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Quick Tips

The Learning Commons and Course Assignments


March 2012

The redesigned spaces that comprise Geisel Library's new Learning Commons were created with the needs of today's students in mind, recognizing the trend toward group-oriented, technology-based assignments. This Quick Tip highlights several ways in which you could incorporate the new facilities and technology when designing new assignments.

Most broadly, the Learning Commons has created a number of new group workspaces, designed to help groups of 2-4 students collaborate either at a computer workstation or at a more traditional table/chair environment. Students have complained about a lack of suitable spaces for working together with minimal distractions. We hope that the Learning Commons will provide the facilities needed to support any group projects that you assign.

On the technology front, here are several ways in which the Learning Commons could support cutting-edge assignments: 

  1. Media:Scape Tables: Seating up to four, these two tables enable students to plug in their laptops and project their screens onto wall monitors. These will facilitate any assignments where students need to actively collaborate to create a PowerPoint presentation or produce graphs and tables in Excel.

  2. Multimedia Stations: These two PCs are equipped with oversized monitors and the Adobe Creative Suite software package. This could help students complete assignments in which they create webpages (Dreamweaver), or create and edit photos (Photoshop) and illustrations (Fireworks) for presentations.

  3. Scanners: The two new flatbed scanners would enable students to capture artwork, maps, photos, or illustrations from library materials. These could either be integrated into papers/presentations or used as inspiration for essays.

  4. Color Printer: As the first color printer available to students on campus, this will enable students to include full-color illustrations, photos, and graphs in papers or handouts. We all know that color is essential for interpreting line graphs and pie charts, and now students can print meaningful color diagrams like these.

Naturally, faculty are also welcome to use these facilities to create their own handouts or multimedia presentations. And with the IT Help Desk now located in the center of the Learning Commons, there is technical support available for both you and your students as you use these new technologies.

Although most of the planned furniture and technology is now in place, we hope the Learning Commons will continue to evolve with the research needs of our students and faculty. If you have ideas for additional capabilities that you'd like to see in the Commons, or questions about the information above, please contact John Dillon (x7349) or Ask a Librarian (x7306). And if you haven't already visited, please come see the Learning Commons in action!


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Access Full Text Dissertations via ProQuest


February 2012

Dissertations can be notoriously difficult to obtain. In many cases, the only library that owns a physical copy is the one associated with the institution where the dissertation was completed. And those libraries are understandably reluctant to mail out their students' dissertations via Interlibrary Loan. But as you know, dissertations can often be an excellent source if their topical focus aligns with your own research inquiry.

Enter ProQuest, which has been collecting physical and electronic copies of dissertations for years, both directly and through their UMI Dissertation Publishing subsidiary. ProQuest has made available a large selection of its most frequently-requested dissertations in full-text, via its ProQuest Central database. As of this email, over 56,000 dissertations are now available as full-text PDFs in ProQuest Central, and the collection spans across all disciplines.

To find dissertations in ProQuest Central:

  1. Go to the Advanced Search screen
  2. Enter search terms related to your topic of interest
  3. Scroll down to Search Options and checkmark "Dissertations and Theses" in the Source Type limiter box
  4. Run your search
  5. Nearly every result will have a "Full Text - PDF" link below its citation information. Click this link to view the dissertation.

If you're looking for a particular dissertation and don't find it in ProQuest, try searching its title in Google with quotation marks before the first word and after the last word of the title. More and more colleges and universities are making their recent students' dissertations freely available in online "institutional repositories", and Google will often find them.

If you have questions about this tip, please contact Gwen Verkuilen (X7348).


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Search GeiselCat for the Latest Fiction


January 2012

Want to read the latest acclaimed fiction but don't want to spend the money or don't want to wait through all the holds at your local public library? Then follow the steps below to see if Geisel Library has the book(s) you want to read.

     1.) Access GeiselCat
     2.) Click "Advanced Search"
     3.) Select "Subject" from the drop-down menu
     4.) Enter in "fiction"
     5.) Click search

This will limit the search to all books that have fiction in their subject heading(s). Try it out; you may be surprised by what we have!

If you have any questions please contact Gwen Verkuilen (X7348).


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