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Keeping you up to date with Library teaching and outreach activities.

DartmouthX:  Collaboration
by Pat Fisken, Head of Paddock Music Library, and Memory Apata, Music Library Specialist

"Introduction to Opera" DartmouthX team
"Introduction to Opera" DartmouthX team

Dartmouth has just completed the third of four edX courses this year, continuing to model a team approach to course design in the MOOC (massive open online course) format. Professor of Music Steve Swayne's course in Italian Opera has been a collaborative project in the best sense, as all team members not only offer their special skills but also support the work of one another through regular team consultation and stepping in when assistance is needed.

Design process for the "Introduction to Opera" DartmouthX course
Design process for the "Introduction to Opera" DartmouthX course

Three library staff members contributed significantly to the OperaX MOOC endeavor.  Pat Fisken (Head of Paddock Music Library) was involved in the initial and ongoing learning objectives and design process, selected and purchased media content, researched and searched for online open source content (images and text), crafted citations, and helped with publicity for the course.  Memory Apata (Music Library Specialist) was hired as the Lead TA for the course and, in addition to being actively engaged with OperaX students through the discussion boards, she was involved in the continuing design process of the course, initiated publicity, and developed and managed social media.  David Bowden (Music Library Specialist) assisted with the digitizing and excerpting of media content to be used within the lecture videos created for the course.The course design process, including contributions from faculty, instructional designers, media specialists, librarians, and students, is summarized in this diagram. Read more about the Library and the opera MOOC here:


Active Learning Assessment 
by Heather Johnson, Research and Education Librarian

Johnson poster
Heather Johnson's poster, "Teaching Strategy Matters: Engagement Impacts Application"

Heather Johnson, Research and Education Librarian at the Biomedical Libraries, recently ran a case study to compare the effectiveness of active learning via a jigsaw activity versus passive instruction via a traditional lecture. To assess memory retention and application, she employed two assessment methods: A Jeopardy activity for memory retention, and a bibliographic analysis for application. She found the results interesting, and she deduced that passive instruction was more effective in terms of activating students’ short-term memory, and that active learning resulted in students being able to produce higher quality bibliographies when scored against a rubric evaluating for the authority of sources. Heather presented the results of the case study at the North Atlantic Health Sciences annual meeting; her poster can be found here:


Surrealism and the Spanish Avant-Garde in the Dartmouth College Library 
by Jill Baron, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies

Librarian Jill Baron and Profesor José del Pino share their exhibit with students
Librarian Jill Baron and Profesor José del Pino share their exhibit with students

The Fall 2015 exhibit on Berry Main Street, "'Prepare Your Skeleton for the Air': Surrealism and the Spanish Avant-Garde in the Dartmouth College Library," promoted two events at Dartmouth: the Department of Spanish & Portuguese conference "Dalí, Lorca & Buñuel in America" October 15-17, 2015, and the upper-level Spanish course "Dalí, Lorca, and Buñuel: The Secrets of Spanish Surrealism,"  given by Professor José del Pino, who also organized the conference.   Featuring materials from the Dartmouth Library's collections, the exhibit shows the influence of surrealism on the work of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), and Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), and other materials related to three of Spain's most important artistic figures of the 20th century.  Preparations for the exhibit involved Jill Baron, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies, Dennis Grady, Exhibits Designer, and Professor del Pino. Contributions were also made by students from the DALI Lab, principally Jake Gaba ‘17, who produced the exhibit’s video montage. Students of SPAN 40 visited the exhibit with Professor del Pino. Being able to see on display some of the books and visual material they were analyzing in depth in the classroom proved to be a remarkable experience in the establishment of productive linkage between the theoretical approach of the course with a selection of pertinent cultural products from which class discussion emanated. More information on the exhibit can be found on the Library's website:


Carson 61: Active Learning Space Incubator 
by Mike Goudzwaard, Instructional Designer

Carson 61
Yusaku Horiuchi teaching Data Visualization in Carson 61

This past summer, Carson 61 was remodeled from a computer lab to Dartmouth’s newest active learning classroom. Starting this fall term, seven courses met in the Berry Innovator Classroom (Carson 61), using the moveable furniture, team video displays, and collaboration software to explore active learning in the redesigned classroom. The Berry Innovator Classroom is intended to be an “incubator” to try new learning activities, model different classroom design, and inform future classroom renovations at Dartmouth. The redesign of Carson 61 was a collaborative effort including Classroom Technologies, Educational Technologies, DCAL, and the Library.

