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- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Now, where did I put that file?"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Class Management 101"
Tech Talk Topic:
"The Kindle 2: A Review by Chris Norcross"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology News Briefs
News of change in services from Academic Technology:
- As of now, we will no longer be providing the
PCPDF document conversion service. The service
converted email attachments from native format to
PDF and emailed them back to sender as an
attachment. The latest Windows patches broke
the service, and we have elected not to pay to
upgrade it since there are several no-cost
alternative available to users.
Click here for a summary of no-cost
- After the end of this semester, Academic
Technology will no longer be offering ftp/web
hosting services for student accounts. A few
courses had been using our server named Pluto to
host student web sites. The sites were updated
via a free ftp service. The server hosting
this service has gone out of warranty and we will
not be replacing it with a new server.
Instructors are urged to make other arrangements for
web site hosting, or upload assignments to
Microsoft released its
Security Intelligence Report (SIR) volume 6
recently for the period July-December 2008. An
important finding of the report is that "Spam makes
up close to 100 percent of all e-mail traffic on the
Internet...though most never made it to their
destinations thanks to server-side filtering."
If that's true, then there are an awful lot of junk
emails, I mean, an awful lot, we never see.
Also from Microsoft, file this one under Will XP
Never Die?!? "Microsoft has announced this week that
it will continue to offer downgrade options to both
volume licensing customers and end-users
when Windows 7 ships. Customers who purchase a
system from a qualifying OEM with a version of
Windows 7 that they don't want will be able to fall
back to equivalent versions of Vista or XP."
Here is some good news from
Microsoft: Microsoft Office Sharepoint
Designer 2007, the web authoring tool we use at
Palomar, is now FREE.
to register and download.
Blockbuster is on the verge of financial failure.
ars technica: "Blockbuster may be counting down
the days until it's forced to close its retail
stores, the company revealed in a filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission this week. In the
filing, the company revealed that it may not be able
to meet the terms of a recent $250 million loan, and
that there was "substantial doubt" about its ability
to continue as a business in the near future."
Although Blockbuster has announced plans to stream
over internet and to mobile devices, it is far too
little too late. Netflix and Amazon got there
first and have divided the market between them.
Remember the Borg? You may, after you
take this YouTube tour of a Google container
server farm. The ideas are excellent, however,
and ought to be broadly implemented.
- And speaking of electricity, you've heard about this
danger for years--in fact I recall seeing a Nova
shortly after 9/11 that discussed this very
scenario--which has now become real. According
Wall Street Journal, "Spies from other countries
have hacked into the United States' electricity
grid, leaving traces of their activity and raising
concerns over the security of the U.S. energy
infrastructure to cyberattacks...U.S. intelligence
agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials
worry about cyber attackers taking control of
electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or
financial networks via the Internet," as well they
might. It's a real danger. The US
decentralized system of privately held utility
suppliers is dangerously vulnerable. Get ready
for the lights to go out, your bank account to
drain, and the toilets to back up. Oh, wait.
That's already happening...
Safari Tech Book Online:
Series: iWoirk '09 by Richard Harrington.
"In the only Apple-certified book on iWork '09, you
will learn to create and publish everything from
first-rate business presentations to professional
marketing packages. Working step by step through
self-paced, real-world projects (everything you need
is on the DVD), you will use Keynote, Pages, and
Numbers to produce sophisticated results." 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
- We have completed the Academic Technology
training schedule for spring 2009, but are always
available for TBA training, TBA departmental
training, and also have online, self-paced training
courses in Blackboard and other training materials
at our web site.
- We have developed some anytime 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
Now, where did I put that file?
Maybe I’m atypical, but sometimes I’ll put
a file into Blackboard not intending to use it for a few
days or weeks. Then, when the time comes to use the file, I
can’t always remember where I put it, in which Content Area
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just
search for content like you can search the Internet?
It is nice.
Thanks to the Search LX tool from Learning
Objects that we have added to Palomar’s Blackboard system,
faculty and students have the ability to search their
courses for content based on keywords.
The default “basic” search form will
return results from all types of content in the course, so
your search results may come back from text of Items,
uploaded documents, Announcements, etc.
On the other hand, the Advanced search
will allow you to select which type of search to run, so you
could ask for results back specifically from PDF documents,
or only from Announcements, or any combination, as well as
use some different search parameters.
In either event, the search results
returned will show the name of the content, how related to
your search term the content is, and a brief summary of the
item. The icon next to each search result will let you know
if the result is an item, an Announcement, a PDF, or
whatever, and there are details on where the content is
located in the course and when it was last modified.
