Welcome to e-class!

Read the Syllabus, Calendar, Requirements and Checklist. The Course Guide will take you step-by-step through the course materials and assignments. As you move through this course guide, you'll work your way through five sections of online readings: Introduction, Informational Materials, Instructional Materials, Creativity Tools, and Collection Management. Use the navigation on the left side of the screen to locate particular topics.

If you think you may have missed class email communications, the email archives are located BELOW. Questions? Contact Annette Lamb.

lambClass Email Archives

You should have received the following messages through email. If you didn't get this email, please email me with your current email address so I can add you to the class list.

Update: Final Note

The semester has come to an end, but hopefully your learning is just beginning.

Electronic materials are an integral part of both public and school libraries. I hope this class has provided some insight into the role of these materials in the lives of children and young adults. The next time someone complains about the cost of electronic materials or gripes about the content of Internet, I hope you'll stand up and defend the important role of all library materials from books to digital materials.

Remember, the course website as well as all of our other course materials will always be online for you to use. If you ever have ideas or want to share your professional experiences, please email me. I'm always excited to hear about what's happening in your life.

You should have received your grade for the last two projects and your final grade through email. If not, let me know.

By the way, many of you created excellent WebQuests. Thanks for your outstanding work! A few people missed points in the GUIDANCE and RESOURCES sections. Keep in mind that WebQuests are intended to be child-centered, so they need to have lots of support for learning including ideas, examples, samples, assistance and guidelines. Also, some of you simply listed resources including databases, productivity tools, and interactives. It's important to tell young people what you expect them to DO with these materials. Should they search them? If so, provide search strategies. If they're creating a product, what are your expectations? If they're completing an interactive, what do they do when they've completed this activity?

Since I'm finishing up grading, I thought I'd write my own short reflection on the importance of the content and activities of this course...


As we wind down the semester, I wanted to do a little "debriefing" to help you reflect on the three course projects related to electronic materials for children and young adults. Keep in mind that regardless of whether your interest is in school or public libraries, our mission is evolving. With easy access to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and high-speed Internet in homes and schools, many people are questioning the value of libraries. If all we do as librarians is point out the location of resources (books and computers) and answer reference questions, it's unlikely that our funding will continue. We need to promote ourselves as more than our resources. We're information specialists who can help patrons organize resources, facilitate the use of sometimes complex information sources, and engage young people in the exciting world of information.

How is the job of a young adult librarian or school library media specialist changing?

Since the mid 90s, parents and teachers wanted young people to have access to the Internet but were very concerned about the quality of electronic materials available. The multimedia/web-rich pathfinder was the beginning. Teachers love the idea of not wasting time "surfing" the Internet for web-based materials. Since most schools are required to use "filtered" websites, the pathfinder eliminated the frustration of locating quality materials. Pathfinders are also wonderful to parents who are concerned about supervising access to the Internet. Pathfinders help guide children through topics they love (i.e., music, crafts, sports, magic tricks, pet care, cooking) in a safe way. They also help children explore school subjects from art to zoology.

Databases provide organized access to wonderful materials. However these resources are often overlooked because they are perceived as complex and difficult to use. Young people with limited skills in searching for information need techniques and strategies as well as access to quality tools. They are also often unaware of the many interesting topics that can be explored using databases.

New media is constantly being introduced that can extend the storytelling experience. Keep these new options in mind as you select electronic materials.

Finally with the advent of Internet resources, teachers became frustrated because students were simply copying from the websites to answer questions or write reports. They began seeking rich learning environments that posed complex questions and encouraged students to explore ideas and information rather than simply answering low level questions. The WebQuest evolved out of this idea. A quality WebQuest isn't about using the links for a scavenger hunt. It's about immersing kids in the exciting WORLD OF INFORMATION. The topic can be educational such as exploring the solar system or multiple perspectives on state history. However it can also be a practical approach to life long learning by helping kids choose a pet, find dessert recipes, or explore vacation locations.

The WebQuest is on the forefront of the inquiry-based approach to teaching that began in the mid 90s with the introduction of Internet resources for children and young adults. It's something that teachers LOVE to use but don't have time to create themselves, so they usually adapt ones they find on the Internet.

If public and school librarians want to thrive in the rapiding evolving information and communication age, they must be ready to address the changing needs of their patrons.

Most of you voted for your favorite Take a Stand projects. Thanks! If you're looking for good arguments to support your program's use of electronic materials for children and young adults, I'd suggest a final check of the Take a Stand projects that received the most praise.

Your children and young adults are the winners when it comes to electronic materials in your library!

Go to



I hope you've enjoyed the course! Remember... Larry and I teach 12+ online courses, so we hope to e-see you again in another online course.

E-see you online! Stay in touch.

Update: April 24

Just a few notes and reminders.


Your WebQuest should already be posted. No reply or feedback is required. However if you have time, consider exploring the work of your peers.

Take a Stand project is due, April 24. It should be posted by the due date, however it's okay to upload a revised version if you find typos or want to add things until April 26.

Set aside some time the next couple days to read the "Take a Stand" articles of your peers and vote for your favorite article.

Please explore these projects and vote for your favorite in a short reply to your peer's posting.

The last day to turn in tremors (for partial credit) or projects is Friday April 26. Let me know ahead of time if you're running into trouble with time.


If you have concerns, be sure to email me. Let me know if you're stuck. Don't wait until the last minute. I'm happy to answer questions or do a little brainstorming with you!


I'm caught up with grading Tremors. PLEASE check the online GRADEBOOK to see that all of your postings and replies have been recorded. Let me know if I missed anything. This is your responsibility.

Many patrons forget about the many wonderful electronic materials in your collection because they can't "see" them. In some cases, electronic resources are kept in a cabinet in the back room. Or, they're digital and stored on computer hard drives or networks. How can you ensure that people know these materials are available? Think of creative ways to make these "virtual" resources more visible.

Some of you created fliers for your promotions. A professional layout is important. Tools like Microsoft Publisher can really make your promotional materials look polished. Word is a great tool for creating materials too. HOWEVER, when you share these documents, be share to convert them to the PDF format. Many people don't have access to Microsoft Publisher and with different fonts and styles available on different versions of Word, you can lose formatting from version to version.

Backpack projects are fun and a great way for libraries to combine electronic materials, books, and other resources. Keep in mind that standards are not required for family backpacks. However it's important that the goal of the backpack is clear. Who will use it? How will it be used? What's the purpose of the backpack?... remember the purpose could be simply to bring families to together. On the other hand, you'd be surprised how many parents are looking for ways to mix "academic activities" with "pleasure activities" as a home to school bridge... I think incorporating standards into the backpack activities is mostly informational, but also helpful for teachers who want to use the packs to connect home and school. Keep in mind that funding for school libraries REQUIRES a connection with the curriculum. However "reading for pleasure" IS part of the Language Arts curriculum, so it's easy to connect almost anything to standards. Private schools and public libraries don't have these restrictions, however many parents like to hear that the activities they're doing have academic applications. Keep in mind that a simple activity completion checklist is a form of assessment. Also, reflective questions help bring an activity to a close regardless of whether or not it's an academic environment or not. Also think about how the backpack will be used by young people and their "guides". Packs for younger children might have notes to teachers or parents. Packs for young adults might include ideas of activities to do with their parents or friends. You may think that backpacks are about great lists of library books. However remember the value of real objects such as a harmonica or materials for a craft. Keep in mind that part of the fun of the backpack is the ACTIVITIES you might suggest to go along with the materials. What could children do with their parents after reading the book? Can you suggest a field trip to go along with the readings or viewing? How about a family craft?

Everyone seemed to enjoy the promotional activities. You had lots of creative ideas. I think that creativity is the key to a successful promotion for electronic materials. For example, creating READ posters for electronic materials is an exciting approach to a traditional promotion idea. Think about using electronic resources such as video clips, podcasts, visuals, and other technologies as tools for promotion.

I could tell that some of you had a great time picking your favorite Tremor! From Web 2.0 tools to social issues related to digital technology, libraries play an important role in providing digital services to today's young people.

I've really enjoyed your insights on using electronic materials with young people. I was particularly pleased that some of you pointed out the need to look beyond your personal preferences and think about the needs and interests of your patrons. For example, although you may prefer paper-based reading, many students prefer online reading. Although you may like to read novels cover to cover, some young people prefer interactive online articles, video documentaries, podcasts, and other electronic fiction and nonfiction. Today's libraries MUST keep pace with the interests of their patrons which include a new generation of students who may rarely check out a book, but may love reading, listening, and learning.

Our new generation demands high-speed access to high quality multimedia tools. Although a few people are still using slow, dial-up lines, teens are demanding high-speed Internet and cellphones. They're reading their daily newspapers online, downloading at ITUNES, and watching their favorite television programs online. If you're interested in the latest research and stats, check out the new survey data from the Pew Internet/American Life website at

Thanks for making the class so enjoyable. You all have wonderful ideas. It's fun to have a mix of new and experienced teachers and librarians all working together in the class!

Be sure to do the course evaluation.
Go to

Update April 22

The semester is almost over!

All Tremor grades have been posted except for Tremor 9. Please review the GRADEBOOK in Oncourse to be sure you've received credit for all of your postings and replies!

Looking for some fun, new apps for children and young adults? Read

Tremor 9 reply is due Monday April 22.
Last day for Tremor Credit is Monday April 22.

We're almost done!
WebQuest Project is due Monday April 22.
Take a Stand Project is due Wednesday April 24.

If you run into trouble, let me know.

Don't forget the Take a Stand Project. It's only worth 7 points, but it can easily make a difference in your final grade.

This project is a short "article" the explains WHY electronic materials are important for children and young adults.

It should LOOK like an article and be something that could be printed in a local newspaper, library newsletter, school newspaper, popular magazine, etc.

I'd suggest around 750 words, but you can use more if you find it necessary to support your ideas.

You MUST cite YOUR OWN pathfinder, database guide, and WebQuest as examples of the effective use of electronic materials.

You MUST also include examples of other electronic materials that would be useful for young people.

The article should be written for the general public, not just for your professor and classmates. If an "outsider" were to ask why electronic materials are an important part of today's libraries you should be able to point to some quality examples demonstrating why web resources, software etc. are essential to today's children and young adults. What makes electronic materials different from print materials? What makes them unique in terms of added value to a library? Be VERY specific. Not just "databases are good", but WHY, what makes them better than traditional resources?

Here's another way of thinking about your project. If you were asked to "defend" the electronic materials in your library program, what would you say in an article to your library or school board?

The key to an outstanding "Take a Stand" is in the examples you provide to address the issues requested in the assignment at

The Evaluation checklist is located on the bottom of on the Evaluation page at

It was interesting reading your postings related to the ISSUES topics. Many of you have very strong feelings and the discussions really got you thinking. I believe that "deep thinking" is the key. As information professionals it's essential that we keep ourselves open to all perspectives and possibilities. The discussions need to continue and our policies need to evolve as changes occur in the technology.

With the advent of "Web 2.0," many websites are incorporating much more than static pages. From high level gaming to social networking these resources have tremendous potential for young people, but many of these materials also call for guidance from adults. We need to teach our young people to be responsible, ethical users of technology inside and outside the library.

Your comparisons of Acceptable Use Policies were interesting. You can see how important it is to periodically update policies as technology changes. Most policies were written in the late 80s or early 90s and have been gathering dust. However with all the discussion of Facebook, and other social technologies, many schools are revisiting their policies. I was particularly happy to see that some of you were disappointed by the "alarmist" approach of many policies. It seems to me that "Acceptable Use" should emphasize positive, responsible, ethical behavior rather than simply listing all the "bad things" that will get you in trouble. It was also interesting to see the differences between school and public library policies as well as those for young people versus adults. These are all considerations as you work on updating policies. Finally, be prepared for the future. The growing number of personal mobile devices including smartphones, e-book readers, and iPads will have an impact on library resources and policy. Many of these devices will tie into school or public library wi-fi systems. In addition, libraries will increasingly make devices that include apps available to users.

A number of people discussed the issue of whether people actually read the policies they are signing for themselves or their youth. In many situations, there's not even a signature required and parents and children aren't even aware of the policies unless they ask or search the library website. It's important that libraries make these policies known through posters, website notices, and other means of communication.

We also had some insightful discussions regarding filtering and Intellectual Freedom. If you think we have diverse perspectives in this class, wait until you go to a school board meeting or public library forum. It's important to keep an open mind. Balancing the philosophy of open access to information with the realities of running a school or public library will never be easy. However the more we talk about these issues among ourselves, the more prepared we will be to help patrons of all ages understand the importance of intellectual freedom. Keep in mind that preventing censorship is one of the foundations of public library, so remember this as you think of ways to use filters without restricting access.

It's common for people to talk about using filters to remove "unacceptable resources" and "bad materials." Remember that these are the same reasons that people have used to challenge print materials from Huck Finn to Harry Potter. When we act as "gatekeepers" we need to be sure our policies clearly state our selection and deselection policies. There are some schools that automatically filter my Flat Stanley Goes to Asia page because it contains the word cockpit. See if it's filtered at your library -

Whether you're new to libraries or already have a position, be sure to take some time to dive into the options on your automated cataloging system. The newest version of many of the software tools provide interesting options for organizing electronic resources. All of the companies are exploring ways to incorporate Web 2.0 features such as user comments and connections to digital resources. In particular, be thinking about the transmedia storytelling trend and how the books and related media and websites are going to be incorporated.

Update April 15

It's April 15 on Monday. Be sure to do your taxes BEFORE your class assignments!

We're blasting toward the end of the semester. I'm happy to see that you're all still working hard through the end of the Tremors.

Check out a Pew study on e-book reading.

All Tremor postings and replies should be completed on Monday April 15 except for the Tremor 9 reply. It is due Monday April 22.
Work on your WebQuest. It's due Monday April 22. If you need a couple extra days for the WebQuest, it's okay. Just let me know.

The final assignment is the Take a Stand project. It's due Wednesday April 24.

Friday April 27 is the last day to turn in assignments for credit.

We're done with readings!

I'll leave you alone and let you get to work!

Some of you chose to explore MARC records. Those of you who have had cataloging did a nice job addressing the questions of those new to cataloging. I find that the more you explore the records, the better you get at creating your own. It's getting more difficult to find open-access MARC records. Sometimes you need to choose ADVANCED or some other option in an online catalog to see the record itself. Although some libraries provide open access to their catalogs and MARC records, others are only available to patrons with library cards. I know many of you were disappointed with the quality and quantity of the Library of Congress resources. I agree!

Some of you were frustrated because different libraries seemed to use different tags. Here's the problem. Back in the 1980s the OPACs were just getting started in most schools and public libraries, library associations, state departments, and individual libraries were trying to figure out what would work best for cataloging electronic materials. When AACR2 came out in the late 70s, it addressed things like filmstrips and kits but it didn't anticipate the boom of electronic materials. I taught cataloging back in the 1980s and I can tell you it was a mess with everyone trying to figure out the best approach to handling computer cassettes and floppy disks. People who were "ahead of the pack" made decisions about how they would handle these new technologies. Some of these became woven into the AACR2 amendments, but many people went ahead and did their "own thing" while waiting for the official procedures. As a result, you'll find many variations depending on the individual library or MARC record provider.

I was on a state-wide committee in Ohio in the late 80s when people were really just beginning to talk about MARC records and statewide online catalogs for school and public libraries. We all agreed that the key to all cataloging is consistency. In other words, I don't care how you do it (within reason), just be consistent throughout your OPAC.

Regardless of whether you're talking about evaluating, purchasing, processing, or circulating electronic materials, it's essential to think about patron access and use. Poorly organized systems can be very frustrating. If young people can't easily find your electronic materials by browsing shelves, examining displays, or through searching your catalog, these materials won't be used. For instance, careful attention to the details of your MARC records will make your catalog more effective.

The final option explored open source software. As budgets become tighter, be sure to explore these options. For instance, many schools and libraries are now using the open source option TuxPaint rather than KidPix for young children. Keep in mind that not all of this software is "free." Some contain ads or security issues. Before you select software be sure it meets your selection criteria. Increasingly you're going to hear the words "copy left." Wikipedia has a nice overview at

Read more at Free Software Foundation at

Update April 8

I hope you're enjoying spring weather! We have less than a month left in class. It's whizzing by fast!


Tremor 7 reply is due Monday April 8.
Tremor 8 is due Monday April 8.
Tremor 8 reply is due Monday April 15.
Tremor 9 (the last Tremor, whee!!!) is due Monday April 15.

Upcoming, you have Tremor 9 reply, the WebQuest Project, and the Take a Stand Project.

It's time for your last reading assignment. Many people forget about the many wonderful electronic materials in your collection because they can't "see" them. In some cases, electronic resources are kept in a cabinet in the back room. Or, they're digital and stored on computer hard drives or networks. How can you ensure that people know these materials are available? Think of creative ways to make these "virtual" resources more visible.

Read Promotion -

As you think about promotion, consider how you maker ebooks visible to users.
Read Making eBooks on the eBook Reader Visible

The key to a great WebQuest is the introduction and scenario. I was a little disappointed in some of the pathfinder introductions, so I thought I'd give you some suggestions. Remember, the WebQuest should be written FOR children and young adults! You can create an separate page or appendix for librarians, club leaders, adults, parents, or teachers. If you're going to work with this population you need to know what's "cool, sweet, hot,... or whatever". In other words, we're trying to teach, motivate, or encourage kids so we need to generate excitement! This appeal should include choosing colors, fonts, and graphics that will appeal to the target age group as well as a conversational approach that young people would enjoy.

Rather than "make a PowerPoint presentation," "write a report" or "answer questions", think of a creative way for students to express themselves... could they create and videotape a historic skit? conduct an email interview for a career exploration? create a Powerpoint presentation for a real audience such as the Parks and Recreation board? or design a logo for the library? make a bulletin board your library entry way? participate in a "green day" at your library? This is particularly important for the WebQuests designed for the public library setting, but equally important for school settings.

Building exciting tasks is sometimes the hardest part of creating a good WebQuest. Regardless of whether you're working with standards in a school setting or "learning goals" in a non-school situation, it's essential that the WebQuest have a clear mission or purpose. What you do want students to accomplish?

Go to the Taskonomy page for ideas:

If you'd like to go through some step-by-step training materials, check out the WebQuest Training Materials at

Go to WebQuest Design Patterns for lots of templates

Many of you working in public libraries might wish to focus on the "fun" in exploration of a topic such as magic, skateboarding, crafts, camping, hiking, gardening, or the family fun of creating a family scrapbook. Although students may need to gather, analyze, and organize information as part of the process, design a motivating product that will appeal to children and young adults. In other words, many types of inquiry can happen outside a school setting.

For instance, you might encourage a child to learn magic tricks and provide LOTS of ideas for holding a family magic show.

For the assessment aspect of the WebQuest, public librarians may consider a "checklist" rather than a rubric or other type of evaluation.

For instance, you might provide a checklist for a child's family magic show event.

The easiest way to create a Webquest is by using the QuestGarden 1.0 (30 day trial; just need to finish in 30 days) from at

Another choice is

Weebly and Google Sites are another great choice for posting a WebQuest. If you haven't used Google Sites this is a great excuse to spend a little time to use this easy website builder.

Technology Requirement for WebQuest
Keep in mind that you need websites, databases, and/or software included. You ARE NOT required to include all three. You can also include books, video, and any other materials that might be useful. You are free to reuse things from your pathfinder if you wish. Or, you can use a new topic.

It's important to include students in the use of computer tools for production. It's helpful if you can provide students with samples, models, or examples of products or checklists to guide their work. This is also part of the requirement. If you're having trouble thinking of a simple product, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND using one of the ReadWriteThink tools to help students create and print an interesting product -

Or, try some tools designed for young people such as Inspiration, TuxPaint, or Comic Life. How about some of the Web 2.0 applications you've explored such as Delicious and YouTube?

Keep in mind that you'll need to provide simple directions for how to produce a product. You don't need a full blown tutorial, but it's helpful to provide step-by-step instructions with screen shots to help students learn to use some of the web-based tools or software applications.

Include a website or resource that will get students "involved" with the Internet... it might be an email interview, interactive game, post a poem, write a quiz, or online tool that they can use. Use some of the following links for ideas

Be sure to read the project guidelines and evaluation. This is what I use to judge your project.

Literature is a great focal point for a WebQuest. Check out some literature-based webquests for ideas

A few people are nervous about incorporating state standards into their WebQuest project. Use the following websites for some ideas.
Indiana Standards

Nationwide, the Common Core State Standards are being followed. You can find both math and English/LA standards. In addition, science and social studies standards in literacy are listed. This is an easy way connect standards to your project. Go to

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions about your project. The best way to learn about WebQuest is to look at lots of examples! :-)

My husband, Larry Johnson is teaching the S603 High Tech Learning course for the last time this summer. If you'd like to learn more about this course, go to This course is appropriate for all library types. If you've had S401, you have all the skills you need to be successful in this course.

If you want to take my S580 Library History course this summer, sign up soon. It's almost full.

Update April 1

Happy Easter weekend and Happy April Fool's Day!

Read the great article on Bringing Up an EReader


Tremor 7 is due Monday April 1.
Tremor 7 reply is due Monday April 8.
Tremor 8 is due Monday April 15.
Work on your last Tremor, 9. It's due Monday April 15.
Work on your WebQuest project.

Grades for Project 2 have been posted and you should have received an email with comments. Let me know if I need to resend this information..

Read Collection Issues -
Read Acceptable Use of Electronic Materials -
Read Filtering Tools and Issues -
Read Copyright Issues -
Read Citing Sources -
Read Plagiarism -


Most of the issues discussed this week will deal with concerns associated with electronic materials for children and young adults. If you're accustomed to working with adults, it's important to think of the unique needs of children and young adults related to electronic materials.

Issues such as plagiarism must be explored within the context of copyright, citing sources, and understanding the writing process. Topics such as filtering and acceptable use must be addressed while discussing intellectual freedom, the right to read, and teaching children and young adults to be responsible users of electronic technology.

In other words, it's important not to view issues in isolation. Instead, consider all of the perspectives along with the unique needs of young people.


Overall, I thought your projects were fine. However in many cases I was hoping for more specifics. Electronic databases are wonderful resources, however they are often overlooked. They don't have the physical presence of a book or the glamour of a DVD. They're just solid information. It's essential that these resources are easy to access so quality tutorials and motivating promotional materials are essential.

The place that some people lost points was the additional uses and applications. Beyond the examples used in your tutorial and activity, I was seeking additional examples that would show children or young adults the potential of the database. A few of you did an outstanding job going well beyond the basic requirements of the project.

Think of the many ways these information resources could be used to gather, compare, synthesize, and evaluate information in language arts, science, social studies, and other subject areas. Think of the ways they could be used in a public library to find information about personal heroes, possible pets, vacation ideas, or other possibilities. Young people need MANY examples of how they might both find information, but also use the information they find.

The transmedia storytelling option is a fairly new assignment option. From travel stories and mysteries to inspirational stories, I was very excited by the results. Be sure to go back and explore the wide range of wonderful projects.

Keep in mind that people have been combining text, graphics, audio, and video into multimedia projects for a long time. What makes transmedia storytelling interesting is the potential for cross genre (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, oral history, etc) and nonlinear (multiple entry points and options for exploration) approaches that move seamlessly across media. A couple of you did a great job thinking about how transmedia can extend to social technologies too.

You should be thinking about Project 3: WebQuest. How is a WebQuest different from your first two projects?

A WebQuest is an inquiry-based and project-based approach to learning. Most WebQuests provide a pathfinder "within" the WebQuest to help students with the project. It's a guided learning experience. Many WebQuests also incorporate tutorials to help students just specific resources. Think of a WebQuest as a self-contained learning experience. Although an adult may be there to facilitate the experience, the WebQuest materials for the young person should provide all the information a learner needs to be successful. The teacher or adult materials should provide ideas to help guide the experience.

Here's a quick overview of an example. You might start with a grocery store scenario. Then provide a "big question" or TASK such as "paper or plastic"... what's the best choice when they ask at the grocery store? You set up activities to help students with this question such as small groups representing different points of view (paper industry, plastic industry, environmentalist, grocer association) and provide resources to help them solve their problem. You provide RESOURCES (like a pathfinder), GUIDANCE (like a chart to complete, guidelines for investigation, tutorial, directions for poster making, options for final project), EVALUATION (checklist or rubric), and CONCLUSION (presentation for the local grocery stores or poster about the options and best choice).

Remember, it doesn't need to be a K-12 school project. Let's consider a public library example. As part of a babysitting program at your library, you might create a WebQuest that takes young people through the process of becoming a Super Babysitter or finding a summer job! Rather than a traditional assessment at the end, you might conclude with a checklist for babysitting and a Super Sitter certificate for completing the WebQuest.

Remember to check the examples from previous semesters at

I'm happy to help if you have questions.

I hope to e-see you in another online course this fall!

S604 Marketing for Libraries
Instructor: Annette Lamb

Marketing is much more than creating attractive displays and updating your Facebook status, it's about meeting the needs of individuals and groups. If library users aren't aware of your resources and services, they're unlikely to visit your physical or virtual library. If they've had a bad experience in the past, they may be sharing this negativity with their friends and colleagues. Marketing is about understanding the needs and interests of current and potential users, reaching those individuals with quality resources and services, and evaluating the experience so adjustments can be made to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal.

