Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 13 - Catch Up and Reflect

We're done!

Congratulations to those who have successfully completed each week in this RULA 2.0 Adventure.

For those who have not finished all of the 13 week activity, now is the time to get caught up!

Can't get enough Learning 2.0? Check out some of the concepts and tools listed below.


One of the exciting thing about these new Web 2.0 utilities is the ability to smush them together to make hybrid services.

Many Web Applications offer API's (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow these services the ability to intermingle, providing the user with a more enriched web experience.

Want to create your own Mashups? No programming required! Check out the following:
- Microsoft PopFly - Make services and games through click and drag options
- Yahoo Pipes -
Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.
- Google Mashup Editor - (currently in BETA) A little more advanced than Microsoft's and Yahoo's implementation (check out the screen casts)

Web 2.0 Games!

Savvy web users have even turned these web services into little games.

Here is one example (Create a Band!):

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random...” or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the NAME of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the TITLE of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album COVER. (Or do like I did, search Flickr's Creative Commons only for photos OK to alter, choose the third one.)

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together. ( Picnik is one option)

5 - Post it with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in.

Broader Concepts regarding the use of Web2.0 Technologies:

The various technologies you are learned on this 'Learning 2.0' adventure will change, and that change will happen quickly and frequently. But it is not the services like Blogger, Flickr, or pbWiki that you are really learning.

What you are learning is the greater concepts driving these services:
User Empowerment, Social Networking, Collaboration, etc...

The following videos provide a pretty good assessment of the use of 'Web 2.0' tools within Acadamia and how they can benefit our students.

- Web 2.0 : The Machine is Us/ing Us (YouTube Video)
- A Vision of Students Today (YouTube Video)
- Harvard's 'H2O: Go With the Flow' Collaborative learning Program (Promo Video)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week 12 - Videos/YouTube

There are many sites on the Internet to view, post and comment on videos. Whether you are looking for music videos, self help videos, news, entertainment, entire television shows, videos are now accessible all over the web.

By far the most popular site is one we all know called YouTube. YouTube is arguably the largest video site on the Web today offering 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content, but also embed clips into their own websites.

YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. The site was created in February 2005 and 2006 was later bought by Google Inc. Their videos are distributed through streaming media technology.

An amazing feature of YouTube is the ability of users to view its videos on web pages outside of the YouTube site. Each video is accompanied by a piece of HTML code, which can be used to embed it on a page outside the YouTube website such as social networking sites such as Facebook and Blogs.

Some Other Examples of Sites with Video Content:

Myspace tv- MySpace TV has quickly become one of the most popular video sites on the Web. You can find all sorts of interesting videos here, anything from animation to sports.

Dailymotion - Dailymotion allows users to browse videos by searching tags, channels or user-created groups; the search system also introduces results based on things other users have searched for. - ATV allows users to stream television programs over the web. Shows are often broken into segments of 10 minute clips.

Metacafe - Metacafe is a community based video sharing web site, that specializes in short-form original entertainment, where users upload, view and share video clips.

Vimeo - Vimeo is a video-centric social network site which launched in November 2004. The site supports embedding, video storage, and allows user-commenting on each video page.

Activities For This Week:

  1. Sign up for a YouTube account.

  2. Find a video that interests you.

  3. Leave a comment.

  4. Send the video to a friend in the library using the send link.

  5. Don’t forget to blog about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites? Don’t forget to include a link to your video choice

Advanced Activity (Optional)

  1. For those with a digital video camera, create your own video and upload it to YouTube.

  2. Write a description about the video and mention the RULA activity.

  3. Write a blog post about your experience and try to place the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the “Embeddable Player.”

Note: You will need use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.

Optional Readings and Resources:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Week 11 - Podcasts and Audio Files

This week is about podcasts and audio files. If you’ve just gotten an iPod and want to fully utilize it, this is the week! Even if you don’t, there is no need to worry, you can easily listen to an audio book or a podcast using an mp3 player or any computer.

The word "Podcast" was named the "word of the year" in 2005 by New Oxford American Dictionary and there have been amazing growth over the past few years. So, what is a podcast?

Think about “Podcast = MP3 + RSS”, it is like a radio program except you can download it to a portable device and listen to it at your convenience. Podcasts can have only sound or sound and video. A video podcast is sometimes called a vidcast.

