Ready, Set, Succeed: Join us!

Rashmi Kumar
Dr. Rashmi Kumar

This guest post from Dr. Rashmi Kumar, Specialist in STEM Learning at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center describes our Ready, Set, Succeed series  developed in collaboration with the Tutoring Center. Register now for our session on October 18, 2015.

The acquisition of knowledge is often viewed in three forms—declarative, procedural, and critical. Each of the above has different, although, sequentially significant aspects. Declarative knowledge focuses on the notion of ‘knowing what,’ procedural knowledge is anchored in ‘knowing how to,’ and critical knowledge is driven by the quest of ‘why.’

STEM courses are fundamentally geared to the constant pursuit of answering how and why. Continue reading Ready, Set, Succeed: Join us!

Productivity Apps for Your Sanity!

selfie of writerHi folks! My name is Meaghan Moody, and I’m a new graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons. As I embark upon both my first semester of graduate school and of my WIC internship, I realized I was in dire need of some productivity tools to manage the mayhem.

I know it feels like the semester only just started, but midterms are bearing down on us, and it’s time to finally buckle down and get things in order.

Here are a few helpful productivity apps to aid you in this endeavor. The best news? They’re all free to you via the App Store and/or Google Play Store!

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

This easy-to-use organizer will allow you to keep track of your assignments as well as everything else in your life. Make a multitude of lists and keep them orderly and at your fingertips. You can also easily share your lists with others and sync them between devices.

  • Pocket: Save Articles and Videos to View Later Pocket Logo

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Instead of leaving a million windows open in your browser or inundating your email, save articles and media to Pocket! This handy app will organize it all for you, allowing you to revisit your articles and media at your leisure.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle your assignments if you work on them in increments of time. With Pomodoro, you can  time your tasks and breaks. Set the timer for thirty minutes and dedicate yourself to the books, and when the timer rings, enjoy a break!

Note: There are several variations of this app available. I have linked to a free lite version via the App Store.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Described as a “scanner in your pocket,” Office Lens allows you to keep track of documents, whiteboard notes, and even the scraps of paper from the bottom of your backpack! Printed text will become searchable, and you can convert your uploads to Word, Powerpoint, or PDF.

As always, we here at WIC are here to help you out! Check out our reservable study rooms and booths AND our awesome workshops. Don’t see a workshop on something you would like to learn? Request a custom training session!

Design, Bared

Posters in Mark's Cafe
Posters in Mark’s Cafe

Tuesday’s workshop on graphic design with Marjan Gartland and William Hodgson was such a treat! I’m sure you have seen many of Marjan’s wonderful designs all over campus. I see them every day on crowded boards such as the one pictured here at Mark’s Cafe in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center competing for the attention of the Penn campus.

Marjan is the Visual Project Manager on the University Life Administration Team in the Division of the Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL). She helps create beautiful graphics for many purposes and audiences, serving the many departments in that division including the cultural resource centers and campus safety.

She brought dozens of posters to show us, and we enjoyed looking at them displayed on the walls of the Collaborative Classroom. Marjan and William shared their insider tips-and-tricks with us, and Marjan did a live demo of creating a graphic using PhotoShop and Illustrator. We talked about using tablets like our new Cintiq and tools like InDesign and Kuler.

Often, when I see a powerful poster, I have little understanding of how it came to be. What I found most helpful about the workshop was watching a graphic take shape one step at a time, one tool at a time. Marjan started with a photo of a face and created a complex graphic in minutes!

I am looking forward to facilitating an online workshop in October with William on logo design and I hope you will join us.

How Big is Google?

It’s pretty big. A recent article in Wired  highlights how big Google actually is, at least in terms of code. All of Google’s services (Search, Mail, Maps, etc.) encompass 2 billion lines of code stored in one place and shared by 25,000 developers. The graph below illustrates just how big 2 billion lines of code is:


Microsoft Windows, “one of the most complex software tools ever built for a single computer, a project under development since the 1980s” is significantly smaller than the massiveness of Google.

Although Google’s repository is not open source, it is shared between roughly 25,000 developers who can add and modify code collaboratively. For now Google is an extreme case, but in the future more companies may need to handle gargantuan amounts of code. Facebook and Google are working together on an open source version control system to allow other companies to safely and cleanly house, modify, and create code on a large scale.

Interested in more? Check out the Million Lines of Code graphic for more examples or read the Reddit thread on the topic.

Check out some of our other posts about Google. Interested in learning new tech tools? You can request a training session or check out our monthly WICshop calendar for upcoming events!

New Wacom Cintiq Tablet in the Media Lab

DTOC_20150903_0020bWe recently acquired a brand new Wacom Cintiq (pronounced WAH-kum sin-TEEK) tablet.  The tablet acts as a monitor, but also allows you to draw directly on them with a pen-like stylus, reacting to pressure in the same way a paintbrush or marker might so that you can sketch, draw, paint, and composite with natural and intuitive precision.

Here, Pat Gabrielli (Penn BFA 2015) is digitally inking and coloring some artwork that was drawn and painted by Penn faculty member and Ulysses Seen artist Rob Berry.  The final images will serve as sets for an upcoming stage production of Watership Down, to be performed by the Simpatico Theatre Project at the Mandell Theater on Drexel’s campus in November.

Please stop by the lab and ask to try out the new Cintiq tablet!

The Lightning Round: Strikingly Effective Presentations

Kara Moranski
Dr. Kara Moranski

Dr. Kara Moranski is a Spanish Language Course Coordinator in the Department of Romance Languages. In her guest post below, she reflects on her experiences at last year’s Lightning Round and invites you to join this year’s event. Kara serves on the planning team for the 2015 Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium.

Last October I attended my first Lightning Round at the 2014 Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium. I was not entirely sure what to expect; each presentation was to last just two minutes. Would it be effective? Would the presentations really be kept to the two-minute time limit?

I had the answer to that second question when I saw the gong that would be used to keep time. Before I knew it, we were three presentations in and Ula Cutten from English Language Programs was describing EDPuzzle, an incredibly useful tool that can annotate and add questions to videos from the web. I immediately imagined several different ways that this would be beneficial for students in my classes. A few more rings of the gong and I was listening to my colleague Geraldine Lebaudy (Romance Languages) explain the innovative ways in which she was using Canvas videos in her Business Spanish courses.  The Lightning Round went by as fast as, well, lightning, and I left with several new pedagogical tools that I could begin using immediately – tools that were already working for fellow educators here at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am thrilled that the Lightning Round will be back for this year’s Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium. We hope to see you there!

Would you like to register for the Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium 2015? Click here!

Interested in presenting in this year’s Lightning Round? Click here!