Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Today marks the Chinese New Year - this year is the Year of the Horse!  Dublin is celebrating with the 7th Dublin Chinese New Year Festival.  And here's some recommended reading for the fortnight ahead!

 - My life as emperor
 - The bone setter's daughter
 - Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress

 - China 
 - Red dust: a path through China

 - Mao: the unknown story
 - The art of war
 - Ken Hom's Chinese cookery

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Placing core texts on short loan

Have you ever noticed that some of your core texts can only be read in the library?  And that some are 1-week loans instead of 2-week loans?

This week, we have been busy changing some of the core texts, for Semester 2, to short loan.  We do this to increase the number of students who can access the books in the lead up to assignments/exams.

At the start of the semester, we ask your lecturers to tell us which books will be core texts for their subjects. The first copy is changed to "library use only" and all other copies are changed to "1-week loan".  Read more here.

If you think this is a good system, remind your lecturer to send us their core text list!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Planning to spend some evenings in the library this term?

Are you planning your studies for Semester 2?  

Good news - from next Monday (3rd Feb), there will be two extra shuttle buses each evening, Monday - Thursday, at 7.10pm and 8.10pm.  

Perfect timing for library users!

(image: “Wheeled School Bus-Right Front” by Bill Ward via Flickr)

Monday, January 27, 2014

New semester: what do you need to know?

Last semester, there were over 9,500 visits to the ITB Student Hub.  The most viewed posts were:

1. Student email:

2. Previous exam papers:

3. Accessing the Student Share off-campus

4. Moodle:

5. ITB wireless network

What information do you need at the start of this semester?  And have you checked to see if it is available on The ITB Student Information Hub:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Some new books in the library...

Here are some of the newest additions to the library shelves...

005.265 WHI
Idea to iPhone : the essential guide to creating your first app for the iPhone and iPad / Carla White.
005.437 WEB
Beginning Kinect programming with the Microsoft Kinect SDK / Jarrett Webb and James Ashley.
005.74 SAS
SAS certification prep guide : base programming for SAS 9 / SAS Institute Inc.
006.312 HOF
RapidMiner : data mining use cases and business analytics applications / edited by Markus Hofmann and Ralf Klinkenberg.
006.6 HEL
Microsoft Visio 2013 : step by step / Scott A. Helmers.
155.26 DAN
The essential enneagram : the definitive personality test and self-discovery guide / David N. Daniels and Virginia A. Price.
155.26 DAN
The essential enneagram : the definitive personality test and self-discovery guide / David N. Daniels and Virginia A. Price.
303.482 BEN
Basic concepts of intercultural communication : paradigms, principles and practice / Milton J. Bennett.
305.8 VAN
The first R : how children learn race and racism / Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin.
306.8 ALL
The sociology of the family : a reader / edited by Graham Allan.
306.85 CHE
Sociology of family life / David Cheal.
306.850973 MCK
Families and change : coping with stressful events and transitions / edited by Sharon J. Price, Christine A. Price and Patrick C. McKenry.
370.117 DER
Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves / Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards.
370.117 DER
Anti-bias curriculum : tools for empowering young children / Louise Derman-Sparks and the A.B.C. Task Force.
372.19 PUG
Contemporary issues in the early years / edited by Gillian Pugh and Bernadette Duffy.
372.21 MAC
Doing Foucault in early childhood studies : applying poststructural ideas / Glenda MacNaughton.
372.21 MAC
Shaping early childhood : learners, curriculum and contexts / Glenda MacNaughton.
378.19829 AHM
On being included : racism and diversity in institutional life / Sara Ahmed.
378.415 INS
Teaching and learning innovations / edited by Daniel McSweeney.
613.2 DUN
Fundamentals of sport and exercise nutrition / Marie Dunford.
616.8982 EME
Challenging behaviour / Eric Emerson and Stewart L. Einfeld.
618.92 SAN
Child development / John W. Santrock.
618.92 STA
Think good, feel good : a cognitive behaviour therapy workbook for children and young people / Paul Stallard.
618.97 SEG
Aging and mental health.
621.43 AHL
The Haynes small engine repair manual : 5.5 HP through 20 HP four-stroke engines / by Alan Ahlstrand and John H Haynes.
635.9 LAM
Nursery stock manual / J. G. D. Lamb, J. C. Kelly, Peter Bowbrick.
657.42 DRU
Management and cost accounting / Colin Drury.
658.404 MIC
Microsoft official academic course : Microsoft Project 2013.
794.81526 MCM
Scratch programming in easy steps : covers Scratch 2.0 and Scratch 1.4 / Sean McManus  foreword by Mitchel Resnick.
796.077 MAR
Successful coaching / Rainer Martens.

