Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Archive for June 2014

14 Google Search Tricks That Make Life a Whole Lot Easier

leave a comment »



I know I have touched on this before, but this is good stuff. Huffington Post has created a list of 14 ways to make google more productive. In this article 14 Google Search Tricks That Make Life a Whole Lot Easier author Carina Kolodny covers a variety of tips for google. For instance, do you know how to do a search for fill in the blanks? Do Math? Convert Currency? Make Google Flip Out? Check out the answers at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/30/google-search-tricks_n_5338470.html.

Additional search tips for Google

Time zones – Search for ‘time in <place>’ and you will get the local time for that place, as well as the time zone it is in.

Translations – A quick way to translate foreign words is to type ‘translate <word> to <language>’.

Conversions – Currency conversions and unit conversions. For example, you could type “convert 12 inches to millimeters’ and get an instant answer.

Check flight status – If you type in a flight number, the top result is the details of the flight and its status. for example, typing in AA 1067 reveals that American Airlines flight 1067 departs Los Angeles at 7:30 AM today and arrives at Chicago terminal 3 at 1.30 PM.

Weather forecasts – Type the name of a city followed by ‘forecast’.

Public data – To see trends for population and unemployment rates of different cities and counties, type ‘population’ or ‘unemployment rate’ followed by the location. So for example, typing ‘unemployment rate’ Charleston, WV returns the answer 5.4 percent, and shows a graph of unemployment rates over the last 10 years.




Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

CountDown +++ and CountDown Days Since, Days Until

leave a comment »




Today I have two similar apps, CountDown +++ and CountDown Days Since, Days Until. Who among us have not been faced with a looming deadline or better still an important event such as vacation or graduation? Sometimes it is nice to know exactly how many days before the big event. Today’s apps address that problem.

Countdown +++ is a nice little app that counts you down to the precise second of any day. It allows you to set date name, date, time, various alarms, as well as color code you event. You can set up a variety of events and sort alphabetically, or by most current or less current. You can also go into the settings determine what happen after the countdown is over. You can select show “Done” or continue counting up, which will display a count of how long it has been since the event launched. Currently it is $.99 cents in the app store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countdown+++/id573550084?mt=8

The CountDown Days Since, Days Until is very similar to the Countdown +++ app. It allows you to set title, date, icons, and backgrounds as well as a number of other features. You have the ability to use your own photos as backgrounds. The major differences I found between the two apps was this one allows you to import events from your calendar and share events via facebook, tweets, text, and emails. Countdown Days Since, Days Until is free. Check both apps out at the App store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countdown-days-since-days/id732814593?mt=8

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Fun, iPad

Customizing the Grade Book: Smart Views

leave a comment »

A Smart View is a focused look at predefined Grade Center categories. It shows only the data that matches a set of criteria specified. Smart Views are useful to quickly find data when the Grade Center includes a great number of students and columns.

Smart Views allow Instructors to create views based on performance criteria for gradable items such as assessments or assignments. There are five different types of Smart Views that specify the student information:

  • Course Group: Subsections of students. (Course Groups must be created before they can be used as selection criteria.)
  • Performance: Student performance on a single item such as a mid-term exam.
  • User: Individual students.
  • Category and Status: Create a Smart View based on category and status.
  • Custom: A query for selecting students using a combination of attributes.
  • Once built and saved, Smart Views become a selectable item on the Smart View page, enabling easy navigation from one view to another.

Changing to Smart Views

  • Go to the Full Grade Center> Filter> Change Current View
Smart View Filter

Smart View Filter


Create a SmartView

  • From the Full Grade Center> Manage> Smart Views
Create Smart View

Create Smart View


  • From the SmartView Screen> Create SmartView> Fill out the form> Click Submit
Smart View

Smart View Form

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

Customizing the Grade Book: Using Categories

with 2 comments

A Grade Center Category is a classification of a column in the Grade Center such as, “Test,” or “Quiz.” Uses include:

  • Categories are helpful in organizing the Grade Center
  • Categories may also be used when creating Smart Views.
  • Categories can integrate with Grade Center columns such as Weighted Grade Column.
  • Categories can also be used in the creation of a Report.

Default Grade Center Categories

  • Assignment
  • Discussion
  • Survey
  • Test

Many instructors like to customize their categories to help distinguish between a quiz or an exam, or homework and a test. This comes in particularly handy if weighted grades are an issue. For instance, you can customize the weighted column to have a higher percent weight for exams than for quizzes.

Create Categories

  • From the Full Grade Center> Manage> Categories> Create Category
Grade Center Categories

Grade Center Categories

Change a Column Category

When a grade column is created in BlackBoard, it will be given the category of the tool used to create the column, such as Test when you create a text or quiz. At the time of creation you can change the category or you can change it later. You must create the category before you attempt to change the Category. To change a column category in the Grade Center:

  • From the Full Grade Center>Click Action Link beside Column Label> Edit Column Information> Category
Edit Item Catagory

Edit Item Catagory


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

Grade Exempts BlackBoard 9.1.12

leave a comment »

Instructors can Exempt students from any grade item in the Grade Center. Exempted items are not added to any statistical or total grade calculations.

How to Exempt a Grade from the Grade Center Page

  • From the contextual menu (Action Link) for the column of the student you want to exempt from an activity and select Exempt Grade.
Exempts in Grade Center

Exempts in Grade Center

Before the exempt Student One has 19 points or 100 percent for their running total, Student Two has 5 points or 26.32 percent of their running total. Once the grade has been exempt, Student One is unaffected. Student Two points remain the same but now they are at 100 percent of their running total.

How to Clear the Exemption

  • From the contextual menu next to the Exempted item, select Clear Exemption.

How to Add Comments to an Exemption

  • From the contextual menu next to the Exempted item, select Quick Comment.
  • Type in the comments in the Feedback to User and Grading Notes fields.
  • Click Submit.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

%d bloggers like this: