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July 3, 2012

DoIT News Moving to myUMBC Groups

As of today, the DoIT News will be published through the DoIT Group on myUMBC, which in turn feeds the new DoIT site at As such, we will no longer be maintaining this Movable Type blog. However, it will remain for archive purposes.

FYI to DoIT Group members:

How do I post a new blog in myUMBC groups?

If you have questions, please contact the Technology Support Center (TSC) located on the first floor of the library next to the RLC or call 410.455.3838.

Posted by fritz at 9:19 AM | TrackBack

February 1, 2006

Bovine Benefit from Blackboard Community

Blackboard communities are great places for students and their professor to share classwork. But at UMBC, innovative people have found ways to use Blackboard’s communities to solve complicated communication problems.

Uri Tasch figured out how to help cattle farmers solve a problem they had been complaining about for 100 years. The UMBC engineering professor invented a machine that can detect lameness in cows.

Uri TaschThe problem costs dairy farmers $10,000 a year for every 100-cow herd because lame cows produce less milk. But until the problem is detected, the cows can’t be helped and if detection comes too late, there may be no treatment that will cure the lameness. Found early, the solution is sometimes as simple as removing a stone from the cow’s hoof. And the result is a vast increase in milk production.

Tasch began the Bovine Lameness Project in 1995 with excellent results. The machine worked. He patented and licensed the technology to Bou-Matic, LLC, which sells it to farms around the world. Those farms began tracking their results.

The positive results piled up. What Tasch and his fellow researchers couldn’t figure out, though, was how to safely share the information among themselves, from their various locations, so they could track their work and collaborate.

The project depended on a relatively simple procedure: Cows walk through a machine that measures the weight exerted by each leg. Lame cows put much less pressure on one leg, and ultimately, the lameness results in lower milk production and other ailments that hurt the animal and cost the farmer money.

bovine.gifBut to prove the concept, the measurements had to be submitted, analyzed and the results shared. Doing that proved tricky. The various researchers located all over the world needed a secure area they could easily access.

“We started through e-mail but the files became too big,” Tasch said.

So he decided to use a Blackboard Community.

He created a community and added all of the various researchers at other institutions and. It worked like a charm.

Community members throughout the world are now able to upload talks, share documents and databases, log their statistics and work on collaborative publications through the secure online community. The list includes five individuals in two departments at UMBC, four at Bou-Matic in Madison, Wisconsin, two at University of Delaware and two scientists in Israel.

“It has worked so well for me at Bou-Matic,” said Parimal Rajkondawar, project engineer. “Earlier, we used to burn CDs to exchange information and it used to take couple of days to get the results. Now we use Blackboard.

“Tasch uploads the results with instant access to me in Madison. A lot of times during company presentations, I provide data and results on Blackboard.”

Posted by at 3:54 PM