Library and Academic Services


OER Release Spotlight – Generative Artificial Intelligence: Practical Uses in Education

April 16, 2024

Library and Academic Services is excited to announce the release of an RRC Polytech-created Open Educational Resource (OER)  titled Generative Artificial Intelligence: Practical Uses in Education. Written by Communication Instructor Troy Heaps, this resource is focused on how AI tools can be used in polytechnic education and was produced for educators who wish to find positive and productive ways to incorporate generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools into their work. This includes:

  • using AI tools to develop courses, lesson plans, activities, assessments, and rubrics;
  • leveraging AI tools to enhance existing in-class activities and assignments;
  • teaching students how to engage with AI effectively, ethically, and responsibly;
  • utilizing AI tools to efficiently complete administrative tasks.

We hope you will check out this very exciting open resource and also share it with colleagues at RRC Polytech and beyond.

Cover art title Generative Artificial Intelligence: Practical Uses in Education

Over 30 RRC Polytech staff members helped with the production of this OER by sharing ideas in focus groups, reviewing, and helping to create examples. Staff and Faculty contributions added an incredible amount of depth and richness to the resource.

At RRC Polytech, faculty and staff have begun using existing OERs to support their teaching and instruction with students. Savings to RRC Polytech students in course material costs from the use of OER has exceeded $678 000 at the start of the 2024 year. These savings to students are made possible by instructors taking the initiative to use OER as part of their course materials as an alternative to course materials students are required to purchase.

Now RRC Polytech faculty and staff are taking supported steps toward creating custom Open Educational Resources for students with funding from RRC Polytech’s Strategic Transformation and Applied Research Fund and the Campus Manitoba & Manitoba Open Education Initiative OER Grant for Manitoba OER adaptation/creation projects. Support for Copyright compliance and sourcing open content is provided for projects by Library and Academic Services (LAS) through the Copyright Officer. The LAS website also provides helpful resources for getting started with OER on the faculty support OER Page.

The release of Generative Artificial Intelligence: Practical Uses in Education follows the 2023 release of Rebecca Molly Hiebert and Emilie Jackson’s, adapted compilation of OE resources College Success for Newcomers. This OER takes the form of an e-book that is designed to provide newcomer students with the skills and strategies they will need to adapt successfully and fully integrate into the Canadian college system.

College Success for Newcomers Cover art

We hope you will consider using and promoting these resources for teaching and instruction at RRC Polytech and beyond. OERs can benefit multiple departments, schools, and educators as the resources are openly licensed, they can be easily shared without preventative restrictions to instructors who want to use and modify the resources. They can also be shared without cost to students which makes them valuable and effective resources for the college setting.

Research Services Librarian Joins Library and Academic Services Team

December 4, 2023

Close-up view of two people discussing their research while using tablet and books open on the table.
Image source: Adobe Stock

Introducing Atreya Madrone, Research Services Librarian

Library and Academic Services is excited to welcome the new Research Services Librarian, Atreya Madrone! Atreya joined Library and Academic Services at the beginning of October from the University of British Columbia, where they received their Master of Library and Information Studies.

Range of Supports Offered

As the Research Services Librarian, Atreya will be supporting student, faculty, and applied research across the College. Research Services encompasses a range of areas, including:

  • Research data management (data management plans, adhering to funding policies, Indigenous Data Sovereignty)
  • The scholarly communication lifecycle (publishing, author rights, Open Access)
  • Understanding research ethics
  • Learning about different research methodologies, such as Community-Based research, Anti-Oppressive research methods, and Indigenous Research methodologies
  • Support in finding materials both in and outside of the Library collection
  • Developing search strategies for researching

Learn about these topics by visiting the Research Services page on the Library and Academic Services website.

Book a Research Consultation

You can book a consultation with Atreya to discuss your research needs and questions. Consultations can be done in-person at NDC or EDC and online via Teams. To book a research consultation, please fill out the Research Services Consultation form.

Written by Atreya Madrone – Research Services Librarian (Library and Academic Services)

Open Educational Resource Built at RRC Polytech Recognized at OE Global 2023

November 14, 2023

This post is an adaptation of a story that appeared on May 25, 2023: Red Forum Spotlight! Building and Using Open Educational Resources.

