This and That

The students are back! Ok, we knew that. I have a pretty good view out of my office window and get to witness a variety of it’s-a-new-semester behaviors. There are the freshman who are clearly still figuring out the neighborhood interspersed with “old timers” sauntering about. The occasional sprinter flits past, in a hurry to somewhere. Some students travel in gaggles while others stroll past in pairs or alone. Most are bedecked with some variety of gadgets and bags. Most seem either comfortable or, perhaps, expectant, or some blending between.

But lest you think I do nothing but stare out the window, I have put together a somewhat diverse list of resources (hence the “This and That”) for starting off the semester.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips
If grammar is your thing, both the web site and the accompanying podcast are made for you (or your students). The podcasts are brief and to the point and have written transcripts for each topic. Recent offerings have tackled the “serial comma kerfuffle” and “Portmanteaus.” Visit Grammar Girls’ website or download the audio podcast directly from iTunes.  (This one’s a regular on my iPod.)

Better Googling
Think you know all there is about search strategies? This ProfHacker post might surprise you. Also find links to Google resources on how to use little known features, as well as, lessons to adapt for students.

62 things you can do with Dropbox
If you’re a Dropbox fan or just considering it, you might want to skim over this article by MacWorld. Not sure what Dropbox is? Check out this video created by Commoncraft.

Using a Blog in an Independent Study
Whether you’ve been using blogs for a while or are new to them, this ProfHacker post offers useful tips on using blogs with students.

Learning Through Digital Media—Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy
If you’ve ever given even a passing thought about the hows and whys of using a social media tool like Twitter with your students, read David Parry”s article describing why he chose to use Twitter, it’s benefits and limitations, and how he uses it with his students.

Seven free iOS apps to help you out in the lab      iPad Photo
If you are inclined to include phrases such as restriction enzymes or molarity calculations in your conversation,  or if you have need of a PCR mastermix calculator you’ll definitely want to have a look at these apps.

Ins and Outs of Using Gadgetry
Want to know what the “half-press trick” is for your point-and-shoot camera, or the quickest ways to select text in Word? This article by tech writer David Pogue has answers to an assortment of basic tech-related questions.

InTech Loaner Equipment 
Need to borrow a camcorder for a class project? Check out the list of loaner equipment available from for Faculty, Staff, and students.

Know Your Copy Rights
Go here for a downloadable brochure that highlights “What You CAN Do” when it comes to using copyrighted materials in your class. Visit the InTech web pages for more copyright resources, including links for royalty-free images and video. Feel free to share this information with your students.

Summer Reading, Listening and Viewing

Thinking about a class wiki? Is a blog worth the time and effort? Maybe it’s the potential of video podcasting that has you intrigued. Collaborative learning, podcasting,virtual worlds, social media, web 2.0 and, yes, web 3.0—we’ve all heard the buzz. The level of interest it generates ranges from  “you’ve got to be kidding me” to  “huh” to  “Wow, you can do that?” Listed below is a collection of links, in no particular order, that touch on a variety of technology-related topics. See something you want to know more about? Let me know and I’ll make it the focus of a future post.

Disclaimer: The choice of resources below is not intended as an opinion or recommendation for any particular topic. Rather, they are there to inform, invite contemplation, perhaps inspire and, in some cases, entertain.McDStudents2

“The Power of Wikis in Higher Ed”
An interview with Stewart Mader by Linda L. Briggs
Campus Technology Magazine

“Educational Blogging”
An article by Stephen Downes
EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 14–26.

“Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre”
An article by Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine
EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 43, no. 6 (November/December 2008).

“How to Find What Clicks in the Classroom”
Commentary by Judith Tabron
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 54, Issue 29, Page A1.

“Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs! Oh, my! What is a Faculty Member Supposed to Do?”
An article by Patricia McGee and Veronica Diaz
EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 42, no. 5 (September/October 2007): 28–41.

“Going Beyond Classroom Clickers”
An interview with Derek Bruff by David Shieh
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 55, Issue 27, Page A13.

“How To: Learn and Practice Languages Using Social Media”
A blog post featuring a variety of online resources related to language learning by guest author Laure Gomez on

“Twitter Film Festival in Duke Film Studies Class”
A video interview with Professor Negar Mottahedeh by Jeffrey L. Cohen.
Hosted on Vimeo.

“Social Media and Education: The Conflict Between Technology and Institutional Education, and the Future”
Podcast of a presentation given by PhD candidate Sarah Robbins-Bell at the 2008 Educause conference in Orlando, FL. It’s a bit long at almost 50 minutes but worth the listen. (Yes, I am tossing out a thumbs up for this one.) Listen from your computer or download it to your iPod for that next long drive.

“How Web 3.0 Will Work”
by Jonathan Strickland, Jonathan on

Add iTunes U Podcasts to Blackboard

iTunes U (U for University) is a free service provided by Apple. Any computer that can run iTunes (available as a free download for both Mac and Windows) can access the wide variety of podcasts on iTunes U. Podcasts may be in PDF format, audio-only files, video or mixed media. You can easily incorporate links to podcasts into a Blackboard course with just a few clicks of the mouse.

What can you find on iTunes U?
Introduction to Modern Physics, Weekly Legal Writing Tips, Social and Emotional Learning, The Art of Annotation, What is Investment Banking, Poetry Everywhere, Classical Guitar Recitals, Art and Its Histories     . . . and much more

Who will you find on iTunes U?
Arizona State University, Boston University, Duke, MIT, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, American Theatre Wing, Brooklyn Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, PRI Public Radio International     . . . and many more

Find podcasts on iTunes U

  • Open iTunes and select iTunes Store from the column on the left (see screenshot below).
  • Select iTunes U from the list in the iTunes Store panel.
  • Browse featured podcasts, or search by Category or Provider. Check out the most sought after topics in the Top Downloads list on the right.
    iTunes Store panel

Add a podcast link to Blackboard

  • Click on the podcast that interests you to bring up the title area.
  • Right-click on the title and select Copy iTunes Store URL from the pop-up menu (see screenshot below).
  • Login to Blackboard and navigate to the area of your Blackboard class where you want the link to appear.
  • Press Control-V (Windows) or Command-V (Mac) to paste the URL.
    Get iTunes URL

When students click on the link, iTunes will open directly to the podcast page. Clicking on the Get button downloads individual podcasts to the computer. Students can then view (or listen, if audio only) to the podcast on the computer or transfer it to their iPod.

If the podcast is part of a series, students have the option to subscribe to the entire group. Any new podcasts are automatically downloaded when iTunes is opened. (Subscribing is not recommended on lab computers.)

Sample a podcast
Sample any podcast just by double-clicking its name in the podcast list. Listen to, or view, as much as you like without having to download or subscribe. Here are a few to get you started:

Poetry Everywhere
Mixed Media: Features animation and text

Video format

American Theatre Wing
Audio and Video podcasts available

Want to know more about accessing or using media from iTunes U? Contact Anita at ext. 2543 or email athier.