Just in Time for Finals Week: 5 Distracting De-Stressors

Feeling stressed because of Finals? Take a break from studying and try one or more of these distracting de-stressors.

Meditation – It doesn’t have to be the kind practiced by monks or hippies, lots of people meditate these days.  Start small with a minute or two a day and add more time as you get used to it.  If you like it, you can always add to your practice. If the thought of sitting still to meditate doesn’t sound appealing. Get some fresh air and focus your thoughts while walking the labyrinth on the Library’s south side.

Exercise – Take advantage of the warmer November/December weather to go for a brisk walk or run or take the time to squeeze in some jumping jacks or squats and bicep curls before hitting the books.

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Tiny figures working out from Giphy.com

Animal time – Therapy dogs are popping up on more and more college campuses during finals week.  In fact, Simon the schnauzer will be visiting the Metro State Library Lounge on Monday, December 5th, 12-1:30. Can’t make it on Monday? No problem!  Look into volunteering at your local animal shelter or the Animal Humane Society.  There are always animals in need of care and who knows, maybe you’ll find a therapy pet of your own to take home.

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Simon the therapy dog while on duty.

Coloring – You did it as a kid, who says you have to stop as an adult?  Adult coloring books and pages are popping up everywhere.  Get mesmerized by mandalas or enchanted by elephants.  Grabbing free, online versions is easiest, but a book to call your own is fun too.

Sleep – Depending on your age, 8-10 hours of sleep is the recommended nightly amount.  Without enough sleep it is harder to focus your attention on tasks, such as studying or taking a final exam. Sleep is also when your brain consolidates information and stabilizes memory. In short, squeezing in a nap is a great way to retain more info!

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Student catching some Zzzz’s in front of the second floor fireplace at Metro State Library 2nd floor lounge.

For bonus points – laugh more.  It really is the best medicine!

Contact library.socialmedia@metrostate.edu with questions or concerns.

About the Authors

Mallory Kroschel is an Information Commons Specialist at Metropolitan State University Library

Katherine Gerwig is an Information Commons Specialist at Metropolitan State University Library

 

Fact or Faked: Tools for Spotting Fake News

Before the election the issue of fake news was on few peoples’ radar. Since the election it has become clear that fake news sites are out there, their content is shared widely, and they create an environment where it is nearly impossible to tell fact from fiction.

62% of Americans get at least some news from social media. While Facebook and Google are looking into how they can limit the reach and impact of fake news sites you are still likely to come across news stories with very little basis in fact. Or unbelievable headlines that don’t describe the story they are linked with (click-bait).

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Here are a few things you can do to keep the spread of fake news down to a minimum:

Fact-check. The most time-consuming of the suggested actions but also the most effective. With some practice it becomes easier to identify fake news. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Does the article’s headline evoke an emotional response? Click-bait sites use headlines with strong language and information that seems unbelievable.
  2. When a headline makes you question its veracity, read the article. Does the article cite sources? Are those sources reliable? Click on a few links in the article. Do those links take you to reputable sites with news that corroborates the other article?
  3. Are other media outlets reporting the same story? Typically, when something big and unbelievable happens more than one media outlet will pick up on it. Whether liberal or conservative the same story will appear but with a different spin.
  4. Use sites like FactCheck.org, Politi-Fact, and Snopes.com. Liking one or two of these sites on Facebook and adjusting the settings on them so you see them first is a helpful way to aid you in spotting fake news.

Don’t share articles you haven’t read. At some point we’ve all shared an article based solely on the headline. This can spread misinformation and fuel fake news sites. For anything you think you want to share, at least click into the article and take a quick skim.

Politely call out articles you know are untrue or click-bait. When you spot a friend or acquaintance posting an article from a fake news site, politely engage with them and let them know the article is fake. I have seen this done in some very respectful ways on people’s pages. If you don’t want to make your request public, you can always message them.

When sharing a satirical article describe it as such. Misinformation and fake news is also spread through misunderstanding of the type of media outlet that is producing it. An article from The Onion may have a very convincing headline and be taken as real news to those who aren’t familiar with it. I must say there have been times I have done a double-take on one of their posts.

Open Access in Action

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Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

-Peter Suber

This past week has been Open Access Week. This year’s theme is Open Access (OA) in Action. The Library has recently taken action to support OA through the purchase of a repository platform (BePress). We are working through the set-up process this semester. Starting Spring semester we will digitize and ingest a couple of pilot collections. We hope to have the archival portion of the platform operational by next Fall. Eventually, the repository will provide a home for student and faculty works and university archival materials of historical value.

Metropolitan State University values inclusion and the ability for all voices to be heard. Making faculty, staff, and student scholarship, along with other university works accessible to the widest possible community is a clear demonstration of the university’s values.

Want to do do something to support OA? Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Archive your work in a repository when possible. There are disciplinary repositories such as: arXiv, dryad, ICPSR, SocArXiv, or SSRN that may take your pre-prints, post-prints, or data.
  • Work to retain your author rights.
  • Obtain an ORCID.
  • Start conversations with your colleagues and students on the viability of OA publishing models, the impact of making scholarship widely available, or ways you can support OA.

