Fun on a Friday

Today’s post is mostly about having fun with a little bit of food-for-thought thrown in along the way. I think we need some fun because it is a hot Friday and school has started!

Do you know what your sound is? Really-there is a site called Sound Badge that lets you create your own sound badge that you can use on your mobile phone, with Skype or on your blog if it allows JavaScript. I found this cool resource through Librarian in Black blog. While I’m not thrilled that there is no rock option for starting as the base of a sound badge (it will make more sense once you have been to the site, trust me), it is still fun and you could have all your students make a sound badge and compare them online. Mine’s here.

Did you know that many books have teaser trailers that are available on YouTube? Well, it was news to me. Some of the trailers were hilarious while others were very serious. Many were quite professionally done. I think this is a great way to publicize books. I think we need a trailer for our library on YouTube.

Here is the food-for-thought article on Jakob Nielsen’s findings of online literacy. If his name sounds familiar, it is not surprising as he is the big name in usability testing, among other research areas. He makes the case that online reading is not a replacement for reading in print based on his extensive research. This has profound implications for online teaching and online campuses. If students, and people in general, do not process or even read blocks of text online, how do we deliver online classes that require reading long passages of complicated text such as philosophy, history or English? What does this tell us about the whole push of buying ebooks (I’m not thinking of Kindle, etc. here but of ebooks that are read through online platforms such as ebrary, etc.)? Do students use them? Do they retain the information? Like I said, profound implications for online learning and for those of us who are trying to do what is best for our students in this increasingly online environment.

Now, I couldn’t end on such a heavy note for this Friday, so I have for you an article (with photographs) of a completely envy-inspiring library. I want Jay Walker’s library–enough said.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. Comments always welcomed.

Resources for Back to School Time of Year

At CSUEB, we start the fall quarter today and in honor of that I have three helpful resources: cheap textbooks, reference sites and the list universe. Today is all about useful reference sources that just happen to be found on the web.

Textbooks
Everyone knows how expensive textbooks are and how annoying it is to wait for the one copy to be returned to reserves so you can check it out for two hours. Been there, done that. So here is a cool article from Lifehacker about the best places to save money on textbooks. Really, do your friends, family and students a favor by sharing this article and the sites from the article. I have to add the site isbn.nu that my friend, Ruth, told me about in grad school. Also a great comparison shopping site for textbooks.

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites
The title is from the actual post at Teaching Tips.com and not one I made up. A great list of reference sites on the web, some of which I’m sure you’ve heard of and others that might be new. A handy resource for all of us who work at a reference desk or in any other capacity where we are answering questions. The sites are divided into categories and I think it is cute that five sites are listed as “Librarian References”–obviously someone still has a limited idea about what is useful for librarians.

The List Universe
And, in my attempt to always have something fun in a post, I give you The List Universe. I happen to love lists and this site has a ton of them. But other than just being a place to spend time finding out random bits of information, it also is good for reference work and those annoying trivia games that some people find fun. So check it out; I’m not saying that all of it is great, but enough is to warrant a bookmark in del.icio.us.

Happy start of the Fall Quarter for CSUEB and happy Wednesday to everyone!

Why it's better to share

We all remember being told to share right? And that two heads are better than one? Well, just because we are in the library world now, and not in kindergarten, doesn’t mean these lessons don’t apply. In fact, it is even more important to share because there is just too much to do every day and way too much information out there for us to get it all.

But what particularly should we be sharing? Well, just about everything. Take a look at this piece from Library Journal by Michael Casey and Michael Stephens, The Transparent Library: Let’s All Lighten Up. In fact, if you like this, take a look at Michael Stephens’ blog, Tame the Web. Subscribe to his blog too–great stuff, I’ll probably be linking to some of his great posts here.

But you don’t care about other blogs, you just want a concrete example of why sharing is better than going it alone? Well, look no further than these databases of online learning objects. Creating new learning objects or modules takes a lot of time. So why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to? Just make sure the modules you use are accessible, lots are but some aren’t, and link away to your heart’s content! Yes, some of these modules won’t be applicable for your course, but trust me, there are some great resources out there. Some resources to try:
OER: Open Educational Resources
MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching
Online Learning Object Repository

And, as always, ask your colleagues what they are creating or have already created that you can use in your instructional sessions and classes. Remember it is better to share!