What if textbooks were free? 

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It’s not a fantasy. No-cost textbooks are becoming a reality at Medicine Hat College (MHC) thanks to the efforts of some intrepid instructors to develop Open Educational Resources (OER). 

What are OER, you ask? According to UNESCO, Open Educational Resources are: 

teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without  needing to ask permission. […] OER have been authored or created by an individual or  organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. (OER Commons,  2021) 

Depending on licensing, materials may be downloaded and shared in their original form, or edited and disseminated in revised versions. 

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One MHC instructor has been particularly committed to developing free resources for his classes. Clinton Lawrence teaches history and art history in the School of Arts, Science & Education. For his classes in World Art Before 1300 CE and World Art Since 1300 CE, he created open access textbooks. With the help of design student Mel Davison, as well library staff like Copyright and OER Specialist Laura Gunn and the library assistant I team, Clint assembled thirty-two chapters in two books that provide all course content, from discussions of prehistoric cave paintings to analyses of the post-impressionists’ commitment to contemporary subject matter. Clint has drawn all materials from open, peer-reviewed sources like Smart History. Check out his textbooks!

Why is Clint so committed to developing OER? He states, “With the increasing costs of education, I felt that I had a duty to find and adopt, whenever possible, robust, high quality OER to lighten students’ financial burden. In addition, there is a great deal of effective material publicly available and these sources give me flexibility to curate course content to support course objectives.” 

Furthermore, he sees serious benefits to increasing the institution’s use of OER:   

“There are several advantages to adopting OER. On Day One of the course, students have access to every resource that they need. Students can customize the sources: download an electronic copy or print the entire work or just print certain parts. The sources are flexible so that I can easily add or exclude content. As the instructor I can use the parts I like from different sources, without incurring extra costs.” 

Sounds like a win for students, instructors, and colleges. 

Learn more about International Open Access Week: Open Access Week – October 25 -31, 2021 | Everywhere 

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***

Clint Lawrence is an instructor in history and art history, School of Arts, Science, and Education at Medicine Hat College. He completed his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Lethbridge (2011) and his MA (2013) in history. He is currently a PhD student in the war studies program at the Royal Military College of Canada. Clint joined the School of Arts, Science, and Education and art and design program at Medicine Hat College in 2015. His thesis “Charles I and Anthony van Dyck: Images of Authority and Masculinity” focused on Charles I of England’s projection of kingship through van Dyck’s portraits during his personal rule. His current research interests include Indigenous participation in the Second World War, the relationship between the state and Indigenous service members, the post-war treatment of Indigenous veterans, and how post-colonial states craft national memories and memorialize Indigenous war service.

World Mental Health Day 2021

October 10, 2021

Let’s not kid ourselves. The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard. It has disrupted our daily routines, made it impossible, at times, for families and friends to get together, and it has instilled a general sense of worry and anxiety in many of us. Quite simply, the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health, with some faring better than others. On World Mental Health Day, this October 10, 2021, let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves and with others. Let’s learn new strategies for coping. And let’s eliminate the stigma that comes with managing the struggles of mental health.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Be Kind to Yourself and Others

It is important that we practice being compassionate to others during these trying times. Listen to others without judgment, encourage those around you, and be patient. The WHO (World Health Organization) notes that having support from those around us, such as family and friends, actually helps people suffering from depression recover faster.

Also, be sure to be kind to yourself. Try to find ways to relax, such as practising mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. Make sure you are taking time for yourself to do things that you can enjoy safely. And be sure you are eating well-balanced meals and getting enough sleep. The library has many collection items to help you support this.

  • The RC 440 section in the library is where you will find books and resources about mental health
  • For mindfulness, look in the BF 637 area of the stacks for helpful materials
  • Want to learn yoga? Look for resources in the RA 781 area of the library collection
  • Materials about meditation techniques can be found in a variety of areas, including the BF, BL and curriculum sections
Image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay

Learn Strategies for Coping

If you are feeling stressed and anxious, there are many ways to help you cope. Exercising regularly helps you to feel good and maintain your health. Taking deep breaths and using a counting method (counting to 10 slowly, and repeating) can be incredibly useful during moments where you feel overwhelmed or panicked. Keep your sense of humor about you and try to sustain a positive attitude. Do your best, and accept that you cannot control everything. Your best will vary day to day, and week to week, because from one moment to the next, you are never the same. Talk to a friend or family member about your struggles, and let them know how they can help you. Also, pay attention to yourself, and learn what triggers your anxiety. Knowing this will help you to manage stress and cope with your day to day challenges.

