“Liberate 250K”- OERs save students money

A Wikiversity Logo for Open Educational Resour... A Wikiversity Logo for Open Educational Resources. It was first used for the German OER-project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Textbooks can be very expensive.  Tacoma Community College is using Open Educational Resources(OERs) to allay some this cost.  They are already saving students thousands of dollars. Their goal is $250,000 in savings for students by Academic Year 2014.  In first two quarters, they have saved student $128.000.Using OERs faculty at Tacoma Community College are discovering replacements for their textbooks.  oer project – home.

Watch this video of the faculty who are making a difference in their students’ lives. Spoiler Alert! There is a bonus for the faculty, too.Faculty on OER in Teaching

The article outlines the courses and savings this pilot has netted: ‘Liberate 250K’ – Tacoma Community College’s OER Project

Information on OER
OER Finding Aids

If you are interested in incorporating OERs in your classes and you would like some assistance, please contact me.

I wonder what is the effect on learning?


Blackboard Innovation Conference 2012 at HWC November 9, 2012

On Friday November 9th I attended the Blackboard Innovation Conference 2012 at HWC.
It was nice wrap up to the week’s Bb Listening Tour campus visits.
The conference started with “Why use Digital Tools in Teaching and Learning” with David Gibson from Bb. A preview of the upcoming upgrade to service pack 9 and multiple session choices presented by experts from across CCC and Bb.  During the conference, it was tweeted, “Getting some good tips of things that I can incorporate into my classes. I just need to make the time to do them. #castBbfa12’
Ephrem and the Cast crew did a fantastic job hosting this event.

David Gibson from Bb mentioned three resources that might be useful to you:  Bb video tutorials- http://ondemand.blackboard.com/ , faculty best practices using Bb- http://go.blackboard.com/faculty, and Bb feedback- http://www.blackboard.com/Contact-Us/Feedback/Overview.aspx.
Remember Coursesites is available to test the newer versions, Respondus and Collaborate-

Mark your calendar for 2013’s TiE Day at HWC April 12, 2013.


Google Drive

Courtesy - Google.com

First of all I must I admit that I am a big Google fan.  Yes, I know they spy on you and you are absolutely correct that are growing very big and have their tentacles in a number of things and true like sky net in Terminator they will take over this planet and enslave the human race but while this goes on in the background I just wanted to tell you about a new cloud based service called the Google Drive…

A little history, before Google actually came up with the G-drive many applications were created that used your Gmail account space as an online storage but not to much success.  Actually it was a pitiful attempt but nonetheless a worthy cause.

Google’s entire business is based on offering the best cloud services around, so the fact that the company didn’t offer a true cloud-based storage service up until now is downright odd. Certainly, you could store files in Google docs or Gmail, but without a proper desktop component to sync with them, neither was especially efficient. But with the introduction of Google Drive, the search giant has managed to give its users a place to keep their files and more, turning Drive into one of the top cloud-based storage solutions virtually overnight.

The setup is super simple and pretty much functions like the popular cloud based services like Dropbox and Sugarsync.  Google actually gives you 5 GB of space and from what I hear your Google docs do not count against that space.  Currently G-drive is available for PC’s, Mac’s, Android and iPhone are soon to follow.  The cool deal with G-drive is that you can share files and have multiple people edit them.  Truly a collaborative tool!!  Ofcourse you can buy more space by upgrading to 25GB where you mat 2.49 a month or $30/year.  Not too bad right.  Exactly and Google is trying to get you from being a free user to a paid subscriber.  As an incentive it will bump your email account with 25GB of space.

Courtesy - Computer World

The interface is pretty simple and well integrated with your online Google docs account.  One of the service’s biggest advantages is its ability to recognize and open more than 30 file types, including HD video files of up to 10GB in size and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (PSD) files. Don’t have either program installed on your desktop? No problem, Google Drive’s preview mode allows you to open and preview those files without issue.  One of Google Drive’s more useful features is its ability to interface with apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Google Drive has what it takes to take on Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and other cloud services.  For users and businesses heavily tied to Google Docs, Google Drive will likely make more sense.  So go ahead and give it a try.  You know you already use gmail so chances are that this may be something you may actually like.


