April 20, 2011
Tech Update Redesign
As you might have noticed, the IRT Technology Update has undergone an HTML redesign for improved readability and accessibility. We hope that this redesign will enhance your reading experience! And as always, if you prefer to read the Tech Update outside of your email client, it is archived on IRT’s Web site at the link above. The most current Tech Update issue is always posted to the Web in conjunction with the electronic distribution, and older issues are available for your perusal.
Should I Upgrade to Internet Explorer 9?
On March 14, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) to the public. The new version of the browser offers many new features, including support for HTML5, increased speed, and new pinning functionality. However, IE 9 is NOT certified for use with Drexel's Enterprise systems, Webmail, or other online services. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that users refrain from upgrading to the new version at this time.
Please note that IE 9 is not compatible with Windows XP machines.
If you have already upgraded to IE 9, you can uninstall it and revert to a previous version. Microsoft offers step-by-step instructions for installing and uninstalling IE 9.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the IRT Help Desk at email@example.com or 215-895-2020.
Connecting to the Domain with AnyConnect VPN
Users of the old Cisco VPN client (http://software.drexel.edu) can switch to Cisco AnyConnect (http://vpn.drexel.edu).
To use AnyConnect, log in with your Drexel credentials at http://vpn.drexel.edu. Then, click “Start AnyConnect” to begin the automated installation process. If you are having trouble with the automated process and would like to manually download the AnyConnect installer package, or for more information about AnyConnect and WebVPN, visit the VPN FAQ on IRT’s Web site.
In addition to providing a more secure and robust connection to Drexel’s domain, AnyConnect offers WebVPN, a service that allows users to view some internal Drexel sites, open Remote Desktop sessions, and browse shared files without installing the AnyConnect client. WebVPN is especially useful for public computers, or computers where users cannot install software.
More features will become available as updates are made to the software and hardware behind AnyConnect.
New Organization of the Korman Center Help Desk
Some changes have been made to the Korman Center’s Help Desk layout in order to provide better walk-in support to students, faculty, and staff. Instead of using one main desk, IRT has split the Help Desk area into “stations.” If you need computer help, you should first check in at the desk closest to the doorway of the computing cluster. You will then be directed to an open station where an IRT staff member will assist you.
Media:scape Collaboration Table Now on Demo
IRT will be demoing media:scape, a new collaboration table. The media:scape’s table setup allows for up to six devices to display their screens on one large flat-screen via VGA connections. Rather than turning computers around or hunching around one small computer screen, anyone sitting at the table can send their screen to the large flat-screen for all to see.
The table is currently installed at the Instructional Technology Center (ITC), which is located in room 109 of the Korman Computing Center. Faculty members are encouraged to stop by and try out this new technology while it is on demo. The table will be piloted for the next 3 weeks.
More information about this technology can be found at the Steelcase website.
Free Document Collaboration Tool
Google Cloud Connect is a free application that facilitates collaboration on Microsoft Office documents. With this application, you and your peers can share and simultaneously edit documents in Office applications. Documents can be edited online or offline; every time you sync with Google Cloud Connect, your edited document(s) are updated and include a revision history for easy roll-back if necessary.
Google Cloud Connect is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7, and Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. You will need a Google account to use this application; however, you do not need to set up a Google email account. See Google’s accounts page to set one up.
NOTE: IRT does not provide technical support for this application.
Connect SharePoint Calendars with Outlook
If you regularly use a calendar on your SharePoint site, you can connect it to your calendar in Outlook. Events in your SharePoint calendar will then be overlayed on, or displayed side-by-side, with your events in Outlook.
To connect your calendars, follow these steps:
- In SharePoint, navigate to the calendar you wish to connect to Outlook.
- Click the “Actions” button in the calendar toolbar and choose "Connect to Outlook."
- If you receive any prompts, click "Allow" or "Yes."
