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!
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.
This guest post is by Amanda Gisonni, a junior studying Psychology in the College. In this post, she describes various ways to gain basic skill sets in computer software programs by using resources in the Weigle Information Commons.
This is not what you think it is. I am not here to instruct you on how to dress or how to act “basic.” But I will tell you how you can gain some basic skills in certain computer software programs; in other words, boost your knowledge when it comes to Excel, PowerPoint, Illustrator, and more. Weigle Information Commons offers a variety of WICshops that demonstrate some introductory topics in a hands-on approach that will help get you started.
WICshops give a brief but thorough introduction to these programs. They are a starting point and meant to introduce you to the essentials of each program. You will start at the beginning, with opening the program, then you will actually get to use the program and finish by learning how to save your work. Also, these workshops are for people of all skill sets! So, if you are not so tech-savvy, these classes are great for you, and they are also great for people who have some knowledge and are looking to gain more.
Some of the ones I have tried and recommend include InDesign, Photoshop Basics, Photoshop Selection Tools, PowerPoint and more. This October and November, Weigle is offering a variety of workshops for students, some of which include:
Introduction to Latex: For those looking to create a scientific document, learn what Latex is and the uses for it in this class. Use various documents, page layouts, fonts and images.
Introduction to ArcGIS I: This workshop demonstrates the software and data behind creating maps and geographic analyses. There will be simple exercises to introduce the program to beginners.
Introduction to Text Mining: This class is for beginners and those who have some prior experience. “Learn the why and the how of text mining, methodology, cautionary tales, and preferred tools.”
Each month new WICshops are posted; check the website periodically to see if there is a workshop you are particularly interested in. I also suggest attending office hours if you have a specific question or need help with a certain program. Excel Office Hours and Copyright Office Hours are offered each week. Staff in Weigle and the Vitale Digital Media Lab will also help answer any questions you may have!
This guest post by Amanda Gisonni, a junior in the College studying Psychology, describes her experiences over the summer using various resources in the Weigle Information Commons to improve her technology skills.
If you have ever been in the Weigle Information Commons before, you know it is a great place to work with a group. There are booths, study rooms and free-standing tables, plus talking is always welcome. But did you know it is a technology hub, too? It’s a place where you can get access to the latest gadgets, use top-notch software programs, and take hands-on workshops. Ultimately, you can learn how to use a new program like Excel, Photoshop, iMovie and more, which is exactly what I did this summer.
At the start of the summer I barely knew how to use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or WordPress. Now I can navigate my way through all three Adobe programs, and I even created my own WordPress website. How did I accomplish this? I spent time in Weigle. I took some WICshops, watched Lynda.com tutorials, and experimented with my own projects in some of the software programs.
Weigle is a great resource for students, but it’s disappointing that not everyone takes advantage of it. Students often get bogged down with school work and claim they simply do not have time. I disagree. I think if students knew how to use the resources available at Penn, they would.
Here is a simple guide to get you started:
Sign up for a WICshop (aka a Weigle Information Commons workshop). Check them out this September! Try WordPress Basics, Photoshop Layers, Making mini iMovies, and Crafting a better resume with InDesign and more!
Spend some time in a booth or group study room using the software programs on all of the computers. Experiment with InDesign, Photoshop, Excel and more. Reserve a spot here!
Don’t have the time to take a WICshop? Reserve a time slot on Lynda.com and learn at your own pace and on your own time! Check out all the videos that Lynda has to offer on the Lynda.com website.
Lastly, if you have any questions, just walk in! The Weigle Information Commons staff are friendly and eager to help you out! For those who do not know, Weigle is located in Van Pelt Library on the first floor. Enter through the turnstiles and take a left after the elevators, and then continue straight and you are there!
No one goes to the library to read—ugly signs that is. That’s why Lippincott’s own Business Librarian Melinda Roberts redesigned their food policy signs to be more visual. Congrats to Melinda! Her work was featured on the Librarian Design Share blog. Here are the old and redesigned signs:
Melinda doesn’t have a background in art but is surrounded by artists. She learned the basics of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign through WICshops. She’s taking on one sign at a time—including the redesign of Lippincott’s Research to Go poster. She used a mix of serif and sanserif fonts, complementary colors, and design elements like rectangles and brackets to frame the content.
Here are Melinda’s tips for learning design programs, with a few design principles thrown in for good measure:
Take a WICshop and get the basics. It’s so much easier to be shown how to do something the first time. You don’t have to remember it all.
Google what you want to do. Somewhere out there is a person with a YouTube video about how to do it.
Take advantage of your networks. If there’s something you don’t know, ask someone who does.
Don’t use more than 3 fonts on any one piece (even though you really want to).
Look for inspiration. Melinda says that she can’t necessarily create designs from her head, but she can look at what other people have done and build on it or adapt it.
No one wants to read text. Use more graphics and fewer words.
Have you ever wanted to use a different font for a presentation other than what is available on your computer? Here is a quick how-to on finding and installing fonts onto your machine.
There are many sites that offer free font designs. A simple Google search will yield many results, however I have found that my two most favorite sites are 1001 Fonts and Da Font. Both offer fonts from the simple to the ornate, giving you many options to add some style to your work. I prefer these sites because of the great displays and ease of navigation. Continue reading Finding and Installing Fonts→
A couple weeks ago, Dr. Jacqui Sadashige came into the lab and told us that she planned on getting a tattoo, and she wanted our assistance in creating the design in Photoshop.
Jacqui teaches cinema-based courses for Penn’s Critical Writing program (but she’s also known for her abilities teaching Astanga Yoga, Spinning, and
other forms of fitness.) We’ve worked with Jacqui extensively on various projects for her classes, and we were really excited to help her work on her tattoo!
Here in the lab, Nick helped her use Photoshop to extract the elephant from the design, and put it into a form her tattoo artist could use. Check out the progression from the original artist’s concept, to the work Nick and Jacqui did in photoshop, to the final tattoo (which she had done by Bill Stevenson at Have Fun Be Lucky Tattoo in Baltimore.)
A very big thanks to Jacqui for sharing these images with us and allowing us to post them on our blog.
My sister just told me that Amazon.com is selling Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 for only $50 right now. That’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen it. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing it, this is the time. I generally recommend people buy their software at the Computer Connection (at the back of the Penn Bookstore), because of the educational discount, but they actually sell Elements for $99.
Photoshop Elements is similar to the full version of Photoshop, but it’s aimed at hobbyists and consumers instead of professionals. It still has most of the features Photoshop has, and has a simpler interface and fewer options to get tangled up in.
If you want to try it out before you buy it, you can download fully-functional free 30-day trial versions at http://www.adobe.com/downloads You’ll just need to register for a free Adobe account.