Category Archives: Technology

EasyBib…Make it Work for You

So you’ve finished writing your final paper, and the last thing you have to do is cite your sources in an MLA Works Cited page. Everyone says you should just use EasyBib. But how do you get it to correctly create your citations?

Citing sources can cause stress!

citation-induced stress

Here are a couple of tricks and tips for using EasyBib effectively.

  1. Choose the right source type. EasyBib can’t tell what kind of source you’re citing from the URL. For example, if you’re citing a blog entry, pick Blog/Podcast from the “All 59 options” tab. If you’re citing a press release, pick that source type. The information required for a citation depends on the kind of source. It’s not the same for everything.
  2. When citing a book, enter the ISBN from the back cover. If the ISBN isn’t on the back cover, look for it on the back of the title page that contains the copyright date. Using this standard number can help you make sure you cite the right edition of a book.
  3. When citing sources from EBSCO and Gale, skip EasyBib. EBSCO and Gale have their own citation generators that allow you to copy and paste a citation into your Works Cited page. They are very reliable, and since you will have to manually enter the information for an online database article into EasyBib anyway (the URL won’t help you at all in this case), using the citation generator is the easiest way to get it right.
  4. Fill in the blanks! EasyBib can’t always look in the correct fields to find the title, author name, or sponsor of a website. Since this information is required if it’s available, you are responsible for adding it to your citation. That bold red message at the top of your EasyBib page that says “Please confirm or modify the information below! We get our data from outside sources, so please double-check.” isn’t just there to make things pretty!
  5. Check the information! When incomplete and wrong information are entered into fields, it is your responsibility to complete and correct it. See above regarding the bold red message.
  6. Consult the Pocket Style Manual. This book, required for English classes and Freshman Seminar, is an invaluable resource that should be used when constructing your citations for ALL of your classes. Use it to make sure your citations are correct every time, and you’ll become more comfortable citing your sources.
  7. Consult a librarian. There’s one in the library from 8am-11pm Monday through Thursday, and from 8-6 on Friday. You can also email us, text us at 260-227-5733 (260-2ASK REF), or IM us using the widget on the Online Resources page.

    Feeling better!

    Feeling better!

Do We Need Technology to Learn (and Can We Live Without It)?

After compiling research results from a number of studies, OnlineEducation.net concludes that “college students are addicted to technology.”  Well, isn’t that a shocker. What I found more interesting, and less obvious, about their report is that students claim to need technology for learning! 

Do we need technology for learning?
That student grades reportedly improve when Twitter is used in the classroom seems to support the technology-learning link. But is it just that students get excited about being “allowed” to use Twitter in class, and will the interest in using it diminish when Twitter use becomes standard? Or is there really some magical link between technology use in the classroom and student learning?
I tend to see the relationship between technology and learning as both a blessing and a curse. As a recent grad school graduate, I know that social media served as an excellent tool for avoiding getting down to serious business with my studies. This was a problem for me. At the same time, as a distance ed student in my program, without technology, and specifically without the ability to access library resources online, I could not have done the required work. I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THE REQUIRED WORK. Yes, I needed technology to learn.
Smarter searching?
The report also indicated that students spend an awful lot of time searching using technology. When I first saw the statistic, I was overjoyed! “Students are spending more than 2 hours every day researching!” I thought. Then I realized that this probably wasn’t actually what “searching” means. It does make me wonder, though, whether students are spending so much time searching because they are just really curious about the world, or if it’s that they aren’t very efficient searchers. I think it’s the latter, but I invite you to share your opinions if you disagree!
If I’m right, though, then our students need to know that there is a group of trained search experts in the library at Central Penn who would LOVE to share the tricks of the trade! (Students, just imagine all the extra time you would have for texting, facebook, email, and other social media activities if you learned how to search smarter and faster!)

 

Thoughts on Abstinence.
OnlineEducation.net reports that, in a University of Maryland study, many students who participated by not using social media for 24 hours “experienced symptoms similar to drug and alcohol withdrawal.” THAT is startling! And it brings up a whole slew of questions, like whether social media use might have some of the same affects on the human brain as drugs or alcohol.
Last year Harrisburg University of Science and Technology conducted an experiment wherein students, staff, and faculty voluntarily abstained from using social media for an entire week. Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting that we should try to replicate what HU did (I’m pretty sure we’d all lose our minds!). But I do wonder whether we could make it for 24 hours. I’m not sure that I could. How about you?