Professional Development

MBL at ALA-MW

Friday, February 6, 2015 2:42 pm

The start of my ALA Mid Winter experience was spent attending two days of pre-conference meetings for the participants in ACRL’s “Assessment in Action” (AiA) project. This is the second year of the grant funded project meant to build capacity for doing assessment projects in academic libraries, allowing libraries to better tell their stories and demonstrate their worth to the academy. ZSR’s project involves investigating how students define success in their own lives, and identifying ways that the library can assist in helping them reach success. Since ZSR’s mission, as we all know, is ‘to help students, faculty and staff succeed,’ it is going to be very interesting to discern how the students define success, and then to develop programming and spaces that will help in that effort. ZSR’s team includes: Meghan Webb, Le’Ron Byrd, Ryan Shirey (Writing Center), Glenda Boyles (the Bridge) and John Champlin (PDC). The first of the two days was spent getting each participant caught up on where all of the other participating libraries are in our cohort, (there are over 70 libraries participating this year,) and identifying ways to either help them through difficulties or learn from their successes. On the second day we learned of techniques and methodology for analyzing and reaching conclusions about our data. We now know what we need to do, and what elements we’ll need to include in our follow up reports to ACRL. We all need to have completed some form of our assessment by ALA Annual in June as we will all be expected to present a poster session there.

After the two Assessment in Action days, I also attended the ARL Space Assessment session with Susan reported on so ably. Since our Assessment in Action investigation also will have a component related to space use in the library, it was a helpful session. One of the presenters described a focus group study wherein students were shown photos of different types of study spaces, (high soaring ceilings and heavy wooden tables, comfy couches, individual study carrels) and asked which kind of space they would prefer for different activities and what words would best describe those spaces. They used this information to inform future furniture purchases and renovations. I thought this was a powerful exercise and we might pursue that here as well.

I also attended the Sustainability Round Table discussion group. SustainRT is a very new group in ALA, just established last mid-winter meeting and it’s just now finding its legs. Primary among the topics discussed was promoting a Sustainable Libraries Resolution similar to the one just approved by the New York Library Association. This resolution will be modified in the ensuing months, and then be presented to Council at ALA Annual. One big success of the SustainRT group was the inclusion of places to recycle ALA badges at the end of conference. If you saw one of those “recycle your badge” containers in the Conference Center, you can thank the members of SustainRT.

The great Chicago Blizzard of 2015 interrupted the conference and both of the sessions I had intended to go to on Sunday, (as well as the SustainRT ice skating social) were cancelled. But I did manage to make it to the vendor floor and visit McFarland, Atlas Systems, and Agati my favorite library furniture company before the big storm hit. I expected to visit others too, but the number of attendees to the conference, and the number of vendors on the floor seemed to me to be way down. Which brings me to another point raised by the SustainRT group…will MW continue to be necessary much longer? Indications are that many of the sections do their planning for Annual by email and conference calls before they even come to midwinter.

And now for the obligatory snowmagedden photos: both taken from the hotel window. The first just as the snow started to fall Saturday night, the second mid-day on Sunday when nearly white out conditions were present. It was an impressive snowstorm!

BIBFRAME, BIBFRAME, BIBFRAME

Friday, February 6, 2015 10:45 am

It was good to visit my home state of Illinois for ALA Midwinter 2015 in Chicago. I was able to get together with a few cousins with whom I was close growing up in Decatur, three hours south. And who doesn’t like 18 inches of snow? Somehow the weather didn’t actually interfere too much with the conference. If anything it brought attendees closer, I daresay.

At the meeting of the ALCTS Copy Cataloging Interest Group, Angela Kinney from the Library of Congress talked about restructuring at LC, specifically reductions in acquisitions and cataloging staff; this is a theme at many libraries, unfortunately. Roman Panchyshyn from Kent State (whom I’ve also seen present on an RDA-enrichment project similar to the one we’ve just undergone with Backstage) then talked about the considerable proliferation of e-resource bulk record loads in recent years and the need to build copy catalogers’ skills in this area (at their library this work has traditionally been done by professional catalogers and systems staff). Necessary skills include PC file management, FTP/data exchange, basic knowledge of RDA, comfortability with secondary applications such as MarcEdit, and the ability to follow instructions and documentation. Here at ZSR, our copy catalogers, I must say, have these skills in spades, and I do not take for granted the fact that they are so sophisticated; nor should any of us. Not only are they able to follow workflows and documentation, but they create their own. Every record load is a little bit different, and these operations require attentiveness, diligence, and accuracy.

