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- Upcoming Training
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Can You Hear Me Now?"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Ten Tips for Drawing in PowerPoint 2007"
- 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,
New procedure for digital streaming requests:
For those bringing media (VHS tapes, DVDs, audio
tapes or CDs) to
Academic Technology in order to have it
digitized/encoded/linked within Blackboard under the
authority of the TEACH Act, you must first visit the
TEACH Act checklist on our web site, fill out the
appropriate sections, print and sign it, and bring/send
a copy along with each title you wish us to encode.
Basically, media streamed under the TEACH Act must:
- be an integral part of the teaching for the
course. They cannot simply be “background” or
- cannot have been produced for the distance
education market in the first place;
- must be legally obtained;
- is not already a digitized version of the
video available to students;
- must be available only to the students enrolled
in the class for which they are intended and only
for the term for which that class is being actively
- must be accompanied by disclose of full
copyright information, along with a warning
- must make every reasonable effort to prevent
duplication and redistribution.
A new version of the
Google Earth desktop client has been released,
version 4.3. New features include a new
navigation approach, with ground-level perspectives
similar to video games, faster 3D building
rendering, a new Street View look, sunlight features
allowing for time-lapse views with corrected
lighting, image acquisition dates, and several new
has added a significant amount of programming to
iTunes U [link requires iTunes], "From The
War: A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick to
The Jewish Americans: A Series by David Grubin
to Meet the Author, featuring more than 40
interviews with top children’s book authors and
illustrators, WETA — Washington D.C.’s Public
Broadcasting Station — delivers a rich assortment of
educational programming for students, teachers, and
parents alike. And they’re not alone. Educational
programming from four other PBS stations, including
KQED, WGBH, thirteen, and ideastream..."
Remember, if digital versions of media are available
on Internet, we cannot digitize copies for you, so
check the offerings before bringing media to
Microsoft Help and Support Center web site has
been redesigned to look (at least partially)
consistent with the corporation's
to hear a Neanderthal speak? Of course you do.
"Robert McCarthy, an anthropologist at Florida
Atlantic University in Boca Raton has used new
reconstructions of Neanderthal vocal tracts to
simulate the voice. He says the ancient human's
speech lacked the "quantal vowel" sounds that
underlie modern speech" (New
Scientist). Just how the "reconstruction"
was done without access to any soft tissue evidence
is not explained.
Click here to hear the Neanderthal "E" and
here to here a modern homo sapiens "E".
- So, have you adopted Windows Vista yet?
"Vista is to Windows XP what the old Elvis was to
the younger one" (bink).
This is from an article on Vista's problems, which,
Forrester Research are largely perceptual.
Microsoft needed to deliver a great new operating
system, and delivered a tired old one which was
nothing but variations on what already existed.
As stated, Vista is to XP what old Elvis is to young
Elvis. Forrester's conclusion? Go ahead
and adopt. "...in Europe and the United
States, 97 percent of SMBs and 99 percent of
enterprises run Windows on the desktop." In
other words, it's the only game in town, so start
- It is not all bad news for Microsoft.
Internet Security Threat Report" [PDF] for the
period 7/07-12/07 was recently released and among
many other findings, it was revealed that Microsoft,
among the major operating system vendors, is the
quickest to patch security vulnerabilities.
The following chart, "Patch development time for
operating systems" (p. 30), tells the story.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Many of you have Photoshop Elements 6 because it
came with your video camera, scanner or printer.
This week's book is for you.
The Photoshop® Elements 6 Book for Digital
Photographers by Scott Kelby and Matt
Kloskowski. "With this newest release of
Photoshop Elements, Scott and Matt show readers how
to work with their images like a pro, from importing
to organization to correction to output. Readers
will learn all they need to know about the digital
photography workflow, as well as the latest secrets
of the pros to help them create the best special
effects, apply the most useful sharpening
techniques, and avoid many of the hassles and
problems that are encountered in digital
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.
Can You Hear Me Now?
