Cut and Paste, Then and Now

Last week, we had the rare opportunity to chat with this year’s Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellows in the Humanities thanks to Kimberly Kolor, a fellow who is also in the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program. We prepared by brainstorming around this year’s theme of “Color”, a wonderfully flexible and creative theme indeed. Vickie Karasic, Katie Rawson and Rebecca Stuhr joined me in providing a whirlwind tour of tools (Artemis, Instagram, Gephi, Excel, PhotoShop, and more). We talked about how fast the tools are changing, and how one is never really ever up-to-date. As I was listening to the students describe individual research projects and the presenters explain how digital humanities tools make new types of inquiry possible, I was struck once again by how useful metaphors can be for sense-making across contexts and disciplines. In a recent post on the Schoenberg Institute’s blog for example, Dot Porter provides a beautifully detailed tour of reuse and adaptation over the centuries. I loved this image of medieval cut-and-paste followed swiftly by find-and-replace in XML. As we explore ways to “mashup” video and images, I wonder if future generations will look through our creations, painstakingly reconstruct the steps we took, and speculate about our motivations and logic!

Categories: Pedagogy

Stats Software Help @ WIC

At WIC, you can already get help with writing, speaking, technology, copyright and more. In addition, we’re glad to announce that Douglas Allen will begin providing assistance with statistical software. (Douglas was here last year thanks to GAPSA support.) Douglas will assist you in collaboration with our Social Sciences Data Librarian Christine Murray.

Douglas can assist you with statistical software including STATA, SPSS, R and Excel. He welcomes questions about proper commands, seeking help with compiling useful syntax files for repeated analyses, or troubleshooting issues with data processing. He cautions that his assistance is not intended to help students decide on the suitability of a given statistical method for their research, pick which datasets to use, or interpret results. Douglas  is a fourth year doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research investigates how public interest journalism will survive as it transitions into the digital age and moves increasingly online where advertising support is harder to find and norms of free access discourage paying for content. He has his Bachelors in Economics and his Masters degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, and several years of experience as an energy consultant in California.
Categories: Pedagogy

Filter beyond ‘Filter’

Filter – the little funnel shaped icon in Excel, may be one of the most frequently used functions in Excel. Tell Excel one or several conditions and let Excel return those rows that meet your criteria. It works perfectly well in one single column.

However, sometimes you may want to filter one column according to the corresponding value in another column – in such a case, Filter may not be the most convenient way.

Here is an example. One patron recently came to my Office Hours inquiring about filtering in her Excel worksheet. She has two columns here, like this:

She would like to get all values in column B if the number in B is larger than the corresponding number in A.

While Filter might seem like the best option for this problem, it cannot really help you to compare the value in the same row but in different columns.

Thus, here I introduced her an useful function – IF function.

The syntax is like this:

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

According to the definition from the Microsoft website, the  IF function returns one value if a condition you specify evaluates to TRUE, and another value if that condition evaluates to FALSE.

So, now let’s try this out.

In cell C1, we type:


For this function, I basically tell Excel that if the value in cell A1 is smaller than the value in cell B1, then it will say “YES”, otherwise, it will say “NO”.

Then I can use AutoFill to fill the rest of the rows – thus you can get a column with “YES’s” and “NO’s.”

Now you can easily use Filter to filter out those rows with “YES’s.” Done!

If you are not familiar with AutoFill and how to input a function, you can refer to this handout here!

As a second way, you can also use Conditional Formatting to solve this problem.

Under the [HOME] tab, you can find the Conditional Formatting button in the [Styles] group.

  • Choose the range B1:B7 first, then click on Conditional Formatting
  • Choose [Highlight Cells Rules] – [Greater Than]

  • In the dialog box, put “=A1″ in the empty box, then click OK.

  • Now you will find that all the rows that meet our criteria will be highlighted with the selected style.

Conditional Formatting can use colors and styles to help you “filter” out the records you need. I found this visualization method really easy and helpful!

As always, if  you have questions about this or other aspects of Excel, please stop by the Weigle Information Commons during my Excel office hours, and I will help to troubleshoot your problem!

Categories: Pedagogy

Happy Halloween!

Awesome 3D art by Gekimura

Happy Halloween!

Be sure to stop by the lab today for a candy bar, and while you’re here stay and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas with us!

