Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Green Information Technology Solutions: Font Type Can Make a Difference

I serve on a strategic planning for using information technology.  The use of greener solutions has come up several times. The January issue of Campus Technology has an article, Green Flash, on the topic.  According to the author, Jennifer Grayson, printer ink costs almost $8,000/gallon.  Wow!!  That said, it certainly is believable.  To use less ink, Victor Gosnell, the chief technology office at Gosnell recommended using a "green friendly" font - Century Gothic. Read more about printing costs and the font in the April 2009 article from Printer.com, Printing Costs: Does Font Choice Make a Difference? 
The printer ink cost information from the article is summarized in a table shown below.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

eBooks and Helpful Apps

I read a great blog, How to Create Your Own Textbook — With or Without Apple. The best part was the information on apps that were new to me. The blog author identified three steps for creating an eBook:
1) Aggregation where you gather all of the information.  She mentioned Delicious and Diigo.  As I noted in an earlier blog, Diigo includes some fantastic tools for annotating websites that I need to use.
2) Curation where you identify what you want to accomplish and the pertinent resources.
3) Creation where you create a repository for the learning resources.

The author also provided guidelines for targeting readers.  The questions are pertinent to designing any learning content:
  1. How are learners going to use the information in the learning content?
  2. How will they demonstrate what they have learned?  How will the instructor know?
  3. What assessments are pertinent?
The apps that were new to me are:
  • Paper.li to create and publish your own newspaper
  • Twitted Times, another personal newspaper app
  • Scoop.it to create and publish magazines

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mobile Technologies and the Innovative Medical Home

Dr. W. suggested that I watch the webinar, Innovation in the Medical Home: How Mobile and Social Technologies Can Accelerate Health Behavior Changes, so I did!  The webinar supplements the information on telehealthcare in the Informatics and Nursing textbook. You can watch the video below.  It covers the topics of patient empowerment using mobile apps to manage diseases like congestive heart failure and diabetes.  It prompted me to explore many of the wonderful apps in the iTunes app store for diabetes! Amazing! Several of the apps should be perfect with clients who have metabolic syndrome.

Innovation in the Medical Home: How Mobile and Social Technologies Can Accelerate Health Behavior Changes from Loren Vandegrift on Vimeo.

Yellow Submarine iBook

This has been an interesting morning.  I downloaded The Yellow Submarine iBook. Great free book!!! The file size was too big for the iPhone but it worked on the iPad!!  It is a great example of an iBook for children (and their parents and grandparents).  Each colorful page has interactive components:
  • if you touch an object it makes a sound
  • little mini movies
The very end of the book includes all of the songs from the Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kingsoft Office - Another Free Office Suite Software for the PC

Kingsoft Office 2012 is free office suite software for the PC.  It features word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.  What is a bit surprising is that it also includes clipart and templates.  The download file size for the free version is only 82 MB. It features a standard menu (as opposed to a ribbon menu) with features that are very similar to Microsoft Office (see screenshot below).  A nice feature is that users can save the files as Microsoft Office file extensions by default. 

There is a mobile version of the software for the Android.

Users can upgrade to the standard or professional versions for either $49.95 or $69.95.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

iAnnotate PDF vs PDF-Notes & PDFpen

MacWorld had an article on a new app PDFpen which allows users to annotate PDF files.  pdf-notes and PDFpen are very similar to iAnnotate and identical in cost ($9.99).  iAnnotate PDF iPad App Review provides an excellent review of the iAnnotate app. What is very interesting is a free (ad supported) version of pdf-notes. Of course, I am always looking for free productivity tools for students who encumber great expenses while attending college, as well as others.  A brief comparison of the apps is noted below:
  • All include an comprehensive User Guide with screenshots and explanations.  Since the User Guide is a PDF file, users can try out the features while reading the guide.
  • All allow the users to link to their Dropbox to retrieve PDFs.  iAnnotate allows users to also connect to WebDAV, or a webpage.  I have only used Dropbox.
What makes pdf-notes distinctive is the the Settings function includes links to the pdf-notes blog, introduction in YouTube. You can also customize the bookshelf theme and change the icon color.  One other feature of pdf-notes is that it allows for mirroring of the iPad2.  Since it is a free app and the ads are not terribly annoying, it is certainly a worthwhile use.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CloudOn and iPad Insights

Had an email from a friend asking if there was a Microsoft Office app for the iPad.  I shared the information about CloudOn and SkyDrive.  What I discovered is that if the user is not really familiar with the iPad, those apps don't make much sense to those who are used a desktop or laptop PC - not good.

