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- Upcoming Training
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"The Season of Change"
- Teaching with Technology:
"2008 Online Teaching Conference - Report
Tech Talk Topic:
"New TEACH Act Procedure"
- For more, see
podcast notes for
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,
click here (PDF) and
here (video); for more on the new critical
click here (video). To see version 8 in
person, login to the
Blackboard sandbox (use your normal Palomar
faculty login credentials). If you have
email@example.com or call ext. 2862.
The big tech news this week was from Apple: the 3G
iPhone is being released to consumers July 11.
"...they're also making sure it's available all over
internationally, works with enterprises, runs 3rd
party apps... and does it all for cheaper" (engadget).
The price for the 8GB model is $199. At this
price point they will sell millions and millions,
which is good news for those providers of expensive
and mandatory data plans.
Also from Apple, the next version of OS X, called
"Snow Leopard," was mentioned in Steve Jobs' keynote
to last week's World Wide Developers' Conference,
but details were sparse. It will be "evolutionary
rather than revolutionary" according to Jobs (a
collection of boring fixes and uninspired
non-innovation? sounds like Windows Vista).
In any event, it will not ship for another year or
so, with emphasis on the "or so."
Click here for the official Apple page.
new cell phone law will go into effect July 1,
making it a crime to use a handset while driving
(though allows texting!). Peace officers are
rubbing their hands in expectation of huge revenue
boosts. Expect it will change the behavior of
most teens? Think again. Other states
have tried and found little difference of teen
drivers before and after cell phone laws.
"Researchers who watched as high school students
left school found that teenage drivers used their
cell phones at about the same rate both before and
after the law took effect...In the North Carolina
study, researchers found that 11% of teenage drivers
observed departing 25 high schools during the two
months before the ban took effect were using
cell phones. About five months after the ban took
effect, during the spring of 2007, nearly 12% were
observed using phones" (USA
Click here for the California DMV Q&A page on
the new cell phone laws.
Microsoft's foray into direct competition with
Google on digitizing and searching books and
scholarly articles has ended in humiliation as they
pulled the plug on their Live Book Search and Live
Search Academic projects.
Click here for Microsoft's best possible spin on
the disastrous effort. Google's
Book Search and
Scholar projects, the direct competition for
Microsoft's efforts, are very much alive and
Microsoft is also circling the wagons with respect
to video. Last week they launched
Microsoft Video, like a YouTube for Microsoft
how-to and promotional videos. Useful, but
hardly competition for Google.
Microsoft has also (mysteriously) brought out a beta
Producer 2007 (if this makes sense to you, you
are too devoted to Microsoft products).
Producer is a PowerPoint add-in (not really, but
they call it that and it has an add-in component)
that is supposed to make it easy to convert
PowerPoint presentations to streaming "rich media"
presentations. Producer 2003 worked, was
kludgy, but never caught on. We will review
Producer 2007 in a future issue, but for now, those
wishing to convert PowerPoint to a web movie ought
Camtasia, a superior product from Techsmith
available in the faculty technology center (room
LL-111 in the San Marcos campus library).
Worried about the explosion of digital information?
If you are a storage manufacturer, you are rubbing
your hands, if you are a librarian you despair.
To get a feel for the magnitude of the problem, take
a look at "The
Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide
Information Growth Through 2010" [PDF].
Microsoft will be test releasing a feature rich beta
(2) version of Internet Explorer 8 in August aimed
primarily at regular web users.
The beta 1 of IE8 aimed at web developers is
currently available at the Microsoft web site.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Google Apps: The Missing Manual, by Nancy
Conner. "Google Apps: The Missing Manual
teaches you how to use three relatively new
applications from Google: "Docs and Spreadsheets",
which provide many of the same core tools that you
find in Word and Excel; and Google Calendar and
Gmail, the applications that offer an alternative to
Outlook. This book demonstrates how these
applications together can ease your ability to
collaborate with others, and allow you access to
your documents, mail and appointments from any
computer at any location." 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.
The Season of Change
The season of change is upon us. Spring is over,
summer is imminent, and fall looms ahead. But some
changes other than the majestic cycle of semesters
is also coming. Now let us consider: Blackboard 8.
Late evening on Friday, June 20th, the procedure
will begin to upgrade Palomarís Blackboard Learning
System to version 8. To do this, all day on Saturday
June 21st and possibly all day on Sunday June 22nd
the Blackboard system will be unavailable to faculty
and students. At the same time, dramatic changes
will be made to the support materials and site
design, so that by Monday morning, on June 23rd, a
whole new Blackboard system will be ready for use.
