Category Archives: Students

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Meet Rob, one of two instructional designers to join the Academic Commons

The Academic Commons team is growing! This academic year we added two Instructional Design Specialists to our department. Rob and Sadman join the team to support faculty with course design, educational technologies, and online instruction.

Keep reading to hear about what advice Robs give to instructors teaching in online and hybrid classrooms and learn how he can support you.

What is your title and your role at Jefferson?
I am an Instructional Design Specialist Associate in the Academic Commons.

I think of my role as one of a “creative transformer” – someone who draws on their technical and learning design knowledge, creative instincts, passion as well as other resources to help meet the goals of our faculty, our students, and the university.

How long have worked at Jefferson?
I have been here since November 2021 and am really enjoying this new role. Starting a new position can be a bit daunting for the first couple weeks, and a remote role can even be more difficult, but the Jefferson team was incredible in making me feel welcome and part of the team from the start. With frequent use of Slack and Zoom, I feel like I am constantly connected to the team – probably even more so than if they sat around the corner from me! I am also fortunate that I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, so I have had the opportunity to meet some team members in person.  

Explain to us a bit about your work and what departments you support.
I collaborate with and support team members and subject matter experts with projects, namely, the design and development of courses and instructional materials. I also have a background in graphic design, working with Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and many others, so I look forward to contributing unique design elements to courses as needed. I recently worked with faculty from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and am excited to work with other groups at the university.

Tell us about a few of your favorite educational tools.
I really like Flipgrid and VoiceThread. Flipgrid allows someone to easily record videos and include questions and comments about a lesson. Others can then respond with a recorded video response with no time limit. Also, students can be creative in their response, personalizing their videos with music and animation features.

VoiceThread is a slides-based platform that allows one to present their project by adding images, videos, voice, and text. Projects can be shared with other students, and they can respond with their thoughts.

What advice would you give to an instructor teaching online for the first time or maybe transitioning to a hybrid classroom?
I would encourage them to approach the situation with an open mind. Online applications provide a wealth of resources by which students can learn and interact with each other and their professors – but in order to take advantage of those possibilities, it is important to take some time to explore how parts of the course could be “transformed” to an online environment and not just “shifted” online from the way they are done in a campus course. 

How can instructors work with you to transform their course content to the online environment?
The Academic Commons is here to help! You can contact us for a one-on-one consultation via the “Growing with Canvas” calendar in Canvas. We also have virtual workshops and on-demand recorded videos that you can explore at a convenient time. Visit our site for how-to guides and video guides on educational tools like VoiceThread, Canvas, Nearpod and more.

How do you spend your time when not supporting instructors?
I love spending time with my wife and daughter, exercising, watching sports, and listening to podcasts on a variety of subjects.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Meet Sadman, one of two new instructional designers to join the Academic Commons

The Academic Commons team is growing! This academic year we added two Instructional Design Specialists to our department. Sadman and Rob join the team to support faculty with course design, educational technologies, and online instruction.

We caught up with Sadman to find out about what got him interested in the field of instructional design, learn about a few of his favorite e-learning tools, and what he likes to do in his free time.

What is your title, and what brings you to the world of instructional design?
I am an Instructional Designer (Associate) in the Academic Commons.

I am honored and humbled to be able to choose this career path. Surprisingly enough, I come from a long line of educators.  Most of my family members contribute to the education field in one way or other, along with my parents, who worked for universities as professors in Bangladesh.

What kind of work do you do at Jefferson, and which groups do you support?
Collaborating with the curriculum & instructional design team on a variety of design, course development projects, technology-centric various innovative tasks both for Thomas Jefferson University & Sydney Kimmel Medical College. I have also been keeping myself occupied with designing and creating interactive learning modules with rapid, content authoring tools for Academic Commons. My primary duties also incorporate developing instructional materials, job aids, and support resources.

What are a few of your favorite e-learning tools?
As an expression of my creative side, I approach many of my instructional aids and modules with interactive, engaging animations and gamification elements. Vyond is one of my favorite online platforms that can be used for various scenario-based modules and educational videos. The usability and functionality for this platform is perfectly tailored for any level of user.

I also enjoy working with Articulate Storyline360, Rise 360, and Adobe Captivate, which we use in the Academic Commons. There are ways to import animations from Vyond and implement in modules created with Articulate Storyline360.

Tell us about a project you’re working on right now.
I’m working on a PELS Project, which stands for Patient Engagement Log System. The goal is to test the usability and consistency of the system.

Along with this project, I am also helping the Instructional Design team to design and develop various online courses for Jefferson College of Continuing and Professional Studies and “How to Guides” for applications we use at Jefferson.

What advice would you give to a Jefferson instructor teaching online for the first time or maybe transitioning to a hybrid classroom?
Teaching online can be challenging as we all know but so can learning online. From a learner’s perspective, engaging and enriched educational content enhances the motivational aspect and willingness to learn and participate in a virtual classroom. I recently finished my Master of Science degree during the pandemic and coming from someone who was a student in the current educational environment, I would highly encourage instructors to approach everyone with compassion and with a willingness to help and be flexible with each student.

If an instructor is teaching online for the first time or transitioning to the hybrid classroom, they can reach out to the Academic Commons for support. We can meet one-on-one to assist with course design. Our virtual workshops will help instructors learn about tools available from Jefferson.

What are a few hobbies or things you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy traveling, photography, sketching, cooking, and experimenting with fermentation (in some cases pickling) of fruits, grains, and vegetables. As I am working with learning experience every day at work, I try to expose myself to various learning experiences which help me understand how we learn and evolve. Due to travelling all my life, I have been collecting hats, foreign military jackets/outfits, coins, vintage watches, and spices/teas. I spend most of my time at the kitchen trying to cook something or play with a new recipe when I am not at work. Camping over the weekends or going freediving/fishing are also some of the things I really love to do in my free time when I am with free from the stress of daily life.

New Journal (NEJM Evidence) & Upcoming Workshop on Evidence Synthesis

Thomas Jefferson University Libraries just added a new journal to our collection – NEJM Evidence. The journal, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, is an online-only, peer-reviewed general medical journal. NEJM Evidence, published monthly, will highlight original research and new ideas in clinical trial design and clinical decision-making.

And you can gain skills to find more evidence synthesis publications at our workshop, “Evidence Synthesis for Evidence-Based Teaching,” this March. Greg Laynor, Senior Librarian at Scott Memorial Library, will lead the virtual workshop on Friday, March 11, where he’ll share tips to find evidence synthesis publications about teaching practices. The workshop will also cover options for publishing evidence synthesis projects on education topics, such as the Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) Collaboration.

In the meantime, check out NEJM Evidence. The journal publishes:

  • Original research, clinical trials, and other clinically grounded work (e.g., epidemiology studies, first-in-human trials, meta-analyses) that validate or challenge prior clinical findings
  • Standard reviews, systematic reviews, and other review types that contextualize research findings to accelerate clinical adoption of new evidence
  • Case studies and reviews of clinical trial methodology that enhance understanding of trial strengths and weaknesses
  • Curbside consult series that addresses common patient care issues

Learn more about NEJM Evidence and sign up for the Evidence Synthesis for Evidence-Based Teaching workshop in March.

Check out the over 200 databases and 100 library guides on the new TJU Libraries Guides Site

Say hello to the new Thomas Jefferson University Libraries Guides website! This site includes all guides from both the Gutman and Scott libraries, previously on separate websites. Check out the new library guides site:

Library guides, sometimes referred to as research guides, are pages devoted to a specific topic, tool, or course. On a guide, you can easily find library resources like eBooks, databases, and journals related to that particular subject, course, or topic. Examples of library guides include “Open Access Publishing,” “Anatomy,” “Fashion Design,” and “Citation Management Tools.”

There are a few ways you can explore library guides on the new site.  

1: Browse the complete list of guides by selecting the “ALL GUIDES” button on the homepage. A list of all guides will appear in alphabetical order.

2: Find a specific guide by searching for a keyword, database, or topic in the search box in the upper right-hand corner.

3: Check out guides grouped into specific categories by selecting the “BY SUBJECT” or “BY TYPE” buttons.

In addition to the guides, check out the expanded A-Z Database list. Thomas Jefferson University Libraries offers you access to over 240 databases, now all conveniently accessible from this site.

Databases cover a range of topics, including:

Accounting and economics
Architecture and sustainable design
Climate change and renewable energy
Drug information
Fashion and textile manufacturing
Foreign languages

Healthcare research and health information technology  
International newspapers
Physical therapy
Social and environmental justice

Check out our library guides and databases now. We hope you enjoy the new site!

JDC Quarterly Report October – December 2021: CREATE Day Presentations, Dissertations, Story Slam, Population Health Capstones, and More

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022! The Jefferson Digital Commons (JDC) ended the final quarter with 326 new items and 193,650 downloads. Check out the Quarterly Report to read about the latest additions to the repository and see what people are saying about the JDC.

In 2021, the JDC reported:

  • 21,218 video and audio streams
  • 15,311 institutions accessed content
  • 1,564 works posted
  • 218 countries visited the site

This quarterly report includes:

  • Articles
  • Conferences and Symposia
  • CREATE Day Presentations
  • Dissertations
  • Faculty Development Programs
  • Grand Rounds and Lectures
  • JCPH Capstone Presentations
  • Jefferson Health Conference for Advancing Care Excellence
  • Journals and Newsletters
  • Lesson Plans
  • Models
  • Posters
  • Reports
  • Story Slam
  • Student Projects
  • What People are Saying About the Jefferson Digital Commons

Check out the Quarterly Report now to learn more.

SPRING 2022 WORKSHOPS: Time management, measuring research impact, the elevator pitch, and more

Jump into 2022 by prioritizing your professional goals with the Academic Commons! Workshops will focus on things like:

  • updating course materials to be inclusive and accessible to students
  • improving your time management skills to be most productive
  • measuring the impact of your research
  • utilizing educational technologies to make teaching online effective

We’ll cover classroom tools like VoiceThread and Respondus, Open Educational Resources (OER), persuasive writing, and more. Browse the sessions below or download our flyer to learn more.

Claiming Your Identity as a Researcher and Measuring Your Research Impact
Wednesday, February 16, 12-1pm

Learn different ways to frame your research by utilizing resources (ORCID, SciENcv, Google Scholar, and Scopus Author ID) designed to help you measure your impact.

Leveraging Open Educational Resources and Open Pedagogy to Support Students & Promote Educational Equity
Monday, March 7, 12:45-1:45pm

The use of Open Educational Resources (OER) is growing. Learn the reasons behind the increased interest in OER, get tips on how to search for OER, and find out how the library can support you in using OER.

Evidence Synthesis for Evidence-Based Teaching
Friday, March 11, 12-1pm

Learn how to find evidence synthesis publications about teaching practices. Learn options for publishing evidence synthesis projects on education topics, such as Best Evidence Medical Education Collaborative.

Writing Strategies to Get People to Listen and Understand
Wednesday, March 30, 12-1pm

Have you ever been told that your writing is hard to understand? We’ll review simple writing concepts you can use to make your sentences clearer, livelier, and more concise.

The Elevator Pitch
Wednesday, April 13, 1-2pm

What would you say if you had a minute or two to make a case with a decision-maker? What kinds of words might make a difference in getting through to them? We’ll analyze the pitch and practice making one using a simple method and key words.

Kick off 2022 with these 25 new eBooks

Start the New Year with some new eBooks! Our January collection includes a range of eBooks covering topics like environmental justice, critical writing, nursing research, biopharmaceuticals, and scholarly communications.

Check out the titles listed below or browse our complete eBook collection here (Center City) and here (East Falls).

The Autoimmune Diseases  

Atkinson’s Principles of Clinical Pharmacology

 Anatomic Exposures in Vascular Surgery  

Atlas of Pulmonary Pathology: A Pattern Based Approach to Neoplastic and Non-Neoplastic Biopsies

Becoming a Coach: The Essential ICF Guide

Bioprocess Engineering Principles

Biosimilars: Regulatory, Clinical, and Biopharmaceutical Development

 Black Snake: Standing Rock, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Environmental Justice

Critical Writing: A Guide to Writing a Paper Using the Concepts and Processes of Critical Thinking

Disaster and Emergency Management Methods: Social Science Approaches in Application

Effective Teaching: Instructional Methods and Strategies for Occupational Therapy Education

Engineering Principles of Biotechnology

High Through-put Formulation Development of Biopharmaceuticals:  Practical Guide to Methods and Applications

Historic Real Estate: Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States

How to Validate a Pharmaceutical Process

Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice

Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management

Pharmaceutical Quality by Design

Process Validation in Manufacturing of Biopharmaceuticals

Psychological and Medical Perspectives on Fertility Care and Sexual Health

Regulated Bioanalysis: Fundamentals and Practice

Scholarly Communication: What Everyone Needs to Know

Statistics for Biotechnology Process Development

Therapeutic Antibody Engineering: Current and Future Advances Driving the Strongest Growth Area in the Pharmaceutical Industry


Year in Review: Academic Commons Annual Report (2020 – 2021)

As another year ends, it is time to reflect on all we’ve overcome to accomplish and look ahead to the future. Here at the Academic Commons, as we prepare to close the books on 2021, we’re celebrating our wins during another challenging pandemic year in our Annual Report.

The 2020 – 2021 Academic Year was one of uncertainty and inconsistency. Constantly changing safety protocols, roller-coaster COVID rates, and disruptions to in-person activities and ways of work led faculty, students, and staff to feel stressed, confused, and eager for familiarity. 

At the Academic Commons, we maintained our trusted level of support and service, although it may have looked a little different than usual. The team was able to transition our work models to support the changing needs of our community by utilizing new technologies, our resourcefulness, and collaboration with each other and other departments.

In the Academic Commons 2020 – 2021 Annual Report, you’ll read a recap of our work and services for the year. Amidst the pandemic, we saw bright growth spots in areas where we could offer even more activities and resources online.

And check out the Photography Services Year in Photos. The team was on the frontlines during many significant Jefferson moments, including the arrival and administration of the first COVID-19 vaccines. This photo recap highlights some of the transformational and inspirational moments of the year. 

As we prepare to welcome in 2022, we look forward to reconnecting with our Jefferson family. Happy New Year from the Academic Commons!

Winnie-The-Pooh will be just one of many new works entering the Public Domain starting January 1st, 2022

While we all celebrate January 1st as the start of a new year full of new possibilities, there is another reason that fans of open access information in the United States commemorate every January 1st. This is because January 1st is when new works enter the public domain for the year. Despite what it might sound like, the public domain is not a place. Instead, according to the U.S. government copyright office, works that are in the public domain are “no longer under copyright protection” and “may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.” Currently, U.S. copyright law states that materials published between 1923-1977 remain under copyright for 95 years from their publication date. What this means for Winnie-The-Pooh is that now creators will be able to take the beloved characters from that children’s story and write their own stories or create their own media without having to get permission from a copyright holder.

Interested in learning more about what works will be entering the public domain this year? The Public Domain Review website has put together a new feature where they showcase a work set to enter the public domain each day throughout December. Other well-known works highlighted on their website include Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and books by authors such as D. H. Lawrence, Baroness Orczy, Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, and Agatha Christie.

This year there is also something special happening with music and sound recordings. All recordings published in the U.S. before 1923 will enter the public domain in January. These works were not available before now because sound recordings before the 1970s were protected by state laws, which held that the words were copyrighted indefinitely. The Music Modernization Act of 2018 made it possible for these works to enter the public domain. Check out these sound recordings on the Library of Congress’s Citizen DJ website, and use them without permission however you like starting on January 1st.

To learn more about copyright and fair use issues, please visit the Thomas Jefferson University Libraries copyright guide.

MATLAB, a program used by engineers & researchers around the globe, is now available at Jefferson!

MATLAB is a programming and numeric computing platform used to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. Engineers and scientists worldwide use MATLAB, and now you can too!

How to access MATLAB

Set up your MATLAB account through the MATLAB portal. Access MATLAB via this website or download the MATLAB software to your device. Access to MATLAB is available both on campus and remotely.

What MATLAB can do

MATLAB includes analysis, design, modeling, simulation, code generation, plus computational finance tools. It can assist with signal processing and communications, image and video processing, control systems, test and measurement, computational finance, and computational biology. It also provides apps to see how different algorithms work with your data and develop programming skills.

Key Features:

  • Mathematical functions for linear algebra, statistics, etc.
  • Language for numerical computation, visualization, and app development
  • Built-in graphics for visualizing data and tools to create custom plots

Teaching with MATLAB (for faculty)
Enhance your curriculum with ready-to-use MATLAB courseware and interactive tools. Access the MATLAB teaching resources to get started.

Help with MATLAB

Installation Guide (downloading & accessing your MATLAB account)

Online Training (interactive, self-paced courses)

Videos & Webinars (videos on specific MATLAB features & functions)

In addition to MATLAB, the campus-wide license of MathWorks includes additional add-on products. View the additional MathWorks products via the MATLAB portal.

LGBTQ+ care, sustainable fashion, music therapy, crisis management, and more: Check out December’s new eBooks

This December’s 21 eBooks cover crisis management, LGBTQ+ care for nurses, sustainable fashion and much more.

Check out the titles below or browse our complete eBook collection here (Center City) or here (East Falls)

AAOS Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care

The Age of Agile:  How Smart Companies are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done

Bailey’s Research for the Health Professional

CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Study Guide: Exam CLO-002

Crisis Management Planning and Execution

Documentation Manual for Occupational Therapy: Writing SOAP Notes

Fast Facts about LGBTQ+ Care for Nurses

HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites

International Occupational Therapy: Strategies for Working and Learning Abroad  

The Joys of Compounding: The Passionate Pursuit of Lifelong Learning

Landesman’s Public Health Management of Disasters: The Practice Guide

Music as Care: Artistry in the Hospital Environment

New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop

Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice

A Practical Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Primer in Positive Psychology

Provider-led Population Health Management: Key Healthcare Strategies in the Cognitive Era

Research Methods in Health Humanities

Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications 

Technical Addictions

Yaffe and Aranda’s Neonatal and Pediatric Pharmacology:  Therapeutic Principles in Practice 

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Congrats to Janine Waters, who recently was promoted to Access Services Librarian at Gutman Library!

The Gutman Library may have a new Access Services Librarian, but she’s a familiar face!

Chances are if you’ve visited Gutman Library in the past four years, you’ve run into Janine Waters. As the Evening part-time librarian, Janine started at Gutman by supporting the East Falls community needing assistance after business hours. Now, she’s taking on a new role as the Access Services Librarian. 

We sat down with Janine to congratulate her on the promotion, learn about a few of her favorite library resources, and find out what she likes to do in her spare time. 

How long have you been working at Gutman Library, and what does this recent title change mean for your role and responsibilities?

I’ve been at Gutman for a little more than four years now; I started in September 2017 as the Evening PT Librarian. My new role is different from my old one—I’m currently working hands-on with student workers and managing their schedules. I’ve transitioned from working evening and weekend hours to daytime, Monday to Friday schedule.