To use this tool, all you have to do is go
into the Tools Area of your course (which can be reached by
the Course Tools link turned on by default below the Course
Menu), and click the link near the bottom that says Search.
So, “where did I put that file?” Doesn’t
matter, I can just search for it when I need it.
Screencast on how to use
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Is it the recession? The post Spring Break
mindset? In the last week I’ve talked to several colleagues
who have complained about disruptive students. In one of my
classes two young women students had gotten into the habit
of getting out of their chairs about 30 minutes before class
ended and walking out of the class. At first I ignored it
but after the third time it happened I took one of them
aside before class and asked her about the behavior. When it
was clear there was no good excuse I told her that I thought
it was kind of rude and besides, it was disruptive to the
other students who were trying to sleep. The talk may have
worked: So far they have stayed to the end of class.
With this issue in mind I found a recent
edition of the Faculty Focus newsletter particularly
interesting. The title of the issue is “10 Effective
Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should
Know.” This issue of the newsletter, which is free, will be
available in the program notes page for this podcast.
I would like to report on two of the
articles but and I’ll read the table of contents in case
anyone is interested in any of the articles.
The two articles I will discuss are:
“Conditions Associated with Classroom Conflict” and “How to
Get Wet without Plunging In: Creative Ways to Start Class.”
The first article reports on a survey of
psychology professors who were asked about classes in which
they experienced student conflict. Two categories of
disruptiveness were identified: Openly Hostile and
Inattentive and Passive. While students do occasionally
directly challenge the instructor’s authority, the study
found that most disruptive behavior is more passive. “They
arrive late, leave early, talk during class, and don’t even
bother to hide their boredom.” One of the research questions
asked whether instructor characteristics correlated with the
students’ disruptive behavior. The study reported on in this
article found that “ . . . things like the instructor’s
gender, race, age, years of teaching experience, full-time
versus part-time status, and class size did not relate to
the amount of reported conflict.” See? Not our fault folks!
A couple of interesting findings emerged from the research
- “the use of lecture correlated
directly with inattentive classroom conflict. On the
other hand, using discussion or active learning related
inversely with inattentive classroom conflict;”
- lower conflict was reported when
instructors were perceived as respectful toward
students, warm, and approachable; and
- “Even though more than 61 percent of
this sample reported that they ignored conflict” this
approach didn’t work well.
So the bottom line here seems to be that,
to minimize student disruptive behavior, we need to be
approachable and, if disruptive behavior does surface,
confront it directly in an assertive but not aggressive way.
The second article discusses a problem
familiar to all classroom teachers – making a smooth
transition from the previous class meeting to this one. The
professor who wrote this article has worked to engage her
students and states that “I now begin each lesson with a
creative review of the last week’s material. The reviews
involve a variety of techniques for getting students to
reflect on previous content and ready to move on to new
information.” One of the strategies reported involves taking
important points from the previous lecture and making a
jigsaw puzzle out of it. The different points are presented
separately to groups of students who then have to work with
others to piece the puzzle together. The objective is to
promote active synthesis of the material in an active
learning format. According to the professor “I have found
that the preparation for these activities takes very little
time and that the results are very worthwhile. My student
anticipate the activities, and I look forward to having the
students in a place where they are ready to learn.”
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Kindle 2 - A Review by Chris Norcross
Amazon released the Kindle 2, an updated
model of their wireless reading device, in February. At
$359, the device is priced the same as the original.
aving been a heavy user of the previous
model, I was looking forward to giving the new one a spin.
The main new features of the Kindle 2 are:
- Slimmer design (just over 1/3 of an
- Improved display (supports 16 shades
- Longer battery life
- More storage (holds over 1,500 books)
- Faster page turns
- Text to speech
After a few weeks of testing, I am very
pleased with the updated model. The sleek design is
appreciated as the original version was very angular and
slightly less comfortable to hold. The longer battery life
and faster page turns are welcome performance enhancements.
here were improvements to the physical
user interface as well. Amazon took care of one common
complaint by making the buttons slightly less prone to
accidental pressing. The software interface was slightly
improved by making it easier to highlight and annotate
My only complaints about the new model are
the absence of an SD-card slot for adding more memory and
the inability to change the battery without sending the
whole Kindle to Amazon.
espite not having many complaints about
the first version, I find the Kindle 2 to be a big
improvement overall and strongly recommend it for heavy
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