In the classroom, while you may direct a
student to read a certain passage from a textbook, or view a
web page, you are also likely to draw specific attention to
some aspect of the reading. Obviously in the classroom it is
easy to simply say what you want students to examine
closely; can this be replicated in Blackboard?
The first step is to make an audio
recording, which can be done in a variety of ways. Any
computer with a microphone can be used to record audio, or a
digital voice recorder could be bought (or checked out by
Palomar faculty from Academic Technology, as per
this web page). I would recommend getting the audio file
into either the .MP3 or .WMA format, which will be usable by
virtually all students.
Next, add an item in Blackboard, and in
the second section of the page, attach your audio file by
clicking the Browse… button. (diagram 1, step 1) Then fill
in the Name of Link to File box with some descriptive text.
(diagram 1, step 2) For example, if I was posting a Windows
Media Audio file, I might make the link text say “If the
on-screen player does not work, right-click this link to
save a copy of the WMA file and play it locally on your
computer.” Finally, create the “on-screen player” by
clicking the Add Audio Content button in the Visual Text Box
Editor. (figure 1, step 3)
When you click the button to add audio
content, a new window will appear. On the Insert Audio File
screen, first use the Browse… button to select your audio
file from your computer again. Then, keeping all the
remaining controls at their default settings, just click the
Submit button. (figure 2, step 2)
After you submit this information, a
confirmation screen will appear, which you must also click
Submit on. You will be returned to the page for adding an
item, so now you need to scroll to the bottom and,
predictably, click the Submit button.
When students see this item, they will
have an opportunity to either play the sound file directly
from the screen, or save a copy of the file to listen to
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Ten Tips for Drawing In PowerPoint 2007
PowerPoint 2007 shares the same drawing tools and
concepts with Word and Excel 2007. I have
gathered several useful tips here for making drawing
in these programs a little easier, with emphasis on
Tip 1. Shift draw. Click on
any drawn object in PowerPoint to select it.
Its selection "handles will appear":
To rotate the object place your cursor over the
green rotation handle and drag, but to rotate in
fixed 15° increments, hold down the shift key when
dragging. The same is true of lines (or more
precisely, rays). Holding down shift while
drawing lines will create a perfetly straight
horizontal or vertical line, but holding down shift
while dragging the mouse diagonally will produce
lines in fixed 15° increments. Finally,
holding down shift while drawing a rectangle or
ellipse will cause the object to be a perfect square
Tip 2. Selection. You can
select multiple objects on a single slide by
clicking on the object while holding down the Ctrl
or the Shift key. It is better to select
multiple objects by holding down Shift rather than
Ctrl, however, because Ctrl-dragging duplicates an
object. It is all to easy to inadvertently
move your hand while Ctrl-clicking and produce
unwanted duplicates, so Shift selection is the
An alternative method of selection is to "marquee
draw" around them. That is, hold down the
mouse button and draw an invisible rectangle around
a group of objects on a slide. All objects
within the rectangle will be selected, including
New with PowerPoint 2007 is the Selection Pane,
which makes selecting, ordering and moving layered
objects much easier than it ever has been. In
previous versions of PowerPoint, it has been
difficult (or impossible) to see and work with small
drawn objects in a stack of layered objects.
Now, to work with them click on the Home tab, click
the drop-down arrow on the Select command in the
Editing group, and click on
A pane will appear to the right of your screen
with a list of all the objects on that particular
slide. The objects can be named (a very good
idea when working with multiple drawn objects, just
to keep things straight--the objects start out with
a generic name, like "rectangle 2" or "5-pointed
star 9"), re-arranged, selected, moved, copied,
deleted, and, most importantly, made visible or
invisible (using the Photoshop-like "eye" icon in
the pane) to expose underlying objects.
Tip 3. Default Shape Effects.
There are a staggering number of possible effects
that can be applied to drawn objects in PowerPoint
2007, shadows, reflections, glows, 3D effects, and
so on. If you work hard to create the perfect
set of effects on any one shape and decide that is
the effect you would like to create on all drawn
objects, just right-click the object and choose "Set
as Default Shape."
Tip 4. Grouping. Once complex
shapes have been drawn in relation to one another,
you should group them into a single object so that
you will not inadvertently move one of the component
shapes. To do this, select each of the
components, right-click the selection, and choose
Group > Group. The multiple selections will
turn into a single, grouped object. They will
still appear as several discrete objects on the
selection pane (and indented, with individual
controls), and indeed they can be ungrouped again,
but for manipulation purposes on the slide they will
act as a single object. Remember, however,
that this applies to drawn objects only. If
you place an object on a slide using one of the
default PowerPoint insertion placeholders, it cannot
be grouped. This is a good reason not to use
those default placeholders.
Tip 5. Duplication. To
duplicate a drawn object (or grouped set of drawn
objects as a single object) select it, hold down the
Ctrl key and press D. Each time you press
Ctrl-D the object will be duplicated, and will
appear slightly offset from the original object.
Another method of doing this is to select the
object(s), click the Copy command on the Home tab,
and then click the Paste command for each copy you
wish to create. If you wish to duplicate the
entire slide, select the slide in the Slides pane
and press Ctrl-D, or right-click it and select
Tip 6. Lock Drawing Mode. If
you wish to draw multiple, but different-sized,
shapes, click the drop-down under the Shapes command
in the Illustrations group on the Insert tab, and
right-click the shape, selecting "Lock Drawing Mode"
before you begin to draw. This will keep the
shape selected and you will not have to return to
the Shapes drop-down to reselect the shape between
Tip 7. Line Connectors. If you
wish to connect shapes with PowerPoint's new
Visio-like line connectors, you can, of course,
simply draw them. When it comes to lines with
elbows or curved lines, however, this can be tricky.
Rather than trying to draw them with the requisite
bends you can also simply click the originating
connection point (the "handle" that glows red when
you hover over an object while using the connector
shape). A single click will draw a default
connector shape connected at one end only. It
is easy, then, to drag its unconnected end to the
terminal connection handle, and then drag its yellow
adjustment handle to create the bends or angles you
Tip 8. Action Buttons. Rather
than use the cheesy looking Action Buttons supplied
by PowerPoint (which are really like any other drawn
shape, except that they invoke the Actions Settings
dialog box immediately after they are drawn), simply
select a shape which you wish to associate an action
with, and click the Action button on the Insert tab
(Links group). The same Actions Settings
dialog box will appear, allowing you to associate
any of many possible actions with clicking or
hovering over the object (actions like jumping to
another slide, invoking another PowerPoint
presentation, displaying a document external to the
presentation, linking to a URL, executing another
program, playing a sound, or even terminating the
Tip 9. Complex Polygons. The
standard polygons already have a pre-defined shape,
but if you want to draw your own polygon, use the
Click the mouse to begin,
release the mouse button and click each time you
wish to make a new line segment. Double click to
close the shape over the start point. The shape
will not fill with a fill color.
Tip 10. Custom Clip Art.
If you cannot find the clip art you want, you can
draw and save your own to the Clip Organizer, and
re-use it as often as you wish. Here’s how.
First, draw the shape you wish to save a clip
art. If it is a complex shape, be sure to
group it before saving it.
Now right-click it and choose "Save Picture
As..." Change the Save As Type file format to
EMF (enhanced Windows Metafile).
You will note that it is possible to save the file
in several other formats, jpg, png, tif and so one.
These other formats, however, are bit mapped
formats, not vector-based formats. The advantage of
vector-based formats is that an actual picture is
not saved, simply a group of data that describes the
picture. Therefore when a vector-based graphic is
resized, it does not distort or pixilate, as a
bitmapped graphic does.
Now that you have your emf file, open the
Microsoft Clip Organizer (you will find it on the
Start button > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office
Tools submenu). Choose File > Add Clips to
Organizer > On My Own… Navigate to your clip art
and click Add. After it is added, you can
right-click it and Edit Keywords to add descriptive
keywords to help you search for it later.
Now you can re-use it as often as you wish in any
presentation you wish by simply finding it in the
clipart task pane.
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