P 363
A mobile tracking web application for Android / Keith Sheridan.
P 364
Lecturer grading system / Martin Gray.
P 365
Investigate the effectiveness of Honeypots against hacker attacks / Juri Lossov.
P 366
Motion controls versus tradition controls in an XNA video game / David Enriquez.
P 367
Android application for Hospital Management System / Shereen Iqbal.
P 368
Student oriented online dynamic resource sharing (class-share) / Emrah Rizvanovic.
P 369
Wind visualisation on the Google Map API / Thanh Chi Nguyen.
P 370
An Android implementation of an augmented reality learning interface for use in Early Education / Kevin Joyce.
P 371
Portable virtual classroom Instant Messaging / Samson Rukundo.
P 372
Java based teaching tool / James Power.
P 373
Arduino autonomous power / Sebastian Poenar.
P 374
Android application for learning biology / Sonia Hafeez.
P 375
Interactive book application for children / Mark Mitchell, Shane McCarthy and Shane MacMathuna.
P 376
ITBSOCIAL : a hybrid website of social networking and e-learning / Jonathon Daly, Neil Foran and Adam Geoghegan.
P 377
Computer Vision using Open CV / Simon Lomax and Chris McNulty.

REF 320.9
The Phoenix annual.
REF 612
Principles of anatomy and physiology / Gerard J. Tortora, Bryan Derr

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And now for something completely different...

Lots of you are returning your books to the library today as you finish your final exams.  It's a good day to read something entirely different from Java / E-commerce / Community Development or anything else you've been busy reading lately!  Check out our fiction section (on level 1 by Kopikat 1 and 2).

With over 750 fiction books to choose from - there is something for everyone!

I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it... Fever Pitch / Nick Hornby

Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. He had attended a surprisingly easy calving, lanced one abscess, extracted a molar, dosed one lady of easy virtue with Salvarsanm performed an unpleasant but spectacularly fruitful enema, and had produced a miracle by a feat of medical prestidigitation... Captain Corelli's Mandolin / Louis de Bernieres

Mr L. Prosser was, as they say, only human. In other words he was a carbon-based bipedal life form descended from an ape. More specifically he was forty, fat and shabby and worked for the local council. Curiously enough, though he didnt know it, he was also a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, though intervening generations and racial mixing had so jugled his genes that he had no discernible Mongoloid characteristics, and the only vestiges left in Mr L. Posser of his mighty ancestry were a pronounced stoutness about the tum and a prediliction for littel fur hats... The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy / Douglas Adams

The lobby of the Delano Hotel was like a designer's hissy fit on the set of Alice in Wonderland. Everything was too big, too small, the wrong colour, or in the wrong place... Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination / Helen Fielding

The green WELCOME TO ABBA TOWN sign that led off the expressway would have been easy to miss because it was so small. Papa turned onto the dirt road, and soon I heard the screech-screech-screech of the low underbelly of the Merceded scrapping the bumpy, sun-baked dirt road. As we drove past, people waved and called out Papa's title: "Omelora!"... Purple Hibiscus / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Testing, testing. One, two, three. Maybe this is working. I dont know. If you can even hear me, I dont know. But if you can hear me, listen. And if youre listening, then what youve found is the story of everything that went wrong. This is what you would call the flight recorder of Flight 2039. The black box, even though its orange, and on the inside is a loop of wire that's the permanent record of all that's left. What you've found is the story of what happened... Survivor / Chuck Palahniuk

