What’s new in instructional support for fall 2020?

Welcome to the fall 2020 semester! Although this semester might look different than other semesters in the past, the support that the Touro College Libraries can provide hasn’t wavered. We are excited to assist students and faculty with their learning, teaching, and research, and we invite you to contact a librarian to learn more about any of the resources listed below.

a sketch of a square figure drawing a lightbulb on an easel
Image by Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Do you have readings you’d like to make available to your students online?

Sharing in Canvas: If you are sharing a journal article or book chapter from outside of the Touro College Libraries databases with your class this semester, you may need to get copyright clearance to include the material in your Canvas course. This applies to electronic and scanned materials. The Libraries are available to assist you with determining whether you need to secure copyright clearance, and, if you do, with requesting permission to share. Please contact Marina Zilberman for more information.

eBooks and Databases: If you’re looking for easily accessible and low-cost materials for your classes, our eBook collections and electronic databases are a great resource. In Canvas, you can link directly to most books and articles.

Open Educational Resources: You can use many free resources in your class, including high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks with instructor materials. Tell us which commercial textbook you would like to replace, and we will show you what’s available for your discipline. Contact georgia.westbrook@touro.edu for more about OER.

Do you want to use documentaries and educational films to support your instruction?

Streaming videos: For increased convenience and access by students outside of class, the Libraries offer a growing collection of online streaming videos, including Education in Video, Films on Demand, Kanopy and more. Most titles are also discoverable by searching in the library catalog by “Location: TC E-Videos.”

Are you teaching an online course?

Ask a Librarian: Students have ready access to assistance with research and library resources via chat, email or phone with our Ask A Librarian service.

Embedded librarians: This program matches you with a dedicated librarian to provide customized library instruction for your students. Learn more by contacting Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director.

Remote orientations: All of our library instruction classes can be held via Zoom video conferences, accessible by students from home, or can be shared as a recorded video for students to watch outside of class time.

Do your students have trouble finding the kinds of information you want them to use in their papers and projects?

Instruction: We offer both general library orientations and specialized research classes, customized to prepare students for the particular assignments in your course. Contact your campus library for information or to schedule a session.

LibGuides: These research guides are organized by subject to bring together the best resources for each topic. Additional guides are available on research skills and library services and we are happy to create one for your course upon request.

Do your students have trouble with writing and/or citing sources correctly?

Citing Sources guide: This guide includes presentations, videos, and quizzes to help you discuss academic integrity with your students. Additionally, you’ll find tools to assist with creating citations and detailed information on a variety of citation styles.

RefWorks: Refworks is a citation and research manager available to students and faculty with their @touro.edu email address. Import, organize and cite your research with this online tool. Training is available upon request.

College Writing guide: Our College Writing guide compiles the most helpful resources for composition, revision, and editing in academic writing.


We’re here to help with all of these resources and beyond! Contact the Touro College Libraries to learn more.

Welcome to a new semester!

Welcome to a new semester at Touro! The Touro College Libraries are thrilled to share this exciting time with you and have put together a short video to celebrate this new beginning. Whether you are new to Touro or a returning student, we hope you enjoy it!

The Touro College librarians are always here to help. Contact your campus librarians or start with some of our most popular resources:

Good luck!

The Meaning of Music

Homeschooling can be an important way for parents to further childrens ethical education, well-being, and spiritual development. There is an opportunity to make the content fun and beneficial to the child’s intellectual and moral growth, and to set them up for a life of learning in the Jewish arts. There is a long tradition of this connection: In ancient Israel, the Temple was the site of music-making by the Levites serving in the Mamadot.

woman standing
Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

Music education can start in the womb, as children who hear Mozart’s music have been shown to be born with a greater ability to focus and stronger analytical skills. Toddlers should respond positively to singing songs and lullabies, and multilingualism can be cultivated by singing together; for excellent examples of songs to sing together, see Mama Lisa’s lullabies from around the world. Singing can help children develop creativity, cognitive skills, and listening skills. Playing along with instruments or movement-based activities can help the child develop coordination, gross and fine motor skills, and an appreciation of the relationship between numbers and music later. Simple lyrics can help develop vocabulary, linguistic, and cognitive skills. Music is a universal language. Beyond supporting childhood development, good music can foster inner peace. Some classical music envelops the soul in a way that soothe and can be part of a resilient mindset. 

