Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GoogleDocs Study Guide by Melissa Weege

In my Pathophysiology course the students are required to master a long list of objectives. In order to help them focus their attention and create a collective study guide, I create a GoogleDoc for the class which includes directions, objectives for each unit, assignment objectives to students, and a framework within the document to help in creating a place to post their contribution. I organize the start-up but students own the content and the process after my initial set-up. The GoogleDoc is a study guide for the students, created, enhanced, and modified by the students.

Each student is assigned to 2-3 objectives per unit. After each lecture that covers the objective, the student assigned to the objective posts a summary and notes to the GoogleDoc in the section created for those objectives. The students from that week are also asked to review the posts from the students of the previous week to ensure accuracy and completeness. This structure helps students focus on particular items in lecture while not feeling overwhelmed, but also creates a sense of collective ownership for the material. The collective nature of this resource gets buy-in from all students, especially after the students are able to use the study guide for exam preparation!

I find this study guide to be a great tool to assist the students in collectively learning and enhancing materials presented in lecture. While I don't edit the GoogleDoc, I do look at it and am often pleasantly surprised at the details and additional information that students add to the study guide, often information gathered on their own (their own words, more examples and pictures from the web, additional research articles about a topic, etc.) Students really do more than regurgitate the lecture in the study guide and report the resource to be very valuable to their learning.

My recommendation to anyone interested in creating a similar study guide structure in GoogleDocs is to arrange it so the students own it and you are hands-off, write very clear directions for completing their assigned section, give information and a demonstration about how to post in GoogleDocs, and create a framework or outline to the GoogleDoc to help students in structuring a useful guide. Prior to
using GoogleDocs I used a PBwiki to create this study guide; I prefer GoogleDocs for accessibility and security. If you would like to see an example of a start-up or completed guide, please contact me.

For more information about GoogleDocs visit:

Submitted by Melissa Weege, Radiation Therapy

BrowZine by Deb Hoskins

BrowZine is a free app for Apple and Android tablet users. You connect it to Murphy Library, and it will help you keep up-to-date with the journals in your field. It’s a product of Third Iron, a group of library professionals, working mostly out of St. Paul, MN. I could tell they are library professionals because their user support was outstanding, as I discovered when I had a problem.

BrowZine’s main features:
  • Consolidates across multiple databases
  • Customizable – you choose the content and organize it as you wish
  • Familiar “newsstand” organization
  • Search multiple libraries (requires logging out of one and logging into another, in Settings) without losing anything
  • Save articles to read later
  • Export articles to other apps, including online storage like DropBox, research organizers like Zotero, and .pdf notation apps like Notability
  • Share articles with colleagues via email or social media
  • Request help from within the app and get outstanding service!
Here’s how to start using it: Download the app to your tablet. Start the app and select “University of Wisconsin-La Crosse” from the drop-down menu. Enter your netID and password. Now, click on BrowZine Library at the bottom of the app, then choose either Subjects at the upper left or Titles at the upper right to search and select the journals you want to monitor. As you select a title, BrowZine allows you to select on which of its four “bookcases” you want that publication to show. You can label the “bookcases,” as well as each shelf, and delete journal titles using Edit, and reorganize titles simply by dragging them. Institution Info takes you directly to the Murphy website. Click on a journal title to see the title and authors of the articles in the most recent issue. Tap the title to see the article. Save the ones you want to read later, or export them, or share them. Click Available Issues to see the backlist. In Settings, add your public library or other research libraries, and choose whether and how you want to be notified about articles you haven’t yet seen. Awesome.

For busy academics, keeping up with research in your field is infinitely easier with BrowZine.

Please note that while BrowZine is a free app to users, Murphy Library does pay a yearly fee for this product. To learn more, see Third Iron’s introductory video here and Murphy Library’s guide here.

Submitted by Deb Hoskins, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning

Socrative by Jim Carlson

Socrative is an interactive iPad application that allows faculty to engage and assess their students with educational activities like polls and quizzes on mobile devices. The software is fairly straightforward and easy to use and works on most any web or app-enabled device (tablet, laptop or smartphone). Quizzes can also be graded automatically by the software.

Through the use of real time questioning, instant result gathering and charting, teachers can gauge the students’ level of understanding or share ideas from all students. The opportunities for immediate discussion and feedback help to promote learning and alleviate misunderstanding. Additionally, information can be collected and shared for group discussion or problem-solving. In order to get the most out of Socrative, plan carefully. Consider ways in which you will use the information you gather as a result of the instant feedback from individuals and the entire class. All in all this is a powerful student response system with the potential to support truly active learning.
Teacher and student versions of Socrative are available in the iPad App Store for free.

For more information, visit

Submitted by Jim Carlson, Educational Studies.