I also attended a session by the ALCTS MARC Formats Transitions Interest Group. The central topic was BIBFRAME, the new encoding format being developed by LC in collaboration with several libraries that eventually is meant to replace MARC as a more linked data/web-friendly format. Nancy Fallgren from the National Library of Medicine talked about the need for BIBFRAME (I think I’m going to get sick of typing that word before the end of this paragraph) to be flexible enough to work with the different descriptive languages of various sectors of the cultural heritage community – libraries, archives, museums, etc. She emphasized that BIBFRAME is not a descriptive vocabulary in and of itself and is built to accommodate RDA, not compete with it; it is a communication method, not the communication itself. Perhaps most importantly, this new format has to be extensible beyond library catalogs, as BIBFRAME-encoded data must go bravely off into the web to seek its fate, alone. Xiaoli Li from UC-Davis described her university’s two-year pilot project, BIBFLOW (BIBframe + workFLOW), in which they are actively experimenting with technical services workflows using the new format. She concluded that “Linked data means an evolutionary leap for libraries, not a simple migration.” This seems fair to say.

In July 2014 I started on two committees, and Midwinter was my first official meeting with both. On the ALCTS Acquisitions Section Organization and Management Committee, or, less conveniently, ALCTSASOAMC, we are planning a preconference for Annual in San Francisco entitled “Streaming Media, Gaming, and More: Emerging Issues in Acquisitions Management and Licensing.” The gaming component of this, in particular, is interesting to me, because I know absolutely nothing about it. I have high hopes for the program, which will be comprised of librarian presentations, a vendor panel, and guided group discussions. I am also on the ALCTS Planning Committee, which has been working on a fairly exhaustive inventory of all ALCTS committees’ and interest groups’ activities with an eye to how they support ALA’s initiatives of Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional and Leadership Development. It’s been an interesting exercise; one gets a broad sense of the many and diverse efforts being made to support librarians and to advance the profession. In the end we will draft a new three-year strategic plan.

What exactly someone who decided to drive back to Winston-Salem from Chicago can really contribute to strategic planning is a question for another day. I’ll close with the dreary view from inside the hotel room I shared with Steve Kelley, who at the time seemed to be dying. Fortunately blue skies (see above) emerged.

Lauren at ALA Midwinter 2015 (aka Chicago’s 4th Biggest Blizzard)

Thursday, February 5, 2015 5:59 pm

My notes on: IPEDS, ebook STLs and video, our vendors, linked data, BIBFRAME, OCLC and Schema.org, ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee, advocacy

At the ARL Assessment Forum, there was much complaining over the contradiction in instructions with IPEDs collection counts and circulation. Susan and I had the luck of chatting in the hallway with Bob Dugan from UWF, who turned out to be the main official communicator from libraryland with the person for the library section of IPEDs. Bob is also the author of a LibGuide with clarification info from the IPEDs help desk. Bob seems hopeful that changes in definitions for gathering the info (but not the numbers/form) could happen in time for the next cycle. My main specific takeaways from the various speakers:

  • the only figures that that will be checked between the current IPEDs survey and the previous survey is total library expenditures (not just collection);
  • in spite of the language, the physical circulation part of the survey seems to focus on lending, not borrowing, and may duplicate the ILL info section;
  • some libraries are thinking to use COUNTER BR1 and BR2 reports for ebook circulation and footnote which vendors use which type (BR1 or BR2).

ALCTS Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group discussed a wide range of current issues and it was both reassuring and annoying that no matter the library size, public or private, right now everyone has the same problems and no great answers: high cost ebook STLs, difficulties with video, etc. I inferred that our tactic of explaining prices and the options to faculty (e.g. explaining a mediation message about an EBL ebook or that the producer of a desired video is requiring libraries to pay significantly more than the individual pricing advertised) produces greater customer satisfaction than setting broad restrictive rules to stay within budget.

