Open Educational Resources

After a year of taking tough classes taught by professors who did not match my learning style, the internet became my teacher. I used resources from public universities like UC Berkeley, private universities like MIT, and other OpenCourseWare. While the value of having a person in front of you to explain a concept will never fade, open educational resources (OERs) are a powerful way to supplement your traditional instruction. Their existence and growth is something to appreciate.

While the definition of an open educational resource varies there are still some universal commonalities. Open educational resources can be modified, used for free, and can be any type of digital media. A math textbook published under an open license can be changed to fit a teacher’s curriculum. A video published under an open license can be sampled in whatever way the producer chooses. OERs benefit creators and consumers, learners and doers.

OERs have the potential to change the way we view education. For example, I have used OERs  through the website EdX, which offers free online courses from the world’s best universities. I took a class titled “Principles of Biochemistry” provided by Harvard University. I learned about biochemistry for free before using tuition dollars to pay for this knowledge in the fall. Now I can spend my time in class building on previously built foundations.

While more and more individuals and organizations are becoming aware of and supporting the concept of OERs, there is room for more people to create and consume them. Access to knowledge and information can be expensive and frustrating; OERs are a step forward in combating that.

Check out OER Commons and learn something new.

Gender-neutral restroom options on campus

As you may know, UWB has been lauded in recent years for being one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation. You may also be aware that the student body has been calling on the UW Administration to designate space for a Diversity Center on campus. We made quite a bit of noise over the last year – you may have heard – about making concrete plans for this space that students rightfully deserve.

From my viewpoint as a student leader and ally in the push for a Diversity Center, the primary goal of voicing this demand is to provide all students at UWB with a more enriching, equitable college experience that is promoting of growth and learning in and outside of the classroom.

In addition to having a significant percentage of first generation, international students, and students of color enrolled at UWB, we are also a gender diverse campus. That’s right gender binary, we’re calling you out. Gender identity exists on a spectrum, it doesn’t just have to be one or the other.

This being the case, I wanted to let you all know where to find gender-neutral restroom options at UWB. Some may also refer to them unisex, single-occupancy, gender-inclusive, all-gender restrooms or something along those lines. On campus there are several options for individuals who need these accommodations. I’ll try my best to describe where they are located.

The closest single-occupancy gender-neutral restroom in relation to the Campus Library would be in Discovery Hall. If you go in the main doors on the lower level of Discovery Hall, there is a hallway to the left. Restrooms are located directly on the left-hand side.

The gender-neutral option on the Cascadia side is labeled a “family restroom.”

It is also single-occupancy and is open to anyone and everyone. It’s in CC2 on the second level. If you go down the sidewalk and in through the main doors of CC1, go up one floor and go to the right. The restroom is located just past the piano.

When the new Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) opens this fall, there will be gender-neutral, single-occupant restrooms on each floor. That is as specific as I can be as it has not yet opened.

Finally, for those students headed way off campus, the Beardslee Building also has a gender-neutral restroom. When you come in the main doors, go up the stairs to the second floor. The restroom is labeled “unisex” and is just down the hall.

I will just say that while I am glad we are able to provide these options to students, more work needs to be done in order to make UWB a more inclusive, safe and tolerant environment for everyone. The conversation will need to continue throughout this next year about how we can do better. Students, ASUWB leadership, UWB Administration, faculty, staff and alumni must come together and discuss the steps we can take right now.

That is all.


Let’s Talk About Privilege and Intersectionalities!

Have you ever wanted to help someone but felt helpless?

There is so much violence happening here in the U.S. Right now the topic of racial discrimination is making news headlines and taking over social media. These issues of racial violence aren’t new nor is it getting worse. It’s just now more visible to those who have believed we live in “post-racial” society. The misconception of living in a “post-racial” society is very common especially to white folks. This is dangerous because it’s not reality and because it leads to questioning the experiences of people of color. The truth is, we do live in a racially discriminatory nation. We were founded on colonialism, genocide, oppression, and marginalization and the system created by our “founding fathers” significantly caters to able-bodied, Christian, white males. We have system that holds back the majority of the population.  How can we create equity if we still live by the existing system? We can’t.

