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Archive for the ‘Library Resources’ Category

Four colleagues presented innovative applications of IT for teaching: Bob Hawley (Earth Science), Ehud Benor (Religion) Frank Magiligan (Geography) and Sarah Scully (Library).

Bob Hawley showed us how he uses his iPad as a kind of hand-held white board for presenting material in class. Using Airsketch, an iPad app, and a special wireless network provided by Apple Airport, Bob can write and draw on his iPad as he circulates around the classroom and everything on his iPad is projected on the classroom screen by way of his laptop. These drawings are captured for circulation to the class.

Ehud Benor showed us how he uses VUE, a Visual Understanding Environment developed at Tufts University. Unlike Powerpoint slides which tend to enforce a linear presentation, VUE allows one to connect slides, documents and various other media clips to a concept map. The concept map can present on one page all the concepts of a course or a single lecture, allowing students to visualize their relationships to each other. Items on the concept map provide hyperlinks to all other media: audio and video clips, pdfs, websites while it serves as an “anchor” for study and presentation.

Frank Magilligan requires his students to write blog entries on scientific articles related to his course. Over the course of a term, novices develop and share their growing expertise in scientific literature by summarizing and evaluating assigned articles and posting these to a course blog. All students then have access to this blog for study and review.

Sarah Scully introduced us to a promising new library resource—Alexander Street Press’s Academic Video Online. Documentary, educational and performance videos can now be searched and retrieved for use in classes and presentations. Many of these videos include searchable transcripts that allow users to find specific places in the video. The can also scrub through the video and the transcript keeps up. The best way to search for videos relevant to your course is to use the Library catalog, limiting your search to “video/dvd” and look for “electronic resource.” The catalog link will take you directly to the Academic Video resource. Alternatively, you can browse or search the Academic Videos Online webpage.

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I’m going to begin my post with a story so bear with me.

Immediately after graduating from college, I secured a job and moved with what few possessions I owned to Philadelphia. I had worked throughout high school and college and my “new to me” car was a symbol of my responsibility and hard work. Within a few weeks of moving to my studio apartment located in what at that time was a rundown neighborhood, my license plate was clipped and the registration sticker stolen. The fact that someone felt they could steal something that was rightly mine left me feeling violated.

Maybe if I had the resources, I would have tracked down the perpetrator of the stolen sticker. Maybe I could have hired someone to find the free rider and bring them to justice.  But I had laid out too much money already paying for a new plate and registration stickers. The most I could do was what so many others had done before me; report it and keep my new sticker in my wallet, along with my registration card so it wouldn’t be stolen again.

Words like stealing and theft in combination with possessions or property often elicit visceral reactions and feelings of injustice and violation. During the DCAL session on April 5th, William Patry, author of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, pointed out that these and other words/terms became part of the rhetoric around copyright during the late 1970s.

In the late 1970s, former Motion Picture Association of America leader Jack Valenti argued before Congress that the protection of copyright was a public good and that the piracy or theft of copyrighted material by free riders was an assault on the People. Patry noted that in reality, Valenti was arguing to protect the economic bottom line of the media industry from the perceived threat of a new technological innovation called the VCR, not the public good. The entertainment industry’s push for copyright protections was a preemptive action to try to prevent the potential loss of revenue from commercial spots because this innovation would allow VCR owners to skip the commercials when they watched the programming after the fact.

During the discussion, Patry spoke to the power of metaphor in relation to copyright. When referring to copyright as property it triggers associations of ownership and that it is mine unless I agree otherwise or society through the proper channels intervenes. This argument weighs the scales for the copyright owner, making it more difficult to argue otherwise. Referring to copyright as a social growth program for the benefit of everyone; however, would put everyone on the same plane and affords greater opportunities to benefit from it. Unfortunately, from the beginning copyright has been overpromised and as such has largely failed as a public growth program.

Patry suggested that innovation is actually the public good and copyright as it stands is the free rider. We are currently in a position where innovation and copyright are pitted against each other. As such, we as individuals need to work together to identify that which is impeding innovation and offer solutions on how to address it. This type of action can be seen with the recent defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and with the development of Creative Commons.