Jeff, Derrik, and I had a good meeting with a domestic vendor regarding ebooks and I discussed some specific needs with a foreign vendor. All felt like we made progress.

Linked data in libraries is for real (and will eventually affect cataloging). I attended several relevant sessions and here is my distillation: LD4L and Vivo, as a part of LD4L, are the best proof-of-concept work I’ve heard about. When starting to learn about linked data, there is no simple explanation; you have to explore it and then try to wrap your brain around it. Try reading the LD4L Use Cases webpages to get an understanding of what can be achieved and try looking at slide #34 in this LD4L slideshow for a visual explanation of how this can help researchers find each other. Here’s a somewhat simple explanation of Vivo from a company that helped start it and now is the “first official DuraSpace Registered Service Provider for VIVO.” OCLC is doing a lot of groundwork for linked data, using Schema.org, and that effort plays into the work being done by LD4L. While OCLC has been using Schema.org, Library of Congress has invested in developing BIBFRAME. I’m looking forward to reading the white paper about compatibility of both models, released just before the conference. The joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee (which replaced MARBI) is naturally interested in this topic and it was discussed at the Committee meeting. The Committee also gathered input from various groups on high level guidelines (or best practices) for metadata that Erik Mitchell, a committee member, originally drafted.

I also attended the meeting of the ALCTS Advocacy Committee, which has a liaison to the ALA Advocacy Coordinating Group. I understand that advocacy will be emphasized in ALA’s forthcoming strategic plan. If you’re not familiar with the Coordinating Group, it has a broader membership than just ALA division representation, but does include ACRL, LITA, and APALA in addition to ALCTS. I believe ZSR is well-represented in these groups and thus has some clear channels for advocacy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan @ ALAMW 2015, or ‘A Little Blizzard, So What?’

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 4:58 pm

ALA Welcome Banner in the Snow
Chicago has always been one of my favorite conference destinations, but this was my first wintertime visit to the Windy City. My introduction to Chicago in the winter turned out to be an epic one. Declared one of the top 5 Chicago storms since records have been kept, Linus provided all of us with a primer on how the midwest handles a weather emergency. And it was fairly impressive! The whole city kept on going even as snow was blowing sideways and piling up to 19″. The conference shuttle buses ran throughout, sessions were held as planned and spirits were upbeat (although I think southerners developed a few worry lines along the way). If I would fault one thing it would be the absence of any communication from ALA proper to the conference attendees. It was word of mouth as to whether to expect the buses to continue, and whether sessions would or wouldn’t be held. I know they are a big organization, but they manage to give our emails out to every vendor so we receive a barrage of communication hawking products. Would it have been too hard to use those email lists to let conference-goers know what to expect in a major storm? Enough about the weather, although it did offer good competition to the Super Bowl as a major non-library topic for conference attendees…..

Friday afternoon, I joined in at an ARL assessment coordinators meeting. Wanda, Lauren Corbett and Mary Beth all attended at least part of this afternoon-long program. Wanda and Lauren were interested in hearing about the new IPEDS data collection, which has caused confusion to most. I went because I was interested in the session on learning space data and assessment. ARL has added a facilities inventory to its survey list and there was discussion about the parameters for doing it correctly. I got the most out of the presentation by Joan Lippincott (CNI) who showed some tools that can be helpful in assessment of learning spaces. FlexSpace is an open access repository populated with examples of learning spaces.It contains high resolution images and related information that describes detailed attributes learning spaces from from 336 institutions with data in the system. I applied for a free account and look forward to exploring further. The Educause Space Rating System provides a set of measurable criteria to assess how well the design of classrooms support and enable active learning activities. It works best with formal learning spaces but there is interest in developing profiles for informal spaces that might be more aligned with the types of spaces a library offers. The Learning Space Toolkit is meant to help design and sustain technology-rich informal learning spaces. Our colleagues at NCSU Libraries are involved in this project. The session was worthwhile just for introducing me to these potential tools, although I did feel like a bit of an interloper sitting in with the Big Dog ARL Assessment groups!

