Category Archives: Technology Tip

What Every Student Wants to Know: Why Are My Books So Expensive?

textbookblogWe sat down with Rich Knapp and Carmen Casanova from Wilmington University’s Campus Store to ask them about renting and purchasing textbooks and etextbooks. We asked them the question that most students ask – “Why are textbooks so expensive compared to non-educational books?”

Unlike non-educational books, textbooks go through a rigorous approval process. “Development and vetting of the product is the most expensive part of textbook development,” said Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager and Texbook Coordinator at the Campus Store.

Tenured professors are hired to write the book, while other professionals vet and correct the text. After that, a sales team markets and sells the book. “All of this happens before the publisher gets any revenue,” added Knapp. Mass market publishing requires much less up front investment.

Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, wants Wilmington University students to know that the Campus Store is committed to giving students the best price possible for their books. “The Campus Store is owned and operated by Wilmington University, a non-profit institution,” she said.

Many higher education institutions have outsourced their bookstores to outside companies. “We’re here to provide a service to our students, not to make a profit,” said Casanova. “We work very hard to find the lower possible prices for our students.”

But there’s no denying that textbooks are a large expense in your education budget.

If textbooks are straining your budget, there are steps you can take to reduce the expense. Try renting your books, or consider ebooks, which can be up to 50% of the cost of printed books. And financial aid students may use their award to purchase books at the Campus Store after their tuition obligation is met.

Casanova and Knapp recognize that students also take advantage of Amazon’s competitive textbook pricing, but caution students that outside sources’ return policies may not be as generous as the Campus Store’s. Students also run the risk of ordering an outdated or wrong textbook.

Tech Support and Online Students

techsupport cut outAt Wilmington University, ensuring that online students have the technical resources they need to be successful is a priority. We’ve instituted a number of support programs targeted toward technical support of our students, including:

  1. An online orientation course, DIS 095, with links and tools to technical support in the course.
  2. Blackboard How-to Videos
  3. Access to the University Information Center, which offers a toll free phone number for tech support.

And all matriculating students, online or on campus, with less than 15 credits must take FYE – First Year Experience, a seminar designed to introduce students to college level expectations and experiences. Kelly Clayton, Online Student Navigator at Wilmington University, says, “Part of FYE’s goal is to give the student an overview of the technology tools they need for success in Wilmington University’s online programs.”

Clayton says most tech questions that she fields are simple issues regarding web browsers and problems within specific courses, such as assignment submissions.

Students who need help with Microsoft software applications can visit Wilmington University’s Student Success Center – online. If you need to brush up on your Excel, PowerPoint or Word skills, you can view a video tutorial or check their calendar for online workshops: http://www.wilmu.edu/ssc/workandsems.aspx


Students needing technical support for Blackboard, WebCampus, email, or other technology systems, please contact The University Information Center (UIC):


 

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Online Students on the Front Lines

Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) is an industry and educational buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Businesses and educational institutions have modified their rigid technological requirements in favor of a more relaxed acceptance of employees and students using their own technology in the workplace and classroom.

For online students, using your own technology is nothing new. And students that choose to attend classes completely online must rely completely on their own ability to manage technology.

an array of different technology: tablets, laptops, phones
What device do you bring to the table?

Faced with a dizzying array of technology tools, laptops to desktops, tablets and smartphones, how do online students decide which tools will work best for them?

Sometimes students don’t make any new choices, but simply use their home computing system without investing or changing technology when they enroll in an online course. And that’s fine.

Wilmington University’s recommendations for students interested in online education are very basic:

  • convenient internet access
  • email
  • online research capability
  • computing skills that include proficiency with Microsoft products, including Word and PowerPoint

Wilmington University also recommends the use of certain internet browsers.

For the student interested in buying new devices or software, your status as a Wilmington University student entitles you to educational discounts at Dell, Apple, and JourneyEd. Com. You can find student purchasing information on this page.

Is BYOD liberating or nerve wracking? When you are buying technology, do you consider your needs as an online student?

The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

study-notepadVstypingHow do you take notes these days? Can you type faster than you can write with pen and paper? If you’re using your laptop to type notes during lectures or meetings, you may want to rethink that practice. The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/taking-notes-by-hand-benefits-recall-researchers-find/51411) recently reported on a new study of note taking practices. This study shows that students have a much higher rate of knowledge retention and comprehension when handwriting notes rather than typing.

“When I type notes, I find that I’m not really listening and comprehending the information. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other while transcribing what the speaker is saying,” said Adam Voyton, Instructional Technology Project Specialist at Wilmington University’s Educational Technology Department.

There’s a scientific basis for Voyton’s impression. An experiment conducted by Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) demonstrated that the brain uses different areas when writing longhand as opposed to typing. Writing by hand engages the sensorimotor memory part of our brain that helps us recognize letters.

The report in the Chronicle of Higher Education states that even though note taking on a computer results in more detailed transcribed notes, long hand note takers have more conceptual understanding of the material, and in some cases, even more factual recall.

But fans of technology shouldn’t despair. Instead of a pencil, why not break out a stylus pen and take notes on a tablet? You’ll have the best of both worlds – the advantage of notes taken electronically combined with the higher brain retentive action of long hand writing.

Developing Your Online Learning Skills

How Do You Develop Online Learning Skills? Adult learners are finding the convenience and flexibility of online learning a match for their learning goals and busy lifestyles. This study was developed to provide perspective and to identify useful strategies that online learners can utilize for their online courses.
  • Develop a time-management strategy
  • Make the most of online discussions
  • Put knowledge to work through collaborations
  • Make questions useful to your learning
  • Stay Motivated
  • Communicate the instruction techniques that work
  • Make connections with fellow students

These techniques can promote a rich learning experience for students and provide a foundation for them to develop the necessary skills to succeed.

