Archives for August 2008

Firefox 3-Blackboard Incompatibility

Students and instructors have reported problems uploading files into Blackboard using the Firefox 3 web browser. Specifically, when attempting to upload an attachment to an assignment, a javascript error message pops up: "Please enter a valid file", even when the file is valid. This issue only appears to occur in Firefox 3 on a Windows machine. Firefox 3 on a Mac or Linux system seems to work fine.
IT is working with Blackboard to develop a solution for this issue.
In the meantime, IT strongly recommends students and instructors use Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox 2 to upload attachments to assignments in Blackboard.
IT will send out a follow-up announcement when this issue has been resolved.

No Significant Difference

Thanks to the Web and the Internet (yes, they are two different–but related–entities), instructors can reach out and touch more students than ever before. However, one question must still be answered: "Does it make a difference?"
According to Thomas L. Russell, Director Emeritus of the Office of Telecommunications at North Carolina State University, it doesn’t. That is, the fact that we spend so much time and effort in delivering instruction at a distance is not having any real measurable difference on the quality of education compared to the traditional face-to-face instruction.
Russell has put together a web site that complements and adds to his book, The No Significant Difference Phenomenon.
Feel free to take a look around and see what Russell has to offer. You may agree or disagree with the studies he’s compiled.

Have questions about Office 2007?

Join EdTech for a brownbag lunch demo of the new features in Office 2007. Bring your own lunch and we’ll provide drinks and dessert.
What: Demo of the new features and tools in Office 2007
When: Friday, September 5, Noon – 1 p.m.
Where: Missouri/Ozark room in the Havener Center
What will be covered in the demo?
• Overview of the new Office 2007 ribbon menu layout
• Program-by-program review of new tools and features
• How to print and save documents
• Compatibility issues and how to maintain compatibility with older programs and documents
• Opportunity to ask any questions you may have
To register, visit http://ittraining.mst.edu and sign up through the events calendar in the sidebar. This training opportunity is limited to the first 50 registrants.
If you’ve never used Office before and would like to learn, visit our Office 2007 resource site for information about Office 2007 training resources.
For more information, call the IT Help Desk at 573-341-HELP (4357).

Missouri S&T now affiliated with TLT Group

logo-TLTGroup.gifMissouri University of Science and Technology is now affiliated with The TLT Group, a non-profit organization that specializes in helping universities and other organizations with implementing technology in teaching and learning environments. The TLT Group is currently affiliated with about 140 institutions and agencies around the world. Much of the content they have developed has been with collaboration with these institutions. It would be great if Missouri S&T, in pursuit of the goal of becoming a leading institution of the United States, could also become a significant contributor.
The TLT Group has a wealth of resources for educators and also for those of us in Educational Technology whose job it is to help educators. Here are just a few of the resources that are available to us as a subscribing institution:
Flashlight Online Program — This is a web-based survey application that allows you to administer survey questions that are developed collaboratively by you and your peers at other institutions. You can tailor surveys towards a particular audience and even include conditional questions based on certain responses. Dr. Steve Ehrmann, a member of the TLT Group briefly demonstrated the Flashlight Online survey tool to the EdTech group the other day and what we saw was pretty impressive and didn’t look that difficult to use. We will need some initial training on how to use the survey tool (and we’ll need some admin/user accounts for our campus). Hopefully, we can take care of the training and piloting of this tool during the Fall semester.
One of the more interesting aspects of Flashlight Online is the capability for creating matrix surveys. A matrix survey builds questions in a two dimensional array such that the question pools are arranged in columns and the respondent pools are arranged in rows.
Strategies for Faculty Support and Professional Development — This includes diverse strategies such as Brief Hybrid Workshops, TLT Case Studies, Student Technology Assistant Programs, Compassionate Pioneering, and Personalizing Pedagogies. Explore the link for more detailed descriptions of these strategies. Many of the resources are free, but some may require you to pay a fee or may require institutional access (i.e. we have to get the resource as an institution and not as an individual user–EdTech will work with The TLT Group to obtain these resources).
Articles on Planning: Vision & Strategies — A variety of online articles about how technology can be used to change (and hopefully improve) college-level education, among other things. Again, explore the link and see what captures your fancy.
For an example of just what TLT has to offer, here is a YouTube video from Dr. Steve Ehrmann, Vice President of The TLT Group, introducing Three Dimensions of Improvement. Dr. Steve Ehrmann will be the opening keynote speaker at our second annual TLT Conference scheduled for April 9 – 10, 2009 (we are looking for other presenters!).

Go to YouTube to see more videos about or produced by The TLT Group.

Office 2007: Now Available at Missouri S&T


Office 2007 is now available for download on university-owned computers by calling the IT Help Desk at 573-341-HELP. This video, produced by Microsoft, showcases the benefits of the Office upgrade and touches on the basics of the new interface. The video is about six minutes long. If you’re not sure about the new software, this is a great place to start. Microsoft also has some good Office 2007 tutorials here.
Note: This video may require Windows to play.