Workarounds for Mac Users Unable to View PDF in Blackboard

Attention, Mac users and instructors preparing Blackboard courses! Mac users are having problems viewing embedded PDF files with both Firefox and Apple’s Safari web browsers. Clicking on a PDF file content item gets this error message “A plug-in is needed to display this content. Install plug-in…” Following the link to locate a plug-in will result in a “No suitable plug-ins found” message. The PDF will display correctly inside the browser window for Windows XP and Windows 7 users and certain other Mac web browsers. Information Technology is in the process of working with Blackboard to find a solution for us. In the meantime, please consider using the workaround listed below.

If you have PDF files that are NOT within a Learning Module in your course:

  1. Navigate to the PDF document link, click the action menu button and click “Edit”.
  2. Scroll down to the option to “Open in a New Window” and click “YES”.
  3. Click Submit.
  4. Now your students using Macs will be able to open the PDF document.


If you have PDF Files that ARE within a Learning Module in your course:

  1. Enter your Learning Module
  2. Find the PDF document link and click the action menu button and click “Edit”
  3. Notice the name of the file
  4. p2

  5. Click Cancel
  6. Click “Build Content” and “Create Item”
  7. p3

  8. Enter appropriate text, such as the name of the file.
  9. Scroll down to “Attachments.”
  10. Click “Browse Content Collection”
  11. p4

  12. Find the PDF file and click “Submit”
  13. Click “Submit” once again.
  14. Locate the original PDF document link and delete it.
  15. Now the students can open the PDF file by clicking the file link inside the content item:
  16. p5

Workarounds for Students:

  1. View the document in another browser such as Opera or Google Chrome.
  2. Download a third-party PDF plug-in such as the Schubert PDF Browser Plug-in from Schubert-IT, which is free for educational, non-commercial use.

Blackboard Service Pack 6 Updates

IT upgraded Bb to the latest service pack (SP6) on August 14th.
Service Pack 6 includes fixes for bugs we encountered in Bb 9.1.
I listed some of the new features below that are included in SP6.

Service Pack 6 adds performance enhancements to the application such as:

Timed Assessments
Attempt information for timed assessments includes details on how much time the student spent on the attempt versus how
much time was allotted. Instructors can choose to make the timed assessment save and submit automatically when the timer
expires, or to allow the assessment to continue beyond the allotted time.

Needs Grading
Gradable Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Discussion Board activity can appear in Needs Grading status in the Grade Center
and on the Needs Grading page. When an instructor chooses to make an interactive tool gradable, they will also have the
option to choose how many interactions will place the item in needs grading status. A Discussion Board forum, for instance,
might be set to only appear in Needs Grading status after a student has made three posts, rather than with each individual post.

Interactive Rubrics
When creating a rubric, instructors can assign weights to categories, allowing the same rubric to be used across multiple items
with different possible points. Rubrics can be imported and exported for use across courses. Instructors can associate rubrics
when creating gradable content items, including Blogs, Journals, Wikis, Discussion Boards, Assignments, and short-answer,
file-response, or essay questions in tests and pools. Rubrics can be associated with multiple items, and all associations can be
viewed from the Rubric tool.. Multiple rubrics can be associated with an item. The rubrics can be visible to students at any time,
or only after grading has been completed. Instructors can interact with any associated rubric for grading in a grid or list view,
and Feedback can be typed for each criteria as well as the entire assessment. Grades calculated using rubrics can be overridden.
When a rubric has been used for grading, a report is available to view the results.

Source: Al Labonis, Blackboard Administrator, Office of Information Technology

The College of Arts & Sciences Welcomes Its New Faculty

The College of Arts & Sciences warmly welcomes its new faculty:

Dr. Nanette Cooperman, Department of Special Education
Dr. Tom Coyne, Department of English
Dr. Janine Firmender, Department of Teacher Education
Dr. Katie Oxx, Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Dr. Eileen Sullivan, Department of Health Services
Dr. Brian Forster, GEP Lab Coordinator
Ms. Joy Howard, Visiting Faculty, Department of English
Dr. Joel Edman, Visiting Faculty, Department of Health Services
Dr. Barbara Klaczynska, Visiting Faculty, Department of History
Dr. Kunihiko Terasawa, Visiting Faculty, Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Mr. Glenn Siniscalchi, Visiting Faculty, Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Rev. Jose Badenes, S.J., the Donald J. MacLean, S.J. Chair, Honors

The New faculty orientation was held from Wednesday, August 16 through Friday, August 19.

The technology presentation slides are available from the Dean’s website .

A list of technology classrooms and labs are also available at the same site.

Laptop Ergonomics Part 1: Protect Your Health and Improve Productivity By Following Ergonomic Laptop Usage Best Practices

Laptop computers have greatly increased productivity by compacting all of the components of a desktop computer into a small, portable form factor. Unfortunately, this portability comes with a price. Straining your upper body to conform to the laptop’s keyboard and track pad may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and hunching forward because of the laptop’s significantly lower screen height increases your risk of back and neck problems.

Vodafone Group, PLC, beautifully illustrates how to correct your posture to provide optimum ergonomics for laptop use in this brief but effective video.

Technology: Not Just for Technical Fields Anymore

by Dr. Jim Caccamo, Department of Theology and Religious Studies

For better or for worse, the humanities have the reputation of being more interested in the past than the present. And for good reason. As a historian of religion friend of mine likes to say, “some of my best friends are dead people.”

