Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Sine qua non Software

Sine qua non Software
Having just experienced a computer collapse and rebuild, and at the same time configured a new home laptop, it got me thinking about the software that I need that I could not do without.  I decided to construct a list.   An essential ingredient is interoperability with mobile devices, something that didn’t enter into serious consideration only a couple of years ago.  The desktop is now just one in a triad of equally important devices (the tablet and smart phone being the others) that any digitally literate person depends on, so my list has to embrace these platforms as well. First, and foremost,...
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Blackboard Thing of the Week: Test Activity Log

Blackboard Thing of the Week: Test Activity Log
Ever wish you could tell what is actually going on during a student test attempt in Blackboard? Would you like to know if your students actually backtrack through your test, to correct problems, or just bull straight through and hit Submit? Well… now you can know. New with service pack 13 of Blackboard (which goes live on Palomar’s production Blackboard environment during the maintenance window of August 1st through 4th) you gain the ability to view Access Logs for test attempts. To see these, all you do is click the Access Log button in the Test Information area of a student test...
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PowerPoint 2013: Basic Slide Management

In this post I will cover six basic operations essential for managing your PowerPoint presentation: How to delete slides; How to hide slides; How to rearrange slides; How to import slides from one presentation to another; How to duplicate slides; How to create sections within a presentation. Delete To delete a slide or slides, select the slide(s) either in the thumbnail pane or in slide sorter view and press the delete key on your keyboard, or right-click your selection and choose Delete Slide. To select a contiguous range of slides, click on the first and then hold down the Shift key and click on the...
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PowerPoint 2013: Text Alignment and Direction

PowerPoint 2013: Text Alignment and Direction
In PowerPoint 2013 it is easier than ever to find the controls for text alignment and direction.  The secret is thinking of the text as an attribute of the shape that contains them (the placeholder, textbox or drawn shape), and then formatting that shape. For example, to control the text alignment and direction of a typical bulleted item slide, click on the border around the bulleted items (it is dashed before selecting it and solid when selected).  Right-click the selected border, and from the context menu choose Format Shape. The Format Shape pane will open on the right of the screen.  Select Text...
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Blackboard Adventure Time

Blackboard Adventure Time
Hi, this is David the human, and today I’ll be telling you a bit about my adventure last week in Las Vegas, at the BbWorld 2013 convention. (Okay, technically I attended both Blackboard’s Developer’s Conference, DevCon, and the main BbWorld conference, but the content from DevCon is uniformly tech in nature so likely nobody here cares.) Some of the BbWorld sessions were about esoteric topics, such as how to optimize the integration of data from the Palomar eServices system into Blackboard, or how to crawl around in the databases looking for diagnostic information to help make the...
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PowerPoint 2013: Slide Layouts

PowerPoint 2013: Slide Layouts
Before moving on to consider adding pictures and other graphics to slides, I would like to touch on a couple of basic concepts that I have not posted on before.  In this post I will review slide layouts. Slide layouts are slides that have positioning placeholders on them that you can use to add content.  They may also contain content placeholders.  The number of layouts in your presentation will vary depending on the design theme you have chosen.  Some have as few as 11 (The Office them, for example) and some have as many as 17 (the Main Event theme).  You can also create custom slide layouts of your...
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PowerPoint 2013: Tables

PowerPoint 2013: Tables
There are at least four ways to place tables on a PowerPoint 2013 slide.  They are: Click the table content placeholder on the standard title & content slide layout, and manually define the number of rows and columns your table is to contain; Use the Insert > Table command and drag over a tabular grid pattern to define your table; Paste a copied table from Word or Excel (with an embed option discussed below); Draw your table with the Draw Table tool. Before creating, or copying in a table, consider replacing it with a chart with, if necessary, data point labels.  Charts on a slide can have much...
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PowerPoint 2013: Bullets

PowerPoint 2013: Bullets
I’m not one to encourage the use of bulleted items, but let’s face it, many PowerPoint presentations are nothing but slide after slide of bulleted items.  If, therefore, you are faced with the task of changing the bullet style on some or all slides in a presentation, here’s how.  (Remember, if you make this change on the Slide Master it will automatically change all bullets on all slides in your presentation.  If you make it in normal view, it will only affect the slide on which you are working). If you wish to change the style on one on a single slide, select the text of all of the...
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PowerPoint 2013: WordArt

PowerPoint 2013: WordArt
An advanced form of text editing in PowerPoint is called WordArt.  Some truly spectacular textual effects can be achieved with WordArt, while the text retains its characteristics as text (can be spell checked, font sizes can be changed, case can be changed, new text inserted, etc.).  Nevertheless, these effects don’t have much of a place in a well designed, professional presentation.  They should be used sparingly, and only for special emphasis.  This post will in brief review where the WordArt settings and controls can be found and applied.  We will get to a discussion of shape effects—which...
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World War II on the iPad

World War II on the iPad
A search on World War II (world war ii, world war 2, ww2, etc.) at the app store will yield scores of apps over several app categories, only two of which, in my opinion, are worthwhile. First the categories:  By far the category leader is games.  You will find game titles like “World Conqueror,” “Little Commander,” “Fighter Pilot Killer Air Combat,” “World War 2 Assault,” “Commando Global Assassin,” and on and on.  Stop wasting time and money on this nonsense.  Sit down with your kids and explain why war, and especially this cataclysmic war...
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