Tag Archives: students

Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for History Students and Researchers.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to take a look at a tool that gives the user access to scanned copies of original historical documents. Many institutions create digital libraries of their own collection, but today’s tool strives to bring them all together in one location. Searchable by database, these documents are easily manipulated to change contrast. The documents can also be annotated, depending on the account you choose. Let’s take a look at Footnote:

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From the site: “Footnote.com is more than just an online repository for original documents. In addition to hosting millions of records, Footnote supports a community of people who are passionate about a variety of topics relating to history. See what people are doing on Footnote right now with Member Discoveries. Footnote.com creates an environment where members can share their content and insights, ranging from major historical events to personal accounts and family histories. Footnote.com, together with its members, is revealing a side of history that few have seen before.”

Mixing a social network with a online database of original documents, Footnote strives to be the future hub of all historical (not to mention, genealogical) research. And, for the first time on Tuesday Two.Oh I feel that a brief overview of the site will not do it justice. Footnote tends to be nuanced and detailed, and I am sure that a free account (like the one I have signed up for) only scratches the surface of the capabilities of this site. With that in mind, I suggest that you take a look at their online tour:

Getting the Most out of Footnote

Signing up for a Footnote Account is a relatively easy process, resulting in an approval email for account varification. Once you have created a presence on the site, easy account access will appear at the top of every Footnote page at which you look. It will give you access to your gallery (items you have saved), your account, and an upload link that you can use to contribute to the site.

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You can search the site without creating an account, and the searchability increases with the level of your account, but there is access to documents that are free. You can conduct census searches and other inquiries and find usable results. But, as with anything, the more you’re willing to spend, the better (or, at least more robust) the content.

Searching is relatively easy using Footnote. You will have a couple of options, the most prominent being a regular keyword search, a name search, and a browsing by subject option. The front page will look like this (though, Footnote is currently redoing their homepage, and the screen shots I have made might look different from what you will see when you go to the site).

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The people search option is interesting. I have a very unique maiden name, and when I searched it using Footnote, I was given people with the same name located within the same state from which my family hails. I think that with more common names, like Brown, you will have to use more of a detailed search to find people. But the feature is interesting, nonetheless.

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On the home page, there is a timeline bar that you can use to browse by moment in history. Footnote is an essentially American site, so for now the topics covered range from the 18th century to the present.

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Clicking on the topic will bring you to an overview page, which will be a detailed collection of documents on the topic.

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One of the things I found interesting about Footnote were the help pop-ups that appear to point out ways to more effectively search the site.

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Once you have chosen a browsing topic or conducted a search, you will be looking at the results screen which will have previews of the documents that have resulted in your search.

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From there, you can start looking at your document. By clicking on the document, you’ll open another window in which the document will appear. This window will have navigation of its own, allowing you to change the brightness of the document, and otherwise edit or annotate (again, depending on the level of your account).

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And, the document itself:

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With each document, you will have a side bar that will tell you its origins. This will help with citation and credibility circumstances.

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Account options vary, but are not overly expensive.

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Though, it is being marketed as something akin to an institutional database (I would be very interested to know of those of you out there who might have access to this through your job or university):

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If you’re interested, Footnote does proudly display it’s collaborators.

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In closing, I really do think I’ve only be able to scratch the surface of this site. In saying so, I also mean that I found myself mildly frustrated, wishing I could try out some of the higher level options. Having done historical research in my own academic career, I think that the potential use of this site for students is without end. I know that having access to digitized archives can only enrich an experience.

I am going to keep my eye on this one… and perhaps inquire about institutional access.

As always, questions and comments are encouraged and welcomed!

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Future Students (at any collegiate level).

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be talking about a tool anyone interested in further schooling can use. I am particularly interested in this tool because I am thinking about pursuing a second masters or a doctorate. The tool we’re looking at today will help prospective students locate a school by chosen major, zipcode, or greater geographical area. Let’s talk about Campus Explorer:

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From the site: ” Whether it’s a two- or four-year school, a career college or an online program, we have figured out everything from tuition to average temperature. We also have a personalized search function that allows you to set your wish list and explore from there. We even have direct partnerships with schools to put you in touch with admissions officers. Our database today contains information on more than 6,000 schools, and counting. It’s accurate. It’s easy to use. It’s the most comprehensive directory devoted to higher education you’ll find anywhere on the web. And it’s free!”

