Friday, February 13, 2015

Visa New App to Help Prevent Fraud

Look forward to the release of a new app, Visa Mobile Location Confirmation for your phone if you use a Visa credit card.  The app is designed to help prevent fraud. The software company where it is being developed in Finsphere.  CNET has an article with the details.

In short, it is designed to verify your location using GPS on the phone - where you are making the transaction.  The idea is that if you are purchasing something with the Visa card, you will have your phone with you.  The app is an opt-in service.

You can read more with the CNET news article at

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Microsoft Office Clip Art - gone

I read several weeks ago that Microsoft Clip Art was going to disappear  - and it has.  If you are using Microsoft Office 365, you will notice it is no longer a choice on the insert menu. 
You can read more about it in the article, Microsoft is Killing Off Clip Art in Favor of Bing Images

The article, How to Find Images for Office Documents Now that Microsoft's Killing Clip Art provides information on how find copyright free images with the Bing search engine.  Bing does have images that are licensed with Creative Commons (CC) licensing, however, there are 6 different CC licenses.  If you want to use an image for a commercial product, like a book, you need to verify that you have permission to do so. 

Outlook App Finally Available

I read in the New York Times today that the Outlook app was released last week.  It is available for iPhones, Android phones, and the iPad.  The app is free.  I was using OWA as an Outlook app, but it did not have the robust features of Outlook.  If you use Outlook, try out the app. 

To learn more, go to

Monday, January 19, 2015

Adding YouTube Videos to iBooks Author

I am creating an eBook on the history of bioethics for nurses while also learning more about using iBooks Author.  I did not see an iBooks Author widget for YouTube videos, so I did a web search.  I found a free EASY to use website entitled with lots of neat widgets including one for YouTube. Bookry has a short video demonstrating the process.

Adding a YouTube video to an iBooks Author ebook is a four-step process - but it is quick and easy!
  1. First create an eBook - just a title with a placeholder for widgets.
  2. Add the YouTube widget to the Bookry ebook - name the YouTube video the subject of the video, add the name of the video, and the YouTube URL.
  3. Save the YouTube video to your Mac downloads folder.
  4. Drag the widget from the Mac downloads folder into your iBooks Author ebook.  From there you can use the Inspector to format and title the video.

Creating Digital Books

I am preparing for a workshop on creating eBooks.  I will demonstrate Apple iWork Pages, iBooks Author, and SoftChalk.  My special interest is creating interactive books.
  • iWork Pages will save a file in an ePub format, which can be viewed on mobile devices.  The downside, is that the digital books are not interactive. 
  • iBooks Author is my choice of platform.  The updates to the free software make it very easy to create interaction.  The downside is that you must use a Mac and that the books are available in iBooks Author for iBooks.  You can save the books as a PDF file, but then you lose all of the interaction.
  • SoftChalk is a great tool to use when creating online lessons.  You can also design eBooks with the software and save them in an ePub format.  Although, SoftChalk indicates that there are a variety of interactive tools you can use with the ePub, I was able to only to create a one item interactive quiz.  Drag and drop and timeline revealed raw code.  I reported the problem.  The SoftChalk ePub feature is in beta development.  The other downside to SoftChalk is that the software is not free.  I am able to use it because our University has a site license. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Slide Presentation Design - There is an Exception to Every Rule

When I teach slide presentation design - the main thrust is for designers who use bullets to create messages.  To that extent, I recommend use of no more than 2-3 fonts, font color and the use of the 6x6 rule.  The 6x6 rule is no more than 6-7 words on a line and no more than 6 lines per slide. 

When attending the Symposium of the Future of Textbooks last week, I was reminded of exceptions to the rules I just stated. Cable Green did an amazing presentation (as he always does) on open education.  His slides punctuated his presentations.  Of course, his slides are available for re-use and re-mixing with the Creative Commons license.  The link to the slide presentation he did last Thursday evening is at

On Friday, David Wiley, was the opening plenary speaker.  He spoke on affordable education. 
His slides are also available for re-use and re-mixing with the Creative Commons license.  The link for his slides is at

I suggest that you take a few moments to review the slides from the links above.  Notice, that they were used to supplement presentations.  Both presentations were outstanding.  If you have an opportunity to hear with of the presenters - do just that. 

How to Use Hog Wild Questions - Interesting Concept

I was reviewing abstracts for a conference and ran across a concept developed by Ben Johnson - How to Use Hog Wild Questions.  Johnson suggests that the instructor could use Bloom's taxonomy and develop question while constructing a lesson.  It makes sense.  As I look forward to tweaking courses for next semester and developing a new one - I plan to use the concept. 

My idea is to "flip a lesson" into an interactive eBook chapter.  SoftChalk v9 and iBooks Author both provide ways to create an interactive ebook.  I will work on developing questions for the chapters using Johnson's approach.

You can read more about Johnson's concept on his blog at