Open Access Week 2018

Every year in October we celebrate Open Access Week, an international celebration of everything open. If this doesn’t sound familiar, read up on the topic through the (brief!) blog posts we published in previous  years:

This year we are focused on advocating for the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) on our campus. Many staff and faculty colleagues have been thinking about ways to decrease the total cost of a Connecticut College education by replacing traditional textbooks with OER. During Open Access week this year, we will conduct a whiteboard survey in Shain Library asking students questions about how students use, acquire, and pay for textbooks. In following weeks we will collect and share the results of the survey.

We also invite you to attend and participate in a hands-on workshop to explore and discover OER for your courses, learn about and help shape future grant opportunities for OER implementation. Details are below – feel free to register or stop by as  your schedule allows. As always, coffee and snacks will be provided!

OER and Your Course: Integrating Open Content into the Curriculum – Register
Monday, October 22 | 3:00-4:00pm | Advanced Technology Lab, Shain Library
Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that are distributed at no cost and have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-­purposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks,  streaming videos, tests, software, and other materials. Much work has been done at the College to integrate OER into classes. We will share what OER programming is developing and how to integrate these resources and practices into your own courses.


Copyright Confusion? Attend our workshop next week!

Next Tuesday (October, 2) Fred Folmer will lead a workshop, Copyright Essentials for the Classroom. If you have questions about which materials you can use in in your teaching and research, and when you can use them this workshop is for you. We will help you sort through the key issues surrounding copyrighted materials, including the application of Fair Use as well as various exceptions to copyright, such as the TEACH Act and library reproduction. We’ll also dive into some issues that arise most frequently among college faculty, including the use of copyrighted materials in teaching and assignments; images and video; concerns arising from the public presentation of student work; and copyright/ownership of your own research.

Join Us! Refreshments will be provided.

Copyright Essentials for the Classroom
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 | 10:00 – 11:00 am
Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library
Register (not required but recommended) by emailing Jessica McCullough or online.

Image credit: Lost and Confused Signpost (CC BY 2.0)

Library Guides for Students (and for you!)

Exit West LibGuide

Over the summer librarians review, update, and create new library guides to assist students as they navigate research projects. While many students visit the reference desk or schedule library research consultations when confronted with a research project or specific information need, not all students take advantage of these face-to-face opportunities and some prefer to figure it out on their own. This is why librarians create online LibGuides – to help students get started with research and answer frequently asked questions. Here are some suggested LibGuides for you to share with your students. If you have questions, would like to see specific resources added, or have a guide created for a specific course, contact your library liaison.

Not all guides are intended for students! Ariela McCaffrey’s Online Educational Resources @ Connecticut College is a wonderful primer for faculty interested in finding online material for courses, and Fred Folmer’s Copyright Resources @ Connecticut College will answer many of your copyright-related questions.

Most Frequently Asked…Moodle and the First Week of Classes

After the first full week of classes, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked Moodle questions:

1. Where are my Moodle sites?

This question pops up every year from students and faculty alike. Students frequently look to Moodle to get a jump on their assignments or to get a preview of the syllabus before the class meets. Oftentimes, a student will log in and find that one or more of their courses are not listed and be concerned that something is wrong with their course registration. Most often, though, the course Moodle site just hasn’t been made visible to students yet by the faculty member. Students can contact the IT Service Desk for confirmation as to whether a site should be visible, or look to their instructor for guidance.

When the same question comes from a faculty member, the most common reason for the problem is an outdated browser bookmark. Each academic year, Information Services installs a new, updated version of Moodle, which is located at a slightly different URL. Using will always get you to the current year, but if you’ve bookmarked Moodle, you may be looking at a previous year.

2. How do I add someone to my course site?

All students will automatically have access to any Moodle site for the courses in which they are registered. However, faculty often need Moodle access for other students who are not registered for the course, either because those students are serving as teaching assistants or tutors, or because the student is taking an Independent Study and is using much of the same material. Anyone with a Connecticut College username can be added to a Moodle site, using the instructions here. Depending on the role selected, users can be given student-level or teacher-level access to any site.

