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- Upcoming Training
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Don't Take Any Wooden Nickles"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Exams and Student Performance"
Tech Talk Topic:
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology News Briefs
- We will not be renewing our subscription to the
TurnItIn anti-plagiarism service after December 19,
2008. On that date the service will be
discontinued. Several factors contributed to
- We now have a comparable product, Safe
Assignment, which we receive as part of our standard
Blackboard Learning System license at no additional
cost. The TurnItIn subscription required a
substantial additional fee.
- A survey sent to full and part-time faculty
members supported the decision to discontinue our
- Relatively few faculty members were making use
of the TurnItIn service.
- The Faculty Senate technology committee
unanimously recommended not to renew.
learn how to use the Safe Assignment feature within
Remember, if you are relying on TurnItIn
Assignments for fall semester grading, be sure they
are completed before the cutoff date of December 19,
- Only three things in life are certain:
death, taxes, and software upgrades.
Blackboard will be upgraded with a service pack
(i.e., bug fixes, no new features) over winter
break. It will be unavailable from Tuesday,
January 6, 2009 until Thursday morning, January 8,
2009. It may be back sooner, but we are
scheduling for worst case scenario.
- The Wimba Voice Tools are now available in
Blackboard: "Give your class a voice".
to learn how to use the new Wimba Voice Tools.
new in Blackboard, in response to numerous faculty
requests, we have added the
campus pack, which includes tools that
permit blogging, private journals, wikis, web page
authoring, a specialized podcast tool (which
replaces the old Oscelot podcaster), and a
inter-course search tool. We will not be
officially "rolling out" these tools until next
semester when we can prepare a full complement of
training materials, but early adopters who want to
get started can jump right in. If you need
assistance we will be happy to work with you.
To see the blogging tool in person, login to
Blackboard and enter the Academic Technology
Training course. Click the "View" link under
the blog listed on the opening page. Leave a
comment if you wish.
- Blackboard 9 is in final beta now and we expect
it to be released later this month. It will be
a good year until it is installed on our production
Blackboard servers, but we would like to hear from
faculty members about what you like or don't like
about the new product so that we can configure our
servers appropriately. If you would be willing
to spend some time reviewing the new Blackboard
release please contact
Dr. Haydn Davis.
- If you have a Microsoft
account (free) you will notice that your storage
space has been quintupled this week, from 5 to
25GB--with no limit on the number of accounts you
- Last week Google announced the addition of
SearchWiki to Google web searches. To use
SearchWiki you must be logged into your Google
account. Once logged in, if you perform a
Google web search you can move search results
around, make persistent comments on them, eliminate
unwanted search results, add custom URLs not found
by the search, and review the history of similar
searches. Your "wiki" is personalized, and
will not affect the way others see the search, or
the way you will see it when not logged in.
to find out more by watching the YouTube video.
from Google--and this one is breathtaking--the "Ancient
Rome 3D" layer has been released for
It is a 3D model of Rome as it existed in 320 AD.
To activate it, simply open the Gallery in the
layers panel in Google Earth and click the selection
box next to Ancient Rome 3D. When the
placemarks for major buildings appear, click one and
then download the 3 supporting layers, the terrain
(Google has elected to float the ancient terrain
over modern terrain since elevation and topography
has changed over the intervening 1700 years), a
collection of 250 3D building models, and a
collection of over 5000 other buildings (these are
smaller and will not appear until you fly into the
city at lower elevations). The new layer,
produced by the University of Virginia's
Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH)
and based on its
to watch the explanatory YouTube video.
- Browser market share, as reported in
ars technica, for October shows IE,
Safari and Chrome (Google's new browser) dropping
slightly, and Firefox and Opera gaining. Here
is the chart, based on data from
Each additional month that IE 8 is delayed (it is
and its release had been expected by year's end, but
Microsoft has now
RC1 will not be released until first quarter, 2009)
is another month for IE's competitors to erode its
- Microsoft has announced that its anti-malware
product, Windows Live OneCare, will be discontinued.
Sales of OneCare will end June 30, 2009.
Thereafter, OneCare users will be transitioned to a
new FREE anti-malware product now being developed by
Microsoft, code named "Morro". If you are
to get the details.
Medical Institute Holiday Lectures--four
lectures delivered by two eminent scientists--will
be webcast live December 4-5, and the On-Demand
archive videos will be available December 9, 2008.
for the on-demand option on or after that date.
