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April 2015

Essential Tips for Taking Exams on Bridges

By Linda Beith, Director of Instructional Design

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As the end of the semester approaches students may be asked to take a final exam on Bridges. Here are some tips to assure a successful submission:
1.       Use a reliable Internet connection – preferably wired. Wireless connections, especially in a residence hall, can drop unexpectedly and cause a disconnection from the exam.
2.      Avoid using a mobile device – use a wired laptop or desktop computer
3.      Don’t open multiple browser windows
4.      Use Bridges built-in navigation – don’t use the browser’s back button. If exam questions are set up on individual pages, use the supplied Next and Back buttons in the exam. Note: if there are no options for Next and Back buttons this means it is not allowed to return to a question. In this case any attempt to use the browser’s back button will cause the exam to disconnect.
5.      Use Chrome or Firefox browsers as the most dependable
6.      Pay attention to any time limits set on the test
7.      Save your work often. If the test displays one question per page always click on Save before moving to the next screen. Until the exam is submitted for grading a question can be changed at any time. If the test displays multiple questions on a page or if there is an essay question included periodically scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save. There is a timeout period on Bridges of 90 minutes so clicking Save often keeps the system from logging out.
8.      Wait for the Submission Confirmation that is generated when the Submit for Grading button at the end of the exam is clicked to make sure all the answers are saved.

For more in-depth information please review the Essential Tips for Taking Online Tests. If you have any questions about taking exams on Bridges please contact the Instructional Design team at 401-254-3187 or via email at id@rwu.edu.

Meet the Learning Commons Staff: Interview with Megan Lessard

Interviewed by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist on Monday, April 20, 2015


Megan Lessard joined the library staff as the Digital Imaging Technologist in April, 2014. When the Visual Resources Center was absorbed into the University Library, Megan moved from the Architecture Library, and in March, 2015 was promoted to Web and Digital Services Specialist. In her new position, Megan supports both the Archives and Web and Digital Services with photography, digitization, metadata, and a variety of associated responsibilities.


Tell us about the first time you used a camera (or the first photo you ever took).


I grew up around cameras. My grandfather used to be a professional photographer and my dad would shoot for him too. I remember taking a photograph of my cat with my dad’s Pentax K1000 manual SLR. I had a roll of black and white film and was just shooting things around my house.Daisy_002


I started doing a lot of camera work in high school, and once I got going you couldn’t pry the camera away from me. I even got a darkroom for my 14th birthday! I shot for the yearbook and was editor in chief in my senior year.


What drew you to RWU?

It’s hard to find a position that you’re both excited about and that you think you can do all that they ask, but that was the case when I read the job announcement for this position.


What are some of the unique aspects of your job?


I get to work with a wide range of material, from documents to books to slides. I’ve scanned over 1,000 slides of commencement ceremonies from 1988 to 1999. It feels good that we can preserve the memories and history of such an honored tradition at the University.

I work on a lot of different special projects, such as helping to design the Birss website and the library blog, Connections.



You do lots of scanning and photography for the University, what is your favorite thing that you digitized for the University since coming here?


The Archivist, Heidi Benedict, asked me to digitize a 150-year-old letter. Unfortunately someone along the way had used tape to repair it. Using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet, I cleaned-up the digital copy for a library exhibition about local history that complimented the national traveling Lincoln exhibit.


 What do you think the future holds for photographers, amateurs and professionals?


The art and craft of photography is becoming diminished with the popularization of iPhone/android photography. There’s no such thing as a bad photo anymore. Before digital cameras, photography was a very expensive hobby, between purchasing the film and printing the photos. Now everyone has an iPhone/android camera app or digital SLR. Now no one’s printing; photos live on Facebook, Instagram, etc. It’s a transitional time and it’s exciting to see where photography will go from here.


Who is your favorite photographer?


 Jerry Uelsmann made me think about photography as a career. He did a lot with manipulating his photographs in the darkroom, cutting out… Today we do similar things, and with greater speed and ease, using Photoshop.

I saw an exhibit of his work at a local coffee shop in my hometown while I was in high school. He also went to the college that I eventually ended up attending for photography. Mr Uelsmann got his B.F.A. degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1957; I received my B.F.A in 2004.


 What are you reading right now?


I’m reading a work about the theft of 13 art pieces from the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in 1990, The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. I had an opportunity to visit the museum a few months ago and the theft of the artwork has captivated my attention. I’m also reading a piece of fiction, The Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.


Aside from photography, do you have any hobbies or special interests?


Outside work, I enjoy kickboxing. I go to classes 3 times a week in Cranston. It’s a super fun workout that I really enjoy.

I have a collection of over 100 succulents. My favorite is the fan aloe. Right now mine is still small and it hasn’t flowered yet.

Here is a photo of some of my collection – The Fan Aloe is pictured on the table.


I also have a “collection” of animals – I have a nine-year-old Corgi named Sky and also six turtles that I found when they had just hatched out of the ground at my brother’s house. I’ve always owned exotic pets, when I was younger I had a leopard gecko named Chester and an African pygmy hedgehog named Zeus.


Book Review: The New World: A Novel by Chris Adrian & Eli Horowitz

By Ryan Monahan, Connections Intern



The New World: A Novel by Chris Adrian & Eli Horowitz

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux

May 2015

Chris Adrian (Gob’s Grief, The Children’s Hospital, and The Great Night), and Eli Horowitz (a contributor to The Silent History), have collaborated to co-author The New World, a science-fiction novel about everlasting life, love, and promises. What happens when two talented writers with literary sensibilities take to the page together? They produce a cerebral thrill-ride of a novel that pushes the limits of reality.

The novel opens with Dr. Jane Cotton, a pediatric surgeon, receiving tragic news: her husband Jim, an atheistic chaplain, has suddenly died. According to his wishes, an ominous cryogenics company called Polaris removed his head after death and stored it, frozen, to be revived in the distant future. Jane, distraught and abandoned, fights and rages against Polaris to return Jim’s head to her so he might die as nature intended. The narrative jumps back and forth between Jane in the present and Jim, hundreds of years into the future. After what feels like a brief sleep, he awakens in a halfway-home for similarly frozen people. He learns that to move on to the new world, everybody must completely abandon their past lives and memories. Both Jim and Jane face identical challenges to forget and move on from one another, but their deep history together restrains them. With centuries now dividing them, they both grapple with the challenges of eternal faithfulness and the importance of promises, an almost universal human challenge.

Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz’s intriguing new novel captivates the reader with their intricately detailed vision of the future of human consciousness. Despite the scientific fantasy of cryogenics and eternal life, the two authors touch on many contemporary and timeless topics: intimacy; true love; grief; promises; and faithfulness. Together, the two authors have created a masterpiece of life and loss; of happiness and despair. The New World is worth a read for any with an open mind and open heart.

#4 DOCS@RWU: Servicing Students and Faculty with Open Access Textbooks

Did you know that the Library has had a digital repository called DOCS@RWU since 2006? DOCS@RWU is a library service that provides open access to an online collection of scholarly and creative works produced by faculty, students and other members of the RWU community. It currently hosts 3,049 papers and other materials in multi-media format, including but not limited to online journals, faculty publications, student theses, and image galleries. Thanks to its rich and interesting content, DOCS@RWU has yielded 400,894 full-text downloads to date since its inauguration. As a matter of fact, there are many ways for DOCS@RWU to boost scholarly communication and to showcase your research as well as academic achievements. We will introduce to you one amazing thing about DOCS@RWU every month this year to demonstrate why DOCS@RWU should matter to you!


#4 DOCS@RWU: Servicing Students and Faculty with Open Access Textbooks

by Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship/Metadata Librarian

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The movement of open educational resources (OERs) has been recently gaining huge momentum in higher education. OERs are materials for teaching, learning, and researching. They are available in the public domain or are released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation and distribution. OERs’ aim is to deliver universal access to greater education, share vital information, and inspire intellectual dialogue and collaboration. OERs include lesson plans, lectures, curriculum materials, and, of course, textbooks.

Authors of textbooks are often faculty members of a higher education institution. They develop resources for their own teaching and make them available to other teachers and classes, as well as their own students. Since the price of textbooks is skyrocketing, open textbooks help reduce the financial burden for an education by providing students and faculty with alternatives to full-priced textbooks.

Open access textbooks are a perfect fit for the digital repository platform, and housing them within it brings numerous benefits to the generous faculty authors who write them and the institutions that support them. It makes perfect sense for the original creators, professors, and students to be able to access these textbooks directly through their own libraries’ infrastructures. The discoverability that is built into the digital repository platform helps to make these textbooks accessible to students, faculty and readers across the world. It also boosts the research profile of the institution and showcases the research, teaching and service of faculty authors. Below are two examples of digital repositories that host open access textbooks:

University of South Florida: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/oa_textbooks/


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Grand Valley State University: http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/books/

If you would like to include your work in DOCS@RWU, or use the platform to publish, please contact Mary Wu (mwu@rwu.edu), the Digital Scholarship/Metadata Librarian.

Stay tuned for the next cool thing that DOCS@RWU can do for you!

What is Tutorial Support Services?

by Karen Bilotti, Associate Director, Tutorial Support Services & Coordinator, Writing Support Services


Tutorial Support Services (TSS), located on the second floor of the Library, is part of the Center for Student Academic Success. TSS provides curriculum-based assistance 56 hours per week for students through the Math Center, Writing Center, and Science Tutoring Center. All of the services provided by TSS are free to RWU students. Peer tutoring is available in all of the centers and faculty tutoring is available in the Math and Writing Centers. In addition to in-center tutoring, the centers offer a variety of programming, including the Math Center’s Tutor in the Classroom program which places a team of tutors in every Math section up through Differential Equations. The tutors attend class and are available as informed resources in the Math Center for students to come in for help. The tutors also conduct review sessions before tests. In addition, the Science Center sponsors the Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) sessions for Chemistry; the Chemistry faculty work closely with the tutors and Science Tutoring Coordinator to implement weekly workshops tied to the Chemistry curriculum. Finally, the Writing Fellows program matches writing tutors (known as Fellows) with students in participating courses for the duration of the semester to assist with assignments. Please drop in to TSS to learn more about all of the centers’ programs and how we might be able to help you with any math-, writing-, or science-related assignment!





RI Public Radio interviews RWU’s Talking in the Library speaker, Jewher Ilham



Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison stopped by the RWU Library to interview “Talking in the Library” speaker Jewher Ilham and RWU students who have joined forces to advocate for Scholars at Risk.

Listen to the interview here: http://ripr.org/post/roger-williams-university-students-take-cause-chinese-dissident


Roger Williams University students take Jewher to the beach

Photos courtesy of Taylor Bailey

Birss Exhibitions Celebrating Great Works of Literature at RWU!

By Christine S. Fagan, Collection Management Librarian

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For 15 years Roger Williams University Library has been celebrating great works of literature thanks to our donor and alumnus, Bob Blais, who created this program through a generous donation in memory of his mentor, Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Starting with Moby Dick by Herman Melville, a favorite of Professor Birss, this annual program has celebrated Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Night by Elie Wiesel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and this year, Native Son by Richard Wright. The Library exhibition in the standing cases celebrates the history of this program by displaying the annual posters along with associated pictures and artifacts. Please stop by to take a trip down memory lane with these wonderful literary texts. The exhibition will continue through the end of April. Stay tuned for Birss 2016 … the 50th anniversary celebration of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood!

