Technology Update - September 30, 2011
Table of Contents
How to Get New Operating Systems for PC and Mac:
Lion for Mac
Recently, Apple released a new Mac OS X upgrade: Lion. This upgrade is exclusively available via the App Store for about $30—no physical media has been released for Lion. Not sure if you're ready to upgrade? Here are a few of the more than 250 changes/new features included in Lion:
Documents in word processing software are now "versioned" by the software. You can scroll through these versions, copy and paste between them, and more.
The "AirDrop" feature allows you to share files with other Mac users by simply dragging and dropping them onto the icon for a nearby user. A dialog box appears on the recipient’s screen, asking him/her to accept or decline the file. Transfers are encrypted and sent over the network.
In Apple Mail, a new feature called "conversations" will display in a timeline all of the replies to a message thread, making it easier to see who responded to which message.
If you have multiple computers, you only need to purchase Lion once—one copy can be authorized for each of your computers. The purchase is associated with your Apple ID and owned by that account.
NOTE: Power PC applications might not be compatible with Lion. Be sure to check whether or not your software is compatible before you upgrade.
Purchase or Upgrade to Windows 7
Did you know that users who purchased their own computers and hold an individual license key for Windows can buy a Windows 7 Professional upgrade directly from Microsoft's Web site? For more information,
Before purchasing the upgrade, however, note that you MUST have Windows XP or Vista on the machine prior to upgrading. If you do not have Windows XP or Vista on the machine, you will need to purchase the full Windows 7 operating system.
Depending on the version of Windows you're currently running, installing Windows 7 on your PC may be a lengthy process. Before you buy or install Windows 7 on your PC, run the
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
to make sure your PC can run Windows 7. If you are staff or faculty with a Drexel-owned computer, you should contact the IRT Help Desk first ( firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-895-2020).
Check Out Drexel's New SharePoint 2010 Service
IRT upgraded from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 this past summer; users now have access to a new, streamlined and enhanced set of SharePoint services. The new SharePoint contains a robust search applet and an Advanced Search to help you find whatever document, list, library, or item you're looking for in SharePoint. You will also find easy-access links to each of the general site categories that exist within the new SharePoint, as well as a new Enterprise Wiki, which contains useful information on creating and building your SharePoint sites.
You can access the new service via a new, shortened URL:
. The old address will redirect you to the new site for a limited time only, so be sure to update your bookmarks!
News and Notes from the Online Learning Team
New in Turnitin: Automatic Feedback with ETS "e-rater" Technology
"E-rater" technology, developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), has been integrated into Turnitin's GradeMark feature. Although it is still in beta testing, this technology provides instructors with an additional layer of feedback by giving them automatic diagnostic feedback on grammar, usage, mechanics, style, and spelling. Instructors can use this feedback to free themselves from time-consuming and repetitive grading tasks, and instead focus on the substantive feedback that will help their students improve their writing.
GradeMark feedback with e-rater marks can be layered with Turnitin's other integrated writing tools, OriginalityCheck and PeerMark. The e-rater tab now appears along with the QuickMark, comments, and rubric tabs in the bottom right-hand corner of the multi-layer interface.
To enable e-rater grammar check for a new or existing assignment:
For a new assignment: After entering the title of the assignment and the point value, scroll down and click "more options."
For an existing assignment: Click on the "edit assignment" tab, then scroll down and click "more options."
Under "e-rater Grammar Check settings," click "yes" to enable e-rater.
Select additional e-rater options, then click "submit" at the bottom of the screen.
E-rater comments, which look like purple QuickMark bubbles, can be deleted individually if they are applied incorrectly or inappropriately. Since it is still in beta, e-rater's features might not be fully functional. If you are unhappy with the results, you can click the "edit assignment" tab to disable the e-rater feature.
For more information, see the recent
Turnitin press release
Save Time in the Bb Vista Grade Book!
Tired of entering grades one at a time in the Bb Vista Grade Book? With the "Edit Member" and "Edit Values" functions, you don’t have to! To enter multiple grades at one time for a particular student or a particular grade column, follow these steps:
Access the Bb Vista Grade Book under "Instructor Tools" in the "Teach" tab.