Signing up for Campus Explorer is as easy as entering your email address and choosing a password. It was quick and easy. It should be noted that you can search the site without signing up for an account. What an account will give you, however, is the ability to save schools you have looked at and might be interested in. Otherwise, the information is still right there and accessible.

Setting up your profile is just as easy. If you’re like me, and interested in a higher level of education, you have the option to choose that from a drop down menu. If you’re getting out of high school soon there’s a section available to fill out relevant test scores like SATs and ACTs. Your profile will look something like this:

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I might have to double check, but I don’t think that this site has a social web feature to it. I didn’t notice a “view my profile” button, just the ability to update it. This could indicate that the profile of any user is meant to be private and aid in the search process by adding criteria. As with most social sites, there is no link to “add friends” or search from people you may know.

Searching Campus Explorer will be the same, whether you create an account or not. I would like to walk you through the basic searching paths provided by the site. The first one that’s apparent when you click on the site is a geographic search. All searches can be launched from the homepage or from the search box in the upper right hand corner.

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In the above example I conducted a search by zip code. The results are listed similarly to the results of a search engine.

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You’ll notice that all types of schools are brought back in the results field. Use the drop down menu on the upper left of the screen to narrow your result by school type (i.e. 4 year, 2 year, etc.). If you would prefer to conduct your search on a larger scale, you can choose to search by geographical region.

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The results will come back as they did before. One of the things that I really like about this site is the map display on the left side of the screen. You can visually associate the search results with the map. I think that this will help the search process. You can click on the map, another screen will open, and you can click on the map pegs to see which school is indicated.

Moving back to the home page, let’s talk about the other prominent search path you can take in order to locate your idea college or university. Searching by degree will help you discover schools that advertise that the specialize in a specific degree program. You’ll be able to choose from schools across the country, as long as they feature the degree program you have specified. For instance, I choose to look for Archaeology degrees, but as a testament to being careful as to what search terms you use, “archaeology” came back with zero results. I then chose to spell it conventionally, and I received results. So, watch your spelling.

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The results will display in the same fashion as before.

If you have created an account, you have the ability to save chosen results. I chose to save Harvard as an example, and it appears on my “My Schools” tab.

If you are just searching, though, you can click on any of the options in order to explore the university in more depth. The page will have a profile of the school, as well as the pertinent information that you will need when making your decision. You can scroll through pictures, get an overview of the institution, as well as contact the admissions department using the links found on the school page.

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Scrolling down the page will provide you with “Quick Facts” and other useful pieces of information.

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If you think that you are qualified to get into the school, or you would like to receive information in the mail, links and contacts are provided.

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A wonderful feature of the site is the comparison option. Once you have chosen schools that you’re interested in, you can compare them. In fact, you can compare up to four schools side-by-side.

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In closing, I thought that this site was extremely easy to navigate. I thought that the search paths were straight forward, and I thought that the information provided on the school pages would all be useful in making the decision as to what school you would like to attend.

Often it’s very difficult to discover the best school for your needs. While Campus Explorer seems to be very good at searching geographically and by degree, a search to identify schools with the best online options would also be useful.

I would likely share this with any student that approached the reference desk with questions about searching for schools. It strikes me as a site that the student could explore with little help, and would provide a vast amount of information.

As always, comments and thoughts are encouraged and welcomed.

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Learning.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to talk about the classic lecture. Now, I know what you’re thinking: are we talking about the kind of lecture where some dusty old professor stands at the front of a lecture hall and talks at you for 50 minutes? Well, sort of. Think, YouTube for academics.

Many people like to think of education as a human right: no matter your background you deserve to have access to knowledge. But with the cost of many colleges and universities skyrocketing, that reality might be hard to attain for some of us. But the Internet age seems to be changing all of that. Universities are starting to make their lectures freely accessible. For example, Stanford University is making its’ educational content available on iTunes.

Let’s take a look at AcademicEarth:

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From the site: “Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education. As more and more high quality educational content becomes available online for free, we ask ourselves, what are the real barriers to achieving a world class education? At Academic Earth, we are working to identify these barriers and find innovative ways to use technology to increase the ease of learning. We are building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users around the world the ability to easily find, interact with, and learn from full video courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars.”

The site is relatively easy to navigate- and registration is not required (though you can mark lectures are “favorites,” as well as rate lectures after you have watched them). Keep in mind that the site has been developed to reflect the academic environment, meaning the “lecture” is a sub-category of the “Course.” AcademicEarth allows for guest lectures without an overall “course,” but they do offer entire courses on the site.