Both calendars will now appear side-by-side in Outlook. For an overlay view, simply click the left-facing arrow on the SharePoint calendar tab. You can add any number of calendars from multiple SharePoint sites; each one will be updated automatically when you access it.
For more information on calendar options in SharePoint, click here.
Handy Shortcuts in Windows
There are many handy keyboard shortcuts in Windows that you can use to streamline your activities. The following are a few of the shortcuts that Windows offers:
Ease of Access Shortcuts
Windows logo key + U (Open the Ease of Access Center)
Left Alt + Left Shift + PrintScreen (or Prnt Scrn) (Turn High Contrast on or off)
Shift five times (Turn Sticky Keys on or off)
Click here for more keyboard shortcuts for Windows.
Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Office
Below you will find a variety of tips and tricks when using Microsoft Office applications.
Identify Duplicate Values in Excel 2007
In Excel 2007, you can easily highlight duplicate values with conditional formatting:
- Open the Excel spreadsheet in which you want to identify duplicates.
- To identify duplicate values within a particular column(s) of the spreadsheet, select the column(s).
- On the “Home” tab of the Ribbon, in the Styles section, click “Conditional Formatting” > “Highlight Cells Rules” > “Duplicate Values.” Pairs of duplicates will be highlighted; you can then choose which of each pair to delete.
Smarter Navigation in Word
You might already know that in Word, the up-and-down double arrows below the vertical scroll bar will page up and down through an open document. But did you know that you can use the “Select Browse Object” button (the little dot) below the vertical scroll bar to change the function of the double-arrow buttons and the “Ctrl” + “Page Up” and “Ctrl” + “Page Down” keyboard shortcuts? You can, for example, choose to browse by heading, meaning that the buttons will automatically move the cursor up or down to the next heading. Other choices include browsing by footnote, endnote, comment, graphic, or table.
Moving Drawing Objects in PowerPoint
You can use the mouse to move drawing objects (text boxes, shapes, WordArt, and graphics) in PowerPoint, or you can use the keyboard. To move objects using the keyboard:
- Select the drawing object you want to move.
- Press the up, down, left, or right arrow key to move the object in that direction by one large increment.
- If you want to move the object by small increments (“nudge it”), press “Ctrl” + an arrow key. Your object will only move about one-tenth as far, allowing you to position it just where you want it.
News & Notes from the Online Learning Team
Time for Some Spring Cleaning in Bb Vista!
Are your spring courses difficult to find on your Bb Vista Home course list? You can hide previous courses and/or move your fall courses to the top of the list in the “Edit Course List” screen. Here’s how:
- Click on “Edit Course List” (looks like a pencil icon) on your Bb Vista Home page.
- Any course with a “Hide Link” button next to it is currently showing; to hide it, toggle the button to “Show Link.”
If you would like to hide a number of courses at once:
- Place a checkmark in the boxes to the left of the course names.
- Click the “Hide” button at the bottom of the screen.
- Click “OK.”
To move one or more courses up or down in the list:
- Place a checkmark in the box(es) to the left of the course name(s).
- Click on the left-most icon in the row above or below which you would like to move the course(s).
- Click on “Move Selected Above” or “Move Selected Below.”
To return to Bb Vista Home, click on the “Bb Vista Home” tab in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
Manage your Bb Vista Course Files for Easier Migration to Learn 9
During the summer of 2012, Drexel will transition from Bb Vista to Learn 9, the newest Learning Management System (LMS) from Blackboard.
When you update your Bb Vista courses for upcoming terms, the Online Learning Team recommends that you weed out duplicate and unused files from each course's File Manager; you should then create a meaningful folder structure to organize the remaining files in the File Manager (similar to the way you organize files on your computer). This will allow you to zip your course files and save them to an external storage device, thus simplifying the course migration process to Learn 9 in 2012.
