You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Back to School’ tag.

It’s free!

I ended my last post with hoping that iPad works with Blackboard. It does, and I give it a solid B+/A.

I have used my iPad for reading my textbooks, accessing both my courses, opening all the links, folders, assignments, discussion boards and everything else that I need on Blackboard. By clicking on “Quick View”‘, I can create and reply to threads on Discussion Board. I am not sure if Quick View is something that needs to be enabled by the instructor. Both of my courses have that option. If you do not see it on the lower left side of the menu bar below Tools, ask your instructor to add it.

If you plan to post a long DB entry, I do not recommend typing directly into the comment box. The scroll feature with the comment box does not work on the iPad. If your entry is long, you cannot see all of it – only the amount of text that fits in the comment box is viewable. So, if you want to see what you wrote in the first paragraph and you are already on paragraph four, you cannot see or access paragraph one. It is there; you just cannot see it. You can click preview post and view it that way, but you cannot edit it unless the portion that needs to be edited is in the comment box. This is a bit hard to explain, so you may have to find out the hard way yourself.

As I said I would do in my last blog post, I purchased the Pages app for $9.99. It permits me to create a Word-type document, edit it, save it and seamlessly email it to myself so I can download it to a computer and then upload it into Blackboard. It is not as difficult or convoluted as it may sound. There is no “desktop” on the iPad and I have not yet found a way of uploading my saved Pages document directly into Blackboard. I also have not mastered “copy and paste” yet. It is kind of hard on a touchpad.

An added benefit to the Pages app is that I can open all Word documents in Blackboard – even Word 2007. Without Pages, I could open some but not all of them. Now, any Word document that otherwise does not open in Blackboard opens automatically in Pages. I am still undecided about buying the Numbers (Excel) app. I was able to open an Excel spreadsheet on Blackboard without it.

I am typing this blog post in Pages and I will email it to myself, download it to my desktop and copy the text into WordPress. The reasons are the same as for Blackboard – the comment box issue and my copy and paste issues on iPad. As an aside, The SPS Community Blog looks great on the iPad. But, posting comments to someone else’s blog entry does not work. Take care of that please, WordPress people?

Dr. Helft graciously commented on my last post and offered to look into making Blackboard more accessible to the iPad and spreading the word among faculty. In a follow-up email, she expressed some issues with the current version of Blackboard but advised that those would be addressed in the next upgrade. Thank you Dr. Helft. I am sure that the iPad will be used much more frequently with Blackboard and I am sure that by the time the next Blackboard version is available, it will be completely user-friendly with iPad and other tablets. Maybe even an app version will be ready.

Does anyone use an iPad or another tablet with Blackboard? How do you like it?

Mary Casey is a student in the MS in Business Leadership and Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is an alumnae of Lehman College. She is an administrator for a university in NYC. She loves to travel and wants to see as much of the world as possible. Mary hopes to get more comments on the SPS blog than she received on the community/political blog that she created and maintained from 2002 to 2004.

Advertisements

All the time I went to school, from 1st grade through college, I loved school supplies. The best part of late August was buying the new notebooks, loose leaf binders, pens, markers, protractors and everything else that went along with the new school year. Of course, all the new toys needed a nice home and the highlight was the new book bag. My love of school supplies carried over to when my kids went through school, although everything was more expensive, fancier and complicated.

When I started SPS last year, I bought e-textbooks and printed out the chapters one by one so I could read them while I commuted to work. Although the e-textbook was less expensive, I didn’t have to carry a heavy book, and I was spared the ordeal of trying to sell it back at the end of the semester. I spent a lot of time, killed a lot of trees and went through many ink cartridges.

At the end of the spring semester, I decided to buy a tablet. After some research, I learned that the online textbook vendor had an app only for the iPad, so that is what I purchased. I tried it with Blackboard and found that it was useful only if the instructor enabled “Quick View”. So, at first I used it mostly for email and web surfing.

I quickly discovered the joys of downloading e-books from the public library and caught up on all my fun summer reading – everything from the Peoples’ History of the United States to the Stieg Larsson trilogy to trashy summer novels. I downloaded a bunch of classics for free (the complete works of Shakespeare, the Canterbury Tales, The Divine Comedy and many other books I owned but were lost in a fire years ago). Have you tried to check out a classic from the library recently? They are dusty, they smell and the pages feel funky.

Last week, I took the plunge and downloaded my fall textbooks. It took a little trial and error and there are limitations on how many chapters  can be downloaded at one time (I bought the cheaper wireless-only version of the iPad and not the 3G model), but it worked! I began reading my Economics and Marketing textbooks off-line while commuting to and from work. When I don’t feel like reading on the bus, I can do the USA Today crossword puzzle without an Internet connection via its app.

Although typing on the iPad takes some getting used to, I will download the Pages app for $9.99 and see if I can delay replacing my ancient and slow iBook.

Many critics call the iPad an expensive toy, a frivolous waste of money and a glorified smartphone. However, it has made my life so much easier and I can’t imagine going to school or doing business without one. Can you?

Now, lets hope it works with Blackboard . . .

Mary Casey is a student in the MS in Business Leadership and Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is an alumnae of Lehman College.  She is an administrator for a university in NYC.  She loves to travel and wants to see as much of the world as possible.  Mary hopes to get more comments on the SPS blog than she received on the community/political blog that she created and maintained from 2002 to 2004.