Today a group of us got together to talk about teaching taxonomies designed to help us think about where the students we teach and how to get them to where they need to be. I used Prezi as a way to show a slate of tools, rather than a linear talk that implies a specific relationship between theories. Good conversation and some fun new insights! (I’m looking at you, Kate, and Perry’s Stages of Intellectual and Ethical Development!)
During September 2011...
Mary Beth, Giz (top). Barry, Craig, Anna, Wanda, Susan, Steve, Rachel, Chris: this year’s crew!
For the third year, ZSR Library faculty and staff stepped forward to spend a day working at Wake Forest’s Habitat for Humanity House. We had a big crew this year with enough manpower to work on two different houses all day. Once again, we were fortunate to be supervised by Tony, who assured us that the only skill set he expected from us was to be breathing! He and his supervisors are some of the most patient instructors I’ve ever seen. Just think about having to start every day with a group of brand new volunteers! But they calmly showed us how to hold a hammer, use a power saw, and straighten out a bent nail. Before long, all of us were productively hammering, cutting wood, moving scaffolding, and even shingling a porch roof. As usual, all of the ZSR volunteers had a very rewarding experience, even with all the sore muscles that went home with us at the end of the day. Next year, we hope to send another team of enthusiastic house builders (for a day)! Check out a few pictures from the day!
The ZSR Habitat crew would also like to thank our colleagues who covered for us back at the library during this very busy time. Another volunteer was impressed that we had a fabulous team back at the library that would support our ability to be there for the entire day.
With my new emphasis on the teaching side of the library’s mission, I’ve been looking for ways to plug into the University’s teaching mission as well. I figure, any understanding of the larger institution’s approach to teaching will help us think about our own program. As part of this I decided to attend some of the Teaching and Learning Center’s programming to see what it’s like on the learner side of that table, and to get ideas that could be useful for us in ZSR.
One of the series I was interested in exploring were the TLC Book Clubs. I looked at what they were offering this semester, and enrolled in the How Learning Works group. I can not state clearly enough: I am thrilled to be participating in this group! The book, itself, is amazing. I’ll be pulling heavily on it for several sessions of the Spring Teaching Teaching class. But also, it’s really nice to sit around a table with other faculty who are facing similar challenges and discussing teaching in a collaborative andcollegialway with them. It also reminded me so much of being in college: reading text with new information, discussing in a small group setting, referring to page numbers and specific quotes, drawing from related resources, getting excited about new ideas. It’s really good stuff!
If you’re ever interested in attending a TLC Book Club, they run for four meeting sessions through the course of a semester. They meet for an hour and fifteen minutes over a provided lunch. The TLC even provides the copy of the book. If you have any questions about the program, I’d be happy to answer them!
Like last time, we used group work to explore various instructional design models. This time, I adapted the approach to look at different models and to explore the topics more deeply. The models were: ADDIE, Fink’s Significant Learning Experiences, Design, and System Thinking. Here’s what we did:
- I named the four topics and folks moved to the corners of the room for the topic they were most interested in.
- Each group was given a book to start with, but continued searching online, to familiarize themselves with the model.
- Specific instructions: 20 minutes (though we went just past 25 minutes) to define the model, dive deep into some aspect, and develop a presentation.
- Each group presented their information and we had discussion around each topic.
My overarching goal for the day: to ensure everyone was exposed to some useful models that might help in creating their courses as well as to demonstrate the power of slightly structured group work and ownership of specific topics.
If you’re interested in the books, I’ve added basic bibliographic information on the readings page.
Bonus: a Prezi on Significant Learning!
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
This is my 5th Presidents’ Leadership Conference at Wake Forest, a retreat weekend sponsored jointly by the President of Student Government and the President of the University. This year, we returned to Smith Mountain Lake, Va, which is a beautiful setting in the Blue Ridge area. Operating under a theme of “Courageous Leadership,” the speakers this year were the best I have experienced at PLC. Highlights:
- Melenie Lankau, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the Schools of Business, led us in small group exercises to uncover the importance of going beyond the numbers of diversity to be a truly inclusive community.
