MacBook and MacBook Pro Battery Update 1.2

Apple has recently discovered that some batteries used in its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks may have battery performance issues. Affected batteries will have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Battery is not recognized causing an “X” to appear in the battery icon in the Finder menu bar.
  • Battery will not charge when computer is plugged into AC power.
  • Battery exhibits low charge capacity/runtime when using a fully charged battery
  • Battery pack is visibly deformed.

Apple is offering a software update that is designed to address these issues. If you are a MacBook or MacBook Pro user and your computer is exhibiting one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, please visit the following website to download the update: If your computer continues to exhibit one or more of the symptoms after installing the update, please contact the IT Help Desk.

Blackboard Workshop for CAS Administrative Assistants

On March 18, Al Labonis conducted a workshop covering basic features in Blackboard to Administrative Assistants in CAS.  Al is the Instructional Designer of the Instructional Technology Distributed Learning (ITDL) division of the Information Technology Department. Our Administrative Assistants expressed a desire to become familiar with Bb’s basic features. Their interest stems from their need to have some knowledge of Bb in the event that they are approached by faculty in need of information or assistance in basic Bb tasks. As part of the professional development workshops for CAS Administrative Assistants, Lorraine Hannon and Anne Szewczyk in the CAS Dean’s office offered this opportunity to the Administrative Assistants and arranged all of the details for the workshop. 

The topics covered include enrolling users to a Bb course and changing their permissions, adding and removing content, sending mail, and checking grades in the grade book. The participants were given hands-on experience in performing these Bb functions and were very enthusiastic about the workshop. They conveyed to Al that the workshop gave them a better understanding of Blackboard and felt that they could be more effective when approached by faulty with Bb questions.

SPSS Legacy Viewer

Did you recently upgrade to SPSS 16 or SPSS 17 and are now having trouble opening your old Viewer (.spo) files?

Your problem is that Viewer files created in versions prior to release 16.0 cannot be opened in SPSS 16.0 or later.  If you are using a Windows operating system, following the directions below will solve your troubles.  If you are using Mac OS, you are out of luck.

SPSS Legacy Viewer (Download and Install Instructions) – Windows only

  1. Launch a web browser and browse to
  2. Click the “Downloads” tab
  3. Scroll down and click on the link that reads “Legacy Viewer application known as SmartViewer (English)”
  4. Save the file to your computer
  5. Double-click the “SPSS_Legacy_Viewer_win_en.exe” file that you downloaded to your computer
  6. (if applicable) Click Run the “Security Warning”
  7. Wait while setup loads
  8.  Click Next
  9. Choose “I acceptŠ” and click Next
  10. Click Next
  11. Click Next
  12. Click Next
  13. Click Install
  14. Wait while program installs
  15. Click Finish
  16. You will now find “SPSS SmartViewer 15.0” somewhere in you Start menu

Students’ Perception of Podcasting: A better tool for underclassmen who use it to review lectures and replay test preparation sessions

In late February 2009, I reported on my experiences with utilizing podcasting for two history courses during the fall. These courses included HIS 1011: Introduction to Western Civilization I, a thirty-five student lecture course with some discussion, and HIS 2591: From Baghdad to Burgos: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean, a seventeen person seminar course.

In this posting I share the results of two BlackBoard surveys of my students’ use and perceptions of the utility of podcasting. In general, while 100 percent of HIS 1011 students (primarily sophomores) reported they listened to at least one podcast, in contrast, only 50 percent of HIS 2591 students (mostly juniors and seniors) did the same. This may indicate that lecture versus seminar students may find podcasting more helpful because they are less experienced university students and that their note-taking skills may still be developing. It also may reveal that in general education requirement courses, where one might have a large number of students from other schools and majors, that these students may be using podcasting to review material they may have not understood during lecture. For example, over 36 percent of HIS 1011 students listened to podcasts between three and seven times and 9 percent listened to eight or more podcasts. In contrast only 13 percent of HIS 2591 students, almost all of whom were history majors, used podcasts more than three times during the semester. Therefore, it appears that if podcasting is to be used, it is better suited for lower division courses that serve a general student population. This finding is further bolstered by students stated rationales for listening to class podcasts – over 90 percent of HIS 1011 students reported they used these audio recordings to review for exams. None of the HIS 2591 students reported they used podcasting to study for exams. In closing, students appear to value professors’ podcasts, but only for a limited number of purposes.

Note: My complete podcasting survey results can be accessed from the links below.

