Archive for November, 2010

Server Maintenance Dec 18th

On Saturday December 18th, 2010 between the hours of 12:01 am to 08:00 am US Eastern, the Managed Hosting Infrastructure Team will be performing essential maintenance at our VA2 and VA3 datacenters. The work involves upgrading of certain infrastructure network devices.

Please take note that this is an extended 8 hours service impacting maintenance being performed on a Saturday. This work is larger in scale compared to typical work handled during our regular weekly Friday maintenance windows. Please plan accordingly.

WE RECOMMEND: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Roach, Mary. Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. Call number: R853 .H8 R635 2003.

“The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.” So starts the introduction to the book Stiff. If you laughed, you’ll enjoy this book. If you feel the least bit of revulsion, reach for another book. Mary Roach is also the author of Spook : science tackles the afterlife (BL535 .R63 2006), Bonk : the curious coupling of science and sex (QP251 .R568 2009) and Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void (not owned). Roach says she write about what interests her. Twelve chapters focus on different ‘uses’ of human cadavers: plastic surgery practice, anatomical research, crash testing, and others. Though the humor is dark, Roach does sometimes leave it behind, to discuss the practical and ethical aspects of cadaver research. The living are the beneficiaries of this research, by providing better vehicle restraints, understanding of air crashes, and more safety for those clearing land mines. The humor does occasionally stray into bad taste territory, but mostly serves to keep the tone light enough to seriously consider the work she describes. Roach’s accounts are vivid, focusing on the people she’s interviewing and on the studies at hand. This title is easily read, with non-technical language, and rather dark humor. There’s even a reading group guide in the back. Don’t skip the introduction, it does a great job of setting the way for the book. And the inevitable question is answered at the end, when Roach reveals her own wishes about her mortal remains, which made me think about my final wishes.

-Jim Hobbs, Online Services Coordinator

Blackboard Maintenance

As part of our routine maintenance, we will begin to remove courses from the Summer and Fall 2009 semesters on December 6th, 2010. If you have courses from either of these terms that you require to remain available on the Blackboard server, please contact the Blackboard Manager, Jonathan Gallaway at jgallawa@loyno.edu or at 504-864-7168.

Again this only concerns courses from the Summer and Fall of 2009. While no other courses are affected, please take time to look through your courses from all previous semesters, and if there are some that you no longer need to have live on Blackboard, please indicate to us which can now be removed.

While we take system backups, we encourage all teaching faculty to archive their courses for later use. For a tutorial on how to take an archive of your course visit the Blackboard Center on the Monroe Library Website at here.

Courses for the Spring of 2011 will be created on Fridady, Dec 17th, and students will be enrolled into them on Monday, Jan 6th.  If you need assistance copying material from previous semesters, combining multiple sections of courses that you are teaching, or have any questions about Blackboard or course procedures, you can, as always, contact Jonathan Gallaway or the Monroe Library.

Tips for taking an Online Test

We are coming up to the end of the semester and I just wanted to share some best practices when it comes time to take an online test.

The following tips will help you prepare yourself and your computer for taking a test in Blackboard. While this information is not guaranteed to prevent all technical issues, you can minimize your chance of experiencing a problem if you employ the tips below.

Before You Begin

  • Take your test in a quiet area that is free from distractions.
  • Set aside enough time to complete the test.  Do not wait until the last minute.  Plan enough time to contact your instructor if anything goes wrong.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time before the closing time of the test.  If you enter the test ten minutes before the closing time, you will be locked out.
  • Use a computer plugged in directly to your internet router.  Do not use a wireless or satellite connection if possible.
  • We recommend using Firefox to take all tests.

During the Test

  • Do not double-click any of the buttons in the test. Blackboard uses single-clicks only. Double-clicking will not make the server process your request faster – it will only cause you to get kicked out.
  • Once you have entered the test, do not click the “back” button on your browser or other areas on the screen.
  • Read the Test Instructions section at the top of the test. This area tells you the time limit (if any), how many attempts you are allowed, and if you are able to backtrack (for one-at-a-time question presentation).
  • If your test is presented one question at a time, do NOT click the “back” button on your browser to go to a previous question.  If backtracking is allowed, the test will provide a button to go to previous question.
  • Use the scroll wheel on your mouse as little as possible, or find a mouse that does not have a scroll wheel.  If you scroll the wheel right after clicking an answer choice, you may inadvertently change your answer on a question.  Click the answer choice and then click some blank space on the page to make sure your answer choice was marked correctly.
  • Do not rush through the test and click several buttons at once. Always wait for your browser’s status bar to say “done” whenever you click a button to move to another question or save your answers.
  • Do not switch between multiple windows or tabs, or open other programs. If your instructor allows you to use your notes, print them out before taking the test.
  • If all the questions are presented at once, save your answers every 15 minutes.

Renewing Interlibrary Loans

Click the following link to watch a larger version of the Renewing Interlibrary Loans tutorial.

WE RECOMMEND: The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits

Julavits, Heidi. The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, 2006. Call number PS3560 .U522 U84 2006

A story about teenage abduction at a New England prep school doesn’t exactly sound like a hilarious read, but Heidi Julavits’s The Uses of Enchantment mixes dark comedy with mystery and suspense. While a sixteen year old student at Semmering Academy, Mary Veal disappeared for almost two months and returned claiming amnesia. Exactly fourteen years later Mary comes home for her mother’s funeral and begins to investigate her own disappearance.

OK, so it may not sound funny, but it is. Mary’s drunken aunt projects her own feelings onto her poodle Weegee, who wears a sweater that reads “ÇA VA?” Older sister Regina attacks Mary for throwing out a half-empty box of their mom’s tampons, claiming that maybe their mother wanted them to have the feminine hygiene products as something to remember her by. Semmering Academy has a mural, nicknamed The Grin-And-Bear-It, of “soon-to-be-scalped-or-burned-women” who appear to be enjoying themselves.

Underneath the satirically tragic story in The Uses of Enchantment runs a leitmotif concerning women stripped of the power to tell their own stories. This isn’t always an easy read – the book jumps back and forth between three time periods and multiple narrators – but Mary’s story ultimately pays off with its humor and constant twists. I bet you won’t guess the ending. Recommended for all lovers of contemporary fiction,
especially those with a macabre sense of humor.

-Elizabeth Kelly, Interim Public Services Librarian