At RRC Polytech, faculty and staff have begun using existing Open Educational Resources (OERs) to support their work with students. This past year, Rebecca Hiebert and Emilie Jackson, while working in the Academic Success Centre (Library and Academic Services), adapted a compilation of OE resources to create College Success for Newcomers, an OER in the form of an e-book.

A Brief Introduction to Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

OERs can come in many different formats. In general, OERs are educational materials such as textbooks, problem sets, assessments, slide decks, videos, lesson plans, study guides, handouts, infographics, and other educational content that can be used for free and without permission.  

OERs are resources published under an open license, such as Creative Commons allowing these resources to be freely adapted. Under an open license instructors and students can retain, revise, remix, reuse and redistribute these educational resources. 

OER Guidance and Information

Open Educational Resources are accessible online and free to share and use in any educational setting. There are already many existing OERs available. If you are looking for a resource to support students, Library staff can help you search for an OER to meet your needs.

If you have an idea for a resource that would benefit others, you may want to consider adapting it into an OER to make it available to everyone. Reach out to the Copyright Officer to learn more.

Additional information is available on the Library’s Faculty Support page.

How Rebecca and Emilie Began Building an OER

At the start of the pandemic, Rebecca struck on a brilliant idea to help students learn how to write outlines when taking notes in class or brainstorming to write reports. Rebecca hoped to create a video of herself using PowerPoint slides with a TED Talk clips to inform a step-by-step guide that demonstrated how to listen to content in a video, analyze the main ideas, and capture these in an outline. Being proactive and respectful of copyright concerns, she reached out to the TED Talks people to request permission to use their video in this way. After a long month of waiting, she received an answer, but not the one she was hoping for. 

This led to a conversation with RRC Polytech’s Copyright Officer, Ebony Novakowski, who introduced Rebecca to an online repository of open videos that she could use in the resource she wanted to create. With the new resource under her belt, Rebecca was intrigued by the possibility of creating additional OER. A few months later, with help from Emilie Jackson, and funding support for the Campus Manitoba PressbooksEDU Network grant they were on their way to creating a localized version of College Success for Newcomers: a guide to provide language and academic supports for new students in Manitoba.

Read more about Emilie and Rebecca’s story as featured on the Campus Manitoba Open Education blog: Representing Manitoba on the Open Education Global Stage.

About College Success for Newcomers

This OER resource supports newcomer students and can be used by anyone in North American (or anywhere really!) The goal is to reduce duplication where instructors and support staff are all trying to create and recreate similar resources to help international students adapt to the Canadian college setting. This resource is free to be used and adapted further by instructors and support staff worldwide. Additionally, the resource provides multiple perspectives so that international students can learn about Canadian culture and the diverse experiences of the people who live here.    

The OER is available online (worldwide) through the platform Pressbooks. The OER can be downloaded into a variety of formats including PDF which could be printed out or viewed offline as well as Pressbooks XML which can be used to adapt the content into future OERs. The OER can be used by anyone, anywhere without permission. It is entirely open and free to access.

Click on the button to view the OER:

How is this OER being used at RRC Polytech?  

One perk of Open Educational Resources is that they benefit multiple departments, schools, and educators. and by creating resources under open licenses, they can be easily shared without preventative restrictions to instructors who want to use and modify the resource. They can also be shared without cost to students.

College Success for Newcomers will be used in the following departments and programs: 

  • The Academic Success Centre will use College Success for Newcomers OER when working with international students both in 1:1 tutoring and when leading workshops. 
  • The Social Innovation and Community Development department will use the OER in courses that are blended with international students, Canadian-born students of diverse (European) ancestry, and Indigenous students.  
  • Communications instructors will be implementing the OER into the fall version of COMM 1173, Communication Strategies, which will reach over 1,200 students at RRC Polytech.  
  • Instructors will be using the OER in the Department of LINC English Language Learning and Newcomer Integration (previously the Language Training Centre) IRCC English Language Programming. 

Originally submitted by Ebony Novakowski and adapted by Linda Fox.

Celebrating Our Library Staff on Canadian Library Workers Day 2023

October 20, 2023

“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”

Sidney Sheldon

Friday, October 20, is Canadian Library Workers Day!

October brings Canadian Library Month, an annual celebration of libraries, library workers, and the services they provide to their communities. Libraries are the crux of knowledge, community engagement and social awareness. Of course, these important support systems can only be achieved through the work of the people within the library.

