Thursday, December 24, 2009

Understanding Spreadsheet Referencing

Wind Chill Spreadsheet Project

As part of our Information Technology training program in spreadsheets, we ask our student workers to solve real-world problems based on numeric models and graphs. Results are assessed to ensure that student staff is prepared to provide instructional assistance in the computer labs. Understanding the concept of absolute and mixed references in spreadsheets is tricky for many students, especially those who are apprehensive of numbers and have not typically succeeded in mathematics. Students enjoy the challenge of building a spreadsheet model that replicates NOAA's official wind chill chart and creating a follow-up comparative graph. Below are basic instructions that can be revised to include more or less detail, depending on the skill level of your students.
The wind chill index is a calculation that describes the combined effect of the wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin. For example if the temperature is 20 degrees and the wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour, the wind chill index is –10 degrees. The official NOAA formula to calculate wind chill is:

Wind chill = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V0.16)+0.4275T(V0.16)
where V = wind speed (mph) and T = temperature (° F)
Please note that a standard formula such as 3A + 4B2 is coded in Excel as 3*A+4*B^2.
Go to and create a spreadsheet that looks like the one in the figure Wind Chill chart. Every numeric cell in the chart should have a formula with the exception of the two starter cells: Wind mph = 5 and Temperature = 40. Color-code the regions in the chart according to the legend below it, although the wavy lines are not required.

You should only have to type the formula once and then use fill down and fill across to replicate it, but first read up on relative and absolute references. Hint: this problem is a bit tricky because it mixes relative and absolute references. Refer to these Excel resources for assistance, although other software such Google Spreadsheets should suffice.

Wind Chill chart
Using your wind chill spreadsheet create a graph that compares NOAA’s new wind chill model vs. the old model. Refer to the diagram Wind Chill Graph below (the logos are not necessary) as a guide. To create the data for your graph create the following rows in your spreadsheet (below the rows in your wind chill chart). Create a range of speeds from 5 to 110 and the corresponding old and new wind chills.

There are only two data cells: the one to the right of Temp (in this example 15) and the number 5 to the right of Speed. The rest are all formulas! You have the formula for the new wind chill index and will base it on the cell to the right of Temp. This is the formula for the old wind chill index that will need to be written as an Excel formula. Again, keep in mind relative and absolute referencing!

0.0817 (3.71V0.5 + 5.81 - 0.25V) (T - 91.4) + 91.4

Create a line graph based on these three rows and label the title, axes, and legends accordingly.

Answer these questions:
  1. To the right of the Temp cell change the number from 15 to 40. Aside from the obvious that the wind chill is warmer, what overall pattern do you observe?
  2. Keep testing different temperatures and determine the approximate temperature that brings the windchill lines closest together.
  3. What is your general observation of the lines at this temperature?
Wind Chill Graph

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enhancing Audio Podcasts for Online and Mobile Learning

SUNY CIT 2009: Enhancing Audio Podcasts for Online and Mobile Learning

Where: SUNY Oswego

When: Thursday, May 21 4:45 - 5:15 pm Lanigan 103

Resources: Chapter podcast and YouTube videos.

Customizing an iTunes Audiobook from MP3 files, etext, and images

Play the chapter podcast on your PC or Mac using iTunes. For mobile playback use an iPhone or iPod touch.


Course management tools such as ANGEL's Course Syndication or Blackboard's Manage Podcast allow instructors to deliver audio-formatted course materials to their students. Although creating, optimizing, and tagging these audio recordings require planning and preparation, the actual process of creating a course podcast requires just a few basic steps. Students subscribe to the podcasts, typically with iTunes, and organize them in their personal music library for listening on their PC or Mac. Subsequently uploaded episodes (recordings) are automatically delivered to iTunes, even if students are not logged into your course.

Audio podcasts are familiar to most everyone; however, enhancing podcasts with timed images, chapter markers, web site links, and text over audio is less well known. Yet these enhanced podcasts offer promising online, assisted, and mobile learning alternatives that traditional audio podcasts do not easily provide. When formatted for mobile learning on devices such as iPods and iPhones, enhanced podcasts and audiobooks engage students in new, unique, and exciting ways.

Join me in this session as we look at and listen to enhanced podcasts and custom audiobooks, including text-to-speech for assisted learning. Software solutions that create these special materials will be demonstrated including converting PowerPoint presentations into audio-enhanced lectures.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sending your presentation links to

Dear SUNY CIT 2009 Presenters,

You can send your presentation links to the SUNY CIT 2009 Delicious Web site:, which typically will be published within 24 hours.

