Author Archives: kjp27

Robin Ladouceur Moving to Yale Graduate School Deanship

I am equal parts excited and sad to announce that ITG’s Robin Ladouceur will be moving to a new position in the Yale Graduate School as Assistant Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. Robin has worked in ITG for four years supporting courses, primarily in the English Department and managing our Instructional Innovation Internship program. She has recently helped advance mobile learning initiatives like our iPad loan program. Before coming to ITS, Robin worked at the Yale Center for Language Study and earned her Ph.D. at Yale in Russian Language and Literature.

Robin, thank you for your years of service and we wish you all the best on your return engagement at HGS. On a personal level we will miss you but we’ll see you around campus and, as you’ve assured us, when Peeps Fest rolls around.

Historian’s Eye

Screenshot of Historian's Eye websiteBeginning in 2009 as an effort to capture the historic moment of President Obama’s inauguration in photographs and interviews, Professor Matt Jacobson’s Historian’s Eye project has evolved into a website presenting a collection of 1000+ photographs and an audio archive addressing Obama’s first term in office, the 2008 economic collapse, two wars, the raucous politics of healthcare reform, the emergence of a new right-wing formation in opposition to Obama, the politics of immigration, Wall Street reform, the BP oil spill, and the seeming escalation of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide. In addition to catching these moments like fireflies in a mason jar, the project seeks to encourage a new relationship to history itself—a mental habit of apprehending the past in the present and history-in-the-making.

Professor Jacobson has introduced the Historian’s Eye website as a primary source in his Formation of American Culture challenging his students to similarly pursue this kind of relationship with history. The Instructional Technology group worked with Professor Jacobson to produce the website and explore how it is used in his teaching.


iTable Comes to the Service of George Washington

Stace Maples from the Yale Map Department touches the iTable to play an animation.Barnet Schecter will kick off the George Washington map exhibit in the Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall on Wednesday with a talk titled “America Transformed: From George Washington’s American Atlas to the 21st Century”. The title refers to Schecter’s research, but is appropriate considering what you’ll find when you walk in the room. Immediately next to maps drawn by Washington himself is a 42-inch touch display that visitors can use to explore animations providing geographic context for some of the maps in Washington’s atlas.

Staff from ITS and the Map Department watch an animation on the iTable.

Dubbed the iTable, we originally put the multi-touch display together as an experimental lecturing device for professors who heavily use Google Earth in the classroom. It is now used for exploratory learning in informal learning environments. The Library’s Map Department came up with the idea to use the iTable to introduce an element of interactivity to their exhibit and worked with us to configure it for their needs. Swing by the SML Lecture Hall and check it out.


Trimming mp3 files

We recently heard from a faculty member who needed to trim an existing mp3 file. The faculty member is using a Mac so our initial reaction was to suggest GarageBand. A little testing revealed that it’s a less than intuitive process to use GarageBand for this purpose. Instead, Yianni and Pam tried out Audacity (a free download for both the Mac and PC) and MP3Trimmer (shareware for the Mac – $10.95 for a license). Below I recorded a couple of screencasts while trying it out for myself.

Here is a QuickTime video showing how to do this using Audacity:

Using Audacity to trim an mp3 file

Here is a QuickTime video showing how to do this using MP3Trimmer:

Using MP3Trimmer to trim an mp3 file

NERCOMP Library as Web 2.0 Portal

Libraries as Web 2.0 Portals to Learning by folks from College of New Jersey and the State University of New Jersey.

Creating library subject guides incorporating Web 2.0 resources. They showed an example of Florida St. Early Childhood Ed creating their subject guide as a wiki. Using RSS feeds for new books. Using a account for links. Showed George Mason example where they’re using WordPress with a featured title and search boxes.

They made an interesting point that, at their institutions, subject librarians haven’t done a lot with subject guides online because they had to jump through hoops to update the webpages. This makes me wonder if the Yale subject librarians are doing this and if it’s easy. We could easily investigate making a WordPress site for each subject that they could have access to.

NERCOMP Tablet session

Assessing Student Learning Outcomes with Tablet PCs by folks from Vassar.

