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- The Blackboard Feature of the
- Teaching with Technology:
"Easy and Engaging Uses for the Wimba Voice
Tech Talk Topic:
"Your Technology Toolkit"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology News Briefs
Why am I getting this #$@%&!#
newsletter? Because we have refreshed our
subscription list in our email manager with
all current faculty members. If you do not
wish to receive this newsletter regularly, simply
scroll to the bottom and click the unsubscribe link.
We promise, if you do, it won't bother you any more.
On the other hand, we hope you don't do that,
because our newsletter is one of the primary means
we use to distribute news and training materials on
using technology to teach and learn at Palomar
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. Even prior
to the upgrade we will also be purging the fall 2007
(NOT 2008) semester from the Blackboard system on
December 23. If you need a copy of your course
materials from fall 2007 be sure to archive the
course prior to that date.
- As of today, December 19, 2008 our subscription
to the TurnItIn anti-plagiarism service is expired.
In the future we will be using the anti-plagiarism
product built-in to Blackboard, Safe Assign, which
we receive as part of our standard Blackboard
Learning System license at no additional cost.
Click here to access the training materials we have
developed on Safe Assign.
- The Wimba Voice Tools are now available in
Blackboard: "Give your class a voice".
to learn how to use the new Wimba Voice Tools.
By Wednesday, mid-day
patch was in place, but
according to the
BBC, "users of Microsoft's Internet
Explorer [were] being urged by experts to switch to a
rival until a serious security flaw has been
fixed...Microsoft says it has detected attacks
against IE 7.0 but said the "underlying
vulnerability" was present in all versions of the
browser." The vulnerability, discovered by
thieves before it was discovered by Microsoft,
allows "criminals to take control of people's
computers and steal their passwords..."
Experts were recommending the use of another browser,
until Microsoft can fixed the problem. In any
event, be sure you are using updated anti-virus and
anti-spyware software, regardless of your browser.
On the subject of browsers,
though it is just a few months old and much younger
than many of the Google offerings that remain
(perpetually it seems) in beta. The first
non-beta release features greater speed, improved
bookmark management, and better stability,
particularly in video and audio plugin performance.
As a corollary, it is no accident that Google has
dropped Firefox from it's
software download, in favor of Chrome,
though it is still possible to install Firefox
optionally as part of Google Pack.
And speaking of Firefox, Mozilla has released a
patch for 13 separate bugs in the browser and
officially closed support for Firefox 2. The
latest version is Firefox 3.0.5 (ComputerWorld).
Click Help > Check for Updates... to get the latest.
The Library of Congress has issued its report on the
release of historical photographs through
The project, labeled a pilot project to this point,
placed more than 4,000 photos from LC historic
collections for public social tagging and
consumption. The project has been highly
successful, with over 10.4 million views since its
for the summary report,
for the full report [both PDF]. Access the
the Flickr-LC Commons
more information on the project
and a FAQ about the publicly available collections
From the historic to the future: The Pew Internet and American Life Project released
a year-end report on a survey of "internet leaders,
activists and analysts" about what the Internet will
be like in 2020. Their main predictions:
- "The mobile device will be the primary
connection tool to the internet for most people in
the world in 2020.
- The transparency of people and organizations
- Voice recognition and touch
user-interfaces...will be more prevalent and
- Those working to enforce intellectual property
law and copyright protection will remain in a
continuing arms race with the crackers who will find
ways to copy and share content without payment.
- The divisions between personal time and work
time and between physical and virtual reality will
be further erased...
to read access the entire report.
- And while on the subject of surveys, Intel
recently commissioned a Harris Interactive survey
that asked the question 'For two weeks would you
rather go without sex or the Internet?'. 46%
of women and 30% of men said they would rather go
without sex than the Internet. In fact, broken
down demographically, it was 49% of women in the
18-34 age demographic and 52% of women in the 35-44
age demographic. Get the details from
this Intel press
release, and then read the media coverage
New York Times
Bits blog, and the
Journal business technology blog.
- Google has updated the 3D building layer for
Manhattan Island in Google Earth, providing 3D
models of hundreds if not thousands of buildings in
New York. Fly to Manhattan Island and turn on
the 3D Building layer to see them. It will
take some time to populate and cache, since the
update is so significant. Mean while, Google
Earth Plus, the $20 enhancement to Google Earth that
added a bit of functionality, has been discontinued.