Jing is powerful little desktop application that copies and pastes parts of screen into image or video. I use it to provide swift, specific support.

It is often said  ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’  Using Jing, I can use less text if I use pictures.  Pictures can offer reassurance that everyone is looking at the same thing.  It is easier to help remotely if we are at the same place.

Jing is the Chinese word for ‘essence.’ Being allowed to capture a portion of the screens and the five minute video limitation, it captures the essence of the solution provided.   Instead of showing a generic video that offers some support and a lot of extraneous information, Jing allows me to capture portions of the screen for quick, explicit directions.  The Jing sunburst sits on desktop ready to use with the click of my mouse.

Try Jing! http://www.techsmith.com/download/jing/

by keningilbert on May 14, 2010

Twitter for Development

Hearing about Twitter for the first time less than six years ago, I thought, ”How dumb.  140-characters to text something pithy like-Had a latte at Starbucks-How pretentious and who cares?”  But now I’m a Twitter lurker.  It is one of my go-to-tools for professional development. I use Twitter to follow leaders in Instructional Technology/Support and Blended Librarianship, for general academic news, and for the occasional inspirational quote. It provides a snapshot for ideas and topics that the academic community is actively discussing. It is yet another way to keep current.

By shortening urls and adding images, you can circumvent the character restrictions.  A teaser message is tweeted and you can choose to investigate further by following the link and #hashtags.  This teaser message is effective for me.  Being able to quickly switch focus at a moment’s notice coupled with my short attention span make Twitter an ideal tool. My mother-in-law describes this phenomenon as behaving like ‘a fart in a lantern.’ I believe she may mean ‘a firefly in a lantern.’  Regardless often I feel as though I am caught in the lantern.  I find myself flitting around and losing myself in the ripples of information, culling it, repackaging, and sending to hopefully interested parties.

Twitter is like a treasure hunt for information. Finding the right guides to follow is key to finding treasures quickly. I have chosen to follow people who are prominent and prolific tweeters and then add the people they follow.

I don’t use a twitter manager like TweetDeck or HootSuite. I don’t use my phone to text my twitters. I go directly to http://Twitter.com on a computer.

There some exciting uses of Twitter in your classrooms like running commentaries for in class movies, field trip tweets, real time reactions, etc.  Look at http://storify.com to collect feeds into a cohesive group.

Try Twitter!

25 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom, By Degree Of Difficulty
Edudemic (28 March 2012)by Jeff Dunn
20 Terrific Twitter Tips
Laptop (28 January 2011)by Anna Attkisson
Twitter Theory and the Public Scholar |
Scholarship | HYBRID PEDAGOGY (22 March 2012) by Pete Rorabaugh
6 Reasons Twitter is Becoming My New E-mail – Forbes
By Steve Cooper (10 April 2012)

My not-so earth shattering  lurker Twitter account is @mo_boland

Inside look at how the iPad is made – Marketplace

Most of us just cannot get enough of Apple products.  I must admit they are sleek, trendy, appealing and super cool.  Ever wonder how these devices are made?

We all know that these products are made in China, and Foxconn has been all over the news for bit now, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we could get a glimpse of the inner workings of this factory.

Thanks to Rob Schmitz from American Public Media’s Marketplace, we can all take a peek at the iPad production line.  The hope is to educate user on the reality of Foxconn Longhua facilty.

Lets take a look, shall we…


iPads or Laptops

If you could buy one mobile device for a student would it be an iPad or a laptop?  Now that Ultrabooks have been released, weight is less of a factor and they are more functional because of the multiple input options (flashdrives, SD cards, HDMI, etc.).  iPads are great but a laptop may offer a bigger bang for the buck (they still don’t support flash, so there is some compatibility issues as well).  Also, some manufacturers are going to offer touch screen functionality in a laptop form factor as well.  So you have $800 bucks, what do you buy/recommend for a student?

iPads in Education

The integration of technology into education is a hot topic. Today’s student are considered Millennial learners, which typically refers to the fact that they incorporate some form of technology into everything they do. This can create a gap between the students and the teachers due to the fact that many teachers do not incorporate technology into their teaching and lesson plans. In turn, students are suffering and not performing their best because of the communication gap, poor presentation and general lack of interest. Knowing this, I have outlined a 5 phase process that can be used to incorporate technology into education: to incorporate the iPad. Enjoy!