Let me go back to my story for a moment. Interestingly enough, a few years after I moved out of Philadelphia, the increase in reports of stolen plate stickers resulted in the DMV piloting rear window stickers. Unfortunately, the rear window stickers were disbanded after five years. While I am not privy to the reason for the pilot failure, I’m going to take some liberties and make a few assumptions.

  • I’m pretty certain the folks who had been clipped continued to keep the stickers in their wallets for fear that now their windows would be smashed.
  • The clipping issue existed primarily in Philadelphia, thus making an exception for a small subset of Pennsylvanians.
  • Philadelphians traveling elsewhere in PA were subject to increase police stops and possible profiling due to the new window tag.

So what does my story and the assumptions about the failed pilot have to do with my take away from this session? My comparison and comprehension of the discussion may seem a bit obtuse, but I came out of the session thinking that:

  • Fear of copyright should not deter Higher Education from facing the issues surrounding it.
  • Higher Education as a whole (faculty, staff, students and administration) will need to come together to identify the issues faced by academia regarding copyright and then work toward unified solutions.
  • Higher Education’s support of efforts such as Creative Commons and Open Publishing have the potential to support knowledge generation, creative endeavors, and sharing as a way to overcome the inadequacies and misuse of the current copyright system.

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Librarians from Special Collections led a group of faculty members and librarians through an exercise that could be tailored to the objectives of almost any course at Dartmouth. Jay Satterfield and Peter Carini distributed to the participants a set of documents from special collections and gave us the following very minimal instructions as if we were a group of students.

In groups of two, look over the document and respond to the following prompts:

  1. What is this?
  2. What is its information value?
  3. What questions does it prompt you to ask?

We worked in groups of two for about 15 minutes, then the six groups each reported their responses one at a time. It was difficult for us to refrain from starting discussion and sharing questions right away. It was even more difficult for Jay and Peter to refrain from supplying corrections and special information they had about the documents. They kept this activity focused on the students.

Here’s a list of the documents we looked at in pairs. We did not have this list; each pair had only the primary document before us; we were tasked with making some sense of the document without knowing what it was.

  • A “memorial” of a petition by Dartmouth students addressed to their neighbors asking for permission to undergo inoculation for smallpox in January 1777
  • A recipe for a prescription for smallpox inoculation written by one Dr. Tiffany
  • A letter from Ebenezer Haseltine to his brother, dated February 12, 1777
  • Acts and Laws of the State of New Hampshire promulgated from July-December 1776 and published in 1780
  • Reasons against the Practice of Inoculating the Small-Pox. London 1722
  • A Narrative of the Method and Success of Inoculating the Small Pox in New England. London 1722

As each pair reported, we could not help but learn new things about our document and even start to construct a narrative. When all six pairs had reported, Jay asked several people, in turn, to tell the story they were constructing from all the documents. Not surprisingly each narrative offered was different. Some told a story about the 18th-C controversies about small pox inoculation; another told a story about students responding to a smallpox outbreak at Dartmouth; still others wanted to tell a story about reactions to epidemics.

What’s more, each story needed more information to become truly useful. We were prompted to sort our questions into those that could be answered by further research in secondary sources, those by research in more primary sources, and those that might require careful interpretation and speculation.

Then we stepped back into our roles as teachers to consider how an exercise like this could be useful in one of our own courses and how it might further the learning outcomes we want our students to achieve.

Finally Peter Carini shared with us his list of “Skills for Primary Source Research,” a list of the outcomes he expects students to realize by using primary materials in Special Collections. Everyone started planning such exercises for future courses.

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Rauner Special Collections Library holds many collections that lend themselves to the study of sustainability. The Papers of Donella Meadows and the polar research collections are complemented by smaller collections that can provide a deep historical context to today’s sustainability movement. College Archivist, Peter Carini, and Special Collections Librarian, Jay Satterfield, visited DCAL to lead a discussion of strategies for introducing these resources into the classroom.

