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Blog Applications in the Classroom and Beyond 231 st ACS National Meeting Atlanta / 26 March 2006 Randy Reichardt Research Services Librarian (Engineering)

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Presentation on theme: "Blog Applications in the Classroom and Beyond 231 st ACS National Meeting Atlanta / 26 March 2006 Randy Reichardt Research Services Librarian (Engineering)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Blog Applications in the Classroom and Beyond 231 st ACS National Meeting Atlanta / 26 March 2006 Randy Reichardt Research Services Librarian (Engineering) Science & Technology Library / University of Alberta, Edmonton Research Services Librarian National Institute for Nanotechnology, Edmonton OR

2 Outline of Presentation  the basics – social software, blogging  blogging: demographics, why do it?  blog application in chemical engineering design class group projects  RSS feeds and “Blog This” – examples from Compendex and Knovel dbs  a scitech library blog, a scitech librarianship blog..

3 Definitions  Social Software: “... refers to various, loosely connected types of applications that allow individuals to communicate with one another, and to track discussions across the Web as they happen” (Tepper 2003) Blogs: “... are simply Web pages with reverse chronologically arranged individual posts.” (Pikas 2005)

4 Blogging Numbers – Data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project  145 million people (72%) of American adults use the Internet  Of the 145 million adult Internet users: million (9%) have created a blog (09/2005 survey) million (27%) read blogs (09/2005 survey) 5% use newsreaders (RSS) to get news and other info from blogs and content-rich sites (11/2004 survey) 62% do not know what a blog is (11/2004 survey)

5 Blogging Demographics – Data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project  From the November 2004 survey data:  57% are male  48% under 30 years of age  70% have broadband at home  82% online for six or more years  42% live in households with >$50,000 earnings  39% have college or graduate degrees  Data extracted from:

6 Why Blog? – Many Reasons  share your ideas, opinions, news, photos, links, data  manage your information consolidate files, documents, links, in one place  In the science/engineering classroom: manage teams and/or group projects  collaboration, communication of tasks, opportunity for feedback  In the library: disseminate news, information, library services internally: manage teams, projects

7 Using Blogs for Project Mgmt: The University of Alberta Chemical Engineering Design Class Experience  question: how might groups of four students working on a full-term design project manage the flow of information between team members?  team members communicate by: multiple s, some with attachments phone calls and/or text messaging (solo or group) paper trails coordinating and attending group meetings individual and group IM yelling at each other across the computer lab

8 Chem Eng 464: Teamwork is Critical!

9 Blogging in a Team Environment (1)  Communication between team members becomes linear, chronological  All entries are archived for future reference  Team members have access to their blog from any connected machine; reduces or eliminates need for multiple s, phone calls, etc  Ability to upload critical documents and links to one location accessible by all; this includes revisions!  Allows for “copy and paste” to project reports

10 Blogging in a Team Environment (2)  a team member posts – other team members can comment, lead to new posts, further discussion, new ideas, progress!  teams may choose to add additional contributors: chem eng librarian, chem eng professor, industry contact (off campus engineer), others  non-team members can contribute to the blog, monitor progress of the project  blogs help to “level the playing field” among team members extroverts, introverts, lurkers, all are encouraged to contribute

11 In-House Dilemma – U of Alberta Does Not Support Blogging as a Teaching Tool!

12 Case study: U Alberta Chem Eng 464 Design Class Group Project  Design project title: “Remote Site Water Treatment”  Problem: surface waters in excavation sites at Alberta oilfields are contaminated; costs to dispose are high contaminants include heavy metals salts, residual hydrocarbons, and H 2 S  Objective: “design a skid-mounted unit that will reduce the contaminated water at~5m³/day by evaporation using only remote-accessible renewable resources.”  To manage the project: incorporate a blog into the workflow Anatomy of a blog used to manage this project:

13 Chem Eng Librarian Design Group Members Instructor & Off-campus contact Design Project Details Subject- Related Links Uploaded Documents Title of Design Project Posts Feedback

14 Documents from Instructor Links to Previous Posts Archives This entry reviews team members’ assignments and responsibilities

15 Example of use of the blog to share information other than in text format. Team members sketch potential design for project, upload and share immediately with team members. No need to save file and send to team members as attachment. Feedback rec’d, leads to further discussion, etc.

16 Students Will Be Innovative! This group chose to embed a chat function within their blog – eliminating further s, phone calls, etc

17 Blogging and Dbs  Few database platforms offer embedded blogging or RSS functionality  Summer 2005: Engineering Village 2 introduces RSS feeds and “Blog This” options Engineering Village 2 includes: Compendex (engineering), Inspec (computer, electrical, physics), NTIS (US Gov)  Fall 2005, Knovel adds RSS feeds for new titles  Examples from the Compendex (aka Engineering Index) and Knovel dbs:

18 Enter search terms: “chemical looping combustion”

19 Results page: 59 records retrieved Choose first record

20 Option to “Blog This” is available for each record

21 EV2 generates the HTML required to add the title info to your blog

22 Open blog mgmt software, cut and paste code into new entry

23 Blog posting appears as a link from the article title to the full citation in the database on the EV2 platform – in this example: Compendex

24 Citation, abstract, and EV Controlled Terms appear when the link is clicked in an IP-authenticated environment.

25 RSS Feeds  RSS = Real Simple Syndication/Rich Site Summaries  In Engineering Village 2 databases, RSS feeds can be created on the fly, as you create and modify your search  Each time your search is modified or changed, the RSS feed changes with it

26 Search: (nanostructured materials OR nanocomposites) AND (polymer blends)

27 Search results listed. RSS feed generated for search question How “search question” appears in db

28 RSS feed to cut and paste into RSS reader such as Bloglines

29 Examples of RSS feeds for EV2 searches, running in Bloglines Nano and polymer blends search from previous slide Feed titles can be edited to shorter descriptions

30 How the entries appear when viewed in Bloglines. Note that only the title of each article is listed!

31 From Bloglines, clicked citations appear in “Detailed” format: Abstract or Detailed Record will open only in an IP-authenticated environment.

32 Knovel Library – offers RSS feeds for new title updates Choose subject area of interest

33 RSS feed will alert newsreader when new chem/chem eng titles are added

34 Knovel RSS feeds in Bloglines

35 Blogs Beyond the Classroom  examples of other blog use include: in the library in the library profession

36 Info Desk Team Blog Tips sheets: Info previously saved in paper files, on shared drives, etc. Typical post: Info desk staff advised of upcoming major assignment in undergrad chemistry class.

37 My work-related blog, STLQ: The SciTech Library Question Began in April 2003 – I posted responses to a query about scitech/eng libraries offering off-site info service.

38 STLQ features entries from four other librarians, who contribute occasional opinion and news-related items of interest. Why do it? - helps keep me current - make new contacts - opportunities to collaborate - initiate discussion - express opinions - share information and news -discover new resources - develop writing skills - develop editing skills -it can be FUN!

39 Special Thanks  Members of the Chem Eng 464 Remote Site Water Treatment design group, Edmonton AB  Bryan Keane and Knovel Corporation, Norwich NY  Amanda Etches-Johnson, Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, Hamilton ON  Gali Halevi, Elsevier Engineering Information, New York NY  Christina Pikas, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD  and to Erja for inviting me!

40 Thank you! Randy Reichardt Science & Technology Library University of Alberta Edmonton AB T6G 2J

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