Happy New Year 2022!

2021 was another year of challenges and adjustments that the Touro community met head-on with resolve and perseverance. Facing the new year, we at Touro College Libraries look forward to helping promote information literacy and offering research support to our whole academic community. The Libraries would like to wish all Touro College and University System students, faculty, and staff a happy and healthy New Year!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

We look forward to seeing you on campus and online in 2022!

In the meantime we invite you to connect with the Library on social media for the latest updates and tips.

Freaking Out About Finals? Help and Tips Are Here!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It’s finals time at Touro. Here are a few tips for changing up your study routines, maximizing your ability to retain information, and using library resources you may not have known about, to ace those finals!

Interweave/mix up your subjects– Studying subjects in smaller chunks of time is more effective than marathon study sessions focusing on a single subject. Even if your deadline is fast-approaching and some “cramming” is necessary, take small breaks from one project to focus on another. Science suggests this forces the brain to recognize the similarities and differences among the things you’re trying to learn, giving you a deeper understanding of the material (Kornell & Bjork, 2008).

If it feels like you are losing progress by needing to review a little bit to get back into the swing of things where you previously left off, you’re actually not! It is precisely this forgetting and re-learning process that helps the mind better learn and retain the material.

Change up your study location- A similar principle applies to your physical surroundings. If you’ve been working a long time in one spot, try moving to a different location- a different room in your apartment, or a different table on the other side of the library. The change in surrounding can refresh your mind. In one classic experiment, “psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Later studies have confirmed the finding, for a variety of topics.” (Carey, 2010)

Use these research and writing tools from Touro Libraries-

  • See our For Students guide for help and guidance for all stages of the research process, including selecting a topic, finding materials, and using sources in your writing.
  • Check out our Creating Citations guide for detailed information on how to properly cite any type of source in APA, MLA and all major styles.
  • Use the RefWorks citation manager to conveniently manage the citations for all of your writing projects. RefWorks helps you save, track, and properly cite your sources. It will even help output your sources into a Works Cited page or bibliography. Easily sign up with your Touro email address and find comprehensive training from RefWorks on YouTube.

Ask for help- Use the Libraries’ Ask-a-Librarian chat service to instant message with a librarian for real time assistance.

References

Carey, Benedict. (2010, Sep 6). Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/

Kornell, N., & Bjork, R. A. (2008). Learning concepts and categories: Is spacing the “enemy of induction”? Psychological Science, 19(6), 585-592. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02127.x

-this post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational REsources & Instruction Librarian.

Textbook Heroes: David Nussbaum

Assistant Professor David Nussbaum

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries.

Who are you? Tell us more about you and the course you teach.

I’m David Nussbaum, an assistant professor at Touro in the Speech and Communications department.

I used an OER in Public Speaking for the first time this summer. Public speaking is both a content and performance-oriented course. The content includes areas such as outlining, presentation aids, use of language, persuasion. The performance element is of course the student speeches themselves.

Describe your previous textbooks and what your class was like.

The previous textbook for Public Speaking covered one area per chapter in some detail. It included numerous pictures and sidebars as well as checklists. Additionally, there were online instructor resources such as PowerPoint presentations and an extensive online instructor manual. Students related well to the book and materials.

Why did you want to switch to an open textbook?

The primary considerations were 1) the entire book being online and immediately available and 2) the course being self-contained on Canvas through either a link to the text or sections added to modules with nothing additional for students to buy with no sacrifice in quality. The book I am using has quality auxiliary materials such as PowerPoint presentations, question banks and participatory review quizzes – definitely a deciding factor.

How has your class changed since you switched to an open textbook? [Student performance? Motivation? Attitudes?]

The open textbook that I am using for Public Speaking allows for relevant sections to be posted in modules on Canvas. This ease of use makes it easier for students to begin their reading assignments. This particular book has “bite sized” sections that can be posted individually (about 15 minutes reading time each with about five per chapter) while effectively covering the material. This allows students to pace themselves comfortably. Students seem more motivated to do the reading and have received the book well.

Describe your students’ reactions to the open textbook – content and/or cost.

