All posts by Caitlin Shanley

Student input needed!

We are collecting student perspectives on how technology is used at Penn for teaching and learning. Your ideas will help shape conversations at our annual Engaging Students Through Technology symposium on Friday, November 1. Please share your thoughts! The survey takes five minutes (or less!) to fill out, and responses are anonymous. The survey will remain open until October 30.

Take the survey here:

The dust has settled. Now what?

dust on a computer monitor
Dust, settled. From flickr user Floater Ya-Ya.

Congrats on surviving the first two weeks! We are so excited to see WIC packed with students again. Now that the dust has settled a bit, we wanted to remind you that WIC staff are here to help you use technology to get organized and get stuff done. Below are a few to-dos to keep you on track this semester:

  1. Apply for a job! WIC is hiring students to work at the WIC desk and in the Vitale Digital Media Lab.
  2. Download the Canvas app! You may have heard that Penn is making the switch from Blackboard to Canvas this year. Keep up with your courses and readings with the free Canvas app for iOS and Android.
  3. Configure AirPennNet on all your devices! You can find instructions for all your different gadgets on the Penn Computing website. Tip: We’ve noticed that iPhone/iPad/iPod users setting up AirPennNet for the first time MUST use Safari to navigate to the setup page. Chrome users, don’t worry! You can use your favorite browser once you’ve connected for the first time.
  4. Print from your laptop! You can install drivers for all library printers online. No more frantically logging in to a library computer five minutes before your assignment is due.
  5. Back up your files! You’ve got a few options for backing things up, but storing files on the cloud is one of the simplest. Did you know that Penn offers all faculty, staff, and students 50 GB of free cloud storage space on Penn+Box? Want to learn more about Penn+Box? Come to a workshop on September 20.
  6. This one is a meta-to-do: Figure out all of your to-do lists and learn to organize your tasks! Come to our Tools, Not Toys workshop on time management apps TONIGHT to learn how to manage your calendars and plan your semester. Can’t make it tonight? Check our schedule for workshops later this semester.

Looking for more to-dos? Check out a great list of must-have resources from our friends at Apps on Tap.

Cat Pianos and Tuba Dogs

image of a collage
While the majority of posters printed in the lab are research posters, we sometimes get to see our printer used for other colorful creations.

Maria Murphy, the graduate coordinator for Rodin College House’s Musical Engagement Floor, came in to print a collage of images to post on the Rodin hallway walls. This year’s theme is “Sound Seen,” so Maria found some really cool images of musical illustrations and anthropomorphized instruments. My favorite is the cat piano on the top left, but the tuba dog at the bottom left is a close second.

Want to print your own masterpiece for your dorm room wall? Check out our poster printer FAQ for more details.

Conference Takeaways: Bringing ALA Back Home for Fall

I attended (and presented at!) the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this summer. ALA is HUGE (think 20,000 librarians), so it takes a while to decompress. Now that some time has passed, I am looking back and thinking about how to apply what I learned to the upcoming fall semester. Here are a few of the new tools I learned about, and some ideas for how to put them to use for projects this fall.

Show Your Work in New Ways

Bamboo DiRT
Digital Humanities is a hot topic here at Penn. Bamboo DiRT is a great resource for those who are interested in digital research and scholarship, but are unsure about where to start. This choose-your-own-adventure site allows you to start with a common research problem (such as, “I need a digital research tool to take notes/annotate resources“), and presents you with a curated list of tools that can help you get the job done.

Interested in presenting your hard work in an ebook format? PressBooks is a simple tool to help you create ebooks (EPUB and MOBI) and typeset PDFs. Create watermarked books for free, or pay a premium rate to remove the PressBooks branding.

Pick Up Extra Skills

Course Buffet
Search for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by subject, across all the popular platforms. See also: Class Central. Take an entire course in your spare time, or just pick and choose pieces from individual courses and build your own curriculum. Taking an introductory computer science course at Penn? Challenge yourself to create a Python-based game in this course from Rice University. Maybe you’re an art enthusiast taking a religious studies class, and want to learn a little bit about Early Christian and Byzantine art. Working on a big group project? Check out the essentials of project management.

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU)
P2PU encourages lifelong learning by offering courses in their Schools of social innovation, mathematical future, webcraft, education, open, and data. You can also easily create your own courses. Added bonus: for many courses, you can earn badges to brag about you’ve accomplished. The idea of “badging,” that is, digital versions of scout-inspired badges that indicate an achievement or competency, was discussed at ALA during this year’s Top Tech Trends session. Check out char booth’s blog post on the topic, and read the always wonderful 7 Things You Should Know About (Badges) doc from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative to learn more.

Enjoy the last few days of summer, and we look forward to seeing everyone back in WIC in the fall!

What’s New with WIC iPads?

image of an iPad updatingI’m very excited to announce a new update to our iPads in the Classroom Program report!

I welcome any and all comments; please feel free to share the report widely. We originally wrote up our program back in September 2012, and since then we have seen lots of new and exciting uses in class projects. We’ve also gotten a bit more familiar with managing the devices, and I’m happy to include some general recommendations for libraries on adapting our program to their own contexts.

While we’ve come a long way, we’ve still only just begun! Faculty and staff, please get in touch with us about iPad projects for the fall semester. We are happy to add additional apps and create customized configurations for your projects. Check out some of our case studies, and get in touch with us!

Goodbye Yuting!

image of WIC staff
Lindsey, Anu, Caitlin and Yuting, posed according to Yuting’s specifications.

This month we said goodbye to Yuting Wang, a WIC Desk intern who completed the TESOL program at Penn GSE this past May. Yuting joined our staff in March 2012. She brought great energy to her work at the WIC desk. She taught our Prezi workshops and helped out at WIC events like the annual Penn International Experiences Festival (see a photo of her handing out raffle tickets here). Yuting also wrote for our blog, including a great post about her experiences doing research at Penn back in May.

Not only has Yuting left Penn, but she is no longer on this continent! Yuting is going on to work as a classroom teacher at Western International School of Shanghai, in her home city. While her students are lucky to have her (and I’m sure her family is happy to have her back!), we will definitely miss her enthusiasm and her smile here in the Commons.

image of WIC staff
Yuting and David, hanging tough.

Bless This Mess

photo of WIC Video Recording Room

Our video recording rooms are getting major updates this month, so you may hear some extra noise in the Commons. We apologize for the interruption! We’re pretty sure the new rooms, with XXL high definition screens and new-and-improved cameras and recording technology will be worth it. If you need help finding a quieter space to study during the construction, one of the folks at the WIC desk can get you set up.