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations has designated the third Friday in October as Canadian Library Workers Day. This year, we recognize the valuable contributions made by all those who work in and for libraries in Canada on Friday, October 20.

This day allows us to recognize those who work in our Red River College Polytechnic Library (both NDC and EDC campuses) and celebrate their passion and dedication to serving our students, staff, and faculty.

If you see your friendly Library staff on Friday, or if you wish to come by the library or send an email, please give thanks and recognition for the hard work and dedication that they show each and every day!

Written by Kerry Macdonald — Director, Library and Academic Services

Stay Bright in Fall and Winter! Borrow a Therapy Lamp From Your Library

October 12, 2023

Photo of a pseron reading a book in front of a therapy light at the EDC Library
Therapy Light Station in use at the Exchange District Campus Library

What is light therapy?

Light therapy, also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy, uses a light box to mimic outdoor lighting. Light therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, including auto-immune disorders, wound healing, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. It is often used in winter to help with depression, lack of sunlight, and listlessness.

Exposure to artificial light helps adjust the body’s regulation of melatonin, a hormone that controls the body’s sleep cycle, and serotonin, a natural mood-stabilizing hormone.

Three main benefits of using light therapy are:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Enhanced mood

It is easy to use, safe (UV-free) and can be done in your own home. The light box needs to be placed at a 45-degree angle, 2-3 feet away on a flat surface. For maximum benefit, use consistently every morning for 20-30 minutes. Improvements can be felt within 2-4 days.

Light Therapy is not recommended for everyone, consult a physician first if you have an eye disorder or are taking medications that may cause your skin to be light-sensitive.

Interested in “lightening” up your mood?

Light boxes are available at the RRC Polytech Library for a one-month loan period.

To reserve a light box, use the Library’s Equipment Shopping Cart system. Begin by selecting your preferred location below (log in with RRC Polytech credentials may be required).

Permanent light therapy stations are also available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Exchange District and Notre Dame Campus Libraries.


If you have any questions, you may connect with a Library staff member through Ask Us Chat or in person during Library hours!

Adapted from Winter Blues Setting In? Brighten up those dark days of winter with light therapy! (posted on November 25, 2021).

National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People

October 4, 2023

A vertical shot of a red dress hanging from a branch of a tree.
Image source: Adobe Stock

October 4 marks the Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S). While marches and vigils happened in the past, the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission made looking into why violence happens towards this group its 41st call to action, with a final report from the inquiry released in 2019. The introduction from the executive summary of the final report states what has changed regarding attention to the issue:

The fact that this National Inquiry is happening now doesn’t mean that Indigenous Peoples waited this long to speak up; it means it took this long for Canada to listen.

The Library provides books and streaming video to support both formal studies of issues within regular classes and for those wanting to educate themselves about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit. At the centre, now and always, are those individuals who are no longer here, taken too soon, with friends, family, hopes, and dreams.

Browse a range of resources in our updated Guide >> Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, & Two-Spirit (MMIWG2S)

Featured Videos

National Film Board (NFB)

The National Film Board continues to provide access to films and documentaries with attention to boosting Indigenous filmmakers.

CBC’s Curio

CBC’s Curio assembles videos from News in Review to The National.

Viewing streaming videos: Click on an image to go directly to a video. You may be required to log in with your RRC Polytech credentials to access it.

Tina Fontaine: A Murdered Girl’s Legacy. October 2019

Tina Fontaine was just 15 when her body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was pulled from Winnipeg’s Red River. A report from the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth says in the years since her murder, not enough has changed to ensure other children in circumstances similar to Tina’s are not at risk. But Tina has left a legacy. Her death focused attention on missing, murdered Indigenous women and girls and inspired volunteer groups such as the Bear Clan Patrol to work at protecting vulnerable people on the streets. Warning: This program contains disturbing images and subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.

Public Forum on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

This special edition of The Current is a public forum held at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. – the fifth in a series of forums on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). Anna Maria Tremonti and panellists explore the work of the National Inquiry into MMIWG, leadership and reconciliation.

Featured Books

The Library’s newly curated MMIWG2S (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirits) Collection is a great way to explore physical and electronic resources on the topic. Two titles from this collection are featured below.

