Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sources of our digital copy-rights

One of the strengths of our Blackboard CMS is that it makes it easy for faculty to deliver digital copies of readings and supplementary course materials to their students.  If we start with the premise that the Academy is committed to full compliance with copyright law, it is useful to consider the ways in which these materials may be delivered without requiring copyright permission. Continue reading

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Risks Associated with Access to Digital Course Materials

The implementation of the Blackboard CMS as part of PANet three years ago made it possible for individual faculty members to deliver digital content to students quickly and easily.  This electronic content is chosen to reflect the educational objectives of the particular course and comes from many sources.  Many documents are available over the free Internet.  Other materials are available through one of the dozens of electronic databases licensed by the OWHL.  Still others are print materials which have been scanned and digitized. Is the use of all of these materials copyright compliant?  This is a hard question to answer.  The difficulty is compounded by the fact that the decision is left to individual faculty members, most of whom have neither the time nor the interest in becoming copyright experts. Continue reading

Shenandoah Bike Ride, Last Day

On the last day of the ride we had a short route (33 miles) from Front Royal to the Marriott Ranch at Hume, where we left our cars.  It was lucky that the ride was short, because it rained the whole time.  Fortunately, it was warmer than it had been, so, though I got wet, I wasn’t really cold until the end.

We started out the day with breakfast at L. Dee’s Pancakes, and then headed out to Hume.  I rode with a large group for awhile, but then set out on my own when we came to a series of climbs.  After several miles of solitary riding, I decided to wait under an awning to see who might come along.  Virginia and Lesley came by within a few minutes, and so I rode with them the rest of the way.

The terrain near the Ranch is really hilly.  At the beginning of the trip, I found that a little intimidating.  By the end, I found it exhilerating.  While I couldn’t really let it all out on the descents leading up to the hills (because of the rain) I found the ascents pretty easy.  It caused me to think about why I had done this trip in the first place, and what I had learned.

I am going on the Southern Tier cross-country bike ride with Woman Tours next March and April.  I wanted to check out the organization, learn about gear, and test my own abilities.  In all respects my objectives were met.  I loved being a part of a group of women (average age about 57) doing a pretty challenging ride.  The dynamic of an all-women’s group is just different from that of a mixed group.  The leaders were great, the logistics were excellent, and I particularly appreciated the fact that the cue sheets were prepared with readable sized font!  Even though I am an introvert, I found that I enjoyed the social aspects of sharing a room with a different woman every night.  It taught me a few things about myself and my own expectations–I’ll be sure to bring earplugs, an eyemask, and a headlamp on the X-C.  One of the unexpected benefits of the trip is that I got to know a woman who is also signed up for the Southern Tier ride.  I like her a lot, and we are pretty compatible riders, so I know that I’ll have at least one other person to ride with.

I also learned that I am pretty much a novice with respect to riding in cold weather.  Living in Massachusetts, I have considered cycling to be a summer activity.  Many of the women on this trip were pretty hard-core, rinding into winter conditions.  The good news is that I learned what kind of equipment I need to be able to extend my riding season comfortably. (I have to talk Dean into coming with me!)

I also learned a lot about myself as a rider.  Compared to many of the women on the trip, I am really a novice–albeit an enthusiastic novice with a certain amount of natural ability.  I am now much more confident that I can get up any hill as long as I gear down.  I am going to learn how to change a tire, and then I’ll be all set.

Oh, and after I picked up my car in Hume I got to go visit my 7 month-old granddaughter, A-chan, who lives in Maryland with my son Matthew and his wife Robbi.

Life is good.

Matt and Robbi spend a lot of time in their pajamas, since they are the owners of an up-an-coming publishing house called Idiots’Books.

While I was there, I got to help them with the production of their latest book, Animal House.  In this election season, it is well worth checking out.

Shenandoah Bike Ride, Days 4 and 5

Before leaving this morning, we took a group portrait in from of the Inn.  We were pretty bundled up, because the temperature was 31!

For the past three riding days, we have been heading south through the Shenandoah River Valley.  We have now arrived at the southern terminus of Skyline Drive.  This morning we left Waynesborough and headed to the junction of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ride Parkway.  The Blue Ridge goes south.  We are heading North.  Over the next two days we will ride the entire length of Skyline Drive.  This spectacular road is a ridge ride, and was created by the CCC program as part of the national park.

Within 1,000 feet, we were rewarded with spectacular views.

We paused briefly for a group picture of Virginia, Peggy, and me.  Notice that in this picture I am wearing cycling shorts.  In anticipation of all of the climbing, I dressed so as not to be too hot.  Within a half hour of this picture I had gotten my suitecase out of the van and changed into cycling tights, and added another long sleeved jersey.  I was still cold.

We continued to climb, and it continued to be beautiful.

Laurie found a scenic spot to work on lunch preparations.

We stopped at the Wayside for lunch, and Laurie and Sid began loading bikes onto the van.

I had been intimidated by the thought of the climbing, but in fact, I didn’t find it too hard.  The real challenge for me today was the cold.  When we began our ride it was in the low thirties, and didn’t get above 45 before lunch.  Usually I warm up on climbs, so I didn’t expect it to be a real problem.  I was wrong.  I never did warm up, even on the very long climbs.   By the lunch stop at the half way point (31 miles) I decided (along with 13 other riders,) to take the van up to the lodge.

The Big Meadows lodge is beautiful.  This is a view from my room.

I didn’t get a good picture of the front of the lodge because my hands were too cold to hold the camera steady.  But our rooms were cozy, and dinner in the lodge was excellent.

On Friday, (Day five of riding)  we finished the second half of Skyline Drive.  As predicted, it was cold, cloudy, and foggy.  I was determined to stay warm, and so I wore pretty much every layer in my suitcase.  I used two plastic bags on my feet (over my socks, and under my shoes) to break the wind.

I took no pictures today at all, because it was simply too foggy.  I put my camera under my jacket to keep it dry, and for about an hour I thought that I had somehow lost it.  (It had slipped down.)  There were some highlights–like a terrific rest stop right before a four mile climb where we got hot chocolate and used real toilets.  We ate lunch in the van, and warmed up before an afternoon that was mainly downhill–capped by a 17 mile descent into the town of Front Royal.

Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow.

Shenandoah Bike Ride, Days 2 and 3

Our second day of riding started auspiciously.  It wasn’t quite as cold, and the first 18 miles were really beautiful.  We drove through interesting small towns like Fort Valley.

Then came the moment of decision.  At mile 18 we would the climb over Cat Back Mountain, described as the hardest single climb of the trip.  The alternative was to have the van shuttle you up, and then ride down and continue the ride.  Seven of us (out of 18) elected to do the climb. Just as Lesley and I were leaving to do the climb, a guy in a hunting jacket driving a big truck stopped by to say (irately) that bikers shouldn’t be on that road, that the locals go 75, and “someone will be killed.”  Not helpful.

Here is the van stopped at the top of the mountain, our lunch spot.  Notice that my pink Trek is NOT on top of the van.  I made it!

The reward was this view.

And a fabulous lunch.

After lunch we had a pretty tough ride to Luray caverns.  The hardest hill was at the very end.  This guy waited at the top.

Luray Caverns is incredible.  We were part of a large tour.

These pictures don’t do it justice.  The cavern contains an enormous lake.  This picture is of stalactites reflected in the lake.

After the caverns, it was only a short ride to our destination, the Mimslyn Inn.

This spectacular old hotel has been recently renovated, and now contains such amenities as a hot tub,

In room fireplaces,  and palatial bathrooms.


The highlight of our evening was the celebration of the 50th birthday of one of the women on the tour.  She had a specially decorated cheesecake.

Day three of riding began with breakfast and then we lined up for our daily ritual of selecting snacks to eat on the ride.

I rode with Peggy and Lesley today, and we decided that we’d ride slowly and stop frequently.  The day divided into three twenty mile segments—twenty miles of rolling hills,  twenty miles of reasonably flat road running right through the gorgeous Shenandoah River Valley, and then twenty miles of climbing.

There are no pictures of this glorious ride because my camera battery failed on the first picture stop.

The biggest challenge of the day came at the end.  The road leading up to the Iris Inn, where we were to stay, was VERY steep.  Counting the equally steep driveway, the climb was about seven tenths of a mile, and we had to begin the climb from a dead stop. The Inn was, as promised, worth it.

This is the view from my balcony.

Here are two women from the group relaxing on the porch after they got out of the Jacuzzi.

We were the only guests, so we kept our bikes on the porch.

This picture was taken during our  daily “map meeting.”  It is no accident that no one but Laurie, the leader, looks very cheerful.  She is telling us about our day tomorrow, which includes 8,651 feet of climbing on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park!

Shenandoah Back Roads, Day One

I am spending this week in Virginia, riding in a bicycle tour called Shenandoah Back Roads with Womantours.

On Saturday I drove from Andover to Woodbridge, VA, and spent the night with my brother Will and sister-in-law Patti.

Will was a bit under the weather, so Patti and I went to dinner at the Potomac Winery (cited recently by Southern Living as a top destination off of Interstate 95) without him.

The venue was beautiful and the food was excellent.  The next morning we went to Wegman’s to pick up a newspaper and a few things for breakfast.  This is no ordinary grocery store.  You could cater a very large, very fancy party from that store.

Sunday afternoon I headed over to the Marriott Ranch in Hume, Virginia.

This working ranch is on a spectacular piece of property, pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.  To get there I had to drive several miles on a single track dirt and gravel road.  We pumped up our tires and had time to wander around the property before we were called in for hors d’oevres and our riders’ meeting.

They feed us very well.

This is Laurie, one of our intrepid leaders.

Each day we are randomly assigned a different roommate.  Tonight I roomed with Lesley, who is from Northern Virginia.  We stayed with four others in “the Cottage” a guest house a little ways from the main inn.

This is a picture of the cottage. We were temporarily excited by the fact that it contained a living room and a TV (Lesley is also a Sox fan, and we planned to watch at least a part of the game.)  We had no luck getting it to work, however, and so were spared the agony of the inevitable.

This is a picture of frost.  A hard frost.

It was below freezing when we woke this morning at 6.  We needed to move our cars to the weeklong parking, and I had to run the heater for five minutes before I could get the windshield clear enough to drive.  Worse, I don’t usually ride when it is below 50, and I am pretty unprepared for these conditions.  I made do with double sox and wore every layer I had available.

It didn’t take long for me to warm up.  The first five miles were uphill, and that pretty much set the tone for the day.  We climbed for a total of 26 miles, (out of 55) and 4,500 feet in elevation.  The hills were nasty and steep , and it was hard.  We stopped at a very cool one lane bridge over the Shenandoah River,

and took a group picture in front of a particularly lovely tree.

The locals were friendly, and there were plenty of folks cheering us on.

I took this picture at the top of a particularly nasty climb.

As we drew close to this hill, a man riding towards us was helpful enough to point out that we were about to get to “the worst hill in the world.”  As we got to the top, I thought that he was pretty lame for thinking that that was such a bad hill—but then we kept coming upon more and more challenging ascents, and I started to worry whether it was even the hill that he meant.

We arrived in Strasborg around 4:00, and convened on the porch of the beautiful Strasborg hotel to drink a little wine and talk about the ride.

A man who has lived across the street from the hotel for 72 years walked over to say hi to us and brought us two bottles of red wine!  My roommate for tonight is Nancy from Syracuse, and we were lucky enough to be assigned to a room with a Jacuzzi tub.  Here is a view of the room.

Tomorow is another day of riding.  We’ll tackle Catback Mountain.

Coursepacks

A “coursepack” is a collection of readings from books, periodicals, and other sources, chosen by an instructor in support of a particular course.  Coursepacks may be physical or virtual.  In the case of physical coursepacks,  the selected materials are copied, collated, bound, and sold to students for a price that allows costs to be recovered.  Teachers using virtual coursepacks take advantage of the functionality of a course management system (in the case of PA, Blackboard) to “post” links to electronic documents that exist on the Internet or in the electronic reserves system of Blackboard.  There are copyright implications of each type of coursepack. Continue reading