A pair of enormous purple toads sat gulping wetly and feasting on dead blowflies. A gigantic tortoise with a jewel-encrusted shell was glittering near the window, Poisonous orange snails were oozing slowly up the side of their glass tank, and a fat white rabbit kept changing into a silk top hat and back again with a loud popping noise... Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / J. K. Rowling

Simon greeted her at the door of the Westbury Hotel function room with an affectionate kiss on the cheek. Dressed in a dark suit, which made his sandy hair appear almost blond, he looked palely handsome and Evie felt that flicker of pleasure that sometimes washed overher when she realised she was going to marry him... Never too late / Cathy Kelly

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The end is in sight...

As the exams draw to a close, here are some useful reminders...

  • The library will close at 6pm on Thursday 23rd January
  • Remember to drop your library books back on time so that you don't face overdue fines

Student Information Desk:

Monday, January 20, 2014

What question are you being asked?

One of the most important things at examtime is to fully understand the question that is being asked.

Monash University have an excellent guide to help you understand questions that are being asked of you.  They deal with six broad categories of questions:

1. Knowledge questions.
These questions examine whether you are familiar with particular facts, definitions etc.
They are often who, what, where, when, why, define.... questions.
This information is usually vital to understanding the topic and is often learned by-heart to ensure accuracy.

2. Comprehension questions.
These questions examine whether you fully understand the information you have learned.
They are often describe, explain, compare and contrast... questions.
These answers often contain a lot of detail.  You must show that you understand the significance of the information when answering these questions.

3. Application questions.
These questions ask you to find a specific answer to a question by using a particular formula, technique or rule.
They are often questions such as if 3x=27, what is x? or what is the latitude of Melbourne?...
These questions usually have one correct answer that can be found by applying the correct technique.

4. Analysis questions.
These questions ask you to look at the data and interpret it or draw conclusions based upon it.
They include questions such as why certain trends occur, what conclusions can be drawn by x, what evidence is there to support y...
These questions demonstrate that, as well as understanding the information, you are able to use it to draw evidence-based conclusions.

5. Synthesis questions.
These questions ask you to create solutions for a problem based on information taken from a number of sources.
They include questions such as how a specific dilemma could be solved, how a situation could be improved, your predictions about the future...
These questions demonstrate your understanding of a subject as a whole.  Rather than repeating data that you have learned-off, these questions require you to use your whole body of knowledge and apply it to a specific question.

6. Evaluation questions.
These questions ask you to give your opinion or judgement on a piece of information.  You will be expected to back-up your opinion using evidence.
They include questions such as do you agree with x, what is your opinion on y, design a way to do z...
These questions demonstrate that, as well as reading other people's ideas, you are able to create ideas of your own.  Evaluation questions demonstrate your ability to do original research and/or add to the body of knowledge that exists for the subject you study.

For a full explanation of these categories, see the Monash University guide and take the test!

(Image: "Finger face with a question" by Tsahi Levent-Levi via Flickr)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Time out

Well done to everyone who sat exams this week.  And happy weekend!

Over the next couple of days, we hope you have a little time to relax...

... and a little time to revise.

The trick is to keep your study time and your relaxation time separate!
  • Use different spaces: move away from your study desk when you are relaxing
  • Keep your distractions away: leave your phone, TV, internet-connection aside until relaxation time so you can be fully focused while studying
  • Take regular breaks: breaks are very important for concentration and memory
  • Take care of yourself: remember that eating well, getting exercise, sleeping enough and staying hydrated will help you to focus

And well done - you're on the homestraight now!

(top image: "relax" by Luke via Flickr)
(bottom image: ",,Exams,," by mísslolitá via Flickr)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dealing with exam stress

Feeling stressed at exam-time is natural, but letting exam stress get the better of you can hinder your ability to concentrate, recall information and think clearly.

