The University of St. Thomas

Manage Emails on iDevices

Published on: Monday, July 28th, 2014

I have an gmail account, hotmail account and of course, work email from outlook. In iPad/iPhone, the built-in email client can only have access to one outlook account. In order to have both my work outlook and then hotmail, I created an account for my work outlook, and set the automatic forwarding of messages in hotmail to my gmail account and then created a gmail account in iPad/iPhone. After a while, I decided not to forward mails because I want to keep email accounts seperate. This means I have one more email account to log in and check. Recently I discovered a mail program called CloudMagic. I set this to point to my hotmail account, so now I have access to all three emails on my iPhone/iPad. CloudMagic also works for other mboile devices.

The Impact of New Technology

Published on: Friday, July 25th, 2014

The appearance of new technology such as smart watches now on the market from Samsung and other producers has implications for a lot of places. For instance in courtrooms: now if you go into courtrooms, the bailiffs will loudly announce that no electronic devices will be allowed or should be turned off. They usually will add: if your iPhone buzzes in the courtroom, it will be confiscated! However, with the smart watch, how can that be turned off? If you do not turn it off, you can arrange it to alert you when email arrives in your mailbox, and do other online stuff.

Take for another example: in classroom, if professors do not allow internet connection during class or exam, do you ask the students to leave your watch at the door?

2014 Clean Up Day Handouts

Published on: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Kelly and I just finished the handouts for the July 23rd Cleanup day. It is linked here.

Video conferences tools, which one to use?

Published on: Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

When it comes to video conferencing tools, we have many to choose from depending on the need and the level of comfort with any particular tools. I am listing a few below:

1. Skype is probably the most used online video tool. My problem with it is that it is not always reliable, especially the video connection. Lagging video and voice hobbles critical conversation. But many people use it and know how to use it.
2. GoToMeeting by Citrix is a good option. You can talk free with only three people for free and do not even have to register. I have a pro one which allows 100 people in one conference. Will be useful for online class.
3. WEbEx: it is comparable with GoToMeeting. Either of these tools will work for online class.
4. Google+ Hangout: I actually prefer this than Skype, but the interface is not familiar to a lot of people and you have to have Google Account.
5. ooVoo: at http://www.oovoo.com/home.aspx. It integrates with Facebook and the pro version is cheap. Great video quality. 12 people can chat, but I find if more than 4 people in one chat, the video lags.
6. Meetings.io: up to five people can chat at one time. It is comparable with ooVoo.
7. For video conference with China, the best video conference tool is QQ. The video quality beats Skype. Wonder what causes that. Might be that Chinese government is blocking Skype or reducing the bandwidth for it?
8. For mobile video, Fring is worth checking out.
9. For communicating with China and mobile, WeChat is an app to beat. Almost all my acquaintances use it. You can group chat and video call your contacts, all for a prize of free.
10: Vidyo: This is an excellent online video conferencing tool. You can request a free trial, but no free account. I just recently tested the video with another University where our faculty member is going to talk to the audience remotely. I love the clean look.
11: For real reliability and quality, we use Tangberg System. It is an ip based video conference system. We use it for online class.

Sync OneNote between different devices

Published on: Monday, June 23rd, 2014

I just came back from attending Computers Assisted Legal Instructions Conference and used the sync feature of OneNote which worked greatly for me. So I am going to offer my experience in using the program and hope that this will benefit others.

Polls have shown that more and more students are now using OneNote to organize their class notes or other notes. I have found OneNote the best organizing app all around. You create folders and then under each folder, you add pages. It replicates the paper days perfectly and more. OneNote not only keeps textual notes, but also creates and holds audio and visual clips and you can annotate the texts. The versatility makes it almost indispensable. With the sync feature, you can use any devices you have and they all share the same contents. For instance, I used my iPad to make notes while I was attending the conference, and now I am back, the notes are synced so I can pull them up on my PC for editing before I produce them for my boss and other staff.

Here is how:

1. Create the notebook
2. Point to the notebook within OneNote.
3. Make sure when you create new sections or pages, you sync the contents from the device you are recording the notes.
4. From another device, check to see if sync has been performed on that device. If not, sync them. Now all devices will access the same content. No additional tweaking.

