WOW! What a conference

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Lots of experts attended the conference, including Steven Bell (left) from Temple University. I have to confess that I had not seen him at first when I took this photo ūüôā

Since starting¬†Open¬†Touro, Touro¬†College’s Open Education Resources¬†(OER) initiative, we have become increasingly involved with OER. You can read more about what we have one so far here.

This past week, we attended OpenEd, an annual conference on Open Education which was held at the US Niagara Falls. Over 350 presentations, posters, roundtables, lightning talks, and panels were given. The presentation themes included accessibility, assessment, pedagogy, economics, sustainability, social justice, and the future of OER. The more than 850 people who attended consisted of faculty members, deans, provosts, librarians, school teachers, and even students, which just illustrates how big and important this movement has become. We have returned with notebooks full of ideas, thoughts and practical next steps. Continue reading

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Find Free Scholarly Research with Open Access Repositories

Since this week is the official Open Access Week, (October 22-28), we like to draw your attention to the plethora of Open Access (OA) scholarly material that is available online via different repositories, some of which we have mentioned in this article and you can find through Touro Libraries.

OA refers to material that is published online, for free, without most copyright and licensing restrictions. Much of it is published under a Creative Commons license. It is important to note that OA material is published with the full consent of the copyright holder, not pirated in any way. Scholarly journal publishing has never been a money-making endeavor for the writers so they are not giving up any kind of financial benefits by publishing OA.     Continue reading

To The Books! (A Nostalgia Story)

Dictionaries
Dictionaries in the Midtown library.

When I was a child, the city had numerous filling stations.  Because of their ubiquity, the many companies were constantly in competition. In order to draw in customers, these establishments relied heavily on promotional offers.  Thanks to Sunoco, we had a full set of drinking glasses emblazoned with vintage cars.  Tonight, I will sip from the tumbler depicting a 1915 Studebaker.

Sunoco tumbler depicting a 1915 Studebaker car.
Sunoco tumbler depicting a 1915 Studebaker car.

Nowadays, the only gas station prize you might find is a fuel pump located in Manhattan.

In those bygone years, supermarkets also offered incentives to induce customer loyalty.  You could obtain an entire set of English bone china at Bohack’s  by making a purchase in the store. Get your dinner plate on week one, your salad bowl on week six, and don’t forget week 14, or you will miss the gravy boat.

The greatest prize of all, however, was a set of encyclopedias, offered at a nominal price. With a volume sold every week, the encyclopedia assured the store 26 return visits, one for each letter of the alphabet. It was presumed that frugal education-minded customers would return repeatedly in an effort to complete their sets.  Apparently, my parents were such customers. Continue reading

Columbus Day: Its Role and Significance in American History

Christopher columbus

For many of us, Columbus Day is remembered as a day in which we commemorate the discovery of the Americas by the Italian Renaissance explorer, Christopher Columbus.  The holiday falls on the second Monday of October, and it is a time in which many of us, except for government officials and bank employees, do not have the holiday off from our workday (unless we intentionally take the day off), though we manage to also commemorate the holiday by often watching the many parades that are prevalent on this day, or throwing a party.  For many Italian Americans, however, it is a quite special time for them to display their pride by dressing up, playing music, and of course, making lots of wonderful food. Continue reading

Introducing Open Textbooks this fall at Touro: students save almost $15,000.00

Is this textbook required? Can I use an older edition? Does the library have this book? These are common questions raised by students at the beginning of every semester. The reason why they are so common is very simple: textbooks are expensive. In the last 20 years, their price increased over 200%, while college tuition increased 191%, both way above the overall inflation (+57.4%, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Bashe Simon, director of Touro Libraries, initiated a project to raise awareness of open textbooks. Open textbooks are resources that are available at no cost under aCreative Commons license. This allows them to be downloaded, stored, distributed, revised, and remixed to suit the instructor’s need. They are free and have been used in numerous higher education institutions with great success (see, for example, this project by Tidewater Community College). Continue reading