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RWU Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Richard Wright’s Native Son

By Christine S. Fagan, Collection Management Librarian



RWU is currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of Richard Wright’s Native Son. The selection of this text by the Birss Committee in early 2014 could not have been more relevant in light of the serious racial issues that have recently surfaced in Ferguson, New York and now Charleston. The program opened on February 1 with the Library exhibition, “Richard Wright’s Native Son: Then and Now,” focused on the book and its author, including:

  • A first edition of the text, published as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection
  • The Restored Text established by the Library of America based on the original manuscript
  • A series of essays written for Ebony, two published and one unpublished, along with correspondence on the related controversy
  • Photographs of Richard Wright, including one with his second wife, Ellen
  • The New York Times review of the play, Native Son, directed by Orson Welles
  • The New York Times obituary for Richard Wright

The exhibition also includes a photographic display juxtaposing images from South Side Chicago in the 1940s, the setting of the book, with contemporary images of protest as a result of current racial tensions related to the criminal justice system. People often ask in the midst of these problems, “Why is this happening?” I say to them, “Read Native Son” and perhaps you will understand the pain and frustration in the African-American community.

The Library exhibition continues through the end of April. Please stop by at your convenience and, if you have questions, ask for Professor Christine Fagan, curator.

The correlated online exhibition may be accessed at: https://libraryexhibits.rwu.edu/birss/2015/

A lively book discussion, sponsored by the RWU Library and the University Honors Program, was held on February 10 lead by Professor James Tackach and Honors student, Abigail DeVeuve. It was followed by a panel discussion on February 25, sponsored by the RWU Library, featuring Keith Stokes, a prominent member of the NAACP and member of the RWU President’s Advisory Council, and Diana Hassel, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, RWU School of Law. Robert Eisinger, Professor and Dean, Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences, served as the moderator, posing challenging questions which generated meaningful and thought provoking discussion by panelists and members of the audience.

Finally, the Birss program culminated with the keynote lecture on March 4 featuring Jennifer Jensen Wallach, Associate Professor of History, University of North Texas and author of Richard Wright: From Black Boy to World Citizen. Wallach’s presentation highlighted events in Wright’s life and major themes in Native Son. Her explanation of their relevance in today’s society was sobering and insightful.

From The Archives: A Brief History of Roger Williams University and its Student Newspaper

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


While Roger Williams University has been in Bristol for 45 years, the institution’s beginning dates back almost 100 years. In 1919 Northeastern opened its School of Commerce and Finance in the Providence YMCA, followed by an Evening Division Law School and the Providence Technical Institute. In 1940 the YMCA Board of Directors took over and established the Providence Institute of Engineering and Finance. The Institute closed during World War II and following the war re-opened as the YMCA Institute of Engineering and Finance.


In 1956 the school became a two-year degree granting institution, the state’s first, adopting the name Roger Williams Junior College. Its campus remained at the Providence YMCA.


Roger Williams College came in to being in 1967 and plans were made to build a campus in Bristol. The first classes on the new campus were held in the fall of 1969. The College grew rapidly over the years and the Board of Trustees voted to rename the school Roger Williams University, effective May 5, 1992.


The first reference to a student newspaper appeared in the 1947-1948 catalog for the YMCA Institute:


The Triangle is a monthly newspaper edited and published by the student body. The Triangle is a member of the Intercollegiate Publications’ Association of Rhode Island. Any student who so desires may volunteer his services for the newspaper staff.”


1948-1949 triangle staff

The University Archives currently has one issue of The Triangle. Please contact the University Archives if you have copies from other years.

Triangle, April 1947-1

Roger Williams Junior College first issued a monthly student newspaper in December, 1961. Since that time the school has continued to regularly publish a student newspaper, although under a variety of names. The Archives holds a near complete run of the student paper since 1961. You can also access the papers online from DOCS@RWU ( http://docs.rwu.edu/student_pubs/ ).