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- The Blackboard Feature of the
"What's new in Blackboard 9"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Tips from the TLT Group"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Using the Wimba Presenter"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology News Briefs
big news since our last podcast? The
2.0 has been released. At least,
Amazon is beginning to take orders. The first
units will ship February 24. The new Kindle
features a redesigned keypad and paging button
layout, it is thinner (.36 inches, thinner than
the iPhone), has greater energy efficiency, has a
new 5-button control replacing the old click wheel,
turns pages faster, has longer battery life, and now
has text-to-speech and a new built-in speaker.
There is also something called "whisper sync," which
permits reading the same material from the same
saved bookmarks, on multiple Kindles.
for the Amazon description,
for a PCWorld video.
Palomar College students qualify for the "ultimate
steal." They can purchase a complete Microsoft
Office Ultimate edition for $59.95, a 91% savings
over retail price.
has launched a public beta. "The Medpedia
Project is a long-term, worldwide project to evolve
a new model for sharing and advancing knowledge
about health, medicine and the body among medical
professionals and the general public. This model is
founded on providing a free online technology
platform that is collaborative, interdisciplinary
and transparent." It is a joint project of
Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine,
Berkeley School of Public Health, and other global
health organizations. "The site features a
repository of up-to-date medical information,
contributed and maintained by health professionals
from around the world. The site also boasts a
Professional Network and Directory for visitors to
find health professionals and organizations, a
Communities of Interest section where medical
experts and patients can share conditions and
treatments, and a growing knowledge base featuring
information on health issues ranging from back pain
to diabetes" (CNet).
episode we reported on the release of Google Earth
5. This week the hits just keep coming.
Google and Museo ANacional Del Prado have announced
a cooperative venture called "Masterpieces," whereby
using Google Earth you can visit the Prado and
examine, in ultra-high resolution, 14 of the world's
great masterpieces housed there. This from the
Lat Long blog:
"Viewing a Velasquez or a Rembrandt in a
place like Spain's Prado museum is a unique
experience. Now you can use Google Earth
technology to navigate reproductions of the
Prado's masterpieces, delving even deeper into
the Prado's collection. In Google Earth, you can
get close enough to examine a painter's
brushstrokes or the craquelure on the varnish of
a painting. The images of these works are about
14,000 million pixels, 1,400 times more detailed
than the image a 10 megapixel digital camera
would take. In addition, you'll be able to see a
spectacular 3D reproduction of the museum.
"Experience art in a new way. Open Google Earth,
check the 3D buildings layer on the bottom left
panel, go to the Prado and access the
how it was done. [YouTube]
New with Google Earth 5 is Google Ocean, the world's
oceans with accurate bathymetry data which allows
for navigation of the ocean floors. In
addition, Google has added more than 80 3D objects
to Google Ocean. Download
this KML file
("keyhole markup language" file--you need Google
Earth in order to view it) to see 3D models of such
features as the wrecks of the
Reef, or the
If you are looking for an effective way to share
files among a number of computers in widely
separated locations, Office Live Workspace may be
to view a brief video describing how it works, then,
to get started. It's free.
Conference Committee invites you to attend the ninth
Annual MERLOT International Conference (MIC09) to be
held in San Jose, August 13-16, 2009. The MIC09
conference theme is Teaching and Learning in a
Networked World." MERLOT is making a call for
proposals for the upcoming Teaching and Learning in
a Networked World conference. For those
institutions under budget constraints (like ours)
"...MERLOT will select some proposals to be
presented remotely and presenters can participate in
parts of the conference at a reduced registration
for full details.
- Last year CERN engineers and scientists attempted to
start-up the 10-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider.
They threw the switch and smoke came out of the
motherboard, so to speak. An electrical fault
caused massive damage and at least a 1-year delay in
bringing the massive particle collider back on line.
Repair costs are estimated at $22 million, are
scheduled to be completed by next September, and it
is still confidently believed that the LHC will not
accidentally destroy our neighborhood of the
News). Of course this is
confidently believed by the same men who threw the
switch in the first place.
- Want to know where all your grandchildren's
money is going?
is the Obama administrations portal to the Recovery
and Reinvestment Act.
to see Mr. Obama's video.
started this week, sort of. February 17 had
been the announced switchover date from analog to
digital TV broadcast signals for a very long time,
until lobbying pressure from certain stations,
mainly PBS, cause congress to waffle and allow an
extension until June 12. Some stations ignored
the extension, however, and made the switchover on
the 17th. "A patchwork of 641 stations across
the country, mainly in thinly populated areas, are
still turning off their analog broadcasts this week
or have already done so. The most populous markets
where many or all major-network stations are cutting
analog include San Diego and Santa Barbara, Calif..."
Today). As usual with programs that
wed largely private markets to public oversight,
Safari Tech Book Online:
Creating a Web
Site: The Missing Manual by
Matthew MacDonald. "Think you have to be a
technical wizard to build a great web site? Think
again. If you want to create an engaging web site,
this thoroughly revised, completely updated edition
of Creating a Web Site: The Missing Manual
demystifies the process and provides tools,
techniques, and expert guidance for developing a
professional and reliable web presence." 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 this
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.
