The King Is Dead? Long Live the King? The Rise and Possible Fall of the Personal Computer, and What It Means to Academia

Will the personal computer soon become obsolete? Image courtesy of a Creative Commons license via Flickr user Niv Singer.

For at least a couple of years now there’s been quite a buzz about the impending death of the personal computer (for the purposes of this article, the PC, and not to be confused with the more tightly defined Microsoft-based PC). Much of this discussion has been based on the dismal sales trends for PCs […]

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Reflections on a Fireside Chat: “Managing” Versus “Teaching” the Online Course

campfire

This past weekend, I had an interesting conversation about e-learning while sitting on a mountaintop, huddled around a campfire in the dark. (I promise, dear reader, that I won’t try to make a metaphor out of that.) I was having this conversation with an old friend from my undergraduate days who teaches history at a […]

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7 Tips for Giving Tests in Blackboard

W&M’s Blackboard system is available 99.98% of the time. While that’s a comforting statistic, it doesn’t help when you’ve scheduled a critical test and the system experiences issues. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make sure Blackboard tests go smoothly. 1. Give a Practice Test This will ensure that your students […]

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Opening up the Web for Students and Faculty

Domain

Last fall, our neighbors just two and a half hours to the north at the University of Mary Washington launched an eye-opening program for their students, faculty, and staff. It is a service to allow users to register an Internet domain and house it on internal servers, called A Domain of One’s Own. The name […]

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Sorting out Your Dissertation’s Electronic Publishing Options

dissertation-pile

Not so long ago I defended my doctoral dissertation (hooray!) and readied copies of my manuscript for the College. I had reviewed the requirements the few weeks prior to preparing my manuscript so that I could be ready to turn it in soon after I defended. I went to turn in my copies the morning […]

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Me and My Google: Why I Can’t Walk Away from This Unhealthy Relationship

oblio_arrow

Okay, so first off, let me just say I love Google. In fact, part of my anger at Google stems from the fact that Google does so many awesome things. It tells me all the things I want to hear, it brings me flowers or chocolates (well, at least it shows me where I can […]

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Tips for Managing Laptops in the Classroom

Students looking very attentive to their work in the pre-laptop era.

News flash: Student laptops and phones can be annoying in the college classroom. Old news, right? But still news that instructors have to deal with more and more. We can ban devices, allow them, or figure out something in between — there’s no shortage of advice and policies in managing their use. Over the past […]

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Is Technology Indistinguishable from Magic? The Dangers of Clarke’s Third Law

hals-eye

In his 1962 book Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke proposed his third and final “law” of  prediction — he felt he had to propose no more laws because “as three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop […]

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Doing E-Learning the W&M Way

About this time last year, William & Mary was touted as the best school in the nation for undergraduate teaching. Having sent out several E-Learning Development Kits into the wild over the spring and summer, I’ve gotten more than the usual taste of why, and how, our faculty achieved that reputation. This Summer W&M Offered Our […]

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New Blackboard Features for Fall 2014

Course Menu button circled in red

Our Blackboard downtime on August 15th was a success. In addition to the needed security updates and patches, Blackboard added some two great new features. Student Preview Mode I’m most excited about the new Student Preview mode. In the past W&M professors who wanted to see what their class looked like to students or how […]

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