This three-credit hour graduate course focuses on the application of marketing concepts, techniques, and technologies for all library types. Emphasis is on matching library customers with services through information, education, persuasion, and partnerships. Topics include planning, audience analysis, needs assessment, market analysis, goal-setting, message design, public relations, publicity, promotion, advocacy, assessment and evaluation, internal and external communication, and change theory.

What do people want and need from a library? What services can your library provide? How can services be connected with the needs of current and potential library users? Regardless of whether you're interested in academic, school, public, and/or other special library settings, this course will expand your thinking about the essential role of marketing.

Join me for this 100% online course in Fall 2013 for the most important and practical elective of your graduate program.

The course materials are available online, check them out at

S672 Seminar in Literature for Youth - Nonfiction and Informational Reading Focus
Instructor: Annette Lamb

Boring, lifeless nonfiction books are out! Engaging, visually-rich informational reading is in! While youth may read informational books for pleasure, nonfiction works can also be used to explore ideas, gain insights, broaden perspectives, and build knowledge. In this course, you'll learn to spice up the youth nonfiction section of a school or public library.

Informational reading and nonfiction works play a key role in the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This emphasis is generating new demands for both school and public libraries as well as opportunities for collection development and collaboration. This course will explore a wide range of informational texts. In addition, it will examine issues related to selecting quality, complex texts, addressing the needs of reluctant readers, and engaging young people in stimulating reading experiences.

From graphic biographies and histories to plant and animal field guides, libraries are full of engaging nonfiction for children and young adults. By pairing popular fiction with nonfiction books, identifying clusters of related works, introducing graphic novel-style nonfiction to reluctant readers, and tying engaging nonfiction works to online tools and ebook resources, librarians can attract new readers and promote essential 21st century skills.

In addition, this course explores ways that readers' advisory services can be used to connect nonfiction titles with readers through both direct and indirect means. Finally, nonfiction reading is fun! This course provides opportunities to read and analyze a wide range of nonfiction books for youth.

The introduction of the Common Core State Standards emphasis on informational reading makes this a particularly timely topic for school and public librarians alike. Come join the fun!

This is a required course in some specializations and an elective in the rest of the program. It is HIGHLY recommended for those interested in school librarianship and public librarianship. However it's fun for everyone.

To view the syllabus, go to

S681 The Book 1450+
Instructor: Annette Lamb

From book smuggling and censorship to scandalous content and astonishing illustrations, the history of the book is filled with adventure and intrigue. When you look at a book, you may see a cover and bound pages. However a book is ultimately the story of people. From the author, illustrator, typesetter, and printer to the publisher, bookseller, and reader, a book is much more than a physical object. It's an artifact that reflects a connection to people, places, periods, and society.

This three-credit graduate course provides a survey of the book from 1450 to the present, with emphasis on the development of the book in the West. It focuses on the physical aspects of the book from the mid-fifteenth through the twentieth centuries, and on some of the many roles of the book in society during this period. It also increases awareness of current scholarly trends in the history of the book.

It will include 1) a review theoretical models and scholarly trends in the fields of book history, 2) an examination key scholarship in the field, 3) a survey of the processes of print creation, production, dissemination, and reception in the larger social, economic, and political context, and 4) considerations for how the history of the book as a material object and as an agent of intellectual and social change helps us understand the digital revolution.

While it's impossible to explore the wide range of associated disciplines in detail, this course will provide a broad overview with many opportunities to explore areas of personal and professional interest.

To view the syllabus, go to

Update March 25

It's finally feeling like spring in Utah. Hope it's warming up where ever you are this week!

A recent court case has found that the common practice of excerpting and linking to online articles is a fair use rather than copyright infringement. Keep in mind that it's still important to cite the source. Read more at


Now that your Tutorial/Transmedia project has been posted, you may go back and update it through Monday March 25 if you wish.

Your Tutorial/Transmedia Enhancement is due Monday March 25. Keep in mind that your enhancement should be substantial!

Tremor 7 is due Monday April 1.


This would be a good time to check the Oncourse Gradebook to be sure your records match mine. Tremors 1-6 have been graded. I'll be grading the Tutorial/Transmedia projects after all of the enhancements have been added.

We've explored all the resources. Now let's think about developing collections of electronic materials. Traditional book collections are easy to see. You have nice rows of books that are easy to access. How do you select, organize and provide access to electronic collections? Let's do some exploring.

Read Collection Development -
Read Audio/Video Collection Development -
Read Selection of Software -
Read Software Evaluation Tools -
Read Selection of Web Resources -
Read Evaluating Web Resources -
Read Publishers of Software -

Since we're exploring audio and video this week, I thought I'd share a cool resource. It's called the Playaway. It's a self-contained MP3 audiobook product. Although many of the titles are for adults, they're also working on titles for kids such as Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe and more current books like The Hunger Games. Go to . These would be great alternative to checking out books on tape or CD since the player is all self-contained.

Playaway now produce video products too!

As you explore the "collection development" aspect of the readings, you'll learn a little about MARC records and cataloging electronic materials. In past semesters, I required everyone to create a MARC record for their electronic materials since many of you didn't have this experience in a cataloging class. I'm not going to require this any more, but you need to be aware of the issues.

If you're new to librarianship, you may not know much about cataloging. Think of a MARC record as an electronic version of a card catalog card/entry. When cataloging electronic materials, you should go through the same technical processing procedures as you do with other library materials.

For a quick overview of the MARC fields go to

Try World Cat at
For the complete MARC record, explore the records provided by different libraries.

For practice, go to the Library of Congress website at
Do a search for the educational software package called SimCity
Notice at a number of items come up including the "computer file" SimCity.
Try another one such as Freddi Fish or Inspiration and notice the results.
Unfortunately, LOC has limited electronic resources.

Several of you created wonderful guides and instructions for using technology tools. Be sure to check out the super postings of your classmates.

Someone expressed concerns about the balance of on- and off- computer activities for young people. I think it's important to ask yourself about the value of tools for individual children. Some students have a hard time getting started with creative projects, so a tool such as Digital Lego or TuxPaint might "kickstart" the project. In other cases, working with real Lego pieces or going outside with a digital camera will stimulate creativity. The key to all of these tools is thinking about the individual needs of the young person.

Someone pointed out the issue of using free services or subscription services. Keep in mind that particularly for young children, advertising can be very distracting in addition to simply annoying. If you have a budget also keep in mind that many great websites rely on donations to keep their service ad-free.

Whenever you store information at a remote site, be sure to read their guidelines. In many cases, you give up ownership of your content when you post at a free service. Consider services that use a "copyleft" approach. In other words, what you post is placed in the public domain rather than being owned by the service.

Comic Life is my personal favorite. I think it's well worth the small cost. Keep in mind that you can export Comic Life as a HTML document but the images that must all be uploaded and made available to the public if you're using Oncourse. You can also export as a JPG, PDF and a couple other ways. If you upload the original Comic Life files, end users will need to have the application to view your comic.

When you're working with Comic Life consider taking your own photographs. They are easy to import. If you use the works of others, be sure to give credit. Also think about the many other types of visuals that can be includes such as scanned drawings, charts, graphs, symbols, and maps.

It's time for your third project. It won't be due for a while, but it's a good idea to get started early so you have some time to think and explore.

A WebQuest is an inquiry-based approach to information exploration or learning. It should be child centered. In other words, it should be written FOR the child and/or young adult audience, NOT for the teacher or adult. However, you may want to create an "adult" section at the end that contains notes or resources for the teacher, parent, or other adult.

You may wonder about the relationship between a Pathfinder and a WebQuest. A pathfinder can easily become the "RESOURCES" section of a WebQuest. A WebQuest provides the CONTEXT for an inquiry-based activity involving a motivating scenario and/or task, steps or processes to address the problem, web-based resources, guidance and ideas for young people, and an evaluation or reflection.

Although WebQuest began in education with topics such as social issues, literature-web resources connections, and history/science topics, they DO NOT need to be education-centered.

Those of you interested in public library work might want to do something that relates to a library promotion or activity for children or young adults. You can "tweak" the requirements to fit your needs. For example, rather than "evaluation" you might have "things to consider" or "reflective questions". Public library WebQuests sometimes focus on topics such as career exploration, finding a job, or other work or leisure activities such as gardening or cooking. Also think about WebQuests related to nonprofits or clubs such as a 4H project, gaming, sports, science fair, art fair, or nature project.

You should explore lots of examples before jumping into the development of a WebQuest. As you begin thinking about your Webquest Project, BE SURE to go to:

WebQuests and Web 2.0 at
Dive into WebQuests: Reading, Writing, and Web 2.0 at
Teacher Tap: WebQuests at
Internet Expeditions at

For the "big picture" go to
For lots of examples, go to

I'm happy to e-discuss your project idea if you have questions.

Please consider taking my online course this summer. It's for all library types and was specifically designed as a fun summer choice! It won't be offered again until 2015, so if you want it take it now!

Summer 2013
S580 History of Libraries
Instructor: Annette Lamb

From stone tablets to digital tablets, the history of libraries is a fascinating exploration of culture, politics, and society around the world. Whether exploring the great Library of Alexandria or rural libraries of the 1900s, there's something for everyone interested in understanding the impact libraries have had on life through history.

Designed specifically for the short summer school schedule, you'll explore The Beginnings of Libraries, Ancient Libraries, Early Libraries, Modern Libraries, Contemporary Libraries, and Libraries of Today and Tomorrow. Each student will have the opportunity to examine a personal or professional area of interest within the history of libraries.

From hidden walls in the libraries of Ancient China to book burnings of the 20th century, the history of libraries is filled with intrigue and adventure along with censorship and destruction. Join me Summer I 2013 for an engaging 100% online course. History has never been so relevant AND exciting!

Regardless of whether you're interested in academic, school, public, corporate, health, and/or other special library settings, this course is a great elective. To plan and succeed in the future, we must learn from the past!

This course makes a great companion to S681: History of the Book 1450+. Consider taking both course for twice the fun!

To learn more about this engaging, summer course, go to the course website at

I'm happy to answer questions if you'd like to learn more about this course.

This summer will be the LAST offering of high tech learning. If you enjoy technology in libraries, this is the class for you!

S603 High Tech Learning
Instructor: Larry Johnson
From blogs to wikis, today's learners have access to a wide range of technology tools and learning spaces. This course explores these technologies and examines how librarians and educators can facilitate high tech learning. High tech learning refers to the constantly evolving hardware, software, and networking tools and resources available to those wishing to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values through formal instruction or free inquiry. Because of the virtual nature of these digital tools and resources, high tech learning can occur anywhere, anytime. Libraries, educational institutions, museums, and community organizations all play a role in facilitating this type of learning.

This three-credit course explores high tech learning tools and spaces. Participants explore how technology tools can be used to produce texts, illustrations, photographs, sounds, videos, and animations for use in teaching and learning. Next, participants examine the role of librarians and educators in facilitating learning spaces through the use of technologies such as email, forums, blogs, virtual conferencing, collaborative web/wikis, social networks, course management systems, desktop spaces, and interactives. Along the way, participants examine evidence of the effectiveness of each technology as well as issues associated with their use. This course will expand your thinking about the integral role of technology in a school, academic, and/or public library setting.

Update March 18

It was Spring break. Does it feel like spring? It was over 100 degrees in Death Valley this week. It's good to be home where it's in the 50s.

Work on Project 2.

No new readings.

Your Tutorial/Transmedia Project is due on Monday March 18.

Tremor 6 Reply is due Monday March 18.

The Tutorial/Transmedia Project Enhancement is due Monday March 25.

Update Spring Break

Howdy Class!

Since it's Spring Break, my husband and I are going to spend a few "technology-free" days camping in Death Valley National Park. If you need us, we'll be back online after the weekend.

I know most of you won't get to enjoy any time off during Spring Break. However, at least stop for a few minutes to take a breathe before jumping into the rest of the semester.

Update March 11

Enjoy your Spring Break!

Here's some fun Spring Break reading...


Also, check out the new survey on ebook usage at

Nothing is due this week!

Tremor 6 reply is due Monday March 18.

Work on the Tutorial/Transmedia Project. It's due Monday March 18.

You have until Monday March 25 to add enhancements and suggestions to peer projects. You can also make updates to your own project based on feedback you receive or areas you see as needing refinement. However the completed project must be first be posted March 18 and no changes can be made after March 25.

From books to DVDs, people are always declaring the death of a media. For instance, you might think that the end of interactive CDs is nearly here. However particularly if you live in a rural area, keep in mind that not everyone has access to the Internet at home. Think about ways to promote this older technology among those who might not have access to online options. In addition, stand-alone resources such as Playway MP3s allow people without technology at home to be able to use audiobooks.

