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Personalizing CLE Courses for Students

Convergence - Thu, 2014-08-28 13:41

Starting a new online course can sometimes be a daunting task. A student may look at a course page and see a never-ending list of activities and resources for them to view or complete. If a student opens up a course like the one pictured below, they might become paralyzed by the dreaded scroll of death. They might wonder where do I even begin? And over time, they may wonder Which resources or activities have I already viewed or completed? How do I know if I’m even getting anywhere? Luckily, Moodle, the learning management system that powers UCSF’s CLE, provides ways for us to help students go through their online courses in a personalized fashion. This may mean selectively introducing content, branching activities based on performance, or merely keeping activities hidden until they are needed by the learner. Moodle’s conditional activity features provide a helpful way for students to see their progress in a course. This is especially useful for asynchronous learning, because it allows the learner to be in control of their progress over time versus waiting for the next content to be made available by the instructor. Some common uses of Conditional Activities might be:

  • Don’t show course content until learner accepts an agreement
  • Don’t show course content until learner takes a pre-test
  • Show post-test after learner views last module
  • Provide certificate of completion when learner earns certain score on post-test
  • Show remedial or advanced course content or Topics based on a Quiz or Assignment grade

Employing conditional activities in a CLE course can get complicated pretty quickly. It’s best to start simple and stay simple. So, let’s start simple! Using conditional activities has two parts: 1) Activity Completion and 2) Access restrictions. Our faithful readers may remember that we posted about Activity Completion back in November, but let’s take a deeper dive now.

Activity Completion

When employing the conditional activity features, you’ll want to set up Activity completion first, then move on to adding access restrictions. Activity completion is enabled in the Course Settings for a course. It’s best practice to enable this for a course before you start adding Activities and Resources, so the setting is automatically enabled. If you are enabling Activity completion after you’ve added items to the course, you will have to go back and enable each Activity or Resource individually.

For each course Activity or Resource, you can set the completion settings as you choose. There are three main options for each course activity or resource:

  • Do not indicate activity completion
  • Students can manually mark the activity as completed
  • Show activity as complete when conditions are met

For the option where certain conditions must be met, you can indicate the conditions you wish. The simplest is “view”. This means the student merely needs to open up the File or URL once and then, it is deemed complete. Graded items, like the Quiz, Assignment, or a SCORM package (like an Articulate presentation), can require a certain grade to be deemed complete. The Forum has the most complex activity completion criteria with options to require a certain number of posts or replies. When the conditions are met, check marks appear in the boxes for each activity.

Access Restrictions

The second part to employing Conditional Activities is using the Access restrictions. This setting enables Instructors to restrict the availability of any activity, resource, or even a course Topic according to certain conditions such as dates, viewing the activity, a certain grade obtained, or activity completion is fulfilled. The use of access restrictions personalizes the course experience for the learner. The appearance of activities depends on each student’s own completion of prior activities. When these access restrictions are set, each student’s course might look slightly different, because each student may be further along than other students are. In the Restrict access options, an Instructor can indicate a date that you expect the completion criteria to be completed by, however this date is not shown to students. It is only displayed in the Activity completion report that is available to Instructors, such as the one below. A quick, but important note about Activity completion: UCSF’s CLE server gets triggered every 10 minutes to refresh activity completions. This means that although a student may have completed the activity, the criteria won’t necessarily register for another 10 minutes. I hope this blog post has whet your appetite for exploring the course personalization options available to you with the CLE. As you can probably tell, the Restrict access options can get a lot more complicated and we’ll go into that in a later blog post. Until then, please feel free to contact the UCSF Learning Technologies Group for any of your online learning needs! Laptop Image Credit: Kristen McPeak from the Noun Project

Categories: Convergence

Through the Years: The History of Dr. Eddie Leong Way

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2014-08-21 09:23

In the spirit of UCSF’s 150th anniversary, a new addition to the archives has been made: the history of our very own Dr. Eddie Leong Way.   The addition is very much relevant to the anniversary, as Dr. Way himself has contributed much to the school’s 150 years.  In fact, he makes up many of those years, himself.

E. Leong Way and Chauncey D. Leake in Atlantic City at the first Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) meeting after WWII, April 1946.

Born in San Francisco, Dr. Way earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley before going on to obtain his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from UCSF’s very own School of Pharmacy.  However, his involvement with the school did not simply stop at his educational background.  Dr. Way worked as a professor at UCSF for years after his graduation, only retiring in 1987.  His career primarily focused on the development of physical dependence and tolerance of opiates.  It comes as no surprise, then, that such extensive work has contributed to creating a generally much more improved and deeper understanding of addiction.

Spending some days in the archives, I had the fascinating task of working through Dr. Way’s time and work here at UCSF, from the beginning of his career to years after its official end.  As I leafed through pages and pictures, both brittle with age and sleek with freshness, I felt the pleasant weight of history at my fingertips.   Some of the files dated back to as early as 1939, and some as recent as 2008.