  • Want to learn how to cook healthier meals? Check out the many cookbooks the library has to offer in the TX section of the collection
  • Need techniques for getting better sleep? No problem, the library carries many items about this in the QP area of the stacks
  • Would you like to learn more about anxiety and managing it? The RC 531 section of the library collection has many useful resources about this

Mental Health and Counselling for Students at MHC

Students at MHC have access to free counselling services. If you need to speak to someone, please visit: https://www.mhc.ab.ca/Services/CounsellingAndCare/StudentCounselling to make an appointment.

Drop-in counselling sessions are offered on Wednesdays. Appointments are available all day (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.), first come first served, and must be booked that day by calling advising at 403.529.3819 or visiting the advising desk starting at 8 a.m.

Many Canada-Wide Services Are Also Available

  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital. If you need emotional support, help is available.
  • If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (24/7).
  • Kids Help Phone: Call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868. Available 24 hours a day to Canadians aged 5 to 29 who want confidential and anonymous care from trained responders.
  • Hope for Wellness Help Line: Call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or connect to the online Hope for Wellness chat. This service is available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally sensitive help line counsellors can help if you want to talk or are distressed. Telephone and online counselling are available in English and French. On request, telephone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
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Help Eliminate the Stigma

On World Mental Health Day, this October 10, 2021, let’s all help to reduce the stigma attached to struggles with mental health. Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. We can all do this in a number of ways:

  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Be conscious of language
  • Encourage equality between physical and mental health
  • Show compassion for those who struggle with mental health
  • Choose empowerment over shame
  • Be honest about treatment
  • Let the media know when they are being stigmatizing
  • Don’t harbor self-stigma

All of us need to raise our voices against stigma. Every day, in every possible way, we need to stand up to stigma and support one another, during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness, Healthline & Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Digital Citizenship

“[A]ny attack on […] the concept of objective truth […] threatens in the long run every department of thought.”

George Orwell; “The Prevention of Literature” (1946)

Photo Credit: Unsplash

“How do I find reliable news online?”

“How do free Apps make money?”

“What’s clickbait?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. In the “post-truth” twenty-first century, our information environment is fraught. Controversies concerning “fake news” and the authority of experts shape our daily lives; fringe media attack the validity of democratic processes and COVID-19 disinformation imperils public health. In online life, being popular and getting lots of “views” often feels more important than telling the truth.

All sources—whether reputable or not—can appear equal in the digital sphere. According to W. Lance Bennett and Steven Livingston in their work, The Disinformation Age: Politics, Technology, and Disruptive Communication in the United States (2020):

Democracies around the world face rising levels of disinformation. The intentional spread of falsehoods and related attacks on the rights of minorities, press freedoms, and the rule of law all challenge the basic norms and values on which institutional legitimacy and political stability depend. (p. xv)

The Internet’s business model heavily contributes to the flow of disinformation. Most search engines and social media platforms rely on advertising in order to make money. They sell users’ data–profile information, browsing history, and lists of purchases–to advertisers, who can then target particular groups with marketing content and, in many cases, covertly influence user behaviour. Advertisers want to attach their content to popular websites and videos, and statistics show that polarizing and highly emotional content tends to go viral. Online disinformation gets lots of views, which makes advertisers happy and generates more revenue for technology companies. The result? More disinformation is generated and promoted.

Wondering why you’ve never learned about any of this in school? Well, now you will.

MHC Library Services recently launched the Digital Citizenship Initiative, an instructional program that will help students untangle the social complexities and ethical dilemmas of the digital world. The project educates students on the economics of the Internet and the means by which political bad actors exploit its platforms to pervert the public discourse. Through classroom activities and reference to a wealth of print and audiovisual resources, participants will learn to recognize and counter disinformation and fake news, and understand how social media companies commodify their data. The program is the Library’s contribution to efforts to address the gap in post-secondary instruction concerning the socio-political and economic dimensions of digital existence. Because we all need to know how the online impacts the IRL.

* * *

Want to see some of our resources?

Check out our eBook and video library on the Digital Citizenship website. Or have a look at our some of our handouts, like our Three-Minute Read on Conspiracy Theories.

