Professional Development

Kyle’s instruction conference roundup: Three birds with one stone

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:30 pm

If you’ve ever considered attending three conferences in three different states in the same week, you’d better be prepared to be inundated with new ideas, new contacts, and challenges to your practice. Here, I’ll attempt to find the overarching themes from my experiences at LOEX in Pittsburgh, The Innovative Library Classroom conference (TILC) at Radford University in Virginia, and at NCBIG Camp at UNCG. See also: Joy at LOEX, Amanda at LOEX, Joy at TILC and NCBIG, and Kathy at NCBIG. They’re much quicker at their writeups than I am.

Pittsburgh has bridges, baseball, and for a short weekend in May, some of the best librarians

Challenging structures and practice

It’s a really exciting time to be involved in library instruction. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy has sparked countless conversations about IL and the role of librarians in the teaching and learning missions of their institutions. The most dominant conversation, I think, has been that surrounding critical pedagogy in libraries, which Amanda so thoroughly covered in her post. I’ll save you the rehash of Amanda, but I will say that I’m really excited to see these conversations becoming more mainstream in the instruction world (although some might react to this with some indie rock skepticism). Some have suggested that information literacy can be considered a discipline in its own right; I think #critlib is definitely the strongest evidence of a move in that direction. Eamon Tewell’s LOEX presentation “The Practice & Promise of Critical Information Literacy in Library Instruction served as both a good introduction to the topic and as an interesting snapshot of current critical infolit practices and attitudes. One finding that rang true from my own experience is that integrating critical information literacy concepts has made my instruction much more engaging and meaningful, both for my students and for me as an instructor.

Other challenges had less to do with what we mean by information literacy and more to do with how we teach it. I found the LOEX presentations “Rhetorical Reinventions: Rethinking Research Processes and Information Practices to Deepen our Pedagogy by Donna Witek, Mary Snyder Broussard, and Joel Burkholder, and “Mixing It Up: Teaching Information Literacy Concepts Through Different ‘Ways of Learning‘” by Lorna Dawes to be particularly interesting. The former investigated IL through the lens of rhetoric and composition theories, finding very relevant connections to the work of our colleagues in the writing program; the latter looked at how we might apply Davis and Arend’s “Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning to IL instruction, especially in light of the Framework.

Keeping awesome sustainable

One refrain of all three conferences was how we might create more sustainable instruction practices and avoid becoming victims of our own success. I think we face this challenge on two fronts at ZSR: our LIB series only continues to grow and evolve (looking forward to new additions to the RIS team soon!), and one-shot sessions, embedded librarian collaborations, and personal research sessions show no signs of letting up. We’re pretty psyched when we get an invite to do a one-shot for a new professor who’s willing to make it more of a collaboration than a babysitting session, but we all know that with more classes comes more student consultations.

Librarians at James Madison University shared how they use asynchronous online instruction as a scalable way to reach the 60 sections (1000+ students!) of the foundational course of their First Year Writing program, requiring just one librarian (!!!) for support, using online tutorials created with Guide on the Side and LibGuides. At the University of Virginia, they employ multiple techniques to make their one-shot instruction program more sustainable, such as focusing their efforts on specific courses, collaborating to ensure consistency across sessions, sharing resources so as not to reinvent the wheel, and setting limits on the number back-to-back sessions and the total number of one-shots taught each day. The instruction program at UVA is much more centralized: they have a standalone Teaching & Learning Team, separate from and equivalent to their two teams of subject specialists on their really interesting organizational structure. Finally, our friend Katy Webb at ECU delivered an amazing lightning talk at LOEX on how she implemented a sustainable method for reviewing and weeding their garden of LibGuides on an ongoing basis. Lots of info here in a ZIP file.

Maybe the best session I attended at any of the conferences was a session at LOEX called “Steal This Idea! Getting from Awesome to Action.” (For slides, handouts, and suggested readings, visit bit.ly/loextoolkit.) Appropriately, this engaging session fell at the end of the conference, when everyone was saturated with awesome ideas. As we all know, actually remembering and enacting those ideas is the trick, because inevitably we all come back to flooded inboxes and quickly forget about or feel that we have no time to do the things we swore we’d do during the conference. A few things I brought home from this session:

  • Keep a list of your ideas in a system that works for you. I keep mine in Trello. It’s now full of ideas from all of these conferences.
  • Separate “dreams” from more actionable “ideas.” You might not be able to accomplish the Big Thing yet, but you might someday when you have new resources or insight.
  • Schedule regular meetings with yourself to review these lists and check your progress. These meetings should be free of self-judgment! Weed out ideas that no longer work, and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Often enacting big ideas requires big (and complicated) change in an organization. Understanding what elements of a project you have, and what elements you need, is crucial to managing this kind of change. I think this slide is super amazing:

Building bridges and dismantling silos

If you’re still reading, you’re awesome! Here’s a reward for you.