Students reactions to content and cost have been favorable. There is a wide variety and range of financial circumstances among students, so cost does not matter equally to all. Also, some students may have book vouchers and some are used to looking for affordable prices for used books online. That said, there is an overall appreciation for both the convenience and cost – or lack of cost!

What do you think of the quality of the new textbook?

The Public Speaking OER is of excellent quality. No corners cut. No compromises. A solid text that provides excellent springboards for class discussion and that gives students a solid grounding for their class speeches and beyond.

What would you say to other faculty members who are considering switching to OER?

Shop around, do your research and go for it!

International Open Access Week

During International Open Access Week, we like to highlight open initiatives and provide some information about Open Access generally. Simply put, Open Access, “is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the right to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” One of the foundational groups of the movement towards Open Access put out a public statement of principles, called the Budapest Open Access Initiative, in 2002. But for even longer than two decades, advocates have talked about and pushed for a fairer, more responsive and inclusive scholarly communications ecosystem. 

Open Access has always meant slightly different things to different people, and today that is even more the case. The dizzying array of publishing options available to researchers doesn’t help, and the jargon can quickly become confusing. But fundamentally, the principles of Open Access remain the same and there are easy, impactful steps our Touro community can take to help ensure more curious minds are impacted by their scholarship.

The Libraries most exciting and important open initiative is our Open Educational Resources (OER) project. You’ve likely read about OER in previous blog posts, but our OER guide is the place to learn even more. To date, this initiative has saved students nearly a quarter million dollars on course materials like textbooks! Our community’s creation and adoption of OER drives affordability and access, not only for our students but for anyone with an internet connection.

But back to research articles…. No matter where you publish, even if you publish in a closed access, subscription journal, you can deposit your paper in our institutional repository, Touro Scholar, to make sure your work can be widely read and shared. Where you publish oftentimes comes down to circumstances and decisions you cannot control. While investigating journal quality and the publication agreement you sign is incredibly important, another step to take control over the process is to deposit your paper. We make this easy for you with a simple to fill-out form available here: https://touroscholar.touro.edu/submit_research.html 

Happy Open Access Week!

-Contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian

Textbook Heroes: Sabra Brock

Dr. Sabra Brock

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries.

Hello, I am Dr. Sabra Brock. I am Chair of the NYSCAS Business and Accounting Department and also teach Principles of Marketing. I recommend to all my faculty to at least look to see what OER texts are available for their courses. Even if used as a supplementary text, students appreciate the free and easy access what OERs provide. 

Principles of Marketing is the beginning course in marketing and is required of all business and accounting students no matter whether their major is accounting, finance, management, or marketing. I had not taught this course for many years when I returned to NYSCAS and therefore did not have a previous text that was relevant. 

My students really appreciated the OER text, even though it is a bit older than I would have liked (2015). Marketing is such a dynamic field that even standard publisher texts have a difficult time keeping up with innovations in the field. Thus, I use many videos, guest lecturers, and blogs to supplement. 

Faculty Orientation to Library Services: A New Video Resource!

Fall Semester is here and, after all the holidays of September had us mostly away from our work and studies, things are starting to get into full swing at Touro. So, now is the perfect time to announce that we have a fantastic new resource to help introduce faculty to, or remind them of, all the services our Libraries offer.

Created by our Library Information Literacy Director, Sara Tabaei, and our Starrett City Library & Outreach Assistant, Brandon Harrington, the Faculty Orientation Video is brief and fast-paced, clocking in at 5 minutes and covering everything from our library locations to research support and Canvas integration.

Check out this list of topics covered and note that you can jump to any section of the video via the links:

1. Library Locations (0:24)

2. Library Website Login (0:35)

3. Library Resources (0:43)

4. Request Additional Materials (1:01)

5. Course Reserves (1:20)

6. Open Education Resources at Touro (1:36)

7. Touro Scholar & Faculty Publications (2:04)

8. Research & Instruction Support (2:30)

9. The Library on Canvas (4:11)

10. Embedded Library (4:55)

Kudos to Sara and Brandon for their great work on this video! Fellow librarians and library staff, please feel free to share it with, or recommend it to, the faculty members at your site.