Many libraries and educational institutions embraced podcasts too. By archiving tutorials for training sessions online, it saves time without repeating work and provides 24/7 accessible content for library clients and patrons. Examples of podcast sites are:

Denver Public Library
SirsiDynix Institute
iSchool Podcasts
CBC Podcasts

You must be tempted by now and anxious to know the next steps. This is how you can get started:

Step1: Download iTunes

You can always download each individual media file by right-click -Save Link As (Mozilla Firefox) or Save Target As (Internet Explorer) to your computer or USB drive. However, this week we are going to try a new way of doing it. It will be a onetime setup and make your life much easier in the future.

To receive all of the new episodes automatically, you will need podcast software, also called podcatcher or podcast receiver/aggregator. The most popular one is iTunes. Click the following link to download and install it to your desktop:

iTunes (Windows/Mac OS X)

There are also a number of other freely available options (optional) if you are interested:

Juice (Windows/Mac OS X)
The Odeo Player (Mac OS X)
Podnova (Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS 10.3+, GNU/Linux)

Step 2 Subscribe to RSS

Assume you have installed iTunes on your computer. Open iTunes, on the top menu, select Advanced, choose Subscribe to Podcast from the drop-down menu. In the dialogue box enter the podcast RSS feed URL. For example:

Once you've subscribed, select Podcasts on the left sidebar. You will see all subscribed podcasts listed. By default, the newest program should download automatically. You can specify where the files will be stored on your computer by going to Edit > Preferences and selecting the Advanced tab.

To listen to your file, double-click on the episode title. You can play, pause or fast-forward like a normal media player. iTunes will check for new episodes every time you open the player (or more frequently, if you set the preferences accordingly), making sure you always get the freshest content as soon as it is available.

If you have an iPod, the next time you plug it in your computer, all your podcasts will be automatically synchronized between it and the computer.

Step 3: More Exercises:

(1) Listen to a podcast
Go to :
Click “Listen to the Interview”, you can listen to it online directly

(2) On the above page, find the RSS Feed URL, and subscribe to it using iTunes
(Advanced- Subscribe to Podcast).

(3) Listen to an audio book
Go to the Librivox Catalog, search for an audio book and listen to it.
e.g. Click here for a list of audio books

Last but not least, please don’t forget to mention in your blog that you have completed this week’s exercises!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 10 - Browser Tools

This week we are going to explore some tools that you can add to your browser to make it more productive, fun and interesting.

About Browsers

There are a variety of browsers available (Firefox, IE, Flock, Opera, Chrome), but no one browser is likely to fulfill all your needs. This is where browser extensions (also called add-ons or plug-ins) come in. Third parties, usually talented programmers, create small programs that extend the browser's functionality. By installing some of these extensions, you can customize the browser to your liking. Of the big two browsers (Firefox and IE), Firefox has traditionally been the most extensible as it is based on open source software. Many more extensions are available for Firefox, although IE users now have several options available to them.

About Browser Extensions/Addons
What will these extensions let you do? Practically everything; however, you do need to exercise some judgement as to how many extensions to install. The more plugins, the slower your browser become, particularly on start up. Depending upon your interests, you may want to install extensions related to entertainment, social networking, increasing productivity (always a big hit in the Library), research, etc. If you added the Delicious toolbar in week 5, you will already have one extension in your browser. Here are a few examples of plug-ins that may interest you:

Cooliris is a plugin that lets you transform your browser into a lightning fast, cinematic way to browse online photos and videos. It works with a variety of sites: Flickr, Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, KodakGallery, Picasa Web Albums, etc.
Cooliris for Firefox
; Cooliris for IE

StumbleUpon lets you discover websites based on your interests. When you click on the StumbleUpon button in your browser toolbar, you are brought to sites of interest to you. For more information, check the StumbleUpon video (approx. 1 minute).
StumbleUpon for Firefox
; StumbleUpon for IE

Colorful Tabs is a fun extension that merely adds color to the tabs in your browser. Colorful Tabs for Firefox

Screengrab saves webpages as images. It will capture what you can see in the window, the entire page, just a selection, a particular frame... basically it saves webpages as images - either to a file, or to the clipboard. This is particularly useful if you want to capture screenshots for a presentation or even if you just want to record an error message.
Screengrab for Firefox

Google Toolbar
lets you search Google and access your various Google services directly from your browser toolbar. Google Toolbar for Firefox and IE

is a toolbar that libraries can customize and offer to their patrons. It allows users to search their library catalogue, eresources, Google Scholar, etc. directly from the browser toolbar. It also allows users to do searches in their library resources for text found in web pages by providing a right-click context-sensitive menu. More information and installation instructions for Firefox.