E. Leong Way and Harry Iwamoto, UCSF School of Pharmacy Class of 1938, March 10, 1986.

All sorts of documents made their way to the archives.  Several of his publications and publication listings; various correspondences with other faculty members and students; notes and slides from his own lectures; even invitations and party photos!  Work and play all mingle together in the collection to form the personal history of this astounding individual.  His files dictating his time and effort spent towards the betterment of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and even the world of pharmacy as a whole are now preserved in UCSF’s extensive and detailed archives, where they shall most certainly remain safe and sound.

For more information please see the library catalog record and finding aid for the Way papers.

Alex Giacomini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is vastly interested in writing and the humanities, and is currently a communications intern in UCSF’s School of Pharmacy.   Alex is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she is working to attain her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.

Categories: Brought to Light

Top 5 Tips for Better Mobile Video

Mobilized - Mon, 2014-08-18 00:00

The video capabilities of smartphones are improving all the time, and the iPhone remains the most-used camera on the planet. Most of us are not trained videographers, however, so we often end up with shaky, blurry video and poor sound quality.The tips provided in this post will help you shoot better looking and sounding videos!

1 – Tilt that phone

The eyes in our noggin are oriented horizontally, as are the displays on our televisions and computer monitors. We are used to holding our mobile phones vertically, though, and you know what happens next… vertically oriented video. Oh nooo! We all make this mistake at least once, and it’s a doozy, because you can’t “fix it in post” unless you want to cut off two-thirds of your video. Just remember – tilt that phone to landscape orientation before you press the video capture button!

And if you need an app for that, Horizon has you covered.

2 – Go to the light

New camera features are added to our mobile phones every year, but one thing remains relatively constant – the small size of our phones. Small phones means small camera sensors, small camera sensors means less surface area to capture light, and that means grainy, blurry pictures in low-light conditions! Have you ever tried to capture mobile phone video in a dimly lit classroom, or in a restaurant? Yeah, good luck! Sure, you can brighten up the video with an editing app, but that will just add more grain to your video. The only solutions are to move yourself and your subject to brighter locations (the preferred option), or to add light to the scene artificially. Some phones have a video light built-in, but those will drain your phone’s battery, and a small, harsh light source like that is not flattering on your subject. Here are a few external LED light options worth considering:

Pocket Spotlight

3 – Mind your audio

Grainy or even blurry video is tolerable for most viewers. Distorted, hissy or unclear audio is definitely not. Just as the size of the camera sensor limits a mobile phone’s ability to work in low light conditions, so does the size of the mobile phone’s microphone limit its ability to capture a wide dynamic range of audio signals. Even in quiet, wind-free environments, mobile phone audio can sound weak and echoey, and in loud environments the audio will be distorted or clip off altogether. Investing in an external microphone is recommended. There are many options, including microphones with their own power source (they take batteries) for producing better sound, and they may connect via the headphone port, the charging port, or via Bluetooth. Small shotgun mics are often preferred choice, but lavaliere mics work better for recording audio from one person… that is, if you don’t mind dealing with a long cable that can get in the way.

Experienced users can record audio with a separate audio recorder and microphone, and then “sync” them together in a video editor:

4 – Steady now

Shaky video that tilts and pans around the scene too quickly is one of most telling signs of an amateur videographer. It is much harder to a hold small camera steady, than it is to hold a large camera steady, and there are no lighter, smaller cameras than those in mobile phones. There a number strategies that will help us capture smoother video, including (a) turning yourself into a human tripod by widening your stance, bending your knees, and leaning against stationary objects, (b) being very deliberate and gradual with your camera movements, and (c) investing in a rig that helps you hold the camera steady.

The Cam Caddie Video Stabilizer

5 – Frame your subject

Another telltale sign of amateur video is poor framing. This includes cutting off people’s bodies in odd places, subjects moving in and out of the frame, or even cutting out the most important part of the scene altogether. The Rule of Thirds is a good technique to start with, which breaks the frame into a tic-tac-toe grid, and states that placing important elements along the lines or intersections of lines contributes to strong composition. For example, it is common to place your subject’s eyes along the top horizontal line. Here are few more framing tips:

  • Never cut off the top of your subject’s head unless you are shooting an extreme close-up.
  • If you’re not shooting a full-body-length shot of a person, cut them off in-between their joints, not at the joints. Otherwise, you introduce the visual amputation phenomenon!
  • If your subject is moving, or not looking directly at the camera, frame the scene so there is more space in front of them, giving them “breathing room.”
  • Anticipate movement by using your peripheral vision, instead of just focusing on the small screen on the back of your mobile phone.
Bonus tips!

Good luck, and please add your own suggestions to the comments area below this post!