Textbook Heroes: Fernando P. Bruno

image: Dr. Fernando P. Bruno [provided]

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries.

Fernando P. Bruno is an Associate Professor in the Anatomy department of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is also a Fellow in our Health Sciences and Allied Health Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Fellowship 2020-2021. 

[refresher: Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to all users. They reside in the public domain, or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.] 

The Touro College OER Faculty Fellowship, sponsored by Touro College Libraries and funded by a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region, supports faculty in the health sciences and allied health fields in developing Open Educational Resources for their undergraduate and graduate students. The fellowship was awarded to five Touro Faculty members to support adopting, or creating OER for use in their courses.

Below, Dr. Bruno answers a few questions about his OER Fellowship project.


What were your goals for the fellowship project? 

“My project aimed to establish a medical histology question bank (QBank) that could be easily paired with medical school and other health and biomedical programs, first at Touro College and later to other institutions. On the faculty side, this question bank will assist instructors in offering practice questions to their students. On the learner side, these are first-order questions that will allow the students to self-assess and consolidate their knowledge after studying the recommended weekly materials before coming to class. In our courses, they will be made available on Canvas and can also be made available on other academic interface platforms.”   

Why were you interested in OER in the first place?  

“Mastering histology is critical to understanding human microanatomy and pathology, which is essential for thriving in healthcare and biomedical programs. However, there is a scarcity of quality question banks that can be offered to students. When available, some of these QBanks are highly costly, compelling students to search for lower-cost alternatives that are frequently unreliable. For a long time, I had considered creating a set of questions that could be offered to medical students. When I heard about the OER fellowship, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to put the idea into practice while also having the support of our experienced librarians. 

What is the positive impact you hope to make on your students? 

“Before this fellowship, I was not very familiar with open educational resources. Having served as a fellow, I perceive OERs as a fundamental tool and a positive force towards educational equity. OER materials encourage collaboration and can make higher education more affordable, which is particularly valuable during uncertain times.   

Education is the key that opened the doors in my trajectory and permitted my career in medicine and science. Coming from a family of teachers, my parents instilled an appreciation for education at a young age. Education broadened my horizons in my lifetime in academia, and I am honored to be a physician and educator who can pass this value forward, and this fellowship reinforced that. I will continue to advocate for OERs, as I resume my plans to create educational and research materials for the public domain that can be accessed, edited, and shared for free.” 

Library Staff Profile: Helen Hill

Helen Hill, Library Assistant, Kings Highway, Graduate School of Education.

Where were you born? 

I was born in Napa, California.  I lived there for the first 18 years of my life.  

Where else have you lived? 

I lived in Carrboro, North Carolina for four years while attending UNC Chapel Hill. I also lived in Seville, Spain for about 3 months.  

What languages do you speak? 

My primary language is English. I can speak Spanish with difficulty, but can read and write in it fairly well.  

What fields have you studied and/or degrees have you earned? 

I studied English and Comparative Literature in undergrad, focusing largely on Russian literature, poetry (I wrote my thesis on John Donne), and film studies.  

What is your ideal vacation?   

My ideal vacation would be traveling around various countries in Latin America.  

Any hobbies?   

I love learning new types of dance! Most recently I learned Contra, but I have a background in Ballet, Ballroom, and various types of Latin dance. I also rock climb, play guitar, read a lot, and write poetry and short stories.  

Favorite food?  

I love Indian food.  

Tell us one thing about yourself that most of us probably don’t know. 

I grew up in the wilderness of Napa Valley, without any wifi and often without any running water. (And I loved it!)  

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 

“Maurycy Gottlieb – Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur” by Trodel is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This year, 2021, Rosh Hoshana fell on September 7th and 8th and Yom Kippur on the evening of September 15th into 16th

Rosh Hashanah marks the birthday of the world at creation. Traditionally symbolic foods are eaten such as apples and honey as a gesture to ensure a “sweat new year” and other symbolic foods

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. When the ancient temples stood in Jerusalem, the priests were purified from sins between human beings and G-d, and in the course of history all Jews view this holy day as a time of atonement.  

