Top 12 Success Stories at WIC

Here at WIC we love seeing the ways in which students and faculty use our resources to succeed, and we jump at the opportunity to help with new projects.collaborate and succeed Our blog highlights many of the successes seen around WIC, and now we have a page on the Commons website dedicated to twelve of those most popular stories.

Check out Success Stories for featured articles!

Task your 3D mind to win these 3D challenges

As you might have noticed, the last couple of posts of mine have been about 3D printing and obviously this one is too. I just cannot stop my fascination with the subject. This morning, I found this page about 3D challenges. The news is too good to keep to myself, although sharing it could potentially put me at a disadvantage by decreasing the odds of getting my own MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer !

There you go! If you did not know it already, you can own a 3D printer – all you have to do is put your imagination to work and we can print out your creation at the Education Commons. Go Brains!

3D Printing Instructions Poster_FINAL(1)

No More #nofilter?

Instagram-Logo My name is Samantha Kannegiser and I am a new intern at the Weigle Information Commons. When my colleague Jaime suggested I write a post about photo filters I was unsure how interesting a topic it would be. However, after reading a new study conducted by Yahoo! Labs I was intrigued. The study finds that the ways in which we use filters on the photos we share affects those photos’ popularity and tendency to produce interaction through comments. The focus was on users of Flickr’s mobile application, and it is worth mentioning that Yahoo! Labs is a division of Yahoo!, the company which owns Flickr.

When considering the importance of these findings, think about why social photo sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram are so popular (92 million and 300 million users respectively). Mobile capabilities make it easy for us to quickly snap and document moments in our days, creating a sometimes overwhelming digital collection of memories. The desire to document and preserve is age-old and only part of this process, though. Photo sharing sites have made it possible for us to use our photos to tell a story to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers while also allowing us to interact socially in a digital setting. These snapshots of our lives are no longer bound to film and photo albums, but are now part of a larger story.

Continue reading No More #nofilter?

Brainstorm 2015: We need you!

lightbulbHelp design the 2015  Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium! We will identify broad themes as well as new technologies to feature. Click on a date below to register for one of three brainstorming sessions or email us:

Our annual symposium is designed for faculty. Last year, we brought together over 130 people from all 12 Penn schools, and students shared their ideas on technology integration.

Save the date: Friday, October 30, 2015. We plan a faculty panel, an undergraduate student panel, and several threads for afternoon workshops. Below are the faculty remarks from last year:

What We Can Learn from K-12 Educators

When a colleague suggested that I attend the ISTE Conference for K-12 educators, I was a bit skeptical. I thought, “What can I learn from K-12 educators that would be applicable to the undergraduates – and often graduate students and faculty members – I work with as a librarian?” However, as I browsed through the workshop and session descriptions, I realized that we in higher education can take a few pages from the books of K-12 educators to enhance teaching and learning at the college level. Here are some highlights I took away from the conference:

  1. Image by Greg Kulowiec (App Smashing App Pack)
    Image by Greg Kulowiec, retrieved from

    1. iPad Apps. There are so many. Whenever someone asks me for app recommendations, I often turn to my “go-to’s” without doing much more hunting. In a workshop about using tablets in the classroom, I learned so much about app integration for both content (student learning) and creation (student making). For example, AppFusion or App Smashing is the process of using several apps to create different parts of a project, and then using one app to pull all the parts together. One such “fusion” app is ThinkLink, which can incorporate sound, video, images and text to create a short presentation, much like a PowerPoint or Prezi. Learning about all of these different apps stressed our responsibility in higher education to be knowledgeable about a variety of apps for different functions, such as video creation, white board drawing, or photo editing. A grid with apps, their functions, preferred platforms, etc. is a simple tool that we can develop to help students and faculty choose the right apps to use in the classroom, especially as we prepare new iPads for our lending program this fall.

  2. Image from
    Image retrieved from

    “Deeper learning.” Learning in the classroom is great, but if it can’t be applied to real-life situations, it may not stick for all students. Presenters Chris Dede of Harvard and Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow explained that “deeper learning” involves this connection between learning and life, and also spoke about essential strategies for mobile learning, stemming from their 2014 Qualcomm report, The 8 Essentials for Mobile Learning Success in Education. One of the highlights included a video of an augmented reality project where students interacted with hotspots on their mobile devices when out studying a pond in order to reinforce ecological concepts. The presenters also stressed the importance of how students use social media platforms to think together and share information, and offered a great resource called the Conversation Prism. One point that stuck with me in terms of working with students and faculty at Penn involved developing fluency in interactive media. Chris Dede made the point that often, we have to create communities of “unlearning” the more traditional methods we’re used to, in order to become fluent in various media and collaborative, inquiry-based learning strategies. This is a tall measure for folks in higher-ed, but nevertheless something I believe we should all be striving toward.

