Information Resources

Blog

August 26, 2014

2013-14 was a big year for the advancement of digital technologies at Occidental College with the completion of the Johnson Hall renovation and opening of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs.

This remarkable building combines the best of the old and the new, with the preservation of historical exterior and interior details, and the invention of a bold new teaching and learning space, which integrates online and physical communication. On April 26, 2014, Occidental celebrated the formal Dedication of the McKinnon Center, along with the Varelas Innovation Lab, Choi Auditorium, and Irwin Field Media Classroom.

At the nerve center of these spaces are the Global Forum media wall and its web-based scholarly authoring platform, Global Crossroads. In preparation for the opening, staff and student workers from Scholarship Technology worked closely with faculty, administrators and staff of the McKinnon Center, International Programs Office,...

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August 26, 2014

This summer the subject specialists in the Academic Commons have been hard at work on a number of projects, and are excited for you to see the new version of the Research Guides.

Research Guides are organized by academic department and offer students a better way to understand which library databases may be relevant to their field of study, along with a number of other helpful tips and resources for reference, citation, and finding data and media resources.

The new guides have a sleeker design and greater control over customization, plus advanced statistics that help us understand user needs. We think you’ll be most interested in the new Database Finder and Subject pages. The new Database Finder includes multiple filtering options for finding the perfect databases for your research. You can limit by vendor, resource type, and subject, and will see a new tier of resources that the specialists have...

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August 26, 2014

Over the summer we upgraded Moodle to a new version and gave it a facelift.  

The result is a platform with a cleaner look, a responsive design that improves usability across all devices, including tablets and smartphones, and new features such as the ability to annotate assignments submitted as PDFs directly within Moodle.

New look and feel

The change you’re likely to notice first is the new design and layout. The new look brings Moodle into closer alignment with Oxy’s website. In terms of layout, course pages now feature three columns, instead of two. Now you will find your Navigation and Administration blocks in the left column, course content in the middle, and all other default blocks in the right column.

Old Moodle layout

Before -- Navigation and Administration...

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August 26, 2014

ITS made significant progress this summer on our plan to improve classroom AV equipment.

Classroom upgrades were completed in the following locations:

  • New media classroom installation in Keck 208,
  • New media cart installation in the Galarza Room,
  • Full system upgrades in Weingart 209, Weingart 210; Berkus 242 to be completed by 8/27,
  • System components upgraded in order to add High-Definition Media Interface (HDMI) connections in Fowler 110, 111, 112, 209, 302, and 309,
  • Mobile computer lectern added to Fowler 113,
  • ALL media classrooms fully tested and controls reconfigured where necessary both for consistency among the classrooms and to prepare for implementing a system that will assist with maintaining  media equipment in classrooms;...
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August 26, 2014

We are moving one step further into the world of all-digital classrooms and will soon greatly improve our ability to fix problems quickly, before they impact teaching plans.

This summer ITS applied for and received a grant from Extron Electronics, the manufacturer of the control systems in our media rooms. The systems allow us to upgrade the controls in all of our classrooms so that they will  alert ITS staff  when such trackable problems as a lamp failure occur. This will help our staff get to the room with the right information and tools to resolve problems quicker. Through the server we will also have a back-end view of the system status, adding the potential for remote support and troubleshooting for Oxy’s 70+ media rooms.

  • This system will not replace staff immediately going out to classrooms if we receive a phone call about a problem.
  • We will not be...
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August 26, 2014

Thanks to advances in technology, connecting through video is easier and better than ever!

Last spring we purchased a video conference cart for use in Johnson Hall and successfully handled a number of video conferences for classes and other events. As a result we now have a second mobile unit for use in other rooms on campus, as well as web-based software that can be used by faculty and staff to set up video meetings with anyone in the world who has access to the Internet through a computer or mobile phone.

The video conference system or cart can be set up on request by Media Services for classes or events. Please give at least a week's notice to be sure that the equipment is available, and allow time for setting up a test with the guest lecturer in advance of the class.

The...

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August 25, 2013

In keeping with the Academic Commons Task Force’s 2011 recommendations regarding Library collections, the Library has taken memberships in two organizations, the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and the OCLC Research Library Partnership (ORLP)  in order to augment access to materials, particularly specialized, research-level, historical and archival materials. Both organizations have a national membership base among large research libraries as well as some college libraries, and both speak to Occidental’s need to support ambitious programs of student and faculty research.

The Center for Research Libraries in Chicago (http://www.crl.edu/...

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August 25, 2013

ITS implemented an aggressive upgrade plan for the campus wireless network this summer. 224 new and more powerful wireless access points(APs) were installed in the following buildings:

  • Fowler Hall - previously had 7 APs, now has 24 APs
  • Hameetman Science Center - previously had 3 APs, now has 20 APs
  • Mosher 1,2,3 classrooms - previously had 2 APs, now has 7 APs
  • Johnson Hall - previously had 8 APs, now has 30
  • Rangeview Residence Hall and Classrooms - previously had 38 APs, now has 70 APs
  • Wylie - 14 APs replaced
  • Bell Young - 14 APs replaced
  • Erdman - 10 APs replaced
  • Norris - 24 APs replaced
  • Chilcott...
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August 25, 2013

In the winters of 2009, 2011, and 2013, Information Resources administered a national survey called MISO (Measuring Information Service Outcomes, http://www.misosurvey.org/). The survey, which has customizable versions for faculty, staff, and students, was developed for internal purposes at Bryn Mawr College over ten years ago; it is now used nationally and maintained by a team from several liberal arts colleges. The survey results help IR

  • better understand how the College community views library and technology services,
  • concentrate on improving the service areas most important to the campus, and
  • compare survey results to those of other schools in order to determine best practices.

The survey asks about frequency of use, importance of, and satisfaction...

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August 25, 2013

The Michael J. Connell Foundation granted Occidental's request for approximately $70,000 to establish a Digital Production Studio to support multimedia and computational work across the curriculum, especially in departments that do not have their own equipment and training programs. The grant will fund the purchase of video and audio production equipment, GPS devices, digital cameras, post-production software, and a suite of physical computing equipment. The production equipment will be available for checkout and use by students and groups on campus. At the same time, the CDLR will offer a series of workshops, studio sessions, and labs on topics such as digital storytelling, oral/video history methods, web design, and critical making. These offerings will provide training to students from any...

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