Bonus Fall Online Education News You Can Use

Online Education Initiative (OEI) Forum next Friday, 10/31

The MiraCosta Online Educators committee has organized an OEI forum next Friday, 1:30-2:30 pm, in the Little Theater (OC 3601). The event takes place following a Faculty Assembly meeting for full-time faculty. Food will be available starting at 1:15 outside the Little Theater and may be taken inside during the forum. As you likely are aware, MiraCosta is one of 24 CCCs selected as a pilot school in the Online Education Initiative. This forum will give an opportunity for open discussion about the OEI’s goals and timelines, MiraCosta’s participation, faculty interest and concerns, etc.

Bb Grader app for iPad now available

Blackboard has released a free iPad app for instructors that makes grading assignments via an iPad simple and powerful, and our Blackboard system is now configured properly to enable its use. You can use a stylus to annotate papers as well as giving audio or video feedback. This video demonstrates the capabilities. If you’d like to try it out but don’t have an iPad, remember that the TIC has some iPads available for 2-week checkout. Contact Karen Korstad to learn more.

Student Orientations to Online Learning complete for fall           

Last week the final two fall Student Orientation to Online Learning sessions were offered. 156 students attended this semester, bringing the total attendance since spring to 260 students. If you are incentivizing student attendance, please contact me for a list.

Professional Learning Opportunities – Get Flex Credit

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

October Online Ed News You Can Use

Are we really halfway to winter break already?!?

Student Support, Online – especially for midterms!

Please remind your students about MiraCosta’s free online tutoringonline writing support, and 24×7 Ask-A-Librarian (under Ask Us) services available to all students.

Final Fall Student Orientations to Online Learning

10/14, 1-2 pm in OC 1201, and 10/16, 5:30-6:30 pm online. See TASC’s site for details and links to sign up for and attend the online session.

Blackboard Issues

Two concerns have come up more frequently this fall with Blackboard. One: anyone with an AOL or Yahoo email address sending out email to class members via Blackboard (or Moodle) will find that many will not receive that email due to changes that AOL and Yahoo made last spring to reduce spam. Two: cutting-and-pasting into the text editor in Blackboard yields inconsistent results. This is a complex issue involving browser security settings as well as Blackboard-specific bugs, and the details vary greatly depending on context. Contact me if you’d like more information about either of these.

Online Education Initiative (OEI) Update

The statewide Online Education Initiative continues. As one of 24 pilot colleges, a handful of MiraCosta departments/faculty are considering applying to offer classes through the pilot this spring, incorporating new student readiness resources the OEI is developing. Other key initiatives of the OEI at present are the selection of an online tutoring service and a common course management system. The MiraCosta Online Educators committee is hoping to host a faculty forum on the OEI in the next several weeks – look for more information soon.

Professional Learning Opportunities – Get Flex Credit

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

Searching for Images in Google that are free to use

Google has an extensive collection of images available.  Many of them are free to use.  Start by navigating to the following website in your browser.

Type in your subject and click the search button. Google Search

On the results page

  1. Click on the Search tools button
  2. Now you can click Size, Color, Type, Time, Usage Rights, or More Tools to search by those characteristics of the image.  More Tools currently allows you to display the image sizes on the results page.

Google Search

For example, if you were looking for a free to use image of a cat in the orange color you could narrow your results in Color and Usage rights as follows.

Google Cats Search

When you want to restart your search:

  1.  Select Clear
  2. Then click the Search Tools button and start your search again.



How to be a Google Power User

If you are using Jing, it is time to upgrade to Snagit.

I had a faculty member this week who has been using the free screencasting tool Jing for some time and uploading the resulting videos to  He found the tool very easy to use and over time he has built up a collection of videos for his students.   However now that he has been using the tool for awhile and his students have been viewing his videos wants to charge him either $9.95 a month, or $99.95 a year for hosting.  The free account from comes with 2 GB of storage which is plenty for the flash videos that Jing produces, however the 2 GB monthly bandwidth limit is not.  If you pass the monthly bandwidth limit (which you will fairy quickly if you use the tool often) your videos will stop working and you either pay money to or you move your videos off to another hosting location.    Most faculty will pay the $9.95 a month to get the videos streaming again however would prefer a no cost long term solution.

Snagit Logo My current favorite tool for screencasting is Snagit.  You can create videos just as quickly as you did with Jing, but now you can create videos longer than 5 minutes and you can output to a variety of locations for hosting or storage.   You are no longer locked in to producing to  Although I still use in circumstances where the video is a 1 time use video, anything I plan to keep and that will be watched many times over I either produce to YouTube (which is currently still free) or I save the file as a .mp4 and upload it to 3C Media Solutons (a free media hosting and streaming  service for California Community College Faculty and Staff).

Snagit Output options for PC
Snagit Output option for MAC

The Snagit software is a very inexpensive tool that you will use often.   If you buy the software on Techsmith’s website it retails for $49.  However if you are associated with a school you can get academic pricing for $29.95 at Journey Ed or Academic Superstore. Well worth it. I have not gone an entire day at work without using this tool!

Aside from creating videos, Snagit also creates screenshots that you can decorate with callouts, arrows, and more.  You can produce those to a variety of locations.  My favorite is the output directly to my e-mail. Can’t get any simpler than that when doing tech support.

So I have convinced you to move over to Snagit.  What about your Jing videos you already produced on You want to still use those but don’t want to pay $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year for hosting.

Step 1: Log on to and download the videos.   I recommend switching yourself over to the Library Beta version of (this is in the right corner after you log on).  When you are in that version you can select all of your videos and then click download.  You will be able to download all your videos as a batch.

Step 2:  The videos you have downloaded in step 1 will be in the  Flash (.swf) format. YouTube and 3C Media solutions will not upload .swf flash files  You have to convert them first.  Many tools exist to convert the videos, however I use  Camtasia Studio.  You can download a trial version that will work for the conversions.  Open the .swf files you downloaded in Camtasia studio.  It will convert the files to .avi files.  Save the file to your computer and then you can upload those to YouTube or 3C Media.  Camtasia Studio even has a utility within it you can upload directly to YouTube.

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