Lots of the work I do involves making connections to faculty as they kick around ideas related to digital pedagogies or information literacy. Sometimes that’s just helping them find a tool or some content that will work for what they want to do in their classroom. Sometimes that’s delivering a synchronous webinar after hours to teach online students about research. But sometimes these connections result in bringing together a team of people, including Molly Keener and legal counsel, to update the university’s copyright policy, devise a system for fair use evaluations, and create a workaround for our lack of a streaming media service using the tools already at our disposal, Apollo 13-style. (More on that later, probably, but suffice it to say that Molly Keener is a steely-eyed missile (wo)man.)

What I’m getting at is that my work, and the work of many of us in ZSR, finds adjacencies to the work of various units on campus, such as the Teaching & Learning Center, Information Systems, and Online Education, to name a few. But far too often, I think, we tend to operate in our own little silos, unaware of how the work these other units are doing might overlap with our own.

So I was pretty thrilled to find there was a thread running through TILC and LOEX that spoke to dismantling those silos and building more meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with (specifically) centers for teaching excellence. One session in particular highlighted how libraries and campus partners can both “buy” and “sell” resources, personnel, services, and spaces in our shared mission of supporting the teaching and learning missions of our institutions. The presenters–a librarian and a director for the CTE at Indiana University of Pennsylvania–discussed how they’ve shared each other’s assets to their mutual benefit: co-marketing events, providing classroom spaces, and promoting services, collections, and expertise. For example, the library has used LibGuides to help the CTE organize handouts and workshop materials, and the CTE regularly sponsors faculty lunches in the library in which librarians facilitate workshops on information literacy or using library resources in their classes. A win for the library, a win for the CTE, and a win for the faculty.

Other cool things

I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Amanda on not one, but two stellar presentations during this whirlwind week. Our talk at LOEX about our LIB100 course redesign was well attended and lots of fun, and her lightning talk at TILC about using learner personas to design instruction was the best of all of them.

Required presentation selfie.

Required presentation selfie. I am not skilled at looking at the camera lens.

Finally, LOEX was a great opportunity to visit my in-laws in Pittsburgh and relax for a couple of days. Sam and I went on a hike; he checked the bridges for trolls.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor here about building relationships with faculty or something.

 

Sarah at the Lilly International Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching & Learning

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 12:54 pm

Last week, I drove up to Bethesda, Maryland to present at the Lilly International Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching & Learning. If you interested, you can view my presentation below.

Lessons Learned from Flipping a Science Information Literacy Course from Sarah Jeong

Although I have attended a regional Lilly Conference in the past, this was my first time attending the international conference in Bethesda. My proposal was accepted after a blind review process, and I’m happy to report that my 50-minute concurrent session was rated 4.67/5 stars. Special thanks to Megan Mulder, Kyle Denlinger, and Molly Keener for serving as guest speakers for my LIB220 course last spring.

I received a useful sliding card of Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy with Outcome Verbs mapped to Assessment Questions and Instructional Strategies, which will be helpful in planning library instruction. Feel free to drop by my office if you’d like to see it.

Among the concurrent sessions and plenary sessions that I attended, I learned about the National Implementation Research Network, which endeavors to bridge the gap between research/evidence and practice/implementation to improve outcomes in the health, education, and social services domains. Another plenary speaker shared her insight that instructors can influence whether students adhere to a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The instructor’s goal should be to encourage students to adopt a growth mindset to embrace challenges, be persistent to overcome obstacles, and learn from criticism. In contrast, if a student possesses a fixed mindset, then the student is more likely to avoid challenges, give up when encountering obstacles, and ignore criticism. Although I have used this teaching approach, this terminology/concept was new to me, and it reinforced that my teaching philosophy has been on the right track.

Overall, it was a worthwhile conference, which has inspired me to keep learning about pedagogical best practices. If you’re interested in talking more about pedagogy and instruction, I’d be happy to chat.

 

Sarah @ NCLA-STEM Meeting

Friday, May 6, 2016 10:43 am

NCLA has formed a new STEM Librarianship in North Carolina (STEM-LINC) round table. Along with Erin Knight, NIEHS Library Manager, and Jennifer Seagraves from Central Carolina Community College, I was invited to speak representing academic libraries in a panel discussion on “Outreach & Relationship-Building with STEM” at the April 29th meeting held at UNCG.