International Literacy Day Challenge

“Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”

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International Literacy Day has been celebrated annually since 1967. It is a day where people recognize the importance of literacy and how it is a basic human right. The goal of International Literacy Day is to further the progress we are making to create a more literate and sustainable society. To this day approximately 773 million youth and adults are lacking basic literacy skills. Learning is a lifelong process, it does not stop when you become an adult, and there should always be an opportunity to further progress you literacy skills, no matter your age.

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Due to the pandemic, we have seen some literacy divide among people across the world. For example, adult learning programs were not included in the Education Response Plan to Covid-19, thus suspending them and halting adult learning, some children did not have access to the resources they needed to learn (ex: power, internet, etc.), and it amplified the pre-existing inequalities in accessing a good education and basic literary learning opportunities, due to literacy opportunities not being evening spread out among the nation. Covid-19 also amplified the digital divide society experiences as some people did not have access to the technology (computers) necessary to continue their learning.

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This year on September 8th, 2021 to celebrate International Literacy Day we will be focusing on a human-centered recovery, where we work to close the gap on literacy and digital divide. We will strive to create a more inclusive learning environment for all people, so that no one gets left behind, and everyone has the chance to further their learning in a way that they value.

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This year on international literacy day pull out a book or your electronic reading device and read for a bit. Your mind will thank you and you can take pride in knowing you are helping create a more literate and sustainable society.

On September 8th, 2021 join other MHC staff and students as we celebrate the International day of Literacy.

Open to all MHC faculty, staff and students, there will be a reading challenge from September 8-14, 2021 as we narrow the global digital divide and build a more literate and sustainable society. Sign up at the Student’s Association, either as a soloist or on a team (up to 4 people) and start READING! Make sure to keep track of minutes read as you spend this week finishing your latest novel or exploring a new book from our reading suggestions. Submit your reading form to the Student’s Association with all reading minutes at the end of the week for your chance to win some awesome prizes!

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Need some help choosing a book that’s right for you?! Take a look at our reading lists below, all items available in our library!

BOOK LISTS FOR YOU!

Challenge Me

  • Ulysses PR 6019 O9 U55 1960
  • Moby Dick PS 2384 M5 1999 or CD Audiobook PS 2384 M6 2009
  • The sound and the fury & : As I lay dying PS 3511 A86 S6 1946
  • Blood meridian PS 3563 C337 B58 2010
  • The Silmarillion PR 6039 O32 S5 2008
  • War and peace Online e-book
  • A tale of two cities PR 4571 A1 1949 OR Online e-book
  • The white racial frame : centuries of racial framing and counter-framing E184.A1 F395 2013
  • Shingwauk’s vision : a history of native residential schools E96.5 .M55 1996
  • Dune PS 3558 E7 D8 2005
  • One hundred years of solitude PQ 8180.17 A73 C513 2006
  • Heroes : the Greek myths reimagined BL783 .F77 2020

On The Go

  • Encyclopedia of Lies Online e-book
  • The Subtweet Online e-book
  • Here Goes Nothing Online e-book
  • Love after the end : an anthology of Two-spirit & Indigiqueer speculative fiction PN6120.92.G39 L68 2020
  • Malagash Online e-book
  • We all go back to the land : the who, why, and how of land acknowledgements Online e-book
  • Weak Planet : Literature and Assisted Survival Online e-book
  • Rebellion Online e-book
  • Shadow Warrior Online e-book
  • The House of One Thousand Eyes Online e-book
  • Alberta Views Online Magazine
  • The New Yorker Online Magazine

Knowledge Seekers

  • High achiever : the incredible true story of one addict’s double life HV5805.J46 A3 2019
  • The gun gap : the influence of gun ownership on political behavior and attitudes HV8059 .J67 2020
  • What difference does it make? : the journey of a soul survivor RC 464 F86 A3 1998
  • Himalaya : a human history DS485.H6 D68 2020
  • Quitter : a memoir of drinking, relapse, and recovery HV5293.B375 A3 2020
  • Empire of pain : the secret history of the Sackler dynasty HD9666.95.S23 K44 2021
  • Learning to love : arranged marriages and the British Indian diaspora HQ802 .P36 2021
  • The power of habit : why we do what we do in life and business BF 335 D78 2012
  • Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail PS3619.T744 .Z46 2013
  • Social media and your brain : web-based communication is changing how we think and express ourselves Online e-book
  • We are displaced : my journey and stories from refugee girls around the world Curriculum Collection 371.822 Yous
  • The truth about luck : what I learned on my road trip with grandma HQ 759.9 R44 2013