Upcoming in-person workshops include:
Your Own Web Site" will be presented by
Chris Norcross, from 1-3pm on Thursday, February 26
in room LL-109; PD Activity #20.
- "Blackboard Tools and Best Practices for
On-Campus Instructors" conducted by Dr.
Haydn Davis and the Blackboard team on Friday,
February 27, from 9am to 3pm in room LL-109.
Lunch will be included and a raffle giveaway
technology prize will be awarded. This is PD
Safe Assignment to Teach About and Detect Plagiarism"
conducted by Dr. Haydn Davis will be held on
Thursday, March 5, from 1-3pm in room LL-109.
PD activity #47.
Teaching Technologies to Engage Students"
will be conducted by Dr. Haydn Davis, Terry Gray,
and the ATRC team on Friday, March 6, from 9-3pm.
Lunch will be included and a raffle giveaway
technology prize will be awarded. This is PD
- We have also developed (or linked to) sets of
screen videos (screencasts) that teach how to use the features of
the various technology tools available to faculty
members through Blackboard:
Feature of the Week - David Gray
“What’s New” and Blackboard 9
Wait, did that say Blackboard 9? Aren’t we
running version 8 of Blackboard?
Yes, we are running version 8 of Blackboard.
(And, if you knew that, give yourself a pat on the
back.) However, the next version of Blackboard has
been released, and is available to Palomar faculty
on our BbSandbox system (http://bbsandbox.palomar.edu/).
There are many differences introduced with
version 9, we want to start introducing faculty to
these changes well before this new version is
installed for production. My current personal
favorite update, and a good place to start
demonstrating the differences, is the “What’s New”
module in each Bb9 course site.
By default, instead of just an announcements
area, there is a whole panel of possible modules,
including the “What’s New” module. This module
simply shows students what has been recently made
available to them in the course site, and can direct
students to the new content at the click of a mouse.
Tied in with this module, and with several other
modules, is the new “Notification System”; students
can choose to be emailed when new content is
released into the Blackboard course by simply
editing their notification settings from the “What’s
This is just one of many differences coming with
Blackboard 9. You’ll certainly be hearing about more
from us soon.
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Tips from the TLT Group
This week’s Teaching with Technology segment
contains a sample of tips from the TLT Group
(Teaching, Learning, and Technology) along with the
URL to the full list and description of all the
tips. This organization describes its mission as
follows: “The TLT Group is a not-for-profit that
helps college and university educators take
advantage of changing technology so they can improve
teaching and learning.”
In this week’s technology tip I want to mention a
few of the TLT Group’s application of Chickering and
Gamson’s influential Seven Principles article. I’ve
talked about this important research before and I
know that many are familiar with it so I won’t take
time to describe it again except to say that the
research highlights the most effective practices to
promoting good undergraduate education. While the
original Seven Principles article focused on
teaching and learning in traditional, on-campus
classes, the principles can, and should be, applied
to an online environment.
is organized to illustrate how the Seven Principles
can be operationalized for an online class. While
there are many, many tips at this site, they are
very short and can be skimmed quickly to see which
ones might work for you. A couple of examples will
serve to illustrate this point.
The first of the Seven Principles is to encourage
faculty-student contact. One of the tips in this
section that appealed to me is the following:
- One technique some of our faculty have used
with the discussion board is to send an
individual email to each student several times
in a semester that draws upon the work the
student has submitted and his/her posts to the
class discussion board. This can also be used to
encourage students who may not be participating
much to rejoin the class. This demonstrates to
the student that the faculty member is paying
attention and cares about the students'
intellectual ideas and personal class
The second of the Seven Principles is to
encourage cooperation among students. Here is one,
of the many, tips that I liked:
- A common technique in a writing course would
be to have students keep a journal as they're
working on a particular book. These journal
entries can now be posted online in a discussion
board. This allows the faculty member to respond
in a timely and meaning fully probing way to
student engagement with the material. It also
allows students to respond to each other's
journals, which was impractical with paper
journals on the scale that is now possible.
Students are asked to relate the work they are
studying to their life experiences, and can
actively engage with other students about this
in an individual and timely fashion online.
And so it goes – many ideas for combining
technology with sound principles to promote
learning, whether it be online or on-campus. I feel
confident in saying that everyone will find
something of value at the TLT Group web site.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Using the Wimba Presenter
The Wimba Presenter (or, more awkwardly, "the
Presentation Tool") can be a very effective way to
present short video clips to a class, and solicit
their responses audibly. This is easy to set
up, using YouTube videos. There are three
parts: 1) the YouTube part; 2) the SharePoint
Designer part; and 3) the Blackboard part.
Here's how to do it.
The YouTube Part
First, search YouTube for a video clip (or clips)
you want to get responses to from your class.
These could also be clips you have uploaded
Copy the "Embed" code for your clip by clicking
it, right-clicking the resulting selection (Mac
Ctrl-click), and choosing Copy from the pop-up menu.
