Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Why I should care about mixed security modes in my Blackboard course

Why I should care about mixed security modes in my Blackboard course
Normally I try to keep the tech-speak down to a minimum in my posts, but this topic, sadly, requires a good bit. Here’s the situation: You’ve provided a web link within your Blackboard course, perhaps to a page on your own Palomar-hosted WordPress site, perhaps to one of the many videos in Palomar’s streaming video catalog. When some (but likely not all) of your students click the link… nothing. They still have the top red area of Blackboard, and the breadcrumb trail, but everything below that is blank. What is going on? Likely you are a victim of security. Not “something...
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Spring 2014 comes to Blackboard

Spring 2014 comes to Blackboard
In keeping with our general policy of providing Blackboard courses 90 days prior to the start of the new semester, the Spring 2014 course shells are set to be created on Sunday, October 13, 2013. So don’t be shocked when you log into the Blackboard system and see new courses there next week. Naturally as your students enroll using eServices in the months to come, they should percolate onto the Blackboard rosters within a couple hours. But rest assured that students will not be able to see anything in your new course sites until you manually make the course sites available for student use. Also,...
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How to Embed YouTube Video in PowerPoint 2013

How to Embed YouTube Video in PowerPoint 2013
Regular users of PowerPoint have by now noticed that the tool adding YouTube embed code to a PowerPoint 2013 (and 2010) slide has disappeared.  It is no longer possible to simply grab the code, click Insert > Video > Online Video, and paste it in.  The why of it is a bit mysterious, but the trouble started when Google updated their YouTube API from ver. 2 to 3, and only became worse over time as Google and Microsoft have had public disagreements. Whatever the causes, the tool that stopped working in PowerPoint has now, with the latest Office updates, been removed.  Unfortunately, this is still...
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Making Blackboard Available

Making Blackboard Available
As you (hopefully) already know, when your Blackboard courses are created here at Palomar (up to 90 days prior to the start of the semester), those courses are all unavailable to students. That’s why students cannot immediately start horsing around in your course site as soon as they enroll. However, until and unless you make your course available to students, they can’t get in. Even if you post a bunch of handouts, build assessments, and set up discussion board forums, and tell your students to go use them… if the course is unavailable still, the students can’t. “How can...
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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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