This year's lecturers are the famous neuroscientists
Eric R. Kandel and Thomas M. Jessell, both of
Columbia University. The general topic:
Making Your Mind: molecules, motion and memory.
- What were the
searched terms on Google for the last
year? Here's the list:
- fox news
- beijing 2008
- david cook
- surf the channel
Our prediction: all but obama will fall
off the list by this time next year.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Adobe Photoshop CS4: The Essential Techniques for
Imaging Professionals by Richard
Harrington. "Photoshop is the foundation
of every digital career. It is the most pervasive
technology on the market. Many users think they know
it, but in truth they have gaping holes. This book
covers what a professional truly needs to know about
Photoshop to be employable. For students (whether in
formal programs, certified training centers, or
self-paced) this book offers a chance to explore the
many aspects of the program interactively. The book
cuts though the clutter and is unique in that it
focuses not just on digital photography, but
Internet, graphic design, multimedia, and video
uses." 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
- The Academic Technology training schedule has
been published for the spring 2009 semester.
for the schedule, and
for the training description page. New in the
spring will be four "technology fridays" where a
topic will be pursued by a limited number of
participants (15) in depth for six hours (including
an hour for lunch, which will be provided free).
Those interested in technology fridays are
encouraged to sign-up early, since seating and lunch
reservations are limited.
Our plenary and pre-plenary workshops will occur on
January 15, 2009:
- Blackboard Essentials - a hands-off introduction
to Blackboard by Chris Norcross in room P-32 from
- The Blackboard 8 Grade Center - a hands-on
workshop conducted by David Gray in room LL-109 from
- Academic Technology at Palomar College - a show
and tell by Dr. Haydn Davis and Terry Gray in room
LL-109 from 7:15-9pm.
- In addition, we have developed a set of
self-paced, online workshops on various technology
essentials topics in the Academic Technology
Training Blackboard course. All faculty and
staff members are pre-enrolled in this course.
You will find it in the My Courses area when you
login to Blackboard under the "Courses in which you
are enrolled" section.
Wimba Voice Tools Training
- We have developed a number of
videos on how to use the new Wimba Voice
tools within Blackboard.
- In addition, Wimba.com holds online, instructor
on various dates.
- Safe Assignment Training
- We have developed a detailed PDF and an
illustrative screencast on how to use the Safe
Assignment anti-plagiarism service.
- Learning Objects Training
- We have not yet developed our training materials
for Learning Objects, a set of blogging,
journaling, wiki, web page podcasting, and search
tools we have added to our Blackboard
implementation, but the Learning Objects company has
training materials on the web.
- 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.
- General Blackboard Training
- We have developed a set of screencasts that
explain how to perform the most frequently required
tasks in Blackboard.
to access a list of them.
Feature of the Week - David Gray
Donít Take Any Wooden Nickels
so you probably donít need a reminder to refuse
wooden currency, but there are a few Blackboard
related issues that you may need reminding of:
- December 19th our TurnItIn
subscription expires. Judging from past
experience, we will immediately loose access to
all the submitted papers and originality
reports, so be completely done with any TurnItIn
Assignments before the Friday of finals week. If
you need assistance with using the
SafeAssignment tool to replicate the
functionality of TurnItIn, please refer to the
Instructorís How-To guide on
Safe Assignment [PDF].
- December 23rd the Fall 2007
courses will be removed from Blackboard, in
accordance with our normal course retention
policy. If you havenít yet, now would be a good
time to use the Archive Course tool in your
Control Panel to backup your old course
- January 6th through 8th our
Blackboard system will be down for maintenance
and system updates. As always, we will try to
have the system up again as soon as possible,
but donít count on Blackboard to be available
until Thursday January 8th.
- January 15th is the next set
of face-to-face workshops on using Blackboard.
That Thursday at 3 p.m. Chris Norcross will be
offering a session of Blackboard Essentials in
P-32, and David Gray will be offering a session
of Using the Blackboard Grade Center in room
LL-104. Each of these sessions will run for two
If you need assistance with using
Blackboard, donít wait until January 15th. Contact
Palomarís Blackboard Technical Support by emailing
email@example.com or phoning
(760) 744-1150 X2862, and let us answer your
questions or set up time for one-on-one training.
Itís what weíre here for, after all!
