Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Personalizing Blackboard Content

Personalizing Blackboard Content
I’m certain you’ve received bulk messages, either on paper through the mail or (often as spam) though email. Often those messages use a function known as “mail merge” to modify the content of the message to show personalized information. Although that sort of function can be awkward if used poorly, Blackboard has limited options to get a “mail merge” effect out of your Blackboard content. This function was originally intended for developers to be able to list personal details, but these “tokens” will work for students and instructors within Blackboard...
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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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