Mendeley and more

At the Center for Distance Education, we have a reading group.

We use Mendeley ( to corral materials.

Even the proudest designer or highest ranking techie needs a how-to. These are my notes because I was so tech-whelmed last week, I did not get into Mendeley to tell staff what I would be covering today.

First of all the desktop unit was installed on my old machine. No wonder things looked strange.

Second of all I did not have the “Import to Mendeley” web importer set up inside of Firefox.

Materials need to be posted here: to be shared with our CDE reading group.

Tags should include FROM:VJM and DEC11 (for from V Janene McMahan and this is December 2011)

So for this time around I read a bit out of “The Maternal is Political:women writers at the intersection of motherhood and social change”, a book of articles by many, many women, edited by Shari Macdonald.

That did not work

Looks like the web importer worked a little. The link is in my library, but not in the group. On to investigate!

I read the Secret Lives of Babysitters by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser even though I was more interested in reading the articles by Barbara Kingsolver, Nancy Pelosi and Anna Quindlen. I’ve read plenty by Barbara Kingsolver. I have the feeling I should read something by Nancy Pelosi… The short article by Anna Quindlen made me think of how inconsiderate we can be (think subway and pregnant women-who gets a seat?)

Note, I am not political. I am, however, really supportive of people being very outspoken. I especially like those who research their topics and speak well about them.


Keep in mind Mendeley is for sorting, storing, organizing and cataloging document and papers. If you’ve read a book, and you did not happen to download it… you could be out of luck. HOW do you reference a book in Mendeley?

So how to really add something that you don’t already have the PDF for on your machine?

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop
  2. From the File Menu choose “Add Entry Manually” (yup)
  3. Click on synch
  4. Check to see that it is uploaded
  5. On the website, go to My Library, find the document choose the checkbox and add it to the group

Conquering the Content

This step-by-step guide focuses in on how to best build your course. It assumes you’ve taught before and that you are reconfiguring content. It would be an excellent guide for the first time you are doing online course delivery.

The focus is on design. The materials are a great example of content and deliverables you should have in your course.

It is an easy read; it is a step by step process… do not jump around.

There are great tips regarding where to put materials so that you can easily update your course.

The Maternal is Political

What did I find out from “The Secret Lives of Babysitters”? much in the way that my home life involves a lot of yarn: storing the yarn, knitting the yarn, collecting the yarn, the brief stint with spinning the yarn, Sara Werthan Buttenwieser’s home life involved politics. Her children were steeped it in. We might think, “let’s go to Dairy Queen.” Her children think, “Yay, rally time!”

The article speaks about folks coming and going in our lives. How children get attached to their babysitters, and how you might have a Republican in your midst unbeknownst to you. It’s a fun read. I felt it was thoroughly thought provoking.