Categories: Pedagogy

Your words: Student Survey Results

Tomorrow, we expect over 220 people from all twelve schools at Penn to come together at our Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium. Our first one, in 2008, brought 48 people. Each year, the event has grown in popularity. It’s a rare opportunity to sit together, talk, and listen.

This year, we designed a survey with brainstorming sessions and launched our “Make Your Voice Count” campaign in early October. We are glad that 56 students took time to chime in! They gave us, in the 2014 Student Survey Results, fully 16 pages of ideas to mull over tomorrow.

Following opening remarks by Kim Eke, five faculty will speak on the morning faculty panel – Jeffrey Babin, Rosemary FrassoMarybeth Gasman, Jeffery Saven and  Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw. After they speak, Peter Decherney will facilitate an undergraduate student panel with Rebecca Hallac, Laura Petro, Virginia Seymour, Lucas Siegmund and Dyana Wing So.

We will live-stream the faculty panel, the student panel and the lightning round. Videos will available later on the Penn Libraries YouTube Channel. We also plan to use Canvas in many ways throughout the symposium. Looking forward to a packed day!

Categories: Pedagogy

5 Ways to Make Your iPhone Battery Last Longer

This guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, provides some tips for maximizing your iPhone’s battery life.

“Sorry, my phone died.” This short phrase is thrown around all the time—sometimes by us and sometimes to us. While it used to start out as an excuse for not responding to someone, more often than not now, it’s actually true. The transient nature of our battery lives is an increasing issue for phone-reliant college students. Luckily, there are little tricks you can learn to help keep your battery alive a little longer, or sometimes, even a lot. Check these tips out:

1. Turn off Parallax

You may have noticed that when you are at your home screen, your background will move with the tilt of your phone. While this feature is cool for some, it is often dizzying or unnecessary to others. Don’t think you need it? Turn it off through
Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > On, and save some battery.

2. Quit Your Apps

Most people know this feature, but if you are iOS7 or iOS8, you can double click the home button to display all the apps open. You can then proceed to “swipe up” any app that you don’t need. People often forget to quit their apps after they are done, so even if you stop using the app, if you don’t close it, it’ll keep running.

A cool new feature of iOS8 is that you can now see what apps are using the most battery under Settings > General > Usage. This helps you know which apps to quit if you need them all or simply want to have your battery last a little longer.

3. Turn Off Location Services

Some apps like maps and weather are necessary for location services, but others really aren’t; they are unnecessarily and unknowingly draining your battery life when you open them. Edit these settings under Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

4. Turn Down Your Brightness

Unless you need your screen to shine like a flashlight, turn down your screen brightness. The level of brightness on your screen may seem like no big deal, but the energy your phone expends to keep everything a little bit brighter would really surprise you. You can also turn on auto-brightness if you want your phone to help when you forget.

5. Turn Off What You Don’t Need

This is like quitting apps, but for settings like WiFi and Bluetooth. When these features are on, they are constantly searching for connectivity and searching drains your battery without you even knowing it.

Recently moved to an iPhone 6 or 6+, or from Android to iPhone? Check out this post for more tips on using iOS 8.

Categories: Pedagogy

How Do Libraries Create Services in the Electronic Age?

Libraries have been wrestling with an important issue for years: how can we (and should we) provide reserve materials in electronic formats? In print this was never an issue; if students needed to read an article, libraries could put it on reserve and students could copy it for personal study, or, alternatively, a professor could ask a copy shop to create a course pack which students could then purchase. Recently a case came up in court Cambridge U. Press et. al. vs. Patton (aka the “Georgia State Case”) which essentially is wrestling with that fundamental issue of what libraries can and cannot do with electronic reserves. Fundamentally, the answer comes down to one’s interpretation of fair use.

The courts did not exactly solve the problem for libraries (and the case is still ongoing). They have, however, affirmed some important principles to keep in mind:

  • Fair Use has to be done on a case by case basis. There are no broad rules that apply across the board to different kinds of material.
  • The four factors are not a checklist. If you have 3 of them, you may not have a fair use. If you only have one of them, you may have a fair use. It depends on the circumstances and the purpose of the use.
  • Speaking of checklists, the advice provided in various recommendations such as the Classroom Copying Guidelines and other forms of best practices are not legally binding. They can help to think about issues, but will not necessarily help you in court.
  • Library reserves (electronic or print) are not the same as coursepacks. There are certainly similarities, but the legal cases that apply to Kinkos and other companies which sell copies of articles to students do not apply to the services that libraries provide.
  • Most importantly, libraries have to pay attention to the market for reserve material. If libraries potentially affect the publishers’ ability to make money from their products, then it is even more important to look much more thoroughly at the other factors of fair use.