This copies the "Embed" code to the Windows (Mac)
The SharePoint Designer Part
Note: I am using SharePoint Designer
for example, but this can easily be done with
Dreamweaver or any other web page editor.
Now, embed this clip on a web page. The
easy way to do this is to use SharePoint Designer
(or FrontPage) and insert a Web Component.
First, open the web site you are going to use.
In most cases, this will be your faculty web site on
faculty.palomar.edu. If you do not have one,
and want one, contact Chris Norcross of our Academic
(firstname.lastname@example.org; phone ext. 3225).
To open your web site, start SharePoint Designer and
choose File > Open Site, type the URL in the Site
Name box, and click Open. Login with your
Palomar email address as username and email password
Create a New, blank web page and save it to some
folder in your web site.
The next step is not necessary, but will help
space your video correctly on the page. Insert
a single-celled table at the top of this blank page
using 10px of cell padding, 0px of cell spacing, and
no border (though you can include a border if you
think this looks good).
Note the "Default" Alignment" and "Float" of this
table. Do not change these settings.
They will cause the table to be aligned top left of
your new page.
Now, choose Insert > Web Component:
In the Choose "Advanced Controls" as the coponent
type and "HTML" as the control:
The dialog box will appear. Paste the code
you copied from YouTube into this dialog box by
pressing Ctrl-V or right-clicking and choosing
All you will see on your SharePoint Designer page
is a little <?> icon:
Don't worry. It's supposed to look like
that. Now save your web page and preview it in
a browser. When the page loads in a browser
window, be sure the YouTube video player appears.
Click the address bar of this page and copy its URL.
I suggest you paste this URL into a Notepad text
file and minimize Notepad. That way you will
have it handy for the next step.
The Blackboard Part
Now, login to Blackboard and go to the course
content area where you want to place your
presentation. You may want to create a folder
to contain each presentation. Within this
folder click "Edit View" in the upper right of your
screen, then click the Select drop-down menu at the
end of the Edit View toolbar. Click on "Voice
Presentation" and click the little Go button next to
the Select drop-down.
An Add Voice Presentation page will appear.
Give the presentation a title, a description, if you
wish, and fill out Section 2, "Settings" as follows:
Audio quality - Choose "Superior Quality"
this is easily supported even by 56Kb modems;
Max message length - You can choose any of the
presets from 15 seconds to 20 minutes. The
length you set here will apply to your own comments
and, if you allow student comments, theirs too.
Allow students to comment on slides - The Wimba
Presenter can be used to make web slide shows for
purely information purposes, in which case you might
want to narrate the presentation but not allow
students to comment, or it may be used as we are
suggesting in this article, to solicit student
comment on some content you are presenting to them,
a YouTube video in this case. For our
purposes, we should place a check mark in Allow
students to comment on slides. The term
"slides" refers to each web page you are presenting
to students using the presenter. There is no
limit to how many you might use, though for
practical reasons the number will be small.
Make slide comments private - If you place a
check mark in this box, only you, the instructor,
will be able to hear each student comment, though
all of your students will be able to hear yours.
If you do not check this box, all students will be
able to hear each others' comments.
Set availability, tracking and restriction
settings in Blackboard, if any, and then click
Submit. Your presentation form will be
Click the "Enter Voice Presentation" link you
have just created.
Click the New icon in the panel on the left to create your first (and
only, in this case) "slide."
In the Compose window that appears, type a title
for your "slide," paste the URL from the Notepad
session you saved in step 2 above into the URL box,
type any text you want in the text window, and then
click the red Record button on the Wimba recorder to
record your audio message. Your message, in
this case, should be an introduction to the YouTube
video your students will be watching along with
instructions or guidelines on the comments you wish
them to make on it. After you have recorded
your message to your satisfaction (if you don't get
it right the first time, just click the square Stop
button and click the red Record button to record
again), click the Post button at the bottom of the
In our example, we are only going to have one
slide. The Wimba Presenter will display your
written comments and audio comments in a frame on
the left of the screen, and the web page at the URL
you pasted into the URL box on the right of the
screen. In this case, that web page contains a
YouTube video you want your students to view and
comment on. You could have as many "slides" as
you want, and each will appear sequentially in the
list of slides in the Wimba Presenter pane.
To reply to your presenter post, you students
should click the comment button, and they too will
receive a Compose window in which to type and record
their comments. Students cannot edit or delete
the initial post or add new posts.
The Wimba Presenter is very easy to work with and
provides a dynamic way for your students to hear
your comments on web pages, PDF documents, maps,
videos--basically anything that can be displayed on
a web page. Although the process of building a
presentation seems complex, after you have done it a
couple of times you will find it quite easy.
The example above is actually more complicated than
a typical presentation, because it assumes you will
be creating the web page that is to load in the
presenter content frame. Most often, you will
be pasting the URL of an already existing web site
into the Presenter's URL box. This can be
particularly effective with discussions of diagrams,
maps or detailed photographs or, as we suggest
above, brief video clips.
Send us your comments