Open Education Week 2021 Roundup

The first week of March saw the global open education community commence its annual awareness campaign, Open Education Week. The event drew institutions and organizations from around the world to share Open Educational Resources (OER) on their own websites, on social media [see #OEweek], and via the Open Education Week organizers, Open Education Consortium.

[Refresher: Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. –OERCommons.]

The Open Education Consortium made many of these open resources, shared by the community, available in one centralized location, their repository, the OE Week Library. This is a great place to browse all manner of open resources for learning and teaching, from course modules to textbooks and everything in between. And, of course, it is all openly licensed, and therefore freely available to be used, shared and reused!

Here are just a few of the OER shared with the community during this year’s Open Education Week:

  • Creative Commons has a very interesting history. If you’re looking to learn more about Creative Commons (CC) and the open licensing movement that makes open education possible, this CC Certificate Course content is a great place to start. Read the textbook offered here for all the background and history that made open education possible. https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/




For more discussion of equity and Open Educational Resources see our previous blog post here.

And for an introduction to OER including a plethora of definitions, tips and resources, see our Open Touro OER Initiative libguide.

contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries, Midtown.

How to Find a Missing Article

When you’re hot on the trail of an article and suddenly the link is broken or the piece mysteriously vanishes, what can you do? Don’t panic! Here are a few things you can try:

Go directly to the database

If you are searching for an article in the QuickSearch bar on the Libraries website, and clicking on the link takes you to an error page, try going directly to that database and performing a search there. You can also take your search terms to other databases related to the subject you are researching, as the article might be available in a different place.

Check for open access options

Like the many Touro faculty who share an open access version of their publications in Touro Scholar, the authors of the paper you are looking for might also have shared their paper in an institutional repository. You might be able to locate an open access version of the article via a search in Google Scholar or by going directly to the institutional repository of the institution with which the authors are affiliated.

Contact a librarian

You don’t have to search alone! If you are having a challenging time finding the article you are looking for, reach out to your campus librarian for assistance. We can help you explore other places where your article might be hiding or help you find another option that suits your research needs.

Email the author

The author of the article you are looking for might be able to send you a copy of it via email. Many researchers are happy to share their work with students and colleagues, but remember that not everyone is able to do so, especially at this time; be patient if you try to get the article this way, and consider other options, especially if you need the article soon.

Request it through Interlibrary Loan

Because many libraries have closed their physical locations during the pandemic, interlibrary loan is limited at this time. Consider this your last choice option if you are not able to track down the article using any of the other approaches listed here and be prepared to seek other options if your request cannot be fulfilled.

Library Resources for Alumni

This post is from a series based on responses to the 2020 Library User Satisfaction Survey. If you have feedback throughout the year, please share your thoughts on the Libraries’ website here: www.tourolib.org/contact/suggestions

Your connections to Touro don’t end when you graduate —and neither does your access to library resources.

an open book
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

Touro alumni can use the library’s materials while in the library, although these materials cannot be checked out, and alumni also have access to any of the electronic resources the library provides access to while in the library.

And if you cannot make it into the library right now, you have continuing remote access to several databases, whether you graduated just two years ago or ten.

Some highlights include:

You can find all of the databases that allow alumni access here: https://touro-alumni.libguides.com/az.php

Finally, you might also find yourself in the archives. The Touro College Institutional Archives was created in 2007 to preserve the history of Touro College. There are many galleries and newsletters, newspapers, and yearbooks available online for you to peruse for photos of your classmates and favorite professors, and maybe even yourself!

Open Education Week 2021

This post was originally published on March 2, 2020 and has been updated.

Happy Open Education Week! At Touro College Libraries, we are celebrating all things open education this week (and the rest of the year too). Follow this blog and our social media accounts (@tourolibraries) for more.

What would you do if you had an extra $175 to spend?

One Touro student saved that much in one semester when her professors used OER, or open educational resources, instead of traditional textbooks. OER, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, “are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” These materials can include test banks, lesson plans, and assignment templates, but most commonly, the term OER is associated with textbooks.

In the definition of OER, free means both free of costs and free when it comes to the application of copyrights. OER are licensed under Creative Commons, or are simply in the public domain, which means they can be distributed, adapted, copied, edited —basically you name it — without legal repercussions.

And, as that student who saved $175 put it, “Open textbooks are helping me drastically cut costs associated with pursuing my undergraduate degree and I am now able to apply these funds towards other things including tuition payments. It makes my life easier since typically at the end of each semester I am left with these books that I will likely never use again that just take up space as they sometimes can’t be resold.”

Image source: Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Despite such positive student experiences, myths about OER abound:

Myth #1: Open simply means free. Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, and share materials to better serve all students.

Myth #2: All OER are digital. Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more.

Myth #3: “You get what you pay for.” Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks.

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use.

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable. Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER.

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries. Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support.

Myth #7: My institution is not ready for OER. Fact: Any institution can start with small steps toward OER that make an impact for students.

(Source: “OER Mythbusting” from SPARC)

Image source: Annett Zobel from Pixabay

Faculty across Touro are already adopting and adapting OER textbooks for their courses.

For example, the psychology department faculty at NYSCAS have adopted OER for their GPSN 110 course, and because of this, over 290 students across more than 12 sections have benefited from free, open textbooks.

