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- Tech Support Roundtable:
"Frequently Asked Questions in Week 1"
Tech Talk Topic:
"PowerPoint for the Web"
- For more, see
podcast notes for
Technology & Download News Briefs
Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 is now available for
Click here for the download site (English,
German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese only at this
point). (Note: not recommended for Palomar
College production computers). Accelerators,
Web Slices, InPrivate browsing, tab Session
restores, SmartScreen Filters,
color-coded tab groups, security enhancements and
other new features already in production in Firefox
and Safari are now in IE 8.
Click here for a CNet overview,
here for the general FAQ, and
here for a set of get acquainted videos.
IE8 outdoes, but only slightly, some of the new
features in Firefox 3, and underperforms on others.
As usual it is a Microsoft catch-up effort aimed at
consumers who admire the new features in Firefox and
Safari, which Microsoft hopes can be leveraged into
continued market dominance by virtue of their OS
monopoly. Neither the IE8 beta nor Firefox 3 are certified for
Blackboard use, so download and use at your own
members, staff and students can purchase Adobe
software at very reduced prices from the Foundation
for California Community Colleges (FCCC).
Click here to access their Adobe sales sponsored
site via Computerland. The Adobe CS3.3
Production Premium suite, for example, which
includes InDesign CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended,
Illustrator CS3, Flash Pro CS3, Dreamweaver CS3 and
Acrobat Pro 9, and a group of common applications
can be purchases for $314.00. The package
retails for $1,799.00.
Click here for the FCCC Collegebuys web portal.
Also from Microsoft this week, Photosynth was
released for public use. We first reported on
photosynth in episode 63. It was (and is) a
Microsoft research project that takes numerous
photos of the same object and combines them into a
navigable, 360-degree view of the object. It
is the "something between" a photo and video.
It makes more sense when you see it.
Click here to access the photosynth home page
which contains several examples. (Note: You
must install the photosynth software to view the
examples, and there is no version for Mac yet).
Below I have linked to a sample "synth" of
the national archives in Washington DC, composed of 169
original photos. Note that you can drill
deeply enough to actually read the documents and see
the pictures in the display cases.
National Archive Synth
Remarkably, photosynth can find similarities in a
multitude of pictures and determine the vantage
point from which they were taken and stitch them
together, blurring surrounding
pictures while focusing on a single central picture.
Try it for free. Build one with ease. To
prove that this is simple to do, our own David made
a synth of his office in less than half an hour,
including photography time.
Click here to access it.
virus discovered, computer virus, that is.
"NASA has confirmed that laptops carried to the ISS
in July were infected with a virus known as
In fact, NASA even admits it is not the first time
that it has happened. The virus traveled to
the International Space Station last virus on NASA
laptops, though how those were initially infected is
anyone's guess (but not a tough guess, since they
apparently all came configured to autorun inserted
media). Gammim.AG is a low-threat worm
designed to steal sensitive data from various online
games, and presents no actual threat to the systems
on the ISS. Talk about getting out into the
Pew Internet & American Life Project report
showed strong support, among the Internet Governance
Forum (who met recently in Rio de Janeiro) for an
Internet Bill of Rights. "Respondents
indicated strong support for the establishment of a
global internet users Bill of Rights. Some 66% of
those participating in this survey agreed with the
statement: "A global internet Bill of Rights should
be adopted." Only 6% disagreed...Some 76% of
respondents supported freedom of information as a
core ethic of online life and 75% agreed that such a
policy ensuring freedom of expression on the
internet should be adopted."
Click here for a PDF version of the report.
If you have heard about geotagging but wondered what
it actually is and what it's good for,
click here to access a document from Educause
which discusses "7 things you should know about
Geolocation" with a focus on teaching and learning
If you are wondering about cameras that have builit-in
Geo-imaging, here are a few, with a Sony device that
can add Geotagging metadata to select Sony cameras:
For those making use of the amazing new "SmartArt"
in Office 2007, there are 7 new free downloads from
Microsoft to add to your SmartArt collections.
Click here for descriptions and to download.
under "The rumors of my death...": "An
electronic gaffe at news outlet Bloomberg mistakenly
sent an incomplete obituary for Apple CEO Steve Jobs
over the wire on Wednesday afternoon, and a tipster
promptly sent the soon-retracted file to gossip blog
reported Thursday. Jobs looked so gaunt at
his recent appearance at WWDC that speculations
about a return of his pancreatic cancer ran wild.
The speculations were denied, but when the cancer
first appeared Jobs kept it a secret for months.
Apple stock fell at that time based on the rumor, so
investors are naturally hoping that the Bloomberg
mistake is just that, and not the result of some
inside information. It is hard to imagine a
company whose CEO is more important to that
companies future than Jobs is to Apple, not to
mention Pixar and Disney.
Online video vendors are not yet ready to give up,
like online music vendors (many of them the same
people) and drop DRM (Digital Rights Management) in order to compete with Apple.