I Don’t Like Reading But I Want To

  • Not Being on a Boat Online e-book
  • Sadie PZ7.S95397 Sad 2018
  • The marrow thieves PZ7.D54 Mar 2017
  • The tattooist of Auschwitz PR9639.4.M668 T38 2018
  • When the flood falls Online e-book
  • Friendship PS 3607 O94 F75 2014
  • The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy PR 6051 D3352 H57 2005
  • Gods behaving badly PR 6116 H45 G62 2007
  • All the light we cannot see PS 3604 O34 A77 2014
  • The innocents PS8555.R84 I55 2019
  • Small game hunting at the local coward gun club PS8605.O4479 S63 2019
  • The kingmaker’s daughter PR 6057 R386 K5 2012

Days Of Youth

  • The poet X : a novel PZ7.5.A35 Po 2018
  • Genesis begins again PZ7.1.W5456 Gen 2019
  • The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass Online e-book
  • The power PR6101.L43 P69 2017
  • The field guide to the North American teenager PZ7.1.P5165 Fie 2019
  • Five feet apart PZ7.1.L568 Fiv 2019
  • The king of jam sandwiches PZ7.W35 Kin 2020
  • A great and terrible beauty PZ 7 B7386 Gre 2003
  • Twilight PS 3613 E979 T84 2006
  • The Hunger Games PZ 7 C68 Hun 2009
  • Glass Town PN6737.G735 G53 2020
  • Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone PZ 7 R79835 Har1 1999

Canadian Authors

  • Jonny Appleseed PS8645.H5498 J66 2018
  • The sun and her flowers PS8621.A695 S86 2017
  • The heart goes last PS 8501 T82 H4 2015
  • The age of hope PS 8553 E665 A33 2012
  • Birdie PS 8623 I63 B57 2015
  • Daydreams of angels : stories PS 8579 N443 D3 2015
  • Tell PS 8567 T3 T44 2014
  • New women : short stories by Canadian women PS 8327 N49 1991
  • Dragons cry PS 8575 W37 D72 2000
  • The wild rose anthology of Alberta prose PS 8255 A4 W54 2003
  • An audience of chairs PS 8555 L355 A92 2006
  • A map of glass PS 8591 R68 M36 2005

Family Reads

  • Alma and how she got her name PZ7.1.M3745 Alm 2018
  • We are water protectors Curriculum Collection 813.6 Lin
  • Song for a whale PZ7.K29639 Son 2019
  • Hike PZ7.1.O86 Hik 2020
  • I am human : a book of empathy PZ7.1.V46 Iam 2018
  • Drawn together PZ7.1.L39 Dr 2018
  • Meet your family = Gikenim Giniigi’igoog Curriculum Collection 897 Bou
  • How to become an accidental activist Curriculum Collection 361.2092 Mac
  • When stars are scattered PN6727.J36 W54 2020
  • The thing about bees : a love letter PZ7.L32317 Thi 2019
  • Eyes that kiss in the corners PZ7.1.H596 Ey 2021
  • Greta and the giants : inspired by Greta Thunberg’s stand to save the world PZ7.1.T83 Gre 2019

Where Are The Pictures

  • To kill a mockingbird : a graphic novel PN6737.F673 T6 2018
  • The Iliad : a graphic novel PN6727.H49 I44 2019
  • My brother’s husband PN6790.J33 T25 2017
  • Speak : the graphic novel PZ7.A54385 Sp 2018
  • My friend Dahmer : a graphic novel HV6515 .D47 2012
  • The great Gatsby : the graphic novel PN6737.F673 G74 2020
  • A game of thrones : the graphic novel PN 6727 A27 G35 2014 v. 3
  • Pride and prejudice and zombies : the graphic novel PN 6737 A87 G7 2010
  • The night wanderer : a graphic novel PN 6733 T39 N54 2013
  • Anne Frank’s diary : the graphic adaptation PN 6790.I753 F65 2018
  • Trinity : a graphic history of the first atomic bomb PN6733.F48 T75 2012
  • Stripmalling Online e-book

