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iBooks Author – Part 1

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I require my students to do group projects in my marketing management course and I have been posting Word and PowerPoint documents on Blackboard with instructions and material related to the project every semester. My project has three parts where students work on a different part of the project at a different time during the semester so they don’t need to do all the requirements of the project at the end of the semester. Therefore, I have a significant amount of material that I prepared for this project and which I post throughout the semester.

This week I decided to create an iBook for my project using iBooks Author app on my Mac. I wanted to have all the material in one place and be able to show everything on my iPad when I teach in class. Also, those who have iPads, iPhones, and Macs (with the upcoming OS) will be able to access my iBook through iBooks app. Those that do not have Apple devices will be able to open my iBook as a PDF file.

I was surprised how easy it was to start an iBook on iBooks Author especially as I had all my material already created in Word and PowerPoint documents. So basically I copied and pasted most of it. One feature I really like in iBooks Author app is the interactive images widget. It gives me the opportunity to post and example and explain different parts of it.

I downloaded two free iBooks explaining how to use iBooks Author app and I also watched an hour long webinar I found on YouTube. But I really could do most of the work in iBooks Author app without learning all the details. I believe that having a Mac and working on iWork files was helpful because many of the features in iBooks Author are similar to those in Pages.

I was inspired to start this iBook when I saw a video about a high school teacher that created an iBook for her class and because all students in that school receive iPads, they could use her iBook during class activities.

I am not sure how the students in my classes will respond to this but I am actually having a lot of fun creating this iBook. Please shear your experiences if you used iBooks Author app.


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Evernote integrated into Dolphin Browser

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I like to use Evernote on my iPad. It is a great app to organize notes into notebooks and I like the fact that all notes sync with my iPhone and my MacBook Pro. I use Evernote for private and school purposes. It is great to be able to have everything in one place but in different sections (notebooks). I used before other apps to organize my notes but once I migrated to Evernote I decided to stay with it.

One great thing about Evernote is its integration with other applications. I believe that this is what makes it so strong as an app. It integrates with DropBox for instance which lets you save notes in DropBox folders. I don’t use this integration much as I have access to Evernote from all my devices.

One integration I use very frequently is saving websites from Dolphin to Evernote. Dolphin is a free browser app. For example, when I find information on a Safari website that I would like to keep in Evernote I need to copy and paste the link into a new note in Evernote but then the website information does not show up on the note page, only the link does. If I open the website on Dolphin and save the link to Evernote (from Dolphin I can save the link to Evernote without opening Evernote), I can see the webpage information in Evernote.

Because Evernote recognizes phones and addresses, I can save a website page with a phone number and call the place from my iPhone when I open Evernote.

During my last vacation I saved many pages in Evernote and had access to the addresses and phones of locations on my iPhone and iPad. I used my Apple GPS on my iPad to get to locations when I clicked on their address in Evernote. It made our lives so much easier.

It also serves me when I plan my trip to a conference. I have all the phone numbers and addresses I need in one place when I save the web page of the conference through Dolphin.

On my laptop I can clip the Internet webpages on Safari and Firefox into Evernote directly but on my iPad I need to use Dolphin to do so.

I hope you’ll try this integration and enjoy the outcomes.


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Using Waze During Trips

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I downloaded Waze a while ago and tried to use it but could not get myself excited so I left it on my iPad but used other navigation systems instead. Recently there were rumors that Facebook was considering buying it for about $1 billion dollars. That made me curios again about the concept of Waze and I decided to try using it on a trip we planned for this month.

It is not a GPS system so I had to use my Apple GPS in the background and have Waze on my screen as it shows everything that is going on during the trip. For example, at some point we hit a traffic jam. If I strayed with the regular GPS I would not know how long the jam is and how slow it was going to be throughout. Waze gave me this information which was very helpful. It is also nice that you can say thank you to those that share information on Waze. I also shared some information as my husband was the one that was driving. You get points for sharing and using information which is nice.

The only thing that I discovered that you should be aware of is that using the Apple GPS and Waze app eat up your battery. I used the charger in the car but our outlet was also used for another device so my battery life was going down quickly.

Still, I think that it is worth looking once in a while at Waze to foresee any road problems while traveling. If you use Waze, please share your comments.


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Beta Gamma Sigma Event

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Beta Gamma Sigma is an honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Since it was established in 1913, Beta Gamma Sigma has inducted more than 700,000 outstanding students into membership in more than 500 collegiate chapters in all 50 U.S. states and 22 countries. Additionally, 27 alumni chapters serve the needs of alumni members in major metropolitan areas.

Our college is an established Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma since 2007. Science then we inducted more than 260 business students. Each spring semester I organize the annual Induction and Awards Dinner for our college. I extend invitations to seniors and juniors whose GPA places them at the top 10% and MBA students whose GPA places them at the top 20% of their cohorts. This year we inducted more than 70% of the invited students, which will entitles our college to be nominated as an Exemplary Chapter.

Since last year we started a tradition of inducting eligible faculty members into Beta Gamma Sigma. Last year I was inducted and this year our Interim Dean and the MBA director were inducted. Last year we also began to extend Chapter Honorees to our keynote speakers. We conclude the event by giving excellence awards to outstanding students.

This event takes all spring semester to organize but students appreciate it immensely. Our president, provost, and many faculty members attend it providing a chance for student-faculty informal interaction. Students are allowed to bring guests who witness their accomplishments at the dinner. Last year about 140 people attended this event and this year we grew to 200 attendees (45% growth rate).

To help me organize this event, I offer students the opportunity to become involved as Vice Presidents. This year we awarded these students with bronze medallions for their hard work and dedication to our chapter.

It is always a great pleasure for me to experience the celebratory nature of this event. I believe that students cherish this experience long after they graduate.


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Using Socrative in My Classes

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Two weeks ago our university had a Research and Scholarship Day. The committee I am in, Technology Across Curriculum, organized a session with 4 presenters. One of them talked about a new beta software called Socrative which she started to use in her class and the research she was doing with respect to its impact on students.

I was very intrigued and decided to try it in my classes. The idea is very simple. You create questions and the students answer them in class using a device connected to the Internet. They can use a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. There is even an app for iPhones and iPads. You get immediate feedback and can share it with the students. It is very similar to the idea of clickers but you don’t need to distribute clickers and you have various options to introduce questions.

I used it for review questions during the class time and then as an exit quiz to see how much of the information we discussed in class the students remembered. Students seemed engaged. After each review question (which was not for a grade) I showed the distribution and discuss the correct and incorrect answers. As students knew that there would be an exit quiz (for a grade), they seemed more attentive to the class material.

Because it is a free beta version, I encountered a few glitches. However, I plan to expand the use of it next semester. This time I only designed multiple choice questions, but next semester, I’ll experiment with open end questions too.

If any of you uses/used this software, I welcome you to share your experiences.


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Business Honors @ Honors Week

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Last week was a very busy week for me as I attended three thesis presentations of our business honors students and an honors banquet.

Our university has a very active Honors College with dynamic director and assistant director. The Honors College offer scholarships to incoming students that apply to the honors program and meet the necessary requirements. Each department or collage chooses a director to work with honors students once they declared their honors track. I am the director of the business honors track.

Each spring semester in April the honors college organizes honors week where students graduating in May present their theses to other honors students, faculty advisors, and honors directors. The honors week ends with a banquet where students invite a guest and they are awarded their honors cords.

This spring I oversaw the completion of three theses, working closely with the advisors, attended the presentations, and participated in the honors banquet. At the banquet I handed the graduating honors students their cords and met with their family and friends. It was a very rewarding week for me.