Baker Tower

The Dartmouth Open Access Publishing Fund covers the processing fees for publishing scholarly and scientific articles in peer reviewed open access journals. These journals make the articles available to all readers worldwide regardless of ability to pay for these articles through subscriptions or individually. This increases the visibility and impact of the results of Dartmouth research and scholarship. It also helps fulfill the public access requirements of funding agencies.

Recently funded articles include:

Batsis, J., Zbehlik, A., Pidgeon, D. & Bartels, S. (2015). Dynapenic obesity and the effect on long-term physical function and quality of life: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. BMC Geriatrics. DOI: 10.1186/s12877-015-0118-9

Melin, A. D., & Dominy, N. J. (2015).
Do oxygen isotope values in collagen reflect the ecology and physiology of neotropical mammals? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution: Paleoecology. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00127

Micieli, J. & Tsui, E. (2015). Ophthalmology on social networking sites: an observational study of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Clinical Ophthalmology. DOI: 10.2147/OPTH.S79032

How do I apply for funding?

If you would like to publish your scholarly work in an open access journal, ask about the Dartmouth Open Access Fund for the journal(s) you are considering. Please contact us:

Barbara DeFelice, Program Director for Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing
Jen Green, Digital Scholarship Librarian

You may also visit the Dartmouth Open Access Publishing Fund webpage to access the application and more information.

Peter Carini, College ArchivistWe are pleased to announce that Peter Carini, College Archivist, has published an article in portal: Libraries and the Academy. The article, “Information Literacy for Archives and Special Collections: Defining Outcomes,” builds off of work that Peter has been doing over the past several years to create a framework for teaching with primary source materials. You can read it at:

F9.mediumThe fascinating discovery presented by Professor Lee Berger at Dartmouth on November 16th, "Almost Human—the Discovery of Homo naledi”, is truly remarkable for many reasons. The significant new discovery of the Homo naledi skeletons in the Rising Star Cave, and the complex collaboration that brought this discovery to light, make a gripping story of exploration, bravery, and science. But this is also a story of a transformation in thinking about scholarly publishing that is needed to forward understanding of a new species. As noted in National Geographic, “In paleoanthropology, specimens are traditionally held close to the vest until they can be carefully analyzed and the results published, with full access to them granted only to the discoverer’s closest collaborators. By this protocol, answering the central mystery of the Rising Star find—What is it?—could take years, even decades. Berger wanted the work done and published by the end of the year. In his view everyone in the field should have access to important new information as quickly as possible.”

To this end, two of the scientific research papers resulting from this discovery have been published in the open access journal eLife. A new journal, eLife provides open peer review and rapid publishing services on a state of the art platform. It provides researchers with high quality publishing that reaches a broad audience, and is supported by a collaboration of funders and researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

The lead researcher, Lee Berger, and the others on this project, including Dartmouth’s Associate Professor of Anthropology Jeremy DeSilva, knew the skeletons in the Rising Star Cave constituted a very important discovery and wanted the work broadly available and published in the best journals. Through the open access eLife articles and public access to the specimen files on MorphoSource, anyone with a 3D printer can make and study the fossils! The two eLife papers have already been cited in the published literature, and the metrics for usage provided by the platform give insight into the rapid spread of knowledge of these papers through social media as well.

elife-identity-header The articles in eLife are:

Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, by Lee Berger et al                DOI: Published September 10, 2015 Cite as eLife 2015;4:e09560

Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, by Paul HGM Dirks et al DOI: Published September 10, 2015 Cite as eLife 2015;4:e09561

John Hawks, in his piece “Homo naledi fossil discovery a triumph for open access and education” in The Conversation September 28th 2015, describes why the open access approach is so important to education.

