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Instruction at ZSR

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 10:23 pm

One of the things that is challenging when someone leaves an organization is the loss of institutional memory. For that reason, I’m leaving this post, to remind you of all the many instructional resources you have available to support your teaching:

  • Instruction website: This page has information about the program we offer–in person instruction, self help instruction, as well as the meta information about the administration of the program. Thank you to Kevin for creating a new look and backend for the instruction portion of the website. It made a world of difference!
  • Wiki page: When I first became head of instruction, we didn’t really have a strong presence on the library website to reflect our program. In response, I made use of the wiki to gather information about projects, professional development opportunities, and FAQs–particularly about university policy. If you’re trying to figure out how to set up your Sakai course or how to deal with challenging students, you will be able to find some answers here. If you know something useful, it’d be nice to add it!
  • Learning Outcomes: As a community we developed learning outcomes to support our instruction. These outcomes were conceived to be broad enough to be useful for any research-based course. It’s easy to forget about them if you don’t have someone reminding you every semester or so, so here’s a gentle reminder: please take a look at the learning outcomes every once in a while and make sure that your class addresses them! Learning outcomes also make it easier to decide what’s not worth covering. If it’s not covered in a learning outcome, it’s not necessary to the course.
  • Template: As you also know, Joy developed a very thorough and detailed template for LIB100 last summer. It currently resides in Sakai, though more information will be available on the website at some point. The template was designed so that you can just pick it up and go, but you can also pick and choose from it to help simplify the planning of your own class if you’d prefer.
  • Teaching tools page: This page contains activities and techniques for teaching the various things we tend to teach. Right now it is more structural in nature, with a few activities. If you find this useful, let Kyle know! If you have something that you think might possibly be useful to your colleagues, send it to Kyle with appropriate metadata! (Can you tell that Kyle will own this going forward?)
  • Plagiarism tutorial: Kyle and Kevin made, perhaps, the most engaging and educational activity on plagiarism I’ve seen, and they made it for WFU students! If you aren’t sure how to teach plagiarism, or if you teach it and your students respond as though they’ve heard it all before and you can’t possibly teach them anything new, please consider using this activity prior to discussion!
  • New course evaluation: Kyle, Mary Scanlon, Sarah, Kaeley, and I worked to update our LIB100 course evaluation to be more useful for instructors and based in sound research. The new course evaluation measures first principles of instruction, as well as makes it easy to get a view of the entire program. This view of teaching across the program will allow Roz to target specific areas that would benefit most from professional development opportunities.

And there are several more things coming soon:

  • eTextbook: We’re in the final stages of this project! I am adding in multimedia as quickly as I can, and by Friday we should have a working version online. I’ll leave it to the group to do a Gaz post introducing it. The people involved with this have been many over the past two years. Audra and Gretchen were involved early on. Craig, Kaeley, Kevin, and Rebecca have been involved throughout the process. This group, along withMary Scanlon, Ellen Daugman, Molly, Mary Beth, and Ellen Makaravage all contributed writing. We are hopeful this book will be useful for LIB100s, one shot sessions (that are focused on a specific aspect of research), faculty who don’t want to give up class time, and other libraries. So that will be exciting for the library!
  • New LIB100 assessment tool: Kaeley, Kyle, Mary Scanlon, and I also have worked on creating an assessment tool for LIB100. The design is for a quick, anonymous survey to test whether we have met our learning outcomes for the class. 200 level classes might choose to modify the survey for their specific class. Again, if used across the program, it would be a useful tool to help identify the learning outcomes that either (1) could stand reinforcement across classes or (2) that might not be as relevant to our teaching anymore, and would need to be adapted for current teaching practices. The entire question bank could be useful if you’d like a final exam as well. Kyle is the point person on this.
  • Update to the Toolkit: And coming way further in the future, Kyle is considering updating the Toolkit. The idea is a new and updated interface and updated video content. His Zotero video is the style of content he will create.

One of the final things I’ve done was work with Joy, Kyle, Bobbie, and Kaeley on a strategic plan refresh for the instruction program. That has been passed on to Lynn and hopefully can provide some useful information for the next few years.

In the process of writing the plan, we did an environmental scan of the field. Joy, Kyle, and I went to the Triangle area research libraries to learn more about local instruction. (We have some amazing programs in this state!) And my main take away from all of this work is that what ZSR is doing with instruction is exceptional. The students at WFU who engage in library instruction have an unusually broad, deep, and personalized instruction experience. Wake students are lucky to have access to this type of instruction, and we are in a lucky position to be able to offer it. I’ve been honored to play the roles I’ve played in the program and look forward to hearing more about the great work you all will do going forward!

Got Questions? Get Answers. Ask.

Monday, September 10, 2012 3:27 pm

This fall the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is unveiling it’s new reference service:!

This website will enable you to get in touch with our friendly librarians in a number of ways:

  • Across the top, you will find a bar that allows you to search our FAQ database.
  • If you have a question that’s fairly common (such as “how can I renew a book” or “do you have any jobs open in the Library?”), you can find the answers immediately.
  • If you have a question that’s not time sensitive and isn’t already listed (such as “where can I find musical scores?”), you can leave the question for us and we’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

To make things easier, on the same page, we’ve included a chat box and a list of our traditional reference channels:

txt: 336-506-7086
call: 336-758-5475
meet: research session
visit: 4th floor (Wilson)
tweet: @askzsr

Remember, we’re here to help you succeed, and we’re here to answer your questions when you have them!

Search Tip #15: Quotation Marks!

Monday, September 10, 2012 3:20 pm

Have you been there before, looking for that exact phrase, and finding related articles, but not the perfect one you know is there?

We’ve all been there. And we know a lot of you have been there, too. In a recent usability study of our website, we found that many of our users either didn’t know – or didn’t remember – that there is a quick and easy way to find exactly the phrase you’re looking for.

That way? Use quotation marks!

Using quotation marks around a phrase will tell the search engine to look for exactly the phrase you entered. For example:

“four year college”

will find articles that are about four year colleges while

four year college

will find articles about four buildings that took ten years to build on a community college campus and some articles about four year college.

So, next time you’re searching for a specific phrase remember: quotation marks.

LIB100 Template

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:42 am

Those directly involved with LIB100 are very familiar with our recent transition to a 1.5 credit hour course and the template that has been developing over the summer. However, I realize not everyone is so intimately involved, and wanted to let you know about the mammoth project conducted in the instruction unit this summer.

Joy Gambill has created a new template for the LIB100 courses, designed to take advantage of what we have learned in the decade we’ve been offering the class and the extra time we will now have in the classroom. To begin this process, Joy and I interviewed everyone who has taught LIB100 recently and asked about what they covered, what assignments they used, and any other information that might be helpful when thinking through developing a class. Joy took the ball from there and developed an outline for each day, presentations to guide librarians through the content, group activities to take advantage of active learning, and assignments to assess learning. The presentations are comprehensive, sometimes including clicker slides, screenshots for demonstrations, and transitions for class activities.

Perhaps the most fun part of the template is that it takes advantage of some of the most creative and interesting assignments and activities we’ve done. Several are things (or versions of things) that I have heard about for years but never taken the time to figure out how to fit them into my course. It’s really representative of the work that we all have done in developing our classes.

This template is not required for those who teach LIB100–we still maintain that faculty have academic freedom in their teaching. Yet, it is so thorough and integrates the best practices of all our instructors that I plan to use it starting with my class that kicks off this week. The LIB100 instructors have access both through Sakai and through a PDF of the course that contains all the material. However, if anyone else is interested in having access, let me know, and I’ll share the content with you as well.

It’s a TechXploration!

Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:51 pm

Wednesday afternoon was a time of TechXploration on campus. IS hosted a poster session event for people involved with the Summer Technology Grants over 2011 as well as other technology projects on campus.

Kevin, Craig, Rebecca, Kaeley, and I went as part of our involvement with the Summer Technology Group. We made great strides towards completion over the summer, but as you know this year has been hectic, so it’s simmered on the back burner except for intersessions. Luckily, as the semester is wrapping up we have time to focus on it again and we plan to have completed the framework, website, added the text, and created all the various file formats with enough time for people (who wish) to incorporate it into their LIB100 for Fall 2012. Expect to hear more soon!

Oats&Tea @ TechXploration

Our poster was met with a lot of interest. People thought the poster was nicely designed (thanks, Craig!!) and liked the idea of an open access, modular, electronic, format agnostic textbook. We even heard from Brenda Knox that she’d like to incorporate it into the online counseling program. We had a lot of fun talking to people from students to faculty to technical staff and we look forward to having a finished product to share. There was a lot of interest from the crowd about the technical details, so I look forward to our documenting the tools we’re using and creating a model others can follow.

Oats&Tea @ TechXploration

I also was asked to talk about my online class, which I’m always happy to do, so I had a poster on that topic, as well. That poster got far less traffic–perhaps because people are familiar with the class at this point? The day was worth it, though, because of meeting one faculty member who was really really interested in the project and would like to incorporate several of the assignments, organizational structures, and other features into their class going forward.

Lauren Pressley @ TechXploration

All in all, it was a great afternoon! Fun people, good food, and a chance to share with others some of the work we’ve been doing!

Library folks reading books!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:56 pm

Today, Kaeley, Joy, Molly, Carolyn, Mary Beth, Kevin, Craig, and I got together to discuss Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains. We had enthusiastic and interesting conversations about the book, which broadened to address work, ethics, community values, and built on some of the discussion we had as a larger group on Monday. It was great fun, and any of us would be happy to continue the discussions if you’re interested.

We had so much fun we decided to do it again! Over Spring Break we’d like to get together to discuss another book that has implications for work and our personal lives. Those of us in the room thought it’d be interesting to read David Weinburger’sToo Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. However, we realize some people didn’t make it that have other interesting book ideas, and could easily be persuaded to choose another one. Leave a message in the comments if you have other book titles you’re interested in, and we’ll find a way to select one and a date for our March discussion.

Teaching Teaching in Spring 2012

Friday, December 16, 2011 10:53 am

Last week we wrapped up Teaching Teaching for the fall semester. It was a good review of content we had covered in the very first go around. We’ve since decided to make it a regularly occurring event, so I’ve been thinking about different types of content, different types of presentations, and new ways of sharing out what we’re doing. We have big plans, and I’m looking forward to future iterations!


First up, not specifically focused on WFU, but very relevant for those who teach, NC-LITe will be meeting after the break.

The twice-annual meeting of NC librarians interested in educational technology and instruction will be at WFU on January 6th. Please let us know if you’d like to attend (and if you have something you’d like to share)!

If you’d like more information about what we’ll do that day, please see the wiki.

Of course, we’re open to suggestions if you’d like to make sure we do anything in particular.

We’re currently working on topics relating to Teach Better Tomorrow: Sharing Quick Tips for Library Instruction & Instructional Technology, though as always, if you have something to share that doesn’t fit that category, we can still make sure you have the opportunity to share.

Book Club: The Shallows

Next, we’re going to have a discussion of a book for those who want to play along with a little winter reading. From the email announcement:

At our last Teaching Teaching, we got sidetracked a bit discussing The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Roz could vouch for the speediness and interestingness of the read, and we all thought that this book would help us understand our students better. We also thought that this book in particular would be interesting to read as librarians: people who help our users find specific points of data as well as navigate the context of the information they need.

So, several of us are planning to read it over the break and get together before classes start to discuss over a warm cup of Starbucks. If you’d like to join us, here’s the plan:

What: Discussion of The Shallows
Where: Starbucks 203A
When: 1/11/2012, 10:00am-12:00

We might not take the full 2 hours, but I didn’t want to underestimate the time we’d want to have.

If you’d like to find the book, here it is on Worldcat, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. You’re welcome to come without reading it ahead of time as well.

Teaching Strategies (proper)

Next semester we’re going to change the time to 10am to make it easier for more people to attend. We’ll continue meeting in 476.I’ll post the schedule as soon as it’s finalized, but after talking with many of the regular Teaching Teaching participants (and especially after a good conversation with Joy), we’ve come up with a format that should be really useful and interesting for this iteration.

The plan is to go through the topics we cover in LIB100 throughout the entire semester. For example, on the first day, we’ll talk about how people structure their course (the arc of the content, what they choose to keep and leave out, etc). Then we’ll have a day for the research process, a day for reference sources, a day for searching on the web, etc. As people have begun adapting their courses over time, we have a lot of really interesting approaches, and this will be a chance for us to find out how the class has evolved.

I’ll be looking for 2-4 people to give 5-10 minute presentations on each topic, so if you think you’re doing something that’s really useful or really unusual, please consider contacting me so that we can get you on the schedule. Otherwise, I might be contacting you. :)

Teaching LIB100 Online

Thursday, November 10, 2011 1:52 pm

Yesterday was the Online Forum in which I was able to share my lib100 class with interested faculty. It was a well attended session, with about 30 people at peek attendance, and we covered a wide range of topics. I expected to be asked to delve into my course to show some specific examples and student work, but interestingly discussion stayed at a much more general level, and after I presented there wasn’t much more need for me to speak.