Related posts:

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  2. Podcast Managers for iOS A podcast is essentially an audio or video version of...
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Categories: Mobilized

Redesign Your Website in 4,000 Easy Steps

CKM Blog - Tue, 2014-08-12 16:33

Earlier this month, Rich Trott and I delivered a session at the University of California Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) in San Francisco. It was about our experience using an approach of continuous iterative improvements and frequent feedback to help keep our site fresh and meeting user needs. We talked about why this approach has been working better than the tradition complete redesign that might happen every few years (or not.)

If you can’t wait to hear more, see the slides with notes.

Or if you’re more of the video type, you can check that out too.

Let us know about your experiences using this kind of approach to website upkeep and positive user experience. What works for your site or organization?

Photo by chexee

Categories: CKM

The Life and Times of a Newbie Intern

Brought to Light Blog - Tue, 2014-08-12 10:35

Before me there stood a great, big wall.  An obstacle.  A fortress.  Well, metaphorically speaking, in any case.  However, the five archival boxes full of various documents and files seemed as large as the tallest gate to me.  Being a lowly intern, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated.  After all, it was my responsibility to sort and organize all of these files.

The documents all pertained to the life and career of Dr. E (‘Eddie’) Leong Way, one of UCSF’s oldest alumni, and a great contributor to the understanding of opiate addiction and reliance.  Unfortunately, their previous keepers did not properly store the files.  They were in some small state of disarray, stuffed in varying folders and envelopes, stacked on top of each other, and even, in some cases, in incorrect boxes.

It was my job to remove the files from their initial place and sort them properly.  I took them out of their different folders and placed them in official, archival ones, meant for preserving and protecting files more efficiently than other folders.  Each folder must be labeled and numbered properly as well.  After that, they are to be placed in official, archival boxes.  And, lastly, I had to write up the inventories for each of the boxes.

It was a long, time-consuming task, requiring precision and a good deal of attention.  Admittedly, it was a bit frustrating at times.  However, that did not prevent it from being a great experience.  It was fascinating to get insight into the work required in the archives.  More importantly, it helped me understand the hard work others put into these tasks and others, as well as appreciate the importance of preserving and organizing the archives affectively and efficiently.  If I were to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

For more information please see the library catalog record and finding aid for the Way papers.

Alex Giacomini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is vastly interested in writing and the humanities, and is currently a communications intern in UCSF’s School of Pharmacy.   Alex is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she is working to attain her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.

Categories: Brought to Light

When Will EndNote X8 be Released?

In Plain Sight - Mon, 2014-08-11 12:31

Some of us dread the arrival of summer because that’s when the EndNote folks usually announce the release of a new version of the software and we have to start thinking about whether or not it’s worth upgrading (and if you have it installed on multiple workstations  in a teaching lab, where are you going to get the money?). As September approaches I was wondering what was the delay with X8. According to a post I found on Facebook there will be no new update this year.  You can read EndNote’s explanation here:







My thanks to Pedro from Brazil!

If you’ve working with version X7 you might want to upgrade to X7.1, for free. There are some enhancements to syncing between the desktop and online versions, so you might want to check this out. Details here. Download here.



Categories: In Plain Sight

Eric L. Berne exhibit marks the conclusion of the first phase of Eric Berne Papers Processing Project

Brought to Light Blog - Fri, 2014-08-08 13:10

The UCSF Archives & Special Collections would like to announce the opening of the new exhibit, “Eric L. Berne Archive: The Birth of Transactional Analysis.” This exhibit marks the conclusion of the first phase of the Eric Berne Archive Processing project.
Eric L. Berne (1910-1970) was a practicing psychiatrist, lecturer and author. Best known for his development of the theory of Transactional Analysis, Berne published dozens of scholarly articles in the field of psychoanalysis and was the author of eight major books, including the bestseller Games People Play.

Advertisements for Games People Play, the New York Times Book Review, August 14, 1966. Eric L. Berne papers, MSS 2005-08, box 4, folder 21 UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

The materials in the Archive were created by Dr. Berne (1910-1970) and by the organizations he founded: the San Francisco Social Psychiatry Seminars (SFSPS) and the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). The Archive holds Berne’s personal and professional papers, including correspondence, writings, notes, conference programs, administrative records, photographs, and audio-visual recordings.

In the past nine months (September 2013-May 2014) project archivist, Kate Tasker has been working diligently to process six existing collections and two recently added accessions. As a result of this effort six detailed finding aids for the Eric Bern Archive consisting of 77 boxes or 41.8 linear feet were added to the Online Archive of California. Kate also organized and compiled an inventory for the Eric L. Berne Rare Book collection that includes over 300 books from Berne’s personal library and copies of his published works. With the help of our cataloger, Bea Mallek, these volumes were added to the UCSF Library catalog and can be consulted in the Archives & Special Collections reading room.

Costume party, August 1959.Eric L. Berne papers, MSS 82-0, box 2, folder 10 UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

Another important achievement was the digitization of more than 400 unique documents, containing Eric Berne correspondence (including letters from significant figures such as Alfred C. Kinsey, Paul Federn, and Karl Menninger), writings, educational records, lecture drafts, announcements and publications from the SFSPS and the ITAA as well as photographs. The Eric L. Berne digital collection, an educational portal containing information about Eric Berne, his studies and writings is now accessible to researchers and general public worldwide.

