Blogs in Plain English

March 3rd, 2009 Comments off

This is a simple, elegant, and beautifully accesssible definition of what Blogs are for and why they matter.

Over the last 5 years Social Networking and collaboration tools have finally realized the Internet’s inherent potential to make everyone a publisher in a beautifully simple way – and at the same time to harness and create knowledge, connections and input from strangers worldwide, all the while busting down every border and barrier that exists. The advent of Web 2.0 technologies has already had a major impact on Journalism, media and entertainment, how we do our research, how we shop, and how we find the nearest pizza joint.

An article in this month’s Wired Magazine even hails the potential for crowsourced oversight of world financial markets using standardized finaincial statements published in XBRL format on the web. Given the recent success of other crowdsourced efforts (from Amazon to Second Life to Netflix to Wikipedia) it sounds plausible if not promising.

Web 2.0 technologies will also revolutionize education – and is is in our iterest and to our advantage if Purchase embraces this opportunity to “Think Wide Open” about using these tools to create a learning centered institution that assesses for improvement, and which is built on active collaborative learning.


Safari Tech Books trial

February 18th, 2009 No comments

The library has a trial for Safari Tech Books Online :

The ideal ready-reference resource, providing a level of authority, flexibility, and currency unequaled by other online IT reference databases. Including nearly 8,000 titles, it covers the technologies most essential to users including certification, enterprise computing, Java, Linus/Unix, Web development, Windows, XML, and more.

The database also includes hundreds videos providing instruction on web design, software development, and graphics tools and techniques, along with training videos for software such as Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, Mac OS X, Dreamweaver, Flash, Windows XP, and Microsoft Office.  [Trial expires March 17, 2009.]

See the Library’s Databases on Trial page for more information and links to resources.

Categories: Library, Technology Tags: ,

Blackboard/ERes instructions for Spring 09

January 13th, 2009 Comments off

Dear faculty,

If you intend to place your course reserve materials on the electronic reserve system (ERes) or Blackboard™ for the SPRING 2009 semester:

•    Please email complete course ID number(s) (including any cross-listings) and course title(s) to to have your course page(s) created or activated.

•    To upload content to your Blackboard page, please follow this step-by-step guide .

•    If you have electronic versions (e.g. Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Portable Document Files (PDF) from a database such as JSTOR) saved on your computer, disk, CD, or thumb drive, bring your disk/storage device to the Library Circulation desk and the items will posted to your ERes course page. Please be sure to fill out a Reserve Form for these items.

•    If you know that an electronic version of any of your course reserve materials exists on the Internet or is available via the Library’s online databases, please email me with the link / citation and the item will be posted to your ERes course page.

•    Please bring photocopies of items to be scanned to the Library Circulation desk along with the completed Library Reserve Form at your earliest convenience.
* Please circle the system (Blackboard or ERes) you will be using to support your course(s).

•    Due to high volume at peak times, please allow up to two weeks for documents to be scanned and processed before appearing on your course page. Please plan accordingly.

•    Please be sure that your hard copy course reserve materials are clean, legible, first-generation, single-sided, 8.5” x 11” unstapled, photocopies in order to ensure proper scanning.

Please note that we cannot make photocopies for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at or call
(914) 251-6425. Thanks!

Marie Sciangula
Assistant Director of Instructional Technology
Purchase College, SUNY
(914) 251-6425 |

Final Cut Pro intensive workshop

January 7th, 2009 Comments off

The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center will offer a full-day workshop for faculty on Final Cut Pro, Thursday, January 15th, from 9:30 to 4:30, in the video editing lab of the Digital Media Zone in the Library.  Topics to be covered in the workshop are listed later in this posting.  Registration for the workshop is required (but free), and the workshop will be capped at 8 participants.  Participants will be provided a text and tutorial DVD (Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6 by Diana Weynand) for use in the workshop, which they will be able to keep following the workshop.  Participants will also be provided lunch (actual lunch, not vouchers).

There will be two optional additional activities that workshop participants may attend.  First, on Tuesday, January 13th, from 1:00 to 4:00 there will be a session demonstrating the equipment (video cameras, audio recorders, lighting equipment) that is available from the TLTC and the Library Resource Center for use in class video projects.  An outline for this session is listed later in this post.  This equipment demonstration session will take place in the classroom in the lower level of the Library (L0001).  Second, we have reserved the DMZ video editing lab from 10:00-4:00 on Friday, January 16th.  Participants in the FCP workshop on the 15th can come back on the 16th for more extended studio time, to work on practice projects.  TLTC staff will be available to provide assistance during this open studio time as faculty work on their projects.