Crime and Mystery

  • The lake house PR9619.4.M74 L35 2015
  • The long way home PS 8631 E56 L6 2014
  • Drawing conclusions PS3562.E534 D73 2012
  • Medusa’s scream PE1126.N43 J33 2017
  • Bones are forever PS 3568 E476 B6 2012
  • I was here PZ7.F676 Iwa 2015
  • The racketeer PS 3557 R5355 R23 2013
  • The killer trail PS 8605 A737 K55 2014
  • Company Town PR9199.4.A886 C66 2016
  • The perfect murder PR6060.A472 P47 2014
  • Gone girl PS 3606 L935 G66 2012
  • Mystery Weekly Online Magazine
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Welcoming Everyone Back To The Library While Staying Safe And Healthy This Fall

With public health restrictions in Alberta recently lifted, the MHC Library is ready to welcome back students, faculty, and staff at full capacity.

So what will the Library space look like this fall?

Image by lil_foot from Pixabay

With capacity limits no longer in place, the Library has 321 seats available, including solo and group study spaces, as well as group study rooms which can be booked in advance for up to 2 hours a day.

Physical distancing if recommended and masks are required in all public spaces on campus (this includes the library). It is still important to stay home if you are sick and to to go through the Covid-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist before heading out for the day. There will be additional cleaning in high-traffic areas at 2pm each day to ensure everyone’s safety.

Image by Alexandra Koch from Pixabay

Printing And Paying Fines

You can self-load your print account using the printer credit icon on the drop-in computers across campus, using a credit card or debit-credit card. The Library also takes cash at the front desk for on-campus printing. You can also pay Library fees online when using debit or credit, or choose the option of paying in cash at the front desk.

Image by Varun Kulkarni from Pixabay

Drop-In Computers, Computer Lab, And Technology Assistance

The drop-in computers and the computer lab will be open and available during the Library’s operating hours. If you require technical help on the computers, we ask that you maintain physical distancing and prefer if you wear a mask, although it is not required. We have virtual options to receive help should you be unable to wear a mask or maintain physical distance.

What Will Borrowing Library Materials Look This Year?

Our stacks will be open this fall, and you will be free to browse the shelves for physical items such as books, DVD’s and curriculum collection items. You can use your student ID card to access thousands of books, magazines, videos, journal articles, and more, both online and in print. Register for your Library account to check what items you have borrowed, re-new your materials, request holds, and double-check your due dates. The self-service hold shelf will still be operational during Library hours, and will be located just inside the entrance to the Library.

If you do not want to browse the shelves for materials in-person, you can still browse the stacks virtually. In our online catalogue, every physical item has a button labeled “browse the shelf” that allows you to see what is available on nearby shelves.

Library will be lending laptops, calculators, and other items that were not available during the last academic year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Getting/Validating Your Student ID

You can request your virtual student ID through your student dashboard, or you can acquire a physical card in person at the front desk in the Library, just be sure to bring government picture ID to verify your identity. For returning students, validation stickers for the current academic year can be obtained at the front desk in the Library.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

What If I Need Research Or Citation Assistance This Year?

Both in-person and online research and citation assistance will be available this fall. In-person reference assistance will be available at the front desk of the Library. Please check the website for operational reference hours. You can also book an online research or reference appointment at your convenience by clicking here.

Also be sure to check out the Library’s research guides for help completing your assignments, papers, and exams.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

When Is The Library Open?

Both the Vera Bracken Library (Medicine Hat Campus) and Brooks Campus Library are open year round. Hours change over the year, with reduced hours in spring and summer. Check out the Library website for Hours of Operation. Visit us in B-Wing at the Medicine Hat Campus and to the right of the main entrance at our Brooks Campus.

Call: 403.529.3867 (Toll free: 1.866.282.8394)

Email: circulation@mhc.ab.ca

IM: visit www.mhc.ab.ca/library

Text: 587.333.2766

Time for Brew Monday! Get your tea steeping and your connection ready!

For those of you who have never heard of Blue Monday, it is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, occurring on the third Monday in January. What a lot of people don’t know about Blue Monday is that the man who coined the term, and did the research to narrow down this exact date, never intended for the day to become negative. It was actually identified with the intention to encourage people to take the time to find the positives in the “gloomiest day of the year” and remember that the beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to begin other things too; it’s an opportunity for change and fresh starts (Peat, 2018).

(Altman, 2018)

We all know 2020 was a weird year. And 2021 is off to an odd start too- but I promise I’m not here to tell you these are “unprecedented times.” You know they are, you’re living them! I AM here to tell you that just because things are strange right now, different from what we have come to expect out of our day-to-day, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the college experience of community… it just means we have an opportunity to get a bit creative in how we enjoy these experiences. And what better time to get creative in finding a little spot of happy than Blue Monday?