Used HP field-ready tablets with USB GPS devices as a mobile mapping lab. I was glad to hear that they were fairly low specced at 512mb of RAM, but were still ArchGIS just fine.

For one example they had an historic aerial photo of the path of a stream. Students then walked the current path of the stream, geo-referencing with the GPS enabled tablet as they went. This mapped the current path which they could then compare to the historic photo to see how the stream’s path had changed. The tablet allowed them to add ArchGIS data and make notes on aerial views of the stream as they were there.

Also used by an Ecology class. Prof gave the students a field guide that they put on the tablets. Used software called Photogrid. Students took photos of 1m x 1m plots. The software randomly scatter-plots points on the photo. Students identify what is pointed out on the tablet.

Initially they weren’t doing assessment, but found that it needed to be there to get articles on the project published and to obtain continuation funds. They modified a Penn St. survey with permission. The survey at the start of the class focused on confidence and skills questions regarding technology and maps. Also asked some qualitative questions on role of technology in the discipline area and anticipated support needs. The post-test was similar adding a couple of end-of-semester satisfaction questions.

More on their blog at

TWTT – Social Bookmarking

Emily Horning gave an introduction to social bookmarking. Demonstrating, she pointed out misspellings and tag inconsistency. She showed and demonstrated PennTags, but didn’t explain what distinguishes it from other social bookmarking sites.

Jen Pollock from the Yale Center for British Art then showed a project she’s working on while auditing Tim Barringer’s History of Art class HSAR305 – London: Capital of the 19th Century. The students jump to through a link in Classes*v2. The students in the class all login using the same account to add their bookmarks and the tagging structure is evolving. Ms. Pollock prefers showing the tags as a tag cloud because of the way it visually represents popular tags.

Prof. Barringer expressed how interesting the process has been approaching the technology as a novice. He likened his students to a Star Trek Borg collective fanning out across the Internet finding resources. His hunch is that the students’ time spent studying the online artwork (accessible through the bookmarks) has resulted in students spending more time with the actual physical collections here at Yale. Barringer theorized that the  familiarity students gain with exposure to works of art online motivates them more to the real thing. Pollock reiterated that saying that she’s found that it whets students’ appetite to get into the study rooms at the YCBA.

Barringer went on to suggest that the focused pooling of resources in has extended the canon of 19th Century art for his students to encompass more works by British artists. He quipped that if Gardner’s “Art Through the Ages” were your only source, you’d think the only art to come out of the 19th Century was French. The abundant links to sources focusing on 19th Century British art that has been contributed by students has helped to redress that bias.

Classes*V2 Blogger tool

I’m playing around with it and my first impression is that it feels clinical. That’s more of a feeling about Sakai in general, though. In terms of functionality it has some interesting features.

It has a keywords field where you can add multiple tags by separating them with commas. Unfortunately, these keywords aren’t saved anywhere for folks to easily apply a shared set of keywords to posts. So you don’t get that nice consistency of categories you see with other blog software.

One nice thing is that there is an Access option which can be set to Private or Site. It’s a little annoying that it’s set to Private by default, but I can see why. There’s also a place where Read Only is checked. I wonder if this isn’t checked, can anyone edit your post? Also you have to check a box to Allow Comments. It’s nice that it’s configurable, but it would be nicer if the default was that it was checked so you didn’t have to do it every time.

I added a pic in the Images tab. When I did this, before clicking the Images tab, I had text in the wysiwyg editor. After uploading the image, my text was wiped out. The image showed up in a Current Structure field underneath the editor. I tried dragging it up into the text editor to add it to the post. This added a standard broken image link icon rather than the pic.

The wysiwyg editor is odd in that there is an add to document button and a save button. It’s not obvious if you need to add first before saving or what. You find if you try to save before adding that you do. The weird thing is that when you add to document, it puts it down at the bottom as new element. So the body of a post is the collection of elements at the bottom and not entirely what you see in the wysiwyg editor. This isn’t very intuitive.

The kicker though, is that when I saved my post, it didn’t show up. I’m stumped for now.