Intros, Clever quotes, and Anecdotes to use in class

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I have used the powerpoint below as in intro in freshmen classes-- I ask students what it is (it's a drawing of a patent for a computer mouse.) Then I have a vendor-donated giveaway to the first person who can guess. I usually have to give clues-- even the second slide doesn't help them sometimes. But it works as an icebreaker with their crazy guesses. (Nancy Linden, University of Houston. Linden@uh.edu) Mouse patent.ppt


I was doing a hands-on session where students were examining engineering handbooks. I mentioned half-jokingly that they should ask a relative who has terrible taste in gift-giving to get them one for graduation. One student raised her hand and said, "I've already got one on my wedding registry." (Nancy Linden, University of Houston. Linden@uh.edu)

Databases are like iTunes: One thing I frequently use as a metaphor for online databases in my freshman technical communications sessions is the iTunes Store. I ask students if they've ever used it - usually I get a bunch who have. I ask them questions regarding what types of searches you can do in iTunes. They'll offer - search by song title, by album, by artist, by type of media - music, video, movie, by genre of music. I then will relate these search categories to the search categories in our engineering databases - searching for keywords in the article title is like searching for a song title; searching by author is like searching by artist; searching for a particular journal title is like searching by album title; subject or article type searches can be related to genre searches. It is just another way to connect what we do in our databases to something they do outside the classroom. (Ed Eckel, Western Michigan University, edward.eckel@wmich.edu)