Since we can’t enjoy the fresh beginning of meeting new people around campus the way we could other years we are bringing it online with “Brew Monday”.

“Brew Monday” is a play on the term “Blue Monday”, which occurs on January 18th this year. It is a chance to connect MHC students with each other! And maybe an excuse to drink more tea/coffee… (haha- BREW Monday, get it?)

(Stokpic, 2014)

Sooooo… what exactly happens? On Monday, January 18, from 11 AM – 2 PM, virtual rooms will be set up via Blackboard Collaborate, each dedicated to a special interest or topic. All you need to do is find access to a computer or laptop with webcam and microphone capabilities where you can open Blackboard Collaborate. Then make your favourite tea or coffee, and come back here to the Chapter One Blog! A list of topics and meeting rooms will be posted and you can select your connection!

Together let’s make Blue Monday a little less blue 😊 and all about creating more connections! We hope to see you there! Find your connection points and times below!

JANUARY 18 @TOPICS & INTERESTS
11:00AM-NOONMature Student Experience And Parenting
NOON-12:30PMBaking! Because Who Doesn’t Love Food!
NOON-1:00PMCatching Up With All Things True Crime
NOON-1:00PMFinding New Worlds To Explore In Books And Movies
1:00PM-2:00PMDogs, Dogs, And More Dogs! Bring Your Dog!
1:00PM-2:00PMGet Lost In The Fun Of Board Games And Card Games
1:00PM-2:00PMPositivity, Focus, And Making Your Beveridge Work For YOU!

References

Altman, G. (2018, March 24). Time for Change. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/change-new-beginning-risk-road-3256330/

Peat, J. (2018, January 5). Man who coined the term ‘Blue Monday’ apologises for making January more depressing. Retrieved from Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/blue-monday-apology-depressing-january-misey-money-disposable-income-psychology-dr-cliff-arnall-a8143246.html

Stokpic. (2014, October 24). Woman Drinking Coffee. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-drinking-coffee-person-601568/

ELF INVASION: Read and Paige take over the Library!

Picture taken from @mhclibrary on Instagram

Happy holidays everybody!

My name is Read, and I’m one of the resident elves that come around the Library during the winter season! Normally we don’t hang around the front desk computers too much, because we don’t have any of the log in information, but one of the library assistants left their computer on! Paige told me I shouldn’t be touching anything, but I couldn’t help but notice that this blog didn’t have any elf related posts! (Paige said I can write a post only if it’s educational and won’t get the person who left their computer on in trouble–she’s just out to ruin all my fun!)

As you already know, the holiday season is looking a bit different this year, so Paige and I decided to scrap our holiday trip plans and stay nice and settled here at home in the Library! It’s been very cheery, but we didn’t come to that decision alone! Let me tell you all about how the librarians helped us out!

Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy on Pexels.com

First, we “fell”–get it? Snowfall?–into the virtual drop-in to ask for help on how to use the Library Database. We ended up finding a super fun issue of Canadian Geographic on Flipster! (I may have found some fun magazines on Christmas craft
time too!) Then, we made sure to browse around on Criterion through the Library Database, watching lots of winter movies like Home Alone and The Polar Express! It was how we originally decided to stay in Alberta and just have a great time here! But as with almost everything this year, we rethought our plan and decided we should wait. Staying safe and warm this winter is our top priority, so we’re actually going to snuggle in under some blankets, drink lots of hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream and sprinkles, and listen to some great tunes!

Photo by Nadi Lindsay on Pexels.com

We couldn’t decide on where we should travel when travel is allowed, but we’ve narrowed it down to some places here in Southern Alberta–Elkwater and Cypress Hills for sure, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and Crowsnest Pass! We even have some great books here in the Library about them: be sure to take a look for them on the online catalog, place a hold on them, and pick them up with the self service hold shelf process once it is back in the New Year! You can find information on how to use that in the Using Your Library Account: A Quick Start Guide post on this blog! Paige says that the call numbers for the books usually start with FC or G. When the Library reopens, you can also take a look at the fun winter wonderland display at the front counter! Lots of books about places and cities in Canada, and obviously, Alberta!

