Tag Archives: tech tools

Canvas Office Hours at the EC

Throughout August, we’ll be holding Canvas office hours at the Education Commons for extra support in getting course sites up and running for the fall semester. Please see the Canvas at Penn blog post for more details and register on the EC’s workshop calendar.

The EC office hours are in addition to the many Canvas workshops and office hours being held at WIC throughout August. Please see the Canvas calendar to register for sessions happening at WIC.

Socializing with Social Media

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#techtools fun with Instagram!

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(From left: Pam Harris of Swarthmore College Libraries, and Illene Rubin and Mallika Sircar of Penn Libraries)

Back in June at PhillyDH@Penn, I presented a workshop called “Social Media Tech Tools,” which provided a show-and-tell of six different social media tools that we use here at WIC and some tips about using social media to engage our audiences. The workshop took place in Van Pelt Library’s new Collaborative Classroom, which encourages flipped classroom and active learning methods via the room setup and technology. The room is also conducive to socializing as folks are collaborating and moving around the room, making it an ideal space to discuss social media.

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Summer Make-and-Take Workshops

Make-and-takeThis summer, we’re offering make-and-take workshops on some new and exciting topics. In a make-and-take, participants bring their own materials to work on and use the tools demonstrated in the workshop to leave with a finished (or at least started) project. We’re holding workshops both at WIC and the EC; for the longer sessions, refreshments will be provided!

Make-and-take sessions being offered at WIC include (click any one to register):

Look for these make-and-takes at the EC (click any one to register):

Please be sure to take a look at our full calendar for many other new and great workshops this summer. We hope you’ll join us as we explore these exciting topics!


PhillyDH@PennWe are excited to announce that PhillyDH@Penn will be back for a second year on Friday, June 20, 2014, in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, 6th floor of Van Pelt Library. PhillyDH@Penn is a digital humanities unconference, planned by folks from the PhillyDH group and Penn Libraries. Last year’s unconference drew attendees working in schools, libraries, museums, cultural and historical institutions around the Philadelphia-area and beyond.

This year’s unconference will feature a lightning round, hour-long workshops sessions, and many unconference sessions (learn more about unconferences). Anyone at any level of DH scholarship is welcome to attend – we have the most basic workshops and more advanced sessions. Most importantly, PhillyDH@Penn provides an opportunity to learn, network with colleagues, and bring this knowledge back to your own DH endeavors.

Registration is now open. We are also looking for unconference session ideas, to be decided the day-of by participants. If you can’t think of a session at the time you register, you can use another form to propose a session any time up until (and even the morning of!) June 20.

We look forward to a dynamic day of learning and networking, and we hope to see you there!

PhillyDH@Penn Takeaways


Last Tuesday was the much-anticipated PhillyDH@Penn event, inspired by the recently formed PhillyDH group and held in the new Special Collections Center.  For me, the event was a wonderful way to round out my almost-one-year anniversary of starting my WIC internship. Last summer, I tried to articulate what DH is (or rather, how difficult this is to articulate) via my brief DH encounters in graduate school. From there, I’ve spent the year reading articles, attending events, writing blog posts, and playing with new tech tools, all of which has given me a much better sense of DH scholarship. So many takeaways emerged from Tuesday’s unconference sessions and workshops that I could create a laundry list (or, more appropriately, an interactive word map). Instead, I’ll share my favorite takeaways that helped me better understand my role in DH as a WIC intern and librarian-in-training.

1) Don’t force the DH. Undertaking new digital projects is by no means an easy task for anyone, let alone time-crunched college professors and students. Before you think about incorporating DH into your classroom, think about what your goals are for your students and what you would like students to do at the end of the course. Once you figure this out, find out whether there are any digital tools that would enable or enhance students’ learning experiences. From what educators discussed at this topic’s unconference session, this approach has proven more productive than building a class around a specific digital platform.

2) Use your libraries (and librarians)! Because people have little time to learn new technologies, the library can provide a significant training grounds to teach and learn digital tools. Today’s librarians have become more “blended” not only in teaching research skills but also instructional technologies; further, the library is a neutral space on campus or in the community where everyone can come to learn. It was refreshing to hear this message from librarians, educators, and information professionals alike. It also allowed me to realize how our WICshops and special WIC programs help to meet this digital teaching/learning need.

3) Metadata is your friend. I don’t know very much about metadata, but I do know that it has great potential to change the ways people search for and find various materials. Folks from the Penn Libraries spoke about the Penn Provenance Project on Flickr, which started out as a rare book cataloging endeavor and has now captured the attention of those all over the world as they recognize books’ signatures, titles, and authors. By tagging the Flickr photos, patrons help create the metadata that link these images to Penn’s library catalog, Library of Congress records, and even Wikipedia, making information more easily accessible and retrievable for all involved.

4) Social media can be overwhelming. But, making comparisons can help! We’re always looking for the newest social media tools to use here at WIC, but I haven’t really taken the time to see which ones are most effective for which tasks. Browsing lots of graphics, online materials, and “about” sections of social media websites helped me to create a social media comparison chart to sort out all of this. I hope this information will be helpful for both our WIC staff and for all those trying to make sense out of multiple social media accounts.

These are just a few ideas I took away from PhillyDH@Penn. The event initiated so many productive conversations among folks across the humanities in universities, libraries, museums, and archives (workshop materials and unconference notes are now online).  I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I came out of the day with the challenge to not only think about new models of teaching and learning with digital tools, but also to keep up the conversation with colleagues in the Philly area and beyond, as collaboration in DH is key to getting successful projects off the ground.

Screen Videos LibGuide

ScreenVideosOver the past few months, we have been gathering information and advice from many people and resources around Penn on creating screen videos for educational use. We recently published a new LibGuide that presents an overview of screen videos and includes resources for beginners, advanced users, students, and faculty.  We recommend software (from iMovie to Camtasia to Snapz Pro) and hardware (E-beam Whiteboard Capture and Wacom Tablets) to get started with screen recording, as well as specific resources for faculty from SAS Computing, the Arts & Sciences Learning Commons, and the TechSmith Blogs.  We also feature materials from our WICshop on voice-over narration in PowerPoint, as another powerful tool for recording lectures and presentations.  We will be updating our guide over the summer with more resources and examples. Please do share your comments with us.

Storify-ing Environmental Studies

StorifyWe have used the social media tool Storify to document WIC events such as our annual symposium and Gadget Day – Summer 2012. Penn Career Services has created great “day-in-the life-of” stories with this tool.

By bringing in information from various sources on the Web, Storify allows you to create not only a narrative, but also a persuasive argument about the story you are telling.  Enter Storify for scholarly research.

This semester, students in Alain Plante’s seminar, The Human Dominated Earth: Living in the Anthropocene (ENVS 400), did just this:  they built arguments around different aspects of the Anthropocene period by using Storify as an interactive platform for their research. Students’ projects read as “e-research papers” of sorts, where news articles, YouTube videos, scholarly articles, book information, tweets, and Instagram photos are instantly available to the reader either right inside of their “story,” or simply a mouse click away.

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