CTL Blog

Software As a Service and Service With A Smile

More and more traditional desktop applications are finding ways of living on the web via the Web 2.0 hype. (Please bear in mind that I’m going with the flow of people who are classifying the next generation of web applications with this sometimes publicly scorned misnomer). What this means is that software that you normally have to purchase from a retail store contained in a shrink-wrapped box or download an installer file from a website can now be hosted by the developer on a web page. I suppose this is good and bad for a few reasons:


Windows Media In Mac OS X

I’ve not had a chance to fully play with this yet to see the implications, but what it does indicate is a move towards media that just works regardless of your platform of choice. QuickTime, Flash, RealMedia, and Windows Media have been duking it out for a while now. Microsoft is now providing free of charge a component you can download that allows Mac users using QuickTime as their player of choice to be able to play Windows Media Files. It’s actually made by a company called Flip4Mac and you can purchase their full version if you want to CREATE WMV files on your Mac. (more…)

Speaker: Applying for Residential Faculty Jobs

Dr. Christine Hall, District Director of Employment & Recruitment, came to speak to our adjunct faculty on Monday and the response was wonderful! We had more than 35 attendees from a wide range of disciplines come to get tips on how to best apply for residential faculty positions at Maricopa County Community Colleges.


PowerPoint Criticized as PowerPoint classes begin

PowerPoint often gets bad reviews by educational psychologists and graphic designers such as Edward Tufte (mentioned in Brad’s earlier blog). They claim it is harming teaching and learning. I would like to address the criticisms of Edward Tufte as listed in the Wikipedia article about him. (more…)

Fight Or Flight In Online Learning

I’m not about to become an authority on the subject of constructivism, but one of the challenges with early online learning where instructors who knew their subjects very well but didn’t understand how less-productive it could be to just toss students into an online learning environment and expect that their instincts would take over and they would just ‘figure it out’. Most distance-learning students (including myself) have a certain amount of online survival mechanism built in that very closely mimics survival in the real world.



I am Martin Lehner and I work in the CTL doing programming, system administration, and technical black magic. A great deal of my time is spent installing various applications on unix or linux servers. To get an idea of how complicated that is.. allow me to confuse the heck out of you… (more…)

Blogging at Mesa Community College

In the CTL we have opportunities of trying out new services for the purpose of experimentation and growth for new methods of instruction. While we have had a blog before, currently, this blog is the first official blog hosted on the same website as our main page. Thanks to Martin Lehner, and James Bowles, our website is able to support more dynamic content than in the past. Anything PHP based is now a thing of reality, whereas before it was harder to support on our server. However, we aren’t quite there yet in terms of supporting a broad campus-wide instructional blogging community. In the interim, if anyone wants to do blogging for themselves or collaboratively with your students or co-workers, there are many free alternatives. (more…)

Helping Students (and Faculty) Connect Information through Concept Mapping

The other day, I was sitting in a meeting and heard a most respected colleague extol the virtues of Edward Tufte’s writings. She was especially complimentary about his essay on the cognitive style of PowerPoint and described how it had changed how she was teaching. I have not yet read Tufte’s essay (I’m planning to order a copy), and I just missed being able to attend his latest workshop in Phoenix last week. However, I gathered from her short description that one of Tufte’s main complaints is that PowerPoint imposes a linear structure on the delivery of information that obscures the connections between the ideas presented. (more…)

Removing the Background of an Image

For a long time one would have to break out the old magic wand or lasso tool and carefully select around the portion of the image they wanted to remove the background. Then copy the selection and place it on a new layer or canvas. That is now a thing of the past! (more…)