A simple and effective way to help relieve stress is to close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. This helps calm your entire nervous system.

If your mind "blanks", don't panic! Take several slow, deep breaths. On a separate piece of paper, jot down related bullet points.  If you still can't recall the information move on and come back to it at a later stage.

Take a small bottle of water into the exam with you. Keeping hydrated will help with concentration.

Invigilators are there to help, if you have a problem with noise inside or outside the exam hall or if the sun is shining on your exam paper.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Adapting to handwritten exams

In our everyday lives, most of us type more than we write. Students, in particular, often do most of their coursework on computers. So, how can we adapt to hand-written exams?

Here are four things to remember:

  1. Hand-writing requires a little more planning. Typists often start working straight away; they know that they can edit the document later. It is more difficult to edit hand-written scripts. Therefore, writers must be organised! Before you pick up a pen, take the time to plan your answer. Jot down your ideas on rough paper and structure your argument before you start.
  2. Hand-writing can be a slower process than typing. Rest assured that your marker is aware of this! A written exam probably won't resemble a typed assignment, so don't expect it to. However, the slower speed of writing gives you a little more time to think as you write, which allows you to edit-as-you-go.
  3. Some of us have ferocious hand-writing! Although most markers are understanding of poor hand-writing, they must be able to read and understand your work in order to mark it. As you write, ensure that your writing is legible. Bring a couple of pens into the exam hall in case one leeks and write in blue or black ink.
  4. In exams we need to correct our own spelling and grammar. As part of the planning and edit-as-you-go process, we must be conscious of our spelling and grammar as we write. If you are unsure of a spelling, jot it down on rough paper; sometimes correct spellings are more recognisable when written down. And leave a little time at the end of the exam to re-read your paper; this is a great way of catching obvious errors.
Best of luck to everyone sitting an exam today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The exam paper

When correcting papers, examiners usually follow a marking schedule: they give marks for particular points (both in the content and format). Try to ensure that your handwriting is legible and that your answers are organised and numbered correctly.  Remember, your examiner wants you to do well!

Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to exam papers.

  • Read the instructions on your exam paper carefully and check your answers against the instructions as you go along
  • Read the question carefully and make sure you fully understand what's being asked, giving examples to show you understand the material
  • Assess who much time you'll spend on each question and weigh it against the marks. If there is a compulsory question worth a larger proportion of marks allocate more time for that

  •  Ignore the instructions, it could cost you marks!!
  •  Forget to leave 10 minutes at the end to revise your answers
  •  Forget to backup your opinions and ideas with evidence
  •  Dwell on questions when you get stuck, move on and come back if time permits at the end

Monday, January 13, 2014

5 tips before you go into the Exam Hall

Exams can be a stressful time!  Having a plan before you go into the Exam Hall can help.  Here are some of the things you can plan for:

1. Read the exam paper slowly and carefully.  Ensure that you understand the instructions before you start writing!

2. Look at the points available for each question, or part of a question, e.g. if there are three questions - worth 20%, 20% and 60% - you need to plan to spend most of your time on the last question.

3. Answer the question that was asked.  Sometimes it can be tempting to write down everything you know about a topic.  It is important to read the question carefully and answer what was asked.  Look at directive words, e.g. are you being asked to list information, to describe a theory or an idea, to evaluate a concept & give your opinions...

4. Plan your answer before you start writing.  Jot down your ideas, on a separate sheet of paper, and consider how you are going to structure your argument.  What order will you put your ideas in?  Does your introduction include all your main ideas? Is your argument clear and logical?  (if you must submit this piece of paper, write "rough work" at the top of the page and the marker will understand that it is not part of your answer).

5. Leave time to re-read your answers.  Leave 10 minutes or so to re-read your answers before you finish.  This will allow you to catch any obvious mistakes.  Reviewing your work reduces the number of spelling and grammar mistakes, and allows you to change any obvious errors.  This makes a good impression on the marker.