Cyber Security

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October is Cyber Security Month.  Cyber security is all about protecting yourself and your data online.  The Cyber Security and Forensics Student Organization (CSFSO) wants to help highlight the importance of that security with a conference happening on Saturday, October 22nd from 10am-5pm in New Main L206.

The conference will have multiple workshops including internet safety for parents and children, social media security, and mobile device security.  There will also be free security checkups and cleanings of computing and networking devices.

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Cyber Security Conference Flyer

If cyber security is something you want to learn more about you can check out the following links:

Cyber Security Tips from the U.S. Computer Readiness Emergency Team describe and offer advice about common security issues.

Federal Trades Commission teaches you how to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.

OnGuard Online is also from the Federal Trades Commission and has more free online security tips and resources to share with your friends, family, coworkers, and community.

 

Google Tools

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Google Drive Logo and Icons

These days almost anyone that has email has a Gmail account.  Chances are they are not using that account to its full potential.  When a person signs up for a Gmail account, they automatically get access to Google tools.  These include lots of different things ranging from calendars to photo storage to various types of documents.

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Screenshot of My Drive Homepage

When you sign up for Gmail you get 15 GB of free storage.  You can always purchase more if necessary.  Your 15 GB of storage includes Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive (Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides), and My Drive.  (My Drive is the folder that holds the files and folders you create in Google Drive).

Curious and want to learn more about these and other tools available through Google, check out the St. Paul Public Library’s session about Google Drive on Wednesday October 19th from 6pm-8pm at Dayton’s Bluff Library.

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Dayton’s Bluff Google Drive Event

 

Lynda.Com

Have you ever wanted to learn more about a subject briefly touched on in class? Would you like to compare what you learned with another course? Or maybe you have wanted to take a course in another subject but you didn’t have the time for it?

Are you an instructor looking for a supplemental tool to support concepts learned in class or teach technical skills needed to complete an assignment?

Lynda.com has a large collection of online classes covering business, professional development, software, technology and creative professional topics.  As a currently enrolled Metropolitan State University student, access to the premium membership is free, you just need to set up your account using the Metropolitan State University e-mail provided to you (StarID@metrostate.edu).  They even have a course on how to navigate the website.

The tutorials are broken down into short topic specific sections so you don’t have to watch the entire 6 hour tutorial on Excel, you can just find the section dealing with what you are trying to do and watch it. Instructors can also use links to the sections to point students directly to the most useful sections of a tutorial instead of asking them to watch a tutorial in its entirety.

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Metro State link to Lynda.com

If the link above does not work then type: “Lynda.com“, in the search bar, or navigate through the Metropolitan State University website by following these steps:
1.) Start with the MetroState.edu homepage, click on the Current Students link in the black bar on top of the website

2.) Click on the Learning Resources tab.

3.) Scroll down the list of Learning Resources until you get to number 5 and click on the link named, “Student Tools and Resources”. This will bring you to another list.

4.) Look for item “2: Lynda.com Online Training” and click on the “Access LYNDA.com at Metropolitan State” link.

This is what an online course looks like:

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Lynda.com course welcome page

You can click on different sections of the lecture or read along with the transcript as the video plays:

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Lynda.com interactive transcript

The benefits of premier membership over basic access include downloadable files and downloadable course video, practice code and quizzes. Premier membership is normally $29.99 a month and basic membership is $19.99 a month. But for Metro State students it is free!

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Lynda.com membership options

Fun fact: If you have a library card from the Hennepin County Library System* or the Saint Paul Public Library System* you also have access to Lynda.com.  Their links are listed below.

Hennepin County Library

Saint Paul Public Library

*Membership level is unknown

Metropolitan State University is in no way affiliated with Lynda.com

What can a Liaison Librarian do for you?

Did you know there is a faculty librarian assigned as a liaison to each Major area of study? Liaison Librarians provide specialized assistance locating and evaluating resources in their liaison area.

dsc_0012-editedLibrary Liaisons (from left to right): Alec Sonsteby, Jennifer DeJonghe, Christine Larson, Martha Hardy, Michelle Filkins, Michelle Desilets, and Ruth Zietlow.

Some things liaisons do to support students:

  • Assist students individually with literature searching, Web searching, citing sources and more via Research & Reference Services.
  • Course-integrated instruction sessions to support specific assignments.
  • One-time workshops for students on special topics such as Google searching & Google Scholar, Zotero, and subject-specific literature searching within a discipline.
  • Create subject or course specific research guides (LibGuides) handouts, and tutorials to assist students with literature searching, Web search, evaluating materials, citing sources, and other information literacy topics.
  • Individual research consultations.

To support faculty & staff:

  • Consult with faculty on assignments and course design.
  • One-time workshops for faculty and staff on special topics such as Google searching & Google Scholar, Zotero, and subject-specific literature searching.
  • Individual research consultations.
  • Answer questions regarding library services such as interlibrary loan, ereserves, and copyright clearance and permissions for course texts.
  • Literature searches.
  • Keep faculty apprised of new tools, services, and items added to the collection relevant to their discipline.
  • Develop a relevant, useful collection that supports the curricula by purchasing or licensing books, journals, films, research databases, & more.
  • Support accreditation processes for specific disciplinary programs.
  • Consult on copyright issues, including determining what might constitute Fair Use.

 

Click the link below for a list of this years library liaisons and their contact information.

Library Liaisons 2016-2017