If you’re interested, you can take a look at my slides (link below):

Outreach & Relationship-Building with STEM from Sarah Jeong

 

NCLA STEM-LINC members will be electing new officers soon, and I was nominated for Secretary-Treasurer. Wish me luck! I am looking forward to becoming involved with STEM-LINC.

Kyle at NC-LITe at NCSU

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 11:52 am

On June 12, I traveled as the lone emissary from ZSR to NC-LITe, the twice-annual mini-conference loosely focused on instructional technology in libraries. We had it here in ZSR back in December, if you recall.

This time we gathered at the D.H. Hill Library at NC State, where they’ve recently undergone a few changes, the most notable of which is a brand-new makerspace. (We got a sneak preview the day before it opened!) This is a purpose-designed space to the left of their main circulation desk, and it is pretty fantastic.

David shows the group the new makerspace

David shows the group the new makerspace

Campus updates

As with most NC-LITes, we started with some campus sharing. Among the most notable updates:

  • NCSU’s Library Stories project is a great example of a library being ahead of the game in sharing ways they can help faculty and students enhance their teaching and learning.
  • NCSU continues to churn out their popular “Teach Yourself” tutorials. They’re really carrying a lot of weight for the entire library instruction field: we use the heck out of their videos, including in our online LIB100 course. They added a new one on source evaluation. There was much rejoicing.
  • A representative from Davidson College joined us for the first time! It was great to connect with her, as Davidson is the closest cousin to Wake in its emphasis on teaching. Davidson is also interesting in that they’ve been doing MOOCs with edX for a few years now. The library has recently been involved in developing a new course on Electronic Literature that starts in October (join me!)
  • UNC Chapel Hill just hired a new digital scholarship librarian, who will be teaching a series of digital humanities workshops out of the library.
  • Duke just opened a new commons for technology, research, and collaboration that they call The Edge (er.. sorry, this is the actual link).
  • Kim Duckett, formerly of NCSU, a founding participant of NC-LITe, and an all-around awesome person, recently took a new job at Duke as their Head of Research & Instructional Services.

Lightning talks

We also got a few in-depth looks at some recent projects. These had the greatest takeaways for me.

Katy Webb of ECU shared how their reference department went to Youcanbook.me and a shared Google Calendar for patron-driven scheduling all of their personal research sessions. Youcanbook.me presents users a calendar with available time slots, allowing them to select the time that fits their calendar, eliminates all the email back-and-forth, and pushes the “messy” end of scheduling to happen behind-the-scenes. They call the service “Book a Librarian” and it seems like a great enhancement to their user experience! Check it out.

Hannah Rozear of Duke talked about a collaboration she’s part of with their writing program, in which she’s integrating critical digital pedagogy to make her instruction more student-centered and inclusive of diverse voices, and to challenge students to think critically about the online sources they use.

Rebecca Hyman at the State Library of NC and I shared our experience with developing and running RootsMOOC. We were (and still are) a little exhausted from a year of running the project at full-steam, but the course evaluations are in and and I promise to give the project a proper write-up soon!

Ideas from breakout sessions

I didn’t take copious notes during our breakout sessions (they’re loose, informal discussions), but I did jot down some ideas I wanted to share.

I maintain that Open Educational Resources will be an increasingly important part of the higher educational landscape as the traditional textbook model breaks down. Several libraries are offering grants to faculty who are interested in OER–small ones for attending OER workshops, larger ones for developing their own OER or integrating OER into their classes. As an institution, I don’t think we’re quite there culturally, but I’m keeping my eye on this. See also UNCG, Emory

Lots of people shared frustration with boosting workshop attendance. (Can I get an amen?) I heard some great ideas:

  • co-develop workshops with other groups on campus (example: a “Designing effective research assignments” workshop through the TLC);
  • host webinars instead of f2f workshops (and record the content!);
  • send personal invites to known partners and influencers in the academic departments (even better if there’s a lunch or coffee)
  • rather than advertising the thing you’re going to teach (eg, Zotero), advertise the compelling use case (Hey, grad students, come learn how to do a lit review!)

Always lots of good ideas from NC-LITe. Looking forward to next time!