Yet, just because we humanities faculty hold the work of previous centuries in high esteem, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t on the cutting edge of using tech in teaching and research.

Case in point: Living Worship (Brazos Press, 2011), a work that I recently co-authored with Dr. Todd Johnson (of Fuller Theological Seminary) and Dr. Lester Ruth (of Duke University), published by. Living Worship is multimedia case study of the worship life of a real-life Christian congregation in Chicago. It is a kind of interactive software “textbook” on Christian worship.

Living Worship is a computer-based case study of eighteen months in the worship life of an actual church. The interactive application features a host of media documenting the worship life of Ravenswood Covenant Church (RCC), including more than twenty hours of video of worship services and service planning meetings, video interviews with church ministers and members, texts on the church’s history and development, sociological data on the community and neighborhood, images of historical documents and the surrounding environment, and scans of church bulletins and brochures. There are also on-camera interviews with leading experts in liturgy. The video portions capture a wide array of events in the church’s life, including a wedding, a funeral, an Advent service, and an Easter service. For most of the services, viewers can even switch back and forth between several camera angles (such as wide shots, close-ups, and views of the congregation) on the fly.

Living Worship provides a new way to study Christian liturgy. Traditionally, students focus on reading theological and historical texts. But due to logistical and scheduling issues, courses aren’t always able to see the way that the ideas they study play out in real life. Who wants to do a field trip on Sunday morning? Living Worship opens up this lived reality of community worship by enabling what we call “virtual participant observation”: using technology to closely observe a community as it tries to embody its beliefs in its public worship. Exploring the program, students can see the practical implications of theology as they examine how theological commitments and pragmatic choices play out in the real world setting. It provides a window into liturgy that history and theology can’t provide. And it is entirely unique in the field.

Living Worship also includes a second disc, Speaking of Worship. SoW is a standard video DVD with short interview segments from leading scholars on vital—even controversial—issues and questions related to worship. It is designed to be used in the classroom setting, providing 1-2 minute interview segments that can be used as supplements for lectures or as conversation starters.

So, even though we love our books, it turns out that the faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences are also at the forefront of using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

The 2011 Senior Art Show

The 2011 Senior Art majors are very excited to be the first to utilize the new gallery space in Merion Hall on the Maguire campus.  This year there are three film majors, Adam Hutchison, Priya Sorathia and Jon Dorfman.  Both Adam and Priya are using the Art Department’s Panasonic AVCHD cameras to shoot their films along with the Lowel Lighting kits.  All three filmmakers are using Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro software systems in our Mac editing lab in Boland Hall.  They will eventually use QuickTime to download their finished films onto DVD.  Their films will be presented in Merion Hall on a 60″ monitor that is wired to a control room with a Blu-ray player with web feed capabilities.  The exhibit will open on April 1st and run through April 29, 2011.  All are welcome to the opening reception on April 1 from 5-9 PM.

“Love in the Classroom”

Dr. Aimée Knight loves her new classroom in Merion Hall that enhances teaching and learning.

“I’m having a love affair. With my classroom. It’s true, I love it so. It is a collaborative, interactive learning space to support multimedia production work in the new Communication Studies Program. It features seven wall mounted displays designed for laptop use. (No more crowding around laptops!)”

To read more about her blog, check out this link:

Stay Connected with the College of Arts & Sciences!

The College of Arts and Sciences Facebook is a community page that belongs to all its constituents (students, faculty, staff and alumni).  Its goal is to keep all of us informed of what’s happening in the college.

Stay connected with the College of Arts & Sciences by visiting CAS Facebook!

Tell us that you like our page and add it to your favorite page!

Welcoming New Technical Manager, CAS

It is my great pleasure to announce that Karl Platzer has joined our staff as the new Technical Manager of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Karl has been in the Information Technology support field for over a decade and has extensive experience supporting educational institutions. When not at his keyboard, he is an avid pilot.

Please join me in welcoming Karl to Saint Joseph’s and the College of Arts and Sciences!

Karl’s SJU email address is  His office is located in Post 205, and he can be reached at x3445.

Faculty Annual Report v.3 Now Online

We are pleased to inform you that Faculty Annual Reports v. 3 is now available online. Based on the input from our faculty users, many additional features have been added to FARO.

Last year, 156 tenured and tenure-track faculty (about 82%) in the College of Arts & Sciences submitted their 2009 annual report online. We hope even more faculty members will complete their 2010 faculty annual report online this academic year.

The deadline established by the Faculty Handbook for submission of the 2010 faculty annual report is Tuesday, February 15, 2011. However, faculty are encouraged to complete their 2010 faculty annual report at least two weeks before that deadline.  This will allow the chairpersons to complete their reviews of the reports with faculty and enable the Dean to meet shortly thereafter with all of the chairs in order to complete the review cycle in a timely fashion.

You can access the online Faculty Annual Report Online by doing the following:

1.    Login to MySJU.
2.    Click School Services/Faculty and Advisor.
3.    Click Faculty Annual Reports (the last item on the list).
4.    Click 2010 to start filling out the 2010 faculty annual report.

You will find it convenient to use Faculty Annual Reports throughout the remainder of this year to keep your 2010 annual report updated with your most recent activities and accomplishments –presentations, publications, etc.– rather than waiting until the end of the year to provide this information.   All information that was previously entered in your report will be retained in the database.

User information for the Faculty Annual Reports can be found at:

If you have any questions, please email Anne Szewczyk at