Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Generating Boilerplate Content within Word

Generating Boilerplate Content within Word
Perhaps you’ve been in this situation: Need to work on the formatting of a document, but the author hasn’t provided the text yet. What you really need is some sample text in your Word document, but you don’t want to go out and find some text online, possibly for fear of getting interested in some new topic. (Or is that just me?) Microsoft Word actually has a function just for this purpose. Actually, I lie, it has two functions just for this purpose. To see this in action, fire up Word, open up a new document and type (without the quote marks, of course) “=lorem(5,8)” and...
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Getting Loopy with PowerPoint 2013

Getting Loopy with PowerPoint 2013
If your classes go anything like my workshops do, then you seldom start right on time. I always hate “wasting time” out of my scheduled class time, and wish I could do something to make that time more useful. I’d really like to have something like the pre-previews content that movie theaters run; you know, the stuff with trivia games, ads, and the like that play before the house lights dim. There’s always an array of things to tell my learners about, and having that showing on the classroom projector while I do other things until class starts seems ideal. PowerPoint to the...
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Blackboard Offline August 11

Blackboard Offline August 11
As previously noted, Palomar’s Blackboard system is going through some software upgrades and system tuning on Monday, August 11, 2014. The plan is for the system to go offline starting at 12:30 AM Pacific time, and have the system back online before 4:30 PM Pacific time. Should there be any news-worthy events during the upgrade process, I’ll be editing this blog post. So check back during the day on Monday, if you’re the obsessive type who wants to keep informed on the Blackboard system progress. UPDATE: Posted 10:40 AM 8/11/2014 The Blackboard system has been offline since 12:31 AM,...
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New Faculty Technology-related Cheat Sheet

New Faculty Technology-related Cheat Sheet
One frustration for new faculty here at Palomar is simply remembering which systems are supported by which departments, and where the various resources are. (Honestly, that’s pretty frustrating for ME still, as I approach two decades at Palomar.) So here’s a short cheat sheet to answer the question “who you gonna’ call?” Hint: the answer, sadly, is not “Ghostbusters.” Palomar E-mail will take you to a webmail interface for Palomar’s Exchange email system. Also, knowing we use Exchange may help you in configuring a mobile device to check your Palomar...
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Blackboard Upgrade on August 11, 2014

Blackboard Upgrade on August 11, 2014
On Monday, August 11, 2014, Palomar’s Blackboard system will be upgraded to release version 9.1.201404.160205, known as the April 2014 release. This process is set to begin August 11, 2014 at 12:30 AM Pacific time and is expected to take around 12 to 16 hours to complete, but as always we will get the system available to users again as soon as possible. Should there be anything worthy of note that crops up during the actual upgrade, I’ll be sure to post something on the PalomarATRC Twitter feed, so look there for updates. The major instructor-focused changes in this new version are:...
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A Blackboard Year in Review

A Blackboard Year in Review
In July of 2013 I had the opportunity to attend the Blackboard World conference, and it was intense. Next week I’ll be able to attend the 2014 Blackboard World conference, and before that happens I wanted to reflect on the past year’s experiences with Blackboard here at Palomar. Last July I challenged faculty to work with me to review their course workflow and layout; sadly only a couple faculty took me up on that. But the offer remains open, to have a one-on-one meeting (or more, if desired) to have someone completely ignorant of your content (that’s ME, of course) offer an...
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Tech Toolbox: MyScript MathPad

Tech Toolbox: MyScript MathPad
Over two years ago I blogged about an iPad app useful for recording called Educreations. That app, and the accompanying website, are still going strong. However I was never happy about using Educreations for recording my finger-writing of mathematical equations. So if you’re the type who has need of equations in your course documents, listen up! There are a pair of “mathy” apps from the company MyScript which can assist in neatening up the finger-paint input of equations. The first, which I won’t dwell on, is called the MyScript Calculator. This calculator app allows written...
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SafeAssign Outage and Improvements

SafeAssign Outage and Improvements
This next Saturday, April 26, from 7 AM until 9 AM Pacific Time, the SafeAssign service (the plagiarism detection tool within Blackboard) will not be working. Until 7:30 AM SafeAssignments will not accept new submissions, and anything submitted between 7:30 and 9 AM will not immediately have reports generated. Instead submissions during that time period will be put in a queue and originality reports will be generated later. It would be a good idea for students to avoid submitting papers to the SafeAssign tool Saturday morning, and any instructors who set deadlines on SafeAssignments may want to modify...
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Moving Faculty Content Into the New Blackboard System

Moving Faculty Content Into the New Blackboard System
As you may have heard, starting with this Summer term Palomar College is changing our Blackboard environment from one hosted on the San Marcos campus to one hosted by Blackboard Managed Hosting. In an earlier post I tried to address faculty questions about this change, but the largest impact to faculty will be when trying to move course content from an older course into a course on the new Blackboard environment. Anyone around back in Fall 2009 may recall the big move from Bb version 8 to 9; that was a similar shift between one environment and another, although then both environments were hosted here...
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Faculty Blackboard Managed Hosting Questions

Faculty Blackboard Managed Hosting Questions
This is an an effort to anticipate some questions faculty may have about the upcoming changes to Palomar’s Blackboard environment; should you have additional questions, feel free to pose them in the comments here, or contact us separately in Palomar Blackboard support. However, one question I am unable to answer at this time is “when are the Summer 2014 courses going to be available to faculty?” As soon as there is an answer I can share, rest assured I will post about the details.   What is this Managed Hosting for Blackboard thing I keep hearing about? Palomar’s Blackboard...
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