Now Google Earth comes in free and Pro flavors only
The Detroit Free Press is among the long and
growing list of magazines and newspapers who are
attempting to conquer reader apathy and sell
advertising by migrating to the web instead of paper
media. They join US News and World Report and
The Christian Science Monitor in the new paperless
(nearly) environment. Can The New York Times be
far behind? Mean time, the Tribune Company,
owner of The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune,
filed for bankruptcy and newspaper readership, even
online newspaper readership, is down to 7% among the
18-25 age demographic (CNet).
- Sales of Macs, after enjoying a year of growth,
declined precipitously in November (by -38% over
last year) over a significant gain in PC sales.
Where price becomes the most significant determiner,
Apple computer products suffer. "[Apple's]
average desktop price is more than twice the
industry average desktop price" according to Steven
Baker, an industry analyst. Baker also points
out that the iMac is getting old and the Apple
computer line needs a refresh soon. Apple
laptop sales, conversely, remain strong. Look
for Apple price cuts in the coming year... (ComputerWorld).
Furthermore, and in so many ways, it looks like it
is time to move on by Apple. They have
announced that Apple will no longer attend (!) IDGs
MacWorld Expo after this year, and even this year
Steve Jobs will not present the keynote (ars
- To confirm and reinforce retail electronics bad
news, Best Buy announced a 77% decline in sales over
the same quarter a year ago. Best Buy's chief
competitor, Circuit City has already been forced
into bankruptcy and Best Buy has announced cuts in
capital expenditures and scaled back store openings.
"We believe that there has been a dramatic and
potentially long-lasting change in consumer behavior
as people adjust to the new realities of the
marketplace" meaning, one supposes, that if they are
going to buy it at all, their are going to find the
best price and buy it online (CNet).
Safari Tech Book Online:Sams
Teach Yourself Adobe® Dreamweaver® CS4 in 24 Hours
by Betsy Bruce. "In just 24 lessons of
one hour or less, you will be able to create a fully
functional website using Adobe Dreamweaver CS4.
Using a straightforward, step-by-step approach, each
lesson offers background knowledge along with
practical steps to follow, allowing you to learn the
essentials of using Dreamweaver from the ground up.
Full-color figures and clear step-by-step
instructions visually show you how to use
Dreamweaver." 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.
Feature of the Week - David Gray
term, another year, ending. Last year at this time you were
treated to a mangled rendition of
“The Night Before
Christmas” in episode 80 with reminders of what
was happening across the winter break; this year the topics
are similar, but you can be regaled with a song about
archiving your Blackboard course in the podcast recording.
Once your finals are done, and your grades
are all submitted, take a moment to run an
Archive of your
Blackboard course, and save the resulting file
onto your computer for backup purposes. Likely you’ll never
need it, but if you do you’ll be really glad to have it!
Now, some events before spring:
- December 19th the TurnItIn service
expires, and TurnItIn Assignments in Blackboard will no
- December 23rd, the Fall 2007 courses
will be removed from the Blackboard system.
- Also on December 23rd, course quota
limits will be in force for all Blackboard courses.
Courses will be limited to 250 Mb of content, but at
this time we are not restricting the size of a single
- January 2nd, in accordance with our
normal Blackboard course lifecycle, student access to
full semester Fall 2008 Blackboard courses will end.
That is, most classes have durations until December
19th, and students may only access the Blackboard course
for two weeks after the course end date. So, don’t
expect students to be able to get in to old Fall courses
into the New Year.
- January 6th and 7th the Blackboard
system will be down for maintenance and patches. Expect
better performance from the Grade Center, as well as a
fix for Firefox 3 users trying to upload files.
- January 20th, the Spring 2009
semester officially begins. Be aware that your
Blackboard course is not available to your students
until you manually make it available, and this might be
a good deadline for making your course available to the
With those dates in mind, have a good
break! (And don’t forget to archive your course!)
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Engaging Uses for the Wimba Voice Tools
The newly added Wimba Voice Tools offer a
terrific opportunity to communicate with students. These
work particularly well in online classes but can be used
effectively in any Blackboard class. Listed below are just a
few suggestions for using these tools.