Most of my weekend was focused on LITA activities. I’ve been asked to run for LITA Board Director (again) and so my time was spent going to a Joint Chairs meeting, Top Tech Trends and working with LITA leadership (Thomas was at this table) to learn my charge as next year’s Chair of the Financial Advisory Committee. Along the way I did some networking with LITA members who I want to get to know better and caught up with some old colleagues as well. Even though the weather put a damper on my after-hours networking (Sorry to have missed the LITA Happy Hour, but the blizzard was in full force by then), I was glad for some day-time chances to strengthen relationships with LITA folks.

The ZSR group that had booked the direct afternoon United flight to Greensboro on Monday may have been the luckiest librarians in the whole conference. We all managed to get to the airport, fly out only an hour late, and get home in time for dinner! It was a good ALA adventure this weekend, but I think we all were happy to touch down in non-snowy North Carolina!

The Day After Along Michigan Avenue

The Day After Along Michigan Avenue

 

TPD @ ALA Midwinter

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 10:59 am

For the record, ALA Midwinter can slog on through one of Chicago’s top five all-time snow storms. But there should be an honor roll of people who made it to LITA Happy Hour on Sunday night. With the confluence of Linus and Left Shark, it was a strange evening.

This is the beginning of a period that will be very heavy on organization business for me. By my count, I totalled over 16 hours in board meetings, board development, Deep Thinking about budgets and membership numbers, and all-around LITA and ALA strategery. Any of which I’ll be happy to share offline, but which doesn’t make for fun reading. Important takeaways: we’re looking at a generational change in the number of librarians coming into the profession and their level of participation in professional associations.

I did manage to get to LITA’s showcase for the leading edge, Top Tech Trends. For me, the eye opener was a discussion about Bluetooth Beacons. Like many new technologies, the potential here is both cool and creepy. Beacons can locate your mobile device to within inches and deliver very specifically target content. The first commercial application is to deliver promotional material to shoppers in a store, about the products they’re actually standing next to (so you get soup coupons in the soup aisle, dog food coupons in the dog food aisle, etc.). Museums are already working on content for self-guided tours. There’s an open question about how libraries can make use of this technology, though it’s easy to foresee wayfinders that take you to the right book stack, a “what’s scheduled for this room?” function, or “how do I work these projectors and lights?”, all delivered to your mobile device.

The good news is that Beacons are an opt-in technology, but they’re new enough that we probably haven’t seen the first wave of bugs, security holes, or hacks that game the system to hand over some very private data to persons unknown. So, there’s that.

And let me point out that [someone at] ALA decided to scan the conference IDs of everyone attending Top Tech Trends; the people tactually doing the scanning were employees of some external contractor who were given no information about what information was actually being stored, or who it was being shared with, and they weren’t told what to do when an attendee declined to be scanned. C’mon, ALA, we need better than that.

Monday morning, I led the LITA Town Meeting. This is our divisional bacon fest, community get-together, and discussion forum. We had a very good session with questions designed to generate ideas about possible changes to LITA’s membership and benefits and our annual National Forum. I’ll be typing those responses up for the LITA Board and a handful of committee chairs.

Now for the Blue Line back to O’Hare and back home.

Roz @ ALAMW

Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:58 am

Well, as I sit here and watch Winter Storm Linus blow snow sideways up the river, I will take some time to post my notes about my ALA Midwinter.

My MW started on Friday afternoon at the ACRL Leadership Council Meeting. I am the current Vice-Chair/Chair Elect of the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of ACRL. We start off each conference with a Leadership Council meeting for all ACRL leaders where we get updates, provide feedback and hear about upcoming initiatives. This year we heard updates from the three ad-hoc committees formed with the ACRL Strategic Plan: Research and Scholarly Environment, Student Learning and Information Literacy and Value of Academic Libraries. The big news is, of course, the proposed new Framework for Information Literacy (more on that later) but it was also interesting to hear that the Value of Academic Libraries committee is working on materials to help schools going through accreditation meet the requirements – templates, examples, etc. Too late for our SACS reaffirmation, perhaps, but will be useful to other schools.