Betty: the Helen Betty Osborne story

In the early hours of November 13, 1971, Helen Betty Osborne, a young Aboriginal woman living in La Pas, was walking home alone when she was abducted by four young white men, sexually assaulted, and then viciously beaten and stabbed with a screwdriver. Despite the horrific nature of her murder, and the identities of her killers being known to many in The Pas, no arrests were made until 1986, and the subsequent trial resulted in only one conviction.

Highway of tears: a true story of racism, indifference and the pursuit of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

For decades, women–overwhelmingly from Indigenous backgrounds–have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern B.C. The highway is called the Highway of Tears by locals, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. In Highway of Tears, Jessica McDiarmid explores the effect these tragedies have had on communities in the region, and how systemic racism and indifference towards Indigenous lives have created a culture of “over-policing and under-protection,” simultaneously hampering justice while endangering young Indigenous women.

Questions or Comments?

Library staff love to assist staff and students with our collection! Feel free to connect with us in person at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campus Libraries or through Ask Us Chat at

Written by Fatima DeMelo–Reference Technician, Library and Academic Services

The Library’s Chatbot: Powered by “LI” Instead of AI

October 3, 2023

Background on the New Chatbot Feature

In June 2023, the RRC Polytech Library expanded our Ask Us Chat (the service) with the launch of the Library chatbot. This was the result of several months of work by Meagan Acquisto and me, Christina Janzen. The main goal of adding a chatbot to our Ask Us Chat was to provide consistent, basic help—especially after-hours. 

For those who may not know, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. There are many different types of chatbots, ranging from complex AI-powered chatbots that can learn and adapt to user behaviour, to simple scripted bots.  

Without further preamble, let’s jump into the chatbot’s creation story… 

Building the Library’s Chatbot

A Rules-Based Chatbot Run by “Librarian Intelligence”

Library managers took notice when the Saas library software vendor, Springshare, launched a new chatbot feature in LibAnswers.  

(Having a hard time understanding the jargon? You’re not alone. Throughout the Library chatbot development process, I learned a lot of computing language. A few definitions are listed at the bottom of this post.)

Meagan and I were tasked to build the Library chatbot; we took a deep dive into training webinars. Immediately, we noticed that the LibAnswers Chatbot is rules-based and uses simple if/then logic to link actions together. Springshare advertises this by stating their chatbot is not run by AI, but “LI” or Librarian Intelligence. Humorous. As implied, the benefit to a rules-based model is that each library that subscribes to LibAnswers Chatbot has better control over its users’ experience (this can also pose challenges, but I won’t get into that). 

Before jumping into the Chatbot application, we consulted LibAnswers statistics and came up with a list of common questions that Library users ask. Most questions fall into five categories: directions & general information, equipment bookings, printing/photocopying, tutoring & academic coaching, and referrals to College departments outside the Library, in that order. Next, we checked to make sure the answers—instructions, materials, etc.—were up to date and could be found online. Finally, we mapped out the ideal user experience in a flow chart (shown below).  

Snippet from preliminary user-experience flowchart

Building the User-Experience Flow in LibAnswers Chatbot

Once we started building within Chatbot, we hit a wall: Springshare has a maximum of 50 actions per “flow.” Initially, we thought this would limit the scope of our chatbot, but quickly found a solution by linking several flows together. Other small inconveniences in the build process were expected because software developers often lean on early adopters to find bugs and suggest new features to improve the software (which we did). 

In the end, Meagan and I chose to use self-led prompts instead of keyword searches because open-ended text input requires extensive keyword tagging. We hope to develop the scaffolding for free-response queries in the future. For now, our menu/button-based, or ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ system has enjoyed limited, yet generally positive, feedback. Staff testers reported that the bot was “a good little jumping off tool,” “designed well,” and appreciated that users could quickly connect to a live chat with staff. 

Your Opportunity to Provide Feedback

The Ask Us Chat bubbles logo that when clicked on initiates a chat.

Have you used the Library chatbot (available by clicking on the Ask Us Chat bubble)? Please rate our chat or share your thoughts by answering our survey! The survey is available here, but a link is also found at the end of every Library chatbot interaction. 


Ask Us Chat (the service)

The RRC Polytech Library’s online reference service where Library staff answer inquiries, provide research guidance, and reference assistance to the RRC Polytech community. 


‘Software as a service’ or cloud-based subscription access distribution model.


A company that sells library software.


One suite of services offered by Springshare 

LibAnswers Chatbot (Chatbot)

Springshare’s name for their chatbot feature.