The readings in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur include: the binding of Isaac and the book of Jonah. 

The binding of Isaac raises the question of Providence (hashgaha pratit) and free will (behira) in the verse, “now I know that you fear G-d”. The liturgy for the days of awe however notes that Jews can change their “fate” via repentance, charity, and prayer. 

The people of Ninevah in the lifetime of the prophet Jonah do repent, which is keeping within the theme of Yom Kippur.  

Touro College Libraries has resources on the Jewish holidays, including readings chanted in synagogues, in library guides parasha shavua and Hagim. Maps and ancient Near Eastern archeological findings for example Ninevah’s excavation. Artists may enjoy from the Jewish arts the aesthetic depiction by Micrography, the Ship of Jonah (1897) and artistic representations of the Akedat Yitchak.  

Resource Links: 

Jonah PowerPoint (for maftir day of Yom Kippur) 

Binding of Isaac PowerPoint (for 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah) 

Yom Kippur and Hannukah video 

Binding of Isaac video  

Parashat ha-shavua (the weekly torah reading) and Hagim (festivals) 

post contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Lander College for Women Library

Rosh Hashanah: Happy New Year!

"Gierymski Feast of trumpets I" by Aleksander Gierymski - cyfrowe.mnw.art.pl. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“Feast of Trumpets” by Aleksander Gierymski, 1884 – Hasidic Jews performing tashlikh on Rosh Hashanah (CC0 image via Wikimedia Commons)

[This post was written in 2014 and has been updated for publication 9/3/21]

Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching–it’s almost time for apples and honey! This sweet treat is one of many customs that symbolize the wish for a sweet new year.

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the autumnal Jewish holidays known as the High Holy Days.  It is a two-day holiday due to the nature of the Jewish calendar, which follows the lunar cycle and is dependent on observation of the new moon. Difficulty determining when the moon actually appeared meant that the Jews of ancient Israel observed both possible days after the end of the previous month. Religious Jews continue this practice today.

The Hebrew term “Rosh Hashanah” translates as “the head of the year” or “the first of the year.” Historically, it is believed that this time period is the anniversary of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman. Rosh Hashanah is a time of both joy and solemnity, as Jews all over the world celebrate the beginning of a new year and stand in judgment for the previous one. No work is permitted during the holiday; the majority of the day is spent in synagogue reciting special prayers.

A shofar (CC BY-SA 2.5 image by Olve Utne)
A shofar (CC BY-SA 2.5 image by Olve Utne)

The most essential and iconic tradition of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar. A shofar is a trumpet made from an animal horn, traditionally a ram’s. Its call sounds like a plaintive cry, meant to awaken the Jewish people to repentance and remind them that G-d is their king.

photo by Igal Ness via unsplash

Symbolic foods are consumed throughout the holiday, representing good things we hope for in the coming year. I have already mentioned apples and honey, sometimes eaten with round loaves of challah bread, symbolizing fullness and completion are used.  A pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, the same as the full number of commandments, and according to tradition, it is eaten to symbolize the hope that our “merits increase as the seeds of the pomegranate.” Other symbolic foods include the head of a fish or lamb, dates, and gourds.

One last tradition is saying the prayer of Tashlich on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. This involves turning out our pockets at a body of water, preferably one with fish in it. This is symbolic of casting off our sins and mistakes for the fish to carry away.

Rosh Hashanah / New Year greeting card: A Pansy with a face bears the Hebrew inscription for a happy New Year.
Rosh Hashanah / New Year greeting card: A Pansy with a face bears the Hebrew inscription for a happy New Year. [Center for Jewish History, NYC]

To find out more, the library has many resources, including A companion to the Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur machzor, by A.L. Rubinstein and The High Holy Days: a commentary on the prayerbook of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, by Herman Kieval).

As the traditional greeting goes, “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem.” May we be inscribed and sealed for a good year!

Rosh Hashanah begins this year at sundown, September 6th, and ends sundown, September 8th

Contributed by: Toby Krausz, Judaica Librarian, Midtown