1. If you do not have a Delicious account go to and create one.

If you need assistance, refer to the Guide to Delicious Social Bookmarking

2. Create bookmark(s) related to your presentation. Include a brief description of each bookmark and add tags that describe it. Include a presentation title tag (no spaces allowed but don't go too crazy with the length) - for example Enhancing Audio Podcasts for Online and Mobile Learning: enhancingaudiopodcasts.

3. For your last tag type for:sunycit09 (note the : after for)

4. Click the Save button and your bookmark will be sent to the Delicious sunycit09 Inbox.

5. Repeat the process for each bookmark.

6. The Delicious sunycit09 administrator will add your bookmark(s), which will appear in the site:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Delicious Guide

Delicious Social Bookmarking


Delicious is a popular social bookmarking application that provides tools to quickly and efficiently save and organize your favorite web sites using a browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. You can tap into the collective knowledge of more than five million users and 150 million bookmarks1 by searching with the use of keywords (tags).

Registering a Delicious Account
  • Start Firefox and log on to your Web Mail account.
  • Create a new tab in Firefox and go to
  • Click the Join Now button:
  • Fill out the form to create your delicious account. Your username must be unique to Delicious and should be easy for others to remember and type. When you have typed your proposed username click the Check button to determine availability.
  • Passwords must be at least six characters in length and contain at least one symbol or number (e.g. merlin88).
  • Click the Register button.

  • You are directed to the Install Bookmarking Tools page. Click Skip this step.
  • You are directed to the Import Existing Bookmarks page. Again click Skip this step.
  • Respond to the Delicious verification e-mail and click the link to activate your account.
Creating Bookmarklets
Your two Bookmarklets should display on the Toolbar like this:

Adding Bookmarks

Here is the process in a nutshell. Bring up the web site that you want to bookmark and click the Bookmark on Delicious button. Add notes and tags (keywords) based on what is popular, what is recommended, and what works for you!

What are tags?

“A tag is simply a word you can use to describe a bookmark. Unlike folders, you make up tags when you need them and you can use as many as you like. The result is a better way to organize your bookmarks and a great way to discover interesting things on the Web.” For a complete description of tags with examples choose Help > Help Sections > Tags.

The quickest way to access your personal home page (e.g. is to click the Bookmarks button.
  • Let’s locate a web site and post it to your Delicious account. Go to and search for “New Burger King breakfast”.
  • Click the link New Burger King breakfast offering outdoes Whopper - Mar. 29, 2005 and click the Bookmark on Delicious button.
  • Complete the notes field and click the buttons under Popular to add these tags: nutrition obesity fastfood breakfast calories
  • In the TAGS box add the tag workshop.
  • Tags are separated by spaces. If you wish to tag two related words (e.g. fast food) combine them into one such as fastfood. How you tag is up to you. However, consider common tags that will facilitate searching, grouping and organization within your own account and as part of the Delicious network.
  • Complete your bookmark form – choose your tags wisely for future use.

  • Click the Save button.
  • Click the My Delicious bookmarklet in the Firefox Toolbar to bring up your home page.
Popular Tags

Let’s search for the most popular bookmarks tagged as fastfood.
  • In the top menu choose Tags > Explore.
  • Type fastfood in the Tag box and click the go button.
  • Click the Popular link (or go directly to
  • Press the Enter or Return key and browse through the list to locate: Fast Food Restaurants and Nutrition Facts Compared.
  • Click the link, briefly read the web page and add the bookmark to your folder, including notes and the tags: fastfood nutrition calories health fat transfat workshop.
  • Click the Save button to save your new bookmark.
  • Click My Delicious to return to your home page.
  • Common Tags, Related Tags, and Bundles

  • Go to and click Bookmark delicious.
  • Click maps googlemaps mashups under Popular tags and fastfood nutrition obesity under Recommended tags.
  • Add the tag web2.0 and add the comments (see figure below) in the notes field.

  • Click the Save button.
  • Click My Delicious to return to your home page.
  • Click the People button to right of Fast Food Restaurants & Nutrition Facts Compared.

The page's URL is and displays a complete user posting history sorted by save date. Top Tags is sorted by most popular in a frequency list that includes tags marked by users (including you) that saved this bookmark. You can explore further by clicking user bookmark collections (e.g. and their bookmarks filtered by tag (e.g.
  • Click the Notes tab to list all bookmarks that contain notes
Exploring Delicious Users

  • In the top menu choose Tags > Explore.
  • Type obesity in the Tag box and click the go button, which brings up all Delicious bookmarks containing the tag: greater than 17,000 total. (Other tags such as health have more than 1,200,000 bookmarks.)
  • Scroll through these bookmarks and open the user: or type http://delicious/healthpromotion.
  • has organized and annotated more than 2,600 bookmarks with Tags and Tag Bundles.

