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Feature Slides

  • PubMed ® for Trainers

    Do you train others to use PubMed? If so, join us for PubMed for Trainers, a hybrid class with 3 online sessions and 1 in-person session (eligible for 15 MLA CE credits). The class is an in-depth look at PubMed and a chance to share training ideas with your fellow participants.

    PubMed ® for Trainers

    PubMed ® for Trainers Picture
  • Fundamentals of Bioinformatics

    The "Fundamentals of Bioinformatics and Searching" course provides basic knowledge and skills for librarians interested in helping patrons use online molecular databases and tools from the NCBI.

    Fundamentals of Bioinformatics

    Fundamentals of Bioinformatics Picture
  • TOXNET® and Beyond

    This course is designed to convey the basics of searching the NLM's TOXNET®, a Web-based system of databases in the areas of toxicology, environmental health, and related fields.

    TOXNET® and Beyond

    TOXNET® and Beyond Picture
  • Teaching with Technology

    Learn how to take advantage of online tools to offer distance education classes and enhance face to face classes! Join us for this "asynchronous" (on your own time) class. The class is taught over 5 weeks and is eligible for 8 MLA CE credits.

    Teaching with Technology

    Teaching with Technology Picture
  • PubMed® for Librarians

    PubMed for Librarians is made up of five one-hour segments. These five segments will be presented via Adobe Connect and recorded for archival access. Each segment is meant to be a stand-alone module designed for each user to determine how many and in what sequence they attend.

    PubMed® for Librarians

    PubMed® for Librarians Picture

Earth Day is Coming…April 22, 2014

The first Earth Day was in 1970, the same year that the EPA was signed into law. Of the many databases offered by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXNET®  is a suite of databases that cover toxicology data, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

What is TOXNET? A Little History.

The Toxicology Information Program (TIP) was established in 1967 at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in response to recommendations made in the 1966 report “Handling of Toxicological Information,” prepared by the President’s Science Advisory Committee.

The objectives of TIP were to: (1) create automated toxicology data banks, and (2) provide toxicology information and data services. In the mid-1990′s, the mission of TIP was expanded to include environmental health and thus the Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) evolved.

TEHIP is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) offers online training about the TOXNET databases called Discovering TOXNET. One of the databases included in TOXNET is the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). TRI data is collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What is TRI?

TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. TRI includes data about chemical releases, waste transfers, recycling and pollution prevention. TRI includes information that can help you learn about toxic chemical releases from certain facilities in your neighborhood.

Why was TRI created?

In December of 1984 there was a massive toxic gas release in Bhopal, India from a U.S. owned company. Thousands of people died on that day and thousands of deaths (approximately 8000) have been attributed to that accident. Later that same year, in West Virginia, there was another chemical release. While the W.V. release was on a much smaller scale than the release in India, people across the U.S. began to ask questions about preparedness and information about toxic releases from facilities in their towns.

How can TRI Help Communities?

  • TRI can identify which chemicals are released by TRI facilities
  • TRI can track increases and reductions of toxic chemical releases

What is a TRI Facility?

TRI facilities include manufacturing, coal/oil electricity generation, mining facilities, hazardous waste management and federal facilities. Companies in these industries must report their use of a TRI chemical if they manufacture, process or use more than a certain amount of a TRI chemical per year.

What is a TRI Chemical?

In general chemicals covered by the TRI Program are those that cause one or more of the following:

  • Cancer or other chronic human health effects
  • Significant adverse acute human health effects
  • Significant adverse environmental effects

The TRI Program currently covers 682 chemicals and chemical categories.

Read more about TRI at: http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program

4 Ways to Add Interactivity

Man interacting with a large touchscreen.

In January, I attended a presentation called Making Interactivity Count by Cammy Bean, Vice President of Learning Design at Kineo. You can find her slide deck on Slideshare and I recommend looking at her other presentations as well. Here are a few of my takeaways from her talk. Though her points were geared to the elearning environment, they are highly applicable to the face-to-face classroom as well.

When designing instruction, we try to incorporate interactivity. But what is interactivity? Interactivity occurs on a spectrum and can be human-to-human, or human-to-thing. Even thinking meaningfully can be interactive. Her four strategies for incorporating interactivity are:

1. Get them reflecting! Have your students practice integrating the content into their own mental schema. Ask a question to get them to stop, think, and apply what they have just learned. For example, what are you going to start doing, stop doing, or continue doing with this new knowledge?

2. Get them feeling! Make your stories or examples about real people or put the learner in the story. Ask them questions about the story or why it matters.

3. Get them acting! Build in worksheets or have students assess what’s going right or wrong with a scenario. For example, if you demonstrate a search that returns zero results, have your students determine why and how to fix it. Ask students what they would do in a given situation.

4. Get them connecting! Have your students talk to each other. Use a survey and share the results.

A few other words of caution from Cammy Bean:

  • Don’t add interactivity just for the sake of interactivity (or as Cammy put it, Beware the clicky clicky, bling bling!)
  • Be sure that the interactive elements have context
  • Don’t allow the interactivity to overwhelm the content

What are some new ways you might add interactivity to your classes?

 

Like a Sherpa; Only Different

Information overload. When presented with lots of new information in a short period of time (during a webinar or in-person training session), how are we to know what’s most important in the presentation?

A Sherpa is a person of Nepalese descent and is known for serving as a guide to mountain climbers, notably for Mount Everest. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Sherpa (a guide) to help us focus on the most important components of a presentation? Enter guided note taking.

Guided notes (as opposed to complete notes provided to students) are a teacher-prepared handout used to help students focus on the key elements of a presentation. If you want to help students understand a new concept, include the description in a prepared handout, but leave a blank so the students have to fill in a missing piece of information. This approach engages students and helps them focus on the key points. The National Library of Medicine Training Center uses this approach in some of their classes.

While a 2006 article published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis didn’t find “consistent differences between the two note formats on students’ mean quiz scores.” The researchers did see more correct answers on quizzes where students had used guided notes.

My suggestion…try it, you might like it.

Click here to read the freely available full-text article at PubMed Central.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sort by Relevance in PubMed

In October 2013, PubMed added a new Display Settings option to sort your search results by relevance. Learn more about this feature in this 2-minute video.

You can read about this change in the NLM Technical Bulletin.

Human Factors

Technology; most of us have a love/hate relationship with it.  But wouldn’t it be great if we had a love/love relationship with technology? Specifically, love for an online course we might take or even develop. Karla Gutierrez of SHIFT’s eLearning Blog recently posted an article titled: Bridging the Gap Between Human Learners and eLearning Technology. Gutierrez pointed to 4 “human factors” to consider when designing an online class. Also, as students, we intrinsically want these factors to be present.

I’ve pulled some excerpts from Gutierrez’s article. Just reading about human centered design made me feel more at ease.

1) The human brain prefers to recognize, not recall. Learners should not have to spend more time trying to remember how to navigate from one page to another, than they do engaging in learning the material.

2) The human brain likes chunking by seven. Requiring learners to grasp too many concepts at one time can cause them to “drop” that information.

3) The human brain likes to organize information.The proper placement of information can help learners recall knowledge when they need it.

4) The human brain likes patterns.  Use consistent screen design.

The U.S. government has a website about user experience design principles called: http://www.usability.gov

Here is a link to a section called User Experience Basics:  http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-experience.html 

Read the entire article herehttp://goo.gl/MVvsLt

 

 

 

Get Their Attention with These 3 Steps

Group of students paying attention

Don’t you wish that any time you taught, your students were completely captivated by what you had to say?

As teachers and trainers, you know it’s important to grab the audience’s attention right away. Whether you teach busy clinicians, exhausted students, or distracted researchers, getting and keeping the audience’s attention can be a real challenge. So how do you do it?

A recent post over at CopyBlogger describes three steps that you can apply to capture the attention of your students. Their post really addresses blog writing, but I think they can be applied to the classroom as well. By applying these steps, you just might find that you have gained ground in the competition for your audience’s attention.

Step 1: Empathize with your student’s struggle. Show them that you understand their needs and the accompanying challenges. For example, you might indicate that you know how important it is to have the most recent literature for their research, but how difficult it can be to make sure you have the best sources.

Step 2: Promise your students a benefit. Let them know right away how they will be rewarded for their attention and why they should pay attention. Will it take them less time to find what they need? Will they impress their attendings with their ability to find the best evidence?

Step 3: Provide reassurance. Let them know it’s not going to be too hard because you’re going to let them in on a few secrets or a simple trick that will elevate their skill. This really doesn’t have to take long, but by using these steps to slightly revamp your introduction, you may find that you have a more attentive class.

Did you notice any of these steps at work in this post?

 

 

 

Seattle: PubMed® for Trainers

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering the 4 session PubMed for Trainers class at the University of Washington Health Sciences Library.

The series of four classes runs from Thursday, March 6, 2014 – March 27, 2014.

Online Session One: March 6, 2014, 10 am – 12 pm PT

Online Session Two: March 13, 2014 10 am – 12 pm PT

Online Session Three: March 20, 2014 10 am – 12 pm PT

In-person Session Four in Seattle, Washington: March 27, 2014, 9 am – 4:30 pm PT

Click here to view the class description.

Links to Love

In case you missed it, here are some of the most popular links we’ve shared on Twitter over the last 2 months:

Links to our two new videos were also popular, so they’re linked below and look for more to come!

Haz-Map Updated

NLM has updated Haz-Map with 481 new agents, including 23 agents causing occupational asthma. Fifteen new hazardous job tasks linked to jobs and industries were also added in this update.  Haz-Map now covers over 9170 chemical and biological agents and 241 occupational diseases. http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/

Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work.  Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. It currently covers over 5997 chemical and biological agents and 235 occupational diseases.

More information can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hazmap.html

Tips for the Virtual Classroom

I recently attended the American Society for Training and Development‘s TechKnowledge conference. It was a great opportunity to see new training technologies and learn from others about their challenges and strategies in training. ASTD’s membership is quite diverse and includes those who do compliance training, technical and software training, workforce development, and many other areas. In all the sessions, I found myself looking for ways to apply techniques from other areas to what we do here at the NTC. In the next few blog posts I’ll share some of the tips and tricks I learned in these sessions.

One of the first sessions I attended was about identifying and avoid pitfalls in the virtual classroom. As we (and many others) move more of our classes online, this seemed particularly relevant.

Woman at computer wearing headset

The instructor first described the difference between webinars and a virtual classroom. For her, a virtual classroom uses web conferencing software to facilitate synchronous learning with a high degree of interaction. A webinar, on the other hand, is more one-way communication or simply presentation of information. Here are some of her tips:

  • Tip #1: Make sure participants understand what a virtual classroom is and establish right away that it is an active, not passive, learning environment. Use opinion questions at the beginning to engage participants from the outset and clearly communicate that the virtual classroom is for building skills.
  • Tip #2: Know the platform you’re delivering in, practice in it, and  have someone else as a “producer” when instructing. The role of the producer is to set up the room, assist participants with technical difficulties, answer questions, and help make sure transitions are smooth. Although we don’t really refer to it as a producer, we at the NTC always make sure that another trainer is available to help with these issues. If you deliver classes over the web, I highly recommend it.
  • Tip #3: Have a plan for how you will distribute materials. If you have handouts or other materials, how will the students get them?
  • Tip #4: Never have more than 2 “tell” slides in a row. Break it up with some kind of interaction.
  • Tip #5: Pilot and Practice!