Archive forSeptember, 2009

Tip a Bear: study tips for Baylor students

I recently learned about a great blog by Doris Hambrick, who works in the Paul L. Foster Success Center, called “The Academically Successful Bear”. The blog is dedicated to helping students become academically successful. One recurring feature is the “Tip a Bear” video series, where Doris interviews successful Baylor students and asks them to give their #1 study tip.

This blog is going on our permanent list of links – what a great resource!

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Use Wolfram|Alpha to Make College Easier

Wolfram|Alpha made a splash on the internet when it was released this past year. In fact, some claimed it would be a “Google-killer.” But the creators of Wolfram|Alpha disagreed. They have other plans for their website than just being a search engine:

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

Grand plans, yes, but as they work at their long-term goal, there are some immediate benefits to what Wolfram|Alpha can offer its users – specifically students. They highlighted this on their blog the other day, “highlighting examples of how Wolfram|Alpha can make subjects and concepts a bit easier to learn.”

Check out how Wolfram|Alpha can help you with in your Chemistry class:
chemistry

They also list ways to help you with Engineering, Calculus, and even Spring Break plans and battling the Freshman 15. I’d encourage you to check out Wolfram|Alpha and see for yourself what kind of computational power it has. Feel free to post any cool examples in the comments.

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Virtual Visits

So, the long Labor Day weekend is coming up and you’d like to go somewhere, visit someplace. But you’re a student, you don’t have much money or much time to do that, maybe. Consider a virtual visit to some of the world’s best museums and collections using the ARTstor database. You could visit New York City by going to the Architecture and Design Collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA):

Gunta Stölzl, (Artist), Design for Textile, 	1920-1924

Gunta Stölzl, (Artist), Design for Textile, 1920-1924

or take a “trip” to the bridges and canals of Venice by exploring the photographic collection of Sarah Quill (the Architecture of Venice collection within ArtStor):

Ponte Maravegie (bridge), 2003, Photograph copyright © Sarah Quill

Ponte Maravegie (bridge), 2003, Photograph copyright © Sarah Quill

or make a Chicago-style pizza and wander through the world art at the Art Institute of Chicago:

The actor Matsumoto Koshiro III, Ippitsusai Buncho (artist), 1770, woodblock print

The actor Matsumoto Koshiro III, Ippitsusai Buncho (artist), 1770, woodblock print

You can go back in time to medieval manuscripts (the illuminated manuscript collections of Princeton University and manuscripts and early printed books of the Bodliean Library, Oxford are in ArtStor):

Roman de la Rose, Princeton Garrett 126, mid-14th Century,

Roman de la Rose, Princeton Garrett 126, mid-14th Century,

Book of Hours. Use of Sarum. Folio #: fol. 001r, MS. Douce 231

Book of Hours. Use of Sarum. Folio #: fol. 001r, MS. Douce 231

or check out community murals from around the U.S.:

Bomba y Plena, 2004, Betsy Casanas (artist), Tim Drescher (photographer)

Bomba y Plena, 2004, Betsy Casanas (artist), Tim Drescher (photographer)

To get to any of these collections, enter ARTstor, and then click on “Browse by Collection.” There are hundreds of different collections from museums, colleges and private collectors. So, gather some friends, fire up the oven, put some popcorn in the microwave, pull up your laptop and go for a visit to someplace you’ve never been before.  No traffic, no lines, no tickets required .  Happy and carefree.  Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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