Toddlers can master the musical skills of recognizing high and low pitches, notes moving up down (the word sela in Psalms means an ascending scale on a stringed instrument), and cadence and tone patterns. The child can learn to recognize the spiritual power of the beautiful and sublime through the pitch, tone, cadences, and learning by ear (i.e., the Suzuki method).

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Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

With the many repositories of songs available online (for example, the YIVO Sound Archive), parents can spice things up with songs in many languages. Yiddish songs like אויפן פריפעטשיק‎, transliterated Oyfn, offer not only wonderful music, but substantive content, and Jewish values can be imparted with Uncle Moshe’s songs.

Here are some examples of Hebrew songs:

To end on a personal note, one day, without prompting, my daughter sat down at the xylophone and played “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” while singing in perfect melody in Hebrew. She had learned and applied the concepts on her own or observed them when we often sing and play our simple songs together. It was powerful.

This article was contributed by David B. Levy, Chief Librarian at the Lander College for Women

Unlocking Links with LibKey

Do you need a journal article faster than you can say “database”?

You’re in luck! The TC Libraries are excited to share LibKey, which allows easy access to PDF downloads when using the QuickSearch function on the TC Libraries homepage.

As part of the Libraries’ BrowZine subscription, LibKey’s quick access means you can skip the work of navigating to the database and checking for access to an article there or seeking out an open access version. There is nothing you need to do to turn LibKey on; it is automatically enabled.

screenshot of quick search results showing

And, if you’re on the move, LibKey Nomad is an extension which allows you to find full-text articles in the Touro Libraries databases via citations across the web, from PubMed to Wikipedia. Once you have installed the extension in your browser, the LibKey icon will appear by links on other websites, allowing you to see if there is an available article.

screenshot showing the libkey nomad icon by

For help with your research at any stage, from finding articles to crafting citations, contact the Touro College Libraries or check out our Research Guides.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

 

Introducing “UAsk…WeAnswer!”

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The elbow bump: a social distancing-approved “howdy.” Image by J slick / CC BY-SA

Do you engage in the time-honored tradition of staying awake throughout the night to prepare for exams or produce written assignment? Perhaps you need the quiet of the small hours, or the focus that only a fast-approaching deadline can provide. Would you rather start your work when all the people around you are fluffing their pillows and ducking under their blankies? Only you (and possibly your family, friends, and significant other) know if you are a night-owl. There is no shame in your game! But what do you do when the world is on a 9-5 schedule and you are not?

Don’t worry — the Touro Libraries have got you! We offer remote reference through “U Ask…We Answer!” an instant messaging service powered by Springshare Library Software and your helpful Touro Libraries librarians. We are online 12/24 (9 to 9 EST, or thereabouts) 5 days per week, waiting to Chat with you. You can reach us from the QuickSearch results page, by clicking on the “Chat Live” tab located at the upper right corner:

#2QuickSearch Chat Live

Or by clicking the Ask-A-Librarian image in the upper right corner of the Libraries homepage:

#3AskALibrarian from homepage

When we are online, the Chat portion of the page will contain several blank text fields. We request your name, Touro email address, campus location and question. This information will be transferred to the librarian waiting online, at the ready to assist.

#4Chat online

But what happens when we are not online, and you still have a question? You have some options. You can always email us your question, and we will email you with a written response. To do this, click on the email icon:

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A form will magically appear where you can input your question and email address.

#6 Ask-A-Librarian Form

You will receive your answer within 24-48 hours.

Yikes! That’s a long time, especially when time is of the essence. But as I said, we’ve got you! If you didn’t reach us on Chat because you didn’t think of your question until after midnight, there is a second option.