3. How do I email all my students through Moodle?

Moodle has a couple of different ways of sending email messages to students, each with their own advantages. One way is to post a message to the Announcements forum that is located at the top of the page on all Moodle sites. Anything posted to the Announcements forum will be emailed to all the currently-listed participants in a course. One advantage to this method is that all posts remain in the forum for the duration of the course. This allows any students who may add the class later, after a message was posted, to be able to go back and review earlier messages. Any student can look back at the Announcements forum to see any post, even if they have deleted the email from their inbox.

Another method of emailing students is to add the Quickmail block to a course site. Look here for instructions on setting up and using the Quickmail block. The benefit of the Quickmail block is that it allows flexibility in who an email goes to – instructors can select all members of the class, individual students, or groups of students.

Enhancing Research through Digital Scholarship

The spring and summer saw many new developments in digital scholarship at Connecticut College. As the College seeks to “open new channels for groundbreaking research, scholarship, and creative work,” outlined in the 2016 Strategic Plan, digital scholarship offers new tools and methodologies to leverage open-access publishing and computational methods of analysis for the advancement of scholarly dialogues and undergraduate pedagogy. The Digital Scholarship Fellows Program, a collaborative initiative by the Office of the Dean of Faculty and Information Services, was launched in January to support faculty wishing to develop digital projects in their research endeavors.

Digital Scholarship Fellows Updates

The 2018 inaugural cohort of fellows were hard at work this summer on their projects. A team including Catherine Benoît (Anthropology), library staff Lyndsay Bratton and Diane Creede, and two students, Gareth Barr ‘19 and Darriana Greer ‘21, attended the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS) at Occidental College in Los Angeles this June. The project team worked with web developer Gabriel Ortiz from Claremont Colleges Library to build the second iteration of Benoît’s St. Martin Project, featuring new image-filtering, crowdsourcing, and bilingual functionalities. In the fall, Benoît’s students will expand the project with an oral history component, conducting interviews with the Saint Martinois community in New London. Benoît will give a talk on her project at the Caribbean Digital V conference in December, hosted by the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.


Sufia Uddin (Religious Studies) led two ConnSHAARP summer research internships to develop the first iteration of her project site, Life in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest. Julia Neumann ‘20 and Avatar Simpson ‘20 spent four weeks engaged in intensive research to design a digital resource Uddin’s students will use in her fall ConnCourse. The team partnered with an external web developer to integrate interactive maps into the site. Uddin plans to expand the project in the future with the publication of her translation of a Bengali epic poem and new research to be conducted on-site in Bangladesh. She aims to present the mangrove forest and its inhabitants in ways that foster broader public awareness of deforestation and its effects on indigenous communities and the environment.


After years of recording the size, shape, and veins of fruit fly wings on paper during morphological research experiments, Phillip Barnes (Biology) developed a new workflow this summer to digitally image the wings at high resolution. As Barnes develops a large dataset of these images, in collaboration with his student researchers, he will build a project website to share the collection and metadata with researchers well beyond his field with the hope of enabling multidisciplinary collaborations.

Stay tuned this semester for project site launches from our fellows!

Digital Frontiers Logo

In early October, the fellows and program director Lyndsay Bratton will give a talk at the Digital Frontiers conference, hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS.

Fall Symposium

We will round out the first year of the Digital Scholarship Fellows Program with our inaugural Digital Scholarship and Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts symposium, Monday, November 12, 2018. The symposium (8:30am-3pm in the Chu Room of Shain Library) will feature talks by the DS Fellows and Anthony Graesch (Anthropology), and by guest institutions Trinity College and the University of Connecticut’s Greenhouse Studios center for scholarly communications design. Cultural geographer, digital humanist, and artist Nicholas Bauch (University of Minnesota) will deliver the keynote lecture (4:30pm in Olin 014), which is co-sponsored by the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as part of their 2018/2019 colloquium speaker series, Creative Ecologies. Bauch’s 2016 Enchanting the Desert was the first born-digital interactive monograph published by Stanford University Press in their new series of digital scholarship publications.

