My Favorite Screencasting Tool Now Works on Chromebooks
There is a free version and a paid “pro” version of Screencast-o-Matic. The free version will let you record for up to 15 minutes, record as many videos as you like, save to your Google Drive or local drive, and use your webcam while recording a screencast. The pro version removes the time limit, removes the Screencast-o-Matic watermark, enables cursor highlighting (that yellow circle you see on my screencast videos), enables drawing tools, and enables access to the offline editor.
more on screen capture and screencast in this IMS blog
Erika Johnson and Kristin E. Martin
by discovery layer, the moderators were referring to the variety of tools available to libraries that bring together article-level content, specialized databases, and the content traditionally found inside a library catalog (e.g., books and journal titles) into a single searchable index. Based on the survey, 67% of e-forum participants are using a discovery layer and 83% maintain this layer alongside the traditional catalog. During the e-forum participants identified a number of commercial systems in use at their libraries (Summon, Encore, EDS, WorldCat Discovery, Primo), as well as some customized or open-source products. Participants at some specialized and public libraries expressed opinions that discovery layers do not fit their institutional needs, either because of the lack of sophisticated searching or specialized content, or because of overemphasis on article content.
In academic libraries, discovery layers tend to be the preferred tool for undergraduates, while more advanced scholars (and some library staff) prefer the traditional library catalog for known items, additional search features, and more specialized content. Discussion about the different levels of user sophistication and varying research needs continued through the entire e-forum. One participant put the difference between searching in terms of recall versus precision. Discovery makes an ideal tool for quickly returning at least some relevant results—great for basic research—but often brings back a large number of irrelevant results in a huge set.
From a technical services perspective, discovery layers have led to changes in technical services operations.
Discovery systems are not one size fits all. Special collections librarians and consortial members shared some concerns about the way discovery systems display information.
Good Question! What is a Discovery Layer?
By Gwen Evans
Executive Director, OhioLINK Thursday, January 16, 2014 – 9:50am
a discovery layer is a Google-like search across all library resources. In library language, a discovery layer is a searchable meta-index of library resources, usually including article-level metadata, e-book metadata, metadata from library catalogs, open access resource metadata, etc., and it includes a means of retrieving resources in the result set through linking technology.
Why is a discovery layer needed for libraries?
Without a discovery layer, users have to search many separate silos of information one by one – the library catalog for books and journals, publisher sites and individual ejournals in particular subjects for articles, and other specialized databases. Even for experienced users who know which databases and resources are likely to be most relevant to their needs, this is time-consuming and involves duplicating the same search over and over in different places. For novice users, or those who want a broad, interdisciplinary search, the initial choice of resource can be daunting and frustrating, unless users already know to ask their librarians for help. In addition, every database or resource interface is different – there are many similarities, but users have to learn different procedures and strategies for each information silo. While specialized interfaces deliver a lot of power for the advanced user, sometimes they can get in the way for other kinds of tasks.
Why not just use Google or another search engine?
Many library resources are difficult to find using search engines, even if a user is savvy enough to be using Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic Search instead of regular Google or Bing. In addition, almost all online library resources, such as full-text articles and ebooks, are most decidedly not free or open access – academic libraries pay quite a bit of money for them
more on academic libraries in this IMS blog
Student Engagement with E-Texts: What the Data Tell Us
by Serdar Abaci, Joshua Quick and Anastasia Morrone Monday, October 9, 2017
- This case study of Indiana University’s e-text initiative reports on students’ actual use of and engagement with digital textbooks.
- In a typical semester, students read more in the first four weeks and less in later weeks except during major assessment times; in a typical week, most reading occurs between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, indicating that students use e-texts mainly as a self-study resource.
- Highlighting was the markup feature most used by students, whereas use of the other interactive markup features (shared notes, questions, and answers) was minimal, perhaps because of students’ lack of awareness of these features.
- Research found that higher engagement with e-texts (reading and highlighting) correlated with higher course grades.
Although cost savings is often cited as a key advantage of electronic textbooks (aka, e-textbooks or simply e-texts), e-texts also provide powerful markup and interaction tools. For these tools to improve student learning, however, their adoption is critically important.
The Indiana University e-texts program, which began in 2009, has four primary goals:
- Drive down the cost of materials for students
- Provide high-quality materials of choice
- Enable new tools for teaching and learning
- Shape the terms of sustainable models that work for students, faculty, and authors
To date, student savings on textbooks amount to $21,673,338. However, we recognize that many students do not pay the full list price for paper textbooks when they purchase online, buy used copies, or recoup some of their costs when they resell their texts after the semester is over.
herefore, we divide the calculated savings by two and report that total as a more accurate representation of student savings. Consequently, we claim that students have saved about $11 million since IU’s e-texts program started in spring 2012.