- Angela Mazaris, Director of the LGBTQ Center, led us in small group exercises to define just what each of those letters mean, a particularly useful exercise for me!
- Jim Dunn, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, enthralled the group with a challenge to student leaders to embrace the controversial topics in society and lead the campus in open discussions of the three areas he considers most vital to America’s long term success: politics, education, and energy, and be ready to sacrifice, as they have never been called to do in their lives, for the sake of the future.
After dinner, Justin Catanoso, new program director in Journalism and author of My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles, gave a poignant accounting of the canonization of his grandfather’s second cousin, Gaetano Catanoso, and what it meant to his family.
But for me, the highlight of the conference came when our two Liberian visitors, Jacob Jallah and Joe Wilson, spoke about their experiences at Wake Forest. They both said how warmly they had been received and how much they appreciated the experience. Using the theme of “Courageous Leadership,” Jacob said that when they visited the library (thank you again, Mary Beth), they had been given a copy of the documentary film, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” He cited the example of the women in the film as being courageous leaders, risking death by standing up to the warlord Charles Taylor and demanding an end to the atrocities of civil war. Then Joe got up and delivered an oration worthy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said that for years, he had been told he was the “future” of his country. He said he was tired of waiting for the future and pledged to go out and be a current leader, using his experiences and training to raise his country back up by taking up all the themes that Jim Dunn challenged them all to do in the morning. Like Jim, he told the Wake Forest students to embrace, rather than avoid politics, because it affects every component of their lives. He sat down to a thunderous ovation. I was so proud of them, I cried.
This morning, we will hear the results of the small group discussions that the students had last night on ways to improve student life at Wake Forest, addressing tough topics such as substance abuse and illegal drug use. I am anxious to hear what they say.
This fall a First-Year Seminar (FYS) sparked a cross-team collaborative effort between RITS and Special Collections. When Jenny Puckett requested an instructional session for her FYS (Modern Wake Forest: A Living History), Vicki Johnson, Giz Womack, and Bobbie Collins combined their expertise to create a LIBGuide for the course. Due to the nature of this FYS, Puckett arranged to have Womack and Collins meet with her class to cover reference materials and electronic databases. In October, this FYS will visit Special Collections to examine primary source materials.The session on September 14 with Womack and Collins focused on how to search for library materials using JumpStart, how to navigate the electronic databases, and how to capture text and images from the Old Gold and Black and the Howler. To set the mood for the class and to show off the American Song database, a playlist was created highlighting 1950s recording artists. Elvis appeared briefly at the beginning of class singing his hit “Blue Suede Shoes.”
During the session, students were introduced to Readers’ Guide Retrospective. This FYS will use this database to identify popular journals such as Newsweek and Life. It is interesting to note that Wake Forest has been featured in several Life magazine articles. For example, one Life magazine article (December 2, 1957) shows pictures of a rebellion on campus. To protest the campus ban on dancing, students “tooted bugles, shot firecrackers, burned the convention president in effigy and danced a bunny hop across campus” (p.32). Students were shown how to find both the print and electronic version of Life. The students enjoyed looking at some of the articles from the 1950s.
Following Collins’ presentation, Womack instructed the class on the use of the Snipping Tool”, a tool for capturing screen shots as image files in Windows 7. Students used the Snipping Tool to insert articles and images from both the Howler and OG&B into MS Word documents. The students will use this technique to insert supporting materials into the papers they write for the class.
Within the RITS team (and also outside of the team), there is a lot of information literacy collaboration going on this fall. Instructional sessions are enhanced, and we have better learning outcomes when we can collaborate with other colleagues.