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself and provides functionality similar to RefWorks.
Zotero for Firefox

More extensions for Firefox and IE

Activities for this Week

There is one main activity for this week - choose one of the browser extensions above (if you use Firefox, you will find that you have more choices), install it in your browser and then blog about your extension experiences. If you have installed other extensions that might be of interest to other RULA2.0 participants, let us know about them in your blog.

When installing extensions in Firefox and IE, you will most likely get a message similar to the following:


This message will pop up just above the webpage and is easy to miss. It is just warning you that you are about to install a software programme. You will need to follow the instructions in this bar to be able to install your plug in.

Removing Extensions
If you have installed an extension that you no longer want, you can remove it. In Firefox, go into the Tools menu, select "Add-ons" and select the extension you want to uninstall. Click the "Uninstall" button. In IE, go into the Tools menu, select Manage Add-ons, then Enable or Disable Add-ons, select the add-on. Click the uninstall button then OK.

Advanced Activity (Optional)
By installing something called Greasemonkey in your Firefox Browser, you can customize the way a web page looks and behaves. The Library has created a script to run with Greasemonkey that will show you the status of books in the Ryerson Library when you are searching the Indigo, Amazon and Google Books sites.

To enable this for your Firefox browser you will need to:

Optional Readings and Resources
Seven Best Add-ons for IE7 (Wired)
Web Browser Extensions - Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Firefox Addons

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 9 - Social Networks

If you walk around our library, you will probably notice that many students are using Facebook. You may wonder why social networking websites like Facebook are so popular among students. This week we will help you to understand what social networks are, how they work and why we need to learn about them.

What are Social Networks?

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade. - Wikipedia.

If you would like to watch a good video for a short explanation about social networking, please check out CommonCraft’s Social Networking in Plain English (Less than 2 minutes).

There are many social networking websites today. The following list contains links to several popular social networking websites:

· MySpace
· Facebook
· Bebo
· Friendster
· Hi5
· Windows Live Home
· Linkedin
· Twitter

Library Social Network Sites

Social networking is a new approach for some academic and public libraries today to reach library users and provide information and services. Here are a few library related social network sites.

Library Thing
New York Public Library Social Network
The Brooklyn College Library
The Houston Public Library
The Denver Public Library
Manchester Library and Information Service (UK)

Facebook is the most popular social networking website in Canada.
Facebook is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while he was a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 175 million active users worldwide.
- Wikipedia.

An article in the Toronto Star repored that of January 2008, Toronto had over 1 million Facebook users and that over 50% of Canadian web users have Facebook accounts.

How to Use Facebook?
Here is a video to teach you how to register and join Facebook
Here is a video to teach you how to use your Facebook homepage
Here is a video to teach you how to find, invite, and add friends on Facebook
Youtube has many other online tutorials about Facebook.

Ryerson University Library on Facebook
Ryerson Library has created a presence on Facebook where students can search the library catalogue and find articles from the library subscribed e-resources. Once you have set up your Facebook account, you can add this application. The Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned our Library Facebook app in an article last year.

Facebook Activities

Only 4 activities this week!
1. Sign up for an account on Facebook if you do not already have one. Some may be a little hesitant to create a Facebook account, but remember, you can delete it after the RULA20 programme or you can choose to not include any personal information. If you prefer not to create a Facebook account, you will need to ask someone from your RULA 2.0 group to show you how Facebook works.
2. Go to your “profile” page to edit your own information. This is where you can prevent your birth date from showing. Add as little or as much information as you wish. You have control over what information is displayed and to whom. This article, 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know gives tips about Facebook privacy settings.
3. Go to and find one of your friends or coworkers on Facebook, and use “add as friend” feature to add him/her into your friends network.
4. Blog about your experiences using Facebook or other social network sites.

Of course, you have the option to create an account on other social networking sites such as Twitter, but please remember to blog about your experience. Have fun!

Additional (Optional) Reading:
· MySpace, Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today and Gone Tomorrow?
· Social Networks Primates on Facebook
· Online Social Networking for Educators
· Libraries in Social Networking Software
· Facebook and Updating the Stereotypical Librarian Image
· Library myspace account action

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week 8 Working with Google Applications

This week we will look at Google applications - there is more to Google than just its search engine! Besides creating a new verb in the English language (to google), Google is constantly creating (and buying) new applications and services. For example Blogger which this blog sits on was bought by Google in 2003. Google also owns Youtube (2006), Gmail, Google Scholar and too many other services/applications to mention.