I enjoyed your thoughts on e-books. Many people pointed out that it's hard to cuddle up with technology. However I love to cuddle up with my laptop or ipad. It's nice and warm on my lap in the winter. I also like the ability to enlarge the font... my old eyes can no longer read mass market paperbacks. If I really want to read a book, I want a Kindle, Nook, or iPad rather than a laptop. Actually I find the Kindle the best for basic reading because it's light-weight and the new e-ink works great with my aging eyes. The iPad is useful for full-color such as comics, interactive books, etc.

Also, a number of people pointed out that the free websites they explored didn't have the great features described in the articles. The features available in Web 2.0 such as tagging, commenting, audio, images, etc. can greatly enhance these low-level, text-based e-books. Also, keep in mind the "generational differences" that some of you pointed out. What might lead to "tired eyes" for us might be "cool" to the next generation. This is particularly true of reading on devices like the iPhone.

Remember that being able to read off the screen is a 21st century skill. Just as some students have trouble scanning down the page on paper, many children have trouble finding their place when the screen scrolls. Students need experience and practice with this skill. Reading fiction is good practice because people tend to read rather than skim works of fiction.

As a reminder, an e-book is generally self-contained. In other words, you download it to your computer to read as a PDF, you download it to a device such as a Kindle/Nook, or you read it online in a specialized website using online software that provides tools such as arrows for moving, highlighters, bookmarks or other reading assistance. They generally have the "look and feel" of a book with a page-like interface.

The children's books online can take many different forms. They may simply be a web page with text, pictures, and/or audio. Some of these have lots of animation, music, and other features not typically found in a traditional book. They may or may not have the "look and feel" of a book.

I have thousands of books in my personal library and love visiting school and public libraries, so books will always be part of my life. However if I'm driving, an audiobook makes sense. If I want to explore a nonfiction topic that might contain audio or video clips, historical photos, or charts and graphs, I really like the idea of an online book. Or, if I'm reading an interactive story like a "choose your own adventure", the ipad makes sense to me. I don't like to lug books along when I fly, so I take my Kindle.

There wasn't much discussion of Google Books at as a way to read books online. Keep in mind that you can search for full-text versions if you'd like to read entire books rather than just explore previews. If you're looking for books for young people, many are tagged with the word juvenile.

Most of you chose text-intensive e-books. Consider reading more visual books online such as graphic novels. If you want to try some, find examples with G to R ratings at

An increasing number of commercial e-book services for young people are now available. Many of these such as Tumblebooks and Scholastic BookFlix provide a trial subscription you might want to consider.
Tumblebooks -
Scholastic BookFlix -

Book preservation, the cost of paper, the use of disposable batteries, and the green movement... all of these things could have an impact on the future of e-book technology.

Finally, when reading off a laptop it's easy to get distracted by email, ads, and the other resources the computer offers. I love being able to open a paper-based book or a Kindle book so I can focus on nothing but the words on the page without the threat of a phone call.

Also, e-books are great for travel. On a trip to Europe I walked all over the cities carrying dozens of travel books on my little Kindle rather than lugging a backpack with guides. We worked our way through the Vatican museum room-by-room following our e-book travel guide.

In the end, I spend so much time in my work life using technology that my preference is laying on a warm rock under a pine tree reading a hardback book made of paper. On the other hand, iPads are just plain cool and my Kindle is sooo easy. ;-)

It looks like some of you had fun exploring the learning software, collaborative projects, interactives, and social technologies. Keep in mind that all the resources from this course will remain online, so you may want to go back later and explore some of the other options.


If you're thinking about a transmedia project, you may wish to use primary sources and photographs from the web.

I recommend using public domain or creative commons so you don't need to worry about permissions. You're also okay with US government materials from places like Library of Congress, USGS, CDC.. they all have image collections you can use.

You can't always find the perfect image, but you'll feel better about your product if you don't worry about copyright.

Consider using wikimedia commons at all the images are ones that are freely useable for student projects.

Also, consider OpenClipArt for great clipart illustrations at

Also, check and do an advanced search by creative commons. You can do the same with Google in an advanced search.

Be careful when re-using images you find on the web. Although you are using the images for educational purposes, you still need to provide specific citations unless the images are in the public domain or from a subscription service that you have permission to use. A credits note at the bottom of the page is fine. A few people indicated you used "Google Images." Google doesn't own these images, it's simply a search engine to identify images on the web. You need to cite each individual image that you use.

Update March 4

We're getting finally getting winter here in Utah, I'm ready for spring.

No new readings this week!

Tremor 5 reply is due Monday March 4.

Tremor 6 is due Monday March 4 and the reply is due Monday March 18.

Your Tutorial/Transmedia Project is due Monday March 18. Then, the enhancement is due Monday March 25.

I enjoyed your pathfinders. Overall everyone did an excellent job. You should all have received your grade and feedback through email.

Through interesting text and motivating graphics, many of you did a great job appealing to the audience of this course, children and young adults. Way to go! A few people were confused about the audience for the pathfinder. Since this course is about electronic materials for CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS, young people should be your audience for ALL the projects this semester. Although you may have a section for adults or leaders, the materials themselves such as the websites, databases, and resources should be aimed at kids.

A few people lost points for lack of depth related to selection criteria or extension activities. For the final couple projects, be sure to read the evaluation criteria carefully, this is how I award points for the projects.

Some people lost points for the 3 point enhancement aspect of the assignment. I was looking for in-depth feedback, but more importantly additional resources and examples.

Keep in mind that a pathfinder is not a substitute for assistance in searching or teaching information skills. Instead, it's a tool to provide young people with a starting point for exploration. Searching independently can be very time consuming. In many cases, a teacher or parent would rather have young people spend their time synthesizing information rather than conducting searches. In addition, particularly for young children locating materials at an appropriate reading level can be frustrating.

Also remember that the creation of pathfinders is becoming increasingly important in the job of a school librarian or children's/ya librarian. Although we've concentrated on electronic pathfinders, keep in mind that pathfinders can include a wide range of materials including maps, kits, DVDs, music, books, and reference materials. Some even include email addresses of experts and local contact information. Keeping pathfinders up-to-date is a challenge, but it's worth the time.

Be sure to review the Tutorial/Transmedia section of the course.
Review the assignment page -
Review the evaluation page -

Keep in mind that you have TWO options. Choose ONE.

DATABASE OPTION 1 - Your job is to create a Database Guide that young people can use to learn to use the database. Since this is considered the "easy option" and one that many of you may have done before, my expectations are VERY HIGH. In other word, professional quality handouts that are ready to print and share, MANY examples and samples, integration of this database into MANY activities.

Your materials should take students through the database and provide LOTS of sample searches, tips and strategies for using the database, and sample searches. Remember, your audience is YOUNG PEOPLE so think about their needs and interests.

Your project should also include a SEPARATE resource for adults/teachers and/or students focusing on a PARTICULAR assignment or project. This part of the assignment is pretty flexible and might include a assignment handout for students, an evaluation checklist, a lesson plan, along with whatever you think a teacher and students would need to be successful in applying the database within an assignment or project. This can be designed for a school or children/ya public library setting.

Finally, you need to include ADDITIONAL ideas for other ways the database could be used beyond the assignment that you describe in detail. Discuss different ways young people could use the database for a variety of projects or activities. In other words, ideas for use. For instance if you focused on using the Biography Resource Center for Hoosier projects, think about other projects that might focus on famous inventors, world leaders, peacemakers, or authors... how many DIFFERENT ways could use use this database?

Remember, this is NOT just a tremor assignment. Outstanding projects should be substantial.

TRANSMEDIA OPTION 2 - This is the creative option. Yes, it will be a challenge, but it will be rewarding. Review existing materials, then build your own transmedia storytelling experience.

Be sure to check out the examples I made at
Pet Shop (animated poem with nonfiction information)
TwinTales (short story with fictional news website)
Family History Tutorial (fictional inquiry with tutorial

Notice in each examples there's MUCH MORE than simply a poem, story or anecdote. There are multimedia elements, cross-genre elements (poetry paired with nonfiction, short stories paired with fictional news accounts, stories connected to tutorials), and multi-platform (PDF, animation, website, video, audio... linked together). Also, the various elements can be accessed different ways. While some aspects might include a beginning, middle, and end... other elements can be browsed. Be creative. How could you weave QR codes into a story that moves around your library? Or, how could use connect a science news story with a work of science fiction?

I recently created a new online workshop to help people interested in exploring and creating Transmedia projects.

Go to

Update February 25

Howdy everyone -

This email is chuck-full of information about Project 2. Be sure to read it carefully.

Your grades from Tremors 1-4 have been posted.

It's a busy couple weeks for assignments. Be sure you don't miss anything.

Pathfinder Enhancement is due Monday February 25.
Tremor 5 is due Monday February 25.
Tremor 5 reply is due Monday March 4.
Tremor 6 is due Monday March 4.

Remember that your peer enhancement should be posted in Oncourse and it should be substantial. It's worth 3 points (more detailed than a Tremor posting).

It's fine to update your Pathfinder with the feedback and suggestions provided by your peers. This isn't required, but it may increase the quality of your project.

If you're working with the Comic Life software for Tremor 6, please export your work so others can view it easily. Under the File menu, there's an option to EXPORT as HTML, JPG, or PDF files. Most software packages provide an EXPORT option and it's normally found under the File menu. This will also reduce the size of the file for easier uploading.

We're moving into an exploration of creativity tools for young people. Children and young adults love to make things. Think of ways to support their inventive thinking.

Read Creativity Resources on CD and DVDs -

Read Creativity Resources Apps -

Read Creativity Resources on the Web -


You're all doing an excellent job creating postings and thoughtful replies. Thanks for going back and making additional comments to enhance the discussions and also answering classmate questions. I can tell everyone is learning!

Virtual Field Trips - A few people expressed their frustrations with virtual field trips. In many cases they aren't any more than a poor pathfinder. Seek out trips that actually provide a virtual experience including video or photographs. My favorites are those that provide a clickable map or allow you to "walk around" a real or virtual place.

Access to primary resources and real-world data are two examples of how web-based resources have changed the way young people do research. Before digital documents became common place, it was impossible to access many of the documents available in our world's libraries and museums.

Next time I hope a few more people will choose the creative option. Creating e-scrapbooks is a blast. These fun activities can really bring inquiry and learning alive for people of all ages. If you didn't get a chance to try Comic Life for this assignment, think about using it for a future Tremor such as Tremor 6 or one of your projects. It's lots of fun!


It's time to begin thinking about Project 2.
Read the directions at
Read the criteria for evaluation at

You have TWO options for this assignment. You just need to choose 1 of the 2 options.

OPTION 1: Database Tutorial Project

Keep in mind that the value of databases for young people is the quality of information and ease of access based on the structured, searchable organization system. Unlike a traditional website where simple links are used to move among pages, databases use a query system to retrieve the desired records (pages). Databases have a very precise organizational system that allows keyword searches and other kinds of specific queries. Unfortunately, not all databases are well-designed making some difficult to use.

Consider exploring something new and different. Consider a database you've heard about, but not used.

Special Note!!!!
You can use any electronic database, it doesn't necessarily need to be a part of Inspire. It could be something your public or school library subscribes to for this assignment such as Opposing Viewpoints, Facts on File, or SIRS.

Keep in mind that it's okay to focus on one aspect of a database or resource area. For example, you'll find Primary Search, Middle Search Plus, any more in the Kids section of Inspire. It contains many different resources. You could just focus on a particular type of information, assignment, or information inquiry.

If you choose the Teen section of Inspire it looks like there's only one "search area" because it goes directly to a MAS Ultra search, but if you click CHOOSE DATABASES, you'll see a specific list that includes Newspaper Source, Knight Ridder Collection, Regional Business News, Military & Government Collection, and many more. Choose one of these specific areas.

Also, consider that you could use an area within a database. Some have many subsections. Remember many of the "adult" databases can be used with YOUNG PEOPLE depending on the topic and course. Be creative! Think about the information and learning needs of young people.

Finally, remember that you can use a web-based database such as a collection at a digital library or museum. It should be a large collection that contains ADVANCED SEARCH options. If you take this approach, please run it past me first to be sure it will work for this assignment.

The Butterflies and Moths of North America is an example.
It contains ways to browse by taxonomic groups, map search, image search, and image gallery.

Share your database idea with your Cohort Guide. If possible, do not overlap topics with other students. I'd like to have no more than 2 people doing the same database.

If you're unsure about your selection, feel free to email me with your options. I'm happy to help.

OPTION 2: Transmedia Storytelling Project

If you already know about databases and have experience building tutorials, this is a chance to try something more creative.

Transmedia storytelling is a new way to think about reading experiences. Your job is to explore the world of transmedia storytelling and write a short review of one example. Then, do some brainstorming about the possibilities. Review the transmedia page at

Next, create your own transmedia storytelling experience. The assignment page contains lots of options.

Remember, this is your chance to be creative. There are very few examples of this new multiformat approach to storytelling so they there are no "right" or "wrong" answers. I'm happy to e-brainstorm if you'd like to bounce around ideas.