Sony, this week, introduced "Open Market" a new
(sort of) domain-based DRM system that could control
device interoperability while still restricting
video "owners'" rights to transfer files to
non-authorized devices. If you like tortuous
tales, here is a description of how it works:
"A user can put his desktop, laptop, phone,
portable gaming system, and portable video
player into the same domain, for instance, and
purchased content could play on any of the
devices. Users can link their identities to
multiple domains, too. In a Marlin example, a
college student can link her identity to a
domain covering all the shared gadgets in a
college apartment, but she can also link it to
her parents' equipment at home. Purchased
digital movies can be played on devices in
either domain, then, but movies purchased by a
roommate would work only on the shared apartment
domain, not back at home." (ars
Sound likely? Not to me either. If
video vendors would simply drop the DRM we would all
be happier and sales would increase.
If you are an Orwell fan (and who isn't) you simply
must read his blog. His what? Yes, his
blog. The Orwell Trust has set up a wordpress
blog with daily entries posted from George Orwell's
diaries of exactly 70 years ago.
Click here to access the blog. The entry
for August 28, 1938, for example:
"Night before last an hour’s rain.
Yesterday hot & overcast. Today ditto, with
a few drops of rain in the afternoon. The
hop-picking due to start in about a
While the link for "hop-picking takes you to
an Orwell essay written for the New Statesman &
Nation for October, 1931.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Head First Statistics, by Dawn Griffiths.
"Wouldn't it be great if there were a statistics
book that made histograms, probability
distributions, and chi square analysis more
enjoyable than going to the dentist?
Statistics brings this typically dry subject to
life, teaching you everything you want and need to
know about statistics through engaging, interactive,
and thought-provoking material, full of puzzles,
stories, quizzes, visual aids, and real-world
examples. Whether you're a student, a professional,
or just curious about statistical analysis, Head
First's brain-friendly formula helps you get a firm
grasp of statistics so you can understand key points
and actually use them." 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
Academic Technology training schedule for fall
2008 has been published and is available on the web.
- We will be conducting the following workshops
over the next two weeks:
- 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.
Tech Support FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Professor questions #1:
How do I make my Blackboard course available to
Login to Blackboard. Click the link in the My
Courses list to enter the course you want to make
available. Click the Control Panel link.
Click the "Settings" link in the "Course Options" box.
Click the "Course Availability" link. Click the
"Yes" radio button next to the "Make Course Available:"
label. Click Submit.
here for a demonstration video.
Once again, Click: Control Panel >
Settings > Course Availability > Yes > Submit.
Student question #1:
Why can't I access my Blackboard course?
Your professor has not yet made it available. See
question professor question #1 above.
I'm having trouble logging in to Blackboard. What
should I do?
Login to student eServices and reset your password.
Then try again.
How do I copy my course materials
from a previous semester's Blackboard course into the
current semester's course?
Content from one Blackboard course can be copied to
another by using the “Course Copy” option in the control
panel of the “source” course. Simply choose the
destination, select the course materials you wish to
copy, and click “Submit”. Once the copy process is
complete, you will receive an email letting you know.
Why do I have to contact the HR
office in order to change my Blackboard email address?
is a Palomar College administrative decision. It
used to be possible for instructors to set their own
Blackboard email address in eServices. This is no longer
possible. Now, all Palomar employees must contact Human
Resources to change their email address.
I want to combine my various Blackboard course sections.
Can I do this?
Yes. Contact Richard Loucks in the Instruction
Office and provide him with the details of the section
numbers you wish to combine. Please understand,
however, that when you combine sections for Blackboard
purposes, what happens is that your old courses are
disabled and a new, combined course is created. If
you have content in the old, uncombined courses you will
no longer have access to it. Worse, if students
have actually submitted materials once the semester is
underway, and you request a new, combined class, access
to the materials will be lost. Therefore, the best
time to make this request is prior to the beginning of a
semester and before you have copied materials into your
new courses. If not, be sure to archive the course
so that you can restore the information once the new
course is created.
How do I set or change my preferred student email
You do this through student eServices.
Click here for detailed instructions.
I am having trouble playing a Real video. Why?
We haven't had a Real media server at Palomar for over
two years, but a few professors do not realize that and
have persisted in copying old, invalid links into new
Blackboard courses. Do not click the Real video
links, but rather click the Windows media links.
They will work.
Corollary student question:
I have a Mac. How do I play Windows media videos?
and install the Windows media components for QuickTime
plugin. As the name implies, you will then be able
to play windows media video and audio in your QuickTime
player. Get the Windows media componenets for
Quicktime from either of the following sources:
I want to add a colleague to shadow me as I teach my
Blackboard course. How do I do this?