As discussed since February around here, the
largest change will be inside of Blackboard, with
the replacement of the old Gradebook with the new
Grade Center. The
Grade Center guide [PDF] should answer the most
burning questions on how instructors can put the new
tool to immediate use, but I feel obligated to warn
everyone that things in the Grade Center will be
quite different than what has gone before.
Fortunately the directions for students remain the
same: Click the My Grades link, which may be found
in the Tools area of the course.
At this time, it is possible that some
instructors are still getting things ready for
Summer or Fall classes, too. Iíve been asked
recently if it would be better to wait until after
the upgrade to prep for new courses, or is it okay
to do course copy procedures now. Now is just fine.
Any content changes to the system will carry though
the upgrade just fine, so feel free to get your
upcoming course sites ready before the upgrade.
JustÖ donít try to get things done on the system
between late Friday June 20th and early Monday June
23rd, as the system will be unavailable. An
instructional sheet on some of the common
pre-semester tasks you may need to complete is
Be warned, changes are coming. By getting ready
and staying informed, everyone should be just fine.
But, if you do run into any problems, please contact
our Blackboard Technical Support by phoning
760-744-1150 x2862 or emailing us at
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Teaching Conference - Report 1
Tips from established online instructors:
What do you wish someone had told you?
- Ensure that students read the
syllabus - one instructor has a policy of having
students sign a statement that he/she has read and
understood the syllabus; another created a quiz about
the syllabus that students must take (they earn extra
- Try everything yourself first - when
you post a URL, an assignment, a quiz or test, be sure
to do it yourself first.
- Establish a DB policy and answer
these questions: how many posts are required? When in
the week are students required to post? Do forums have
due dates (the consensus was Yes)? Are students required
to respond to other students' posts? State explicitly
how DB posts should be made: standard, grammatically
correct English or is more conversational English OK?
What about IM abbreviations? Do you have a grading
rubric (you should)?
- Explicitly state your email policy -
if you have a Q & A forum in your Discussion Board (you
should) explain to students that only private matters
should be emailed to you, everything else should be
posted in the DB where, often, other students will
answer the question before you have to; also, if you
have students email papers or assignments to you have a
policy of replying to their submissions. Then, students
don't have to wonder if you received something from them
- if they didn't receive a reply, you didn't.
- Create a "Wisdom Wall" forum in your
DB - at the end of class students leave tips, ideas,
suggestions to next semester's students about what the
incoming students can do to do well, make their lives
easier, etc. Post these comments in next semester's DB
and make it the first thing students read.
- Create a "Parting Comments, Parting
Shots" forum in your DB to allow students anonymously to
give their honest reactions to the class; another person
named this forum "How Did The Class Work For You."
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
New TEACH Act Procedure
Academic Technology has a new procedure faculty
members ought to be aware of. One of our most
popular activities is to digitize video for use in
"distance education." For our purposes, a
"distance education" class is any class offering
instruction at a distance, not a class officially
designated with a particular delivery modality.
In the past we have advised instructors via
email, on web pages, and through personal meetings
about the legal requirements of the TEACH Act
(passed by Congress and signed into law in 2002)
which basically harmonizes the copyright exclusions
applicable to online and in-person instructors where
the copying and display of media is concerned.
Now we have formalized that process by creating a
TEACH Act Checklist.
The TEACH Act Checklist is based on the
TEACH Act Guidelines. Basically, we are
asking instructors to assert that works they request
us to digitize, stream and link within their
Blackboard classes meet the following criteria:
- The work is not produced for distance
- The work is lawfully made and acquired (no
home-made VHS tapes).
- The work is part of systematic mediated
- The work is directly related to or of
material assistance to teaching (basically, you
have created an assignment based on the work and
it is not simply background or enrichment
- This work is:
- A nondramatic literary work.
- A nondramatic musical work.
- A reasonable and limited portion of any
- A display of any work in an amount
analogous to a live classroom setting.
- If requesting a conversion from analog to
digital format, no digital version of the work
is available or the available digital versions
are technologically protected.
Unless you are using a very limited portion of a
work for which you are making a fair use argument,
then, be sure before bringing a VHS tape or DVD to
Academic Technology for streaming, that you fill out
the TEACH Act Checklist for each title and bring it
along with the media to our offices. Works
unaccompanied with the checklist will not be
processed. Faculty digitizing their own works
must be sure to comply with the terms of the TEACH
Act to avoid potentially serious liability
For more information, call ext. 2877.
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