That goes back to my blog re iBooks Author - start simple. I really suggest that new users of iPads get familiar with the hardware.  Go to Lynda.com or YouTube to see if there are any free videos available to help shorten the learning curve. 

Most of my colleagues in the School of Nursing are seasoned users of Dropbox.  We have shared folders with committee members, friends, and family. Dropbox or any type of similar app is a must today. The start simple suggestion means that new iPad users be familiar with Dropbox before adding new apps like CloudOn. That said, remember that CloudOn is a "cloud" storage space meaning that it is not appropriate for files that have confidential information relating to private information, patients or students.

To make the journey simple - start with getting comfortable with the iPad and then slowly add cloud storage apps like Dropbox. Cloud storage apps mitigate the issue of not having a USB connection on the iPad.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reaction to an eBook Publisher Post on iBooks Author

iBooks Author is now a hot topic with many bloggers.  I read one by Steven Sande, iBooks Author: An eBook Publisher Looks at Apple's Textbook Creation App, that was especially insightful.  Sande is an eBook publisher.  He provided excellent insight into the power of the iBook Author widgets that I had overlooked in my preview.  I had not noted the ability to create quizzes in iBooks and the differences in the iBook templates.  He also wrote a succinct and helpful description of the section of the license agreement and contrasts the restrictions with Amazon Kindle bookstore. 

My take on the issue to that eBook authors need to decide what they want to accomplish.  If they want iBook Author interactive features, they have to limit distribution of their books in the iBookstore with the realization that the eBooks can be viewed only with the iPad2. If iBook Author features are not necessary, authors can create the eBooks with Microsoft Word or Apple iWorks Pages and distribute the eBook in both eBookstores.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Thoughts re iBooks Author

After exploring iBooks Author and downloading the sample book chapter from Life on Earth, new concerns unfold.
  • The Life on Earth download is an example of one chapter, yet the file is almost 1 gigabite (GB) in size and took 44 minutes to download to the Mac this morning.  According to iBooks Author, books uploaded to the iBookstore can be a maximum size of 2 GB or less.  
  • iBooks Author help also notes that users with iPads that use the 3G network cannot download books larger than 20 MB. 
  • There certainly will be a learning curve to develop or access copyright free graphics and media to use in the iBook.  It is challenging to get quality resources for a print book, much less an iBook.  
I would like to create a couple of electronic books.  Guess I will have to use the "start simple" philosophy and practice with the templates in iBooks Author.  This topic would be a great one for the MERLOT/Sloan Emerging Technologies conference this summer.  Hopefully, we will see some papers for proposed presentations submitted.

Comic Relief

This comic was shared by Stella Bellman (the Maricopa Community College mannequin) on Facebook.  Too funny! - Dedicated to all of the wonderful Georgia College students studying to take the NCLEX exam...
(Source: http://content.screencast.com/users/allnurses/folders/Camtasia/media/d7e13299-40ca-4608-b894-4021dc8ba175/NCLEX_coffee_bill.gif)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More on iBook Author

Okay, I was able to get my Mac laptop operating system updated to Lion yesterday so that I could get access to iBooks Author.  I downloaded the app to my Applications folder.  The app is in Mac App Store.  Click on the Apple in the top left side of the Mac screen and then click on App Store.

The app is very similar to Pages and Keynote and very easy to use.  I read an interesting article in MacWorld about the app - Four Open Questions about iBooks Author.  The article includes excellent points and certainly worth reading.

iBooks Author Help indicated that any iBooks that you create can either be uploaded to the iBookstore or exported as PDF or text formats, but not ePub. iBooks Author Help also provides guidelines about file size.  File size is an important consideration.  As an example it took 30 minutes for me to download the sample iBook to my iPad.