  • Type obesity in the tag search box and press the return key to bring up the bookmarks containing the tag (more than 70).
  • Under Related Tags click the + symbol before health to bring up bookmarks that contain both the obesity and health tags.
  • Finally refer to the bundles Community, Disease, Faith-Based-Wellness, and so on. Users group tags into bundles to make them easier to find.
Sharing Bookmarks with Other Users

You can share bookmarks with other Delicious users by adding the for:auser (e.g.
for:maindombe) tag to a new or existing bookmark and then clicking the Save button.

  • Click the Bookmarks button to return to your home page.
  • Search for an interesting, educational bookmark, add a short description, and related tags.
  • Add the tag for:auser (replacing auser with an actual Delicious user). If you are in a workshop, choose your partner’s username. If you working alone, choose maindombe and e-mail another Delicious user on campus to share a bookmark with you!
  • Click the Save button.
  • Click the New Mail button to the right of your username:
  • Click the Save button for bookmarks that you want to keep and add descriptions and related bookmarks.
Adding Users to Your Network

You add users to your network to build a virtual collection of bookmarks with tags that interest you. You can evaluate the quality of these bookmarks by reviewing web page content, user descriptions and tag organization.

Click the Network link under Bookmarks.

Click the Add a user to Network, which is located in the upper-right corner of your screen.
Type maindombe in the username box.

Click the Add button. Maindombe is listed in your network.

Add one or two more users to your network.
Invite others to add your username to their networks. They will be listed as fans in your network!
Look up a URL

In the top menu bar choose Bookmarks > Look up a URL.

Click the go Arrow.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized has been tagged more than 1,800 times in about one month (as of this writing), so it is really popular!


You can subscribe to Delicious bookmarks based on specified tags and collect them in one place for your review. These tags — single or combined — can be aggregated from the entire Delicious community or filtered by user.

Go to your Delicious personal home page.
Click the Subscriptions link:
Click the Add a Subscription button or link. Type obesity in the Tag box.

Click the Add button. Bookmarks with tags based on your subscription criteria may display immediately, but typically it takes a while for them to appear. Over time older bookmarks will disappear.
If you find a bookmark in your subscriptions list that you like, choose the Save this link, add tags and notes, and click the Save button.
If you want to unsubscribe and remove the associated bookmarks, click Edit icon (pencil) and then click the Remove button.

Delicious RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are content stored on special web pages that you subscribe to much like Delicious subscriptions. Rather than going to different web sites each time you want to read or download information, feeds deliver the content automatically. You can specify to whom and where it is to be delivered. The format can be text, images, audio, or video (or a combination) structured as articles, news, photographs, podcasts, bookmarks, blog postings, YouTube videos, and so on. You can set up these feeds to be read and displayed in a number of ways. RSS readers or aggregators, such as the web-based Google Reader or Bloglines collect, organize, and display feeds in a variety of formats. In addition, it is also possible to insert RSS feeds into sections on web pages, which dynamically display new items added to the feed.

In Delicious you add an RSS feed by creating a linkroll:

Customizing a Javascript linkroll and then copying and pasting the code to an HTML-Javascript module in your blog, HTML web page, or ANGEL page.
Adding Delicious Linkrolls to Your Blog

Click the Help link and choose Blogging > Link Rolls in the Help page’s footer or type (you must be already logged into your account).
Under Display options fill in the blanks and check the boxes according to your preferences. Use the Preview pane as your guide. BTW, the Javascript box at the top dynamically builds the code as options are typed or entered.

Display options page
  • Highlight the JavaScript code and choose Edit > Copy.
JavaScript code that is to be copied and pasted into an HTML element in your blog.

  • Create a new Firefox tab (tabbed browsing is also available in Internet Explorer 7 for Windows or Safari for Macintosh) and log on to your account. Bring up the Dashboard page.
  • Click the Layout link.
  • On the right side of the Add and Arrange Page Elements page click the Add a Gadget link, which will bring up the Add a Gadget window.
  • Under HTML/JavaScript click the Add to Blog button.