Recently, we've been exploring both fact and fiction that can be found on the web. In the past, only a few scholars were able to share their ideas with the world. Today anyone with access to the Internet can post information or misinformation around the world in seconds. It's essential that students and teachers understand how information is gathered, organized, and published.

A student asked the following question and it got me writing (and then rambling).
"I am interested in your thoughts about students using Wikipedia as a reference source for research. What are your reasons for your opinion?"

This is a great question and it would be nice if there were a simple answer. I don't have one, but I do have some things for people to consider. Everyone has an opinion on this topic. Here's mine.

1 - I consider wikipedia in the same reference category of information as other encyclopedia. In other words, it's a SECOND or THIRD level source. I use any encyclopedia (print, electronic, digital) as a starting point for background information. Then, I use the references in the article to begin searching for the key people, authors, and primary source materials. If you scroll to the bottom of a wikipedia page you'll find references and external links.

2 - I think it's fine to cite wikipedia in the same way that you'd cite World Book or any other reference resource. In other words, it would be appropriate in some cases, but not others. I would use wikipedia as a source of information as long as it is ONE of MANY resources that may provide help with the "big picture", background information, and alternative perspectives. In other words, it's not a question of citing information. It's a question of whether you are taking the information as FACT or as ONE of MANY sources that may contain bias. In other words, I'm more interested in HOW the student is using the information in their report. If the student is citing population data, they may find the information in wikipedia. However they should NOT cite wikipedia for this information. They should locate the link at the bottom of the wiki page that will take them to the US Census data and double-check the number at the official government website. The Census bureau should be the citation. On the other hand, if the student is defining the characteristics of podcasting, wikipedia may be one of a number of articles cited as possible definitions. This would be noted in the student's paper such as "the definition of podcasting is evolving and includes..." that there are many opinions and that wikipedia provides a perspective based on collaborative input.

2 - I think that it's important that students understand how a wikipedia is put together and revised. Just like understanding the use of references at the end of a scholarly article, they need to look for and use the more primary sources cited in the wikipedia articles rather than relying on the information in the wikipedia article. Most wikipedia articles contain references and links at the bottom of the page as well as external resources. In most cases you can go directly to this resource with a simple link. This type of reference checking is difficult or impossible in print encyclopedia where many of the resources are not easily available for evaluation.

3 - One reason that I think it's IMPORTANT to use wikipedia is that it provides an alternative to corporate publishing. In other words, it can take months or years to get some materials published in a print form. Lesser known works may never get printed. Some people working with timely topics may not wish to publishing in a form such as paper that is not easily revised. Others like the collaborative power of the online environment where people can build on the ideas started by others. Many like the idea that wiki is self-correcting and allows alternative perspectives. Here are some examples:
Your print and many electronic materials say that Pluto is a planet. As of Aug 2006, wikipedia had the correct information. Pluto is not a planet.
For any major event such as sporting events, elections, etc., wikipedia will provide the updated information immediately.
For major scientific discoveries, wikipedia will begin reporting as soon as the research can be cited.
If I want the latest commonly agreed upon definition of new technology terms, I go to wikipedia. Wikipedia has some lesser known topics that aren't well documented in other places. This particularly true of basic information about people and places.

4 - Print materials rarely come with warning notices. Wikipedia does a great job informing users about concerns about quality. For example, warning notices often appear at the top of an article stating "this is a rapidly changing topic" or "this is a controversial topic" or "this article can only be editing by established wiki writers". This is very helpful for young people.

5 - I like to use the HISTORY feature in wikipedia to see how an article has evolved and how it has been edited. You can also determine the mix of authors and the changing ideas as the article was written. This provides insights into the quality and usefulness of the information.

A - Think about the purpose of citations in a student report or any communication. They are intended to help the reader judge the value of the information being presented. Because wikipedia is constantly changing, there's a good chance that the information cited may change by the time the reader accesses this reference. As such, wikipedia serves as a poor resource in terms of providing a concrete source. On the other hand, wikipedia could also be viewed as an excellent source because although a written report may become dated, the wikipedia citations will continue to evolve.

B - I have a bigger question. A quote and citation don't help me understand the context in which the information is being used. Why are students doing reports in the first place? What value comes from copying and citing information from various sources? I'm much more interested in the conclusions that students draw as they use a report to communicate the solution to a problem or propose a plan of action to address an issue. I'd like to see students writing about the quality of the information they find as well as the resources. Then synthesizing this information and sharing their perspective regarding the results. In other words, I want students to be good consumer of information as well as creators of innovative ideas and solutions.

Back to our original discussion. It's not enough to simply provide students with access to electronic resources. As librarians, we need to help guide young people in effective use of information. It's also our responsibility to work with parents and teachers to help them understand how and why information is communicated, then help them become responsible users of information.

This becomes even more important as an increasing number of people begin to use the web as a tool for building fictional, multimedia worlds where the line between reality and fantasy become blurred.

Want to read more about Wikipedia? I just completed an online workshop on the topic.
Go to

Time for me to get off the bandwagon and back to grading!

Update February 18

It's feeling like Spring here in Utah, but I have a feeling winter isn't over yet!

I know that my updates can sometimes get long. However think of them this way. Instead of spending 30 minutes of a "live" class going over projects, reading, and debriefing discussions, you simply need to read this e-update for the essentials.

This is going to be a busy couple weeks of class. Be sure you don't miss any assignment. Every point counts.
Your Pathfinder Project is due, Monday February 18.
Your Tremor 4 Reply is due, Monday February 18.
Work on the Tremor 5 is due Monday February 25.
Work on the Pathfinder Enhancement. It's due Monday February 25.

We're moving into the use of electronic materials in teaching and learning. I know that some of you having teaching experience or are parents of children, but everyone working with children and young adults needs to think about promoting life long learning and information inquiry. In addition, many young people go to the public library as well as the school library for help with school-related projects. In addition, think about informal learning situations such as 4-H, scouting, clubs, and church groups.

Read Learning Resources on CD and DVDs -
Read Learning Resources Apps -
Read Learning Resources on the Web -

Remember the game Oregon Trail? Read about the history of this class program at

As you get ready to turn in your pathfinder, here are some final tips:

This project is for YOUNG PEOPLE, not just me or your classmates. It should be an exciting way for young people to explore your topic. Ask yourself: Will children/ya be engaged?

Get rid of long, boring descriptions or paragraphs. Keep the language simple and concise. Ask yourself: What do children and teens want and need? Remember that your project might be aimed at school-related topics, but they might also apply to 4-H, afterschool programs, summer camps, or church programs. Think of all the potential users.

Make it visually interesting with relevant visuals, book covers, logos, samples, and other images that will draw attention. Also think about section headings and other organizers. I'm not talking about wild fonts or distracting colors, simply a consistent, visually appealing pathfinder that's easy to read and understand.

Be sure to check the evaluation checklist. This is what I use to assign grades. Your project may be beautiful, but if it doesn't cover the requirements, you'll lose points.

Once you've posted your pathfinder, be sure to go back and scan the work of your peers. You're required to provide a "pathfinder extension." In other words, provide feedback for your peers. This should be MUCH MORE than a simple reply. It's worth 3 POINTS... more than a standard tremor posting. It should provide SUBSTANTIAL assistance for your colleague such as annotated electronic resource suggestions, detailed activity ideas, specific directions, or materials in an allied area.

If you wish to go back and incorporate the ideas of your peers into your own project, it's a great idea... but not required for the assignment.

I'll be grading after the pathfinder extensions have been posted.

Many of you are doing a great job incorporating screen captures into your assignment. Here's a new browser-based tools that allows you to also mark-up the page before making the screen shot. It's a nice time-saver. Go to

Update: February 11 Valentines Day Week

Happy Valentine's Week!

Learn more about how children are reading in the digital age. Read the latest 2013 Kids and Family Reading Report from Scholastic at

Tremor 4 is due Monday February 11.
Work on Pathfinder project. It's due Monday February 18.
Tremor 4 reply is due Monday February 18.

Grades for Tremors 1 through 3 have been posted. Everyone is doing a great job so far!

Over the past decade an increasing number of fiction materials have appeared on the web. From comics to popular novels, you'll find lots to read. The major problem with e-books and works of fiction is that many people still prefer to read on paper. Whether it's frustrations with screen resolution, glare, or seating comfort, some people complain that reading on the screen is a pain. However young people (digital natives) are finding that they like the availability of e-books on a variety of devices including computers, hand-held devices, and cell phones. Over the next several years, we'll continue to see new innovations and options as standards are developed and people of all ages embrace e-books in varied formats. Apple's iPad, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Amazon's Kindle are great examples of how e-books are evolving. Also, look for non-traditional ways of viewing traditional media. For example, I see e-ink and e-paper on the horizon.

Read a recent article on Building an e-book Library at

Read Fiction Resources -
Read E-Books, E-paper, and E-ink -
Read Electronic Books -

From The 39 Clues to Skeleton Creek, transmedia storytelling is a new kind of reading experience that bridges books and technology. It's a great way to draw in reluctant readers.

Read the new section on Transmedia Storytelling -

I also have a large section of workshop materials to explore at
Be sure to read the transmedia short story I wrote along with the matching fictional Oakhaven website. I developed these as examples of "things to come." The story is at and the fictional town linked at the end of each chapter is a

I made the following story with my 5 year old nephew. Alex and I had a great time writing the poem together.
There's lots of potential for the Transmedia approach to the used with the Pet Shop idea... adding video of children with pets, talking about pet care, still images, as well as the original art.

Webcomics are another great tool for bringing a new kind of reader into the library. For fun, try some of the following webcomics to see why these are so popular:

Kidjutsu (Resources for Kids)
The Graphic Classroom (Reviews)
The Sky Kayak
The Dreamland Chronicles
The Phoenix Requiem

Graphic nonfiction is also growing in popularity. Read

Some of you expressed frustrations with trying to access databases. I agree. With passwords, awkward interfaces, and limited graphics, some librarians skip databases and go straight for Google... so let's be practical. Databases are great for some applications and not for others. For instance, if you want to access periodicals, use a database. If you want quality, pre-selected materials from well-known sources, use databases. If you're looking for specific topics such as opposing views, short biographies, or novel resources, use databases.

One advantage of databases as well as pathfinders is that they sometimes provide access to the "hidden web." In other words, Google only provides access to some of the resources available on the web.

Another concern often expressed relates to age-appropriateness. Unfortunately, even many of the databases created for "kids" are not design for younger readers and often lack visual support. In addition at the middle school level, young people don't want an interface that looks to childish.

Young people can waste a lot of time wandering around databases (just like they do with the Internet) looking for useful information. Be sure to advertise specific databases that might be useful to young people. A poster highlighting the use of Opposing Viewpoints to explore social issues is a great way to draw young people into resources. When you know that a teacher is doing a unit that would work well with a particular database, spring into action with a collaborative project.

Keep in mind that there are no rules about electronic databases and web links. Remember, databases are websites themselves. The KEY is the criteria that the electronic database company uses for evaluating and selecting articles. For instance, a company that posts articles of National Geographic magazine might also post web links to the National Geographic website. Both the magazine and website have the same high-quality articles. You'll rarely see personal websites referenced on electronic databases, but you might find resources from government resources such as Library of Congress or publishers such as PBS television.

A few people identified "Inspire" or "Gale Group" as a database. These are services that include many different databases, they are NOT single databases themselves. For instance, you can access Biography Resources Center through the Inspire service. It can also be access directed IUPUI or directly through Gale's service since it's a Gale product. Inspire is a service that provides access to databases for Indiana residents only. Not all states provide a free, statewide service for databases.

Keep in mind that an electronic database is a collection of information organized so that a computer can quickly access requested data. Like a traditional file cabinet, databases are organized by fields, records, and files. An online encyclopedia is organized as a database with specific topical articles that can be found using a topic search. An electronic newspaper service is made available by topic, article, author, date, etc, so it's another example of a database.

Finally, please don't take your databases for granted. Funding is increasingly tight and every few years, there's pressure to eliminate funding for INSPIRE and other free services for libraries. It would be impossible for most libraries to afford the databases provided by INSPIRE. It's important to know about the costs associated with replacing these services. As many of you found out, you need to dig for this information when it's not available on the company website. Sometimes sales reps will provide information on the phone or through email. Unfortunately, the information provided is sometimes vague without having a particular institution you can use as an example.

As long as we're talking about fiction reading, here's a children's/ya book tip. Last week someone asked me how to quickly find the reading level of a book. There are a number of a "sales" sites that list them, but here's a super quick approach. Do a Google search for the title of the book and add RL for reading level. A school district website somewhere will probably have it on a list, particularly if it's a AR (Accelerated Reader) book. So if you go to Google and do a search for Hatchet RL, up comes Reading Level 5.7 meaning the book is between fifth and sixth grade level. The listing may also have an AR which stands for the Accelerated Reader points.

I searched Google for Sarah Plain and Tall RL and it came up with 3.9
You can usually find it by just scanning through the Google results without having to actually go to the website. It's not perfect, but it is fast. ;-)

As long as we're talking about Google. Be sure to try Google Books. Many book excerpts as well as a few full texts are now available.

Go to Google Books at


Your pathfinder project is due soon, so I thought I'd provide a few suggestions and ideas. If you need help or have questions, be sure to email me. I'm happy to help!

Go to for information about the specific requirements.
Go to for the specific points assignments.

Be sure to do a search in Google (or other favorite search tools) for your topic and the word pathfinder such as "tornado pathfinder" there's a chance you can find ideas in a pathfinder developed by someone else. You can also try "tornado links" and you may find a website links page to get you started. Although many of the projects are now dated, check my 42explore page for ideas at

Your pathfinder should be well-organized and well-written, but also keep in mind your audience isn't me (your instructor). Your audiences are children and/or young adults and their adult guides, NOT just other librarians or teachers. Words like "the patrons will" don't fit... phrases like... "The American Revolution was a fascinating time... you might want to consider... " are more appropriate for 13 year olds.

Also, keep in mind that you need to proof read your project carefully. It should be your BEST professional work.

I've had a number of questions about whether to state the URL in a pathfinder or just provide an active link. It's okay to not state the URL. However if you don't include the URL be sure to clearly state the origin of the website such as National Geographic, National Archives, etc. There are two reasons people like to state the URL. One is that it allows people to see the domain name and determine if it's an edu, gov, org, com, etc. Another reason is allow people to print the page and see the addresses on a printed version. Neither are critical issues, but something to think about.

If you have time, I highly recommend using Google Sites at or Weebly at They are easy to use.

If you have very few technology skills and are running short on time, it's okay to just upload your Word or Web page to the Oncourse Workspace. If it's outstanding, I'll re-post it on my website as a Word document.

Some people have asked about posting their project on the web. One option is to use the web space allocated to all students through the university system through Oncourse (MyWorkspace) or the university computing services. You may also want to use your own service provided. If you have a cable modem or DSL, they probably provide free web server space for you.

A wiki is another great choice since they are so easy to update. For instance, use for a unique pathfinder. If your site is appropriate for children/ya, you can get a space without ads at

Although I'd prefer that you post your pathfinder as a website, a few people may be creating their pathfinder in Microsoft Word. Then EXPORT it to PDF. If you want to make it in Word, you can still include hyperlinks and even links within the page.

Hyperlinks in Word. Paste the URL into Word and press the space bar, it will become hot. Or, use the Hyperlink option under the Insert menu.

Links with the Page in Word. Let's say you want to create a list at the top of your document that will jump down to particular parts of your pathfinder. For example, you list websites, databases, software, and books. You can create links that will jump down on the page.

To do this you need to set up words or pictures that are "anchors" and mark where you want to go in the document. To do this, click where you want the "anchor", go to the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Give it a name such as "top" "books" "videos" etc.

Then, you need to make your little menu of key words and hyperlinks to them.
Go to the insert menu and choose Hyperlink. Click on the document tab and notice the option to "link to anchor" choose Browse and a list of your anchors/bookmarks will appear.

If you create a Word document, BE SURE TO EXPORT AS A PDF!

Check out the projects completed by others. Keep in mind that they've been done over the years and some of the requirements may have changed. I'm creating links to class student projects on the project page or check out the Shake 'Em Up page at

Update February 4

Everyone is doing a great job keeping up with assignments. I know it can be stressful with assignments so close together. However I hope you're enjoying the readings and assignments.

Tremor 3 replies are due, Monday February 4.
Tremor 4: Nonfiction is due, Monday February 11.
You should be working on your Pathfinder. It's due Monday February 18.
You should be working on Tremor 4 reply. It's due Monday February 18.

Check the Oncourse Gradebook for your Tremor 1 & 2 grades.

This time we'll be focusing on primary sources. These "real world" materials can add interest and authenticity to student projects and bring history to life. I feel strongly that one of the primary uses of the Internet for libraries is the ability to share primary resources that would otherwise not be available to the general public. Just think of all the wonderful resources that would be available if every family, community, church, town, and school shared their rich histories found in locally produced photographs, sounds, graphics, documents, and more?

Keep in mind that the choices can be overwhelming for children and young adults. Consider selecting a set of photos or documents for the focus on a project.

Read Primary Resources -

Read E-scrapbooking -
Explore the entire e-scrapbooking website!
Be sure to check out the PROJECTS section at

Also, check out an example of combining primary resources with information inquiry

Skim Primary Resources and Real-World Data -

Many of you will be building pathfinder collections for your library. As libraries continue to build their virtual presence, pathfinders can provide a rich, core of resources to bring young people back to your library website again and again.

Hopefully, this assignment helped you see the wide range of pathfinders available. As many of you pointed out, the key to an effective pathfinder is meeting the individual needs of young people. What will appeal to children and teens? What will provide the foundation for an exploration of a topic for school or leisure? I was happy to see so many of you point out the importance of an engaging introduction, interesting visuals, help with search strategies, project suggestions, and the other elements of a pathfinder that really separate it from a bibliography or hotlist of websites.

Lots of students had wonderful suggestions for enhancing pathfinders. Consider emailing the author of the pathfinder and providing the suggestions. This can be a great help to people who don't have time to update their pathfinders on their own. In many cases, the authors provide their email address at the bottom of their web page.

Many of you chose to explore the social bookmarking option. It's a great example of the collaborative nature of the Web 2.0 technology and just-in-time development tools. In our excitement over using the new technology, we need to remember some of the advantages of the traditional pathfinder including the ability to provide an introduction, search strategies, links within annotations, control over layout/organization, and appealing visuals. Some of these aspects are particularly important when working with young people. Think about ways to combine the elements of Web 2.0 with the content of a quality pathfinder. For instance, a wiki-based pathfinder would provide collaborative aspects. Also keep in mind that there are dozens of social bookmarking tools. Some are more complex than others. Think about the needs and interests of you and your patrons.

Many libraries have a subscription to libguides. This service provides easy-to-use tools for creating pathfinders.

As I've explored the Tremor 3 assignments, I noticed that some of you chose well-known databases while others explored lesser-known options. As you consider future tremors and projects, try not to rely on those materials you've used in the past. This is your opportunity to explore and try out new ideas and resources.

If you check the schedule, you'll notice that the Pathfinder and Tutorial/Transmedia projects have due dates close together. It's strongly recommended that you get your Pathfinder done early and get started on the next project.

Pathfinder development is an essential activity of today's school library media specialist as well as children's/ya public librarians.

While fads come and go, there are some topics like holidays, sports, hobbies, nature, and others that young people revisit from year to year. In the same way, teachers tend to revisit the same topics each year as they address standards. Rather than creating lists of websites, software, databases, books, etc. every year, build pathfinders that can be updated as needed. These pathfinders may start as short lists of resources. As you collaborate with the teachers in your building or discuss interests with parents and young people, these pathfinders can be refined to include activities, troubleshooting tips, hands-on projects, etc.

Children's/YA Librarians are bombarded with questions and requests. Keep track of the most common needs and begin developing pathfinders to address these needs. As you work with individuals and small groups keep track of the most common problems, questions, and needs. These can then be incorporated into your pathfinder.

In the long run, spending time working on pathfinders will actually save you time!

Your pathfinders should be exemplary. In other words, it should be the best possible example of what a pathfinder can be.

As I reflect on project submissions from past semesters, I've found a common concern. Most students do an excellent job creating an "annotated list of resources". However it's also essential that to turn your "resource list" into a "pathfinder" by adding a BRIDGE between the user and the information.

You need an attractive, motivating introduction to the topic, reasons why people might be interested in this topic, definitions of key words, strategies for learning more or applying the information found, warnings about evaluation or other issues, ways the resources can be used, project ideas .... in other words, GUIDANCE in using the resources you suggest.

Rather than just providing a LIST.... provide a PATH to these resources.

Quite a few people in past semesters have lost points for lack of depth related to selection criteria or extension activities. Help end users developed a PASSION for your topic through effective, efficient, and appealing information and resources.

Have fun working on your pathfinder!

If you've never used Google Sites (, this would be a great time to try it. This website provides easy-to-use tools for making web pages. They'll help make your project professional looking, fast!

Since we're talking about primary sources, how about a blast from the past? Check out this video reminder of how far we've come with digital photography... or have we?

Update January 28

Howdy everyone -

A beautiful blanket of snow is covering our mountain today. I've got some soup in the crockpot. It really feels like winter in the mountains.

It's time to explore the range of nonfiction resources available on the Internet as well as on CD and DVD. Keep in mind that over the past few years most software publishers have made their resources available as downloads to save money. This shift means a change in the library collection from tangible products to virtual materials. In addition, a growing number of technology users are accessing programs through devices such as smartphones and tablets (tablet sized tools such as the Apple iPad).

Nonfiction Resources -
Electronic Materials on CD & DVD -

Skim the Teacher Tap resources in the following websites:
Content-Rich Websites -
Virtual Field Trips & Digital Libraries and Museums -
Classroom Pages -
School Pages -
School Library Pages -
Public Library -
Project Pages -
School Newspaper and Magazine Pages -

Work on Tremor 4: Nonfiction -

I've graded your Tremor 1 postings and replies. You can find your grades and comments in the Oncourse Gradebook.

You should be posting your Tremor 2 reply by Monday January 28.

Your Tremor 3 posting is due Monday January 28 and the reply is due Monday February 4.

Your grade and comments for Tremor 1 have been posted in Oncourse.
Be sure to check the Syllabus for the points associated with course grades at
The range is a little higher than some other courses.

After the discussion has ended on each Tremor, I like to go back and do a little debriefing.

I just wanted to let everyone know that your Tremor activities are looking great. I am particularly impressed with most of your replies. I'm really happy to see the way that you're going back and rechecking the postings and often replying to the replies to your original postings. GREAT! It makes the conversations much more rich.

It was interesting to see the observations of people with experience in schools and public libraries. The first assignment was intended to get you thinking about the role of technology in the lives of young people. It's nice to see that we have many perspectives on these topics and issues. It's also clear that it's essential that school and public librarians embrace technology and provide leadership in effective applications. However this doesn't mean blindly purchasing every new gadget or buying into every new social network. Instead it means carefully considering the effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal of new technology for your youth program and weighing "wants" versus "needs" while reflecting on the mission of your library.

The discussions of social technology were particularly interesting. I heard a couple people referring to age and comfort with technology. As a person that's more than "half a century" old, I've been "into" technology since I used "punched cards" in my mainframe computer programming class in high school back in the 70s. I've always enjoyed technology including the latest trend... social technology. I find that people's use of technology often reflects their interests off computer. In other words, I like the social networks Good Reads and LibraryThing because I love books. My favorite software is Comic Life because I love photography and writing travel logs. I've never been a "social" person (I was a brainy-band-drama-book nerd), so although I use Facebook it doesn't dominate my life... so when thinking about the use of technology consider both the interests of young people in general, as well as individual differences of both adults and young people.

I've been using Facebook as a way to communicate with my local 4-H club... our teen volunteers have nearly doubled since we set up a Facebook group to share events, photos, and group activities. Since I link from our Facebook to our website, many more people are going to the website. It works. Many school and public libraries have a Facebook presence. Keep in mind that you don't need to "friend" your teens to interact with them in your Facebook group. All members of a group can post to the group, but they can't see beyond the profile of other members without being friends.

So each person has unique preferences... My personal, preferred method of communication is email rather than social networks, chats, phone, or texting because asynchronous communication doesn't disrupt my work and allows more time for thought and reflection. On the other hand, the lives of many young people revolve around 24/7 access to their friends.

The bottom line... What technology provides is choices. I love choices. :-)

If you get a chance, go back and explore the replies that people made on postings in the threads where you didn't post.


The links to online articles through the IUPUI databases can be a problem for some student users. I've updated a few links that were causing trouble.

To get into the databases at IUPUI, you'll need to use your IUPUI username and password.
Find databases by subject

Find databases by name

Any of the links to IUPUI (above), you need to use your iu or iupui username and password.

Go to and choose EBSCO Animals
Go to and choose Middle Search Plus.

If you have trouble using the IUPUI databases, I'd suggest using INSPIRE. It's available to all Indiana residents. Keep in mind that Inspire isn't a database. It's a collection of databases. To see the individual listings of options, go to
To use the databases, go to and go to Inspire Kids or Students for the youth resources.

If you're having a hard time finding the articles found in Google or in the electronic database, use IUPUI's Citation Linker. It helps locate copies of journal articles. Go to

Most database companies don't post prices online. However it's quick and simple to send an email with your questions to a sales rep. Tell them that you're a student and not buying right now, but you're interested in the costs for a project and might consider their services in the future. They'll just at the chance to share information. If you plan to complete Tremor 3.3, you really need more information than can be found on most of the database websites.

Update January 22

I hope you're having a great time so far!

Be sure to read this email carefully, it's full of important course information. However, let's start with some fun.

As you explore resources for children and young adults, think about the technology experiences of today's kids. Let's use the life of my nephew Alex and niece Kaylee as an example. I've been tracking Alex's technology skills since his birth in 2004. Their current favorite technology is the Apple iPad. There are lots of apps for kids.

Go to

I think Alex and Kaylee have had a nice balance, but that's not true for all kinds. Is technology helping or harming? Read what a high school students has to say:

Read my new online article titled Wicked or Wonderful? Revisiting the World of Wikipedia

I've enjoyed reading your Tremor 1 assignments. They're looking great! I was particularly happy to see how many of you challenged the articles that you were reading. In graduate school I think "deep thinking" is important. What's beyond the surface of what you're reading? What are the larger issues and implications of technology and young people?

Monday is a university holiday.

Your Tremor 1 REPLY is due, Tuesday January 22. Thanks to those of you who have already been involved with posting comments for your peers. I'll be grading these after all the replies are in. Then, you'll be able to find your grades and comments under the Gradebook option late next week.

Tremor 2: Pathfinder is due, Tuesday January 22. Again, you have a few days to post a reply, but I'd suggest jumping right in rather than waiting to post a reply.

You should be working on Tremor 3: Databases.

When you provide the name of a specific website in a posting be sure to include the URL (web address) and use the link tool in the message editor to make it active. This way, your classmates can explore the resource you're describing. As you work on future postings, please be sure to provide a complete citation and if possible a web link so others can enjoy the material you cite.

As you work on your Tremors, notice that some directions in the website are in green. These are the things that should be included in your posting. Read them carefully.

A few people have asked about criteria for the Tremor Replies. There's no specific criteria other than contributing to the discussion in some way that goes beyond "way to go" or "I agree." The key is ADDING to the discussion. When possible incorporating a professional reference, excerpt from the readings, a useful resource, or a meaningful example.

These are all possibilities:
* act on a suggestion given by another classmate. For example, after reading a posting or comment from a peer, you might decide to add an example, suggest a website address or other resource, answer a question, or clarify an idea.
* provide feedback to others such as a specific comment or idea along with an example, expansion, or suggestion. In other words, "way to go Susie" is a good start, but won't get you a point. You could even start with "that's crap Susie", however the key is providing positive, constructive criticism or helpful and encouraging advice. Healthy debate is fine, but let's discourage mean-spirited comments.
* state an opinion and provide supportive evidence or arguments. This can be fun because it can really get a discussion going.
* add an insight. If you've had an encounter with the topic being discussed, it would be valuable to hear your thoughts and "real world" experiences.

Let's talk about what you're learning. The first few tremors focus on the wide range of electronic materials available for children and young adults. Rather than picking the "easiest" assignment, make selections that will complement your library and technology skills. In other words, I've provided a wide range of options so that everyone can learn new, relevant skills.

Some people are trying to jump over the readings and getting into working on assignments and projects. Be sure you complete the readings associated with each tremor before starting to think about your assignments and projects. For example, before you create a pathfinder, you need to do all the readings associated with pathfinders and explore lots of examples! These readings will also be helpful in some of the specific requirements associated with the pathfinder project.

This week we're going to begin our exploration of electronic databases. With the popularity of Google, many people overlook these wonderful, high-quality resources designed specifically for young people. If you live in Indiana, you've got a wealth of resources at your fingertips through Inspire (

These databases can also be accessed through the IUPUI library.

Electronic Databases and Reference Materials

Electronic Databases Defined

Electronic Database and References

Reference Materials on CD & DVD

I'm still in the process of updating the Teacher Tap pages, so you may find a few dead links.

Online Reference Materials

Daily Resources

Online News Sources

Visual Resources: Photos and Clip Art

Skim Multimedia Seeds

An increasing number of websites are set up as databases. As you explore these resources, be sure to look for the characteristics of an effective database: records of information and advanced search options.

Go to the Nobel Prize Nomination Database at
Notice that this database contains records for each person nominated for a nobel prize. Also notice the many options for conducting and advanced search.

Go to the Library of Congress Historic Newspapers Section at
This database is organized by pages and also has a search directory. The advanced page search includes options for searching by state, newspaper, date, and search words.

The purpose of the CourseQuest (or CourseGuide) is to provide a "big picture" for the entire course. In other words, rather than seeing the readings, tremors, and three projects as "just busy work", I want you to see these three projects (the pathfinder, the database/transmedia, the WebQuest) as building blocks toward the ultimate goal of the course which is to be able to defend the use of electronic materials in a library setting (the last project). Your projects should be "exemplary models demonstrating the positive impact of electronic materials for children and young adults".

You should be thinking about your pathfinder project. If you have questions or need suggestions, please let me know.

A few people have emailed me about the differences between a bibliography or booklist and a pathfinder. Here's my thoughts:
An annotated bibliography is a list of resources with annotations.
A mediography is an annotated bibliography with an emphasis on media type materials such as audio and video resources.
A pathfinder is designed to facilitate the exploration of information, so a mediography would be one aspect of a pathfinder. However a pathfinder would also include background information on the topic, suggested approaches to information exploration including search words, search strategies, and related topics. It would also include ideas for how and why the information might be used including project ideas, applications for inquiries, and ideas that might be useful in solving problems... in other words, it's much more than simply a list of materials... it's a "guide" to help people who will be using the materials too.

Pathfinders are particularly important with young people who may need guidance as they jump into an inquiry. Think about how your annotations can assist young people in making good choices about what they choose to explore. For instance, you might include information about specific topics, reading levels, or media incorporated used such as images, audio, and video.

Go to for information about the specific requirements.
Go to for the criteria that will be used in grading this assignment.

As you consider your Pathfinder Project, think about something that will be fun, but also serve as a good, professional example you can show potential employers.

You should share your pathfinder topic in the project area. Your peers may have ideas for you.

Each student is required to add a Peer Enhancement. It's worth three points. This involves reviewing the work of a peer and providing ideas.

Your Pathfinder, Tutorial/Transmedia Project, and WebQuest can be on the related topics or totally different topics. Remember, the project MUST be aimed at the children and young adult audience. In the end, you'll be writing an article about the use of technology with young people.

I encourage everyone to set aside a time to complete course activities. Instead of driving to class and sitting at a table, you need to walk into your home office, close the door, and sit in from of the computer.... no television (unless you use it as background noise), no kids (unless you're nursing), or no pets (unless you can convince your cat to sit quietly on your lap). In the calendar I indicate SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES and DUE DATES. Consider using the suggested dates rather than waiting until the deadline.

Update January 14

We made it through the first days of class!

If you're going to be making postings, you'll need to go to Oncourse. However if you just want to access the readings I'd go straight to the course website at so the materials won't be within the Oncourse frames making it easier to read and use.

This week's readings relate to the selection, creation, and use of pathfinders. Many of the web pages that call themselves pathfinders are really just resource lists. Remember, a pathfinder is MUCH MORE than a list of books, videos, or websites. It's intended to be a PERSONAL ASSISTANT that guides a particular audience (in this case children and young adults) through the resources available on a topic.

A good pathfinder ALSO helps young patrons become self sufficient by providing ideas for conducting their own searches, key words, definitions, background information, project ideas, and other resources that will bring a particular topic ALIVE!

Also remember that not all website collection and collaboration projects need to be complete pathfinders. You might use social bookmarking websites such as or shortened URL tools such as to organize, collaborate on, and share websites.

Read Pathfinders, Subject Guides, & Thematic Resources

Read Pathfinders Defined

Read Designing Pathfinders for Children and Young Adults

Read Pathfinder Links

Read Web Subject Guides and Thematic Resources for Children and Young Adults

Work on Tremor 2: Pathfinders

I enjoyed reading everyone's introductions. We have a wide variety of people represented. Some of you have experience with teaching and libraries, others of you are beginners. There will be many opportunities for you to learn from each other. Remember, questioning is the way we all learn. I'm happy to help. Or, email a classmate. The MESSAGES area in Oncourse is a fun way to send a personal message to a classmate. You can also forward these messages to your personal email.

I think it's fun to see where we share interests. Like many of you, I like reading and all kinds of music. We try to eat local food, we exercise at least 60-90 minutes every morning using my exercise bike (known as the bike to nowhere), and we're both feeling great. I also like to hike. We spend most of our time working, but when I want to take a short break I like to read nonfiction and fiction, sketch or watercolor paint nature, and paint small, flat river rocks... strange, but true. We also like to explore the US in our new teardrop trailer. Finally, we built a house in southern Utah and still have lots of work to do on both the interior and exterior.

Check out our comic adventures at The past couple years, I've been posting photos on Facebook. If you're a Facebook user, feel free to "friend" me if you wish.

In the Introduction Yourself activity, I asked you to explore portals. I know that some people are going back to add their 3 favorite portals, so you might want to skim the Introductions again to see additions.

Keep in mind that the word "portal" has evolved over the past decade as website technology, tools, and resources have changed. At first, people defined portals as any website with good links. The ability to "customize" and "personalize" is very recent and wasn't included in the definition of a portal until recently. Every website you choose may not completing fit the definition of a portal. Just as you use selection criteria for choosing books, think about your criteria for selecting the best web starting points.

My 2 cents about starting points... Like most of you, "Google" is still my favorite search engine. However, I find that not all webmasters register their websites with Google. Having a nice list of education and library portals or locating a good source for pathfinders can come in very handy. I suggest you keep a personal list of your favorite web resources as you work your way through the course.

The Tremor 1 ( posting is due Monday January 14.

When you're ready to post your Tremor Assignment, go to the FORUM area of Oncourse. Scroll down past the General Discussions and Cohort Group Areas to find the Tremors. Select 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, or 1.4. Write your posting.

It's a good idea to write in a simple text editor such as Notepad (Windows) or Text Edit (Mac) then paste into the forum area. You may have to play with the formatting a little if you use Microsoft Word. It's also okay to post your assignment as a Word attachment.

The Tremor 1 REPLY is due by Tuesday January 22 (Monday is a holiday) at midnight (or within a couple hours). Read through the work of your peers, then reply to AT LEAST one of their messages with a quality reply. See guidelines for quality replies on the REQUIREMENTS page of the Course Materials section of the website. You can reply in any of the options under Tremor 1.

In most cases I like to grade all the Tremor posting and replies at once. It's difficult to go back later and grade the replies out of context, so I'll generally grade after all the replies are in. If I have questions, comments, or concerns, I'll write you a note in the GRADEBOOK comments area. Otherwise when you go to the GRADEBOOK you should see a 2 for the Posting and a 1 for the Reply for your Tremor assignment.

I'll be posting the grades for Tremor 1 after both the postings and replies have been posted.

Next, you'll want to begin work on Tremor 2.

I'll be lurking around the forums throughout the semester. Occasionally, I'll add a comment. I try to stay out of conversations because some people "clam-up" when the "teacher" starts talking. If I have a particular comment about your posting, I'll put a little note on your Gradebook page.

I particularly enjoyed the comments by those of you who have had my online courses before. I think you'll find that this is the least stressful of the courses I teach. :-)

Oncourse has a web hosting feature. When you first open Oncourse, choose My Workspace. Choose Resources from the left sidebar. Click ADD. You can upload FILES of any kind including web pages.

If you want the world to see your files, you'll need to make sure you edit the details and check "Display to PUBLIC". The URL will look something like
For more help, use the Help option on the sidebar in Oncourse.

I'll be talking more later about sharing your projects. They will be posted online anywhere you wish. If you don't know HTML, don't worry just do your writing in Microsoft Word and upload the file. However I STRONGLY suggest learning to use an online tool such as Google Sites at

You might also want to consider Google Docs at

At the beginning of the semester, some people get stressed because they "don't get it." It takes time to understand how all the course materials go together.

Be sure to start with the Shake Em Up CourseQuest at
To see sample projects on the project descriptions or go to

Read through the CourseQuest carefully. It ties all the materials together and provides the process activities and the products for the course. Oncourse is simply used as a place to share activities (Tremor forums).

You don't have time to procrastinate. My regular class email messages will either be very encouraging or very annoying. Hopefully they'll help you "de-stress" and stay on target. If you stay focused, you'll learn a lot. Be sure to have fun along the way!

Let's Go!

Welcome to the first day of class (Monday January 7)!

Classes are beginning, so it's time to get started.

Be sure to check the Course Calendar to see what's due in terms of readings and assignments.

If you run into trouble with the due dates, just email me (ahead of time) a quick note along with a juicy excuse (any excuse will do). I'll give you up to 2 extra days without penalty. The only FIRM DEADLINE is the last week of classes.

At first, people are overwhelmed by all of the readings and links. You don't need to read everything... it's not possible. Instead use the icons and directions for guidance. Notice that it will tell you to explore, skim, or read the pages. Keep in mind that the purpose of the readings is to help you complete the assignments.

An EYE icon is used to identify required readings. For more information on this idea of what to read versus what to skim, go to the bottom of the Requirements page -

Keep in mind that the course reading assignments can be found in two places: the course calendar and the CourseQuest pages.

We'll start with exploring the wealth of electronic materials available for children and young adults. I recently updated all of the pages, but you may still run into a few bad links. I try to keep them up-to-date, but I don't have control over the content of the external links you'll be exploring.

Here are your first set of readings that will be useful in addressing your first assignments. Read these as you work on your Tremor 1 assignment this week.

Read Electronic Materials -
Read Portals, Search Tools, and Starting Points -
Read Educational Portals & Starting Points -
Read Library Portals for Kids -
Read Library Portals -
Read Search Tools for Kids -

The Introduce Yourself activity is due as soon as you get into the system. In the Introduction Yourself activity, I asked you to explore portals. This Portal Activity is meant as an ice-breaker to help you get to know the other members of the class. If you forgot this part, you can go back and add it. Don't stress about this, I will not be grading this activity. It's okay if you need an extra day.

Your Tremor 1 posting is due Monday January 14.
Your Tremor 1 reply is due Tuesday January 22 (Monday is a holiday).
Your Tremor 2 posting is due Tuesday January 22.

These assignments are posted in the FORUM area in Oncourse.
Remember, you have some time after the posting date to add a reply. Please don't wait until the last minute, or you'll miss out on the fun of the discussion. Be sure to check back a couple times because someone might post a question for you or you might find that you can provide assistance for a classmate.

Remember, you DO NOT need to do ALL of the options listed under Tremor 1. Just choose ONE of the options. Also, it's okay to reply in a different tremor than your posting. You can post as many replies as you wish, but be sure at least one is an IN-DEPTH reply.

Let me know if you have questions.

Get Set!

Classes start on Monday, so you can really get started any time. From now on, my emails will generally provide an overview of the required readings and assignments as well as suggestions and tips. Although I know these emails can get long, please read them. They will really help direct your activities. If you don't "get it" after reading these descriptions and exploring the materials, please email me. I'm happy to answer your questions!

I'll be sending out e-mail messages regularly throughout the semester. Once class gets rolling, I'll try to keep them short. Remember, they're on the class email archives page which is also the class start-up page in Oncourse.

A CourseQuest (or Course Guide) will be used to guide you through the course. All of the course readings, discussions, and projects will be completed within the context of a CourseQuest using the "Shake Em Up" earthquake theme. Be sure to read through the Introduction, Task, and Process pages to get an overview of the course. The Process page contains the Tremor Topics that contain the course readings and activities.

Your first assignment is to enter Oncourse. Update your Oncourse Profile.

Also, go to the FORUM section and find the Introduce Yourself discussion under the GENERAL DISCUSSION area. In addition to a personal introduction, the assignment also asks you to share some of your favorite portals and website starting points. A complete description of this assignment can be found on the Course Requirement page at

As you move through the Course Guide, you'll notice the Tremor activities. You're free to post these activities in Oncourse whenever you wish. It's a good idea to get ahead in case you get busy in other courses or at work! Generally you have 3-4 choices for posting your activity. You ONLY need to complete ONE of these assignments for EACH Tremor. Look for the matching Tremor activity in the FORUM area of Oncourse such as Tremor 1.1. You'll also need to respond to another student's posting for each activity. You do not need to reply in the same Tremor in which you posted. For example, you might post your assignment in Tremor 1.1, but you might reply in Tremor 1.3.

Don't worry if you don't have experience as a teacher or librarian. Do your best making use of the readings and your life experiences to address the Tremors.

Your POSTING for the Tremor 1 assignment is due on Monday January 13.
Your Tremor 1 reply is due Tuesday January 22 (Monday is a holiday).
Tremor 1: Electronic Materials -

Next, you will be working on:
Work on Tremor 2: Pathfinders (due Tuesday January 22) -

If the fonts are too small to read in the the course materials or Oncourse, remember that you can enlarge the font in your browser.

The periodic emails will keep you up-to-date on things you should be doing for class and due dates. I'll also throw in some personal stuff to keep it interesting. I lead a pretty unique, strange, and interesting life. Feel free to share your life with me too. It makes some students feel more "connected".

I've already sent out a couple preliminary class email. Let me know if you missed it. Or, check out the class email archives at

You can use my personal email for class interactions or Oncourse. My personal email is on almost "24/7" so I'll usually get back to you immediately.

If you need me right away, your best bet is email. I check it throughout the day. Or, if you'd rather chat, "friend" me in Facebook and use the Chat. In the past I used many of the IM services, but I use Facebook the most. If you're a Second Life user, I'm Annette Olmstead.

There are no required face-to-face or scheduled chat sessions for this course. Many students enjoy taking an online course because they don't have to be in a particular place at a particular time. HOWEVER, this means that you're responsible for making your own personal schedule in order to meet the course requirements on time. Some people find that this the most difficult part of the course. You need self-discipline to be successful in distance learning.

You have three jobs:

1 - Follow the course calendar and complete your assignments on time. As a matter of fact, getting things in early is a good idea. For example, you'll often have multiple assignments due on the same day. Rather than waiting until the last minute, start a couple weeks early. For example, you might set your own schedule and complete one assignment per week.
2 - Let me know if you run into trouble. Don't fret and worry about your problem. Instead, email me and let's discuss it. If you're not sure about a topic for an assignment or have trouble with a due date, just let me know. I'm flexible and happy to help.
3 - Have fun. Learning is about opening a new world of information, skills, and understandings. Many assignments encourage you to explore resources and brainstorm ideas. Don't think of the class discussions as painful homework. Think of them as a chance to interact with your colleagues about issues and ideas important to our profession.

My job is to help you successfully complete this course and expand your skills in electronic materials for children and young adults. I "live" on the Internet, so I'm happy to hold personal email discussions whenever you feel the need to talk. Feel free to email any time. I'll get back to you ASAP.

Keep in mind that if you were taking this course face-to-face you'd be driving to class, plus your out-of-class readings and activities. You should be spending 3 "class hours" plus 3 hours for every hour of course credit... that means at least 12 hours per week devoted to this course in the regular year or double that in the summer!

This course has no driving, no parking, and no lectures! Just remember those three things as you wade through the reading and assignments. :-)

Get Ready!

It's time to start thinking about e-class. Classes start in another week, January 7.

After a couple of preliminary messages to "round-up" the class and get rolling, we're nearly ready to start. I think we're going to have an exciting semester! I'll send another email in a few days to review your first assignments.

Each of you comes to the course with a unique set of experiences. As you move through the course materials, be sure to email me if you find yourself lost or confused. It's my pleasure (as well as my job) to help. :-)

Sometimes it's hard to get a handle on "the course" in a virtual environment. The following materials will provide an overview to the framework for the course.

We use the university's Oncourse system to share ideas and post assignments. Go to, choose the login and enter your network username and password to enter the system. Then, choose this course.

I want to review some basics detail where to find things in Oncourse:
1) The SYLLABUS links to all of the course materials.
2) The ROSTER shows the class list. You may wish to include a personal profile and photo so we can learn a little more about you.
3) The GRADEBOOK is a place where you can track your progress. If you lose a point, I'll provide a comment indicating the problem.
4) The FORUMS area contains forums for posting general information and class introductions. We'll also use this area for our postings and discussions. This is where you'll share your projects with peers in your interest area. I've created separate areas so the discussion area doesn't get so full.
5) The MESSAGES area contains a place to send and receive mail messages. You might want to check the settings. You can have these messages sent to your personal email if you wish.
6) The CHAT area can be used by anyone who would like to share in "real time" with anyone in the class. There are no required course chats.

Here's a list of some of the most important course resources and links. It's also available under the Syllabus section in Oncourse. Oncourse can be SLOW much of the time. My suggestion is to open the course readings directly from your web browser. Only go to Oncourse when you want to interact with the forums.

Use the following links to complete the course requirements.

The Course Website. This page contains many online materials for the course. The course has both onsite and offsite reading assignments. Notice the link to the course materials on the left side of the screen.

Course Materials. This section of the website takes you to all the course materials. A list of the materials can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of the screen.

Syllabus. This page provides the course syllabus including the course materials, goals, requirements, grading policy, and special needs information.

Calendar. This page provides the course calendar including the assignments and due pages. Notice that the calendar has three columns. The first column provides dates. The second column discusses the things you should be doing such as things to work on and read. The third column states the projects that are due.

Requirements. This page highlights the course assignments and activities.

Course Checklist. Contains a checklist of requirements.

Email Archives. This page contains the archives of the course announcements and email updates.

CourseQuest. This online environment will guide you through the course and present you with the process and products required including the four project requirements.

soo... what now? If I were you, I'd read the syllabus and requirement pages first.

The requirement page contains information about a few introductory activities you need to complete. These activities will be posted in Oncourse. Then, print out the course checklist. Next, I'd go to the Course Guide (sometimes referred to as the CourseQuest) to get a feel for how the course materials are organized.

Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Once you get a handle on the materials, you can start rolling!

Check the Calendar and you'll notice that the first assignment is to go to Oncourse and Introduce Yourself.

The "Tremor" Discussions will be shared using ONCOURSE forums. It will take a little while to get used to the system. Don't worry if you goof up. If you make a small posting error (i.e., typo gOofs are are are are commmon), everyone will just try and ignore it. If you make a bigger error, email me. I can delete the message, and you can repost it. Or, just say you goofed and go from there. There is will be lots of misplaced stuff. Don't worry about it. I also provided a PRACTICE posting area where you can practice making postings to try it out. Free free to goof around with it all you like.

In the past, I've been a librarian, computer teacher, and professor in Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana. I know that we have a wide variety of students in this course. Some have teaching experience and/or library experience, while others are new to the library and/or education field. I look forward to learning more about you!

I love teaching online courses and exploring the world around us. I'm a new kind of professor. I teach full-time at IUPUI, but I don't live in Indiana. We've lived all over North America, traveling in our motorhome over the past decade. We're currently in southern Utah where we built a home a couple years ago. We were beginning to miss bookshelves! Don't worry about trying to find me, I'm online, all-day, everyday, most days.

If you want to keep up with our adventures or learn more about me, check out
Or, friend me on Facebook.

I look forward to having you in e-class. Be sure to email me if you have questions. I'm online all the time, so I can normally get right back to you with an answer.

Some of you may need lots of support during the semester. However, many of you will be very independent. I'll regular updates. But as long as I see you posting things on the forums, I won't bug you individually.

Please let me know if you have questions or concerns. Unlike a face-to-face class where I can see the concern in your eyes, in an online class it's up to you to take the initiative. I'm always here for you by email. If you need to hear my voice, I can even send an audio or video recording! Or, we can set up a time to talk on the phone.

Once you get a chance to look at the course materials, I'll send another email clarifying common questions and reviewing the course requirements. Your first assignment is simply to introduce yourself in Oncourse. Be sure to read the directions for this in the Course Guide.

If you have trouble accessing Oncourse, let me know ASAP so we can solve the problem.

I look forward to having you in e-class. Be sure to email me if you have questions. I'm online all the time, so I can normally get right back to you with an answer.

Preliminary Email - Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!

Welcome to Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults!

Although class doesn't start until Monday January 7, I thought I'd send a quick overview of the course for people who would like a little head start.


Although I've already been in contact with many of you, I haven't gotten email from a few of you. If you haven't emailed me with the email address you'd like to use for this course, please reply to this email and let me know your preferred address. Thanks! :-)

I'll be sending a few emails before classes get started with some preliminary course materials.

Here's some course information that will get you started.


There are NO required face-to-face or virtual meetings. However we'll all get started working together online as a class around Monday January 7. :-)


We'll be using the the Oncourse system for class discussions and posting class projects. You'll need an IU or IUPUI account to access the Oncourse materials for class discussions at

The Oncourse and online course materials are ready for anyone who wants to get started early.

For the course materials, go to


In addition to using Oncourse, I like to keep in touch by email. I'll be sending email updates regularly. If you'd prefer to receive them at a different email address, please let me know.

There is not a required textbook for this course. All the materials will be online.


I love teaching online courses and exploring the world around us. If you'd like to learn more about me, go to


If you're feeling excited, frustrated, confused, anxious, enthusiastic, happy, or any other emotion about this course, you're normal. Online courses are a great alternative to traditional, face-to-face courses, but it takes a little time to get comfortable.

If you have questions, be sure to e-ask (as in email me). About a third of the students in the class have taken one of our other online courses... they survived to take another one... that's a great sign. ;-)

I'll be sending another update in a few days, so I'll e-see you again soon!



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