app talk: Check out the Harris County Public Library app – and free books, music, and audiobooks

San Jac’s library has many of the books you need, and transformed spaces that makes collaboration and study easier than ever. Still, the free apps from Harris County Public Library (HCPL) are available on iTunes and Google Play, and a worthwhile addition to your Android tablet or iPhone.


If you qualify for a library card  (proof of your Harris County mailing address is needed when you apply), the HCPL app will help you make the most of your time in the library. It makes it easy to not only search the library catalog, and renew your books, but also place requests for favorite books and DVDs. If you’ve always wanted to read a copy of “Twilight” – but not pay for it – this app will allow you to reserve a copy, or “get in line” behind other patrons. (The app will tell you, for instance, that if you want to read John Green’s recent best-seller “The Fault in Our Stars,” there are 18 copies available and 541 other patrons waiting to read it.)

HCPL Mobile also features a eMedia section letting you search through their online, virtual collection. If you have space to download additional apps – HCPL has partnered with Overdrive and OneClickdigital, to make it possible for you to  remotely check out audiobooks and print books. The available formats include Amazon Kindle, Adobe EPUB, OverDrive Read, MP3, or Windows Media Audio format. The Overdrive Media Console app and OneClickdigital  eBook and eAudio app are also both available on Google Play and iTunes as free downloads; eBook can be used on the Kindle Fire, and eAudio can also be used with the Nook, or downloaded to a desktop computer. 

overdrive                                   oneclick

There are limitations; some books shared by the library exist in only one or two formats, and not another; if you’re used to reading a Kindle-formatted book, but if the book you want is in EPUB, you may have to download a different app to read it, such as the Aldiko Book Reader.

Still, if you enjoy reading, or listening to, the latest book, the HCPL apps are a surprisingly robust method of connecting with your local library.

SJC Blackboard Support: Informational Announcement – Turnitin Scheduled Maintenance

Subject: Turnitin Maintenance

Who it affects: All Turnitin Users


Turnitin service may be intermittently unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, October 11, 2014, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM U.S. Central Time.

Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.

If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact us at:

Blackboard Support Team

San Jacinto College – Educational Technology

8060 Spencer Hwy. | C.1-218| Pasadena, TX 77505

On-Campus:  2084

Off-Campus:  281.542.2084

Email: bbsupport@sjcd.edu

cropped Remind

app talk: Remind

Here’s another app that comes highly ranked as one of my favorites.  Remind (formally known as Remind 101) is an app made especially for teachers.  Educators who needs to reach their students or their student’s parents, in a K-12 environment, can do so by sending out one message that goes to an entire class and/or their parents with a few simple clicks.  It’s never been easier to send reminders about upcoming exams, school activities or any other classroom related event. Remind

This app is an effective way to disseminate information without ever having to text from a personal cell phone or without having to input cell phone numbers.  The team at Remind even has a safety component built in, whereas there cannot be any one-to-one messaging.  The system is set up to require messaging of no less than 3 subscribers.  Not only is Remind good for a K-12 classroom, but also on a college level for advisors/instructors overseeing student organizations or someone heading up a community organization.

At first glance, Reminder appears to support one-way communications only.  When messages are sent out, there is no way of responding back, as you would with a traditional text message.  However, with some thought and creativity, Remind can be used for such things as RSVP’ing, voting and answering questions.  One component within the Remind app (not available through email or SMS) is called Stamps.  Located in the lower right hand corner of any “received” message you will see a circled star.  Touch the star and it opens up to a colorful bar of 4 symbols: a star, a check, an X and a question mark.  This is how it works; a teacher can send a text to the whole class that simply says, “Have you completed your projects?” then respond with a “check” for yes and an “X” for no.  Each student that has the app can respond by simply choosing the correct symbol.  The teacher can then view the results of each response gotten for each response as they come in.


It’s your choice, but this app allows you to receive messages one of three ways, recipients can receive messages either through SMS messages, emails or Push Notifications via the Remind app.  Messages can also be sent out and viewed via their website www.remind.com. The app is totally free and is available on both the IOS and Android devices.