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“The Thinker” by Rodin, photographed by Andrew Horne.

You can search the FAQs (frequently asked questions) contained in the UAsk… WeAnswer! knowledge base.

When we are offline, put a keyword in the blank text box and search. Questions previously asked using that keyword will be returned, and you can review any or all answers.

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#9Keyword search

You also have the option of searching the knowledge base at any time, even when we are on Chat, by clicking on the question mark icon.

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This search will give you access to all the previously asked question and answer sets (asked by actual Touro students, faculty, alumni and staff), but arranged by popularity and currency.

#11 Frontpage

You can search by keyword, topic, or, if you are in the mood, browse through all question and answer sets. As more questions are asked, additional FAQs will be added to the knowledge base. Hopefully, this will increase the likelihood that your question will be included. While you might not find the answer to “How do I get the PDF of an article I need right now?” the FAQs will explain why it wasn’t in the databases and further action for you to take to obtain it. At 2 a.m., it’s sure better than nothing.

This post was contributed by Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

Moving Forward During COVID-19

Many of my friends think that, since I work as an emergency manager, I have more information available to me than the average person, or that I don’t have the same fears as they do during emergency situations. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Like you, I have to deal with the fear of moving back to normal during the COVID-19 crisis, and I rely on information from the same health authorities that you do. My job is in Manhattan, and while I may be able to continue working from home initially, at some point, I will have to venture onto the subway and be around crowds of people. While I’m not looking forward to it, I do believe it is best that we try to get back to a more normal way of living. We cannot hide out in our homes forever and there are precautions we can take while getting back to normal.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

First, acknowledge that normal has changed. Some people have ventured into visiting friends and attending parties and group gatherings like nothing ever happened. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic. The “normal” we knew is gone for now. We have to accept that we need to curtail some of our activities and behaviors in order to avoid getting sick or getting others sick. It’s tempting to want to get back to weddings, parties, and other social gatherings, but the reality is that the more people you are around, the higher your risk of contracting COVID-19. Stay away from large gatherings.

a sign that reads "Caution: Maintain social distancing, at least 6 ft distance from others
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Next, follow the guidelines of health authorities and wear your mask. Acknowledge that no one is trying to curtail your right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Wearing a mask when you are around others is crucial to keeping the number of people who get sick down. Think of it this way: when the ban on cigarette smoking in public was introduced, most people were all for it. The ideas of the greater good and of not making others sick became rallying cries to end smoking in public places. Most people embraced it wholeheartedly, never once thinking about the rights of smokers or how difficult this would be on them. Wearing a mask goes along the same lines. Since you can be asymptomatic and still pass COVID-19 to others, you need to wear a mask. Your children need to wear a mask, and so do your friends. Instead of thinking about wearing a mask as a way to curtail your liberties, think of it as a sign of how much you care for your fellow humans.

By the way, make sure to teach your children that masks are not toys to be traded like Lego blocks. Kids may not understand the importance of masks and could very easily be persuaded to trade their Spiderman mask for their friend’s Batman one, for example. Swapping masks like this could put their health in danger, so make sure your kids understand why they are wearing a mask and how important it is to keep their mask to themselves.

a stack of fabric face masks
Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

If you feel uncomfortable in an environment, say so. Just because your boss wants you to come back to work, doesn’t mean you have to do so if you are not comfortable with the safety precautions at your workplace. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions about cleaning schedules and disinfection. If you share an office or space with someone, make sure your employer has social distancing measures in place, and if they are not, speak to human resources. If you see too many people on an elevator, you can say something or wait for the next one.

If you feel more comfortable wearing a face shield and mask in your work environment, then by all means, do so — if people laugh or make fun of you, ignore them. I recently bought face shields to wear when I travel on the subway. While my husband thought it was overkill, using a face shield on the subway will make me more comfortable with the idea of traveling to and from Manhattan. People can laugh or look at me strangely if they want to, but I will feel better and more protected, so I will proudly wear it.

a person wearing a mask and a face shield looking out over a balcony
Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels

Flu season is coming up, and we have no idea how the twin concerns of the coronavirus and influenza will affect this winter. All we can do is take the best precautions we can and be prepared for the worst. Check out the links below to get further information on how to prepare for going back to work and school. Our health authorities are doing their best to protect us, and we can help them — and ourselves — by following their advice.