Happy holidays from the Library elves! We hope you’ll tune into the Library Instagram account @mhclibrary to see all of our adventures! You can also scroll through and see what fun we got into last year!

Love,
Read & Paige

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Library Technologies

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2020 has certainly sent us into a learning curve when it comes to online learning and technology. Between all of the different technologies that somehow went from unknown to a household staple of day-to-day life, it can be difficult to figure out where things might be and how to get to certain classes, resources or assignments. Don’t fear–that’s what this blog post is for! Lets take a small, text-based tour of some of the most used — and most useful — technologies and programs that you may need to use for the rest of upcoming winter semester. This includes Blackboard, Flipster, Kanopy, Criterion, Statista, and Microsoft Teams (though there are plenty of others to explore beyond this as well).

Blackboard (Bb)

Blackboard is a tool that MHC has been using for many years, and is the hub for many of the classes that are being held online this year. It’s a great place for all classes, regardless of size or topic. Blackboard supports many different file types as well, which means teachers, students, and faculty can easily upload PDF files, DOC files, Powerpoint presentations. Even spreadsheets!

To sign into Blackboard, all you need to do is to go to the main page of the MHC website, and right at the top, click the "Blackboard" tab. It will then bring you to a sign in page where you will need to input your username and password. Note: this username and password is the one that was given to you from MHC and will be the same across both your Blackboard and student webmail/email. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll see some tabs at the top. You can find your "Courses" here, as well as any other "Institution" notifications or "Announcements." On the side, there are many additional tools there for you to use, such as "Tasks" or "My Grades." Within the organizational structure, you can see exactly which courses you are taking and what they have in them simply by clicking. There are even "Discussion Boards" for learners and teachers to collaborate and work together on specific questions or answers that may need to be expanded.

Doing Assessments or Assignments from Blackboard is also very easy, and each instructor will indicate how they would prefer each assignment or assessment to be done. Some can be taken right on Blackboard, and all you need to do is click the link, click the "Begin" button, and go through and answer all of the questions. Remember to save each answer you have finished by pressing the button on the top or bottom of the page, and when you are finished, make sure to press the "Save All Answers" button to make sure your answers have been saved and sent to your instructor correctly!

If you are having issues or problems, here is a link straight from MHC to help!

Kanopy

Kanopy is a streaming service that the Library uses to help with research material, class material, and even just for personal use. You can "enjoy critically-acclaimed movies, inspiring documentaries, awarding-winning foreign films and more" (Kanopy, found at https://www.kanopy.com, 2019) from the comfort of your own home. Movies range in topics and genres, such as Lolita, My Friend Dahmer, and even Where the Red Fern Grows. You can get to Kanopy in one of two ways: through the internet, or through our Research Database List.

From the internet: just Google the name! Once you get to the main page of the website, you will be asked to pick your university/college, and if you are off campus, you will need to enter your 14-digit Student Barcode. Once you have done both of those things, you are free to scroll through the hundreds of movies to help with research, or just for fun!

From The Research Database List: Go to the Library Website homepage, and right below the search bar, you can see a link that reads "Research Databases List A-Z." Click on that, and it will bring you to an entire list of all of the databases that learners, faculty, and staff, have access to through MHC! You can scroll until you find Kanopy, and then follow the instructions above!

Criterion

Criterion is another streaming service that can be used. Unlike Kanopy, the easiest way to get to Criterion is through the Research Database List, but once you are there, the possibilities are endless! You can search by genre, by keywords, and even by title, to find the movie you are specifically looking for. There’s a bit of everything for everyone, including action, crime, and even musical movies. Once you have located the movie of your choice, you just need to "sign in" with your Student Barcode. It will verify that you are an active learner with MHC and then allow you to watch the movie.

Flipster

Flipster is a digital service that the Library uses in order to bring learners, staff and faculty one of the best sources for online magazines. They carry a wide variety of magazines to suit any need or subject. Whether it’s finding specific articles for a research project, or perhaps looking up the newest article of an art magazine, Flipster is very easy to use and is integrated into our search function. Whether you use the search bar when you have signed into your Library Account, or you use the search bar that is right on the main page of the Library’s website, if the magazine or article that you are looking for is hosted by Flipster, all you will need to do is provide your Student Barcode and you’ll have unlimited access! If you are looking to just see what Flipster has to offer, you can also find it in the Research Database List using the instructions from above!

