All posts by Anu Vedantham

About Anu Vedantham

I am now the Director of Learning and Teaching Services for the FAS Libraries at Harvard University.

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.

Re-Imagining Spaces

Arch 208
ARCH 208 Active Learning Classroom

At the request of Jeanne Narum, John MacDermott and I recently authored a “snapshot” for the Learning Spaces Collaboratory as an update to the webinar I presented last summer. Ours is one of several snapshots on the LSC Webinars page.

The snapshot emphasizes the importance of reflection and iteration on how we manage learning spaces. We discussed how comments from faculty and students inform our decisions to launch new programs. We reflected on the focus group sessions we created this past spring with our colleague John Merz from College House Computing. Through the process of listening to students, we gained a deeper understanding of how they experience different study spaces over the course of their days. We brought in lessons learned from our colleagues Bruce Lenthall from the Center for Teaching and Learning and Deirdre Woods from Open Learning about the growth of active learning classrooms around the Penn campus.

Our thanks to Kim Eke, Eric Janec, Sara Leavens and Vickie Karasic here at Penn Libraries for their assistance with this snapshot.

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:

  • Wed. July 15, 3 to 4 pm
  • Tues. July 28, 2 to 3 pm
  • Thurs. July 30, 10 to 11 am

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:

Exam vs. Nobel chat?

Students from Chem 251 class
Eric Shiuey and Evan Selzer

Should I take my organic chemistry exam or accept an invitation for coffee with a Nobel Prize winning scientist?  Eric Shiuey C’16 and Evan Selzer C’16 hesitated. Fortunately, their professor Jeffery Saven set them straight. Exam rescheduled!

The two students  set off for a chat at the Inn at Penn with Dr. Stanley Prusiner, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

A few weeks earlier, Eric and Evan had created a video for the course CHEM 251, Principles of Biological Chemistry. They had pored over journal articles on prions, a new class of pathogens discovered by Dr. Prusiner. As part of the assignment, students share links to their videos with the scientists whose work is referenced. Eric and Evan wrote to six scientists and four responded with feedback. One email brought a surprise! An invitation to meet with Dr. Prusiner when he visited Penn this April as part of the Year of Health activities.

Vickie Karasic and I met recently with Eric, Evan and Jeff to get the scoop.. Continue reading Exam vs. Nobel chat?

Lightning Round on April 22

Lightning Round 2015 – April 22, 10:30 AM

As part of our Engaging Students Through Technology series, we’re glad to announce Lightning Round 2015 on April 22, 10:30 am to noon, upstairs in the Kislak Center. Join us to explore creative ideas to engage students in a fast-paced format. Each presenter will share a favorite technology tool or idea with a three-minute time limit enforced by our gong. The event is designed for faculty, graduate students and staff with interest in educational technology. Videos will be shared afterwards on the Penn Libraries YouTube Channel.

Our presenters will need to talk fast!  Maybe a chat with a friendly CWiC advisor will help  shave a few seconds here and there. We have seven presentations confirmed to date – on NVivo, Storify, Palladio, E-Draw, 3D printing (two types) and Scholarly Commons. We hope to include up to twenty topics – so please step up if you have an idea to share!

This format worked great at our last Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium though the time limit was even shorter, at just two minutes. Our playlist below includes twelve videos on topics from Annotation Studio to  CAMRA to Timeline:

We look forward to the 2015 lightning round talks!

Planning better study spaces at Penn

Student at WhiteboardWhen it’s time to get work done, the right kind of space can make a real impact on your productivity.   We want to know what you think makes a good study space – both for individual and group work.  Where do you currently go to study?  What works well, and what could be improved?

Penn Libraries, College House Computing and SAS Computing are hosting a series of focus groups for students so we can hear your opinions. Your input will help guide the development of new study spaces and improve existing facilities.

Please register by clicking on the link next to a session below. These sessions are designed for undergraduates and we plan to record audio of the discussions.

All sessions include the same content and refreshments will be provided. Please join us in the WIC Seminar Room, Weigle Information Commons, First floor, west side in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.

Screening Scholarship Media Festival 2015

CAMRA Festival Poster

We are looking forward to camra‘s annual media festival on March 27 and 28. Our partnership with camra has brought us fun times exploring audio and video. Past festivals have featured student-created videos including the Rubber video from Lisa Mitchell’s class and the great work of our own Lindsey Martin (after two years, we still miss her at WIC!). The Screening Scholarship Media Festival is a great place to meet colleagues interested in new media. As they describe:

"We explore the affordances and challenges of multimodal representational strategies in research, and we interrogate their social implications. SSMF is a hybrid between a traditional academic conference and a film/media festival."

We hope you will join us at the 2015 SSMF – check out the Festival Schedule