Posts Tagged ‘office-software’

ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2011 Report released

  1. The Educause ECAR for 2011 Lists among its top actionable survey results: “Nail the basics. Help faculty and administrators support students’ use of core productivity software for academic work.
  2. Not a language learning specific result , but a reminder also for the LRC to prioritize:
    1. LRC posts onproductivity software”,
    2. and most of our students’ “academic work” lives online in Moodle.

Our Office 2010 natural language features upgrade: A running log

2011/09/15 1 comment
  1. Just logging some notes, observations, issues, step-by-step instructions… – other than non-natural-language, most collaboration features, which are being logged here.
  2. Office 2010 proofing tools (proofing-tools2010-install.wmv),:
    1. again, we select custom install, “run all from Computers”
    2. install is extensive, but uneventful
  3. Office 2010 proofing tools (proofing-tools2010-first-run-German-set-language.wmv), first run:
    1. German is not autodetected. You have to set the language of the selected text manually, and first find the button on the ribbon:reviewing
    2. While choosing the language, you can see from the checkmark which languages now have proofing tools installed
  4. Foreign Language Support
    1. One of the strongest benefits of upgrading to MS-Office 2010 in the language center is the improved foreign language support licensing for so called “Language Packs”, and that we have a complete set of licenses to the MS-Proofing Tools.
    2. In addition MS-Office supports free download of so called “Language interface packs” which seem essentially downscaled language packs for LCTL (usually come only with (see feature list) a spell checker and help in the language). Compare: “If a language is available in a language pack or as a fully localized version, it is not available as a language interface pack”.
    3. Unfortunately multi-user (= learner of different language) support is not the primary usage scenario of these tools. It is, however, possible, to set the language to a default (e.g. Spanish, Arabic or Chinese, depending on your environment). Switching to another language is relatively easy for a user
      1. changing the screen-tip language:

Our Office 2010 & Office365/Live@Edu/Live not yet @Edu/Ninermail Upgrade: A running log

