|Trouble reading this? Click here.||Number 126 - December 15, 2011|
Blackboard Maintenance Between Semesters
The Blackboard Learn system will be down for its annual maintenance cycle and upgrade from 6:00AM on January 3 through end of day on January 6, 2012. We will be doing those things that can only be done once a year when the system is not in continuous use. We will also be upgrading to Blackboared 9.1 Service Pack 7, which is mostly bug fixes with no significant user interface changes. Click here for more details on the bug fixes. The system may be back online prior to end of day on January 6, but we are reserving this entire block of time in case it is needed. Our Blackboard sandbox is already upgraded to this version for those who might want to see it.
Camtasia and SnagIt Licensing
Because the Blackboard system now has blogging, journaling and wikis built-in we found that we no longer need the Learning Objects product; and because very few faculty members were using the Respondus and StudyMate products, we were able to take the funds that we had been using to license these products and apply them to licenses for TechSmith's Camtasia and SnagIt products. Camtasia is the easiest and fastest way to create screen videos, convert PowerPoint to video, create mp3 audio files, or edit multiple videos and static images into a continuous video using such sophisticated editing features as multiple soundtracks, text overlays, screen effects like spotlighting, highlighting, picture-in-piecture, and pan and zoom effects. SnagIt is the world's premier screen image capture program with an easy to use but powerful image editor to add callouts, images, stamps and other effects to the output. The licenses are available for any full-time faculty or staff member at the college to be installed on District-owned computers. To arrange for installation call the Information Services help desk at ext. 2140, or send email to email@example.com.
TechSmith has a wonderful series of video tutorials and documentation for these products for those who wish to get up to speed quickly. Click here for the Camtasia learning center, and here for the SnagIt learning center. We are licensed for the current versions of both products, Camtasia version 7 and SnagIt version 10. We will be offering workshops on Camtasia and SnagIt next semester.
The library has funded NBC Learn for the next calendar year, so it will be available as a stand-alone database accessible through the library's web site, and integrated into Blackboard, through December 2012. NBC Learn puts a whole spectrum of easily embedded video content from the archives of 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.
During the fall 2011 semester we ran a trial of the product, and some professors found it useful enough to convert to a paid subscription. There might be a slight interruption in service while we convert our free trial subscription into a full paid subscription, but the full paid subscription will be in place by January 1, 2012.
The library also maintains subscriptions to other streaming video resources, including Videatives, a web-based streaming service of over 200 short video clips demonstrating scenarios in child development and education, Films on Demand, over 6,000 current, educational streaming videos (produced by Films for the Humanities) covering a variety of disciplines and subjects. For questions about the NBC Learn subscription, or any of the library database subscriptions, contact Tamara Weibtraub.
Marley Was Dead: to begin with.
For those of you with iPads and iPhones, Booktrack has introduced in time to enjoy it for Christmas Dickens' A Christmas Carol ($1.99 through the app store). We recently discovered the Booktrack apps and reviewed the product. In the new year they will be coming to the Android, OS X and Windows platform too. You will find several free kids books in their small catalog, along with several longer form short stories and two other novels.
To read our review of iPad and Android apps, and other educational technology topics, subscirbe to our blog, AT@PC. (By the way, to find other free eBook editions of A Christmas Carol, click here for the Project Gutenberg editions, here for the Amazon Kindle edition, and here for Google Books editions.
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