Some of you readers are aware of this inequity but for others this may be the first time you thought about this. It is common for those who hold privilege to not see it, and when it is revealed they often feel guilty. Privilege is something you get without working for it. Feeling guilty for something you can’t help only takes the attention away from the groups disadvantaged by privilege. So let’s utilize the privilege we have in order to stop contributing to the problem and start being part of the solution.

This is when the library comes in handy. Sometimes we want to be an ally to those marginalized but we also don’t want to exhaust them by continually asking about their experience. In addition to offering, “How can I help advocate for you?” you can also start reading books. There are tons of books written about discrimination and systemic oppression in the U.S. If you’re the type of person who still feels like, “Eh I’m not racist therefore I don’t contribute to the problem. I treat people nicely and only judge them by their personality,” then try reading a book written about race from a privileged author such as Tim Wise. Tim is white but he is my favorite person to follow on Facebook because he recognizes and checks his privilege. It’s also easier for white people to listen to him because it’s easier to relate to someone in your position that is trying to show you something different.

Whether you are aware of this or this is new to you or you’re in between, check out these recommendations. You never know what book will change the way you live your life.

In addition to using our amazing UW Library, also check out the IDEA Project Library which is in the IDEA Project space at UW1 161.


White Like Me by  Tim J. Wise

Seeing White : An Introduction to White Privilege and Race by Jean O’Malley Halley

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Black Looks : Race and Representation by bell hooks.

Readings for Diversity and Social Justice by Maurianne Adams

Undocumented Immigrants & Colonialism

We Are American by William Perez

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dubar-Ortiz

Octavia’s Brood by Walidah Imarisha

Mark My Words by Mishuana Goeman

Yakama Rising by Michelle M. Jacob

Gender & Sexual Identities

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves by Laura Erickson-Schroth

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey Mogul

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin


Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks

Feminist Ryan Gosling by Danielle Henderson


Ableism Online: Virtually Passing While Disabled

Feminist Disability Studies by Kim Q. Hall

Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back by Harilyn Rousso

Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence by John Hockenberry

Dos and Don’ts for Commencement

A couple months ago two of my coworkers and I had the chance to participate in walking at the UWB commencement ceremony! The commencement ceremony was great! My family came, the weather was beautiful, and it was a proud moment for me, but the ceremony was long and hot. So I am here to tell you the dos and don’ts for the commencement ceremony at UWB.


1. Plan ahead of time how many tickets you will need. When you sign up for commencement the max amount of tickets you can receive is eight. So if you need more ask everyone you know if they have extra tickets. Ask on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email your classmates. Just ask and you will find extra tickets.

2. Bring a charge for your phone. Commencement is long and you will get bored, and if you are like me you will play Candy Crush, take pictures, message people and it will use up a lot of your battery. So bring a charger.

3. Eat before commencement or bringing a snack. Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat before commencement or you will be hangry. Commencement lasted more than four hours. Eat before commencement or bring a snack to have at commencement.

4. Decorate your cap. Listen, you paid for the cap and gown. You might as well decorate your cap and get your money worth. Take advantage of this opportunity; other universities will not allow you to decorate your cap.

5. Wear light wear and comfortable clothing. It’s hot and you have to wear a black gown over your clothes.


1. Leave everything for last minute. Have your outfit picked out, your cap and gown ready to go, your tickets in your purse or wallet, your parking pass in your car, and driving directions printed.

2. Leave an hour before commencement starts. Traffic is crazy and parking is horrific, so leave at the earliest time possible.