In Configure HTML/JavaScript leave the title of your linkroll blank (Delicious already creates a title for you) and then paste the JavaScript code into the Content box.
  • Click Save Changes and then View Blog to display your linkroll (RSS feed) your blog’s right sidebar. By default it is placed at the top.
Adding Delicious Linkrolls to an ANGEL Course

  • Click the Help link and choose Blogging > Link Rolls in the Help page’s footer or type (you must be already logged into your account).
  • Under Display options fill in the blanks and check the boxes below according to your preferences. Use the Preview pane as your guide. BTW, the Javascript box at the top dynamically builds the code as options are typed or entered.

Display options page
  • Highlight the JavaScript code and choose Edit > Copy.
JavaScript code that is to be copied and pasted into an HTML element in your blog.
  • Log on to your ANGEL course
  • Choose Lessons > Add Content > Page.
  • Enter text in the Title and Subtitle boxes.
  • Click the Source button to allow HTML editing. All other buttons are grayed out and disabled.
  • Click in the edit box below and choose Edit > Paste to insert the HTML linkroll code.

RSS Feed based on tag “fastfood” added to ANGEL page
  • Click the Save button to add the feed to your page.
As you add new bookmarks to your Delicious web site, those containing the tag fastfood will automatically be added to your ANGEL page. Students can click on the actual web site links or the related tags.


Bookmark these Web Sites!

Hunger in Congo


February 7th, 2009


Melanie who organized this evening’s event learned that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Congo during most of the 1970’s. She asked that I share my perspective on world hunger based on my experiences in the impoverished central African nation.

Civil War

The world barely knew until recently that the eastern part of the Congo and its people have been ravaged the past decade by internal strife and a five-year civil war. It is too complex to adequately explain this evening the war’s origin and the parties involved, but in short rebels in the country itself and militias from up to nine surrounding African nations were bent on pillaring the Congo’s vast mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, colbat, and coltran (widely used in cell phones). The consequences have been devastating — over four million deaths since 1996, three million of which were caused by starvation and disease.

Living on the Equator in the 1970’s

Before talking about the Congo today, let me step back in time, briefly describing life in small, equatorial Congolese village over 30 years ago. Few people were starving in that region where basic staples were readily available and the cost of goods at local markets relatively low, although the wages of professionals such as teachers were less than $10 per month. However, many people were undernourished and considered tea with sugar (and perhaps a spoon of powdered or can milk) and a small piece of bread a luxury for breakfast. Lunch was rare and dinner and snacks unheard of. Dinner often consisted of cassava leaves (manioc plant that originated in South America) cooked with liquid from ground palm nuts and chikwangue (made from the root of the same manioc plant). Milk was a rare treat and sources of protein such as meat and fish were rationed into small pieces so each member of the family has their fair share.

You can imagine how I felt as a guest to a Congolese family that graciously prepared a large meal in my honor with goat meat, mpondu with dried fish and palm oil, rice, and plantains, knowing that a group of children were anxiously waiting for leftovers. To turn down a people or eat little of what was offered would have been a insult. I often resolved this dilemma by giving a gift of food soon after.

Industrious women would search for sources of protein by scooping up caterpillars (mbinzu) falling from trees during our summer months (on the equator seasons were wet and less wet) and then after cleaning boiling them for immediate use with mpondu or smoking them for future use. As you might imagine, refrigeration on the equator was virtually non-existant except for a weathly fee and some foreigners.

Undernourished small children and their mothers who breast feed them are the most vulnerable to the myriad of diseases, parasites, and infections such as malaria, worms, pneumonia, tuberculosis, measles, and diarrhea that are caused by poor sanitation, lack of preventive measures, and medical care.

The almost always fatal Ebola virus that received much publicity in the Western media has caused relatively few deaths, has been localized, and runs its course within weeks. These diseases ravage the undernourished, further weakening their already compromised immune systems and pushing their weary bodies into the vicious cycle of malnutrition, non-stop diarrhea, and and dehydration. The infant mortality rate was (still is) high and in the village and surrounding areas one of out of three children made it to the age of five. More than once on my way to school there would be a mother wailing outside her home or in the streets holding her dead child in her arms.

Perhaps my haunting moment happened when a sickly, unrecognizable old woman (I would have guessed someone in their seventies) with a severely malnourished and near-dead child arrived at my doorstep, begging for food. To my horror it was my former 20-year-old neighbor whose husband was my landlord.

Despite this difficult life for children, I was always uplifted by their incredible human spirit and the smiles on their faces — something that has been etched in my mind forever.

Life in the Congo today

As mentioned over three million Congolese have died of starvation or hunger related diseases in the past decade due to the civil war. Civilian Congolese are still dying daily in large numbers in that eastern region because they cannot return to their homes for fear of being attacked and often hide in the forest where food is hard to find. Acute malnutrition is 16%. The lack of hospitals and clinics in rural areas makes it difficult, if not impossible to access adequate health care.