“Not only the public benefits from scientific open access; science itself benefits. Showing the process of science in action, we create better tools for educators to equip students with the scientific method.”

For information about support for open access, public access, and open education, see Dartmouth College Library’s Scholarly Publishing and Communication Research Guide.

Keep Calm and Quit Studying
Well, at least for a few minutes.

Good study habits include giving your brain a rest to consolidate all you've learned. During finals period this term, the Library is providing many ways for students to take fun and creative study breaks. From November 17-25, look for the study break sign (below) in your favorite library and enjoy some productive distractions from your school work. Throughout the libraries you'll find jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, Legos, knitting lessons, crossword puzzles, origami, and more. We also will be hosting a special study break guest! Checkers the English bulldog will be in Baker Main Hall from 1-3pm on Friday November 20. Taking a break in order to assemble a puzzle, build a tower, fold paper cranes, or pet a therapy dog surely will lower your stress levels and get your mind off finals for a few minutes, allowing you to go back to your studies with renewed energy and focus.

Dartmouth Library Study Break


Photo credits:
Paper Cranes by Mike Baker.
SXSW 2011 Lego Pile - 2 by EgnaroorangE.
Knitting Time by Kate Ware.
How Much Fun? by MTSOfan.
Crossword Puzzle by Nick Olejniczak.


This fall, the staff at the Paddock Music Library have the pleasure of being included on the course development team for the Introduction to Italian Opera MOOC (massive open online course) taught by Steve Swayne. This post will take a close look at the MOOC-building process, starting with the planning of the course by the professor through the interaction of the teaching assistants with students.

Meet the Team:

The MOOC and the Library

Throughout the process, the Library’s role has grown to include many more duties than are usual with Dartmouth courses. As is the case with regular Dartmouth courses, the Library helps to locate, purchase, and prepare the content for access. However, the creation of this course has been unique in that the entire course team (faculty, instructional designer, media specialists, and librarians) have been involved in the planning, implementation, and review from the very beginning. Because the Opera MOOC has been a collaborative project, all team members not only offer their special skills but also support the work of one another through regular team consultation and stepping in when assistance is needed.

We asked instructor Steve Swayne to give us his perspective on the Library's involvement in the creation of this course:

What has been unique about creating content for the MOOC as opposed to creating content for Dartmouth courses?

First of all, I had to rethink the order of the content. I usually begin my opera class with an introductory lecture about opera in the movies; that lecture usually takes two whole hours and uses a lot of film clips. After that, I start at the very beginning with Florence leading to Monteverdi. I felt I couldn’t start the MOOC that way, so I chose instead to look at one opera for an entire week—something I don’t do in my survey of opera—and then go back in time. It was a delight to talk about Le nozze di Figaro in this way, and I look forward to incorporating some of the first week of the MOOC into my residential course on opera.

How has your support from the Library been different in the planning of this course as opposed to your usual courses at Dartmouth?

I usually do all of my own bibliographic work when I’m teaching. I might go to a librarian for help in digitizing a resource, but I’m pretty good at tracking down materials I want to use for the course. It’s been a godsend to have Pat Fisken take over many of the bibliographic aspects of the MOOC. For example, we have what we call “baseball cards” for many of the significant persons involved in Italian opera. Pat compiled the information about their years of birth and death, their places where they worked, their best-known operas, and additional facts about their lives. She also located open source images for us to use here and elsewhere. What a relief not to have to do all that work on my own!

Do you think your support from the Library will change for your on-campus courses after the experience of working together on the MOOC? If so, how?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. One thing I imagine might occur is that Pat and other librarians will step up and make recommendations to me and to other faculty about ways they can assist us in providing additional materials for our teaching. But I have to say: the folks in Paddock have always been great in providing support for what I do.