Friday night I had dinner with SAGE and other members of their Library Advisory Boards. I am on an advisory board with SAGE and it’s always nice to visit with other members of the board in person and not just virtually. Dinner was at The Tortoise Club, a lovely, lively restaurant founded by one of the people who oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal. Dinner conversation focused on the future of reference publishing in the Social Sciences and how the old model of multi-volume sets only updated once a decade may need to be rethought. Interesting to hear how others from different kinds of institutions all seem to agree on that while disagreeing on what the new model needs to be. I would not want to be a publisher trying to figure out the new model and ways to continue to make money in this environment but SAGE always asks the right questions so if anyone can figure it out – it just may be them.

Then Saturday morning we had our LPSS Executive Committee meeting and our general membership meetings. I won’t bore you with the details, but our program for ALA Annual in San Francisco will be a panel presentation about libraries serving prison populations. We are partnering with the Anthropology and Social Sciences Section and the Libraries in Prisons interest group on this and it sounds like it will be really amazing.

Saturday afternoon I made the rounds of the vendor floor where I had to speak to a couple of vendors about specific products. Along the way I stopped by the Agati booth to see their amazing furniture and Mission Bell Media booth to visit with Rolfe Janke (formerly with SAGE) and Steven Bell. I am writing a chapter in their new book (edited by Steven, published by Rolfe) on library leadership. Also chatted with our reps from De Gruyters, Proquest, ABC-Clio and other vendors. No big news from any of them but good to check in.

I then made my way back (as the skies started to darken) to my hotel to attend the ACRL Board of Directors meeting where they were considering the final draft of the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. There was about 45 minutes of questions from the Board and then there was an open mic period where others could comment. For those who don’t know – the proposed framework is built around the idea of threshold concepts and would ultimately replace the current Standards for Information Literacy. The sunsetting period for the standards that the task force proposed is 18 months. There is A LOT of controversy about the framework with opinions ranging from ‘FINALLY we are getting it right’ to ‘It’s good but we have to have standards, too’ to ‘Throw out the framework – let’s just revise the standards.’ So the questioning was lively and the comments interesting. If you want to see some of the activity – check out the twitter hashtag conversation.

I have mixed feelings about the new framework – the threshold concepts are very much what we try to cover in LIB100 and LIB200 classes so they make sense to us. We never did more than use the standards as guidelines when developing our for-credit classes, but there are institutions out there that worked tirelessly to get the standards into graduation requirements or GenEd requirements at their institutions and I understand why they are really, really concerned about the idea of sunsetting the standards. The Framework works really well in talking to faculty about curricula and pedagogy but doesn’t work very well to roll up higher into your institutional goals or accreditation process. The final vote on the standards will be at the final ACRL board meeting Monday (tomorrow) and I get the feeling that they will not be given a free pass – I suspect some group will be tasked with revising the standards so they more closely align with the framework and the two will coexist. But don’t quote me on that.

And with that Winter Storm Linus has arrived and Mary Beth and I are pretty much stuck in our hotel today. We will check out afternoon sessions that are being held here but are doubtful that many, if any, will actually happen. We are staying warm and will be home at some point this week, but are not very confident that it will be tomorrow :)

“Jumpstart Your Preparedness” workshop

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:48 pm

On Monday, January 26, 2015, most of the Safety and Security Team attended the workshop entitled “Jumpstart Your Preparedness” held at the High Point Museum. In addition to the attendees from ZSR, which included James Harper, Thomas Dowling, Meghan Webb, Craig Fansler and Mary Beth Lock, the workshop was attended by representatives from 20 other triad area cultural institutions, (museums and libraries) all of whom were interested in learning about increasing preparedness for the inevitable emergency. The morning’s conversation started with a recounting of the fire that took place in one of the historic buildings on Mendenhall Plantation in Jamestown, NC. The fire, (determined to be arson) took place during Thanksgiving week, while the director, Shawn Rogers, was out of town visiting family. The story he related was a gripping account. Both he and his assistant Shirley Haworth noted the importance of establishing relationships in advance with vendors who you can call on in an emergency. Their experience with the more nefarious workmen who show up the night of the event offering to assist with securing the property as a “service to the community” only to afterward submit a bill for services served as a lesson for us all.