To register for the Final Cut Pro intensive workshop, please send an email to .  Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read more…

LMS review update

January 5th, 2009 Comments off

A group of faculty and staff met regularly during fall semester to evaluate options for our campus learning management system (LMS): maintaining Blackboard or switching to either ANGEL (a commercial product) or Moodle (an open-source product).  The working group

  • surveyed faculty on their current use, likes and dislikes for Blackboard, and what features they would want available in an LMS;
  • set up demo accounts at ANGEL Learning, and had a web conference with an ANGEL representative on ANGEL features;
  • set up a local test Moodle server with demo courses, to review Moodle features, and had a web conference with staff from SUNY Ulster about their experience switching from WebCT to Moodle;
  • had an on-campus visit from a representative of Turning Technologies, to discuss how each of the LMS’s would integrate with the classroom response systems in use on campus;
  • reviewed options for integrating ArtSTOR and EmbARK with the LMS’s;
  • did initial tests on migrating Blackboard courses into Moodle;
  • discussed transferring electronic reserve functions from ERes into the LMS that is eventually selected;
  • investigated ongoing costs for each of the LMS’s.

Generally, faculty members of the committee have been responsible for comparing functional capabilities among the three systems, while staff members of the committee have looked into technical implementation issues and cost data.

After one semester of review, here is a general sense of where things stand on this issue:

  • There is little support among the working group for maintaining Blackboard long-term, given its relative lack of functionality and escalating costs.  This position is consistent with nation-wide trends among colleges and universities, where Blackboard has been losing in market share in recent years.  The working group generally supports maintaining Blackboard for one additional year (2009/2010), to ease the transition to a new LMS.
  • There is still some interest in ANGEL.  ANGEL has been growing somewhat nationwide as Blackboard has been declining.  It was characterized by a faculty member of the group as a ‘better version of Bb’.  It is especially strong at supporting asssessment, which some faculty members of the group thought might be overkill, given current use of LMS by Purchase faculty, and it has a repository function that makes it easy to reuse files across courses.  Licensing costs would be about half what Blackboard would cost.
  • This is a fair amount of support among the group for Moodle, which has been the fastest growing LMS in recent years.  Moodle uses a different organizational structure than Blackboard or ANGEL, in that it has an explicit focus on assembling online learning activities and resources into an integrated sequence to support course learning goals.  That was seen as a strength for the LMS, but one that would require some getting used to by faculty in transitioning from Blackboard.  As an open source product, it is flexible and we would be able to add new features through the use of modules developed by various univerisities and colleges.  There would be no company to turn to for support (unless we contract with a Moodle hosting site), but there is an active development community to submit questions to.  There would be no licensing costs if we host Moodle ourselves.
  • There is no reason to keep electronic reserves as a standalone function, separate from the LMS, so ERes will eventually be discontinued.
  • We have a production server set up for Moodle, and several faculty have expressed interest in piloting courses on the server this spring so that we can gain familiarity with running Moodle on campus.
  • It would be useful to run some pilot courses with ANGEL this spring, but so far no faculty have stepped forward to volunteer.

Breaking Down Barriers

December 15th, 2008 No comments

Breaking Down Barriers an interdisciplinary virtual conference scheduled for the 19th through 30th of October, 2009.  (Plenty of lead time.)  This is a free online with a goal to promote connections among scholars across disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.  Organizers are looking for papers in any of the conference sub-themes: Paragidms, Borders, The Environment/Energy, Communication, and Justice/Human Rights.  The conference is not only online, but also features flexible scheduling: you can access the presentations and join in the discussion whenever works for your schedule during the time the conference is running.

For more details:

SUNY CIT – call for presentations

December 8th, 2008 Comments off

SUNY’s 18th annual Conference on Instructional Technologies (Engaging Minds: Innovative Teaching and Learning ) will be held May 19-22, 2009, at SUNY Oswego.  Conference organizers are inviting faculty, technologists, support staff, administrators, and librarians from all SUNY campuses to submit proposals for sessions at the upcoming conference.  The primary presenter for each session will receive a $100 FACT Scholarship to be applied toward their conference registration.