In addition to printing through the e-text platform, students can purchase a print-on-demand (PoD) copy of an e-text for an additional fee.
One downside of e-texts is that students lease their textbook for a limited time instead of owning it. This lease generally lasts a semester or six months, and students lose their access afterwards. However, with IU’s e-text model, students get access to the textbook before the first day of class and maintain their access until they graduate from Indiana University. That is, students can go back to the e-texts after their course to review or reference the content in the book. This could be especially important if the e-text course is a prerequisite for another course.
more on etext and ebooks in this IMS blog
Reproducibility Librarian? Yes, That Should Be Your Next Job
Vicky Steeves (@VickySteeves
) is the first Research Data Management and Reproducibility Librarian
Reproducibility is made so much more challenging because of computers, and the dominance of closed-source operating systems and analysis software researchers use. Ben Marwick wrote a great piece called ‘How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it
’ which details a bit of the problem. Basically, computational environments affect the outcome of analyses (Gronenschild et. al (2012)
showed the same data and analyses gave different results between two versions of macOS), and are exceptionally hard to reproduce, especially when the license terms don’t allow it. Additionally, programs encode data incorrectly and studies make erroneous conclusions, e.g. Microsoft Excel encodes genes as dates
, which affects 1/5 of published data in leading genome journals.
technology to capture computational environments, workflow, provenance, data, and code are hugely impactful for reproducibility. It’s been the focus of my work, in supporting an open source tool called ReproZip
, which packages all computational dependencies, data, and applications in a single distributable package that other can reproduce across different systems. There are other tools that fix parts of this problem: Kepler
for workflow/provenance, Packrat
for saving specific R packages at the time a script is run so updates to dependencies won’t break, Pex
for generating executable Python environments, and o2r
for executable papers (including data, text, and code in one).
I would also recommend going to conferences:
more on big data in an academic library in this IMS blog
academic library collection data visualization
more on library positions in this IMS blog:
on university library future:
A Comprehensive Guide To Digital Badges
A Comprehensive Guide To Digital Badges
An introduction to digital badges and a brief history
Simply put, a digital badge is an indicator of accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online. These badges can be earned in a wide variety of environments, an increasing number of which are online.
The anatomy of digital badges
In addition to the image-based design we think of as a digital badge, badges have meta-data to communicate details of the badge to anyone wishing to verify it, or learn more about the context of the achievement it signifies.
The many functions of digital badges
Just like their real-world counterparts, digital badges serve a wide variety of purposes depending on the issuing body and the individual. For the most part, badges’ functions can be bucketed into one of five categories.
Badges are issued by individual organizations who set criteria for what constitutes earning a badge. They’re most often issued through an online credential or badging platform.
Criticism of digital badges
There are various arguments to be made against the implementation of digital badges, including the common issuance of seemingly “meaningless” badges.
The future of digital badges
With the rise of online education and the increasing availability of high quality massive open online courses, there will be an increasing need for verifiable digital badges and digital credentials.
more on badges in this IMS blog
SORRY, POWERPOINT: THE SLIDE DECK OF THE FUTURE WILL BE IN AR
the product isn’t ready for a public launch yet. Prezi has enlisted a select group of influencers to try out the AR tools and offer feedback before the company releases a beta version.
more on effective presentations in this IMS blog
digital resource sets available through MnPALS Plus
Two sets of open access, free digital resources that may be of interest to students and faculty have been added to SCSU’s online catalog (MnPALS Plus).
Open Textbook Library (a project of the University of Minnesota)
(appears in Collection drop-down menu as “Univ of Mn Open Textbook Library”)
“Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.”
For more information, see https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/
“Ebooks Minnesota is an online ebook collection for all Minnesotans. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state’s independent publishers, including some of our best literature and nonfiction.”
For more information, see https://mndigital.org/projects/ebooks-minnesota
These resources are included in any search done in the online catalog. To view or search one of these collections specifically, go the the Advanced Search in MnPALS Plus and select the desired collection from the Collection dropdown. Users can add search terms, or just click “Find” without entering any search terms to see the entire collection.
5 Trends Shaping K12 Ed Tech
- Chromebooks. (versus iPADs)
- Blended learning
- Single sign-on and interoperability
- Wireless and cloud-based multimedia
more on tech trends in education in this IMS blog