3. Iron your gown. The iron will burn it! What you can do is take it out of the plastic bag and hang it in your closet.

4. Take everything with you. Just take your phone. Give everything else (like your purse, wallet, keys) to your parent, a family member, or friend to take care of.

Summer readings and where to read them

The sun is hot, school is out (for many of us), and there’s nothing…to…do…uh-oh.
If you need a cure for summer boredom, an interesting book is a good place to start. Take a look at these hot summer reads and find a cool place to read them (puns intended)!

Tourist Season by Carl Hiassen
What it’s about: “Brian Keyes, reporter turned private eye, must move from muckraking to rooting out murder…in a caper that will mix football players, politicians, and police with a group of anti-development fanatics and a very, hungry crocodile.” – Goodreads
Where to read it: On a train

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
What it’s about: On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat.” – Goodreads
Where to read it
: An Italian Bistro

The Vacationers by Emma Straub
What it’s about: “What seems like an ordinary two-week family trip to Mallorca turns into something far more dramatic when dark secrets, unexpected flings, and disappointments all crash the summer getaway.” – Refinery29
Where to read it: A sandy beach

In the Country: Stories
by Mia Alvar
What it’s about: “Through stories set all over the globe, newcomer Mia Alvar imagines the lives of the Filipino diaspora. Her sprawling collection digs into the Philippines’ complicated history during the ’70s and ’80s.” – Refinery29
Where to read it: On a road trip


Abroad: A novel
by Katie Crouch
What it’s about: “A college semester abroad results in new friends, glamorous parties, and a grizzly crime…Inspired by the real-life events of the Amanda Knox story.” – Refinery29
Where to read it: The plane ride to a foreign country


The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
What it’s about: “In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall…Are the inhabitants haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?” – Goodreads
Where to read it: A haunted hotel


The Rocks by Peter Nichols
What it’s about: “In 1948, two honeymooners suddenly fell out of love with each other. Generations later, the same thing occurs again. Feel free to think of this as the anti-romance novel. It’s definitely not your typical love story.” – Refinery29
Where to read it: On an island


Finals week is upon us and preparing for a cumulative test or large research paper requires many study approaches and proper planning. UW Bothell students have finals the second week of June and Cascadia students will be tested in the third week. Here I will go over studying techniques and resources to further your endeavors.

Study techniques for final papers:

  1. Fully understand the prompt and determine the boundaries you are writing within. Broad prompts are often given at the collegiate level. This can be both a positive and negative. On the positive side, you can choose to write on a topic you have genuine interest in – making the essay less laborious and more convincing to the reader. A potential negative is falling into the trap of going over too many topics generally and coming to no deep conclusions.
  2. Once you decide on the direction which your essay is moving in, make an appointment with a reference librarian. They can help you with library resources, research strategies, focusing a topic, citing sources, and evaluating information.
  3. Once you have all of your research material, follow the typical approach of writing an outline, rough draft, then final draft. When finished with your final draft allow yourself 48-72 hours to have it read by a staff member at either the Cascadia or UW Bothell writing center and to make those last revisions.

Resources for final papers:

  1. Reference librarians:  You can communicate with these librarians by dropping in, making an appointment with a specific subject librarian, and by online chat.
    1. You can determine the librarian that specializes in your subject by referencing this list.
    2. You can chat with a librarian online using this service. University of Washington librarians are usually available on weekdays from 9-5 and librarians from around the nation are available to answer questions 24/7.
    3. Finally, you can drop in and visit a reference librarian at the Information Commons desk when the library is open.
  2. UWB Writing and Communication Center:  They offer many types of writing conferences, from face-to-face, phone-to-phone, or online. If submitting your paper online, they will typically be able to revise it in 48 hours.
  3. Cascadia’s Writing Center: You can make an appointment with a tutor at Cascadia’s Writing Center to go over your paper.
    1. If you want to submit your paper for revision online, you can use Cascadia’s e-tutoring service.  This usually takes 48 hours.

