Category Archives: collaborative learning

Blackboard, on the iPhone

Following directly on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that PubMed has made a ihone application, today Blackboard released their highly rumored and much anticipated application for the iPhone.

While it won’t let students do any of the important course content, it will let them check assignments and send each other messages.

I’m sure course content will follow.

The service currently works on UW Tacoma’s server but IT Services are looking in to whether the security risk posed by storing credentials is worth the mobility provided.

I’ll make a blog about it when we have a definitive answer. For now, if you want to download it and mess around, go to the iTunes App store and search for Blackboard learn.



Filed under collaborative learning, iPod touch/iPhone and Higher Ed, Technology Pulse

Back to Business

Jeeze, I just notice that it’s been almost a month since my last LIT blog. Well, I’ve been busy! I’ve been working on the Phase 3/4 planning, ordering staff computers (which took way longer than expected because of the  local interpretation of the Governor’s directive), upgrading student computers, overseeing the Pharos Printer changeover, changing the public computers into student/1 hour logon computers, building our LAMP server and shepherding the Learning Cave project.


See, that’s why there hasn’t been a blog!

But that’s about to change. I’m going to start using the blog to disseminate some information about some of the changes as they come out. Specifically, coming up will be a blog about the LIT Tours, the Pharos changes, the Learning Cave, the new Library web site, the new student/1 hour logon computers, and any public info about the Phase 3/4 planning that I need to tell you about.


So, stay tuned and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

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Filed under Building planning, collaborative learning, Learning Cave, problems, Strategic Planning, Technology Pulse

Computing in the cloud at the UW

As many of you know, I’ve been experimenting with gmail and related applications using my UW account now for about 6 months. Just moving my email over has has a profoundly positive effect on where and when I can work, how much work I can get done, and the ease of organizing, searching, and finding my email.

And all I did was forward my mail.

Now it turns out that the University of Washington, is almost certainly, maybe, going to be doing some small scale experiments with both Google and Microsoft’s Exchange labs. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.

Let’s start with some background on the way things have evolved around this issue. I spoke on the phone with Scott Barker who’s on the team negotiating with Google and Microsoft on securing these licensing agreements and he filled me in quite a bit.

In some ways, this change has been a few years in the making, starting back when President Emmert sent a letter to the then University Computing people asking them to implement an exchange server. Turns out the President wanted some software that would integrate his calendar, email, contacts and so on and it needed to be compatible with his handheld devices. So… they made him an Exchange Server and as of this summer, another 1000 or so staff will join that Exchange Server group bringing them up to 3000 staff and faculty. This is no small thing! Whole units are abandoning Oracle calendar and PC-PINE — services that have been with us for quite some time and going toward collaborative, integrated services that make work life easier.

Enter the alumni association and other forward thinking people. If Exchange server is a great networking business tool, cloud computing (in some ways) makes Exchange look like HTML 1.0.

Turns out the UW Alumni association have had an agreement with Microsoft Exchange Labs to manage their email accounts now for 6 months. And it turns out that the UW at large will have an agreement of some sort with both Google and Microsoft to handle at least some student accounts in their respective clouds.  These units are starting the great experiment to answer the question: can a place that has so many state and federal rules really live and work in the cloud?

Of course there are issues. FERPA, HIPAA, discovery issues, privacy, and many many more, but as Scott explained, that’s what these agreements are supposed to do: offer us (the University) some protections in these areas. It remains to be seen how much and how they will offer them but that’s what the negotiations are about. This isn’t about whether the University will be doing this, this is about how much, how fast, and in what way.

For staff here in Tacoma who are worried about this change or the Exchange server “mandate” from President Emmert, you needn’t be: at this point the UW Tacoma is not adopting either system. I was told by Forrest Tyree that the Exchange Server is not happening any time soon on this campus.  And the next steps for the Could Computing people are for Scott’s committee to meet with computing directors (Charles Lord is one of those people) and start the process of implementing the changes. From there we’ll have the endless meetings, the trainings.. you know: business as normal for change.

Still, a guy can get excited, right?

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Filed under Cloud computing, collaborative learning

Learning cave mid-summer meeting

The learning cave folks (me, Beckie, and Erica) met this morning with Don and Tessa to talk about furniture and other issues that we’ve been working on.

Tessa showed us the proposed KI “Torsion on the Go!” chair that the University is putting in classrooms and we need to show them to the library staff. She also showed us some alternatives to the Torsion chair.

Erica gave an update on the work with the library staff; Serin is working on moving the maps and Anna is interested in what’s going to happen to the two displays (the bulletin board and the display case.) Erica also quickly consulted with Tessa and Suzanne about the size of the wall and we settled on no more than 78″ from the south wall with an “L” shape needed for stability.

I reported on where I am with ordering technology (coming in under budget so far). Three items have been ordered with just the HDTV actually fully received. I’ll also be contacting Joe and computer services to get a quick consultation on their installation costs (if any).

Don agreed to put in the work order for the accent wall.

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Filed under Building planning, collaborative learning, Learning Cave