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Exams and Student Performance
A Teaching Strategy from Myers, C.B., and Myers,
S.M. (2007). Assessing assessments: The effects of
two exam formats on course achievement and
evaluation. Innovative Higher Education, 31, 227-236
What was the strategy? Frequent Exams = Better
Results for Students
Students were enrolled in two sections of a
statistics course for Sociology majors. "Both
sections had the same instructor, same text, and
same material presented in class." Students in the
control condition took two midterm exams and a
cummulative final exam. Students in the experimental
condition took six exams and the same cumulative
Results: students in the experimental condition
scored 10 percentage points better than the students
who took fewer tests - this equates to a grade
difference! And while 11% of the students in the
control condition withdrew from the class, none in
the experimental condition did.
Explanation? The authors suggest several
possibilities including (1) students in the more
frequent tests condition had less material to learn
for each exam so were less likely to procrastinate
and cram; (2) they received more frequent feedback
(3) taking more exams made them more experienced
test takers and increased their confidence which
probably affected their motivation to study and do
Safe Assignment Tutorials
Safe Assignment Tutorials
(pdf document and screencasts)
Groups, from the University of Texas at
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Groups in Blackboard
One of the powerful features of Blackboard is the
ability to create groups within a course, with their
own group discussion board, virtual classroom, file
exchange area, and email distribution list.
Groups are essentially a means of controlling access
to these resources for selected members of a class
roster. In combination with adaptive release
(the ability to assign ANY blackboard resource based
on group membership, among other criteria) this can
be a very powerful way to organize student exposure
to customized course content. Groups tend to
be underutilized in Blackboard, even when group work
is an important part of the instructor's pedagogy,
most likely because the instructor has the false
idea that managing groups is too burdensome.
Managing groups--the mechanics of setting them up
and controlling group membership--is actually quite
easy. This brief article will cover the
basics, with a bit about how to take the more
advanced step of using a group in connection with
adaptive release to control the group's access to a
How to Create and Manage Groups in Blackboard
Login to your course and click the Control Panel
link on the left of your screen.
In the User Management area of the control panel
click on Manage Groups.
On the Manage Groups page, click Add Group.
On the Add Group configuration page, give the
group a name, provide an optional description if you
wish; assign permissions to group assets like a
private group discussion board, a private group
virtual classroom (online whiteboard), a private
group file sharing area, and a group email list;
make the group available to students; then click
The next step is to assign members to the group.
As soon as you click Submit on the screen
illustrated above, you will be returned to the
Manage Groups page, with the group you have created
listed, along with its assets. To add members,
click the Modify button.
The group configuration page will appear.
"Group Properties" refer to the same settings you
selected when you initially set up the group.
To add members, click "Add Users to Group".
On the succeeding "Add Users to Group" screen you
could search by user last name or email address, but
it is far easier to click the List All tab and then
the List All button. A list of all enrolled
members of the class will appear. Place a
check in the box next to the names you want to add
to the group, and then click Submit.
The names you checked are added to the Group.
To be sure you added everyone you intended to add,
you can select "List Users in Group" from the Manage
Groups screen, and then select List All, to get a
listing of each member of the group. The
Manage Group screen also allows for removing members
of the group. Should a student drop the
course, he/she will be eliminated from the group
automatically. The instructor does not have to
manually remove dropped students.
As noted above, Group A in our example now have
their own area, that only they and you, the
instructor, can enter to carry on a group
discussion, the also have an area where they can
exchange files, like a PowerPoint presentation they
might all be working on, and they have a group email
distribution list that can be accessed from the
course Communication tools area. Since we did
not select "Group Virtual Classroom" on the
configuration screen illustrated above, this feature
is not available to them.
Using a Group with Adaptive Release
Adaptive Release is a powerful Blackboard feature
that permits the instructor to give access to course
assets based on student performance on a test or
group membership. For example, let's suppose
we have prepared some resources for Group A, in our
example above, to get them started on their project.
We have placed those resources in a folder in a
course content area. To assign Group A to this
folder, and exclude all other class members from the
folder (except any instructors, of course), enter
the course content area, click Edit View, and then
click the Manage button next to the folder in
On the resulting screen click Adaptive Release.
In part 2 of the resulting Adaptive Release
configuration screen, select Group A from the list
of Available Course Groups, and click the
right-pointing arrow icon to move it to the Selected
area. Now click Submit and you are done.
Now, only members of Group A will be able to see
the Resources for London Report folder. Of
course there are many other adaptive release rules
that can be applied to students, but this one is an
example of the elegance of giving access to
materials based on a simply created Blackboard
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