  3. Backchannels. A backchannel is a second form of communication that takes place at the same time as a face-to-face session, whether it’s a lecture, conference session, or other learning activity. In a great session on backchannels, where we modeled this behavior during the presentation, a high school teacher and college professor explained how they use backchannels, why they’re useful in the classroom, and shared a variety of different channels to consider. In one class, students used a backchannel while watching a video in order to answer certain questions about content and also ask questions of the teacher and other students. Backchannels, which include popular options like Twitter (using a class hashtag, for example), Today’s Meet, and, can be a great way of getting students who usually don’t participate to join the conversation. In a “fishbowl” scenario, students on the outer edge of the class can be using the backchannel, while those on the inner circle can be paying attention real-time, and then roles reverse halfway through class. On certain platforms, students can remain anonymous to each other on a backchannel, but the instructor knows who’s chatting and can do some formative assessment. Some other backchannel platforms include Piazza, Tozzl, and Socrative. We often get questions from faculty about backchannels here at WIC, and this presentation made me feel more prepared to recommend different tools and discuss the pros and cons of using backchannels in teaching and learning.

Other great resources I learned about at ISTE included those about digital and media literacy, such as Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship curriculum, and how to teach and implement digital literacy using strategies from the Center for Media Literacy. I learned so much from K-12 educators at the ISTE conference. I now have some new goals and much personal learning to do as we prepare for the fall semester!

Penn Medicine and Wharton Learning Lab Simulation at Penn Libraries

Penn Presbyterian Management Team with Sarah Toms (Wharton Learning Lab) in the Collaborative Classroom
(left to right) Sarah Toms, DuWayne Barrett and the Penn Presbyterian Patient Access management team in the Collaborative Classroom
Patient Access managers strategize together in WIC study room

DuWayne Barrett leads the Patient Access department at Penn Presbyterian Hospital.  Managing an annual flow of over 40,000 out-patient and 14,000 in-patient encounters, the department is the access portal for every patient entering the hospital.  DuWayne had been searching for a dynamic team-building and learning experience for the Patient Access management team.  Sarah Toms, IT Director of the Wharton Learning Lab, had the perfect solution: simulation.

On Thursday, June 25 DuWayne’s team of 15 managers gathered in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom to play the OPEQ simulation game.  Originally developed by Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer, OPEQ allows players to work in teams to experiment with dynamics of cooperation and competition.

Face-to-face negotiation session

Members of the Patient Access Management Team, working in pairs, broke out into the WIC group study rooms to assume the role of oil production leaders for a fictitious country. Together, all teams’ choices have an impact on the global economy.  With each subsequent level of the simulation, unexpected events are introduced, increasing the tension and complexity of the game.  Still, players must exercise strategic negotiation and communication skills in order to cooperate with their partner and with other “countries” through virtual and face-to-face meetings.

Simulations offer exciting, interactive experiences that truly change the way students and professionals learn.  Wharton Learning Lab simulations are not just limited to Wharton students and faculty.  A range of simulations are available to suit a variety of learning objectives across all disciplines. If you or faculty you support are interested in using simulated experiential learning, please visit the Wharton Learning Lab’s website.  You will find a full catalog of simulation offerings and contact information to get started.

Sarah Toms leads team debrief in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom

Charles Dickens, Intellectual Property, and Penn

Recently I was reading an article written by Charles Dickens’ great great great granddaughter which advocated for greater intellectual property rights. At the same time, I’ve been following some debates about reforming patent law. What I find interesting in both discussions is the appeal to a long and complicated history of intellectual property dating back to 17th century Europe. In the United States the conversation hinges primarily on one clause of the constitution which permits Congress “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” (Article 1: Section 8)

There is a contradiction in that clause, however. On the one hand, the constitution seems to be advocating for a closed system that allows “Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” On the other hand, the beginning of the statement says that the purpose of this system is “to promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts” which would seem to promote an open structure in which others can build upon previous discoveries and knowledge. Both Dickens’ descendant and current patent reformers make an appeal to history, and both show that the conflict between openness and exclusive rights of authors has not been resolved. What the authors may not realize is that the system we have now is the product of a long struggle which Penn will help to place in a larger context.

The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) will be holding its annual workshop at Penn July 22 – 24, and scholars from around the world will be discussing the concept of openness in intellectual property law, a conversation which is not new to Penn since its founder, Benjamin Franklin, argued that “as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.” With increasing calls for open culture, open access, and open source methods that the internet allows, this is an important debate, and a historical framework can only help to underscore the importance of the history on which both descendants of Charles Dickens and modern patent reformers rely.

For more information: