Category Archives: Tools

Moodle Upgrade for Summer 2013.

posted by John Kometz – Educational Consultant (LMS Lead), Teaching Centre

We have implemented a significant upgrade to the Moodle platform for the summer semester (version 2.4.3). If you have summer courses you should already have access to the new instance.

Key improvements include

  • Drag and drop topics you can re-order topics by simply dragging them.
  • Drag and drop file uploads you can actually drag files directly from your desktop to your browser
  • Virtual linking to files in your “My files” area you can use your my files area as a file repository for all your classes. One file can be used in multiple locations.
  • New Activity and Resource picker the two drop down menus of old are combined in a single link to a popup window in a much more user friendly format.
  • A completely re-vamped Assignment tool the tool combines the 4 assignment types of old into a single form with more flexible options, and easier to understand setup.
  • Numerous bug fixes, and minor improvements

Please contact the Teaching Center if you would like to learn more.

posted by John Kometz

Taking a look at Mendeley reference manager

When researching a topic and looking up articles, I have been trying to use Endnote for the Mac platform. Although, I have heard wonderful things about this program, and have seen it work efficiently, I encountered some problems saving some references and importing information about documents I had download from sites other than the University Library. Another feature I wanted, was the ability to sync article and reference access on my iPad. This caused me to search for alternative programs or servicse. This article will focus on some of the features I am finding beneficial in the Mendeley platform.

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a cloud based, internet service that will provide users with web, desktop, and mobile platforms for managing references for research purposes. The product allows you to import PDFs and have the meta data automatically extracted into a citation manager that is built into Mendeley. Although this is a great feature of Mendeley, and probably one of the main feature of the service, there are other products that perform this same function.

So what makes Mendeley different, and why would you want to use it instead of say Endnote or Zotero?

Mendeley integrates a social aspect into their services. All the platforms that Mendeley is available on (web, desktop, mobile) allow you to make connections with other researchers, share your articles with a targeted research community, as well as gather articles from other researchers. You can form groups and connect with other researchers and discuss articles right within Mendeley’s research platform. Mendeley even suggests articles related to the articles that you currently have added to your library.

How can you get started with Mendeley?

If you are interested in trying Mendeley, you can do so by visiting http://www.mendeley.com. Signing up for an account is absolutely free, and they also offer free of charge, downloadable software for multiple platforms such as Mac, PC and iOS. Although a Android version has not been created by the company, they have released an API that has allowed third party developers to create apps for Android devices.

Is it really free?
Yes Mendeley is free. However, they do have paid plans available. These plans essentially increase your cloud storage. They also have team plans available if that is of interest to you.