Mobile App for St. Thomas students

Published on: Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The following announcement comes from IRT:

UST’s new Mobile App is now available through iTunes for Apple iOS and Google Play for Android devices. The App was developed in partnership with University Student Government and UST departments to provide current students with information about their class schedule, grades, campus events, maps, dining services locations and menus, library resources, and the shuttle schedule. To access the App, download the Ellucian Go app for your particular device. Select “University of St. Thomas (MN)” from the list of schools. Once selected, the UST page will appear anytime you open the Ellucian Go icon. More information is available on the mobile app website.

This first release represents a combination of top requests from students. Future releases will enhance functionality for current students and increase options for potential students and alumni.

PowerPoint Templates

Published on: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

I was asked to explore PowerPoint Templates to be used by the community and it surprised me that no easy ways exist to use a template. They all involve various steps, and the multiple clicks to install one might deter a regular user from adopting the common template.

First, to create template is easy enough. You can save any presentation as template. But to use the template is not that straight forward or obvious to regular users.

To use the template, you have to put it in the folder where the PowerPoint will look for existing templates. Normally, that folder is under C:\Users\XXXXXXXXX\Documents\Custom Office Templates where XXXXXXX is the username. So this process involves drag and drop or copy and paste into that folder. Once the template is placed in that folder, the user can now open PowerPoint and then Click on the Personal, not the Featured templates to create a new presentation. That option is presented when the user first starts PowerPoint,but can evade the user’s attention easily. It is called Personal which can be interpreted in any number of ways. Customized Templates is a better name than Personal.

The other way is to create or modify a slide master under View in PowerPoint. Once a slide master is created or modified, it is available under Insert New Slides under Home. A new Slide Master can be created anew, and you can even name it with a customized name so you can find it under Insert New Slides. But you can not change the order of display. The customized Slide Master always comes under the default one called Essential. So it takes scrolling of the bar to see it.

The best way would be to import a master slide, which is non-existent yet. That then means you can export a Slide Master, which also is non-existent. So for now the process to use a slide master is either to create one within the application, or use a template as described above. Either way, the process is cumbersome for ordinary users.

Adobe Portfolio

Published on: Monday, May 19th, 2014

I am playing with the Adobe Portfolio feature under Acrobat Professional and it occurred to me that this can be very helpful either for research or for trial. For research, you can collect all the resources you have collected into this one portfolio and then you can search across through all the documents. The documents do not have to be in pdf; word file will do. you can also add images to the portfolio.

For trial, you can think of the portfolio as the big fat suitcase that attorneys lug to their trials. Here you basically compile all the materials into one portfolio and then you can decide how you are going to organize the portfolio, in thumbnail view, list view, revolve view, etc… And you can search through all the documents within that portfolio. This searching beats the leafing through all trial documents when you need it.

The way to create an adobe portfolio is straight forward enough. Start Adobe Acrobat Professional; under file, choose Create Portfolio. Add documents into the big box and customize the look, color and other features,and hit publish. Job done.

For our students, the law library has one licensed copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional on the computer in the computer lab, on second floor. It is the first computer on the left when you enter the computer lab. If you are interested to give this feature a try or when you need to create a portfolio, give us a call or email.

Business Card management

Published on: Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

This article explains how you can use Evernote to better manage business cards, worth a reading or trying if you have not done so. Useful things such as note, or correspondence, and then the location of that contact can come handy.

Online Education Technology Part 1

Published on: Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

I am helping a faculty member to start the first step in creating an online course: the recording of PowerPoint narration and upload it into Blackboard. The PowerPoint has animations and the voice over needs to be synced with the animation. The insert audio function within PowerPoint does not work with animation. The best tool I discovered is Adobe Presenter, among others. We have license to the program and we use it.

The recording of audio is straight forward. The hard part is publishing and then uploading. In publishing, we have many options to choose, including how the video will be presented, outlines, notes, presenter info, whether the interface can be tweaked by the viewer, etc. And then the important step is “as a zip pacage”. The reason for this choice is that the uploading will be much simpler.

After the presentation has been published as a zip package, uploading to Blackboard starts. This is a two-step process:
1. Upload the zip into the Files for the course in Blackboard and choose Upload Package not Upload Files. You might want to create a folder first so when the zip file is automatically unpacked, all files will reside in this folder.
2. After the zip file is uploaded, all files within the zip will be unpacked. Now go back to a course content folder and create a file. Browse to the course file you just uploaded and point to index.htm file. This file will start the video. An option will appear asking you whether to give permission to all files in the folder. Answer yes so the video will play.

Done. For specific steps, check out this snstruction

Further questions to probe: how to upload the quiz created in Adobe Presenter as a SCORM object so it can be integrated with Blackboard testing.