When did you know that you wanted to be a librarian?

I did AmeriCorps post-college, which is when I started to think about a career in the nonprofit sector. When I moved back East after the program, I started volunteering at my local library and decided to go back to school to pursue an MLS.

What does being a librarian mean to you? 

Engaging with people to find out how I can best meet their needs—whether that means helping them print, navigating a database, or simply providing a quiet space to study. 

What’s your favorite part about working at Gutman and Thomas Jefferson University?

Meeting and getting to know the students, faculty, and staff. I enjoy hearing and seeing what projects people are working on.

What are a few of your favorite Gutman resources or collections?

The art and architecture books on our second floor—there are so many beautiful, large-format books. I’ve been introduced to these books by the many students who’ve needed assistance locating them for class projects. I also enjoy perusing the new releases in the popular fiction and nonfiction sections. 

How can you help students, staff, and faculty?

Circulation questions, policies, and reserving rooms in the library. I’m also here for reference needs and questions. 

We know you’re an animal lover! How many pets are you currently fostering?

None! We recently finished fostering a litter of four brothers for the Brandywine SPCA. Major, Mo, Micah, and Mitchell were kitten littermates. 

Three of the four really took to our big dog Offa, who loves to parent kittens. I’m a longtime volunteer at ACCT Philly, so I try to get there to walk dogs when I’m not fostering,

When not taking care of animals or working in the library, what else do you like to do in your free time?

I run a lot and am a part of the Manayunk Beer Runners. Most of the club participated in the Philadelphia Marathon weekend (right before Thanksgiving), and we ran a cheer station at mile 20 on Main Street. 

Now that most races are finally live again, I’m enjoying picking which ones I want to run with friends. 

I love comedy, so I often re-watch “Impractical Jokers” episodes or clips. Same with old comedy specials; Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin are ones I come back to. 

I have a “what to read next” pile on my nightstand—next up is the new David Sedaris book.

American Diabetes Month: Close out November with resources on diabetes in children, diabetes & depression, and more

November is American Diabetes Month. Millions of Americans live with diabetes and millions of others are at risk for the disease. The eBooks and video resources below offer detailed information on diabetes and depression, diabetes in children, and emerging digital tools to support patients with diabetes.

Visit the American Diabetes Association for more information about living with diabetes and ways you can get involved to spread awareness about the disease.


Diabetes Complications, Comorbidities and Related Disorders

Diabetes Digital Health

The Handy Diabetes Answer Book

Practical Endocrinology and Diabetes in Children


Diabetes and Depression [VIDEO]

NEW TOOL: Turn chemistry ideas and research into art with ChemDraw

Jefferson Libraries is excited to welcome a new tool to our collection: ChemDraw. ChemDraw can quickly turn ideas into publication-worthy drawings you can use to communicate your research to a broad audience.

Download ChemDraw via the Jefferson Libraries website. For step-by-step instructions, visit this guide.  

Designed with chemistry in mind, ChemDraw enables chemists to spend more time making breakthrough discoveries and less time drawing and reporting. 

With ChemDraw, you can:

  • Search for chemical structures within Google Patents 
  • Easily find chemical structures buried deep in your files
  • Create lists from new and repurposed chemical data 

ChemDraw will dramatically increase your productivity and accelerate the communication of your chemistry research. Get started today!

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Helpful resources to learn more

November marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, which is a time to learn about the disease and ways you can support the more than 6.2 million Americans living with it.

Read this Facts About Alzheimer’s Infographic for more info about the disease.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s by checking out the recourses below:


Alzheimer’s Disease: Life Course Perspectives on Risk Reduction

Alzheimer’s Disease: New Beginnings

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Solving the Practical and Policy Challenges

Naturally Occurring Chemicals against Alzheimer’s Disease

Caregiver Proficiency: Alzheimer’s Disease