|Trouble reading this? Click here.||Number 122 - June 21, 2011|
Blackboard Upgrade Completed
We completed the upgrade of our Blackboard system as planned on June 2-3. Actually, it spilled over a little into June 4 due to circumstances beyond our control, but it all worked out well. Here are the new features faculty members should be aware of:
Course size limit raised: While there is, and never has been, a size limit on Blackboard courses, for archive purposes it is has been true for many years that a course could not exceed 250MB. In other words, you could not create an archive course backup, AND THEN RESTORE IT, if your course size exceeded 250MB. This led to all sorts of complications with courses that demanded large file sizes, graphics communications courses in particular. Now the size limit has been raised by a factor of 1000. You can now successfully archive and restore courses of up to 2.5GB. If your course is still larger than this limit, please contact us for assistance with file compression or an incremental backup strategy.
Supported web browsers: A constant and, we suspect, never to be resolved issue is the forward march of web browser versions with their changing feature sets. With the upgrade to Blackboard Safari 5, IE 9, and Firefox 4 are supported in some capacity, but not fully certified. For certified browser platforms, see our Knowledgebase article on supported OS and browser platforms. The "certified" and "compatible" browsers listed by Blackboard (the ones that appear in our Knowledgebase article) tend to lag significantly behind currently released versions. When contacting us for help, be sure to specify which OS (operating system) and which browser you are using.
McGraw-Hill Connect: McGraw-Hill Connect allows for integration of course material maintained by that publisher which may be used seamlessly with our Blackboard environment. For details on that service, contact a McGraw-Hill publisher rep, or examine their online explanation of the service.
NBC Learn: NBC Learn puts a whole spectrum of content from the archives at NBC at your fingertips for use within your Blackboard courses. The methods of applying this material are fairly straightforward, and Blackboard provides a “how-to” video demonstration on using the NBC Learn content in a course site. Our implementation of NBC Learn is on a trial-basis, and will remain in effect until October 31, 2011. Content that is embedded within Blackboard or downloaded or embedded in PowerPoint presentations will cease to work after that date unless we purchase the product. The idea of the trial is to find out if these materials are truly useful to us. Please send us your feedback.
Help System Upgrade
If you have had occasion to use our helpdesk system since June 3 you will notice a fresh new look. We have upgraded the system. The chief new feature is Live Chat. Just look for the Live Support button on the helpdesk site (middle left of the page), on our ATRC web site (upper right of the page), or on the Blackboard login page. If it says ONLINE in green, it means that one of our techs is available for a live chat session to assist you with your technical problems with Blackboard, PowerPoint, online video, anything related to academic technology. If the button says "Back Soon" or "Busy" it means the techs are not currently available for live chat, but the live chat window can still be used to submit a message to them. Messages submitted in this way will be converted to help ticket requests in our help system, and techs will get back to you as soon as possible. Live chat will not be unavailable during evening hours and weekends. Remember, throughout the summer we are on a mandatory 4-day work week so technical support will not be available Friday - Sunday.
WordPress Has Arrived
Want a WordPress blog at a Palomar address? Just go to http://www2.palomar.edu/pages and login (the Login button is on the lower right of the screen) and you will have one. You can change the theme of your blog right away, set up it's plugins and widgets, or don't bother with any settings and simply start blogging. Help is available from the WordPress Central site (the /pages address above) but it is so simple not much technical help is required. WordPress blogs can be created for any Palomar faculty or staff member or academic department. If you need assistance with blogging, just contact us.
If you are unfamiliar with WordPress and want to see what some WordPress blogs look like, see our Academic Technology @ Palomar College blog, or one of our staff personal blogs: Terry Gray's blog, Shay Phillips' blog, Elaine Armstrong's blog, David Gray's blog.
Windows Movie Maker Training Series
Speaking of our departmental blog... We are in the midst of publishing a Windows Live Movie Maker training series on the blog, which is also being published on our web site. If you want to learn the basics of editing and publishing video with Movie Maker take a look at the screen videos and PDF documents provided there.
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