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SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Is Your Campus Color Smart?

We've all in our lives made the mistake of thinking of color as this fixed quantity—some sort of absolute that can be communicated, interpreted and reproduced losslessly. The sky is blue. The tree is green. The car is red. I can write those words, and the colors materialize in your mind. But are the colors you "see" in your mind the same as the ones I intended to communicate to you? In other words, do they match? Surely not.

And the same is true of electronic devices that convey and communicate color information.

In professions that rely on the accurate communication of colors, such as graphic design and print publishing, standards have been developed to help ease this problem. The sky isn't blue. It's Pantone DS 206-7 C. The tree is TOYO 2880. The car is Focaltone 2249. When we use these standards-based colors in documents and send them off to a printer, we know from looking at our swatch sheets just what to expect—assuming the folks at the print house know what they're doing and that our swatch booklets aren't old and faded.

Seems simple. Pantone blue is Pantone blue. Any two professional print houses will produce the same color given the same paper for the color to be printed on. But things get complicated in our everyday lives as we work with and attempt to communicate color, whether it be in the classroom working with students in specific disciplines where color consistency is critical (design and motion graphics, for example); in classes in which students view material on multiple displays; or in places like computer labs, media centers, digital publishing groups on campus, and the like. We're talking about problems that can actually become a burden to students (and staff) and potentially impact their performance. Problems that necessarily arise when working on digital devices....

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News & Product Updates

Toshiba Ships Combo Projector/Document Camera

Toshiba this week announced its new TDP-SC35U, a single-chip DLP projector that also includes a detachable document camera. The new model, designed for education and conference room applications, is available now for $899....

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BlackBoard Launches Education Social Bookmark Service

Course management system giant Blackboard has launched a social bookmarking service--"customized for education"--and aimed at Blackboard and WebCT customers....

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Autodesk Releases Maya 8.5

Autodesk is released Maya 8.5 Monday, an update to the company's high-end 3D modeling, animation, effects and rendering suite. The new version is a Universal Binary with native support for Intel-based Macs, as well as Windows and Linux. A Personal Learning Edition is slated for release this spring....

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Case Study

Security Solution Uses Open Source for Sharing

Universities wishing to share protected resources without the need for multiple passwords and logon procedures can take heart from recent moves by the University of Washington, Penn State and Stanford, among others. Those universities are now using an open-source, single-sign-on technology called Shibboleth that makes academic life easier by removing the need for universities to set up passwords and accounts for each online resource it wants to share with other schools.

Shibboleth is standards-based, open-source software from Internet2 that acts as middleware, providing single sign-on access through the Internet across organizational boundaries. That can allow researchers, faculty, staff, and students from one university to use campus-issued credentials to access protected information at another school or business partner. Since logging on is different for every school, getting protected information from another university can be a time-consuming process under current systems, and requires keeping track of multiple passwords.

Because Shibboleth leverages a university's existing sign-on and directory system to authenticate users, it removes the need for setting up multiple passwords and accounts for each online resource. Also, because it exchanges only agreed-upon and relevant identity information between the parties in a transaction, it is inherently more secure than systems that require the exchange of more information. And Shibboleth isn't limited to university use—online service providers using Shibboleth in dealing with universities no longer need to build and manage complex systems for managing user accounts; Shibboleth can allow both sides to focus on what they do best....

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Tech Notes

Course Management Systems >> A Tipping Point

It's near-impossible to think about course management systems (CMS) without thinking about innovation, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas across institutions and even from vendor to vendor. Yet, "the next step" in CMS now means distinctly different things to various colleges and universities as, going forward, they consider their landscapes of learning, and requisites that didn't even exist five years ago.... (Campus Technology)

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Reader Response

We want to hear from you!

What does "smart" classroom technology mean to your campus? Share your viewpoint, experiences, and questions with your peers by writing to us at [email protected].

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