Enter values for a particular student or grade column:
To enter values into multiple grade columns for a particular student, click on the PeopleLink menu next to the last name of the student and select "Edit Member."
To enter values into a particular grade column for multiple students, click on the options menu next to the name of the grade column and select "Edit Values."
Enter each grade in the appropriate "Change to" box.
Once you have entered all of the grades, remember to click "Save" at the bottom of the screen.
Note: The "Comment" boxes in the Grade Book are for instructor use only and cannot be viewed by students. Furthermore, comments are only saved in the audit log if a grade is entered for the first time, or if a grade is changed. These comments remain available to you for later reference by clicking on "View Audit History" in the Grade Book.
If you have any questions, please contact the Online Learning Team at
Add a Custom Link to Your Bb Vista Section
So, you want to add a specific Web link (URL) to your section. You want the link to appear on the course menu in the left-hand pane, but adding it to the "Web Links" tool means that your students would have to click on that tool in order to see the link. How can you add the link as a separate item in the left-hand menu?
The answer? Add a Custom Link! To do so, follow these steps:
From the "Build" tab under "Designer Tools," or from the "Teach" tab under "Instructor Tools," click "Manage Course."
Click the "Course Menu" link.
Click the "Add Custom Link" button next to Course Tools or My Tools, depending on where you would like the Custom Link to appear in the left-hand pane.
Enter a title and a URL for the Custom Link. You can enter the protocol for the URL, but if none is entered, HTTP will be used.
If you want to use an icon, click the "Browse" button to browse to it. The image will automatically be resized to 20x20 pixels.
Click "Save." Your Custom Link should now appear in the course menu. Note that if you added the Custom Link to the "My Tools" area, you will have to switch to the "Student View" tab to see it.
Time-Saving Tips for Grading Assignments
No matter if you have 8 or 800 papers to grade, keystrokes count! Here are a few suggestions from a "techie" that might help you save keystrokes and thus time:
Receive all assignments via the Bb Vista Assignments Tool or Turnitin
All submissions are time-stamped and immediately available for grading, with grades flowing automatically to the Bb Vista Grade Book. If you receive assignments by paper or email, they can get misdirected or lost amid other communications.
Use the Bb Vista Assignments tool to collect and grade short assignments
For short assignments that do not require inline markup, use the Bb Vista Assignments tool. Students can paste their submission as text into the Assignment submission area or upload it as an attached document. Instructors can then return comments and grades through the standard Bb Vista assignment form, and Bb Vista will automatically transfer them to the Grade Book. Here are the steps to follow:
In the "Teach" tab, under "Instructor Tools," click "Assignment Dropbox."
View submissions for one assignment by selecting the assignment name from the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner and clicking the green "Go" arrow.
Click on the title of a student submission to read it. If necessary, click on the attached document to open it. After reviewing the submission, enter any comments under "Grader/Reviewer Comments."
Depending on how the assignment was set up, enter a grade or complete a Bb Vista grading form (rubric), return the submission to the student for further editing (if the cutoff date for the assignment has not already passed), or save it for further review and editing. Click the "Save" button when you are finished.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 above for each submission.
Use Turnitin to collect and grade assignments requiring markup on the submission
Turnitin not only checks for plagiarism, but it allows you to add comments directly to the online paper using the GradeMark feature without having to download the paper first. Grades entered into GradeMark flow automatically to the Bb Vista Grade Book. Here's how it works:
Open the Turnitin Assignment and view the Originality Report.
Switch to the "GradeMark" view.
Add QuickMark, text, and/or general comments as needed.
Enter a grade in the grade field in the upper right-hand corner, or use the grading rubric.
Move to the next submission using the arrows in the upper right-hand corner, and repeat steps 3 and 4 above.
Note: If you use the Bb Vista Assignment tool to collect and grade assignments requiring markup, you must download each student submission, edit it on your computer, save the document with your revisions, and then upload the revised paper to Bb Vista. Since this method can be time-consuming if there are numerous papers to grade, this method isn’t generally recommended.
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, 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
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 October and November:
Bb Vista Full Day Workshop
Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Learn 9 Information Sessions
Friday, October 14, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 26, noon – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
SharePoint Basic Training
Wednesday, October 12, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Intro to iWork
Wednesday, November 9, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
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).