Appy Hour: iTunes U

App: iTunes U  iTunes U icon
By: Apple Inc.
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

iTunes U, by Apple Inc, is a very comprehensive app that allows users to access free education content from universities around the world. It is currently only available to iOS devices.

There is a private courses option for schools that participate. The Catholic University of America is not a participant. However, public content is voluminous.

When I opened the app, I chose to browse the catalog and was taken to a screen with a lot of content. Across the top you can choose categories from various academic disciplines. Standout courses are the first section, though it’s not clear what makes them standout. Some of them are clearly promoted, for example there are three “i” related courses. The next section down offers Learning Resources. These simply take me to prepared lists in the App Store. The next section is New & Notable. Again, not sure what makes some notable, but there is content added last month.

Basically, the best way to get to real courses is to search your discipline at the top of the app, or browse the discipline lists. When you find a course you like, click “Get it” and it will be added to your library.

I downloaded the BB450 and BB451, Biochemistry for Pre-Medical Students, from Oregon State University, from August 2012 and February 2013. The content is incredible. The syllabus, and the weekly lectures on video, and audio are provided. Course exams are also included. There is a link to the text book chapter for that week, however you are asked to pay to view it. I was really surprised by how substantial and comprehensive the course content included. It would make a great supplement, especially the exams, to the biochemistry for pre-med course here.

Overall, there is a lot of great content in this app, it just takes a little practice to locate the content you would like after wading through promotional material.

Appy Hour: TED

App: TED  TED logo
By: TED Conferences
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

TED, by TED Conferences, allows users to view lectures from TED conferences held around the world.

When I have 15-20 minutes to kill and nothing better to do, I like check out a TED talk lecture. I am certainly not picky as I find most of them, if not fascinating, then slightly interesting. So I open up the TED application and click the “Surprise Me” option. I’m offered a few choices, “Ingenious” and “Jaw-Dropping” are my favorites. Next I choose how much time I have to watch, some talks are as little as 3 minutes. Finally I’m asked to watch now or watch later. The latter option downloads the talk for later viewing.

TED also features playlists by notable speakers and celebrities. Do you like the television show Lost? Watch 6 talks that help Carlton Cuse to create. Fan of magic? David Blaine has 7 suggestions for you. There are also playlists curated by TED around various topics.

Of course you can star your favorite talks and watch them again later.

Overall, the TED app is a great application that delivers the content it promises.

Appy Hour: BrowZine

App: BrowZine™  BrowZine
By: Third Iron, LLC
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

BrowZine™, by Third Iron, LLC, allows users to easily access free and licensed content from scholarly journals available from CUA Libraries.

BrowZine™ promises to deliver your academic journals to your tablet in a way that’s “fun, practical, and intuitive.” And it kind of lives up to those claims.

Before I could use the app, I had to sync my device with my BrowZine™ account. BrowZine™ sent a confirmation email. Once I clicked on the link, I was ready to go. When I open the app, the menus are at the top and the dashboard is along the bottom. I went into settings to make sure I was logged in. You need to use My Library Account login to authenticate. What’s nice about this app is that once you add your login information in the settings, you won’t have to authenticate again later.

I decided to build up a bookshelf for myself. I started browsing subjects and could not locate any on Library & Information Science. But that’s no problem because there is a subject search box and I was able to locate library journals by searching. If you know the title of the journal you’d like to peruse you can use the title search function.

You can put journals on custom bookshelves by clicking on “Add to my Bookshelf” and arrange titles where you want them. It’s a little clunky. My bookshelf disappeared a few times after I closed the app and then went back in. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t. The best feature of the bookshelf is that when new content is added to a journal title on one of your bookshelves, you receive a push notification. That’s a very easy way to keep up with your favorite journals.

The saved articles feature allows you to read articles you save later, even when you’re offline. If you are online it offers the option to browse the journal title from the saved article.

Overall, I’d say this app is not exactly fun, but it is practical and fairly intuitive. I can go up to 4 stars on this one.

Appy Hour: lynda.com

App: lynda.com  lynda.com logo
By: lynda.com
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

The lynda.com app, by lynda.com, allows users to access their lynda.com content from mobile devices.

While lynda.com offers a wide variety of education videos, my experience with lynda.com has been learning about desktop softwares and applications. What makes this application great is that I can watch the videos on the iPad, or other mobile device, while simultaneously working with the software on my desktop.

When you open the application, you see “recommendations for you” on top half of the dashboard and a combination of new and recently viewed courses on the bottom half. The triple line icon in the upper left intuits options. When you click, you are asked to log in. Once logged in, your courses, assignments, playlists and history are there on a left side menu. In addition, you are offered courses by subject, a settings option, and a contact option. Meanwhile, you can still see the dashboard on the right.

