25 February 2015

Designing rubrics for learning

Rubrics, are they a tool for making marking easier and more consistent? Or are they also a powerful tool for learning? by Katalin Mindum

Rubrics are designed to make marking easier and more consistent and they provide students with the expectations for each assignment.  A rubric which has been well designed and either marked-up or accompanied by verbal feedback on the assessment task, will provide students with a tool for self-evaluation, reflection and valuable insight on how they should proceed with subsequent learning activities.  

This short Rubrics for Learning video outlines how to design learning rubrics that will serve both the person marking the assessment and the student. 

Links to get you started:

 1.RSD Generic Skills Rubric (PDF) - links to Monash Arts Assessment Portfolio
Blank Rubric Template (Word Doc)  - links to Monash Arts Assessment Portfolio
Constructive Alignment and the Research Skills Development Framework (article)
RSD Framework

The video and handouts have also been included in the Arts Assessment Portfolio site (Monash staff only).

Why not transform your marking rubrics into a powerful tool for your students to enhance their learning.

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24 February 2015

Tips for 'first in family' students

Are you the first in your family who is going to university? Isn’t it amazing? Yet, do you think it is going to be challenging at the same time? Anita Dewi

Yes, it is amazing. You are the awesome pioneer in the family! If at the same time you also feel a bit anxious about what to expect in this new environment called “the university”, don’t worry! If others can do it, you can too.

The Library provides a wide range of resources and services that will guide you through your university journey. To start with, here are some tips from your very own learning skills adviser on how to get ready with university life as a first in family student at Monash.

Quick hints for creating new study patterns and developing a study strategy will help you to start off on the right track.

There is also a mentoring program that you may find helpful for support in your discipline.

While it is certainly not true that university life is without stress, the level of stress can be managed. It helps to know where to go for support.

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23 February 2015

Welcome, new students 2015!

We're glad you're here. Engage with the Library to make the most of your learning and research experience at Monash.

Image: Jeni Rodger (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Did you know research shows that students who use the library achieve better results than those who don't? 

You will find that the library is a popular place on campus for both individual and group study.  

Here are some handy tips:
  • The Library website is your access point for information resources. Using the Search function will open up a world of information beyond Google.
  • As well as working with you in your courses and units, Library staff provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions associated with your assignments and other tasks.
  • At Orientation the libraries provide tours, tips on how to get started at University, and training on how to search electronic databases for researching a topic. This will save you time in the future when you have assignment deadlines. Session information can be found in the Orientation ePlanner.

We would like to hear from you. Put in a comment to this post or submit a question or feedback through Ask.Monash.

And by the way, you can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Reading lists - your key to preparing for a lecture

Your lecturer has asked you to do a whole lot of reading before your first lecture, but how do you find those articles or books? Introducing your library reading list… By Catherine Hocking

Luckily the job of searching for these readings has already been done for you to produce your library reading list.

Your reading list is compiled by your lecturer and can provide a great place to start when beginning a new unit. Over the course of a unit you may be asked to refer to articles, textbooks and other materials. For most units the Library has put all these materials together for your convenience so you can get reading now!

Your Library reading list will link you to
  • ebook versions or electronic journal articles wherever available
  • scanned copies of articles and book chapters,
  • recommended websites, or
  • the Library catalogue record for books allowing you to see immediately whether a copy is available.
There are a number of ways you can access your reading lists – from the quick links on the library homepage, or by entering your unit code into the Library’s Search.
You may even find a link to your reading list through your unit’s Moodle site. Or go straight to
Once you have found the reading you need, simply click the title to see library availability for books or a web address to link you to the full text chapter or article.

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19 February 2015

How to manage your time

Managing your time used to be easy when you were at school. There were rules about where you had to be, what you had to do, and when you had to do it. University is not like that. You are free to take the approach that best suits you! This post offers some advice and suggestions on how to manage your time so you can be a successful student and have a life!...By Damian Gleeson

Watch this short video to see tips, advice and suggested strategies for organising your time and your life. The better you can do this, the more successful you are likely to be.

We all get caught out sometimes, but being organised with a long-term and a short-term plan for the semester can help you to avoid those long, sleepless nights madly typing up the two essays that are due on the same date in week 6 or 11.

So get your Google calendars organised now! You'll be grateful for it when the pressure is on.

More tips:

There are some great tips in the Library's Quick Study Guides. Check out these helpful study strategies, grab a few pointers on the transition from research to writing, and other time-saving tips.

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18 February 2015

Meet our new Rare Books Librarian

Stephen Herrin, who already has a few exhibitions in his curating portfolio, has been appointed as the new Rare Books Librarian at the Matheson Library.

Hand-coloured illustration from John Gould's
A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, 1837-8
The Rare Books Collection is a valuable assortment of books, pamphlets, ephemera and realia assembled to support research at the University and beyond. Some highlights are a 1476 commentary of the Bible, Gould’s Birds of Australia, and the first English edition of Newton’s Principia. There are collections of politics, communism, the occult, artists’ books, Australian literature, science fiction, women’s studies, and many others representing social and historical movements and ideas.

“I am very proud to have been appointed the Rare Books Librarian here at Monash. It is a great honour to be given the opportunity to curate, build and promote this extraordinary collection," said Stephen.

"I was very fortunate to have worked with the previous Librarian, Richard Overell, for a number of years until his retirement. He had a great knowledge of books, an anecdote for everything, and was a true mentor for me.”

Stephen Herrin
Stephen has had a wide range of experience through his career. He holds a BA in Literature from the University of Wisconsin, an MA (Librarianship) and a PhD through the School of Information Management and Systems from Monash University. He has been a reference librarian at Deakin University and here at both the Matheson Library and Hargrave-Andrew Library, and spent three years as the Research Assistant on the History of the Book in Australia Project.

“I would like to invite any interested academics and librarians to the Rare Books Section to discuss the diverse collections and how we might assist your research or teaching.”

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16 February 2015

What is Search – How do I use it?

I have seen Search on the Library home page. How do I use it to find and request books and resources? Paula Todd

Search is Monash University Library’s resource discovery interface. It is the first port of call for a new student wanting to find textbooks, recommended and supplementary resources and reading lists set by the lecturers. It has more than a traditional library catalogue as it will link to electronic resources such as eBooks and journal articles as well as print books and other physical resources held in the campus libraries.

How do I use it?
The Search box on the Library home page or the one on the Library tab of your portal will do a basic search, very similar to Google. Just type in some keywords or a title and click Search. There are some useful tips to get better results as just typing in keywords will retrieve lots of results. See the Help tab or try some of these:
  • Use the Library Collections scope to search for items held by Monash University Library 
  • All Resources scope (default) will retrieve all items including electronic articles and books
  • Use quotation marks for known titles, “office 2010 for dummies” 
  • Add the author’s surname to a title,  “office 2010 for dummies” Rathbone, to be more specific
  • Use the Facets on the left hand side of the results to narrow search results according to specific needs, for example by branch library, by date or by resource type
  • Try the advanced search option
  • Sign-in to see what you have on loan and save items to your e-shelf.

Now I have some results how do I see the details and how do I get them?

The brief results display all items that match your search. There is either a “Get it” tab for a physical item or a “View it” tab for an electronic source such as an article or an eBook.  
For print books or other physical resources such as DVD’s, kits or models, the “get it” tab will display the Dewey number (call number) of a physical item and the campus library where it is located. The details tab will give you more information about the item including subject headings. Click on the subject headings if you want to see more resources on the same topic. The “Virtual Browse” option will show a scrolling list of cover images for other items with the same subject as the item you are viewing. 

To request items from another branch you will need to sign in and click on the Get it tab. Items can be requested if available at another campus library or on loan from any Monash library. You can chose to pick up an item at any of the campus libraries in the drop down list. You will receive an email when the item is ready to pick up at your nominated campus library.

Articles and eBooks can be accessed using your Authcate by clicking the “view it” tab and then clicking on one of the “available at” links. You can see the library guide on eBooks
for more information on how these work.

What can I do with my sign in?

Signing into Search with your Authcate when you are looking for information means you can quickly request items that appear in your search results. There is also the option to save the details of items, such as books and articles you have used for assignments, to your e-Shelf so you can refer to them later in your reference list. Setting up folders in your e-Shelf is easy if you want to be really organised. To add an item to your e-Shelf, in the Details (and other tabs) there is an Action drop down menu and e-Shelf is the first one in the list.

For assistance with locating journal articles, attend a drop-in at your branch’s Research & Learning Point and chat with a librarian.

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Welcome to our new blog

We promised you a new blog with a punch and today we are excited to launch it!... by Heidi Binghay

Image: Sara Carter (CC BY-NC 2.0)
What's new about this blog? The most striking new thing you will notice is that we now use Blogger. That means we have a new template and a new design.

Beyond the look and feel, the content is what matters most to us.

We will be posting inspiring, informative and insightful articles. Our goal is to provide content that you will find valuable to your study, research or teaching. There will be plenty of advice and tips from experts in the Library.

We encourage you to bookmark the page or add the link to your favourites. Even better, subscribe to receive email updates or RSS feeds to get the latest content.

You can also connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

However you choose to connect with us, we appreciate it. Leave us comments, email us or make a suggestion. Your feedback is important to us.

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13 February 2015

Are you a Library lover?

At Monash, the Library is well loved by students and staff. How do we know? Let us count the Heidi Binghay

We thought we'd share some letters from admirers we received in recent times. Library Lovers' Day happens but once a year so why not?

From academics

"Creative Music Technology co-ordinator Ben Grayson (Faculty of Arts) set his enthusiastic team of students on a mission to create their own original compositions using nothing but vinyl samples. You heard correctly; pretty much the coolest assignment ever! Students spent their time fossicking around in the world of vinyl (the unique, dare-we-say-retro collection housed in the Matheson library) and produced the slickest, devilishly creative works imaginable."

A 2014 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence was given to a team of Library staff based in the Caulfield Library.

This is in recognition of “the exceptional contribution that the MARS [Moodle unit] program has made to the student learning experience of the Faculty of Business and Economics over the year."

The following comment from the Associate Dean (Education) of the Faculty of Law, Associate Professor Pam O’Connor, who has since left Monash, is a great acknowledgement of the Library’s approach to working with Faculty and students.

“I have always had the greatest regard for Library colleagues, and for what you do for students. You have been the innovators, the true teaching professionals, always looking for opportunities to make things better. Others talk about being student centred, but you demonstrate it every day. You have been the nucleus of skills teaching and blended learning, always ready to share your experience with others wishing to adopt these approaches in their classes. It has been a great pleasure working with you.”

From students

One of our Learning Skills Advisers received this feedback from a  grateful Masters of Human Rights Law student. A great example of where Library staff's work has resulted in improved learning outcomes and results!

“I just wanted to give you some feedback about our wonderful study session which you might not even remember! I took everything you said on board and lo and behold I obtained my first ever HD. I have done a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts and never once got a HD before so this is super exciting for me in my first ever postgraduate subject! I truly thought I would be scraping the barrel for a pass.
I just really wanted to thank you and tell you that you are doing an amazing job!”

For locating a book a staff member received a chocolate brownie from a grateful student who was having trouble getting his head around the Dewey Decimal System.

An email from a student put a smile on another staff member's face: "Thanks so much! As usual you were a knight in shining armour!"

From a non-Monash user

A book we supplied to a WA library was returned with the following note from the borrower:
“Thank you very much for sharing this book with me in WA. In my youth I lived opposite Monash Uni in Clayton Road and my husband worked at the Monash Med School so thanks for continuing my faith in what a great uni you are!”

We'd love for you to tell us  your Library love story. Add a comment to this article or share your story on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  #librarylove #monashunilibrary

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3 February 2015

New addresses for libraries at Clayton

The three Clayton libraries have new addresses as part of a campus improvement project.

Law Library entrance
The Law Library is within the Law building,
 15 Ancora Imparo Way.
The Clayton campus of Monash University has introduced new street names and building numbers as part of a campus improvement project.

The readressing project is part of the University’s masterplan to create an interconnected university city at Clayton. Incorporation of the new campus plan into systems like Google maps is being organised.

The development of a more logical and pedestrian-friendly campus with improved signage and ambience is welcomed by the Library as it will make it easier for students, staff and visitors to locate the libraries and travel between them. Students will find also it easier to meet up with friends, find lecture theatres or tutorial rooms, and locate other facilities.

The campus addresses for the libraries at Clayton are now:
The general mailing address for the Library is now:
  • Monash University Library, 40 Exhibition Walk, Monash University VIC 3800, Australia.
Off-campus students returning books by post can use this address to return books to any campus library.

Couriers and delivery trucks can continue to make deliveries to the Library’s loading bay near the Wellington Road entrance to the campus; its address is now “rear of 69 Scenic Boulevard.”

Mail or parcels sent to previous addresses will reach the correct destination during the transition period.

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Improve your listening and speaking skills

If you want to improve your academic listening and speaking skills, check out these resources provided by the Library.

With the Essential Academic Skills in English (EASE) interactive programs, you can use your headset to watch video clips and do interactive exercises at your own pace.  The programs provide feedback, tips and suggestions.

To access these programs you will first  need to log in with your Authcate password.

Program 1: Listening to Lectures
Find out the best way to listen to lectures,  how to identify what is important  and what the lecturer wants you to learn, and how to take good notes.

Program 2 Seminar Discussions
Learn how to make the most of your tutorials;  how to prepare to give a presentation or to speak in a seminar or class.

These programs can also be found through Search.

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2 February 2015

American Congress historic papers now available

An outstanding new collection acquired by the  Library is a U.S. ‘national treasure’ Jenny Casey

The United States Capitol, the home of Congress,
 in the 1840s.

The Library is delighted to announce the acquisition of two prestigious primary sources from Readex which combined provide comprehensive, digitised access to documents on people, issues and events in American history, politics, law and culture since 1817.

Often described as a “national treasure”, the United States Congressional Serial Set (1817-1994) provides 11 million pages of reports, documents, maps, illustrations, statistical tables and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from the 15th to the 103rd Congress.  American State Papers (1789-1838) covers the legislative and executive documents of the first 14 Congresses during the period 1789 to 1838, filling the critical historical gap from 1789 to the printing of the first volume of the Serial Set in 1817.

Dr. Taylor Spence, Lecturer in American History at Monash University, said “The United States Serial Set is the complete archive of every word written or uttered in the U.S. Congress and is a treasure trove of data for all aspects of American history.”

A powerful search engine enables researchers to explore in minute detail every document in the collection, whilst also searching related collections such as America’s Historical Newspapers.

Interested staff and students are invited to register for an information session at the Matheson Library on Tuesday February 17th. This session will highlight examples of the rich content and provide tips for easy searching.

For further information please contact:
Jenny Casey, Subject librarian, history:
Sue Little,Subject librarian, government publications;

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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