The balance of the morning was spent discussing the services available through North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and their “Connecting to Collections” IMLS grant. The grant has afforded creation of burn workshops which enable individuals to get boots on the ground training on how to recover from a fire in a cultural institution or library. They also discussed the importance of creating an Area Cultural Resources Emergency Network, or ACREN for our region. There is already an ACREN that exists on the coast of North Carolina, one in the Triangle, and one in the Mountains, but there isn’t one that serves the triad. At the end of the discussion, a sign up sheet was sent around to indicate who was interested in starting up such an entity. Several members of our Safety and Security Team signed up.

Following lunch, the group of us were invited to visit the site of the Mendenhall Plantation fire and see first hand the recovery after the fire. We had an opportunity to see the methods for removing soot with a soot sponge and learn of the additional plans on recovering the space while still honoring the age of the building. As it was mentioned, when you have such a situation in an historic building, you can’t just rip up the floorboards and lay down laminate. The workshop was very instructive and illustrated how much more there is to learn to be really prepared. There is yet more to do!

Adrienne Berney demonstrates how to use a chamber to remove smoke odor from books

Adrienne Berney demonstrates how to use a chamber to remove smoke odor from books

Meghan Webb and Mary Beth Lock "get their hands dirty" using a soot sponge. Not really though. We were wearing gloves!

Meghan Webb and Mary Beth Lock “get their hands dirty” using a soot sponge. Not really though. We were wearing gloves!

Rebecca at CurateGear 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015 10:48 am

Last week, Tanya and I travelled to Chapel Hill for CurateGear 2015: Enabling the Curation of Digital Collections. After reading Tanya’s acoount of her experience, I thought I would fill in some of my favorite bits of the day.

Susan Malsbury – The GMHC Hotline Database: Capturing a snapshot of AIDS service providers in NYC

Susan presented a fascinating demonstration of emulation of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis hotline database in the Manuscripts and Archives Division reading room at NYPL. She explained the very simple setup of an emulation experience for researchers to access a disk image of the original born-digital materials from the collections. They have a dedicated machine in the reading room, offline and USB blocked (so patrons cannot make copies). There is a reader login account to access the records. They also load a pdf of the finding aid on the machine so researchers can see what they are looking at (since there is no internet). Serving the disk images in this way allows researchers to experience and utilize the materials without any harm to the original records. Given the many disks in our collections here in Special Collections & Archives, I found this to be a very inspiring and accessible way to provide access to patrons.

Lori Donovan – Archive-It 5.0

Lori spent a lot of time discussing Archive-It’s 5.0 updates that started rolling out in October of 2014 and will continue in 2015. This was a great session, as I think about WFU’s use of Archive-It a lot and enjoy hearing about how we can do this better. Some of the highlights of her talk included the fact that Archive-It is overhauling the user interface for the first time since they started in 2006. This is great news! It’s not done yet, but the reports section has been released. The reports (and later everything else) has a much cleaner, streamlined look and dynamic visualization of the information in the reports. You can really mine down into the information in the reports and fine tune your crawls with a much better understanding of what information you have captured. I was truly excited about these changes and can’t wait to see the future rollouts of Archive-It 5.0

I found the whole day at CurateGear 2015 a very interesting and inspiring experience. I would be happy to talk more about the presentations I mentioned or any others that I attended at CurateGear 2015. Thank you to the Dean’s office for the opportunity to attend.

 

CurateGear 2015 by Tanya

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 12:51 pm

Rebecca and I again had the opportunity to attend UNC’s CurateGear last week, and the presentations were excellent. CurateGear provides an overview and technical demos of selected digital curation tools, but this year seems to be focused on broader issues and I found it much more useful.

Erika Farr reported on Emory’s use of Redbooth in her presentation “Measure for Measure: Tracking Effort in Born Digital Processing,” which enabled them to collect assessment data on how long it actually took staff to process digital files for the archives. Their numbers came down to 5MB per hour (18 files), not necessarily encouraging in regards to speed and effort, but there always needs to be a starting point.

