Congratulations to WIC’s graduate intern and Excel tutor extraordinaire, Tanya Johnson, for winning the American Library Association’s 2016 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award! Tanya’s paper, “Let’s Get Virtual: An Examination of Best Practices to Provide Public Access to Digital Versions of Three-Dimensional Objects,” will be published in the peer-reviewed journal, Information Technology and Libraries. In the meantime, Tanya is off celebrating in Florida, where she will receive the award at the ALA Annual Conference on Sunday.
Read the ALA’s newsletter announcing the award, and keep an eye out for her paper in an upcoming issue of Information Technology and Libraries!
This guest post by Alex Burns C’16 describes the mobile messaging application Snapchat. Alex is a recent graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jenna Wortham’s recent New York Times Magazine article on Snapchat raised some very interesting points about the nature of social media usage today. The fundamental appeal of Snapchat is its “re-humanization” of social media interactions. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, where users upload polished photos and constantly interact with companies & brands, Snapchat utilizes low-resolution, real-time photos & short videos, making for a less manufactured, more authentic social interaction.
Snapchat messages, referred to as Snaps, are appealing to me because they are so much more raw than other forms of social media. While various filters can be utilized, these messages must be taken in real time and are only visible to most users temporarily. In an age where digital footprints seemingly follow you everywhere, it is refreshing to send messages that might be visible to your most of your friends for a matter of seconds. As a result of the short-lived nature of snaps, there is much less pressure to look attractive or cool. People are less afraid to be themselves in photos that will soon be forgotten. The fact that these photos must be taken in real time make snaps more honest than other forms of social media. You can’t spend time photo-shopping or uploading photos taken by other people at past dates. Snaps represent what you are doing at that very moment in time. Like life experiences, Snaps are mostly temporary. In Jenna’s words:
“Snapchat isn’t the place where you go to be pretty. It’s the place where you go to be yourself.”
Not only is Snapchat refreshingly authentic, it has also changing the way we communicate. When emoji were introduced in 2011, they forever changed the austere nature of text messages by allowing users to supplement texts with graphics relaying various emotions. Emoji helped humanize text messages. While emoji have been widely embraced, there is a limit to what can be expressed through them. As Jenna writes, “though the catalog of emoji has expanded in response to user demand, it still struggles to keep up with the multiplicity of human experiences.” Snapchat has helped fill this void by allowing users to send more personalized graphics in real time. In a way, Snapchat allows users to create their own emoji. Whether it is drawing a picture, or conveying emotion through a personal photo, Snapchat has shifted the format of an instant message from a message based in text, to a message made up primarily of a graphic image which can be supplemented with text. This greater ability to customize messages is transforming communication and making it even more enjoyable.
Hello, there! My name is Claire Witherel and I’m a new Intern at the Weigle Information Commons. I’m currently a PhD student at Drexel University studying Biomedical Engineering with research focused in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. As a professional student (I mean, I’ve been in college for almost 10 years now!), I know how frustrating it can be to know the right tool to use for your homework, research, or work, but the learning curve will just take too much time to get the job done. This is where I can help. I absolutely love to assist students in finding useful research tools that make their work shine and guide them through the nitty gritty parts of mastering a new tool.
Continue reading Make Your Data Analysis Shine: Prism 6
We welcome undergraduate students to join our March 16th Majors Dinner (register now!) here at the Weigle Information Commons. Enjoy good food and learn about the great resources and programs available at WIC! We’ll highlight two exciting opportunities for undergrads interested in exploring digital media and technology: the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program and the Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards. We’ll also tell you more about our weekly workshops and some of our other student support and technology resources.
Whether you’re new to WIC or already a regular, we are excited to talk to you about everything we have to offer and get your feedback on what else we can do to help you get the most out of your time at Penn!
Hi, there! I’m Jaime and I’ve been consulting/interning here at the Commons since 2014. My personal passion is helping students, staff, and faculty learn how to connect their personal and professional brands online by engaging with others on social media. This past Saturday, I worked with two long-time patrons dedicated to getting their social media game on point. Kemuel Benyehudah and Sandra Andino have been coming to the Commons since November 2015 to work on maximizing the effectiveness of their public Facebook accounts.
Continue reading Social Media at the Commons: Facebook
The Commons’ staff are no stranger to publishing and have written about technology, learning, collaboration, and teaching tools, all things we love at WIC. Recently, WIC Digital Projects Fellow Vickie Karasic and director Anu Vedantham wrote a chapter for Researching Language Learners Interactions Online: From Social Media to MOOCs (Dixon and Thomas). Their chapter, “Video Creation Tools for Language Learning: Lessons Learned” focuses on digital video creation tools and the benefit of using video assignments for language learning. Their chapter received a brief mention in a book review by Elena Martin-Monje this month:
“…video assignments enhance the understanding of other languages and cultures, while at the same time they enable students to be more aware of their own identity through this learning process.”
Vickie has written about this project before, including details of interviewing language faculty members at Penn. She has also showcased her workshop on using Audio and Video in PowerPoint for Beginning Japanese.
Read other reports and publications written about the Commons (the Educause article made 2014’s Top Ten Most Read list) and check out our monthly workshops if you are interested in learning some of the same tech tools referenced in the book!