The country is vast — 2.3 million square miles (about 2/3 the size of western Europe) and has a population of nearly 60 million, about triple the number of people when I was there in the early seventies. The average life expectancy dropped during the past decade from 45 to 42 years in large part because of the Civil War and also due to AIDS, about 1.6 million are afflicted with the disease. Basic math shows that we live on the average nearly four decades than Congolese do. I doubt there is a more compelling statistic that distinguishes our separate way of lives.

There is hope for the future. The Congo just completed its first democratic elections in history on October 29 with the help of 17,000 UN troops to keep the peace and international election officials to monitor the voting. Peacekeepers are patroling the capital Kinshasa in anticipation of violence from supporters of the losing party when the results are made public on November 19.

Grand Plans

After the election the new government has grand plans to improve the country’s economy. The mighty Congo River itself has the potential to generate electricity for much of the country. However, there are significant challenges. Peace and a well-managed government that is not crippled by rampant corruption (The former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s government popularized the term kleptocracy) is essential as well as substantial expansion of paved roads, which are only 300 miles for the entire country!

The classic case of kleptocracy - in this sense - often given, is the regime of Marshall Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which he renamed Zaire) from 1965 to 1997. It is said that usage of the term kleptocracy gained popularity largely to respond to a need to accurately describe Mobutu’s regime.

Work Experience

Work Experience

February 7th, 2009

Employment History

Director of Academic Technology Services October 1984 to present
Department of Information Technology
Elmira College,
Elmira, NY

Adjunct instructor for Graduate and Advanced Studies program September 1993 – April 2002
Department of Continuing Education
Elmira College
Elmira, NY

Adjunct instructor of Undergraduate program September 1986 – August 1996
Department of Continuing Education
Elmira College
Elmira, NY

Honors and Awards

Douglas Anderson Award for Excellence in Administrative Leadership June 2004
Elmira College
Elmira, NY

Professional Societies Memberships

Elmira College Member Representative of Educause (



February 8th, 2009

Public Service

Peace Corps Volunteer 1971–1976 and 1977-1978
Peace Corps
Washington, D.C.

Taught arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus in the Protestant second school in Boende, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In my final year was the principal of the secondary school.

Special Skills

Fluent in French and Lingala (African language similar to Swahili)


M.S. Mathematics Education May 1977
Elmira College
Elmira, New York

Professional Registration/Licensure/Certification

Permanent NYS Certification Secondary Mathematics (Grades 7 – 12) June, 1977

Certificate of French (14 weeks intensive training) November 1971
Anieres, Switzerland

B.S. Mathematics May 1971
SUNY Albany
Albany, New York

Courses Taught

Courses Taught

February 7th, 2009


Sampling of undergraduate and graduate courses taught from 1986 – 2002



CSC 1010.30




Curriculum Development

Developed a new graduate course Multimedia for Educators that was approved and adopted by Graduate and Advanced Studies Committee in 1996.


Presentations, Poster Sessions, and Papers

Poster Sessions

Fahs, Joe, ANGEL User Conference, Interactive Language Learning with iPod, iTunes, and ANGEL, June 2006, Louisville, Kentucky.

Fahs, Joe, ANGEL User Conference, ANGEL Multimedia Slideshows Without PowerPoint, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, June 2005, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Presentations and Papers

Fahs, Joe, SUNY Conference Instructional Technologies, Enhancing Audio Podcasts for Online and Mobile Learning, SUNY Oswego, May 2009, Oswego, NY

Fahs, Joe, SUNY Conference Instructional Technologies, Becoming an ANGEL Mixer: Blending Web 2.0 into Your Courses, SUNY Geneseo, May 2008, Geneseo, NY

Fahs, Joe, 2008 ANGEL User Conference, Becoming an ANGEL Mixer: Blending Web 2.0 into Your Courses, May 2008, Cincinnati, Ohio

Fahs, Joe, ANGEL User Conference, Interactive Language Learning with iPod, iTunes, and ANGEL, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, June 2007, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Fahs, Joe, SUNY Conference Instructional Technologies, Interactive Language Learning with iPod, iTunes, and ANGEL, SUNY Plattsburgh, June 2007, Plattsburgh, NY.

Fahs, Joe, SUNY Conference Instructional Technologies, Presenting Web Galleries and Slide Shows of Your Digital Images without PowerPoint, SUNY Fredonia, June 2006, Fredonia, NY.

Guides and Tutorials


◄Design by Pocket Distributed by Deluxe Templates