Nancy McGovern (MIT) updated the group on Digital Preservation Management Tools. She has been involved for many years with the DP workshops, and they are expanding their repertoire to include Collection Management Workflows, Disaster Preparedness, and a Self-Assessment Audit. I also attended a NYPL session on providing research room access to electronic records with a stand-alone PC. As the speaker, Susan Malbury noted, archivists have been focusing on the ingest and preservation of electronic records, as opposed to researchers accessing them, but this will change in the future. Katherine Skinner spoke about MetaArchive, a cooperative network preserving digital records by following the LOCKSS concept. Angela Spinazze spoke about CollectionsSpace, an open-source platform to handle eclectic collections such as archaeological objects and botanical specimens. CollectionsSpace is now under the LYRASIS umbrella.

If anyone is interested, please see the CurateGear agenda as there are links to all of the presentations: http://ils.unc.edu/digccurr/curategear2015.html

The Multi-Cultural Classroom

Monday, January 12, 2015 11:24 am

On Friday Jan 9th, the TLC offered a series of 5 workshops on how to create an inclusive classroom. Hu, Amanda and Mary attended most of them and we’ve created a joint blog post.

Session 1. Teaching Inclusively: a Pedagogical Exploration
The first session of the day was “Teaching Inclusively: a Pedagogical Exploration” which Hu and Mary attended. Led by Katherine Ross, the session began by watching video clips of two college classes followed by an extensive discussion comparing and contrasting the two styles of instruction. We developed a list of characteristics of the more effective of the two including: create a sense of community; verify learning throughout the semester; engage students through technology; know your students; make the material relevant; articulate explicitly the learning objectives; and go to the place they are. Bottom line: good curriculum design creates an inclusive classroom

Here are some course design questions to ask oneself:
Who are we teaching?
What their concerns and needs?
What do they need or want to learn?
What big, interesting questions are we answering?

Additional considerations:
Is the desired learning visible?
is there a metacognitive organizational structure to the course?
Are the assignments and assessments (quizzes, tests, etc.) clearly targeted at the learning objectives? Are they weighted appropriately to the objectives?

Some of this material overlapped with other classes I’ve taken at the TLC such as Deep Learning, How to Conduct the First Day of Class, and others.

Session 3. Exploring the Inclusive Syllabus: What, Why and How
The third session of the day, “Exploring the Inclusive Syllabus: What, Why, and How,” was attended by Mary and Amanda and facilitated by Katherine Ross and Niki McInteer, a visiting professor teaching German Masterworks in Translation. The class highlighted ways to use the syllabus as a place to “set the tone” for an inclusive classroom. Suggestions included:
Using inclusive language like “you” and “we,”
Utilizing a “create your own” style grading scheme where students can choose among assignments and drop lowest scores
Including a complete course schedule
Creating a visually pleasing syllabus to entice students to read it

The session also included a brief tutorial on using Microsoft Publisher to build a visually appealing syllabus.

Session 4. Facilitating Difficult Discussions in the Classroom
The fourth session of the day was led by Anthropology professor and cultural anthropologist, Sherri Lawson Clark. This session began with each participant responding to one of four questions as a means of introduction. The questions included:
How do you define Diversity?
How many times today have you thought about your Diversity?
What is your Privilege?
What is a difficult topic you discuss in your class?

This led to a discussion of vocabulary around topics of diversity and some tools for facilitating difficult discussions in the classroom. The primary method discussed centered around addressing “the elephant in the room” at the start of any discussion. We also discussed a method that came up in the morning session, “meeting the students where they are.” Professor Clark uses Turning Point clickers, like the kits we check out to faculty and students, to get anonymous responses from students in her class. She also used the clickers as part of the workshop to shed light on current issues around diversity and inclusion in the US today.

Session 5. Working with International, Multilingual Readers and Writers
Session 5 was taught by Zak Lancaster from the English Department. International students come to us with different backgrounds that can strongly influence their English language skills. He divided this cohort into 3 groups: those who went to English-language high schools, those who’ve been learning English in school since the first grade and those who attended high school in the US. The group that attended high school in the US may have excellent command of the spoken language including slang and pop culture vocabulary, but have a less well developed command of the written language, while the former groups may have excellent command of the rules of grammar for written language, but lack verbal skills and vocabulary of the latter group. We talked in small groups and as a whole about the broad spectrum of ways in which to address errors in written and spoken English in classroom assignments.


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