... and if you "blank"?  Don't worry.  First of all, this happens to lots of people!  Take a deep breath and jot down any relevant information, no matter how basic it seems.  Jotting ideas down often reminds you of how much you know and stimulates related thoughts!

Best of luck to everyone sitting an exam today!

(Image: "Exam Hall" by Samuel via Flickr)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The art of single-tasking

Revision can be tough in this Age of Distraction.  It's difficult not to read and answer texts as we study, or not to check our Facebook page as we type.  But, on this last weekend before exams, it's worth single-tasking over the next few days.

1. Have a plan
There's no need to spend a lot of time of this, but it is important to set out your goals before you start.  List the subject areas you need to cover and split your time up between them.  You may need to spend a little more time on a more difficult subject; it's usually good to start with the subject you find most challenging.

2. Ditch the distractions
Divide your time into "study time" and "relaxation time".  Experts recommend regular breaks, e.g. studying for 50 minutes followed by a 10 minute break.  These days, we often multitask without realizing it.   Most of us have internet access on our laptops and we carry our mobile phones with us at all times.  For this weekend, during "study time", we should switch off and promise ourselves to only check our devices during "relaxation time".  If you spend your "study time" entirely focused on your revision, then you get to enjoy guilt-free "relaxation time"!

3. Take care of yourself
In addition to regular breaks, it is important to remember that eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep all contribute to good concentration skills and better memory.

Best of luck with your revision...


(Image: "Revision" by jim crossley via Flickr)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Have you printed / saved important study documents?

Most of you are probably planning to spend the weekend preparing for the exams - now is a good time to ensure you have everything you need!

Your Moodle notes, past exam papers, x-drive etc. are available online. But occasionally access to online resources can be lost due to poor broadband, network issues, computer faults, lost passwords etc. Be sure to save or print copies of important documents so that you will have access to them between now and the exams.

Best of luck with your revision!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Preparing exam question answers

Are you preparing to write essay-style answers to your exam questions?  If so, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Essay questions do not just test how much data you know.  They allow you to show how the different topics that you have covered for that subject fit together, and how your own opinions and conclusions fit with the theories and concepts you have been studying.  Essay questions show that you can adapt your knowledge to the question on the exam paper, and that you can plan and organise that knowledge in order to answer the question that is being asked.

Begin by being clear about what is required of you:

  • how many questions do you need to answer
  • how many marks are available for each question
  • how much time do you have for each question

Jot down a brief schedule for yourself:
  • jot down the time you have for each questions, e.g. a question worth 40 marks should get about twice the time that a question worth 20 marks gets
  • leave at least 10 minutes at the end to re-read each question so that you can pick up any obvious spelling mistakes, unclear writing or other problems

Don't start to write until you know what is required:
  • read the question 2-3 times.  Be sure that you understand what is being asked of you, e.g. are you being asked to describe something in detail, to identify factors by listing them, to reflect on a statement by including your own opinions...
  • you must answer the question that was asked.  It is tempting to include unnecessary information (after going to the bother of learning it!)  You will only be marked on the question that was asked; don't expect the marker to seek out relevant information or to figure out what you mean to say 

Jot down a brief outline of the answer:
  • in exams, you have a limited amount of time and a limited ability to edit.  So, it's vital to plan your answer before you start to write.  Using bullet points or mind maps is a good way to decide how to structure your ideas
  • your opening paragraph should state the main premise of your argument and briefly describe what the essay will include.  The body of the essay consists of paragraphs; each paragraph should focus on one ideas or topic.  The paragraphs must flow together, so spare a little thought for how you will connect these ideas.  The concluding paragraph should recap your argument and may include your own concluding opinions
  • be sure to back your opinions up with evidence from the material that you have studied during the year

  • leave yourself at least 10 minutes, at the end, to re-read what you have written and to pick up on any mistakes that are easy to rectify


(Image: "Philosophy" by Michael Biech via Flickr)