Jay began by providing an overview of the strategies the Rauner employs for collecting. Specifically, he says, “In Rauner we aim for curricular support, we want to get our collection into the hands of undergraduates, while not ignoring other research purposes. We want to select materials as ‘teachable packages.’” In some areas, the collection is fairly deeps, such as for Robert Frost, Daniel Webster, and 19th century New Hampshire politics.

Satterfield continued with some show and tell from another deep collection, known as the White Mountain Collection. One table was full of samples from the collection, but Peter took some time to read from three guide books for the area from three moments in time: a guide book from 1851 that reflected a romantic view of nature; a 1912 guide that begins with a “road trip” view, alluding to the changing options for transportation; and a 1973 guide that warns of the threats of nature from overuse.

Peter Carini then took over to give an overview of the “college grants,” which were established at different times in the College’s past to provide a financial sustainability option for its ongoing needs. The first was supposed to setup a system for tenant farmers to bring income through agriculture, while the third was to provide income through logging leases to the timber industry. From records in the collection, we know when Dartmouth hired its first manager of the logging operations, who also became the first to head up the Outdoor Club.

Thirty-eight years later, in the late 1960s, we start to see documentation about conservation for recreational use in College Forester’s Records. Not long after, in 1970, Dartmouth established its Environmental Studies Program. Now, in 2012, we are seeing new plans for the College take shape in which “sustainability” will be part of the core that defines Dartmouth for the future.

The audience seemed quite interested to know how Rauner can play a larger role in helping faculty to visualize the collections for specific purposes. There were others, too, who wondered if an advisory board could be assembled to discuss how to further develop a “sustainability collection” at Dartmouth.

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A panel of three librarians presented at this session that was co-hosted by the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and the Dartmouth College Library: Laura Braunstein, English Language and Literature Librarian, Noah Lowenstein, Physics and Astronomy Librarian, and Fran Oscadal, History and Government Librarian.

Laura, Noah, and Fran each shared experiences they had working with faculty and students on research assignments. The classes they worked with included Writing 5, First Year Seminars, and the History Foreign Study Program. I won’t detail each of their experiences here, but instead will share the common threads to which each attributed their success and comments from the faculty on the benefits of collaborating with librarians.

Tips for successful faculty/librarian collaborations:

  • The earlier you begin working with your librarian, the better your students’ experience (and learning!) will be.  Get in touch with your librarian well in advance of the term, if possible.  This will give the librarian a chance to create support materials (such as a course webpage), to order any books needed that the library does not already own, and for the two of you to collaborate on the design of and librarian support for your assignment(s).
  • Strategically time the librarian’s visit(s) to your class at key points in the assignment.  By aiming for “point of need” instruction, students will be more engaged and will learn more from the session.
  • With your librarian, create diagnostic assignments that will help you both assess what students know and don’t know about library research so you can design a session targeted at their needs.  In Bill Nichols Writing 5 class, Fran attended a session during which the students shared their research interests.  Fran was able to respond in real-time to their ideas, giving suggestions for resources such as Rauner Library, the Planning Office, archives of the D, and more.  Noah created a survey for students in Physics 7 to complete before his first class visit.  The survey asked the students to identify a source type from a citation, to determine if a certain journal article was available in the Library, and to do some scripted catalog searches and reflect on the experience.  Noah used the survey results to design a class session that was much better suited for their needs than a general “library basics” session would have been.

Faculty feedback on collaborations with librarians:

  • By working with a librarian, the students are introduced to both the faculty member’s expertise in her/his own research area and to research tools that cover a broader spectrum of topics and disciplines that are relevant to the students’ work.
  • Librarians help both faculty and students create order from the “messy, unorderly” resources on unfamiliar topics.  It is our job, as librarians, to be aware of and familiar with a broad range of research tools and to act as a “research coach” for you and your students.
  • By working with multiple people (your librarian, a writing assistant, RWIT tutors, etc.) the faculty and students benefit from a team of experts who are engaged with the course and are available to support the students throughout the research and writing processes.

In short, working with a librarian early (and often!) will benefit your students and will result in a successful, collaborative teaching experience for you.

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info-fetishist

yeah, it's long -- I didn't have time to make it shorter

Feral Librarian

Research libraries & higher education. Sometimes music, sports, & other stuff.