Yesterday at noon, Roz, Susan and I attended the meeting held at DeTamble Hall in Tribble about the coming online Master’s program created by Counseling and developed and managed with the help of Embanet. The program will launch in Summer, 2012. Jennifer Collins related that, while the institution does have the best teaching faculty, they don’t have the wherewithal to transfer their teaching to an online environment. So they worked with Embanet to develop programs that will have the same course goals, the same high standards, the same evaluative requirements, the same tuition, and the same admission requirements as their face to face equivalent. It was further related that the face to face program is so competitive that they have hundreds of applicants that they narrow down to 80 to 90 that are all equally qualified to fill only 15 slots. They also recognized that not everyone can uproot their lives mid-career to come to live in Winston-Salem to complete this rigorous program in 2 years. So the online program was developed to meet a number of obvious needs.
Embanet discussed their process. They pair an instructor of a course with an instructional designer who has expertise in the best online practices. They have intensive discussions on the ultimate goals of the course, and clarify both pedagogy and the best tools to utilize. The framework is built around course objectives, with customized educational approaches. The focus is to keep students engaged and communicating with each other and with the instructor. They demonstrated a number of learning tools routinely incorporated into these classes that provide similar modules with increasingly complex ideas, synchronous and asynchronous tools, discussion boards, chat, Webex, Google Talk, instructor and student blogs and more. They showed an example of a program called Voicethread which enables distance ed presenting. Voicethread provides space for students to upload their presentation slides and audio, while giving the other students and faculty an opportunity to insert comments or questions as the presentation is given.
The rigor of the courses will be the same. Evaluation of course effectiveness will be ongoing with a systematic course refresh happening after every 3rd time the course is presented. Like face-to-face classes, the more faculty are “engaged” in the course the more students will get out of it. Ultimately, the program will have a maximum of 300 students, and the course work will be structured to enable students to complete the program in 3 years. As the q & a of the session progressed, faculty in the room seemed to be more and more comfortable with the idea. And I, personally, was quite impressed!
Wake Forest University is hosting two visiting students from the University of Liberia in order to continue to strengthen the ties between the two institutions after the visit that Lynn and others took there in the spring. The two students, Jacob Jallah and JoeWilson, had an opportunity to visit ZSR this afternoon and it was my privilege to tour the two of them around the building and highlight some of our existing services. I also discussed aspirations that we have for the library and how our existing infrastructure made it challenging. We took a leisurely tour of the building starting on the 8th floor and ending on Wilson 1. The tour included stops in the Special Collections Reading room where Megan gave a brief overview of the collection, how it developed, and explained the current exhibit on display that is in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The two had an opportunity to handle a book that was over 600 years old, and while they needed a little coaxing to actually touch it, ended up requesting that I take their picture with the book and Megan. We also visited the Writing Center, room 401, the terrace and the new DVD/viewing room where we had a chat with Mary about the new space. The auditorium was in use, so we only got a brief glimpse into the room, but couldn’t enter it. On Wilson 4, I took them into the Mandlebaum Room. While showing them our newspaper collection thinking that they might be interested in how many international papers we subscribe to, they showed me that their picture was actually on the cover of the Winston-Salem Chronicle! I had them sign our copy immediately! Sarah gave them an overview of our Reference collection and discussed our Lib100 and Lib200 classes. They asked about online books and she shared how to access Google Books as well as how to get access to our databases. Since Joe is an Economics student and Jacob is a Sociology student, we showed them how to get into The Economist and found a “freely available” copy. They were excited to see that! We then traveled to the Bridge where I highlighted the services they provide and I showed them the MultiMedia Lab. Then down to Wilson 1 to show our mobile shelving as a solution to our overcrowded shelves. (Talk about an embarrassment of riches!)
We returned to the circ desk and had about 15 minutes to spare so I took them into Starbucks to buy them some tea. They both found the chilly NC day unexpected, and needed some tea to warm up! I asked them about how their visit was thus far and they said everyone was friendly and welcoming and unlike what they had been told to expect in the States, everyone has been willing to take the time to help them out. They arrived last Saturday and when they were picked up were excited to discover that they could go and see a football game…only to be surprised that it wasn’t football! (They were, of course, expecting soccer.) Their time had been pretty scheduled, but they did have some opportunity to provide input on which events and departments they were most interested in seeing. They will be on campus until October 2nd before returning to Liberia. I encouraged them to come and make use of our services and our collections until then.