Postings in the ‘Volume 7’ Category


eBooks and eReaders, It’s Complicated.

October 6th, 2010 by
Contributed by: Caroline Gilson, Associate Director of Libraries and Coordinator of the Science Library with rank of Associate Professor

It’s complicated. That phrase can be applied to many things, I realize (issues related to faith, relationships, what to wear on any given day), but in preparing this column on the broad spectrum of eReaders and eBooks in the higher education environment, it seems particularly appropriate. The idea of an eBook seems simple enough. But it gets more complex when one delves in deeper: issues of access, ownership, cost, availability, ease of use and delivery methods/platforms creep in and muddy the waters. How do librarians, information technology staff, faculty and students sort it out and “make it work?”

As an academic librarian, I take pride in keeping up with technology that will deliver content to campus users. I bought a first-generation iPhone on the day it came out at my neighborhood AT&T store, feeling that was a watershed moment. Something inside me said this was a game changer. The iPhone has gone from novelty to a measuring stick of sorts in a few short years. It broadened the scope of mobile access, and set a standard (I think) for devices yet to be developed.

The iPhone has led libraries to create mobile access to collections. For instance, some libraries have an app or mobile friendly access to the library catalog, subscription databases, (we can show you the mobile version of EBSCO databases if you are interested) and even snazzy building tours via QR codes or augmented reality. Becoming more of a digital, mobile, handheld library also means rethinking access to collections: books and multimedia. Are you streaming or downloading movies from your NetFlix account? What is the future of the eBook in libraries? They’ve been available for over ten years, yet still haven’t caught on like I would have predicted. How will access to digital textbook evolve? Why don’t libraries buy more eBooks? (Kindles for everyone!…?) Are our users ready for eBooks? Are you?

Yet there isn’t yet (or I haven’t found it yet) an easy answer to eBook accessibility for our academic users. The Kindle/Nook/Sony eReader seems to focus mostly on the recreational reading crowd. One service I’ve found to be worth investigating is called OverDrive. OverDrive provides eBook access via multiple formats to libraries, where users can download content to a laptop or iPhone or mp3. This model seems to work with users that have multiple devices. Yet, OverDrive only seems to offer fiction, non-fiction, general topic sources and not so much scholarly or textbook offerings. So I keep searching, as a librarian, for the next best thing for access to eBooks. I pay attention to the ever-changing technology market. I watch the current development of the Notion Ink Adam tablet. I get excited about a SixthSense glove-like device and lanyard (watch Pranav Mistry’s TED talk from November 2009), where one can project digital images onto a book, a wall, a newspaper, a hand or arm. I listen to people in the know about technology, like Bryan Alexander at NITLE (he blogs at, or Walter Mossberg, writer of the All Things Digital column for the Wall Street Journal ( I wonder what cool new device is going to come out next week, next month, next year. As great as I think the iPhone is, I don’t think it is It. I don’t think the iPad is It. I don’t think Kindle is It.

I watch our academic community interact with technology. I watch my five-year-old son interact with apps on my iPhone. I talk to and email library colleagues about eBooks and mobile devices. What are they seeing and using? eBooks seem to still be a novel idea, but get low use (or no use). How to solve that? I wait and watch with everyone else. I talk to colleagues and database vendors. I think that access models (readers) will need to change and publishers will need to rethink how they market and present their offerings. Academic libraries and campuses are in an evolving environment when it comes to eBooks and eReaders, and in short, it’s complicated. Feel free to continue the conversation with me anytime (!

The Moodle Glossary – More than a Dictionary

October 4th, 2010 by
Contributed by:  Lynda S. LaRoche, Assistant Director of Instructional & Learning Services and Moodle Support Coordinator

Figure 1: Moodle Glossary Entry Example

The Moodle Glossary is a robust activity that can be used in many ways. It can be a collaborative activity that you assign to your students or you can create it for your students to use as a reference point. The entries can be searched or browsed, commented on, rated and there’s even an “auto-linking” feature that you can setup in which words are highlighted and linked if they are contained in the glossary.  Figure 1:  Moodle Glossary Entry Example shows some of the capabilities of a glossary entry, such as text, images, links or many of the other capabilities found in the Moodle text editor. View the Moodle 101 for faculty glossary as another example.

Each glossary you create can be a different format, which enables you to use the glossary activity creatively in multiple ways. For instance, the glossary can be used to assist your students in learning new words that represent new ideas and concepts specific to your field of study or it can also be used as a collaborative tool where assigned groups are responsible for contributing to different sections of the glossaries entries.

At first glance, a glossary seems to have only one function – a simple dictionary. Moodle’s Glossary enables you to creatively engage your students in the process of learning. If you are interested in using a Moodle Glossary in your course, feel free to contact me ( or any other FITS Instructional Technologist.

