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- The Blackboard Feature of the
"Blogs vs. Discussion Boards"
- Teaching with Technology:
"If I Did It...Here's What I Did"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Google Earth 5"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology News Briefs
a turn-about for Wikipedia, founder Jimmy Wales has
called for implementation of flagged revisions in
Wikipedia. Flagged revisions means
that editors must review and approve revisions
before they are committed to print (electronic
though it be). Many have objected, including
many of the editors whose job it would become to
review all those revisions. They argue it is
too labor intensive to work and runs contra to the
roots of the way Wikipedia has been built.
Wales counters that it is too easy to quickly
publish misinformation. How do you want it,
quick or right? Stay tuned to see how this
plays out (BBC).
This is the bicentennial of the birth of both
Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, born on the same
day (February 12) in 1809. For a notable
evaluation of the work and importance of Darwin,
listen to the four-part
In Our Time
broadcast archived at the BBC, and subscribe to this
remarkable podcast series while you are at it.
For Lincoln, visit the US government's
bicentennial web site.
The super bowl occurred since our last podcast,
and as always the most interesting part was the ads
(though it was a pretty good game, all agree).
Hulu (who themselves produced one of the better ads) has
made the ads available in the widget below,
for remembrance sake.
version 5 was released this week.
It has a great many new features, at last including
features of the long awaited "Google Ocean" project.
for a BBC demo of the new "3D bathymetry" features
in Google Earth, or watch the embedded video below.
for the official press release, and
to download and install the new Google Earth 5.
Also new in this version are a historical slider to
view older earth imagery, Mars 3D--a tour with high
resolution imagery and 3D terrain of the Martian
surface--GPS import from Garmin, Magellan, and NMEA
compatible devices in the free version of the
program, and broader language support.
under Google's bad: For a period of
approximately 40 minutes on the morning of January
31, every site on the Internet, according to Google,
was potentially harmful, a message that may be
existentially true but prosaically dubious.
The message, received as a result of a Google search
between the hours of 6:30am and 7:25am PST that day
was literally "This site may harm your computer."
For those (few) who have never seen this message as
a result of a Google search, it is generated
automatically by Google servers based on a
control list of known malware sites. The list
on this particular morning contained the URL "/"
which when expanded automatically by Google's
algorithm embraced all possible URLs, and thus the
warning. Technicians realized the problem
almost immediately, but, as Sean Connery said in The Hunt for Red October, "You don't exactly
stop a ship this big on a dime." It took the
better part of an hour to reverse all engines.
- There is a new version of
now available, version 3.0.6. The upgrade mainly
fixes bugs and patches vulnerabilities. There
are no new features.
- Global warming notwithstanding, extremely heavy
snows across the UK brought travel and network
infrastructures to a standstill.
Transportation for London (TfL) collapsed briefly
under a barrage of inquiries, as did lesser networks
across the kingdom.
for the snowy video from the BBC.
announced the addition of
John Wiley &
Sons to their
network. "Some of the
Respondus-formatted question banks that will be
available in Spring 2009 from Wiley include:
"Contemporary Business 13e" by Boone/Kurtz
"Physics, 8e" by Cutnell
"Psychology in Action, 9e" by Huffman
"Intermediate Accounting, 13e" by Kieso
"Financial Accounting, 5e" by Kimmel
"Introduction to the Human Body, 8e" by Tortora
"Accounting Principles, 9e" by Weygandt"
Palomar College faculty have access to Respondus
software through our
site (Palomar login required).
As predicted, Congress approved a delay of the
already oft delayed digital TV switchover. It
had been scheduled for February 17, and has been
delayed to June 12. Now, get ready for the
next dealy... (NY
Here is an interesting point from the ubiquitous
5-minute video "Did
You Know" [YouTube]. It answers the
question, how long did it take these technologies to
reach a market audience of 50 million?
- Radio - 38 years
- TV - 13 years
- Internet - 4 years
- iPod - 3 years
- FaceBook - 2 years
Congratulations to Kalyna Lesyna of our Behavioral
Sciences department for developing a
great new web
site for the Sociology Program. It
looks great and is comprehensive and, it goes
without saying, useful. Now the real work
begins: maintaining it.
And speaking of Sociology, there is a
bill before congress now (HR
414, sponsored by New York republican
Peter King) that would require cell phone cameras to
emit a "tone or other sound audible within a
reasonable radius of the phone." The bill is
titled "The Camera Phone Predator Act", the idea
being that "children and adolescents have been
exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and
public places with the use of a camera phone."
Au contraire, say many teenagers, whose practice it
is to deliberately send nude or semi-nude photos of
themselves to girl or boyfriends. Of course,
the two ideas are not incompatible.
for a survey of teens and young adults (13-26)
published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen
and Unplanned Pregnancy title "Sex and Tech".
The results might surprise Rep. King (ars
Safari Tech Book Online:
The Ultimate Google Resource, by Michael
Miller, and published by Que. "The
all-encompassing book about everything Google. Not
only will you learn advanced search techniques, but
you also will learn how to master Google's web and
software tools. It's all inside!" 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
Feature of the Week - David Gray
Blogs vs. Discussion Boards
We recently acquired the Learning Objects
blogging tool called Journal LX, which allows blogs and
journals as elements in Blackboard courses. Since then, a
question has occasionally surfaced: What is the difference
between using a blog and using a discussion board? As both
are textual communication tools, it is easy to be confused
as to the differences, and it may be tricky to select which
would be best for a given purpose. With that in mind, we
recorded a discussion about these two tools.
Other discussions comparing blogs and
discussion boards tend to focus on non-academia or
non-course-based blog and discussion systems, but two
documents of possible interest are:
Keep in mind that a blog and a discussion
board are similar, but the same assignment conducted with
each tool may end up with widely varying results.
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
If I Did It .
. . Here’s What I Did
Background: Assessments of online
retention have consistently found that students in online
classes drop out at higher rates than on-campus students.
Dropout rates have ranged from 15% (good) to 25% (fairly
common) up to 80%. Palomar’s data is consistent with this
pattern. For Fall of 2008 131/239 Internet classes had a
dropout rate of 20% or higher. And 101 Internet classes had
a 25% or higher dropout rate.
If I designed and delivered an online
class in which no students dropped out, what would I do?
Here are seven steps I believe would increase the likelihood
of student retention.
- One week before the class begins,
call each student, welcome him/her to the class, answer
any questions, and give instructions for accessing the
- One week before the semester begins,
make the Blackboard class available.
- Before the class officially begins,
conduct an on-campus orientation in a computer lab in
which students would meet each other and go over how the
online class would be conducted. Students would be able
to practice using Blackboard features such as the
Discussion Board, the Wimba voice boards, the blogging
tool, Safe Assignment, and other tools that sometimes
- After the orientation send a voice
email to all students emphasizing how important it is to
get off to a good start by logging into Blackboard
several times each week.
- Once the class begins have a weekly
To-Do list for students that explicitly tells them what
they should be doing each week to be successful.
- Maintain an active presence on the
Discussion Board, responding to students’ posts by
complimenting their good posts and challenging them to
think critically. Consider enabling “Allow Members To
Rate Posts” and ask students to rate what they consider
to be good posts.
- Have weekly quizzes and other means
of providing frequent and regular feedback to students .
Tech Resource Of The Week:
Engaging and Effective
Online Discussions [PDF - U of Oregon]
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Google Earth 5
The Google big guns were out on Monday, February
2nd at the California Academic of Sciences: Eric
Schmidt, Google CEO, Marissa Mayer, Google VP, John
Hanke, Director of Google Geo, even former Vice
President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore for the
announcement of the release of Google Earth 5, a
major new edition of the spectacular GIS software
given away to the world by Google. Now
includes Google Ocean, oceanic survey data along
with a host of place marker provided by the likes of
National Geographic, BBC, Cousteau Ocean World,
Census of Marine Life, the Monterey Bay Aquarium,
and many others. New also is Google Mars,
where the red planet gets the same treatment the
earth gets in Google Earth; a Google Earth history
slider, where historical satellite imagery can be
viewed; and a great new Tour feature that allows for
the easy creation of audio narrated tours (KMZ
files) of the earth, mars, or elsewhere in the
universe with Google Sky, which is also fully
integrated into the program.
Rather than try to describe it all, we will let
Google videos do the demonstration.
Let's look more closely at the new Google Ocean
Layers, for those who do not yet use Google
Earth, are overlays that add detail and placemarks
which, when clicked, open windows on further
information about the earth or, in this case,
earth's oceans. For example, when the "Explore
the Ocean" layer is selected, you will find it's
icons located around the earth's oceans. when
you click on one you get an informational pop-up,
which may contain textual information, graphics,
audio, video, or, indeed, links to yet other web
resources. Here is an example:
The image above is static, of course, but the
National Geographic YouTube video is live within
Google Earth and can, like almost all YouTube
videos, be embedded (or linked) elsewhere,
There are many similar layers from other
providers like the
Institute of Oceanography,
Institute of Ocean Studies,
Sultan Living Oceans Foundation,
Undersea Research Laboratory,
at UC Santa Cruz,
(Tagging of Pacific Predators),
Conservancy in California,
Barrier Reef Marine Park,
GEBCO, and many other institutions and
Many of the layers contain, themselves, other
layers which can be downloaded and viewed on the
underlying satellite imagery. The National
Geographic World Ocean Chlorophyll Levels layer is
an example. When it is turned on, a map
overlay showing chlorophyll concentrations due to
phytoplankton using a color coding system is
Downloadable layers can, at each users
discretion, be made part of their permanent Google
Earth Places or not simply by dragging it from the
Temporary to the My Places folder in the Google
Earth Places panel.
There are layers that show the best
locations for Ocean sports (no, not fishing:
surfing, diving and kite surfing only); layers that
show the location of ocean expeditions, marine
protected areas, shipwrecks, data on endangered
species (using spectacular photos from
the location and routes of tagged animals, progress
census of marine
life project, downloadable layers
containing historical maps of the see floors (from
historical maps), and notable underwater
features. The "State of the Ocean" layer has
its own set of sub-layers:
These layers, when selected, can show other
layers that can be superimposed to display:
- Daily dynamic sea surface temperatures, collated
from data collected by the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command, NOAA, NASA, and the European
Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological
- Arctic sea ice conditions from the National
Snow and Ice data center (a supplier to land based
snow and ice cover displayed in continental parts of
- An overlay map that shows the impacts to marine
ecosystems by human activities from the
for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis;
- Detailed data related to fishing grounds on
sea food that can/should be eaten based on the
whether the particular species is being "sustainable
and sensitively harvested" or not, from both the
Conservation Society and the
The riches of the new Google Earth are amazing. There are millions
worth of satellite imagery, free for the taking, and
the teaching and learning opportunities are endless.
Google Earth was amazing in the first place.
Now it is indispensable.
Google Earth Resources
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