Will share more information about this very innovative app later after more experimenting....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Informatics and Nursing 4th edition

I received a pre-publication copy of the 4th edition of the Informatics and Nursing textbook in the mail today.  I really hope that users continue to find it readable and a great source of learning.
  • The chapter on hardware is now included in the appendix. 
  • Chapter 12 on mobile computing includes screenshots of the iPhone and iPad, as well as some detailed information on cell phones, iPads, and other mobile devices.  
  • The chapters on office software include references to the software for the Mac and free office software such as OpenOffice.org and Google docs. 
  • Users will be able to download the files used for the textbook screenshots to interact with the data. 
  • The other updates include meaningful use, the HITECH Act, data security, disaster recovery, and more about HIPAA. 
  • Student and faculty support will be available online at http://thepoint/lww.com/Sewell4e.   
  • The website does indicate that the book will be available as an eBook.  I hope that the hyperlinks work! 
I have included a screenshot of the textbook cover below.

Transnational Distance Learning and Marketing Opportunities for Universities

I co-authored a chapter with Lynn Aaron and Laura Franklin in 2011 for a book entitled, Transnational Distance Learning and Marketing Opportunities for Universities.  The book was edited by Bob Hogan.  Our chapter was titled, Open Educational Resources and the Impact of MERLOT on Transnational Education. The book was just released by IGI Global Publishers.

The most interesting part of my research for the book related to people who have Internet access via mobile devices (primarily cell phones), but who live "off the grid" meaning that they do not have electricity.  Although there was no electricity, there was cellular service access.  According to Cisco, as of 2010, there were 48 million people in 32 countries using mobile devices, but who had no electricity (p. 179). How?  
  • Pay for charge stations where the user takes the phone to a shop that charges the phone for a small fee, for example $0.25 USD
  • A charger attached to a bicycle wheel spokes which transforms the energy from the turning wheel to power a“smart charger
  • A device placed in a shoe that captures the energy when a person walks or runs 
  • Solar charges for mobile phones
Cisco. (2011). Cisco visual networking index: Global mobile data traffic forecast, 2010-2015.
Cisco issued an update to the growth of networking in 2014.  
Cisco (2014, June 10). Cisco visual networking index:  Forecast and methodology, 2013-1018.  It provides an insight into how Internet use is rapidly increasing around the world. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

iBooks Author Demonstration

Am including a short video demonstrating iBooks Author below.  The app looks very similar to Pages and Keynote. 

Apple Education Update

The Apple Education Event was this morning at 10 AM.  MacWorld blogged the event so it was the next best thing from being there.  Apple introduced iBooks 2 and iBooks Author.  iBooks 2 is designed to create interactive searchable textbooks that can include video and animations. 

iBooks Author is a FREE app for creating the interactive books.  It is only available for the Mac and you need the Mac OS 10.7 or higher.  Of course, my Mac only has 10.6 :-(.  I will take it to work tomorrow to get the OS upgraded to get the opportunity to use the authoring software.  In my "spare" time, I want to get started on a iBook textbook on using Access for nurses. 

The focus is on K-12.  There was discussion about using the iTunes U app for courses.  For more information on the event read the article in the Washington PostMacWorld is a great resource to learn more. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


BTW - I am against SOPA.  Go to Wikipedia to be able to cast your "vote" for or against. 

Apple Education Event

Stay tuned for the Apple Education Event that is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 AM.  You can read more at http://techland.time.com/2012/01/18/rumor-roundup-what-to-expect-from-apples-education-event/

As usual, there are lots of rumors.  One is that the event is targeted to help K-12 students.  We will know much more tomorrow!

MERLOT/ Sloan C - Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is now open for the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Conference that is sponsored by MERLOT and Sloan Consortium.  The conference will be held July 25-27, 2012 at
The Venetian | Palazzo Resort - Las Vegas, Nevada.

The conference is always an outstanding one!

