|Volume 2, Number 3|
As the academic year ends, please think briefly about your Blackboard needs. At some point over the summer, we will be archiving all Fall’04 and Spring ’05 courses. If there is a course you want to have available over the summer, please let us know. Be sure to export your Gradebook now to fully preserve the records of your courses. After an archive and retrieval the Gradebook is no longer available.
The comments we received from faculty and students on the Tablet PC provided us with some very helpful information. We especially want to say thank you to those faculty members who borrowed a tablet and experimented with it. We appreciate your feedback and your insights on the usefulness of Tablet PCs for teaching and learning. Although the feedback was generally positive, we felt that we needed more time, and more input from faculty and students, in order to fully evaluate the merits of moving to Tablet PCs for our laptop program. For the current laptop exchange, therefore, faculty and students will receive Dell Latitude D610s which are much the same as last year’s D600.
In order to obtain more faculty feedback on the use of Tablets we are exploring the acquisition of additional tablets to lend to faculty so that they may use them for extended periods of time. Contact either of us or Dr. John King by email for possibilities.
We covered more about the Tablet and its application in our previous newsletter Feb. 2005.
Join us for the Blogging Workshop on Wednesday, May 25, to learn more about blogging. We’ll walk you through the steps and help you to create a blogging site of your own! Aren’t sure about blogging? Read a little more.
A blog is an online journal, frequently updated and intended to be read by the general public. It allows someone to automatically post information to a web site and is sometimes referred to as a weblog. It is set up like conventional web sites, with navigation links and other standard web site features, however, a blog is different because of the posting element. Blog postings are text entries that can also include pictures, links, other digital media, and comments by others. Blogs are very easy to use and require minimal technical knowledge.
Blogging has not always been as popular as it is now though. A rise in popularity began after the September 11 attacks when many blogs on topics surrounding the issues gained significant readership. Since 2003, weblogs have been playing a large role in building on news stories. Also, they have been used by established politicians and political candidates to convey opinions. In 2004 blogs went more mainstream. They were used for various reasons and by various people. Uses include exposing consumer complaints and issues, personal reasons, reporting news stories, collaborating with a group, political purposes, and many others. Blog popularity has risen 58% as reported by ShortNews.com (www.shortnews.com/shownews.cfm?id=45421) meaning that 58% more Americans read blogs to inform themselves on current events and political issues as compared to 2003.
There are many ways that people in academia are using blogs. They can be used in the classroom as an educational tool for collaboration, discussions, and student portfolios. By existing online, blogs can provide an opportunity for students to work to further develop skills with an instant audience. Blogs can also be a place where students can log their thoughts on a topic and others inside and outside of the class can comment on these thoughts and develop a productive dialogue on the topic. A student can use a blog to display a digital portfolio of work from class and because the portfolio is blogged, it is online and available for a vast audience.
Also blogging can be used by the academic community as a means to collect and combine research. It allows you to display your work to a public audience on the web without having to learn any web publishing skills and get their feedback.
To learn more about blogging, go to http://members.cox.net/vmontecino/blog_showcase/blogresources.html.
Some examples of interesting blogs:
Come join Stacey and Paula and your faculty colleagues for the blogging workshop session on May 25th. Please call either of us to confirm your reservation. See you there!
Do you prefer using the full Outlook version rather than the Web version? Who doesn’t?
When you access your email from off-campus using the Web, you are not able to use the regular version of Outlook with which you are familiar and you are not able to use all of the features available on the regular version.
However, if you logon to our VPN you can access the regular, full version of Outlook and you can also access data otherwise not available from off-campus, such as, the M: drive. Although VPN performance is optimized when using a broadband connection like DSL or cable modem, it can also be used with a standard dial-up connection. Because of configuration issues, we do not recommend setting up the VPN at this time with a home computer other than your laptop.
A VPN offers secure access to our servers even though you are telecommunicating over a public network. Protocols that perform encrypting and decrypting of the data transmissions provide this security. It is ‘private’ because interrogations other than the encrypted ones cannot gain access to the transmission. It is ‘virtual’ because there is no dedicated physical line for transmissions.
In order to logon to the VPN, you must first install ‘ucvpn.exe’ on your laptop, a program that sets up the VPN. These instructions are detailed online via the Ursinus website. Select Technology Resources from the Hot List Menu, then the Computing Services Tab. Select the procedure for VPN depending on which version of MS Windows you have.
You will have the full complement of Outlook functionality and be able to access files on all servers in a protected mode.
HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER!