Academic Technology @ Palomar College

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Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP5 Notes

So at the end of last week the Palomar Blackboard system went though an upgrade process to the most currently released version of the Blackboard Learn software.  (For version number hounds, we were at 9.1 Service Pack 3, and are now at 9.1 Service Pack 5.)  Most folks would respond to that with a rousing cry of “so what?!”  Here is what Palomar faculty should be aware of regarding this new version of Blackboard: File size limits: For years I’ve been warning faculty about a limit in Blackboard, where course archives and imports over 250 Mb in size would simply not import into a new...
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Good Teaching – What Do Students Say?

Palomar College is certainly not alone in devoting time and resources to document the variables involved in effective teaching and learning. Instructors are being asked to include student learning outcomes (SLOs) on all class syllabi. We have a Learning Outcomes Council (LOC) as well as a Palomar Outcomes Database (POD).  This issue of learning outcomes and how best to promote them was the topic of a number of studies presented and discussed at the 2010 Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning. While some have argued that students are not effective judges of what teacher variables promote...
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Group Exams: A Teaching Strategy?

This blog post isn’t about teaching online. It also isn’t about using technology. However, I came across a report about an intriguing strategy designed to engage students and promote learning in a way I hadn’t considered and I wondered what other educators thought of the idea. Many instructors want to stimulate students to collaborate with each other and suggest that students form study groups, share notes, study together for tests. While students sometimes see the merit in doing those things, unless the instructor explicitly rewards this behavior, it rarely occurs. A recent Faculty...
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Teaching With Technology

A few months ago I took an online class called Social Media that focused on using Web 2.0 tools for education. One of the most potentially useful and impressive tools we used in the class was something called Voice Thread. In a future blog post I’ll describe how I’m using it in my online class but here I want to just explain what it is and then show a more interesting example of the tool than my own. Imagine sitting with a group of students while you project a Power Point slide or perhaps a short video clip. Further imagine that, while you are all watching (or looking at) the media, anyone...
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Video, Video, Video

Videos, particularly short videos can be excellent devices to engage students but where are some good sources for appropriate video material? And how do we use them in our Blackboard classes? This second question has become very important as of this writing because the You Tube Mash-up tool in Blackboard that generated a lot of excitement is now not working correctly. In fact, using it can cause some major problems (see Terry Gray’s tutorial below). Listed here are a few of the many video sources available to us. Most can be easily placed into Blackboard as a web link and some can be embedded....
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