Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Add RSS feeds to Firefox

The web browser Firefox can be an information hub. I've just posted a Flash movie (created in Wink) to demonstrate the Bookmark Toolbar for one-click access to web sites and displaying headlines from a blog or RSS feed (like this one).

BTW: Wink can help you create great tours and demonstrations for your classes. Watch for a Wink workshop next semester.

Microsoft Office 2007 New File Formats & Bb

Pay attention to your document file extensions! DOC becomes DOCX, PPT to PPTX and XLS to XLSX

Macintosh Office 2004 users will need either a converter or an alternative application until Office 2008 is released:
Be sure to define what file formats your students should use when submitting assignments via email or from within Blackboard.

Blackboard Corporate post on 6/5/2007

Microsoft Office 2007 (for Windows) introduces a new file format for Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint files. The new file format is XML-based and automatically compresses when saved and decompresses when opened using zip compression technology. New file name extensions are included with these new file formats. As a result, Microsoft Office Word files which were appended with .doc are now, in general, appended with .docx. There are also further file formats that represent templates and, for security reasons, clearly identify files that rely on Visual Basic macros. For the most part, users will be working with the .docx extension.

The new file name extensions are not recognized as supported MIME types in the Blackboard Academic Suite. As a result of the unrecognized file name extension and the use of zip compression technology, Microsoft Office 2007 files that are uploaded to the Blackboard Academic Suite appear with a .ZIP file name extension instead of the appropriate Microsoft Office 2007 file name extension.

LRCCD is testing a MIME update on the Bb server (July 2007) before Fall 2007 classes begin.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lost Data from June 19th

Regarding data that was lost on June 19th, please see the following message from District IT staff about a way to view any work that was lost.

------ Forwarded Message
From: "Bowles, Steve" <BOWLESS@losrios.edu>
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 09:16:49 -0700
Conversation: Data from June 19th
Subject: Data from June 19th

As you all know, the June 19, 2007 problems with Blackboard required the database to be restored back to approximately midnight June 18th. Student and faculty work from midnight to approximately 2 pm is therefore missing from the current production Blackboard system.

We have now restored (on a separate server) the backup that was taken just prior (~2 pm) to bringing the system down for the restore. This separate Blackboard site is now available if you need to see and/or grade any work that students did on that day. We expect that each instructor will have a different approach to addressing the problem, based on what assignments, tests, discussion board entries, course content, etc, were added that day. We are asking that you contact the Help Desk (916-568-3012) if you desire access to this point-in-time database.

A few cautions:

·       This database is not intended for student use – only Summer faculty access.

·       No updates to this database will be saved – it is only for you to view student work.

·       If you view and grade work, those grades will need to be separately entered into the current production system.

·       Student work cannot be extracted and brought back into the current production database (with some exceptions described below).

·       Discussion board entries and test/assessment data can only be viewed, not brought back (since the current production database has additional entries after the system was restored.

·       Assignments turned in as attachments (Word, Excel, etc.) could be saved to your local PC and then uploaded to the current production Blackboard system.

·       Any content items that you added to your site on June 19th can also be saved to your local PC and then uploaded to the current production Blackboard system and linked appropriately.

·       In the case of partially completed tests/quizzes, you will need to determine how to handle the student’s situation (grade the partial portion, allow student to retake the assessment, throw out that quiz/test, etc.)

·       Course archives from this database (with the intent of restoring to production) are not expected, since your current course has additions and updates June 18th. However, if you feel you need a course archived from this 6/19/07 point-in-time database, please contact your College Blackboard Administrator.

·       The server that holds this 6/19 copy is very small and cannot support many simultaneous users. If you request access to view student work, please limit your time on the system to what you need.

·       We are planning to keep this database available for only a short time (approximately one week) to allow Summer Faculty access.

·       Remember that this is only to address the problem of lost data for June 19th summer classes due to the restore. We are currently working to resolve the other problem of lost content in courses (both Summer and Fall) that occurred before the start of the Summer session.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please contact the Help Desk. We hope this helps minimize the impact of the June 19th problems and we appreciate your understanding,

Steve Bowles

Director, IT Production Services

Information Technology Department

Los Rios Community College District

(916) 568-3161


"More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them."

- Harold J. Smith

------ End of Forwarded Message