 

Hu and the First-Year Experience Conference 2015 in Dallas

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:57 pm

The annual FYE conference isn’t a typical conference for a librarian. Dean Sutton first made me aware of FYE a few years ago and this is my second conference. There were 2000 attendees from 17 countries. Many were from Offices of Orientation, Advising, and First-Year Experience, but more and more divisions of the university are represented each year, including libraries! This is a friendly conference where we are not bound by our institutional role but rather by our desire for first-year student success. Like many library conferences, discussions spontaneously occur everywhere at FYE. Each session has an interactive segment where participants engage with the material and each other. The conference was held in the Dallas Omni, which meant most attendees were able to stay in this hotel and all the sessions were in the hotel. This size and structure encourages great discussions!

Here is a selection of sessions and speakers I attended while at FYE:

Opening session, featuring Adrianna Kezar, from the University of Southern California.

Kezar is the author of 14 books and over 100 articles. She examined and discussed the national trend of decreasing tenured faculty. Many aspiring academics are looking for work in a tight labor market and taking adjunct positions. She encouraged us to each find out the numbers of tenured and non-tenured faculty at our own institutions! (So I did just that!) She also encouraged us to look at how we support adjuncts across campus. Do the serve on committees? Do they have access to resources from the Teaching and Learning Center? Do they have time to use these resources? You can find more info on this issue and on how to support adjuncts at: The Delphi Project on Changing Faculty and Student Success

Orientation 101: The Basics of Orientation
Scott LeBlanc, Education and Program Director, NODA
Andy Cinoman, Director New Student Programs, Florida Gulf Coast University

I was unaware of NODA prior to this session. NODA is the “Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education.” They have resources for schools to evaluate their orientation programs. We also discussed the recently published the CAS Guiding Principles for Orientation. It is always good to hear about best practices and to learn other schools share similar issues when conducting orientation for new students. The take away here was that there is not just one correct way to do orientation.

Enhancing an Established Common Reading Program
Tiffany Shoop, Associate Director for Special Programs, Virginia Tech
Megan O’Neill, Associate Director for First-Year Experiences, Virginia Tech

Common Reading Programs and Peer Mentoring Programs were two common themes at this conference. Virginia Tech has an excellent common reading program that gave me some ideas for our program at WFU. One key point here, students want to read books about an individual’s journey, not books that tell them what they should do. (We learned that lesson here last year with P.M. Forni’s “Choosing Civility.” It was not well-received!) There also needs to be more transparency in the selection process, something we are already doing here at WFU, taking suggestions from faculty, staff, and students for this summer’s common reading program. I attended several sessions on common reading programs, but this one was by far the most informative and relevant to WFU.

The Conference Awards Luncheon

Each of the eight winners present to receive the “Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award” gave a 2-3 minute talk on someone who was an advocate for them when they were a student. This prompt for the winners, provided by FYE, made this a much more meaningful event. The most touching stories came from two recipients in particular who described how they were first generation college students who came from households where English was the second language. They didn’t find an advocate during their first-year, so they focused their careers to become the advocate they didn’t have. It was worth waiting in line to get a seat!

Supporting a Diverse Student Population: The First-Year Residential Experience
Lauren Ramsay, Faculty Director Leeds Residential Academic Program, University of Colorado, Boulder
Mazhar Ali, First-Year Student, University of Colorado, Boulder

Boulder has an interesting program where students can join a residential academic program (think living-learn communities) that focuses on a particular discipline (in this case, business) The best part of this session was breaking up into small groups and discussing issues of reaching underserved populations from the application process to graduation.

Librarians at FYE

On Sunday night, I tweeted out to the Librarians at FYE and we met for drinks and discussion in the lobby bar! It was great to find other librarians at the conference and to exchange our ideas for engaging first-year students. (Twitter is such a great conference tool!)

Connecting the Common Read with Information Literacy and Student Success
Lisa Kerr, Interim Associate Provost, Enrollment Management, Auburn University at Montegomery
Lisa Farrow, Director Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, AUM

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Harvey Daniel’s Literature Circles were featured in this session. I learned some great tools to help student unpack a reading assignment individually and in groups. Like all the sessions I attended, we had to participate and try out the tools in a small group! This was so much better than a traditional conference presentation, but it also made it hard for me to check email and work on my blog post! (ohh, maybe that was the point!)

Crucial Conversations: Empowering Peer Educators to Facilitate Dialogue
Lauren Bosselait, Assistant Director First Year Experience and Learning Communities
Susie Mahoney, Assistant Director, Leadership Initiatives, University of Cincinnati

This session was packed! As I mentioned earlier, Peer Mentoring was a major theme at this conference. As an academic adviser, I appreciated the scenarios we examined in this session. Scenarios are a great way to practice these difficult discussions around social justice issues. It reminded me of the moderator training WFU has for the deliberative dialogues!

Meaningful Academic Collaborations Through Information Literacy for First-Year Students
Leah Tobin, Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Gemstone Program
Rachel Gammons, Teaching and Learning Librarian, University of Maryland

The Gemstone program does an amazing job of connecting the common reading program to information literacy, but we reach a larger percentage of our students for a longer time with our numerous sections of LIB100. Between our LIB100/200 sections and our “one-shot” research instruction sessions to First-Year Seminars we reach a number of students that other schools envied! That was nice to hear. Still, this session had me thinking how we could reach even more students. Leah and Rachel are rock star presenters! Rachel has a great description of why “libraries are weird” If you want a toothbrush on Amazon, you search “toothbrush” and click “Buy.” If it were set up like a library database, you would need to call the toothbrush a “dental hygiene device” in your search, and you would be taken to a site the a description but not the actual item. Also, there would be an embargo for one year or you would need to borrow the toothbrush from another place. The room cracked up at this. (We all asked for blanket permission to steal her description and use it ourselves!)

I appreciated this opportunity to branch out from traditional library conferences. There was much content that I’ll be able to leverage as an Outreach and Instruction Librarian! I hope I’ll be able to attend FYE again in a few years!

NC-LITe comes back to ZSR

Friday, December 19, 2014 5:14 pm

Have you ever thrown together a regional mini-conference in the short window between final grades and the holiday break? ZSR just did, and let me tell you, it was awesome.

NC-LITe, a semi-annual meeting of NC instructional-techy librarians, meets twice a year to talk about current happenings in instructional technology and libraries. This time we had about 35 folks from around the state, including representation from, I think, nine different campuses. This time we made some significant changes to the format, wanting to make the best use of everyone’s time. Feedback on the changes was really positive!

Campus sharing

Per tradition, we started with some informal campus sharing. This usually drags on (instruction librarians can be …wordy), but we cut this portion to 30 minutes and gave each campus 3 minutes. After that, they got the hook. Some highlights I was able to scribble down:

Breakout sessions

Sarah facilitates a breakout session

Sarah facilitates a breakout session

The next change we made was to the format of the breakout sessions, which have traditionally been interest-based and participant-driven. This sometimes worked, but every so often a room of people interested in makerspaces would realize that no one in the room had any experience with makerspaces. We wanted to change that, so we had dedicated facilitators at four different tables, and a different discussion prompt at each table. They were:

  • Blue sky: imagine everyone in your group is a member of your library’s instruction team. You have an unlimited budget. What roles do you assign to your ten-member library instruction dream team? What about positions that don’t exist anywhere yet?
  • Fill in the blank: _________ will be the most important instructional technology in the next 5 years. Discuss.
  • Everyone can agree that there are a lot of really bad online instruction videos. First, create a list of the undesirable qualities these videos have in common, then create a list of best practices for creating online tutorials.
  • You have an unlimited budget to design the library classroom of your dreams. What do you put in it? How is the room set up? What kinds of technology does it have, and what kinds of learning does that technology facilitate?

We had some great discussion, and everyone was able to contribute something to each conversation. It worked really well! When I get a chance to compile the notes from these discussions, I’ll link to them here.

Lightning talks

We wrapped things up with four awesome lightning talks.

  • Our own Amanda Foster talked about her experience using Google Glass in the LIB100 classroom
  • Dre Orphanides and Anne Burke from NCSU shared their process for creating the amazing new “Teach Yourself” platform of library instruction videos.
  • Karen Grigg at UNCG talked about an ongoing research study she and her colleagues are conducting to identify transfer students and evaluate their information skills so they can be more effective in reaching them.
  • Megan Johnson at ASU demonstrated their online linked library meta course–essentially a way for faculty in the disciplines to select online library instruction modules for their classes.

The whole day went off without a hitch, and no small thanks to all the help from Joy, Hu, Amanda, and Kaeley, who helped with planning and wrangled, coffee, snacks, signage, and the logistics of taking 20 people to Shorty’s over break, and to Sarah, for volunteering to facilitate a breakout session.

Embedded Librarians and the LENS Program

Monday, July 14, 2014 4:03 pm

This is the fifth year of the LENS (Learn, Experience, Navigate, and Solve) program at Wake Forest, and librarians from ZSR have been embedded in the program since the first year! Each year the program as grown, but this year the number of students increased from 35 to 51, requiring the students to split into two teams, and doubling the number of workshops we held for these students! In addition to all the sessions the librarians lead for the LENS program, we also participate in LENS planning meetings before, during and after the program! About half the LENS students will end up as freshmen at WFU and all LENS students receive an admissions interview while on campus!Fortunately, with the increase in students participating in the program, the leaders of LENS increased the number of writing faculty involved in the program and increased the number of student program assistants. Meanwhile, the ZSR Library’s LENS team grew to three with the addition of Meghan Webb to the existing team of Hu and Bobbie! These additional resources allowed for a smooth and successful LENS 2014!

The Library kicked off its role in the program with a brief technology orientation on Monday, June 23rd, then continued with an Introduction to Google Tools on Tuesday and “Capture the Flag” on Wednesday! On Friday, Bobbie and Meghan led a scavenger hunt in the Library and a session on scholarly research. On Tuesday, July 1st I lead a session on presentation tools and on July 3rd we hosted a game of Humans v Zombies in the Library with the BTFT (Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute.) We wrapped up our time with the LENS program on Thursday, July 10th, with a clicker question survey of the program and attended the LENS concluding ceremony on Friday, July 11th. At the ceremony each group gave a final presentation of their sustainability project with a local community partner! The community partners included, Campus Kitchen and the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, just to name two!

This is always a rewarding project, and this year was no exception! Even with the larger crowd, the students responded very favorably in the final evaluations and based on the citations in their final presentations, many of them were paying attention during the research instruction session! Many thanks to Meghan Webb, the newest ZSR staff member on the LENS team! Adding another person to the team was a huge help in meeting the needs of the LENS students!

-Hu Womack, Bobbie Collins, and Meghan Webb

NC-LITe at High Point University

Friday, December 20, 2013 2:35 pm

On Wednesday, Amanda, Hu, Joy, and I made the quick drive to High Point University for the winter meeting of NC-LITe, a small (but growing!) group of North Carolina librarians interested in learning and sharing about technology and library instruction. It’s a great opportunity for cross-pollination, and I’m starting to make some great professional relationships with people I’ve met through NC-LITe. I’m always excited for NC-LITe, but this time I think all of us were excited for one reason in particular.

One of the *many* decorated trees. This building smelled like cookies.

One of the *many* decorated trees.

Sharing

The turnout this time was great–there were about 30 librarians from universities all over North Carolina. Each campus shared some updates, then there were a handful of lightning talks, including our own Hu Womack, who talked about the very exciting pilot project of using a class set of Kindle Fire tablets in his LIB210 class. Here are some other highlights:

  • HPU has some beautiful and heavily-used new library instruction spaces. They’re currently partnering with their English department to integrate online information literacy tutorials into first-year writing seminars, and currently five librarians are teaching a one-credit “research in writing” seminar in conjunction with the English department. They’re also doing a lot of support for faculty who want to assign multimedia projects.
  • UNCG just went to a new team-based model for their liaison and instruction folks: the way I understand it, instruction and scholarly communication people work in functional teams that support the work of liaisons in subject teams. For example, there’s a team for instructional design that can work alongside a subject team that wants to do some ID work. They’re also expanding the services and spaces they offer in their Digital Media Commons–they now have a gaming lab, a small makerspace, and lots of support for multimedia assignments (sensing a theme yet?).
  • Duke is continuing their work with MOOCs. Right now, each Duke MOOC (DOOC?) is assigned a subject librarian. It wasn’t mentioned what kind of work they do for the MOOCs, and I didn’t get a chance to ask, but you can read more about it here.
  • NCSU recently opened some new spaces in the new Hunt Library (which we visited last time). Their media spaces are now open, and to get them just right, they brought in a rock musician, who is also developing multimodal courses at NCSU, as a consultant. They seem to be focusing quite a lot on integrating themselves into multimodal courses and multimedia production, so the library has loose support teams that spin up every time an instructor wants students to create, say, podcasts or websites as part of a course.

Useful Tools & Resources

One of my favorite things about NC-LITe is that I always come away from it with a few new toys to play with and resources to explore. Here are some of the best that came out of the breakout sessions:

  • Amanda mentioned Doctopus and gClassFolders, two scripts in Google Drive that make collaborative student work a breeze. I’ve been using Doctopus for a while now, and I think it’s the bee’s knees.
  • Edmodo, which is used heavily in K-12, is more of a social network for learning–quite far removed from our nearest equivalent, Sakai.
  • Socrative is a rapid-feedback response system that seems to be getting a lot of attention lately.
  • Of those libraries that are supporting multimedia projects, nearly all of them mention Penn State University’s Media Commons and the University of Richmond’s Digital Storytelling as those efforts they’re trying to emulate. Samantha Harlow at HPU did a great job modifying the PSU multimedia assignment guide for her faculty.

Campus Tour

HPU’s campus is pretty impressive. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but what you can’t see from the photos is that everything smelled like fresh-baked cookies. More photos here and here. Thanks, Joy and Hu, for taking pictures!

Kyle and Hu embarrassing Amanda

Kyle and Hu embarrassing Amanda

We caught up with Anna!

We caught up with Anna!

Joy, in her element.

Joy, in her element.

Kyle, in a moment of thought.

Kyle, in a moment of thought.

Hu: "This is my dream retirement gig."

Hu: "This is my dream retirement gig."

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar

Monday, November 4, 2013 2:52 pm

this afternoon several ZSR library faculty gathered to listen to the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar. Below are my notes taken during the session and my own thoughts about it all at the end. The presenters were Craig Gibson and Trudi Jacobson, Co-Chairs of the Task Force. The forums (today’s was the 3rd) have all been recorded and the links are available online. I encourage anyone who is interested to watch one.

Background:

The original Information Literacy Competency Standards were approved in January 2000.

They were a seminal document for higher education, not just academic librarians. Since 2000 they have been used by numerous institutions in defining general education requirements, by accrediting agencies, and many disciplinary versions have been created including ones for Science and Technology, Political Science, and more.

Why changes are needed:

There was a review task force that looked at the standards and recommended that they needed extensive revision because the current standards don’t:

  • address the globalized info environment.

  • recognize students as content creators.

  • address ongoing challenges with a multi-faceted, multi-format environments.

  • sufficiently address the need to position information literacy as a set of concepts and practices integral to all disciplines

  • address student understanding of the knowledge creation process as a collaborative endeavor.

  • emphasize the need for metacognitive and dispositional dimensions of learning

  • position student learning as a cumulative recursive developmental endeavor

  • address scholarly communication, publishing or knowledge of data sources

  • recognize the need for data curation abilities

 

The committee has said the new standards must:

  • be simplified as a readily understood model for greater adoption by audiences both disciplinary and collegiate outside of ALA

  • be articulated in readily comprehensible terms that do not include library jargon

  • include affective, emotional learning outcomes, in addition to the exclusively cognitive focus of the current standards

  • acknowledge complementary literacies

  • move beyond implicit focus on format

  • address the role of the student as content creator

  • address the role of the student as content curator

  • provide continuity with the AASL standards

 

The new model will:

  • provide a holistic framework to information literacy for the higher education community

  • acknowledge that abilities, knowledge, and motivation surrounding information literacy are critical for college students, indeed for everyone, in today’s decentralized info environment

 

Threshold Concepts

The new model will be built on the idea of ‘threshold concepts’ – core ideas and processes in any discipline that define the discipline but that are so ingrained they often go unspoken or unrecognized by practitioner. Threshold concepts are thus central concepts that we want our students to understand and put into practice that encourage them to think and act like practitioners themselves. (definition from the Townsend article below). Two of the articles on this are:

Townsend, Lori, Korey Brunetti, and Amy R. Hofer. “Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11.3 (2011): 853-869. Project MUSE. Web. 16 July 2013.

Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising Within the Disciplines.” Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice – 10 Years On: Proceedings of the 2002 10th International Symposium Improving Student Learning. Ed. Chris Rust. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff & Learning Development, 2003. Google Scholar. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Meyer and Land propose five definitional criteria for threshold concepts

  • transformative – cause the learner to experience a shift in perspective

  • integrative – bring together separate concepts into a unified whole

  • irreversible – once grasped, cannot be un-grasped

  • bounded – may help define the boundaries of a particular discipline, are perhaps unique to the discipline

  • troublesome – usually difficult or counterintuitive ideas that can cause students to hit a roadblock in their learning.

Metaliteracy

Also included in the new framework is the idea of metaliteracy. Metaliteracy builds on decades of information literacy theory and practice while recognizing the knowledge required for an expansive and interactive information environment. Today’s lifelong learners communicate create and share info using a range of emerging technologies.

Four domains of Metaliteracy Learning

  • Behavioral – what students should be able to do

  • Cognitive – what students should know

  • Affective – changes in learners emotions or attitudes

  • Metacognitive – what learners think about their own thinking

The draft will include lists of Threshold concepts (i.e. ‘Scholarship is a conversation’) and for each of these concepts, there will be dispositions (how students will feel about the concept) and knowledge practices (similar to learning objectives). There will also be lists of possible assignments that would allow students to master the concept.