Announcement card for the opening of Berne’s San Francisco office, undated. Eric L. Berne papers, MSS 2003-12, box 3, folder 4, UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

The exhibit highlights selected artifacts, photos and documents from the Eric L. Berne Archive at UCSF.
The visitors will be able to view Berne’s correspondence concerning the design and promotion of the board game “Games People Play” and a fully intact game set, edited typescript of his first book The Mind in Action, his glasses, an announcement about the opening of his practice in San Francisco, a selection of English and foreign language
editions of his book Games People Play and numerous photographs.

Photograph of the components of the Games People Play board game, based on Eric Berne’s best-selling book of the same title. Eric L. Berne Papers, 1929-1970, MSS 2005-08, box 4, folder 20, UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

The Eric L. Berne Archive is housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. Detailed processing and digitization for these materials were made possible by generous support from 23 TA Associations worldwide and many individual donors through the ITAA. The UCSF Archives will continue working with the ITAA and its supporters to secure funding for the digitization of additional items.
Please view the online companion for this exhibit on the UCSF library website.
The exhibit will be on view on the 5th floor of the Parnassus Campus Library, beginning August 8th, 2014.

Categories: Brought to Light

Lynda.com is here!

Convergence - Thu, 2014-08-07 12:24

The web’s leading resource for online video tutorials is now available in CL240 of the Tech Commons! Lynda.com offers thousands of professionally produced video tutorials on a wide variety of subjects. This includes many of the tools that the Help Desk and Learning Technologies Group support, like Moodle, Articulate, Camtasia, and iMovie.

You can also sharpen your presentation skills, learn to properly light a video interview, or improve your screencasting techniques. Here are a few of our staff picks!

Screencasting Fundamentals  |  iMovie 10 Essential Training  |  Moodle 2.6 Essential Training  |  Foundations of Video: Interviews  |  Up and Running with Articulate ’13

If you are interested in using this service, follow the guidelines below:

  1. Reserve a block of time for “CL240 #3 (Mac)” here: tiny.ucsf.edu/reservemm
    Note: Lynda.com users take precedence on this workstation.
  2. Log in to the workstation and then double-click on the Lynda.com icon on the desktop. A browser will open and load the Lynda.com website, giving you access to the full Lynda.com catalog.
  3. When you are done, it is very important that you log out of the Lynda.com website before logging off the workstation. Click the “Log out” link in the top-right corner of the browser window. If you fail to do so, the account will be locked for other users.

In the future, we would like to expand this service to more than one workstation, so show your support by visiting us in CL240, watching some tutorials, and helping us spread the word to your colleagues!

If you have any questions, please send an email to LearningTech@ucsf.edu, or stop by the Help Desk in CL240 and chat with us.

Please note, the workstations in CL240 provide students, faculty and staff with the resources to create dynamic, multimedia content in supplement of the teaching and learning process at UCSF. Use of these workstations and Lynda.com for personal projects is strongly discouraged during normal business hours, and should never interfere with users working on UCSF sanctioned projects.


Categories: Convergence

Announcing Symfony Ember.js Edition

CKM Blog - Tue, 2014-08-05 13:30

We’ve spent a lot of time getting the configuration right for setting up Ember.js and EmberData to work with a Symfony backend. So we have decided to release a working example of getting this right:

Symfony Ember.js Edition


The Ilios project is investigating a migration to Ember.js. Because we have a lot of PHP experience and a lot of PHP code, it makes sense to serve the content using Symfony. We chose Ember.js because of its convention over configuration approach and wanted to make as few customizations as possible.

EmberData provides a clean way to represent your data models in JavaScript and bind them to templates and controllers. It also has built-in REST functionality for keeping those models up to date on the server.

Specific Fixes Compiling Handlebars templates

Ember expects compiled Handlebars templates to be in the JavaScript Ember.TEMPLATES object instead of Handlebars.template. That’s fine if you put all of your templates in index.html like they do in most examples. In that case, Ember does the compilation itself.

However we wanted separate templates and routers in different files. This required pre-compiling the templates for Ember. Thankfully there is a Node.js application for doing this already called ember-precompile.

It is even supported in the latest version of Assetic. However AsseticBundle hasn’t been updated in a while, so we had to mess with the Composer definition to get this working. The Assetic compiler will fail silently if you don’t have ember-precompile installed in /usr/bin/ember-precompile. Hopefully a fix for that will be available soon.

Testing the API

We want test coverage for our API, but actually getting the right input proved to be a bit complicated. There is a demo controller test and a base test in the AcmeApiBundle in this distribution. You can use it as a starting point to make writing other tests easier.

JS Dependencies

We use Bower to install all of our dependencies, include them in the layout, and manage their version without checking the code into our repo.

None of this would have been possible without:

Categories: CKM

CLE Refresh Coming Tomorrow

Convergence - Fri, 2014-08-01 16:25

Tomorrow, August 2, the Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) will undergo an update as detailed in last month’s blog post, Announcing the CLE Refresh! The CLE will be unavailable on Saturday, August 2, from 6 AM – 2 PM (PDT) to complete the upgrade to Moodle 2.6 (the original upgrade date was scheduled for July 26).

Here are just a few improvements to look forward to with the refresh:

A New Look and Feel: You will immediately notice the new CLE theme when logging in August 2 after 2pm. Take a look around and notice the new CLE Home Page – with quick access to your CLE courses and support resources.

Mobile Friendly: The CLE is now mobile friendly! Try visiting your summer or fall courses using your mobile device. The CLE will now scale to fit the device of your choosing!

10 Notable Features as Explained by Sean Gabriel McClelland: Last month’s blog post included Sean Gabriel McClelland’s Top 10 New Features: Summer 2014. Check it out and contact LTG or post a comment below if you have any of your own additions for this list!

Here are a few items that may cause some initial confusion, as well as explanations of the changes:

  • Course names now automatically display on top of page: You will notice that the name of the course now appears on the top of CLE course page. This is a great way to provide a consistent experience for students throughout CLE courses.
  • All content and enrollment is transferred and no content migration required: Unlike the CLE update last summer, you will not need to migrate any course content. All content and student enrollment will be in your CLE course on Saturday, August 2.
  • No more Collaborate web conference activity: Collaborate will no longer be available at UCSF or via the CLE. Read more in the blog post, Collaborate Retiring on August 2.

Of course we will identify more new features as the UCSF community begins to explore the refreshed CLE. In the meantime, LTG is here to help!

  • Attend a CLE Clinic for workshops focusing on new features and best practices. The Clinics are scheduled to begin again in September 2014.
  • Visit the CLE Support Center as we can continue to develop support materials for the CLE.
  • Provide feedback via the CLE Refresh Survey located on the front page of the CLE starting Saturday, August 2.
  • As always, contact the Learning Technologies Group with any questions!

Image Credit: “Refresh” designed by Andrew Lynne from the Noun Project.
Image Credit: Moodle Trust

Categories: Convergence

Using Mendeley for Collaboration

In Plain Sight - Thu, 2014-07-31 13:31

A new generation of citation/reference management applications are making it easier to share references and text with colleagues. This is the first of a series of posts looking at some of the most popular ones.

Of all current reference managers Mendeley probably stands out as a collaboration tool for researchers. Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers and discovering research data. Its social networking features facilitates collaboration among researchers through the creation of groups which allow you to collaborate with any member of the Mendeley community. In private groups, you may share and annotate a list of documents within your PDF organizer, allowing you to collaboratively tag and annotate research papers. In public groups, you may create a reading list with your colleagues and make it accessible to anyone on the web. Groups now also have an activity feed on Mendeley Web and in Mendeley Desktop, helping you stay up to date on new additions and discussions within the group.

View this short online tutorial explaining how to utilize Mendeley groups for collaboration:









Categories: In Plain Sight

Reminder: Collaborate Retiring August 2

Convergence - Thu, 2014-07-31 11:32

This is a friendly reminder that on Saturday, August 2, UCSF faculty, staff and students will no longer be able to create or join Blackboard Collaborate web conference sessions, and all recorded Collaborate sessions will be deleted from the UCSF Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE).

As part of the CLE Refresh, Blackboard Collaborate will no longer be supported at UCSF. Read more in the June 11, Convergence blog post Collaborate Retiring on August 2. WebEx is the web conference system supported on campus by the TeleHealth department.

If you would like to request a WebEx account or if you have general questions about using WebEx at UCSF, please contact Najla Farzana with the TeleHealth department at Najla.Farzana@ucsf.edu before your next UCSF course.

The Learning Technologies Group have been busy using WebEx in conjunction with the CLE for support and collaboration. The WebEx and CLE support document provides step-by-step instructions for adding WebEx sessions and recordings to CLE courses (click the image below to view the support document).


Do you have innovative ways of using WebEx inside and outside of the classroom at UCSF? Please share them with the UCSF community in a comment below!

Image Credit: WebEx

Categories: Convergence

Bartholin’s treatises on snake poisons

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2014-07-24 11:39

As it’s the height of summer, that time of year when many of us head outdoors a bit more often, we thought we’d highlight a first edition from our rare book collection that addresses a potential hiking hazard– snake bites.

Dissertatio prima [et secuna] de theriaca in officina Christophori Heerford Sen. Pharmacop. was published by Matthias Godicchenius for Petrus Hauboldus in Copenhagen, 1671. The volume is composed of two dissertations on snake poisons and their antidotes, issued from the laboratory of two Copenhagen pharmacists. The manner in which Bartholin approaches the topic is of particular significance as it assumes that blood circulates throughout the body. He was one of the earliest advocates of Harvey’s theory of blood flow.

