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!

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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!

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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!