Academic Technology @ Palomar College


Last night my colleagues and I presented our semi-annual plenary break out on Academic Technology at Palomar College. It was well attended, but necessarily by only a small percentage of the enormous number of adjunct professors employed by the college. As a reference for those who did not attend, here is an encapsulated version.

We conducted our workshop using the sandbox AT@PC workshop course we had developed. Each professor at Palomar College has an account on our sandbox system. We set the course up for self-enrollment through the Academic Technology Training course, also on the sandbox system.

One of the features we demonstrated throughout the evening was interactive polls embedded in the PowerPoint we used, and interfaced through web pages linked from the sandbox course.  The polls are a marvel from Poll Everywhere.  A free version is available for up to 30 participants, and for-pay options are available for larger audiences.  Poll Everywhere instant interactive polls can be voted by students using a web interface (which can be placed in a Blackboard course), by cell phone, or via Twitter.  It just works.  Truly, as long as one of these voting methods is available, there is no longer a need for expensive, hardware-based classroom clicker systems.

We began with a myth-buster session on what Academic Technology at our school DOES NOT do.

  • Campus email system
  • eServices student information system
  • Networking and classroom or office computers
  • AV

What we do do is:

  • Administer the Blackboard Enterprise system
  • Provide Streaming media services and encode media
  • Print and Graphic media creation
  • Web page authoring and administration
  • Technology training for faculty
  • Software evaluation and access
  • Hardware checkout
  • The AT computer labs, including the faculty technology center

For details on what we do and access to our tutorials and other training materials,our web site is the heart of our operation.

We then presented a longish segment on the new Blackboard implementation at our school–version 9.1.  Though we have been working hard on publicizing and training on the new version,and in fact have touched record numbers of our faculty members, still a large number need last minute assistance.  Bb 9.1 is live now, and faculty members who use Blackboard have no choice but to learn it.  Consequently, we are repeating the training we offered throughout last semester in a unique 3-part series of four workshops:

Teaching with Blackboard: Getting Ready for Day One (3 parts – sign up for all three)
Facilitated by:     David Gray & Chris Norcross
Dates/Times:     Part 1 of 3: Friday, January 14, 9:00am – 11:00am
Part 2 of 3: Friday, January 21, 8:00am – 10:00am
Part 3 of 3: Friday, January 28, 9:00am – 11:00am
Location:     LL-109

Teaching With Blackboard: Building Your Course (3 parts – sign up for all three)
Facilitated by:     David Gray & Chris Norcross
Dates/Times:     Part 1 of 3: Friday, February 4, 9:00am – 11:00am
Part 2 of 3: Friday, February 11, 9:00am – 11:00am
Part 3 of 3: Friday, February 25, 9:00am – 11:00am
Location:     LL-109

Teaching With Blackboard: Evaluating Learning (3 parts – sign up for all three)
Facilitated by:     David Gray & Chris Norcross
Dates/Times:     Part 1 of 3: Friday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Part 2 of 3: Friday, April 8, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Part 3 of 3: Friday, April 15, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location:     LL-109

Teaching With Blackboard: Communicating with Your Students (3 parts – sign up for all three)
Facilitated by:     David Gray & Chris Norcross
Dates/Times:     Friday, April 22, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Friday, April 29, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Friday, May 6, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location:     LL-109

As I write, Dave and Chris are busily presented part-1 of the first series to a roomful of rapt (or is that desperation?) faculty members.

In an effort to formalize the informal, we will be continuing this semester with our “Blackboard with Cream & Sugar” sessions.  Drop by room LL-111 Wednesday mornings between 7:30 and 10:30AM.  You bring the questions and ideas, we bring the coffee, tea and (we hope) answers.

The next topic was training.  Haydn described our training pages and in particular the training schedule on the web.  Then we mentioned some of the new and exciting training opportunities that we are making available to faculty members this spring, including workshops on Twitter, the Flip video cameras, web page authoring with Expression Web 4, the Google Public Data Explorer, PowerPoint (with a new one on methods of making a video from your PowerPoint and placing it on the web), Word 2010, Using Google Earth, and, of course, lots more on Blackboard.

We also have an extensive set of tutorials available online for those who like to work in a self-directed manner.

The next topic was streaming media.  The old media server is now turned off, the new Silverlight/SmoothStreaming system is the only one we are using.  If your videos no longer play, that is why.  Contact us for help.

In a discussion of copyright clearance and the TEACH Act in particular, we did make these three important points to remember:

  1. If a DVD exists of the video you want to use, we must use it as our source to copy rather than a VHS version.
  2. We cannot accept “self-recorded” media–that is, video you have recorded off TV–as source media.  It must be a “legally obtained” original.
  3. If we have copied/encoded media for you under the terms of the TEACH Act, you CANNOT use it in a face-to-face class meeting.  It can only be used for distance education.

Finally we spoke about how to obtain low-cost or free software from the FCCC and from our Microsoft Academic Alliance.

We appreciate the time of the professors who joined us last night, and hope this post will share in part the evening we all enjoyed.  Now, have a great semester.

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  1. Plenary Events Well Attended « ATRC @ Palomar College: News - [...] evening breakout session.  A summary of that breakout, for those unable to attend, can be found here. …
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