There is a bar at the top of the screen to guide your navigation:

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Clicking on any of the above links will carry you through the site. The first link, “subjects” will take you to a page of clickable subject links. Here you can browse by topic in order to find the lecture you’re interested in watching.

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The second link for navigation is “Universities.” This link will show you the participating universities that are recording their lectures and uploading them to the site. If you’re interested in listening to a lecture from a particular, your choices are impressive:

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The third link, “Instructors,” is an alphabetical list of the speakers. This page will definitely be useful in finding specific lecturers.

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The last link, “playlists,” is a list of lectures collected into “topics.” This means that the editors of the site collected lectures on AcademicEarth about a specific topic, for instance:

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The playlists will not be given by a specific speaker, but a collection of any speakers on a given topic. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a topic, at the same time maintaining objectivity by hearing varying viewpoints.

Once you have chosen a lecture to watch, you will be looking at a screen that has the video of the lecture, a description of the lecture and course, and various related videos. The video will look something like this:

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As a librarian, one of my favorite features of the site is their citation tool. It can be found just below the video. You will want to make sure that you check the citation type against your professors needs and desires. It looks like this:

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In the same tool bar there are also options to download the video, share it, embed it, and add it to your favorites if you have created an account. I’ve embeded a video on the post below in order to give you an idea of what that might look like.

If you set up an account, you will be able to rate the videos using a grading system of A, B, C, D, and F.

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By looking at these grades you can also tell which lectures are the most admired.

The last thing we’re going to look at is the search function. I have to admit, some of the search terms I tried came back with no hits, or with very few. This is probably a function of the relatively small collection of universities donating lectures: a broad scope of topics has yet to be accomplished. But to give you an idea, a search on AcademicEarth will look like this:

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In closing, the mission of this site is a lofty one. Much content on the web is from dubious sources which must be evaluated in order to detect bias. Of course, watching these videos will not result in a “Harvard Education” per se, but will result in you widening your own horizons. There is no grading or credit given, even though some of the lectures come with related assignments. These are done at the students lesiure, for no real academic reward in the form of a diploma.

However, knowledge as a right is what we’re talking about here. AcademicEarth assumes that even though the site offers no diploma or grading system, the student will want to better themselves for free.

And, after all, who said you couldn’t get a free Harvard education?

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Educators and Students

You should always think about what sites you sign up for- and if you don’t think you’ll use a site listed here, don’t sign up for it. These posts are not meant as an endorsement of any singular site or tool, but they are meant to alert you as to what may be out there to make your life easier. It’s your decision to follow any of these links.

The next tool we’ll be taking a look at for Tuesday Two.Oh! will be of interest to teachers and students alike:


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This tool will bring to mind notions of Blackboard for those familiar with that tool.  A small difference is that Engrade is a free tool, provided free on the web.  Once you have signed up for the account you are asked to set up your classes, and I will walk you through what that will look like below.

A tool like this could be very beneficial to you as an educator.  When we teach classes there is a lot of information to keep track of- attendance, assignments, tardiness, and general student attitude.  Engrade offers a seemingly instant update for all of these items.  There’s even a comment section for an educator to keep track of their opinion of a students daily attitude.  I think that if this site can maintain privacy, it has the potential to be extremely useful to educators, students, and their parents.

If you choose to set up an account, the first thing you’ll be asked to do is set up your classes.  You can name your class any way you would like, but most of us would likely choose names that makes sense.  For instance, if you teach 3rd grade math, name your class as such.  It will also ask you to name each of the students in your class.  This is so that all the names will be entered in automatically when your grade book has been created.  It will look like this:

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Once you’ve entered that information, Engrade wants you to choose how your students are graded.  You can decide the grade scale as provided by Engrade, or it’s also possible to create your own grading scales.  It will look like this:

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The customizability doesn’t end there.  Once you’ve chosed your gradescale, move on to choose how you would like the grades to be weighted.  You can set the weight, or opt to not weight the grades at all.

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After you’ve finished entering your class information, there are a lot of other options.  Engrade has a calendar which can be shared with your students once they log on.  There are also sections to manage comments and attendance.

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Directions for your students to log on can easily be found on the home page, as well as much more information for administrators and teachers.  Students will be able to log on, see their grades and comments, but will not be able to manipulate the information.

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If you think that this is a tool that you might be able to use, I encourage you to watch their twelve minute tutorial video. There you will find more detailed information about the site, and how to manage your classes.

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