The University of San Francisco: Information Technology Services
Information Technology
Center for Instruction and Technology

Center for Instruction and Technology
CIT Quarterly Newsletter - January 2012

Blackboard Exemplary Course Program

Blackboard Exemplary Course ProgramThe Center for Instruction and Technology is pleased to announce the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program to create greater awareness of achievements by faculty who are finding new ways to design instruction using Blackboard.  The program also recognizes two faculty who have demonstrated the practice of exemplary course design for online instruction.

Participants in the program will have an opportunity to do the followings:
  • Learn course design best practices
  • Develop a new course perspective by seeing colleagues’ course designs and attending workshops
  • Apply lessons learned from the Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric to a course design
  • Receive detailed feedback on course(s) submitted for review
  • Receive recognition for your accomplishments and participation
Two awards will be granted: the Novice and the Exemplar. The award recipients will present their projects at an event to be held at the Center for Instruction and Technology in late Spring 2012.

We hope that you will consider participating in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program. Submission deadline is April 1, 2012 @ 11:59 pm. [Read more]

Technology Certificate Program

Technology Certificate ProgramIn the coming year, we are offering the Technology Certificate Program again for a second time to assist faculty and staff in meeting technology goals.

Just select five (5) classes from one of four technology tracks to successfully complete your certificate, in addition to completing a work-related project within a calendar year. Certificates will be awarded to all participants who complete the program requirements at three periods throughout the year: May, August and December. Also, the CIT will conclude the program with a lunchtime celebration which will showcase all completed projects. [Read more]

Faculty Learning Technologies Fair on
January 19, 2012

Mark your Calendar for Learning, Kindle Fire Raffles and Fun...

Faculty Learning Technology FairJoin us at the first Faculty Learning Technologies Fair on January 19 from 10:00am-2:00pm in the CIT Labs!

On that day, technology vendor partners such as Apple, Blackboard, iClicker and many more will be on campus. There are also USF faculty presenting new technologies applicable to our faculty and students inside and outside the classroom. If you are planning to attend this event, please kindly RSVP. Lunch will be provided. [Read more]

Coming to the CIT Lab - Photoshop Elements 10!!

The new Photoshop Elements 10 offers many new features for our photography fans, and still at a very affordable price of $80.00. You will find a lot of practical features you can use for your next editing project!  Here are some….

PSE 10In the Full Edit mode, there are three new text tools in the new package that you can use to type text on a shape, on selection or on a custom path that you draw.  Another feature is that Adobe has added is more than 30 new options of effects and filters when you are using  the Smart Brush tool.  You can now paint a Pencil Sketch or Oil Pastel effect  over an area of an image, easily add snow, or apply other options from tints and texture area.  Another helpful feature is the Crop tool grid overlay, which applies the Rule of Thirds to help you with determining natural focus points in your images.

PSE 10In the Guided Edit mode, try the new Depth of Field tool if you ever want to turn your photo quickly into something soft and dreamy. The new Orton Effect is popularized by the photographer, Michael Orton.  Using image blur and gradient tool on a selected focus area, you will be able to create a soft glowing effect.  Thinking of a way to make an image more interesting? Try the new Photo Stack tool, which breaks up a single image into separate pieces of smaller pictures, allowing you to reposition or resize them into a fun collage with custom borders and background.

To share and to create your project, there are new options to create different types of photo books. And as for sharing, you now have the ability to tag your photos with the new Face-tagging to Facebook feature, and sharing videos to YouTube directly from the Organizer.

See you in the next workshop on Photoshop Elements 10.

Major Higher Education Textbook Publishers Going Digital

Digital TextbookSince the release of the Amazon Kindle in 2007, e-readers have proliferated in the literary market. Among dozens of new products, the top five, according to CNET, are the Kindle Touch, Kindle 2011, and the Kindle Fire by Amazon; and the Nook Simple Touch Reader and Nook Tablet by Barnes & Noble. In 2011, Amazon announced that e-books have exceeded printed books in sales. Despite the surge in e-books and e-reader technology, we would like to focus on the advantages of these technologies for the consumer, and whether we can foresee higher education taking advantage of them for educational purposes.

Some of the advantages for e-books and e-readers can include the following: an e-reader may contain thousands of titles limited only by memory capacity, takes up little room or weight, may be readable in low light, can take advantage of screen-reader software for the visually impaired, can be searchable by key terms, access to definitions, highlighting, bookmarking and annotations, and last but not least, e-books are often cheaper. This is all very fine and well, but what is the utility for college students?

What most of these e-books lack in terms of applicability to higher education is a sophisticated level of interactivity that promotes content exploration, and self-monitoring of the learning process. Major educational publishers have already taken note of the rising trend in digital publications, as well as the disparity between “traditional” e-books and interactive texts, and are moving toward the digitization of some of their top selling titles. However, their aim is not merely to parrot what current e-readers offer, but to move forward and develop learning experiences that are rich, interactive, and effective. [Read more]
Director's Note

Welcome to the CIT's second quarterly electronic newsletter. Beginning in 2012, we’ll be offering several new programs to support the advancement of technology in education.

The first is the CIT Technology Certificate Program. This program was first offered in 2009 and is being re-introduced to support faculty and staff professional development. The second is the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program, designed to support and inspire instructors to take another look at how they are using Blackboard and to re-think how the Learning Management System (LMS) can best facilitate learning outside the physical classroom. The third is the Faculty Learning Technologies Fair, taking place in the CIT on January 19th. The fair is our first attempt to rally together both our Learning Technology vendor partners and USF faculty to share some of the exciting possibilities for educational technology today.
Come join us!

- John Bansavich

Join the DonsApps User Group!


When USF migrated to DonsApps powered by Google for mail, calendaring, and documents, I became a part of the Google Apps User group and saw the advantages of having a forum to discuss issues and to seek and offer solutions using these tools.  However, much of the discussion that came up were more for the system administrators and policy makers.  I thought perhaps it’s time to have a group here at USF that focuses on the people who use DonsApps every day-us!

Beginning in January, the DonsApps User Group will meet and discuss new features and changes to DonsApps as well as share concerns, questions or solutions.  Faculty and staff are welcome to join the group, whether you are just beginning to use DonsApps or working with it everyday.

Topics can cover all of the core tools (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, GoogleTalk), as well as the newly added consumer tools like Blogger.  I expect to meet every two months but the group can decide how often.  Remember that we are all developers in some fashion!  Please contact me at if you are interested. 

- Ken Yoshioka

Training Break

No matter if you are faculty or staff, we surely have the right class for you! So visit our Training Calendar and register online. Our training calendar is updated quarterly. Group training and individual training are available.