Written by Christina Janzen, Reference Technician/Library Chatbot Builder

Six ways your Library is here to help you succeed

September 5, 2023

There has never been a better time to start using your Library!  With a variety of useful resources and services offered at both the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses, as well as through our website, your Library is here to help you succeed!  


Coming to the library is as easy as walking through the door! Once inside, you are free to browse the collection of print materials, use our computers for printing, ask questions, or simply find a space to study and work on assignments.  

We strive to make the Library an inclusive, welcoming, and safe space, where you can feel comfortable working toward your academic goals! So, come in, say “hello” to our friendly staff, and start using the space today. We’ll be happy to see you!  

Learn more >> Use the Library


If you have a question, we encourage you to ask the Library staff for help! You can do this by approaching the service desk and asking them directly, or you can also ask a question through our Ask Us Chat.

To use the chat, simply click on the Ask Us Bubble on the Library website. This will connect you with our Library chatbot, which uses self-led prompts to answer a variety of common questions. If you have a more detailed question, you can also choose the option to connect with a Library staff member over live chat, and they will be happy to help!  

Learn more >> Library and Academic Services website


If you are starting an assignment and need help finding research on a particular topic, or if you just want to learn how to search more effectively on your own, Library staff can help with that!  

They will go step-by-step through the search process with you, ensuring you find the best resources to satisfy the requirements of your assignment. On top of that, they will also help you to improve your search skills for future assignments by showing you how to search more effectively. 

Learn more >> Research & Write


If you are struggling with a particular course, or if you just want to learn the skills needed to be a better student, the Academic Success Centre (ASC) is a great resource within the Library to check out!  

The ASC offers tutoring services for a variety of courses and topics, as well as drop-in workshops and exam prep sessions! You can sign up for tutoring online, or you can come in and speak with a tutor who will help you find the tutoring solution for your particular needs!  

Learn more >> Tutoring Services


If you would like to borrow something from our collection, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You can browse the shelves on your own, or, if you are looking for something specific, you can search online through our website. Searching through OneSearch, or through a specific database, allows you to filter your search results according to a variety of parameters, ensuring you find the best and most relevant resources available!  

In addition to an extensive and varied collection of print resources — which includes books, magazines, and DVDs — students have free online access to thousands of electronic resources, such as ebooks, academic journal articles, and industry manuals.  

Learn more >> Browse & Borrow


Finally, we also lend out equipment at both Library locations! This includes everything from phone chargers and various types of cables and adaptors to larger equipment such as cameras and tripods, speakers, microphones, projectors, and even laptops!  

In the modern college, a laptop is an essential piece of equipment to own. However, if you are waiting for your laptop to be repaired or for funding to come in for you to purchase a new one, the Library can help you get through that time! We lend out laptops for up to a month. To see the complete inventory of equipment items and their availability, check out the website! 

Learn more >> Equipment

Written by Dylan MacDougall, Reference Technician – Library and Academic Services

Have a question? Your Library can help with that!

August 28, 2023

The RRC Polytech Library is here to help with any of your questions, big or small. We offer two ways to connect: in-person or online.


When on campus, visit our Service Desk at the following locations:

Notre Dame Campus
CM18 – 2055 Notre Dame Avenue

Exchange District Campus
P214 – 160 Princess Street


When off-campus, visit the Library and Academic Services’ website and click on the “Ask Us” bubble. You will go through some self-led prompts that offer responses to our most common questions.

Alternatively, you can skip the questions and select ‘Live Chat’ to connect with a Library staff member during our open hours or submit an email question after hours.

Written by Meagan Acquisto and Christina Janzen – Reference Technicians

Assessment Services: Spotlight on External Exams

June 6, 2023

Part of a series introducing the multi-faceted Assessment Services team.

The External Exams subunit of Assessment Services coordinates, hosts, and invigilates certification exams, regulatory exams, business exams, and provides services to students studying at other educational institutions and business organizations across Canada and internationally.

Our external exams specialist is Susan Kleppe, who has worked at the College for 20 years in this area, when it was under the auspices of School of Continuing Education. Since seamlessly integrating into the wider Assessment Services unit, Susan has become a deeply valued member of the new, amalgamated unit at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.

Susan Kleppe, External Exams Specialist

Other posts in the series

Submitted by Piers Smettem, Assessment Specialist

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›