Statista

Another amazing tool that you can find through the Research Database List is Statista! After finding it in the list (and inputting your Student Barcode if you are not on campus) you have access to over one hundred industry facts, statistics, and insights from thousands of different sources on just about every topic you can think of. You can use the Statista search bar in order to find exactly what sort of topics or subjects you’re looking for statistics on. There are also great outlook sections, infographics, and even global surveys. There are trending subjects that are just below the search bar as well in case you are just looking for some interesting information on the events and topics that are currently at peak interest.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams — in regards to online virtual meeting with Library Services — is very easy to use. All you’ll need is an internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone (or a headset if you are going to be taking the meeting in a loud setting.)

Once you have booked an appointment for Research or APA/MLA Citation, you will receive an email with the date, time, and person that will be supporting you virtually. In that email, there should be a "guest link" to the meeting. When it comes close to the meeting time, all you need to do is make sure that your technology is hooked up, click the link, and follow the prompts that Microsoft Teams gives you. Those prompts help ensure that your settings are correct and that everything is set up properly. With Microsoft Teams, you can easily speak with the person you are having the meeting with, as well as go as far as sharing your screen — this means that you will be able to easily show what you are working on and where you may need help with, instead of attempting to explain.

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With those services and databases in mind for your next assignment, paper, or research project, you will have a much easier time ensuring that the rest of your school year is the best it can be!

As always, if you need help with any of the aforementioned technologies, you can always reach us at 403-529-3867, or email us at circulation@mhc.ab.ca! If we are unable to help, we’ll be more than happy to guide you to our IT Help Desk!

Happy reading!

#VETYOURSOURCES

#vetyoursouces is a campaign launched in the fall of 2020 by MHC Library to challenge our students to critically examine the content they’re viewing online. 2020 has moved so much of our social, work, and academic lives into the digital space, now more than ever, it’s important to evaluate the information we encounter online. 

Are you ready to critically evaluate your information sources? 

The Association for College and Research Libraries (2016), encourages teaching that “information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used” (para. 8). Dependent upon the intended use of a piece of information, the source can be evaluated as both credible and not credible. For example, a scientific claim presented over Twitter by a Hollywood celebrity might not be considered a credible source if used in a paper examining that claim. However, that same source may be considered credible if you use it in a paper examining celebrity influence in science.

Fake News

Beyond finding a source suitable for inclusion in one of your course assignments, the same critical eye should be applied to your everyday consumption of information. A growing vocabulary of terms used to describe the inaccurate content you may come across online reinforces the growing need to be critical of what you read. Fake News is one of the many terms used to describe inaccurate information online, but what exactly is it? And, how do you spot it?

First, note that the term “fake news” characterizes the information landscape as either true or false, good or bad, verified or biased (Robinson & Gariepy, 2019). Just remember, the suggestion that there are simply two types of news; real and fake, doesn’t leave much room for nuance.

What kinds of fake news exist?

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category – for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Fake News Libguide, by Indiana University East Campus Library, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

How to Spot Fake News, by The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Experts are available

MHC library staff are happy to help you #vetyoursources. You can contact us via email, chat, virtual drop-in or by booking an appointment.

References

Virtual Reference Services

If this isn’t your first year as an MHC student, you’ve likely become accustomed to stopping into the library for assistance with narrowing your research topic, finding an academic article, or citing your sources. All of these services are still available, albeit in a new format. For those of you 1st year MHC students, this is a service you want to make use of, the earlier in the semester, the better, and your grades will thank you.

So, how can you access research help?

Four different virtual formats are now available: chat, virtual drop-in, book an appointment and email. Take a look at the descriptions below to help you decide which format is best suited to your needs.

Chat Reference – This service is best for quick questions. The chat service is staffed from 8am – 8pm Monday – Thursday, and 8 am – 5pm Friday’s.

Virtual Drop-In – This service is best for immediate research assistance. Similar to what you would have received in-person from library staff in the past. No need to book a time, just drop in. Virtual Drop-in hours currently run from 11am – 3pm Monday – Friday.

Book an Appointment – This service is best for in-depth assignment specific support. Book an appointment in advance so you don’t need to wait. A library staff member can help you with research or citations. Appointments are available from 8am – 3pm Monday to Friday.

Reference Email – This service is best for questions that are not time sensitive. The reference email is staffed from 8am – 8pm Monday – Thursday, and 8 am – 5pm Friday’s.

Access virtual services at the bottom of the library home page.