To access the File Manager, ensure that you are on the “Build” tab and click on “File Manager” under “Designer Tools” in the lower left. You can organize your File Manager the same way you organized your course—by week, module, topic, lecture, activity, materials, etc. For example, if you organized your course by week, create folders in the File Manager labeled Week01, Week02, Week03, and so on. If you organized your course by module, create folders in the File Manager labeled Module01, Module02, Module03, and so on. You might also want to create a “Miscellaneous” or “Supplementary_Materials” folder.
Best practice: Avoid using spaces in file names. Enter the file name using title case (MyFile01), or utilize underscores (file_01) or hyphens (file-01). Also, when numbering files, enter a leading zero in front of single-digit numbers to ensure that files are sorted in the correct order (i.e., Lecture01 instead of Lecture1).
Once you have created folders, you can move your files into the appropriate folder. To move one or more files, place a checkmark next to the file(s) you want to move. Next, click the "Move" button at the bottom of the page. In the "Browse for Location" box that appears, navigate to the desired folder (as indicated by the "Your location" breadcrumbs at the top of the screen), and click the "OK" button to move the file(s).
Not all files have to be placed in a folder; some important files can reside in the root directory of the File Manager such as your syllabus, photo, and a few other "uncategorized" files.
Generally, when files are moved into a folder, most of the links to those files within the course content areas will remain intact. However, if you have HTML files that contain links to other course files (i.e., relative links), you might need to recreate the links after moving the referenced files.
If you encounter any problems, contact the Online Learning Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-895-1224.
Tips and Tricks for Bb Vista
Below you will find a variety of tips and tricks when using Bb Vista.
Renaming Document Links in Bb Vista
Before uploading files to Bb Vista, you should give them meaningful, explanatory names (e.g., “EDG206 Fall 2010 syllabus final,” or “Bloom’s Taxonomy Handout 8-1-2010”). You might, however, realize that the name of a document you uploaded previously is confusing or contains more or less information than your students need. You can change how the filename appears by following these steps:
- Choose “Customize Link” from the item’s drop-down (ActionLinks) menu.
- Edit the custom title and enter a description for the link that will be meaningful to your students.
- Save your changes.
Note that this will change the name of the link on the content page, but not the name of the original file in the File Manager. For example, if you remove the date from your link to “Bloom’s Taxonomy Handout,” the full file name will still be visible to you in the “Class Files” area of the File Manager.
Special Characters in Bb Vista
The following special characters are not supported in Bb Vista:
/ \ "
Additionally, a file or folder name cannot end with a period.
The following special characters have also been found to be problematic in Bb Vista:
< > :
If you use any of these special characters in the name of an item in Bb Vista, including files, folders, and content links, you will most likely receive an error message. However, even if you do not receive an error message, a special character might cause the item to function improperly.
It is also a good idea to avoid using the following special characters when naming files and folders:
! # ^ + ? [ ] & % , ‘
Sign Up for OLT Workshops
The Online Learning Team conducts training sessions on Blackboard (Bb) Vista, Camtasia, DragonDrop, Dreamweaver, Mac OS X, Respondus, SharePoint, and Wimba Classroom. In addition, several brown bag lunches and workshops on technology products of interest (Microsoft Windows 7, Office 2010, PowerPoint, Turnitin, GIMP, Audacity, etc.) are held each month. These training sessions are open to members of Drexel’s community as well as the general public.
To reserve a spot at any of these workshops, email us at email@example.com with your name, institution (if other than Drexel), contact information, and the name of the workshop(s) you would like to attend.
Below is a sampling of workshops taking place in April and May:
Bb Vista Full Day Workshop
Wednesday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Show Us Your Apps
Thursday, April 28, noon – 1:30 p.m.
Moving to One Learning Management System: Migrating to Blackboard Learn at Drexel
Thursday, May 12, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
DragonDrop Basic Training
Wednesday, May 18, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Visit our Web site for our complete training schedule and workshop descriptions. Unless otherwise noted, all training sessions will be held in room 116 of the Korman Center (off the Quad on Drexel’s Main Campus, 33rd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets).