Social Science Advisory Group – Notes from Meeting on Nov. 29, 2011

Attending:  Bert Johnson (co-convenor), David Stoll, Bob Prasch, Barbara Hofer, Shel Sax, Terry Simpkins, Brenda Ellis (co-convenor)

Moodle/course hub feedback

Currently there are about 110 active Moodle sites.

Faculty feedback: faculty felt the Moodle orientation sessions and especially the work sessions were great, but there simply wasn’t enough time before classes began to start using it for the fall.  (The delay had to do with our Moodle vendor not being able to implement it sooner).   David thought Moodle will be more useful for his larger classes when he has more students to manage. Bert is using the course hub with links to a public Google site.  He uses E-res for any copyrighted material but posts out of copyright works on his website which isn’t password protected.  Note:  Both the course hub and Moodle will allow faculty to upload an updated syllabus, should the need arise, and faculty can tell students the latest version is there to avoid confusion from different versions via email.

There will be more workshops in Dec. but some thought faculty will be too busy then.  Workshops will also be offered during J-term, so look for future announcements or see http://go/lisworkshops.  Also short Moodle video tutorials are available on http://go/lynda.

Summon (the new library quick search)
Your students are using it – do you know what it is? Do you like it?

Summon is the Library’s Google-like search box. It’s a single search for books, newspaper articles, journal articles and citations, and more. Summon will try to link directly to full-text if we have it. It searches MIDCAT, the Library’s Digital Collections, and over 90% of our journal articles.  For more details see the What’s Summon link next to the search box on the library homepage.  Brenda demo’d how to do a search and narrow it.  See the Summon 2 ½ minute tutorial if you weren’t at the meeting (the link to the tutorial is under the search box).  There are still some issues with some of the links, but usually if the article doesn’t come up directly, you can search the title again and find it at the source.

Summon also searches the 45,000+ new ebooks added to midcat.  You can search the ebook collection directly at http://go/ebooks. These can be downloaded to computers and iPads for 7 days but not to Kindles.  We only pay for the ebooks we use, so we can offer many more titles this way.

Faculty feedback:  David has found lots of useful information using Summon.  Some people didn’t realize you can still get to Midcat (and NExpress and Worldcat) by clicking on the Catalogs tab next to Summon.  Summon is great for doing a search across lots of content, and then narrowing with limits,  but there are still times it will be better to use a specific database for its special features or discipline focus.

Classrooms and Labs
Smart classrooms progress and feedback; update on Econ Stats Lab in the library

Currently there are 44 “non-smart” classrooms on campus, plus several other spaces used as classrooms during the Language Schools. LIS will convene a group this fall to prioritize upgrade requests, resulting in a budget request for conversion.  LIS will also be looking at existing older smart classrooms that need upgrades.  Stay tuned for ways faculty can give input on the priorities. UPDATE: “Bob Cluss is making these decisions, so faculty should probably contact him directly if they want to advocate for a specific classroom space.

Also the Library 140 classroom is being expanded and converted into an Economics Stats lab with 35 computers.  Economics has long had a need for a larger lab for their large statistics classes and for doing experiments.

Faculty feedback:  Bob suggested that we look at data on classroom use to help inform decisions.

Other LIS updates

Upcoming evaluation of Google Apps/Microsoft 365
Update and how best to get your input about alternative systems we might potentially use (gmail, calendaring, contacts, plus additional collaborative tools like Google Docs).

Shel spoke about why the college is considering such a move.  Storing data “in the cloud” at remote servers instead of on local servers has many benefits. It is both about potentially saving money through economies of scale but also about better redundancy and disaster recovery since Google and Microsoft have better capabilities for backing up data and providing access from multiple servers around the world should problems arise locally.  Service agreements and privacy issues will be evaluated closely.  Look for more information as this progresses.

Faculty feedback:

Faculty expressed concern we might be offered such services at a teaser rate but later be locked into continuing at higher rates, especially if these companies continues to dominate the market.  Also there was concern re: how our information will be used by commercial companies.  Will Google be benign or evil?  Bob reminded us that this is capitalism and the tiger is only acting in his nature to eat the lamb.

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