Since the Open Touro initiative was established in Fall 2018, the use of OER has saved Touro students over $100,000 collegewide.

You can help increase that number by adopting, adapting, or even authoring your own OER — and librarians are here to help!

If you are interested in reviewing open textbooks available in your field, contact Sara Tabaei (sara.tabaei@touro.edu).

Learn more about the Open Touro OER Initiative here: http://libguides.tourolib.org/OER

The Celebration of Purim

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

Hamentashen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)
Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)

The observation of Purim begins the evening of February 25th

Purim is a holiday that represents a tangible victory over an enemy. Many things are done to commemorate this victory. The Book of Esther is read, people go around in costume to show their happiness, a festive meal is eaten, and charity is given to help those who otherwise couldn’t celebrate this occasion. People give out packages of food to friends (usually in the form of a dessert) to celebrate camaraderie.

For more on the history and celebration of this holiday, see “Who is that masked man?” Happy Purim!

Contributed by: Edward Shabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

Celebrating Faculty Publications in a New Way

Like so many events in 2020, this year the Faculty Publications event is virtual. Touro College Libraries created an asynchronous event webpage on our institutional repository, Touro Scholar, which features video messages from President Kadish and senior leadership. The webpage also includes the 2019 Faculty Publications Book, and a place for visitors to leave comments about their scholarship or scholarly works in general. Go to https://touroscholar.touro.edu/celebration

This annual event is hosted by the Touro College Libraries and is usually a warm, in-person reception to honor Touro College & University System faculty and staff whose creative and scholarly works are published. The event is an opportunity to enjoy the Faculty Publications Book, which is a bibliography of the previous calendar year’s publications, as well as a time to share research interests and projects. We look forward to resuming this event in-person in 2021, and encourage the TCUS community to utilize the Libraries’ staff and resources in their pedagogy and scholarship.

This post was contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian

ProQuest Research Companion

ProQuest Research Companion supports information literacy, writing, and research skills instruction, providing a companion to instruction sessions and allowing librarians and instructors to focus on teaching more complex research and writing principles.

A screenshot from ProQuest Research Companion

Developed by writing instructors and librarians, ProQuest Research Companion is comprised of ten learning modules and five interactive tools—all designed to automate the key elements of the research process.

Once you sign in with your TouroOne credentials, you’ll find videos, tools, and recommended resources to help you “Find Information,” “Evaluate Information,” and “Use Information.” The modules start by sharing how you can begin your research project and select a topic and progress through the steps to reflecting on your project and how you can improve.

Whether you are an experienced researcher or just starting your academic journey, ProQuest Research Companion can be a helpful tool.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

This post was originally published on February 8, 2016 and has been updated

Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco (photo by Daniel Dionne)

Our enthusiasm for opportunities to start fresh has frequently made its way onto the blog, from the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), to the civil New Year, to the start of a new semester.

This week marks another calendrical reset: the Lunar New Year. Commonly known as the Chinese New Year for its largest group of celebrants, it’s the start of a calendar determined in part by the phases of the moon, rather than the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. Because of this, the civil date of the holiday varies from late January to mid-February.

According to former Touro Library Cataloger, Liping Wang, observations of the holiday often include cleaning the home, families gathering for a home-cooked meal on New Year’s Eve, fireworks, and “luck money” given from the older generations to the younger in red envelopes. In New York, you can normally participate in parades and other celebrations held in Chinatown, in Manhattan, and in Flushing, Queens. NYC public schools recognize the Lunar New Year as an official holiday, meaning no school for students. Alas, Touro classes are all still in session, but we wish you all a happy Lunar New Year!

What do students have to say about OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are “teaching, learning, and research resources that 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 NYSCAS Business & Accounting department has long been a champion of OER (we highlighted Professor Angelo DeCandia as a Textbook Hero on this blog in July). At the end of the fall 2020 semester, the chair of the department, Dr. Sabra Brock’s students shared their feedback on their OER textbooks with us — and they had a lot to say.

After reading what students have to say, are you interested in using OER in your courses? Contact the Libraries to learn more about how you can save your students money, keep them enrolled, and help them succeed!

You’re invited…to our spring webinars!

The Touro College Libraries are excited to share the schedule of webinars our staff are offering this spring. From Pubmed to peer review, these sessions will offer Touro faculty and graduate students the opportunity to learn new tools and expand their skills. We hope you can join us!

Please click on the title of a webinar for more information and to register via Zoom. Note: times listed are in EST.

Advanced Pubmed: Taking Your Search to the Next Level (NYMC)
Friday, January 29, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessing & Navigating Library Resources Remotely (TC)
Thursday, February 18, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Depositing Your Work in Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, March 4, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Conducting a Systematic Review (NYMC)
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Creating a Research Web Presence: Tools for Research Profiles and Websites (TC)
Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Peer Review and Open Peer Review (TC)
Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Unpaywall your published article via Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Introduction to Grant Searching for Biomedical, Life Sciences and Public Health Research (NYMC)
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm

These webinars will be recorded and shared on our Recorded Webinars LibGuide, where you can also find past webinars. If you have any questions about these webinars or topics to recommend, please email sara.tabaei@touro.edu.