Computer programs and operating systems were designed to try to limit the number of times you have to move your hands off of your keyboard and over to your mouse.  They accomplish this by creating keyboard shortcuts for most common tasks. A keyboard shortcut is a combination of keys that are pressed all at the same time.  Below is a list of some common keyboard shortcuts for both Macintosh as well as Windows users (along with some that work no matter what type of computer you have). Read more »

When most people think of searching the web, they think of Google.  Google has revolutionized the way we find web pages by using a very complicated (and secretive) set of algorithms to take the words we give it and find what usually turns out to be a very helpful list of web pages.

Colby Apps e-mail’s web interface allows you to utilize some of those same search capabilities.

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Moodle is a traditional, open-source, course management system first available at Colby in 2008. It is popular with small liberal arts colleges, among others. About three-quarters of  the members of the Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges use Moodle.  It is one of several web platform options available to faculty at Colby.

Around 45%-50% of all Spring 2012 courses at Colby made Moodle sites available to students. The sites were used mostly to distribute course resources like readings, syllabi, images, and links to web sites to enrolled students. A total of 6,791 resources were added for an average of 32.5 resources per active course site.  A few course sites used the Moodle quizzing tool. Notable of courses in which the quizzing tool was used, there was a minimum of 35 students enrolled and usually more. About 29% of active Moodle course sites used assignment activities (activities that require students to complete or submit an assignment in Moodle). Assignment activities are required to use Moodle’s gradebook. Of those course sites that could use the gradebook because of the presence of assignment activities, 43% opted to do so which calculates to 14% overall. About 21% of activated course sites included an instructor-created online discussion forum.

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Fall 2012 Moodle course sites are now available at for faculty who wish to begin building them out. You may find links to past course sites on your Moodle course overview page in the “Course sites for other terms” block. Call Ellen Freeman at ext. 4234 or email for help setting up your Moodle course site or visit the online Moodle help site.

Academic ITS support three main web platforms for faculty and students. They are the Moodle course management system, the Confluence enterprise wiki, and the WordPress web publishing platform. Each platform has its own strengths and specializations and there are significant overlaps between them in some areas. Following is a description of each service and some aggregate usage statistics for the 2011-2012 academic year.

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Portable Document Format (PDF) files are great because they act as electronic versions of printed pages but with several benefits over traditional paper copies:

  • They are a much greeneroption
    • No paper required
    • No need to power on a printer or heat up a fuser
    • No need for toner
    • No reprinting pages that have mistakes
  • As the name implies they tend to be small enough to be easily transferred via e-mail or on a USB thumbdrive
  • They are viewable on almost any electronic device (from computers to smart phones to tablets)

So, how do you create a PDF? Read more »

How you organize the data on your computer can be very important and warrants special attention. The two big reasons for this are: 1) it can impact your computer’s performance and 2) where you keep the data on your computer can determine if your data is being backed up or not. Here are some general tips for organizing the data on your computer.

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