Ask your department ADA to use the SIS sheet to add the
other instructor as a secondary, non-paid instructor in
the class. All Blackboard teaching assignments are
controlled through PeopleSoft. When the SIS sheet
is processed, your colleague will have instructor access
to the course.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
There are a bewildering number of ways you
can save a PowerPoint presentation for the web, and more
specifically for Blackboard. Here is a quick "let me
count the ways" laundry list, with pros and cons:
- You might simply place the PPTX (or
PPT if you are using PowerPoint 2003 and before) as a
link in Blackboard;
- Pro: a) Simple.
Upload and link to a single file. b)
Animations within PowerPoint will display correctly.
- Con: a) Requires students to own
either PowerPoint or the PowerPoint viewer,
complicated by the differences between PowerPoint
2003 and 2007, and the need, if the student doesn't
own PowerPoint, of downloading and installing the
correct viewer. b) This can also be confusing
for the instructor if the presentation contains
linked, rather than embedded resources, like audio
or video files, flash objects, and so on.
- If you have included linked files in
your presentation (audios larger than the embed limit,
videos, other files such as PDF documents) you might zip
the files together with the PPTX file and place them in
Blackboard with instructions to your students to unzip
- Pro: a) Linked media will be
included for student consumption. b) The
presentation will display as you intend.
- Con: Same as above, with the
additional problem that you must now include
instructions to your students on how to 1) download
the zip file; 2) extract the files it contains; and
3) play them with PowerPoint or the PowerPoint
- If narrations, animations, and linked
media objects within the presentation must be viewed
over the web, you might convert the PowerPoint
presentation to a Flash video that students could play
back with the free Flash player. (Note: there are
variations on this scenario where you might use a
product like Eluminate to present and then archive your
presentation, but there are many such third-party
solutions too numerous to discuss here).
- Pro: a) This is the best "viewer
experience" for the student because it enables the
student to listen to you, the instructor, narrate
the presentation as they are viewing it. b)
You, the instructor, control the pace of the
- Con: a) You must use special
software to capture and encode your presentation.
If you do not own this software, you must go to a
campus lab to use it.
- You might use PowerPoint's Save As...
option and choose to save as a) a web page; b) a single
file web page; c) an XML presentations; or d) any number
of other style of presentations.
- Pro: Solves problems with
linked/embedded audio files.
- Con: Since this will only work if
students have certain versions of Internet Explorer
web browser, it does not provide a reliable,
cross-platform experience for users.
- You might use PowerPoint's Publish
option, and choose Package for CD, which will also work
on the web. In addition to saving the presentation
and any linked files, the PowerPoint viewer will also be
saved with the presentation, and installed on student
workstations if they do not already have PowerPoint or
the viewer installed.
- Pro: This solves many of the
problems of linked/embedded files, and solves the
problem of the PowerPoint viewer too.
- Con: Complicated instructions for
student download and extract have to be providec.
- You might save the Presentation as a
- Pro: a) Simple. b) A
universal format that does not depend on browser or
computer operating system to display correctly.
- Con: Animations or linked media
files will not be included. (Note, actually,
linked media can be included, but this would require
a lot of extra work using Adobe Acrobat.
It is, unfortunately, a rich tapestry.
When narration, animations, or other
embedded media must be experienced by the end user, in fact,
special considerations must be made regardless of the format
chosen. It all boils down to what you, the instructor,
want included in the version you are publishing for your
students consumption. In short, what your purposes are
for placing the PowerPoint presentation in Blackboard in the
We can think of three possible scenarios
for placing PowerPoint within Blackboard.
You simply want to provide a PowerPoint presentation to your
students as learning material or study aid. The
presentation contains information--text, maps, or other
graphics, that you want the student to view. In this
scenario, the narration you might provide to the
presentation is not what you want to provide over the web,
and any linked files, like audio or video files, are
provided elsewhere in your Blackboard course.
If this is the scenario that describes
what you want to do--simply provide the un-narrated
PowerPoint presentation to students for the sake of the
information contained on the slides--then your best solution
is to save the presentation as a PDF file and link to
it within Blackboard.
Example of a PowerPoint presentation saved as
a PDF file.
You want your student to experience the full
presentation, including animations, your narrative and
including any linked audio or video media.
Best: Use Camtasia by Techsmith to record
your presentation and save it as a Flash object, that can be
linked or embedded in Blackboard. Academic Technology
provides Camtasia Studio on three computers in the faculty
technology center (room LL-111) for this purpose.
Example of a Camtasia recorded PowerPoint
A variation on this solution is to use the
narration feature of PowerPoint itself, and then save the
PowerPoint presentation along with supporting files to the
web. There are unfortunate complications, as indicated
above, with this approach, however.
Your want your PowerPoint presentations in
Blackboard not for your students, but for you. It is a
central place to store them so that you can access them from
whatever classroom you happen to be teaching in.
This can be a good strategy for central
storage, but unsatisfactory for part-time instructors who
will not have Blackboard accounts in semesters in which they
are not teaching. The best solution for centralized
web storage is to take advantage of a "cloud" storage
Apple MobileMe, or the like. The wise instructor
will also carry her PowerPoint presentations along, wherever
she goes, on a USB flash drive.
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