Talks at the upcoming conference will be organized into 6 tracks:

  • Active/Student Centered Learning – Engaging Students in the Classroom
  • Translating Teaching, Learning and Assessment Research into Practice
  • New Media Publishing Paradigms
  • Teaching and Learning in Innovative Spaces (Real & Virtual)
  • Discipline-specific Technologies
  • Personal Knowledge Management & User Created Content

There are also 6 different session formats: papers (30 minute presentations with Q&A and handouts); panels (75 minute sessions with coordinated presentations/discussion of multiple speakers); posters (traditional posters and/or demonstrations scheduled during a 3 hour session); birds of a feathers (75 minute sessions designed to stimulate discussion of problems and solutions); hands-on demos (75 minute sessions giving the participants the opportunity to work with the instructional technology presented); and workshops (3 hour sessions with a small group of participants developing their expertise in a specific area of instructional technology).  Sessions are to be characterized as introductory, intermediate or advanced.  The conference organizers are looking to increase the number of advanced sessions for the upcoming conference.

You may submit an abstract proposal using their online form .

For more information about the tracks: Read more…

Faculty survey – learning management system review

November 19th, 2008 Comments off

In October, faculty were asked to fill out an online survey to provide feedback on their use and experience with Blackboard and ERes, and to rate which features were most important to them in our selection of a Learning Management System.  We received responses from 73 faculty.

The most important LMS features on the faculty wishlist were: ability to distribute materials electronically; integration with library services; integration with the student information system (automatic course creation and enrollment); ability to manage course communications; and ability to link to external web sites.

Faculty who use Blackboard (60% of the respondents) primarily use Blackboard to provide materials to students: course documents; syllabus; assignments; announcements; and course info.  These are generally activities that don’t require much active engagement and participation by the students.

Blackboard likes included: announcements; document storage/delivery; not having to photocopy materials; easy to navigate / simple interface; available to students anywhere; discussion forums; gradebook; and "nothing to like about it".

Blackboard dislikes included: too static; clunky interface; too many clicks to do anything; enrolling students; entering grades; difficult to format and add forum posts; can’t upload multiple documents; cumbersome assignments and quizzes; doesn’t handle media files well; no blogs & wikis.

Blackboard wishes included: reuse courses easily; blogs & wikis; TurnItIn; more user-friendly discussion forums; merge Blackboard and ERes; quizzes with random questions from question bank; more integrated listserv, Blackboard, ERes functions; interface with ArtSTOR and EmbARK.

Fewer respondents use ERes (41%).  ERes likes included: ability to replace handouts; eliminating photocopying; services provided (scanning, quick response); ease of use.  ERes dislikes included: too many layers/steps to get to the documents; it is separate from Blackboard; some documents difficult to read.

The full responses to each of the survey questions are given below.

Read more…

2008 CUNY Instructional/Information Technology Conference

November 17th, 2008 Comments off

I’ve copied an announcement below about a free conference on instructional and information technology hosted by CUNY on December 5th.  A majority of the presentations involve the use of technology to support teaching and learning.  More details and (free) registration are at .

Here are some of the talk titles:

  • The CUNY Academic Commons
  • Study on the Use of Online and Blended Learning in Colleges and Universities in the New York City Metropolitan Area
  • Technology and the 24/7 Math Classroom
  • Powerful Paths to Learning: Open Source Tools for Curricular Change
  • A Closed Social Network for Teaching and Learning
  • Teaching and Learning with Rich Media: Podcasting and iTunes U
  • Adobe Presents ePortfolio and Online Blended Learning Solutions for Higher Education
  • Listening to Students: A Conversation about Online Teaching and Learning
  • Clickers Across CUNY
  • Assessment of Students’ Likeability of the “Clicker” and “Wiley Plus” Technologies in Organic Chemistry
  • New Directions in the Digital Humanities at CUNY
  • Latinas in History CD Rom and Website: An Innovative Approach to Teaching History
  • Engaging Faculty Through Class Capture and Tablet Computing
  • Computer Science Courses Using Second Life
  • Web-based Enhancements in Biology: Video Lectures and Online Office Hours
  • The Online Textbook
  • Web 2.0 – Tools of the Trade for Educators

And did I mention that the conference is free?

Read more…

IT Database Trial

October 23rd, 2008 No comments

The library has a trial for two databases from Faulkner Information Services.

FAITs — Faulkner Advisory for IT Studies (FAITs) is a one-of-a-kind technology reports library that was built especially to serve the needs and requirements of the academic community. Continually updated and fully searchable, contains hundreds of technology reports that are meticulously researched, plainly written, uniformly formatted, and easy to understand.

SMP Database – Security Management Practices (SMP) is an expert resource on the Web for learning about how to confront and manage organizational risk, plan for disruptions, deploy network security appliances, employ biometric technologies, safeguard intellectual property, establish security best practices, protect and train students, staff and much more.

Trial ends November 3, 2008 . Please take a look at them and let us know if you have any feedback.

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