The true value of the lynda.com experience is the content. This application offers a very accessible and uncomplicated space to view their content. I usually disregard the star rating on reviews if there are less than 100 reviews. This app has 22 reviews in the App Store averaging 4 ½ stars. Considering the lynda.com app experience, I agree with the high rating.

Appy Hour: Blackboard Mobile Learn

Welcome to Appy Hour, a series in which we review apps related to learning, reading, or that may be of special interest to the CUA community.

App: Blackboard Mobile Learn™  Blackboard, Inc. logo
By: Blackboard Inc.
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

Blackboard Mobile Learn allows users to access their Blackboard content from mobile devices.

With a 1 ½ star iTunes rating, I went into this app with some skepticism. My initial reaction is that it is sleek looking and intuitive with the menu bar on the right and the dashboard down the middle. After I clicked on a course, the course content links appeared down the middle.

At this point I decided to look at my course reserves. When I clicked, a Safari browser opened in the app and I was essentially using Blackboard in a web browser, but within the app. So, I decided to try the discussion board–same thing.

As far as I can tell, this app has a sleek beginning for looking at your Blackboard content, but really, you just see it in a web browser after all. I also feel that Blackboard’s interface is best utilized on a PC or laptop. I’m afraid I agree with the low rating for this application.

Tech Fair 2014 – October 23, 10 am – 2 pm

Tech Fair 2014 - Mullen Library - Thursday, October 23 - 10 am - 2pm

On Thursday, October 23 from 10 am to 2 pm, the University Libraries will host a Tech Fair. The entire CUA community is welcome to attend!

SCHEDULE

10:00 am – 2:00 pm – Vendor Fair (Reading Room, 2nd Floor)
Featuring: lynda.com, Blackboard, Piktochart, BrowZine, The Sunlight Foundation, Tanya Gupta (Examiner.com), ArcGIS, QOMO, Extron, Epson, Panasonic, RTZ, Computerware, Audio Associates, and CUA Technology Services.

Breakout Sessions
10:00 am – 10:50 am – Sunlight Foundation (MERIC Classroom, 1st Floor)
10:30 am – 11:20 am – Blackboard (FYE Room, 2nd Floor)
11:00 am – 11:50 am – ArcGIS (MERIC Classroom, 1st Floor)
11:30 am – 11:40 am – Password Reset Tool – CUA Technology Services (FYE Room, 2nd Floor)
11:45 am – 12:00 pm – Adobe Connect – CUA Technology Services (FYE Room, 2nd Floor)
12:00 pm – 12:50 pm – lynda.com (MERIC Classroom, 1st Floor)
12:05 pm – 12:20 pm – Panopto – CUA Technology Services (FYE Room, 2nd Floor)
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm – 3D Printing Demo (Digital Arts Lab, 2nd Floor)
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm – Google Docs Add-ons (MERIC Classroom, 1st Floor)
1:15 pm – 1:45 pm – 3D Printing Demo (Digital Arts Lab, 2nd Floor)

Giveaways and door prizes, including a free year of Piktochart Pro!

The purpose of the CUA Tech Fair is to provide members of the CUA community a chance to engage with cutting edge, interactive technology and showcase the university’s academic tools. Technology and software vendors will be on site to demonstrate their products and breakout sessions will be hosted by professionals. The goal of this University Libraries hosted event is to entertain and inform the greater CUA community about new electronic resources.

Get the Most from Web of Science (WoS) + EndNote, February 27

CUA Libraries is providing 2 in‐depth training sessions for researchers; no registration required.

Date: Thursday, February 27
Time:  10:00 AM (WoS) and 11:30 AM (EndNote)
Location:  Scullen Room, Pangborn Hall, First Floor Continue reading “Get the Most from Web of Science (WoS) + EndNote, February 27″

Digital Art Lab Open House, Friday, March 22, 1 to 4 p.m.

The Department of Art presents the first of a semester-long series of Friday afternoon Open Houses, this week featuring a lecture by Daniel Yum, research specialist, lab coordinator, and Apple Genius. Yum will discuss how to use Mac computers, including how they function and how they differ from the Windows operating systems, among other topics. A Q-and A session follows this lecture.

Location: Salve Regina Digital Art Lab, Mullen Library, Room 218.

For more information, contact Kathy Pasternak [pasternak@cua.edu or kathryn.pasternak@gmail.com] or call the art department, 202-319-5282.

Research Guides on Copyright

Confused by copyright?  You are not alone.  Two newly created research guides will be help you find the answers to your questions.  Copyright and Beyond (Basic Edition) is written with the undergraduate in mind and Copyright and Beyond (Advanced Edition) will be of assistance to graduate students and faculty.