Thomas Bartholin was no slouch himself. He discovered the lymphatic vessels, contributed to anesthiology research, and came from an utmost scientific family that can boast pioneering work in the olfactory nerve, light ray double refraction, and discovery of Bartholin’s gland.

We hope you’re all enjoying the summer. Be safe and remember that even breeches and stockings may not protect you from everything.

Categories: Brought to Light

Lock It Up: Encrypting Your Mobile Phone

Mobilized - Tue, 2014-07-22 06:00

Your smartphone might be the most powerful portable computer you own. It can also contain a lot of personal information. With photos, financial apps, passwords, and email stored on the device, a lost or stolen phone in the wrong hands can be catastrophic.

With smartphone thefts on the rise, it’s no wonder that the FCC recommends that you set up password security on your phone, yet one third of all U.S. users still do not have a four digit PIN lock. If your phone does ever fall into the wrong hands, encrypting your phone this way will add a layer of security.

Do It Now

Before making any upgrades on your phone, it is best to back up all the data on your device. Your contacts, documents, and photos can be synced and stored on your computer through your iTunes or Android software.

All iPhones 3GS and later, and all iPad models have hardware encryption, so protecting your iPhone or iPad (iOS) is simply a matter of turning on your passcode through the Settings > General > Passcode Lock.

Encrypting an Android device requires a little more effort and is done through Settings > Security. You can also encrypt your SD card from this menu, if you have one. Note that this process might require an hour or more to fully encrypt your device, so be sure it is fully charged or plugged in. Once your Android device has finished encrypting, remember to power off and restart your phone for the changes to take effect. If you want a higher level of Android security, you can install encryption software like SecureMe, which uses a military-grade algorithm that can encrypt and hide individual notes, photos, and messages.

The Bottom Line

The reality is that a growing number of organizations are now requiring that mobile devices be encrypted before allowing access to their email systems. Even if you are not required to do it, neglecting to encrypt exposes your personal information to unnecessary risk. As I’ve outlined, encrypting your mobile devices is a fairly simple process and once completed will provide a crucial layer of security, in case your phone is ever lost or stolen.


Related posts:

  1. Will You Have a Kill Switch When You Need It? Today’s smartphones carry an unprecedented amount of personal information. Not...
  2. Getting the most out of your gadgets’ batteries Battery life is something you can never get enough of....
  3. Five Free Restaurant Recommendation Apps Say you find yourself in an ideal lunchtime situation: your...
Categories: Mobilized

Announcing the 2014 CLE Refresh!

Convergence - Fri, 2014-07-11 12:11

The UCSF Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) is getting a makeover! On July 26, 2014, the CLE (powered by Moodle) is being updated from version 2.4 to 2.6. [Ed. note: Due to issues the theme developer has encountered, the CLE upgrade will be delayed to the following Saturday, August 2. The site will be unavailable from 6am-2pm on that day.]

This is a major update for UCSF’s online learning management system that includes a number of improvements to the usability and performance of the system. All users of the system, including students, faculty, and staff, will benefit from this update.

The most noticeable update will be the new look and feel of the site, including the enhanced home page and modern course design. Here’s a sneak peak of the new look here (subject to change before the launch date):

Along with the new look, the site will have a responsive design and be mobile friendly! This means the site will scale nicely on all devices and screen sizes, such as smartphones and tablets. There are many other new exciting features that Instructors and others who are responsible for managing CLE courses will find after the upgrade. Take a look at the Top 10 Most Notable Features!

We’ll be jumping right to the 2.6 version, so we get to take advantage of the features from 2.5, as well as 2.6. If you’d like a full list of the new features, take a look at moodle.org’s 2.5 Features List and 2.6 Features List.

The Library and the Learning Technologies Group is gearing up to provide user support for this refresh. We will be offering webinars and consults during the time of the launch to help you get acquainted with the system and answer any questions you may have. And starting in the fall, we’ll be offering our popular CLE Clinics again! As always, please let us know if you need any support or have any feedback on the new system by emailing learningtech@ucsf.edu!

Categories: Convergence

Will You Have a Kill Switch When You Need It?

Mobilized - Wed, 2014-07-09 01:30

Today’s smartphones carry an unprecedented amount of personal information. Not just contacts and email, but web history, social network applications, cloud storage, photos, financial applications and more are at risk, if your phone is lost or stolen. Add integration with your work servers (e.g. email, contacts, remote desktop) and your phone becomes a potential risk for leaking business information as well.

Cellphone theft is sharply on the rise, and Consumer Reports estimates from its national survey that 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft in 2013. With the likelihood of cellphone theft rising, alongside the ever-growing amount of data these devices store, the time couldn’t be better to take steps to protect yourself.