Create an Audio Welcome Message
A brief, enthusiastic audio message with
your voice welcoming students into the class will go a long
way to humanizing the class. This is probably the easiest
thing to do and one of the most effective ways to use the
Tool: Use the Voice Authoring tool (and
put a link in the Announcement area pointing to it)
Create Chapter “heads-up” messages
Here’s a great way to get students
interested in studying the chapters: Create a short audio
recording describing what you consider to be particularly
important about the chapter. Embed a hint about a test
question (or even the question itself) you often ask about
this chapter. Once students realize that they’ll be getting
hints about test questions when they listen to these audio
messages, they’re much more likely to listen. And remember,
we’re not talking about a big time investment on our part as
we want to keep these short, between 5-8 minutes or shorter.
Best of all we can use them again next semester so we only
have to do it once.
Tool: Voice Board
Voice Annotate a Web Site
We often want our students to go to web
sites to learn more about a topic relevant to our
discipline. But many of these web sites are packed with
information and it isn’t always obvious how to navigate the
site effectively. If only we could be there with the student
pointing out exactly what we want the student to focus on.
Now we can. One of the voice tools allows this very thing!
We can go to a web site, provide audio commentary as we
navigate the site, and then make it all available to
students. Now when they go to the site they hear our
comments just as if we were with them.
Tool: Voice Presentation
Give Students A Vocal Reminder
In class we often give students reminders
of class assignments, papers, and so on. Now we can do the
same thing – in a more personal way than email. We can sent
a voice email. We simply create one voice message and send
it to all students at once. Students appreciate receiving
not just the timely reminder, they appreciate the human
touch a voice makes.
Tool: Voice Email
Online students often feel
disconnected from the instructor and the class and the
addition of conversations and messages from the instructor
in his/her voice make a big difference in addressing that
disconnect. These are just a few suggestions, there are many
other ways to use these and the other Voice Tools that are
now in our Blackboard classes. It is even possible to have
students respond with their voice messages – one nice
application here would be to set up a Voice Board called
“Test Review” and allow students to vocalize their
questions. Other students could respond and you could
provide clarification when desired.
Technology Training Materials on the Wimba Voice Tools
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Your Technology Toolkit
It is time to start planning courses for next
semester, so this article is an outline of
technology tools available to faculty members at
Palomar College for use with their courses.
Each of the tools can require a significant
investment of time on the part of the faculty member
in planning and implementing course activities, so
now is the time to start learning.
We begin with the Blackboard Learning System itself,
which is central to online and technology enhanced
education at Palomar. Each course in which it
is possible for students to enroll at Palomar has a
Blackboard course shell created for it automatically
ninety days before the start of the next semester.
The course shell is very minimal, but is ready for
instructors to copy in content from previous
semesters' courses, upload new content, or import
content from Blackboard courses taught at other
institutions. Blackboard comes equipped with a
mature feature set for discussion boards,
assessments, grade management, and content
By default, all Blackboard course shells are
created as unavailable to students, and do not
become available until the course instructor makes
it available. Since the number one support
call we get is from students asking why a course is
not available, or from professors asking how to make
the course available, we thought this might be the
place to link to a
showing exactly how. This how-to
screencast is just one among a
screencasts showing how to use the
various features of the Blackboard Learning System.
If you are new to Blackboard, now is the time to
take advantage of our self-paced, online
introduction to Blackboard called "Blackboard
Essentials." Access this course through
Blackboard itself by logging in and clicking on the
"Academic Technology Training" link in the My
Courses area, in the "Courses in which you are
enrolled" section. From the main "Orientation"
page click on the folder titled "Online Self-Paced
If you are already familiar with Blackboard, now
is the time to expand your skill set by using one of
the tools listed below.
Safe Assign Anti-Plagiarism Service.
"Safe Assign is a plagiarism
prevention service that allows you to protect the
originality of work and ensure a fair playing ground
for all of your students...Safe Assign can also
further deter plagiarism by creating opportunities
to educate students on the proper attribution and
citations while properly leveraging the wealth of
information at their disposal." (From "Be
Original", a Blackboard Beyond
initiative). We have developed a
set of training
screencasts, and an extensive PDF document,
for those who wish to learn how to use Safe Assign.
