Do you show PowerPoint Presentations in
the classroom? Do you lecture? Likely you do, and Blackboard
has a variety of ways to make this material available to
students. Use the Elluminate tool to have a live
presentation online with your students, and record that so
the student who missed can at least see what went on. Or,
record a solo session, where you run through your
presentation similar to what you might do in a lecture hall,
then let the students watch that recording and post
questions to a discussion board. Even if you already have
all your material available in a written format, you could
still make little audio snippets to accompany the written
material, verbally drawing student attention to the most
vital material or correcting the common misperceptions that
your experience in the classroom tells you at least someone
With the tools in Blackboard it is
possible to replicate many of the features of a classroom
environment over the Internet. However, it is even more
possible to closely tie Blackboard features into an
on-campus class, and offer a richness to the flow of a
semester that could help your students to succeed. If
there’s something you are doing in the classroom, and you’re
interested in seeing if you can develop an online aid or
equivalent, give us in Academic Technology a call (email@example.com
or X2862) and we’ll see if we can work something out
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Are you confused when Outlook asks you, every two
weeks, whether you want to AutoArchive old items?
If you don't understand what Outlook is asking you
are probably answering No to this question, on the
theory that doing nothing is safer than doing
something that may lose some of your email messages.
The correct answer to this question, however, is
Yes. To help you feel comfortable about
answering Yes, we have provided the following
In the first place, where does that AutoArchive
message come from, and why does it keep popping up
every two weeks?
Outlook has default AutoArchive settings, which
can be accessed from the Tools > Options menu.
In Outlook click Tools > Options > Other tab >
AutoArchive... button. If you have never
visited this dialog box, you will see the default
settings for your version of Outlook.
First, what this dialog is telling you is that
Outlook will attempt to AutoArchive every 14 days,
that it will prompt you before it acts (that is why
that dialog box pops up every two weeks) and that it
will archive--that is, move offline, to your hard
drive--items older than 6 months to the file
specified in the "Move old itmes to" path. The
file type it will create and/or move the items to is
a ".pst" file, a "personal store" file. These
personal store files can then be backed up or moved
to other versions of Outlook. Remember, these
are the default settings for your folders in
Outlook. The AutoArchive behavior of any
individual folder can be customized, but more on
In looking at the default settings, I would
suggest that two months is too long a period to
retain old items. Two months is more like it,
but it really depends on the volume of mail you
receive and, related, of course, the number of
projects in which you are involved. I would
also suggest that you create a custom path for your
archive file, rather than the default location
within the My Documents (or Documents, in Vista)
folder structure so that your archive.pst file will
get backed up along with the other contents of your
Palomar hard drive through the IS backup procedure.
Note the check in the check box "Show archive
folder in folder list." As long as this box is
checked, your archive folder will show up in your
Outlook folder list for quick access to archived
email. If you should close your archive folder
in Outlook, you can always reopen it by selecting
File > Open > Outlook Data File... and then
navigating to and selecting your archive.pst (or
whatever you have named it) file. This
procedure will open any .pst file, not just your
archive.pst file, and it is important to realize
that you can export any Outlook folder to a .pst
file in order to back it up or move it to another
version of Outlook.
What if you want different AutoArchive settings
on a particular folder, or you do not want a folder
archived at all? Simply right-click the folder
and choose Properties. Then click the
AutoArchive tab and modify the settings
appropriately, or click "Do not archive items in
this folder" if that is what you want. Note
that a separate archive folder can be created for
any specific folder different from the standard
archive.pst file, or the standard file can be used.
Don't want to wait for the AutoArchive prompt to
archive any or all folders? Click File >
Archive... Select your folder (or upper level
mailbox) and click OK. Archiving will proceed
Next time you see that AutoArchive message, don't
be so timid. Go ahead and answer Yes. It
will help relieve the load on the Exchange server
and, if you institute a system of offline backups,
give you greater data security.
Send us your comments