For more information on returning to work: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/returning-to-work.html

For specific questions about the virus, see the CDC’s FAQ section: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

This post was contributed by Shoshana Yehudah, Director of Emergency Preparedness, Touro College

A Different Sleep

I have the same experience over and over again at night. I awake, but I cannot move. I can see the room and I know I should be able to get up out of my bed, but I am completely paralyzed. And, without missing a beat, something is in the room with me and it is coming towards me. It is never anything pleasant like a unicorn or rainbows with pots of gold. No – it is almost always a horror-invoking being like a giant spider or a menacing creature intent on doing me harm.

I close my eyes and tell myself that this is sleep paralysis and what I am seeing is not real. And I tell myself that my body’s inability to move will soon pass. I repeat this almost like a mantra until I can actually move and my hallucinations evaporate into the room.

a bed in a dark room with a
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

I am part of the less than 8% of the population which experiences sleep paralysis. Luckily, I understand what is happening to my body and brain and I don’t fear it. Many people throughout history and cultures have been terrorized by the experience and have created superstitious beliefs to explain such a frightening phenomenon. When I was a child, I used to think ghosts and aliens were coming into my room and causing these incidents. It wasn’t until I was older and diagnosed with sleep paralysis that I understood there was a biological basis for my experience.

Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder caused by areas of the brainstem not operating properly upon waking. During REM (dream state sleep), the brain paralyzes the body so that you do not physically act out dreams. Dreaming of running through a field may be liberating, but actually getting up and running in your bedroom while dreaming is a recipe for injury. Upon awaking, the brainstem will allow the muscles to move again and the person will become conscious. For people with sleep paralysis, the brainstem does not realize we are awake, so our bodies continue to be paralyzed and dream in a half-awake/half-asleep state.

Sleep paralysis is only one of many sleep disorders that people suffer from. Some of the more common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Sleep Apnea: disrupted breathing while sleeping which causes frequent awakenings that the person does not remember
  • Narcolepsy: excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness that causes the patient to fall asleep in the middle of an activity
  • Sleepwalking: walking or engaging in physical activity while asleep

Naturally, with so many people experiencing sleep disorders, many scientists and doctors study the area of sleep medicine. This subspecialty of medicine grew reapidly in the 20th century as scientists learned more about the sleep/wake cycle and the brain functions that control the process. The late 20th century saw the introduction of sleep labs and observation clinics to help diagnose and treat these sleep disturbances.

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Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

If you would like to learn more about sleep disorders and sleep medicine, the Touro College Libraries have the following resources available for you to explore:

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore

References

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). (2020). Retrieved from https://aasm.org/

Felson, S. (2018). Sleep paralysis. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-paralysis

Lanese, N. (2019). Sleep paralysis: Causes, symptoms & treatment. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/50876-sleep-paralysis.html

Sleep disorders. (2020). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/sleepdisorders.html

What’s new with RefWorks? August 2020

On August 11, Ex Libris/ProQuest provided a quarterly update about RefWorks, a citation manager to which the Touro College Libraries subscribe and one which we recommend for organizing research at all levels. There were some key changes and additions that will make navigating RefWorks easier — but your librarians are always available to help you, too.

A new “Top Frequently Asked Questions” page has been added to the Customer Knowledge Center (a site with information about and support for common RefWorks issues):

screenshot of refworks

If you have worked with RefWorks recently, you may have noticed that the APA 7th edition has been added, but that there are several styles to choose from. ProQuest has added information to the Customer Knowledge Center about the different versions of APA 7th.

screenshot from the exlibris knowledge center about

If those options do not suit your needs or the needs of your students, you can create (or request the creation of) an institutional version of the APA 7th edition citation style and mark it as a favorite. RefWorks administrators can also create citation styles for specific departments or classes.