Phase 1: Determine Relative Advantage:

When determining a relative advantage one should explore what will be gained from implementing said technology into the classroom. Generally, a good investment can be determined by deciding if the rewards outweigh the risks. In this phase of the integration certain questions will be asked including but not limited to: What problems am I addressing? And, does this method offer a solution with sufficient relative advantages? In this case, one problem that would be addressed for virtually any group of students would be capturing and retaining their attention, and delivering the material in a manner in which they will be captivated while they are learning. Advantages of incorporating the iPad include higher levels of interaction between the student and his/her peers as well as the instructor and allowing students the ability to access course materials cheaper and more conveniently. The iPad will allow the instructor to access learning materials that may not have been available to students while engaging them into the lesson in more ways than one. Applications are allowed at a level of creativity that will address any learning style.

Phase 2: Decide on Objectives:

In this phase of the integration plan the objectives should be determined. While determining objectives the instructor should set goals that he/she would like to see the students meet. Setting objectives early on will help in deciding if the technology is being implemented to the degree in which you would like to see it implemented. These objectives will later aid in assessing how well the technology was implemented. The ultimate goal of integrating the iPad in the classroom is to enhance student performance but it is imperative to determine how. My objective would be to get students to a level in which they are able to utilize the various apps on the iPad to make their educational experience greater. Upon a successful integration, students should be able to use the apps on the iPad, either independently or in a group, to expound on what has been taught in the classroom. While being used in class, the student should be able to participate in either educational games initiated by the instructor or, use the iPad to find information to answer questions or elaborate on discussions taking place in the class. Outside of the classroom, students should learn how to utilize the app store to search and install applications on the device that will aid in their understanding of the material as well as use the device to bring in information to add to the lesson.

Phase 3: Design Integration Strategies:

 Once phases one and two have been completed, the next step is determining how the plan will be executed, which is why phase 3 involves designing integration strategies. To integrate the iPad into the classroom, I would first conduct a pre assessment of the students to determine how technologically savvy they are. Upon completing the assessment, I would then conduct an open forum survey to discuss whether or not the students felt comfortable with the new technology and allow them to voice reasons why they felt either way. Once a consensus has been reached, assuming the students are in favor of the integration, I would then compose a list of websites and applications that would be used in the class and make the information available via handouts and a wiki page. Immediately following each lesson, there would be notes and discussion questions available on an open forum for students to follow with what was covered in class as well as present questions that they may have come up with after the session has ended.

Phase 4: Prepare the Instructional Environment:

Once it has been determined how the technology will be implemented, the next thing to do, in effort to be proactive rather than reactive, is to prepare the instructional environment. One advantage of the iPad is its battery life; the iPad can hold power for up to 10 hours which helps tremendously in terms of electrical outlets. As long as the students have charged the device, hazardous cords that can cause tripping are not needed. Aside from setting up the physical classroom, the next phase of preparing the instructional environment is prepping the iPads for use. To do so, I would make sure that all iPads are running on the same software version and are pre-loaded with the same apps that will be needed to effectively participate in the course and following discussions.

Phase 5: Evaluate and Revise Integration Strategies:

The final phase of the technology integration plan is to evaluate and if necessary, revise the integration strategy. To determine whether or not the iPad was successfully integrated into the course, I would challenge the students to research a topic independently and deliver their findings to the class; I would also assign groups and have them present various functionalities and information on the apps being used in the class. Finally, students would have to use the apps to complete all assignments in order to receive full credit. If the students are able to successfully completed the above mentioned tasks I will know if the integration was successful. In addition to the tasks, I would conduct a post assessment to note what were some of the strengths and weaknesses of using the iPad in the lesson, find out if students preferred using the iPad in oppose to the traditional lecture style and lastly, I would hold an open discussion to get insight on how comfortable the students felt with the technology. Upon receiving the results, I would make adjustments as needed and proceed with the course.