What you will learn this week:

For the purposes of RULA 2.0 we will be sticking to

1. Google Docs
  • Learn how to upload a document and share it with your co-workers.
  • Work in real time on a shared document.

2. Google Maps

  • Find yourself on a map or get directions to the PARTY!
  • Try more advanced features
  • Is this a tool you can use in your daily life or in your future activities?
3. Personalizing your Google Account.

  • Decide what else you want to explore in the Google universe?
  • Make your Google search page your own.

1. Google Docs

Google Docs is a free, web-based application that will hosts your word, spreadsheet, presentation, and PDF files. It allows users to create, edit and upload documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.

For more information you can check out what Google has to say or Wikipedia.

Common Craft also has a neat video on WHY you should be using Google Docs - It’s a revolution in document sharing!

Google Docs Activity

Create a document you’d like to share with your group or just your group leader. It’s up to you if you’d like them to be able to edit it or only view it.

One suggestion: You thoughts/feedback on the Technology Petting Zoo from February 24th or 25th.
• What you liked and what you are now going to run out and buy?
• Your favorite toy that wasn’t there but you want to let the community know
• Questions you have on any new technology you’ve seen here on RULA 2.0.
• What ever you want!

1. Sign in to Google Documents using your Google account.

2. Start a NEW document or UPLOAD an existing one.

3. To start collaborating, (1) Click off the documents you wish to share, (2) Click the SHARE button and enter the email of your co-workers (There are various user roles you can define).

4. Explore! Organize your Google Docs, Try other formats etc.

2. Google Maps – Never get lost again.

Google Maps relies on mapping technology (including satellite images) and local business directories so you can find an address or get directions from one address to another.
It’s also a great teaching tool and vacation tool – you can look up where your hotel is, directions to the Eiffel Tower, etc!

The webpage is constantly adding value added options like pictures, videos and Wikipedia entries to enrich your experience.

Google Maps Activity -Find your self on the map.

1. Go to Google Maps Canada (

2. Enter in an address or place of business in the search bar at the top– Have fun!


3.Click on “Get Directions” and enter in your current address and the address of where you want to go (have fun).

4. Once you’re there click on all the different options at the top of the map! (Satellite, Terrain etc)

Warning- For those wanting the try the advanced option

Create your own map!
1. Click on My Maps
2. Google will give you the tools to place markers and routes.

Here’s an example of my walking route to work.

View Larger Map

Cool Option:
Google Earth
(Caution –This needs to be downloaded to your computer. )

Fly over the earth and now the oceans with real satellite images and 3-D. New features include historical imagery and Museum tours.

3. Personalize your Google Account.

We’ve only gone over 2 Google Applications but there are many more enjoyable ones you can add.
In Google click on “My Account” you’ll see the ones you’ve signed up for and a list of some new ones you might want to try.


Try the new I-Google ( )
Make I-Google your home page and customize it with weather, news, maps etc.

Remember to create a post on your blog about this week's activities. Did you like them? How can we use some of Google's services in the Library?

The Wrap Up

Here’s an in-depth list of all the Google applications/services

AND above all check out Google Labs – these are services/applications Google is still working on but they want the public to test drive!

And Introducing……..the newest Google application released this month…..

GOOGLE LATITUDE -See your friends on a map and get in touch

Lattitude uses GPS technology to track down your friends through their cell phone or WiFi location. Friends must agree to this before their locations can be tracked but this is still raising lots of questions about privacy in media and academic circles. What do you think?

Fun Stuff!
Did you know every April Fools Day, Google does something to make us laugh! They also like to leave hidden Easter Eggs in their applications/services. In tech speak Easter Eggs are hidden jokes or good surprises left by developers.

Here’s one Easter egg that’s still up and running. You can check out their past hoaxes on wikipedia.
1. Go to Google and type miserable failure in the search box
2. Click on the “I’m feeling lucky” button.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week 7 - Play Week

This week we will be taking a bit of a break from the relentless weekly exercises to give everyone a chance to catch up. We do have an activity planned for this week and that is the Technology Petting Zoo/Gadget Playtime sessions that are scheduled for Wednesday (12-1) and Thursday (1-2) in LIB386C. Drop by if you would like to see or try out any of the gadgets/toys pictured here. To give us an idea of numbers of attendees for each day, please register for either Wednesday or Thursday.

On Wednesday we are hoping to have a special guest with an e-book reader; stay tuned for more details. If you have any gadgets or tech toys that you would like to bring along, please do so.