If you’re interested in my talk, I focused around three themes: a lot of thought went into the design and implementation of the course, doing this well takes time and small class sizes, the students in my class are getting a much more personalized education than the ones in my typical classes. I’m actually not sure how on-message I was, given the timing of the forum, but I managed to get a few laughs and for the most part people seemed open to the idea. Here are the slides:

LIB100 Online from Lauren Pressley

Afterwards, Stephanie Pellet of the french department spoke about her experience at the University of Texas at Austin contributing to an online textbook. Stephanie has long been an advocate of increasing the use of collaborative tools in the classroom and has done some incredibly innovative work using library provided blogs and wikis. She’s published on the work she’s done in her field’s journals of the scholarship of teaching and learning as well.

David John, from computer science, wrapped up with a discussion of courses being televised across several campuses with a local group of Wake Forest students participating from here. The system they used allowed the professor at a distance to see individuals at all sites and allowed our students to have access to professors withexpertiseoutside of those offered by our own department.

With one or two exceptions, the conversation was mostly positive and focused on higher level issues such as “what is online education?” given the continuum of electronically enhanced teaching tools, “what is the role of the teacher?” and “how do we prepare students for today’s world?” I was also particularly struck that copyright came up as well. Who owns the content that’s created for an online course? There was discussion of who would make royalties off of the content. We never even got to the point of discussing the OpenCourseWare movement, something that I hope we can begin discussing as Online becomes less threatening. So, now we wait to see what comes next. And I keep trucking along with this course. Speaking of which, I have some grading to do!

Learning Styles

Sunday, October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

This week we addressed Learning Styles. It’s a topic that I’ve grown more fond of over time. The major controversy amongst folks in higher ed is “should you adapt your teaching to learning styles?” Some research suggests it doesn’t make a big difference. Some suggests it really does. Some faculty will point out that once working in a job, your boss isn’t going to adapt their training for your style, others point out that college students have to cram a lot more into their head in a shorter period of time than an employee would.

So with a discussion of that, we dove into a discussion of learning styles. We used the free test from NCSU that is an index of learning styles, and this is what we came up with:

Learning Styles

We then had a group-wide discussion of the different styles, methods we used within our own style to learn better, and talked about how that knowledge could impact our design of a class session or course. Here’s the down and dirty:

  • Active learners learn best when they’re doing something with the information. Active students should seek out study groups and explain information to each other.
  • Reflective learners learn best when they think quietly about it first. They shouldn’t attempt to just memorize anything. They should think of questions/applications and write their own summary.
  • Sensing learners like facts and following established methods. They are more practical and prefer real-world connections. They should ask professors for these specific connections to the world and brainstorm connections with friends.
  • Intuitive learners like possibilities, relationships, innovation, and abstractions. They should ask for theories that link the facts covered in class.
  • Visual learnerslike pictures, diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, film, and demos. They should make concept maps of class and color code their notes.
  • Verbal learners like written and spoken words. They should write summaries of class in words and talk with friends.
  • Sequential learners are linear and like logical patterns. They should ask for steps that are skipped to fill in the blanks and make sure their notes take a logical order.
  • Global learners need to make large jumps and have “aha” moments. These students need to skim a chapter before class takes place. Rather than studying a little bit each day, they need to take several hours at once to take a “deep dive” into the material.

(I used color to pair the spectrum, see what I did there, Visual learners?!)

There are a lot of different thinkers out there reflecting on learning styles, and we only had time to focus in on this one interpretation. But you can see immediately how you can pull in techniques for each learner. For example, when discussing the catalog you can tie it into a larger discussion of databases and search theory as well as demo how you can use this to find a specific book your faculty member has told you to find. That alone would hit on sensing, intuitive, visual, verbal, and sequential.

Next week Roz will be addressing Teaching Styles. It’ll be a fun pair to the Learning Styles class!

Educational Psychology

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 9:19 am

Last week’s Teaching Teachers focused on the briefest of overviews of Educational Psychology. We went through the PowerPoint from the last class, and talked about it’s application to our own classes. This is always a fun class to cover because there’s so much information (an entire graduate degree’s worth, in fact) that we can touch on a lot of different relevant ideas and draw connections to our own classes. Fun day!

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