Randy’s Spring 2018 Update

This Spring Term I’ll spend a great deal of my time ensuring that all the scientific instruments in the natural sciences are running as expected. The move from Mudd Hall caused a lot of disruption to the communication between instruments and computers. The spring term is just one small step before summer research begins and I want to ensure that things go smoothly.

I’ll also continue my work with the College’s Mobile App Development group. I call it MAD! There is no official name for the group yet but I hope my nickname for it sticks! We are working on a process so that anyone interested in making a mobile app for their teaching or research knows how to proceed. I’m hopeful Spring Term will allow me more time to help faculty develop their app ideas and possibly even publish a working mobile app.

One of my other projects is working on LabArchives (LA). LA is an online Electronic Lab Notebook that was designed to replace the traditional paper lab notebook within the science communities. But that has all change now that Juliane Schicker, Assistant Professor of German, broke through the disciplinary boundaries and began using LA in her teaching! I’m hoping to use the example of Juliane to spread the word across the curriculum that there is an easier way to manage lab notebooks and student journaling.

I’ll spend some time this spring learning more about the MakerSpaces housed about campus. I currently learning about Blendor and Inventor software packages for 3D printing. Knowing these two packages will help with future 3D printing needs.

Finally, moving the scientists wasn’t the only move I had going! I moved my family to a new house over winter break and most of January. I must be crazy to move in the coldest time of the year but some of you know that I like to do things the hard way. This move included two adults, two kids, one parent, two dogs, five cats, two businesses and because I am a tinkerer LOTS of shop “stuff”!

Electronic Notebooks at Carleton: LabArchives

In the LTC Lunch: Making Learning Visible with Electronic Portfolios (Jan. 19, 2016), Deborah Gross, Professor of Chemistry, talked about how Lab Archives captures the learning that her students are doing in her lab courses.


*Deborah’s presentation begins at 14:30

LabArchives (LA) is an electronic notebook software that comes in two versions: classroom and professional. The classroom version allows you to manage a set of individual notebooks for each student, replacing the traditional lab notebook; the professional version is great for organizing your professional research and involving collaborators.

Despite its name and logo, which features iconic chemistry vessels, please don’t think LA isn’t for you or your students if you aren’t in the Natural Sciences! It really is an electronic notebook and not a lab notebook. In fact, we’ve heard from our LA rep that staff working in the area of facilities find LA very helpful.

Based on the testing that Deborah and other Carleton faculty participated in, the College has purchased access to both the Professional and Classroom editions for anyone on campus. In a sense, we’re piloting a site license for LA to see if enough folks will use it to warrant continuing in this way (or, if buying on a case by case basis is more prudent).

Our AT [un]workshop on Wednesday October 26, Electronic Notebooks for Classroom & Research: Exploring LabArchives, is a great chance to learn more about LA. You may discover, as Deborah did, that in addition to making student learning more visible both to external audiences and to the students, electronic portfolios like LA can solve logistical problems. For example, in chemistry, LA eliminated the logjam that occurs when students have turned in their physical notebooks to be graded and then don’t have them to prep for the upcoming lab, or how to deal with group projects that are recorded only in one notebook. You also may discover how an electronic notebook might help you capture, archive, and curate your own work.

We also have the following hands on training sessions coming up:
Thursday, October 20 at 3:15 – 4:00 pm in the Weitz Center, Room 027
Tuesday, November 1 at 3:15 – 4:00 pm in the Weitz Center, Room 027

Questions? Contact Randy Hoffner, rhoffner@carleton.edu