Study techniques for final exams:

Each person’s best approach when studying for finals varies greatly. That being said, two universally applicable pieces of advice are to have a plan and to cater your studying towards your learning style.

The learning styles are kinesthetic, visual, and auditory. A kinesthetic learner may benefit from studying in groups, using models, coming up with memory games, and learning through labs. A visual learner should take the approach of making diagrams and drawing pictures connected to vocabulary words. An auditory learner might chose to read out loud when studying, have group discussions about their subject, and record lectures to play back again.

First, break your workload down into manageable chunks and schedule your time realistically. You want to avoid mental fatigue while still remaining productive. Second, preview the syllabus and reading to determine which areas you need to focus in on. If you determine you don’t need to study a certain area, test yourself on it using provided practice problems or a peer to be sure. Third, make chapter outlines and note cards. From there studying becomes deeply subjective. Use whatever techniques have worked before to travel up Bloom’s taxonomy from knowledge to comprehension to application to analysis to synthesis to evaluation.

Resources for final exams:

  1. Research shows that we perform best when we study in an environment similar to that in which we will be taking the test. For you, this might mean the library. The library is open from 8:00-10:00 Monday-Thursday, 8:00-5:00 on Friday, 9:00-5:00 on Saturday, and 12:00-8:00 on Sunday. On Sunday June 7th , Monday June 8th , Sunday June 14th , and Monday June 15th the library will be open until 12:00 AM. But remember, avoid mental fatigue and plan ahead so you do not have to cram.
  2. Visit your professor’s office hours and attend review sessions they may put on. Also, never skip class to study. Professors tend to offer valuable insight into exams during their lectures.
  3. Search the library for books on your topic that contain extra practice problems and unique perspectives.
  4. UW Bothell’s Quantitative Skills Center is open Monday-Thursday 9:00 – 8:00, Friday 10:00 – 4:00, and Sunday 12:00- 4:00. The QSC offers drop-in tutoring for “classes that contain numbers.” More information is available here.
  5. Tutoring for the computer sciences is available Monday-Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm at the CSS labs in UW Bothell.
  6. You can use Cascadia’s Math and Writing Center for help in those subjects. It is open 9:00-7:00 Monday-Thursday and Friday 10:00-2:00.
  7. Cascadia also uses an e-tutoring consortium that has online tutors in accounting, anatomy, biology, chemistry, economics, circuits and digital systems engineering, developmental math, Microsoft office, physics, Spanish, statistics, web development. E-tutors can be accessed here.

Unusual books at the UW Libraries

There are a lot of bizarre and bewildering books out there in the world. The UW Libraries are no exception. As a library student employee, I have come across some unusual covers, titles, and topics over the years. Though they may sound or look peculiar, you never know! Why not follow the 155-year-old cliché and not judge a book by its cover? If you are interested in looking through any of these unusual finds, read the blurbs beneath each title to see where to find it!

On Bullshit

I’ve come across this little book many times and it has always intrigued me. It seems to be relatively popular, though I am not sure why. I assume it has something to do with…well…you know. If you want to see it for yourself, this book is on the first floor open reserves shelves for spring quarter. Call number: (BJ1421 .F73 2005)

Modernist Cuisine at Home

This isn’t your average cookbook. Not only is it huge in size (really, it’s too big to fit on the regular shelves), but it has blueprint-like designs for how to make things like Onion Fluid Gel and Shiitake Marmalade and Sous Vide Braised Snails and Fat free Mac n’ cheese. (What the heck is this book!) I personally like a little fat in my mac n’ cheese, but that’s just me. If you are interested in learning to cook like a pro, you can find this book in the UWB Library Folio section. Call Number: (TX651 .M948 2012)

A Book of Glyphs

Edward Sanders is an American poet, singer, social activist and countercultural leader, environmentalist, author, publisher and founder and member of the rock band The Fugs…quite the resume! If that isn’t enough to get your attention, how about this: Sanders created his work for A Book of Glyphs in 2008 while he was in Florence, Italy using only colored pencils and a small sketch pad. A glyph is “a drawing that is charged with literary, emotional, historical or mythic and poetic intensity.” I tried to decipher some of the drawings in this book, let’s just say it was full of too much poetic intensity for me. Maybe you will have more luck. To find this book, go to the third floor of the UWB library. Beware, it’s tiny! Call number: (PS3569.A49 B66 2014b)

Stolen Sharpie Revolution

Ever wanted to create your own zine? This pocket-sized guide is packed with information about how to do it. I guess what I found unusual about this book was a) the title, and b) the layout on the inside – it looks like everything was hand-written in sharpie. Want it? Check the third floor stacks in the UWB library. Call number: (Z285.5 .W74 2005)

Please Bury Me in the Library

The title isn’t the only thing that strikes me as a little unusual, but the content as well. It’s full of short poems, each of them unique in their own way. However,  it seems a little morbid to be a children’s book. The poem that the title is based off of ends with: “Way back by a rack of Magazines, I won’t be sad too often, If they bury me in the library, with book worms in my coffin.” …and I thought Toy Story 3 was too scary for children. Anyway, if you are curious, this book is in the children’s literature shelves on the third floor of the UWB library. Call number: (PS3562.E9465 P58 2005)

Ragged Dicks

Without a little context, this title does seem quite peculiar. However, the name ‘Ragged Dick’ traces back to the literature of Horatio Alger, Jr. published in 1867. In his series ‘Ragged Dick,’ a young shoe shiner who demonstrates virtue and frugality rises from rags to riches, renaming himself Richard Hunter, Esquire. In all respects, the original Ragged Dick is a “self-made man.” Might be interesting to read how that ties in with today’s interpretations of masculinity… If you are so inclined, this book is up in our stacks on the third floor. Call number: (HQ1090.3 .C4 2001)

Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramović

When you flip through this book, you will understand why it’s unusual. There are no words, just pages full of close-up portraits of people’s reactions to performance artist Marina Abramović. Many of them cry, some of them smile in the presence of Abramović, who sat in her exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art for a grand total of 716 hours and 30 minutes. It’s actually pretty amazing. This book can be found up in the third floor stacks at the UWB library. Call number: (TR680.A57 P67 2012)

What’s My Name, Fool?

I want this as a poster to put on my wall. The cover features an image of Muhammad Ali, heavyweight boxing champion of the 60s and 70s. The title derives from the 1967 tournament between Ali and Ernie Terrell in which Terrell continually called Ali by his birth name, Clay. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Terrell thought Ali’s outrage was staged, part of a publicity stunt to promote the fight. But once the bell rang in Houston, it was clear that Ali was not joking. Over and over, he shouted, “What’s my name?” before delivering one damaging blow after another.” Ali won the fight. Zirin chronicles U.S. history through sports by telling the stories of many famous athletes, including Ali. Want to read it? It will be up in the stacks of the UWB library (GV706.5 .Z57 2005)

Virtual unreality

Don’t believe everything you see on the internet, especially if it looks anything like the cover of this book. There appears to be a cat riding a dolphin, with a flying saucer shooting a laser and the Statue of Liberty in the background. I feel like I’m describing a dream I had once. Right now, the book is on the new books shelf down on the first floor of the UWB library. Call Number: (ZA4201 .S44 2014)

Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs

This is not your average poetry collection. At first glance, Orlovsky’s work is vulgar, random and makes no sense (not to mention the title…seriously, what?!). However, Orlovsky was a central figure in the Beat movement in 1970s New York. Key components of this movement were non-conformity and creativity, so I guess that explains some of it. This book is actually housed at the Suzzallo Allen Library on the UW Seattle campus. If you don’t want to make the trip, you can always place a hold on it from the online catalog.

Happy reading! <3