For more information, go to http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2012/et4online/welcome 

This year I will be reviewing papers for the Faculty and Student Development track.
The tracks are:
Digital Learning Environments & Communities
Accessible Learning for All
Evidence-based Learning and Reflection
Learning And Data Analytics
Faculty and Student Development
Innovation in Media and Tools

Changes in Blogger

The last few weeks, I noticed a change in Blogger.  When I enter the URL, it opens a page with analytics about my blog.  I can see how many people read the blog on a daily basis and therefore, which posts are the more popular ones.  The topic of analytics is one that I brought up at a strategic planning committee for technology at the university.  I believe that we really need to harness the knowledge we can gain from the use of analytics in higher education.

Kno - Digital textbooks for the iPad

I read an email from Jim W. yesterday about Kno.  The company was started by a person who used to work for Apple.  Kno provides digital textbooks for the iPad.  It allows the reader to set goals and see comparisons with other students.  There was an article about the app on CNET this morning. You can read more about Kno from their website at http://www.kno.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org) is doing great!  I invite you to join and contribute, if you have not already done so.  If you recommend a site in the Health Sciences category of MERLOT for others, please let me know... Thank you so much!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Augmented Reality

I attended an interesting session on augmented reality at the Sloan-C, MERLOT, Moodle meeting last week. The concept has fascinating implications for the teaching/learning process.  Imagine holding a piece of paper with a block like stamp (similar in function to a bar code) on it in front of a computer camera and watching images come to life, allowing you to interact with the images. If you watch television, you probably have viewed some commercial ads with augmented reality.  Augmented reality is defined as a blend of real life with digital images.

You can view an example at http://livingsasquatch.com/ .  The web site allows you to print the augmented reality stamp and then to add communication.  I will experiment with the web site this week.

In search of other resources, I stumbled across iPhone apps that use augmented reality at http://mashable.com/2009/12/05/augmented-reality-iphone/ .

Monday, January 9, 2012

Common Cartridge

If you noted when I posted the update on the MERLOT Content Builder, one of the new features was "Common Cartridge."  That term is not very meaningful for most nurses and nurse educators - YET.  It refers to a standard similar to SCORM (shareable content object reference model) - but supposedly better.  It is difficult to get excited about standards except when they help with interoperability.

Common cartridge should be really helpful for colleges and universities who change learning management systems.  For example the University System of Georgia is changing from BlackBoard Vista to Desire 2 Learn. Of course, Vista has been retired, so it is not compliant with Common Cartridge.  Without having the experience, it is difficult to talk about the concept except theoretically.

For more information on Common Cartridge, read Doug Lederman's 2006 article in Higher Ed at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/09/cartridge 
Michael Feldstein also has a 2006 blog on the topic at http://mfeldstein.com/why_teachers_unions_should_demand_support_for_the_ims_common_cartridge_stan/

Note those two articles were written almost seven years ago.  The process to disseminate the standard has been very slow.

The IMS Global Learning Consortium website has lots of information about the standard at http://www.imsglobal.org/cc/alliance.html 

SkyDrive for the iPad

Several months ago I wrote a blog about Microsoft OneNote for the iPad.  OneNote is the Microsoft version of Evernote.  It allows you to take notes with text or media and organize them into notebooks.  In addition to the CloudOn app, Microsoft has developed SkyDrive for the iPad.  In other words, I can access the 25 GB of Microsoft Office cloud storage.  Like the CloudOn app, you need to have the "purchased" Microsoft Office on a computer.  What SkyDrive does, it to provide cloud access to huge amounts of storage space.  It looks like more and more, we are gravitating to using the cloud for file access and storage.  For more information, go to http://lifehacker.com/5873076/windows-live-skydrive-available-for-ios-offering-25gb-of-cloud-storage-for-your-iphone?tag=downloads


Martha sent me a link about a new free iPad app this morning.  The app is called CloudOn.  You can edit and view Microsoft Office files using it.  That means that I would not have to purchase QuickOffice or Pages for the iPad, but I would have to have Microsoft Office on a personal computer somewhere.  In other words, it allows the user to use Word or Excel to edit files. When I opened a Word .docx file, the menu looks absolutely identical to a Microsoft Word for the desktop.  For more information, go to:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

MERLOT Updated Content Builder

I copied an email that I recently received below.  MERLOT has improved the Content Builder to make it easier to create learning resources.  Once the learning resources are built, the user can add them to the MERLOT database.  This a a fantastic opportunity for instructors to make their resources public for students and others who could benefit.