Volume 7 Issue 1 Table of Contents

September 10th, 2010 by

Table of Contents:

The Virtual Burnham Initiative

September 10th, 2010 by
Contributed by:  Donnie Sendelbach, Director of Instructional and Learning Services/Director of ITAP

burnhamThe Virtual Burnham Initiative, a multimedia project creating 3-D models from a 1909 Chicago city plan by Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett (Plan of Chicago often referred to as the Burnham Plan), received a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-up Grant in 2008 and currently is their featured project.  The NEH is currently accepting applications for its next round until October 5, 2010.  To learn more about applying for this next round, you can visit their web site or contact Donnie Sendelbach, who served as Co-director of the Virtual Burnham Initiative before coming to DePauw.

While components of the Burnham Plan were implemented to create modern Chicago, students using SketchUp and Google Earth brought to life other components that were not implemented in reality, including buildings in Grant Park (see photo above). The flat images from the Burnham Plan were transformed into models enabling 360º views and placed within Google Earth’s modern Chicago, which takes the Burnham Plan to another level of visualization while merging past planning with current reality. If you have Google Earth on your computer, you can download files from the VBI website to view yourself.  Through 3-D modeling, students and scholars are able to visualize how Chicago could have developed while considering the possibilities for future city planning. Through additional historical information, they can also study how city politics shaped the building of Chicago as the new field of city planning evolved.

Chicago area high schools and universities along with city administrators have contributed to the VBI, which is, to quote the grant application, “a project about the community that can become part of the community offering a heretofore impossible organization of material related to the Plan with a unique application of different virtual modeling technologies to enhance collaborative humanities scholarship.”  Students who worked on the project developed an appreciation for architectural history, city planning, and research decision-making as the Plan’s series of sketches include multiple variants for a given building.  One of the students creating these models, Michael Ojdana (Lake Forest Class of 2008), is currently working at Convergence Training creating 3-D models after he graduated from DePaul University with an M.S. with a Digital Cinema: 3-D Animation Concentration.

For more information on the project, please view this video inviting others to participate:

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Google Apps: What’s Next?

September 10th, 2010 by
Contributed by: Lynda S. LaRoche, Assistant Director of Instructional & Learning Services and Moodle Support Coordinator

clip_image002Last spring “Going Google” was a common phrase on the DePauw campus as we switched from GroupWise/Tigermail to Google Apps Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. With this initial transition completed, what’s next?

If you want to keep important emails from your GroupWise/Tigermail account, you have two options: copying your old email messages to Google Apps Mail or creating a local GroupWise Client and copying your email to your computer. To complete this on your own, step-by-step instructions are located online at DePauw’s online resources for faculty, staff, and students –

If you would like assistance completing this process, instructional technologists will be standing by in the FITS lab (located on the lower level of the Roy O. West Library) to support you during any of the Google Open Lab sessions listed below.  Remember you must complete this no later than September 30, 2010 because the GroupWise/Tigermail server and your old email will be gone on October 1, 2010.

Google Open Lab Sessions
FITS Center (located on the lower level of the Roy O. West Library)

  • 9/14/2010 from 9-11 a.m.
  • 9/20/2010 from 2-4 p.m.
  • 9/28/2010 from 12-2 p.m.
  • 9/30/2010 from 2-4 p.m.

Google Apps for Education offers much more than email and calendar capabilities. Through Google Docs you and your students can collaborate with others in real-time by creating, editing, and sharing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. To assist you in learning more about Google Docs, FITS will be hosting “Google Apps: Intro to Docs, Sites, Forms” workshops this semester. We will also be hosting Google Users Group sessions where you are invited to join your colleagues to share ideas, ask questions, and discuss ways that Google Apps can be used on campus – both inside and outside the classroom. For a complete list of Google Apps events, browse to DePauw’s Campus Calendar and search for #googleapps.

Finally, we’d like to invite you to share how you are using Google Apps for teaching and learning by presenting during a FITS Faculty Showcase. If you are interested in presenting, please contact Lynda LaRoche – or 765-658-6600 – or another member of the FITS team – – to discuss your idea.

Staff Spotlight: Matt Bethune, Instructional Technology Graduate Intern

September 10th, 2010 by

Expertise: Video pre-, post-, in-studio and on-location production, digital storytelling.

Biography: Matt came to DePauw in 2010 after earning his M.A. in Digital Storytelling from Ball State University. While there he taught two undergraduate courses in basic video production, assisted faculty and students within the school of nursing utilize technology in classes, and developed an original children’s educational television program and web site. He is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University.

Fun fact: Matt is a puppeteer with several professional performances under his belt.