Throughout the process of selecting recordings for the lectures, you have clearly been an advocate for using recordings that best exhibit the themes you touch on in the course. Have your views changed regarding the rigidity of copyright laws when it comes to using content for academic purposes? Do those views differ when it comes to using content in an on-campus course versus in a free online course?

I have tried to treat the content for the MOOC in the same way that I treat content for my residential courses. I understand the reflex of rights holders to want to license the distribution of their content. At the same time, I believe in the Fair Use Doctrine in copyright law, and I’ve long felt that we in academia have been afraid to exercise this doctrine to its fullest extent. In terms of this massive open online environment, I see an opportunity for rights holders to interest students in accessing and purchasing their content outside of the MOOC. I don’t see what I’m doing as a threat to their income stream. If anything, I feel I’m increasing their potential market, and I do hope that some of our students will elect to buy either access to streamed media or the physical media (CDs, DVDs) we use for examples.

The Course Development Process

processinfographicFirst, Steve writes and presents the lectures which are recorded by Daniel and Sawyer. Then, recordings are selected, digitized, cited, and embedded into the video lectures. David formats the recordings. Daniel and Sawyer edit the lectures into a series of approximately six minute clips and design graphics. They integrate the graphics and the digitized recordings into these smaller lectures. The smaller lectures are then sent to the entire team for review. The team shares their suggestions and changes are integrated into the final versions of the videos. Pat creates the citations as well as the content for a series of digital flash cards which students use to test their knowledge of operas, their composers, and new vocabulary. Memory compiles a list of online resources from which students can access the operas. Adam puts all of the lectures, assignments, announcements, and resources into the edX platform. Once the content is live, Susana, Adam, and Memory engage students through discussion posts and social media.

Course Resources

Once the lectures and excerpts have been integrated, resources for viewing full-length operas are found and made available to non-Dartmouth students. Dartmouth students have a number of reliable resources for viewing operas at their fingertips, including Alexander Street’s Video Library, the MetHD broadcasts, Met On Demand, the Naxos Video Library, and of course, our CDs and DVDs here in Paddock. One of our biggest challenges is helping the 6,000 (and growing!) students enrolled in the course who are not affiliated with the College to gain access to similar resources.

During Week Zero of the course, nicknamed the Course Overture, we provided non-Dartmouth students with a number of options for gaining access to opera. Some of the resources we recommend are free, including public libraries, Culturebox France, and the Opera Platform. Others, like memberships to Opera America and the Met On Demand require a fee. We are building a community of students who will be able not only to discuss the material we provide but who are also able to exchange resources beyond those the course team has recommended. Since the course has launched, we have found that most non-Dartmouth students are using YouTube to find full-length operas. The students often share their favorite productions via our recommender tool.

Student Engagement

In the most simple of explanations, MOOCs consist of a series of short video lectures streamed online. One staff member infamously asked the question, “What’s the difference between a MOOC and a PBS documentary?” When the OperaX team heard this question, it was met mostly with knowing laughter. Nothing against Ken Burns or Neil Degrasse Tyson, but MOOCs are light-years away from documentaries. The main difference lies in the engagement factor. The team has created assignments for the students, answered students’ questions during live office hours, and encouraged peer review. This MOOC breaks down the barrier between the lecture podium and the students in their desks. We aren't just having students memorize facts. We are giving them a call to action. Listen to this opera once, listen to it twice, talk about it, go to a live performance of it, share a picture of you going to it, make a friend and take them to it, too!engagementengagement2

So, now that we're pros, here's your call to action:

1. Sign up for a MOOC at It doesn't even have to be our MOOC but hey, that would be great!

2. Learn something awesome about a subject you're interested in. While you're busy learning about something awesome, notice how you're learning it.

3. Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

The OperaX team strikes their best operatic pose at the course launch celebration.