HIS 1011 – Fall 2009 Podcast Survey Results
HIS 2591 – Fall 2009 Podcast Survey Results

–Dr. Roger L. Martínez, David H. Burton Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History

Take Control of your Class

If you can’t take control of your class, at least you can take control of their computers with the help of “computer classroom management software”.  The College of Arts and Sciences currently uses 3 varieties of classroom management software:
LANDesk Classroom Manager in Barbelin 221 and Barbelin 225
Apple Remote Desktop in Bellarmine 329 and Post Hall 202
NetSupport School in Science Center 212 and Science Center 214
All 3 varieties of the classroom management software allow you to demonstrate lessons directly on student computer screens, supervise/monitor computer use, and lock keyboards, mice, and screens to focus student attention on you.  The software keeps you in control so you can teach more effectively.

Not all of these computer classrooms are for general use, but if you are lucky enough to have access to these rooms or have been scheduled in one, please be sure to take advantage of this useful technology.

Tablet pad

The Dean’s Office is currently sponsoring a tablet pad pilot program within the College or Arts and Sciences. A tablet pad is an electronic pad that you use with a special pen that allows you to “draw” on your computer screen. It is useful when you would like to “draw” on your PowerPoint slides to make a point clearer or if the classroom you are in has limited whiteboard/chalkboard space because the projector screen is covering it up. The accompanying software allows you to save your “drawings” so that you can upload them to your Blackboard course at a later time. The hardware/software work with both PCs and Macs. Since Apple does not yet offer a tablet computer with touch-screen, this is the next best thing for Mac users.

There are currently 4 faculty members piloting the tablet pad. If you are interested in piloting the tablet pad within your department, please express your interest to Anne Szewczyk.

Note: A tablet pad is the low-cost alternative to a tablet PC. Tablet pads are different from tablet PCs (which the Biology department is already using) in that tablet pads are external devices that plug into available USB ports on your computer. Also, when using a tablet PC you draw directly on the LCD screen, but when using a tablet pad you draw on the tablet pad and see what you are drawing on the screen.

The Opportunities and Opportunity Costs of Podcasting at SJU

Dr. Roger L. Martínez, Burton Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History

During fall 2008, I decided to take the leap into podcasting with my two History courses—Introduction to Western Civilization I and From Baghdad to Burgos: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean World. My primary motivation for experimenting with podcasting via iTunes U, which can be seamlessly integrated with BlackBoard, was to determine if it might provided a pedagogical edge when trying to intellectually engage our increasingly tech-focused student body. I would say that the results of my podcasting were definitely—mixed. Podcasting is not a panacea for connecting with students, and in some ways it does not play to the strengths of our Jesuit institution and its emphasis on cura personalis. Continue reading “The Opportunities and Opportunity Costs of Podcasting at SJU”


Last fall, the Drexel Library unveiled a new tool that could save you lots of time and energy: Refworks, a new citation management system that allows you to save citations while you research and creates instant bibliographies when you reach the final steps of writing projects. Working within the library databases and catalog, you can import large amounts of citations quickly, and organize, manage and search through them easily. Ultimately, it can offer a fully-searchable database with all the references you use, stretching across projects, papers, and classes. Refworks offers a long list of output styles you can choose from for your bibliography as well, including numerous styles particular to specific journals. Unlike Endnote or Reference Manager, Refworks is entirely web-based, making it easy to access from any location and any computer – no software is required to use your database, all you need is an internet connection. The Library would be happy to offer Refworks workshops tailored to specific departments’ needs. Get in touch with Sara Franks (, x1913) at the Drexel Library to learn more, or to schedule a department workshop.

Library Toolkits

As you browse through the Drexel Library website in the coming weeks, you might notice that some of our Subject pages have a new look. This is due to a new web system called Library Toolkits that we will gradually be developing and filling with content this semester. Within the new system, library liaisons will be able to author their own pages, making it easier than ever to produce and update resource lists and how-to research guides quickly and efficiently. We are also able to embed images and even videos onto websites within this new system, expanding the possibilities for research instruction online and making the pages more dynamic. With these new sites, we will also be promoting and developing new class-specific pages, like our Business Policy page or our Organizational Psychology page. Browse around our new pages, and get in touch with your library liaison if you would like to request a class page or a research guide.

Using Tablet PC in the Classroom

The Biology Department faculty have been using Tablet PCs   in their freshman core courses for over a year. Some also   have used  them in upper level biology elective courses. The   advantage of using Tablet PCs is to allow faculty to add   annotations to PowerPoint slides during class time. Using  the pen option permits written script to be added to figures   on slides, pointing out important structures or concepts to   students. Another of the Tablet PC options is a blank screen   (either black or white) to be projected, onto which the   instructor can write notes, draw illustrations, or work   problems without having to move from the screen to a   board, which is sometimes awkward and involves turning   lights onjtudor_tabletpc4 and off. There are several color options so that objects or script can be highlighted in different colors for emphasis. Any annotations added to PowerPoint slides can be saved as part of the presentation if so desired. Faculty in the Biology Department have found that using Tablet PCs is a significant pedagogical tool when used in lectures using PowerPoint.