Celebrate Science held at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum was a great success.  Teachers, librarians, parents and teacher candidates attended this event to learn about science books and the joys of learning science.  Keynote speaker Dr. Jeannette Whitton is a UBC botanist and she shared information about her passion looking at plant species.  Her research involves looking at populations of plant species that occur hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart but somehow maintain their genetic and evolutionary integrity. She considers how changes in chromosome numbers and breeding system influence the ecological and genetic interactions of populations. Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone offered ways of focusing on science just by looking out your window. 

They’re addicted to Facebook and slaves to their smartphones — “digital natives” trying to navigate the post-secondary world. But as universities spend millions on e-learning tools to help cater to this tech-savvy generation, current students say they’re learning more in classes that don’t have all the technological bells and whistles.

In fact, the first Canadian study of its kind has discovered that students prefer — and learn more — when a live lecturer stands at an unadorned podium. The finding surprised even the study’s authors.

“We were expecting to see evidence of what’s known as the ‘digital native’ era and we just didn’t see that,” said Joseph Berger, director of business development and communications at Higher Education Strategy Associates, the Canadian education consultancy that published the study. “It’s not the portrait we expected whereby students would embrace anything that happens on a more highly technological level. It’s to the contrary — they really seem to like access to human interaction, a smart person at the front of the classroom.”

The study to probe the attitudes and preferences of students being taught with online resources found the more technology there was in a particular course, the lower the proportion of students who said they learned more. And while the 1,370 undergraduate students from more than 60 universities nationwide were generally happy with their courses, those with more message boards and websites where students can access grades and study notes were associated with a drop in satisfaction compared with courses with less online interaction.

E-learning tools have become far more common at Canadian universities over the past 10 to 15 years in the face of sky-high enrolment rates (Ontario’s first-year undergraduate enrolment hit a record 90,000 this fall) and the constant challenge of always getting better.

The study went on to find that more than half of respondents said they would be more likely to skip courses with more online resources because it’s easier to catch up later. Four out of five students said they’d rather watch a live stream of a lecture than attend it in person.

To read the entire article, published in the National Post, click here.

Just a heads up for folks working this weekend.

There will be work on the UBC Catalogue this weekend. Many ejournal records will be removed & later replaced. This may cause problems with people using the “Search for Print and Online Journals” left-hand search box, but will not affect the “Search for Online Journals Only” right-hand search box.

The Citation Linker will not be affected (for ejournals). Clear?

Koerner Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Department is offering a workshop series geared to graduate students in the Faculty of Arts. These workshops cover advanced research, staying current in your area of study, publishing and author’s rights.

Upcoming topics include:

•       Citation management

•       Current awareness tools

•       How to do research for a literature review

•       Finding and using data from the Census of Canada

•       Finding Statistics Canada data using CANSIM

•       Getting published in the Humanities and Social Sciences

•       Scholarly rights and responsibilities

•       Increasing the impact of your research

The workshops run throughout the fall 2011 term and are open for registration.

This week, our featured room in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, is the Mackenzie Seminar Room, room 112, located in Rare Books and Special Collections. The Mackenzie seminar room is a bit different from the other rooms in that it is not named after a place, but an explorer: Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820), completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America by a European north of Mexico. On July 20, 1793, Mackenzie and his party arrived at Bella Coola, where he first reached saltwater at South Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

Image credit: Alexander Mackenzie painted by Thomas Lawrence (c.1800), courtesy National Gallery of Canada

In Rare Books and Special Collections, we have many historical maps documenting Mackenzie’s explorations. For example, in the Dr. Andrew McCormick map collection, there are a number of maps that illustrating Mackenzie’s travels. For example, McCormick map 106, A map of America, between the latitudes 40 and 70, and longitudes 45 and 180 West, exhibiting Mackenzie’s Track from Montreal to Fort Chipewyan & from there to the North Sea in 1789, & to the West Pacific Ocean in 1793 (London: Alexander Mackenzie, 1801). On this map, Mackenzie’s exploration routes of 1789 and 1793 are highlighted in red and yellow, respectively.

Image credit: Dr. Andrew McCormick collection, mccormick_106


In Rare Books and Special Collections, the Mackenzie seminar room is a multi-functional space.

Image credit: UBC Library


The reference collection (e.g. bibliographies, dictionaries, city directories, encyclopedias, etc) is arranged on the shelves in the room. As well, Rare Books and Special Collections librarians and archivists use this space to teach students, faculty, staff and community members about our collections. Since it is a room connected to the Fort Fraser Reading Room, we are able to bring out a variety of material and examples for class participants to use. If you are interested in arranging a class or tour using materials from Rare Books and Special Collections, please send an email to Rare Books and Special Collections.

Sep 28

A donation success story

The Chung Collection is one of UBC Library's featured success stories on the Start An Evolution campaign website. The site describes the impact of Dr. Chung's donation of the Chung Collection on teaching and research, and how it helped Dr. Henry Yu apply for funding to create a Chinese Canadian history web portal. Click here to read about it.

Write-N-Cite 2.5 is currently not compatible with Mac OS X Lion. Until a new version of Write-N-Cite is released, Lion users can select the One-Line/Cite view in RefWorks as a workaround. This tutorial and this video explain the process.

According to Michael Winerip, a good principal:

  • has been a teacher
  • feels at home in a cafeteria filled with 800 children eating rubbery scrambled eggs for breakfast
  • has her own style
  • protects her teachers from the nonsense
  • sets her own high standards
  • works with union leaders to carry out her educational agenda, and if she can’t, takes them on
  • knows teachers are only part of what make a school run
  • takes money out of her pocket for the school
  • loves and trusts the public schools where she works
  • worries in private, ignores the surreal and finds a way to get things done
  • has a To Do list several feet long
  • leads by example

To read the entire article, published in The New York Times‘ On Education section, click here.

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