To that last point, there are certain questions that libraries need to consider whenever they assert fair use.

  • Does the use of the material clearly serve the purpose (pedagogical or otherwise) of the course or argument, and, perhaps more importantly, would that purpose be clear to a judge or someone from outside assessing the use?
  • Has the professor, assistant or researcher used whatever they need to make their point, but no more than is needed to make their point? Also, would an outsider (judge or publisher) agree that they used only the amount necessary to make their point?

So, as long as libraries are not causing market harm and they keep in mind those questions, then the courts have supported the rights of fair use. Nevertheless, the questions of how traditional reserve functions fit into an electronic world are still unanswered. More importantly, however, the community needs to decide its interpretation of fair use in certain contexts. Fortunately, the Association of Research Libraries’ Code of Best Practices for Fair Use provides a great deal of help in that regard, and can help individual libraries in assessing these questions.

If you’re interested in learning more, here are some further blog posts from real lawyers about these recent cases:

Categories: Pedagogy

Conference Takeaway

It is our pleasure to announce two new “Conference kits” reservable online for faculty to borrow from the Vitale Digital Media Lab at the Weigle Information Commons. The kits can be borrowed for up to eight days. Each kit contains an Apple Mac-book Air and several video adapters to make it easy to present at a conference (as well as in a classroom).

To reserve, login to WebCheckout with Pennkey, click on “Add Resource”, and look under “Presentation Aids” for the “Laptop Presenter Kits”. Please review our equipment lending guidelines for loan details. WIC provides workshops and tutorials on presentation software such as Prezi and PowerPoint, so let us know how we can help make your next conference presentation the best it can be!

Categories: Pedagogy

How to be Basic

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.

This is the WIC Seminar Room in which many workshops are held.

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.”
This WICshop calendar is comprehensive and easy to use.

But why stop there? If you are too basic for these, then take some advanced classes! I recommend signing up for Advanced Illustrator Techniques and Audio and Video in PowerPoint.

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!



Categories: Pedagogy

Open Access Week – October 20 – 24, 2014

Open Access week is a global event for institutions around the world to discuss the ways open access is changing the worlds of publishing and scholarly communication.

Below is a schedule of events that Penn is hosting next week.  Please feel free to pass along to anyone who is interested.  You can view the full calendar of events and sign up at

These lectures, workshops, and movie screenings are open to the Penn community and all others who wish to learn more about open access.

Monday, October 20

Open Access Images
10:00am-11:00am, Goldstein Electronic Center, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
Learn to create and adapt open access images using a variety of techniques.

Tuesday, October 21

Lunch Discussion with Joshua Nicholson
12:00pm-1:00pm, Meyerson Conference Room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
A skype discussion with Joshua Nicholson,founder of “The Winnower,” an open access online science publishing
platform .

Creative Commons: The License to Share Knowledge
4:00pm-5:00pm, Room 626, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
Creative Commons (CC): assign Creative Commons licenses to your own work and nd Creative Commons licensed works – images, texts, and other original material – that you can use in your teaching, scholarship, and creative productions.

Wednesday, October 22

The New Wave of Open Access Publishing
12:00pm-1:00pm, Meyerson Conference Room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
A conversation about new open access publishing models including Humanities endeavors: Knowledge Unlatched
and The Open Humanities Library and Biology and medicine journal platform PeerJ. Register to receive readings
in advance.

RiP!: A Remix Manifesto Screening
6:00pm-7:30pm, Class of ‘55, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A Remix
Manifesto (2008 documentary).

Thursday, October 23

The Feedback Loop Between Open Access & Altmetrics
1:00pm-2:00pm, Class of ’54 (3rd Floor), Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
Mike Showalter of Plum Analytics will describe and demonstrate the capabilities of using altmetrics to create your
own open access feedback loop (1 hour Webinar).

MOOCs & Beyond: An Open House Hosted by the Open Learning Initiative
4:00pm-5:30pm, Room108, ARCH Building, 3601 Locust Walk
Join the Open Learning team to learn more about creating a MOOC and what resources are available on campus.

Categories: Pedagogy

5 Must-Have Apps for Students

This guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, provides recommendations on apps. This post reflects Kelli’s personal opinions and should not be construed as an endorsement by Penn Libraries.

With the industry for app development booming, trying to navigate the app market is overwhelming and often times exhausting. While it’s nice to have so many options, it’s easy to settle for an application even if there’s an even better option out there for you, and it’s especially easy to scroll right past an app that could change your life, or at least the way you work.

Here’s a guide to some must-have, top rated apps that are certainly worth the download, and definitely worth the price—free! So check them out, download them, and enjoy the luxuries of this generation’s application boom.

1. F.lux

Ever check your phone at night only to get blinded by the screen? Ever try to read a text in the daytime only to find your phone is too dim? Navigating your way through settings or messing around with control center isn’t a huge labor, but wouldn’t it be easier if your phone just did it for you?

My friend has been urging me to download F.lux, and being a skeptic that I am, I refrained for a long time. Two weeks ago I downloaded it, and it certainly lives up to all of its rave reviews.

2. Monolingual

With people downloading movies, textbooks, and hundreds of photos, the need for storage space is more crucial then ever. I try to clean out my computer once a month to throw out old downloads or applications that I don’t use any more just to make more space. However, these old files really aren’t the problem. Word documents and photos hardly take up any space in broad perspective. A lot of space is occupied with programs and information that your computer was pre-loaded with. One of these space stealers is the bank of languages that your computer stores just in case you want to convert your computer to Flemish, Urdu, or whatever language you will never learn how to speak.

Monolingual allows you to cut out these languages from your computer’s bank, so you save tons of space that used to be devoted to saving loads upon loads of foreign languages. Definitely download monolingual if you are like me and find yourself discarding documents that you don’t really want to, but don’t think you have any other choice to clear up some space.

3. ExamTime

As a student, having all of your academic materials you need in one place organized and ready is extremely useful and effective. A productivity to enhance learning, ExamTime helps with a wide range of student activities from projects to scheduling to presentations. Armed with a complexity of abilities to ease the study grind, ExamTime is definitely worth the time to test out.

4. Sworkit

Another problem faced by busy students is clearing up space to head to the gym during the week. Often times we find our gym time is the first thing sacrificed to fit in another GBM or study session, and while keeping up with social and academic events is extremely important, we shouldn’t forgo staying in shape in the process.

Sworkit provides the perfect alternative to this dilemma. It is built to accommodate any schedule without abandoning a little exercise. A circuit training app, Sworkit builds a custom workout for any place, any time requiring only your body weight a couple minutes of your time.

5. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can)

If you are like me, the ability to wake up at 7:30 for high school seems inconceivable. I have certainly lost my knack of being an early riser, and often times my ability to wake up to alarms—and then stay awake. Too often have I turned off my alarm only to wake up an hour later and have to scramble into class a half an hour late—or worse, miss it completely.

Sleep If U Can offers a unique alarm that forces you to wake up at your alarm by forcing you to get up and move around in order to turn it off. Instead of simply pressing a button, Sleep If U Can requires a photo (like of your sink, desk, etc.) to deactivate its alarm. Cool, huh?

Categories: Pedagogy

Copyright Myths, Steve Jobs and User Interfaces

There is a common myth that copyright law protects ideas. This is not true; copyright is about protecting expression of an idea, not the idea itself. In fact, the law states “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied.”

A famous example of someone who believed that he would protect his idea utilizing copyright was Steve Jobs, who learned his lesson the hard way. In the 1980s Jobs copyrighted his idea for the Apple computer’s user interface. Not long afterward, Bill Gates created Windows with a system similar to Jobs’ design. Jobs sued, but the courts found in favor of Gates because “Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor.” Jobs later used patents, trademarks, and other methods to protect Apple products. However, this example demonstrates how everyone can use ideas under copyright law, even when they are similar.

For more information about the Gates vs. Jobs Lawsuit go to:,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corp.

Categories: Pedagogy

Transforming your Research Within the Constraints of Copyright

Join Shawn Martin for a discussion about the possibilities for creativity within the constraints of copyright  on Monday, October 13, at noon in Meyerson. Transformation or “transformativeness” is an important aspect of fair use doctrine under Copyright law. Being better informed about the balance of both possibilities and restrictions under the copyright law can lead to innovative approaches in how you accomplish work and work creatively with existing materials. With this in mind, join us for a copyright workshop that should build on your existing copyright knowledge and that will practically address copyright issues that arise regularly teveryday. The workshop is open to the Penn Community.

Date & Time:    1:00pm – 2:00pm, Monday, October 13, 2014
Location:    Meyerson Conf Room, 2nd Floor, VPDLC

Categories: Pedagogy

New Digital Scholarship Workshops @ Penn Libraries

We are offering a new round of workshops this semester and the next one is coming right up.

 Introduction to Text Mining
Learn the why and the how of text mining, its methodology, cautionary tales, and preferred tools. If you have experience to share, please come and join the discussion! Presented by Mitch Fraas, Penn Libraries, Kislak Center and Digital Humanities Forum, Molly Des Jardins, Penn Libraries Area Studies Specialist for Japanese Studies, Dot Porter, Penn Libraries, Kislak Center Curator for Digital Servies.
12:00pm – 1:00pm, Wednesday, October 8, 2014,Kislak Center Seminar Room 625, 6th Floor. Van Pelt-Dietrich

And two more to follow:

Make the Most of your Visit to the Archives
Returning to the libraries to share their insights into working effectively in archives, Professor J.C. Cloutier, English and History Ph.D. Candidate Emily Merrill will provide guidance both practical and philosophical on making the most of the often limited, and therefore precious, time available for conducting research in archives. Join us to prepare a tool kit for your backpack and for your mind.
12:00pm – 1:00pm, Thursday, October 30, 2014, Kislak Center Seminar Room 625, 6th Floor. Van Pelt-Dietrich

Sharing Research Through Social Media: Scholarly Commons,, and more
Your opportunities to share and discover scholarly work across a global community are expanding, from the Penn Libraries’ ScholarlyCommons, to social media sites for academics, which include, ResearchGATE and more. What are the intellectual property issues, how might these sites intersect and complement each other? What are the overall benefits? Join us to explore these issues whether you are just beginning to think about posting your work or already doing it and willing to share your thoughts and experiences.12:00pm – 1:00pm, Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Kislak Center Seminar Room 625, 6th Floor. Van Pelt-Dietrich.

Questions? Contact

Categories: Pedagogy

Jaime — new WIC Intern!

Hello PennWIC Readers– I’m Jaime!

I’m a brand new intern who just started last week. I’m very excited to share information and stories with you all about tech, education, and the library. As a book native and a millennial, I’m interested in hearing what’s on your desks this fall. As I type this, I’m looking at the September Issue of Wired, and longing to flip through its glossy pages. A complicated photo of Edward Snowden hugging the American flag is on the cover:

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to sympathize with him or feel sorry for him. What controversial figures in tech are on your minds this fall? Or are you just excited for all of our tech classes? Speaking of WICshops, my friend Marta, a new graduate student at SP2, commented on my Instagram photo of Penn WIC from my first Saturday on the job to tell me how pumped she is to take advantage of our resources–

I have to say, I’m very excited to work with fellow students! I started off at Penn in publishing (in fact I am still in publishing at Penn!). One of the big questions in publishing is how readers will engage with the written word in coming years–will it be through ereaders, the print book, magazines, journals, or all online databases only?

Please help satiate my curiosity and tell me what gets your blood pumping and your heart racing in regards to your fall reading. Is it the New Yorker? Is it Wired? Is it a tech blog? Is it your own blog? Are you getting all your tech and educational news on social media now? If so, which platforms?

In other news, I lucked into one of those coveted “invite-only” accounts on Ello. Ello is being billed in the tech world as an “anti-Facebook” social media site. Here is their “manifesto.” Privacy concerns reign supreme. No one can question the rise of the importance of big data and issues in privacy that are coming into debate with recent changes in the terms of use for many social media sites. So, do you think you will join the Ello platform? Is it worth the hype?

If not, which social media sites do you use and for what uses? I personally have a LinkedIn for work, a Twitter for news, a Facebook to connect with friends and certain colleagues, an Instagram to “curate” and document my life, and a WordPress for my college alumni club in Philadelphia.

My social media accounts all serve different needs I have for interacting with the “interwebz.” I am not sure yet where Ello fits in or if it will take off. We will see! Digital Projects Fellow, Vickie Karasic, has also written about social media and the uses for different accounts. She taught an excellent class on six major different tech tools we all should be using and why. I’m linking her great overview here. The most useful piece of that document, I think, for all the patrons of the WIC is to understand how different social media platforms can be used as scholarly or professional tools. Here is Vickie’s wonderful chart:

I’m looking forward to meeting many of you and talking about social media/tech/education this semester. I’m here on Saturdays from 12pm – 4pm. Come stop by and say hello! Tweet at me @Jaime_Marie or the Penn WIC account @PennWIC to let me know what you’re reading!

Don’t forget to sign up for our WordPress Basics Class, with Natalie Lyon, on October 23rd if you’re interested in learning how to build your social media community!

-Jaime Marie Estrada
Penn WIC Grad Intern

Categories: Pedagogy

Make Your Voice Count!

Please take a minute for our student survey. We ask about perceptions of active learning spaces, video integration and technology tools. Your answers will inform faculty conversations at our annual Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium. We expect that understanding individual experiences of Penn students will be useful for our faculty as they consider how to make their teaching as effective as possible.

Categories: Pedagogy

Reach for the light this Halloween!

Register now for the 2014 Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium on October 31. Our thanks to Tayarisha Poe (we will miss her!) for the Halloween-themed logo!

Our guiding question is: How can technology empower our students, and us, as learners?

We will begin with a faculty panel featuring Jeffrey Babin, Marybeth Gasman, Jeffery Saven and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw. Peter Decherney will facilitate our popular annual undergraduate student panel. (We welcome all students to share your thoughts on our survey!) After an informal lunch in the WIC Data Diner, we’ll explore workshop topics from hands-on Canvas to discussions on flipped-classroom teaching. We’ll wind up the day with a lightning round of two-minute talks.

Categories: Pedagogy

Farewell, Tayarisha

I want to wish a fond farewell to Tayarisha Poe, who has served as a lab consultant in the Vitale Digital Media Lab since July, 2013.
Tayarisha is leaving to focus on free-lancing full-time.  In the short term she will be working on photography projects for HBCUs. She is also working on a series of short films called “Selah, and the Spades,” funded by the Leeway Foundation, which will be finished in November.

I will certainly miss her, as will the students, faculty, and staff at Penn whom she has worked with and taught during her time here at the Libraries.
Tayarisha will be staffing the lab until 5pm today if you would like to stop in to say good-bye.

Categories: Pedagogy

Android to iPhone, iPhone to Android

At long last, the Apple iPhone 6 and 6+ have been released into the wild, along with iOS 8. And the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Android 5/Android L are set for release soon.  These have been the topic of much discussion here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, and I’ve heard several conversations about people switching from one platform to the other.  But how do you do that exactly?  Not only do you need to get your data from one device to the other, but there’s also a bit of a learning curve for people who are adopting an entirely new operating system on their phones.

Here are some links to make your transition easier:

Lifehacker has a guide on Jumping Ship from iPhone to Android: A Switcher’s Guide

Apple created a guide on Moving Content from your Android Phone to iPhone (which I also discovered via Lifehacker) also has some training content you might find useful during the switching process.  If you’re not a subscriber to yourself, remember you can reserve one of our licenses (at least 1 day in advance, and up to 7 days in advance) and watch the training videos in the comfort of your own home.

iOS 8 New features
Android Essential Training
(you’ll need to be logged into Lynda in order to watch those online courses)

Do you have other suggestions for people making the switch?  If so, please share them in the comments!

Categories: Pedagogy

The New Mac Pros have Landed!

This is the first of a few blog posts announcing some exciting upgrades to the Vitale Digital Media Lab. I’m really happy to announce that after QUITE a few years of waiting, we have 10 brand new Mac Pros for you to use in the Vitale Digital Media Lab.  They’re incredibly sharp looking (although we’ve heard comments that they look like R2D2, Darth Vader, a vacuum cleaner, a funerary urn, a trash can, and one of those things at the gym you use to dry your bathing suit before putting it in your gym bag.)

We’ve been testing them, and we’ve been incredibly impressed with their speed. Ours are running 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processors with 32GB of memory.  They have Dual AMD FirePro™ D500 graphics processors with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each. They’ve got USB 3.0, so you can finally take advantage of all that transfer speed, and thunderbolt ports. We’ve also updated the operating system to Mavericks (OS X 10.9).

You should notice a significant improvement in performance if you’re working with video or large graphics files.

One key difference to know about is that these new Macs don’t have built-in CD/DVD drives.  So if you need to read or write to a CD/DVD, please ask the lab consultant on duty and they’ll be glad to attach a portable CD/DVD drive to your machine.  We can also supply card readers if you need to get data from an SD card, Compact Flash, etc.

Please come in, give them a try, and let us know what you think!

Categories: Pedagogy
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