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Useful Web Sites

Amazon Prime shipping benefits free for 6 months

Take advantage of this special offer exclusively for students to get FREE 2-day. Shipping from items purchased on Amazon.com

Tricks for students conducting research

By pressing Ctrl+F (on a PC) on your keyboard, you can type in a word to find all the instances of that word on the web page you are on.

Improve your focus while studying with this free white noise generator

This tool can help to improve your focus the next time you need to get down to business at writing a term paper.

Ways to backup your computer files

For anyone that has had a computer crash, you know the importance of backing up your files.

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Useful Articles From Around The Web

Blackboard 9.1 Known Issues and Resolutions

At the start of the summer semester of 2011, we upgraded the Blackboard system to version 9.1.

 

Below is a list of currently known issues relevant to students. Click here if you would like to see the complete list.

 

Area

Issue

Resolution/ Workaround

Browser Compatibility Issues with Internet Explorer 8 and Blackboard Using Internet Explorer 8 with Blackboard will cause problems for students attempting to submit tests or use the file upload feature. To avoid these issues it is suggested to use Mozilla Firefox.
Digital Dropbox Removed from version 9 Faculty should use assignment manager for file uploads.
External links – now called URL URL link may not open for students in IE. Please use the Option, “Open in New Window”
Homepage Removed from version 9 Faculty can encourage the use of a blog , if an avatar is added under personal information then a photo is shared in blog.
Tools – Course Menu Tool not available in course menu The “tools” area was removed after upgrade. All current and future courses will have the tools area as a default option.

Blackboard 9.1 Known Issues

At the start of the summer semester of 2011, we upgraded the Blackboard system to version 9.1. Below is a list of currently known issues relevant to students. Click here if you would like to see the complete list.

Area

Issue

Resolution/ Workaround

Browser Compatibility Issues with Internet Explorer 8 and Blackboard Using Internet Explorer 8 with Blackboard will cause problems for students attempting to submit tests or use the file upload feature. To avoid these issues it is suggested to use Mozilla Firefox http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html or change to the “compatibility mode” in IE8 (Tools > compatibility mode” in IE8 (Tools > Compatibility View Settings > Check ‘Display all websites in Compatibility View’ > Close. You will need to close IE8 and reopen the browser before the change takes effect.)
Copy and Paste Copy and pasting text from Word to a Bb text editor or discussion post causes formatting problems in Blackboard. Blackboard offers a Paste from Word Mash Up Tool. Click this link for the video tutorial.
Digital Dropbox Removed from version 9 Faculty should use assignment manager for file uploads.
External links – now called URL URL link may not open for students in IE. Please use the Option, “Open in New Window”
Grade Center System errors occur when trying to access submitted assignments Some columns defaulted back to NO CATEGORY. Once the category is changed to assignment, etc., the submitted assignments are accessible.
Grade Center Can’t view column information Quick Column Information – can access in Internet Explorer but not Firefox.
Grade Center System error occurs when trying to access certain areas of Grade Center Change the ordering of one column temporarily to force a re-organization of Grade Center. Sometimes this will resolve an issue causing a system error.
Homepage Removed from version 9 Faculty can encourage the use of a blog , if an avatar is added under personal information then a photo is shared in blog.
Tools – Course Menu Tool not available in course menu The “tools” area was removed after upgrade (was in lower box below course menu in version 8). Faculty can make a Tools menu item for courses prior to SU 2011. All current and future courses will have the tools area as a default option in the snapshot course.
YouTube Mashup tool If you choose to pick the Embed Video player option, Firefox will not display video properly Keep the default “thumbnail view” for the YouTube player option.

New College Software Seeks to Personalize Recommendations

Imagine a system that collects information about students in order to make useful suggestions regarding course schedules, instructors, and services. Here are a few examples of how this system could benefit students:

  • New Students receives a link to the online orientation
  • A student with a high GPA receives a link to the honors program; a student with low grades will be pointed to tutoring services.
  • Based on the pattern of classes you’ve taken in the past, a class schedule will be created – already screened for prerequisites. They also don’t have a time conflict with when a work schedule.

There is a recently developed technology system called Sherpa which does just this. With more information about students, the suggestions could get more specific. What do you think about this type of technology? Is it a great new convenience or is data mining student information inappropriate?

Integrating Facebook into Classroom Instruction

Should Facebook be integrated into classroom instruction? Does it improve communication between students and instructors? On the hand, is it too much of an intrusion into students’ personal and social lives for educators to be using it as an educational method? Is it just too much of a distraction from learning? Gain a broader perspective of this topic by reading this article on 100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom.

facebook_classroom

What is Wimba Pronto?

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What is Wimba Pronto?

Wimba Pronto is the only instant collaboration system specifically designed to advance and promote learning. It enables registered users to instantly connect with classmates and instructors by working with the institution’s Learning Management System to automatically populate a list of that user’s courses and classmates. Use it to whiteboard with study groups, ask an instructor a question or video chat with classmates or colleagues.

How to download Wimba

  1. Login to Blackboard
  2. Click on one of your courses
  3. Under the Tools menu, click Communication
  4. Scroll down and click the Wimba Pronto link
  5. Follow the directions on the sign up page. Once complete, you can use Pronto at any time.