2011/08/11 1 comment
  1. Just logging some notes, observations, issues, step-by-step instructions…
  2. Office 2010ff install (office2010-full-install-labadmn.wmv [all links are to the folder only, choose screencast by name):
    1. 0:00-2:00: you can easily install Office 2010 from the ISO file without physical CD media, if you first install the free Magic Disc, then from the system notification tray, mount the ISO file to the , open the pseudo-drive from Explorer, which starts the installer through Autorun
    2. 2:00-4:00: since we do not want frozen imaged lab computers to ask for the installation media “on first run”of Office features, we choose button:customize, tab:installation options: “run all from Computer” (top – level selection is sufficient, rest of video is looking around), then button:upgrade
    3. Lots of waiting ensues…
    4. At the end, 28:55, “Microsoft office professional plus 2010 encountered and error during setup”, also the installer complains once about another instance running, then 38:12 asks for rebooting,
  3. Office 2010 first run  (office2010first-run-excel-web-app-test.wmv): 
    1. after reboot, the installation seems to have completed
    2. changing Office update policies seems to be not allowed
    3. file /save&send / save to web / windows live / log in / browse to a folder / give a filename: office2010-file-save&save-to-web 
    4. type something, save and exit
    5. in web browser, open windows live:
      1. log in, go to menu:SkyDrive, browse to the folder, find the file, click on it to view in browser,
      2. from top menu, choose edit in browser, type something, save,
      3. from top menu choose edit in excel, wait for download to open, type something, save&close,
      4. go back to web browser, open the update document from the right users (lab staff).
  4. sharing with windows live
      1. first uncc-LRC needs to make some friends:
        1. eventually, we want the staff of the uncc-LRC be able to use these online  extensions of the most common tools in our work environment, MS-Windows and MS-Office. For this, we need to wait until live@edu/ninermail  is up, so that we can invite lab staff using their email  addresses
        2. for testing purposes, I have invited myself and the lab coordinator using their personal Hotmail/live addresses
      2. friends need to accept the invitation email  – and even on Hotmail/live mail, look for them in their Junk mail folder (this has been one of the unresolved mysteries of inter-office politics at Microsoft since at least 2007). accepting-friend-request
      3. second, in SkyDrive, share your files with these  friends, and with the right permissions
        1. skydrive-setting-folder-permissionsa sharing policy, per folder, needs to be decided upon
        2. uncc-non-secure permissions: all view, friends edit: uncc-lrc-non-secure-permissions
        3. uncc-secure-settings: only friends view and edit (shall we limit editing to some friends? permanent staff?) uncc-lrc-secure-permissions
        4. skydrive-permissions-folder-secure-some-friends note that some granularity of permissions is already supported, like
          1. folder:”secure”- “friends”:”can add,edit,delete”
          2. folder:”secure”- “friends”:”can read”
          3. folder:”secure”- “some friends”:”can add,edit,delete”
        5. skydrive-setting-folder-permissions-public-cannot-give-edit-access-beyond-friends note that you can give read, but not write access to files beyond the circle of your friends (“friending” within the organization should, however, become are more acceptable option when/if live@edu will allow for accounts, and interesting, since it offers disintermediation for office network admin tasks).
        6. skydrive-upload-files-standard you can add files through a standard web-interface, or a more advanced Active-x control (looks like your mileage may still widely vary outside of Internet Explorer which is even more confusing when the ActiveX interface is offered in Firefox, but shows glitches). Note, however, that opening a local file in Office 2010 and save&share to SkyDrive is more attractive – however, will you in MS-Office see the folders that are merely shared with you to add to? Does not look like it. Stay tuned… office2010-file-save&save-to-web-windows-live-skydrive. one can still upload the spreadsheet from the web browser, then, also from a web browser, click “open in excel”. From then on, one can open it ore easily from the excel File / history shortcut. I am still working on figuring out how to map SkyDrive folders to local drives (it worked for one set, but other mappings run into problems: Is this because MS allows only one windows live identity to be mapped to your local windows account?)
        7. To publish (possible embed in a web page) spreadsheets with Excel Web App, you can choose:
          1. SkyDrive menu: add files
            1. add an existing file
          2. or SkyDrive menu: “new”
          1. Excel web app ribbon menu: “Open in Excel”
          2. Copy/Paste your content and Save, Close
          3. Excel Web app menu “excel-web-app-menu-embed Share”/ “Embed”:i
          4. Adjust your options in this sharing dialog: excel-web-app-share-embed-options
          5. To embed, take the html-code (you can increase the max width beyond 640 outside of this dialog) and paste it into your web publishing program
          6. Gotcha: To be embeddable, the spreadsheet needs to be in a public folder, or else: excel-web-app-gotcha-public-folder
            1. To move the file, use the “move”option in the file details pane to the right: excel-web-app-gotcha-public-folder4-file-details
            2. This setting should  make it work: excel-web-app-gotcha-public-folder-workaround
            3. And interestingly, it does, automagically: You do not have to update the embed code. It seems the link within the embed code goes to a “file” which has the “folder” it is in not as a path (in the link), but as an attribute:excel-web-app-gotcha-public-folder3
        8. to share a file: Examples for MS-office live file collaboration
          1. MS-Excel
            1. Do not use the “embed” link from SkyDrive, e.g.!133: this opens in read-only even if I am logged in (in Firefox and in Excel)( as a friend with editing rights)
            2. use the “edit” link from SkyDrive, e.g “edit in browser” attempts first opening in browser (Firefox – not asking for  permissions, since I am logged in as friend with editing permissions), unsupported features redirect to excel 2010, opening in “protected view“ – but can enable editing.
            3. Note that when opening in excel 2010, you lose the concurrency that excel web app offers – thus, only 1 LRC assistant can have the online spreadsheet open to make update to the film collection (we have one barcode scanner equipped PC only anyway, so use this one for editing the film-collection.xlsx)
          2. MS-PowerPoint
              1. here is a folder link from where you can click on ""open in PowerPoint":
              2. this may take time: open-in-powerpoint-2010-from-skydrive
              3. here is the ""edit in browser"" link
        9. to delete a file on SkyDrive: skydrive-delete-file 
          1. in detail view, hover over the file row
          2. click on the blue info button at the right end of the file row
          3. in the property pane that opens up on the right, click “delete”.
        10. MS-Word
          1. Just in case you were wondering about the underlying WEBDAV: You cannot paste the “open in word” link into a MS-Word 2010 file open dialogue (you used to be able to paste WebDAV links form the Blackboard Content System into MS-Word’s File-Open, but those were fully qualified URIs to MS-Word-files without JavaScript trickery), or else:
          2. could-not-open
        11. As of 9/27/2011, I also now managed to get in to SkyDrive with my university credentials, for how, see here:
  5. Natural language features testing in MS-Office 2010 is being logged here.

How teachers can more quickly open/update/save their Moodle files from MS-Office

MS-Education Labs has published a plugin that speeds up editing MS-Office Files in Moodle.

To use the plugin, download (for 32-bit Office) , run, and from (2007) Office Button or (2010/2003) Menu: “File”, use menu item “Open from Moodle” (and later “Save to Moodle”).


You have to (once) let MS-Office (e.g. MS-Word or Excel) know the URL of  Moodle (e.g., office_moodle_credentials, then your login credentials: office_moodle_login.

Note that your categorization of Moodle courses (in the tree menu on the left, all courses are filed away in folders called “Training”) prevents an instant load: office-moodle-courses-categories-error.

Instead, search for (part of) your course title: office-moodle-courses-search.

Select the results you want to add and click button: “Add”: office-moodle-courses-search-resources.

Wait for the courses to be loaded: office-moodle-courses-search-resource-loading.

You can then use the left course tree to browse for matching MS-office files within each of your loaded courses: office-moodle-courses-search-resource-browsing

MS-Office files are likely involved in the majority of Moodle edits, so this promises to be a great timesaver.

For more information, see also the CTL’s step-by-step instruction Using the Office Add-in for Moodle.

Free Farsi Proofing Tools available: VafaSpellchecker

Unfortunately, the VafaSpellchecker Proofing Tools are now not available anymore for Office 2010. The links to the Office 2010 on the website have been broken for a long time, the developer seems to have left the university, the project manager has not answered my inquiry. Here is hoping they will be resurrected.

Even though proofing tools are neither designed for non-native language learners nor, traditionally, used  in a pedagogically sound way by language learners without proper guidance, they form one of the greatest opportunities to apply advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to second language acquisition (SLA) tasks, given that they are a widely installed and commonly understood artificial intelligence providing automated feedback on natural language issues.

The management and licensing of proofing tools has been much improved since MS-Office 2007 which made it easier (and cheaper) to install modular proofing support for additional languages distributed as Language Packs.

However, in an SLA context, even this may still not be a convincing value proposition, whether for the personal computers of individual student learners, or even – due to apparent the lack of concurrent licensing options within proofing tools –   for Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) in an imaged computer lab environment (in our case, we would need to purchase 45 licenses à $25 before tax for a language that may have about half as many learners or less).

All the more welcome are  freely downloadable add-ons- – thanks to the MS-Office platform extensibility – the VafaSpellchecker, a Persian Spell&grammar and real-word error checking system by the Natural Language and Text Processing Laboratory in University of Tehran, funded by Iranian Research Institute for ICT, available for both MS-Office 2003 and 2007. A VafaSpellchecker user guide (in Farsi) is also available.


As always with NLP in SLA, caveat emptor, use with a grain of salt, or two.

Testing Ribbon Hero 2 as a training resource for MS-Office

“A game fit for playing at work”? I am game!

Easy to tell after a couple of rounds that this constitutes a nice effort, but…

I wish the Excel Ribbon Hero game would remember – after all, Office 2010 still does, thank you! – the Office 2003 keyboard shortcuts, like for Data / Sort.

Or do you really think I needed a hint to sort a table in Excel?

“Right, but is the game called Excel Keyboard Shortcut Hero?”. Oh well, I earned my points via the context menu, that is not a Ribbon feature either, is it?