Legislation is moving forward in California which would require cell phones sold in the state to come equipped with theft-deterring technology, commonly referred to as a “kill switch.” Minnesota already has a law in place slated to require this technology on any smartphone manufactured and sold after July 1st, 2015. Kill switch technology would empower a smartphone owner to remotely disable and wipe the device. A major feature release in Apple’s iOS 7 in 2013 was “Activation Lock,” a typical kill switch feature that implemented lock and wipe functionality. In the first five months of 2014, thefts of iPhones in San Francisco dropped 38%, in New York by 19%, and London by 24% compared to the previous year. Proponents of mandating this technology argue that it dis-incentivizes would-be thieves and gives users peace of mind.

The good news for iPhone and Android users is that you don’t have to wait for the mandate! The sections below outline Apple’s offering for iPhone, Google’s offering for Android, and my personal favorite for Android.

Apple’s Activation Lock

Activation Lock requires an iCloud account to remotely manage your phone. Activation Lock works on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices running iOS 7 or later. Like other iCloud services, you’ll need an Apple ID to use the feature, but chances are you already have one if you own an Apple Device. More information about Apple ID can be accessed here.

Activation Lock is set up automatically, when you enable Find My Phone on your iOS 7 device. To do so, follow these steps on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID, if necessary.
  4. Turn on Find My iPhone.

Lost Mode is a great option included with Find My Phone. Login at iCloud.com/find and activate Lost Mode on your iOS device if you think it may be lost or stolen. Set an optional custom message (e.g. “Hey! You found Ben’s phone! Please call his roommate at 555-123-4567 and he will reward your handsomely”). Lost Mode protects your phone with a four digit passcode. Even if you wipe your device, your custom message and lockscreen will remain active, preventing unauthorized users from using your device.

You can find more information about Activation Lock and Find My Phone here.

Google’s Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager is Google’s implementation of kill switch technology for the Android platform. To use Android Device Manager, you’ll need to have already connected a Google account to your tablet or phone.

Follow these steps to set up Android Device Manager on your Android tablet or phone.

  1. Download and install the Android Device Manager application in the Google Play Store.
  2. On your Android device, open Google Settings from your Application Menu and open Android Device Manager settings. Note, Google Settings is distinct from Settings in your Application Menu.
  3. Turn on Remotely locate this device
  4. Turn on Allow remote lock and erase

From the Android Device Manager webpage you can locate your device in Google Maps, lock it with password and optional alert message, erase data, and send a ring command. For the location feature to work properly on Android 4.1 or higher, you’ll need to have location access enabled. You can define location access settings to employ any combination of GPS, cell tower, and wireless access point information to determine your device’s location. Note that GPS is more accurate, but will negatively affect battery life.

AndroidLost –– like Android Device Manager, but better.

AndroidLost is a feature-rich kill switch application for Android users. It can be installed alongside Android Device Manager and has some additional functionality you may desire. Like Android Device Manager, it also requires a Google account to be setup on your device.

In addition to erasing data, setting a password lock, and sending ring commands from a webpage, AndroidLost allows you to remotely take photographs and audio recordings with your device’s camera and microphone, fetch call list and SMS logs, set a custom alarm, back up photos, start a phone call, and more.

Unlike Apple and Google solutions, you can also send all these commands to AndroidLost via text message from another phone (at your approval, of course.) You could, for instance, send the text message “androidlost alarm 60″ and your phone would sound an alarm for 60 seconds. Or you might send the “androidlost erasesdcard” command in a text message in dire circumstances to keep your phone operational, but wipe the contents of the SD card. Sending these commands from a trusted phone might be useful if you are unable to access a computer after losing your device.

Another great feature is being able to remotely turn on and off the GPS. To save battery life, I keep my location access disabled on my Samsung smartphone unless I’m using Navigation features. It is very likely that if I lost my phone I would be unable to locate it using Android Device Manager. Using AndroidLost, I could enable location access on my lost phone and begin tracking it.

AndroidLost’s website is a bit lackluster and the software is still technically in beta, but the majority of features and commands are available free-of-charge. With that price tag, and the ability to run it in-tandem with Android Device Manager, AndroidLost is a great tool to consider including when setting up your phone or tablet.

Secure your AppleID and Google Account

While all three options above can help protect your data, they all come with the risk that persons with unauthorized access to your AppleID or Google account password could also remotely wipe or lock your device. Whatever application you decide to implement for your device, you must protect the account that can authorize the kill switch with a strong, secure, unique password.

Another consideration is two-step authentication. Two-step –– also known as two-factor –– authentication is an excellent way to keep your important accounts secured. The first factor is a username and password (something you know,) while the second factor will oftentimes be a one-time code (sent to something you have, like a phone.) This second step is an added layer of security that can prevent unauthorized access, even in the event that your password is compromised. It is becoming more common that the second factor is delivered to our smartphones. Your AppleID sends a 4-digit code to your phone as a second authentication factor, while your Google Account uses an Android application called Google Authenticator to generate codes.