If you are interested in learning more about digital scholarship or starting a project, join us for the symposium and consider submitting an application for the 2019 DS Fellows Program. A call for proposals will be posted later this fall.

resized DS logo

We are grateful to Professor of Art and Director of the Ammerman Center, Andrea Wollensak, who designed the sleek new logo for digital scholarship.

Open Educational Resources: OER Explorers and Informational Libguide

The headlines are frightening: “Student Debt Nears One Trillion Dollars,” “College Costs Out of Control,” and “Betrayed by the Dream Factory.” These are not Hollywood blockbusters, but articles written in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and about the skyrocketing cost of a college education.

A steep increase in textbook prices is a major factor in actual costs to students.  A 2015 analysis of Bureau of Labor Consumer Price Index (CPI) data found that textbook prices rose by 1041% from 1977 to 2015. The fears of increasing debt are shared by college students across the U.S. Connecticut College student, Jacee Cox in an article in The College Voice described the “dark and frightening online search” that revealed that in 5 years college tuition will increase to $86,787 per year.

Here at Conn, faculty and staff are working to address the issue of textbook costs by creating programming and material about open educational resources. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or have been released with an open license. In June 2018, librarians at the College formed a group called “OER Explorers” in order to explore programs, funding sources, and support models for adopting Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College.  We also considered challenges and roadblocks for faculty and recommended a grant initiative and implementation plan. OER Explorers are advocates for open and accessible course materials at the College and work to share their knowledge of OER with colleagues across campus.

There is now a dedicated library staff member, Ariela McCaffrey, who will act as point person for faculty, offering consultations and workshops for faculty and staff, developing ways to promote OER, and getting support from stakeholders. A presentation entitled “OER and Your Course: Integrating open content into the curriculum” will be held in the Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library from 3-4pm on October 22, 2018.

Find more information on the Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College libguide.

Please contact me if you have questions about OER!

Ariela McCaffrey
Research Support and Outreach Librarian | 860-439-2103
Shain 226

Moodle (and More!) Drop-In

Return by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator

To help ease your return to the classroom, we are offering instructional technology drop-in hours. Stop by to get some last-minute class prep done with colleagues! Bring your questions on Moodle, WordPress, Computer Labs, Google Apps, or whatever else is on your mind. Bring your own computer or use one of ours in the Advanced Technology Lab and get last-minute class preparation done. See you there!

Moodle (and More!) Drop-In
Monday, August 27, 2018 | 9:00-11:00am
Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library

Definitely coming? Let us know!

It’s Spring Cleaning Time! A checklist for the end of the semester


As the semester wraps up, we’ve created a list of a few things that you’ll want to remember to do before you head off for the summer.

  • Back up your Moodle sites. As a reminder, Information Services keeps five years of course sites active and available to you. This means that as Academic Year 2018-19 becomes active, AY 2013-14 will go offline. Before July 1, make sure that you create a backup of any course sites that contain material that you might want to use in the future. You can create a backup of the entire Moodle site, to be used for a future Moodle course site, or you can download individual file resources.
  • Download and save your Moodle Gradebook(s). As a matter of best practice, IS suggests that you save the grades that you’ve entered into Moodle. A course’s Moodle gradebook can be downloaded in Excel format and saved for long-term recordkeeping.
  • Check out your Moodle courses for next year. Moodle for Academic Year 2018-19 is up and running. Minor changes to the system may happen over the summer, but all currently scheduled courses have been loaded. If you’re teaching a course that doesn’t appear on your course list in Moodle, first confirm that it’s on the course schedule and you are listed as the instructor. If not, contact the Office of the Registrar. If it is on the course schedule, but doesn’t appear for you in Moodle, submit a WebHelpDesk ticket.
  • Return your library books. Books and other library materials that were checked out this year have a due date of May 18. Return all your loans to either Shain or Greer by that date. Don’t forget any equipment you might have borrowed from Media Services or the Digital Scholarship and Curriculum Center.
  • Submit your list of course reserves. Please help library staff avoid the crunch at the end of August by submitting your list of Fall course reserves to your library liaison or directly to Bridget Pupillo, Reserve and Circulation Assistant.