The final key update from the presentation is particularly good news for everyone working from home: the RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) add-on is now available for Word Online (i.e., the version available when working in Box) and can be installed from the Microsoft store.

screenshot of reference citation manager in

Within RCM, users can now toggle the bibliography on and off, so that a file will load faster when you are working online — you just need to make sure to leave it “on” when you are finished and ready to submit!

For more information on RefWorks, please see our guide to ProQuest RefWorks or schedule an appointment with a librarian.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian

The Art of Silence — and the Delightful Absence of It

Finding that silent time in which the world falls away and one can focus completely on work is the perfect moment of zen.

One would think working from home would allow for such moments to occur a lot and naturally. I suppose if you live alone, it might be possible. However, because I am sharing a space with a fiancé, four cats, and a future father-in-law, I am only able to reach such calm with the help of headphones white noise. Between the conference calls, the zoomies (the cats running around the house at top speed from room to room), and sharing an office, my moments of zen and silence are few and far between.

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Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

For most of the morning, I am monitoring the virtual library chat, keeping a keen ear out for the beep to let me know I have a message, while working on various other tasks. The headphones block out noise and keep me focused. They allow me to tune out the daily meetings my fiancé has and narrow my attention to my tasks at hand.

After chat, the headphones bring in music, which as a librarian is a rare treat. We are so used to working in silence, or with a low mummer of noise, that music is a rarity for us during work hours. I tend to find that music heightens my ability to immerse myself in my work. The world around me falls away and I can concentrate on my tasks.

However I miss it: I miss the murmurs, the questions, the interruptions (never truly an interruption, of course, for these queries are so much more important than what I was working on), and most of all, the people. Our students, professors, and staff who visit us in the library for help, and who always have a friendly smile on their faces, knowing we will do our best to help them.

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Image by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

But we aren’t there yet — we cannot assist you face-to-face at our desk among the books. But the library is still “open” online, and we librarians still have a smile and are ready to help you. Please, “interrupt” our day and make it a wonderful one. We love to help!

Check out our Student Guide to Remote Library Resources: https://www.tourolib.org/student-remote-guide

This post was contributed by Heather Hilton, Librarian, Bay Shore

 

Textbook Heroes: Riratou Lamarre

Welcome to our new 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 emailing georgia.westbrook@touro.edu.

portrait of professor
Professor Riratou Lamarre (provided)

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

I am Professor Lamarre. I’ve been teaching the general survey of psychology course, along with several other psychology courses, for more than 10 years.

Describe your previous textbooks and what your class was like.

Due to the cost of commercial psychology textbooks, the majority of students did not purchase them, and those who could afford them did not want to “schlep” heavy books around. Even when they carried them, they could not read during their subway ride to school because of crowded trains.

Why did you want to switch to an open textbook?

Although we had tried other innovative programs to promote student learning and engagement, they had not worked with our student population — again, because of their cost.

Research indicates that approximately two-thirds of students have not purchased or rented a required textbook at some point in their educational careers due to high costs. This is true even though 94% of these students reported believing that not purchasing the text would impact their grade in these courses.

Our department adopted the OpenStax Psychology textbook, because of the cost savings for students, flexibility, and increased access to course material.

How has your class changed since you switch to an open textbook?

With the adoption of the OpenStax book, students’ course performance has improved.

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

“Free? That’s wonderful! We can read on our phones? That’s even better!”

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

I think it needs to be to updated and enhanced. [Editor’s note: Professor Lamarre and her colleague Dr. Bronstein were awarded a Faculty Innovation Grant from CETL to make those updates during the 2019-2020 academic year!]

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

I strongly suggest that they give it a try. A pilot study by the Touro College Libraries found that students enrolled in OER courses performed better than those enrolled in the same courses using a commercial textbook (Magro & Tabaei, 2020).

Responses may be condensed and edited for clarity.