Wimba Voice Tools. New to Blackboard at
Palomar are the Wimba Voice Tools. The provide
the ability for instructors and students to
communicate verbally, asynchronously, in the online
environment. There are five tools in all:
Voice Authoring, which makes it possible to place an
audio recording anywhere in your Blackboard course;
Voice Email, which makes it possible to send audible
email to one or all of your students, and optionally
receive an audible response; Voice Board, which is
an audio threaded discussion board that can be
configured for all student or one-on-one private
instructor to student communication; Voice
Presenter, which allows for audio guided web tours
and slideshows; and the Wimba Podcaster, which is an
easy method for creating a course specific podcast,
distributed via syndication, which can be configured
to allow optional student audio responses. We
have developed an extensive set of
PDF documents which teach how to use
these exciting new tools.
Learning Objects. The newest
addition to our Blackboard Learning System are
Learning Objects, a set of tools for student
journals, blogs, wikis, web pages and a new
intra-course search tool that can be used to find
just about anything within a Blackboard course.
If you have long wanted to publish a blog just for
your students, assign individual journals to
students, conduct group project work as a wiki, or
develop individual student web portfolios or private
web sites for students, these tools are the answer.
to access a set of screencasts and documents that
explain the new tools. We will be developing
new training materials before the start of next
semester, but for early adopters these screencasts
should get you going.
StudyMate is an easy to use tool for creating
Flash-based learning activities for your students.
Activities can include no-answer activities, like
fact cards and glossaries, one-answer activities
like flash-cards, matching activities, multiple
choice quizzes, pick-a-letter or fill-in-the-blank
activities and crossword puzzles. There is
even a Jeopardy-like game called Challenge that can
be created. The StudyMate software is a
for Palomar College faculty (login required).
for the StudyMate User's Guide,
for a demo of the StudyMate activities,
for instructions on how to publish StudyMate
activities to Blackboard, and
for a set of screencasts explaining the StudyMate
to access our StudyMate training page.
Elluminate. Elluminate Live! is an
eConferencing system built-in to Blackboard.
Using Elluminate Live! you can hold synchronous,
online meetings with your students and archive them
for later viewing by students unable to attend the
original meeting. Elluminate Live! is also a
great tool for holding online office hours.
New this spring are Elluninate Plan and Elluminate
Publish, two new tools that work in concert with
Elluminate Live or can be used to create online
lectures published to the web for asynchronous
to access training materials on Elluminate Live!
Plan, and Publish.
PowerPoint for the Web. The backbone
of many in-person courses is instructor lectures
based on PowerPoint technology. When it comes
to transferring the PowerPoint to the web, however,
problems crop up. There are a number of
possible solutions, i.e., simply place the PPT (or
PPTX, if you are using the new version) file within
Blackboard; if the presentation includes media, as
most do, zip the media along with the PPTX file into
a downloadable zip file; save PowerPoint as a web
page; and so on. We have looked closely at the
problems associated with these various techniques
and have two recommendations: If what you want
to do is simply deliver the information on your
PowerPoint slides to your students, your best option
is to save the PowerPoint as a PDF document and
place it in your Blackboard course. If what
you want is for your students to hear you narrate
the presentation, and see any media or animations
associated with the presentation, your best solution
is to create a Flash movie from your presentation by
using Camtasia, which is a for-pay program from
but available to faculty members in the Faculty
Technology Center in room LL-111.
for a document discussing PowerPoint web options.
Performance System. A great fit for some
teaching styles are the new radio frequency
"clickers" available for checkout from Academic
to download the software and get all the details
(login required to download software).
for the checkout form. To arrange training on
the CPS system--an essential for first time
users--contact Dr. Haydn Davis at ext. 2341.
Streaming Media. Academic Technology
can encode/stream/link media from your Blackboard
courses. In order for us to do so, media must
requirements, or qualify under Fair Use
rules. If using the TEACH Act authority, be
sure to print, sign, and attach a
checklist to each piece of media you
bring to our offices. If using a Fair Use
argument, be sure each title is accompanies with a
A Non-Blackboard Web Site. Some
instructors do not want to use Blackboard, others
see the need for a general, public web site in
addition to their Blackboard courses. In
either case, Academic Technology can create web
space for faculty members and assist them with web
ext. 3225, for assistance.
And that's not all. Academic Technology
also checks out hardware, like digital audio
recorders and Flip video cameras, and provides
training and assistance in using technology to
and let us help.
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