If you use the MERLOT Content Builder and would like to have the learning resource peer reviewed, make an attempt not to have the resource so tightly coupled with a particular course that others could not easily benefit. 

MERLOT announces Content Builder 2.0 – a significant upgrade to their instructional web authoring system. 
Easier to use.  Easier to build pages.  Easier to store in the cloud. 

Long Beach, CA, USA, December 2011. MERLOT announced today the immediate availability of a major release of its authoring website system, MERLOT Content Builder.

This new release provides an improved interface that allows instructors to more easily manage, organize, and navigate through their authored web material.  The new version supports all previously developed Content Builder material.

Instructors can develop web pages in many ways, including using library templates for e-portfolios, lesson plans, pedagogical analysis, student reflection, online courses, tutorials, presentations, and others.  Examples can be seen at MERLOT Effective Uses of the MERLOT Content Builder Tool  (which was created using the new Content Builder).  There is also a new version of the Quick Start Guide to help you get familiar with the Content Builder. 

Instructors can:
·         Easily create instructional web pages and websites
  • Download IMS-certified Common Cartridges of the web pages and websites built in Content Builder to use in applications that support the Common Cartridge format
  • Add a Creative Commons license to web pages and websites created with Content Builder
  • Contribute web pages and websites directly  to the MERLOT repository
To learn more, visit our information page or contact the MERLOT Webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org

Saturday, January 7, 2012

December JOLT Articles

December got away from me.  I usually post the newest articles in the Online Journal of Learning and Teaching (JOLT).   Am posting the information below: You can read the articles at http://jolt.merlot.org/

JOLT December 2011 Contents

Student Exam Participation and Performances in a Web-Enhanced Traditional and Hybrid Allied Health Biology Course
Abass S. Abdullahi

Exploring the Virtual Classroom: What Students Need to Know (and Teachers Should Consider)
Garry Falloon

Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Grading Rubric for Online Discussions
Ann M. Solan and Nikolaos Linardopoulos

A Comparison of Student Learning Outcomes in Traditional and Online Personal Finance Courses
Eddie J. Ary and Christopher W. Brune

A Brief Look at Online Tutorial Experiences of Older Students in Remedial College Mathematics
Greg A. Baugher

Using Technology to Reduce the Effects of Missed Classes for Student-Athlete
Lauren DeSantis, Coleen Pantalone, and Frederick Wiseman

Selecting Delivery Systems and Media to Facilitate Blended Learning: A Systematic Process based on Skill Level, Content Stability, Cost and Instructional Strategy
Atsusi Hirumi, George Bradford, and Leanne Rutherford

Differences in Student Characteristics in Face-to-Face and Online Cohorts in a Teacher Preparation Program in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Deirdre M. Curle and Janet R. Jamieson

What the Best Online Teachers Should Do
T. M. Brinthaupt, L. S. Fisher, J. G. Gardner, D. M. Raffo, and J. B. Woodard

Digital Natives: Ten Years After
Apostolos Koutropoulos

Social Media Use in Higher Education: Key Areas to Consider for Educators
Julia E. Rodriguez

E-Advising Excellence: The New Frontier in Faculty Advising
Leora Waldner, Dayna McDaniel, and Murray Widener

Theorizing in Distance Education: The Critical Quest for Conceptual Foundations
Rene Birochi and Marlei Pozzebon

Crowdsourcing Higher Education: A Design Proposal for Distributed Learning
Michael Anderson

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Electronic Health Records

There are several free electronic health records worth exploring listed below.  From what I understand, the revenue to support the use comes from advertising and/or links to services, such as billing.  Has anyone had any experience with use?  Are there others that I have not yet discovered?  If so, please share.  I am interested in finding a EHR for a clinic that provides indigent care services.

Open EMR http://www.oemr.org/ (ambulatory care)
Drchrono https://drchrono.com/ (iPad and iPhone app)