Next steps – Timeline

  • December 1 – draft document released (may be later in December)

  • Mid-december – online hearing

  • Mid- january online hearing

  • In-person hearing at ALA Midwinter

  • Feb 7 comments on draft due

  • June – final report to ACRL Board (target date)

Discussion:

Not surprisingly there were lots of questions and comments in the webinar chat area and on Twitter (#ACRLILRevisions). Some question basing the whole new framework on the idea of threshold concepts and metaliteracy where there have not been many studies done on how appropriate these are for IL or other instruction. Others wondered if this would mean a new definition of information literacy. Lots of questions about how this framework would be implemented at 2-year schools or in places that had based significant things (like accreditation, gen ed requirements, etc.) on the old list of standards. Some worried that the concrete standards were being replaced by a more intangible ‘framework’ that would need to be defined by each institution.

My impressions:

There are a lot of unknowns at this point. Until we see the proposed list of threshold concepts it’s hard to say if the task force is hitting the mark. What I do think, however, is that a framework is much more flexible and has the potential to be more applicable across disciplines than the current list of standards. I understand the unease felt by those who have hung major initiatives at their institutions on the existing standards as they will have a lot of work to do. For us, we will need to look at our curricula for LIB100/200 and adjust as needed. Some of the things I liked most about what I heard were the moving away from the format-based focus and the recognition that we can’t just focus on skills anymore. There is a need to make our students more aware of the process of information generation and their place in that process because that is the first step in making them critical consumers and conscientious creators (and curators) of information. If what we teach them is really going to be transferrable to other classes and real-life situations, we need to make sure it is learned more holistically. I also think this framework will provide an increased space for discussion with faculty across disciplines and could give us some new inroads to helping faculty design assignments and work library instruction into their classes more effectively. More soon – I am sure this is not the last we will hear about this process.

Kyle at ALA Annual in Chicago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:20 pm

I learned lots of things at ALA, but one thing I learned almost right away: bring numerous pairs of comfortable shoes. I had heard people say that, and my standard-issue brown slip-ons are *kind of* comfortable (and hey! they go with everything! I only have to pack one pair!), so I mostly ignored all of the advice. After walking all over downtown Chicago, around the massive McCormick Place conference center, and from the conference center back to my hotel on one ill-advised 3.5 mile afternoon stroll, my blisters became a constant reminder of my hubris.

Here are my top three things from #ala2013, in no particular order:

ACRL Immersion Teaching with Technology

You may have heard of (or even participated in) the ACRL Immersion program for information literacy instructors. Usually, participants stay together in one place for a few days in an intensive workshop environment. I’m lucky enough to have been selected as part of the inaugural class of the Immersion Teaching with Technology (TwT) track, run by Immersion faculty Char Booth and Tiffini Travis. TwT is a whole new model: the 60 or so of us spent all day Friday engaged in a rather intense face-to-face workshop, but we’ll be spending the next five weeks in an online community as we design projects for our libraries. The idea is to instill in us a design mindset when it comes to instruction, instructional technologies, and accessibility, and to connect us to a greater community of practice. The first day was awesome–I connected with some amazing librarians who are doing some really cool stuff. My project will be to create an online course (in this case, the Parents Online Learning Community we’ve been talking about) using Char’s USER model of instructional design. Excited isn’t the word.

Talks about MOOCs and Online Learning

As you might expect, I’m very interested in the library’s role in massive open online learning. Literally no one was talking about MOOCs at ALA last year. This year, I heard of at least five sessions (my poster (PDF) and discussion group being two of them) talking explicitly about MOOCs, but I’m sure there were plenty of others. I heard some really interesting thoughts, the best of which, in my opinion, came from Kevin Smith at Duke. In a SPARC discussion group that Molly dragged me to (thanks, Molly!), Kevin countered the arguments of those who claim MOOCs are too expensive and offer too little return on investment, when he challenged us to think of MOOCs not as potential revenue streams so much as doing research on pedagogy. Viewed in this light, MOOCs are cheap when compared to other research fields.

Connecting with People

I have a really bad record when it comes to picking sessions, but I somehow manage to bat 1.000 when connecting to new people. And I connected (or reconnected) to lots of really amazing people. There’s Bill Marino, the elearning librarian at Eastern Michigan University, who is building an online course for graduate students that’s almost exactly what Molly and I want to build in a project we’re just staring to work on. There’s Tasha Bergson-Michelson, a search educator at Google, who has to have one of the coolest jobs in the world, and who was really jazzed to hear about ZSRx. And there’s Laura White, an LIS student at UT-Austin and former student employee at the University of Missouri Libraries, who credits me with inspiring her to go to library school when I was her student supervisor.

That last part made the blisters worth it.


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