If you do use Apple or Google’s two-step authentication, and you lose your device, logging into iCloud or Google Device Manager to manage your device will be more complicated. Apple users should refer to the frequently asked questions for two-step verification and read up on the 14 digit recovery key you should save. Google users similarly can employ backup codes to login to accounts and manage devices.

Be Ready to Report

Lastly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC for short) has a list of guidelines and recommendations on how to safeguard yourself against wireless theft. A great tip they offer is to document your device’s make, model, serial number, and unique identifier (either the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) or the Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) number.) You can give this information to police when you generate an official report, and it could be helpful in identifying your device if it is recovered. The FCC also has a useful list of carrier contact information that you can consult to report lost or stolen devices.

We hope you will never need to remotely wipe your device or report it stolen –– but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take a few steps to prepare for the worst, and you can rest easy.

photo credit: dumbledad via photopin cc

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Categories: Mobilized

Scopus: a Database Inspired by the Hamerkop Bird

In Plain Sight - Mon, 2014-07-07 16:03





This is a photograph of the Hammerkop bird (Scopus umbretta).  Impressive looking, isn’t it? But what’s it doing strutting around on this blog? It just so happens that UCSF has a trial for the Scopus database through 2014, and the name, Scopus, was inspired by this bird,  reportedly because it has excellent navigation skills. (see the connection ?)

So what is Scopus? It’s a database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research. There is some overlap with MEDLINE but Scopus includes records from the EMBASE database, so it has especially strong European coverage. Scopus allows researchers to see who has cited their work in the past, and to follow new citations going forward by setting up alerts through email or RSS. It allows research officers to develop a profile of UCSF research

Scopus can help you:

  • Find related documents by shared references, authors, and/or keywords
  • Match an organization with its research output using Affiliation Identifier
  • Identify collaborators or subject experts with Author Identifier
  • Track citations over time for authors or documents with Citation Overview/Tracker
  • Assess trends in search results with Analyze Results
  • View h-index for authors
  • Analyze an author’s publishing output with Author Evaluator
  • Gain insight into journa performance with Journal Analyzer

Scopus is available from the UCSF Library on a trial basis through the end of 2014.

I’m afraid that unlike PubMed this database is only available to UCSF affiliates and you’d have to fly to Africa to see the Hamerkop.



Categories: In Plain Sight

iMovie 10: New Workflow

Convergence - Mon, 2014-07-07 09:00

In our previous post, we discussed important changes to the most recent version of Final Cut Pro, and how those changes affect your video editing workflow. In this post we will have a similar discussion about the changes to the new version of iMovie.

The latest version of the application is iMovie 10, and it is installed on each of the Mac workstations in CL240 and CL245. It is a simple yet powerful video editing application that has undergone a number of makeovers in the past few years. Improvements in version 10 include a refined interface, color matching features, native file editing (no more waiting for an import to finish before you can start editing), ability to export to MP4, and the use of a new “library” file to manage your projects.

It is very important to understand the new library method for file management, because all of our workstations in the Tech Commons area are “locked down” and files are erased upon reboot!

All related project files, events, imported media and rendered media are now collected into a single file called a library. In iMovie ’09 and earlier, project files were spread out between two folders, and mixed up with other projects, so it was difficult to archive and move projects to an external hard drive. Now you only have to copy a single file when backing up your projects.

Also note that Apple renamed “projects” to “movies,” you know, just to make things more interesting!

Download our new “Managing iMovie 10 Movie Files” document, which offers a detailed explanation, along with step-by-step instructions for updating, creating and archiving files in iMovie 10.

Print versions of this handout are also available at each multimedia workstation in CL240.

As always, please leave your comments and suggestions below, and we look forward to seeing what you create with the new version of iMovie!


Categories: Convergence

Upcoming July 10th Citation/Reference Manager Drop-In Clinic at Mission Bay

In Plain Sight - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:00

Need advice on which citation/reference manager to use?  Already a user but having a few problems? The UCSF Library is starting a series of drop-in clinics allowing you to talk one-on-one with a librarian about selected citation management programs such as EndNote, RefWorks and Zotero. Please bring your laptop if that’s what you use.

When: July 10th, 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Where: Computer Classroom, CC151, Mission Bay Library

The July clinic will include a short presentation on collaboration using EndNote Basic (aka Web)

UCSF Library Class Schedule

Categories: In Plain Sight

New RefWorks Write-n-Cite Version 4 Renamed “ProQuest for Word”

In Plain Sight - Thu, 2014-07-03 11:43

RefWorks have recently released an upgraded version 4 of Write-n-Cite. However, when you download this new version you may be wondering why you now get a ProQuest tab appearing in Word. That’s because the RefWorks folks have changed the name of the new Write-n-Cite utility program to ProQuest for Word. You can still download the program from the Tools menu in your RefWorks account.




Click here  for more information on installing and using ProQuest for Word.

Categories: In Plain Sight
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