Friday, May 28, 2010

Librarians do Gaga

Instruction Session Icebreaker, anyone? ;)

"Students and faculty from the University of Washington's Information School get their groove on."
[The video won't embed properly, so here's the link.]

Monday, May 24, 2010

MLA/Academic Libraries May 2010 Session

Some notes from a session I attended at MLA /Academic Libraries 2010

“Beyond the Homepage: Expand Your Library’s Presence through the Social Web” / Natalie Zebula/Lawrence Tech U

Ms. Zebula, a reference librarian, at Lawrence Tech was a very energetic presenter with a rapid fire delivery. She has devoted a lot of time/energy exploring dynamic social websites for students & faculty to use at the LTU library. She said that she tries to spend 2 hrs/day posting, updating posts and trying new enhancemts of different social network sites that LTU library subscribe to. What follows is a short compilation of some ideas that Natalie shared . See if there’s anything here that’s new to you.

Flickr- can be time-consuming to take pics, add tags, info, etc. but can have good stock photos of your library with fun current photos; can load historical photos too. Use and a scanner to build a nice library yearbook! Can use pics of library event signs & link those on Facebook. Can collect photos of LCC alum. Use photos with tags & info to promote library events.

Facebook- use it to share trivia, news, events, lite-weight discussion. Can put a Chat box on FB as we have on ours.

Meebo for Chat and IM- can use” Meebo Cleaner” in Google Chrome to clear ads! Other idea regarding Chat or IM software- consider using Google Docs to track Reference stats (in person, IM, phone, Chat )

Blogs- set up a library blog; have a link from library homepage to blog; use for polls and surveys

Twitter- updates from Google RSS Reader can be used via Twitter; can set up feeds for research at libraries with a 10 mi radius- experimental for now;
Lawrence Tech’s Twitter policy: “Be professional, kind, discreet, authentic. Represent us well. Remember that you can’t control it once you hit “update” since every post is live and public.”
Natalie's last suggestion- try to use different tags on FB and Twitter like wifi instead of books and databases.

Monday, May 17, 2010

LOEX - a sampling of ideas to try...

Ask This Librarian
This presentation was about a pilot project where librarians developed a widget that could be embedded by faculty into a course management system. The widget included an Ask a Librarian chat widget, search boxes for articles and books, as well as links to an appropriate research guide.

Each faculty member created their widget by filling out a web based form and then cutting and pasting the code in a course management system. The librarians were even willing to share the code used to create these widgets to be adapted for use by other libraries. I will definitely look into this further in the fall as it could be used by our faculty in Angel. The advantage of this method of creating a widget (as opposed to using something like our Google Gadget) is that it is customizable by faculty, they can select which parts of the widget to include in their version. The librarians did mention that some faculty had difficulty adding the widget to Angel, but this could be helped by a brief Camtasia tutorial explaining the process.

The Learning Cycle: Why Library Instruction Fails to Stick
This session talked about how the teacher’s role in the learning cycle is to figure out scenarios which will lead to disequilibrium. Disequilibrium makes us uncomfortable and forces us to come to a new understanding. The speaker explained that rather than defining library lingo for students, you should instead give them scenarios which will lead them to explain a concept in their own words. He argued that you should only give students technical words only AFTER they have invented a concept.

The example concept he gave was peer review. So, instead of defining peer review for students, you give them a scenario and have them figure out for themselves why peer review is necessary. Tell your students that they will be responsible for publishing in a magazine where they need to find only top quality articles to publish and they want readers to recognize that it is the best journal in the field. How will students decide what to publish? Working through this scenario will allow students to come to a definition of peer-review themselves, then you give students the technical term for this concept and it will "stick" because they came to the answer themselves. I might give this a try in Writing 122...

From Pre-Defined Topics to Research Questions: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Knowledge
Some fellow instruction librarians from MSU shared their approach to teaching introductory composition classes. They use a brief video to start the session and have students come up with research questions after watching the video. The example they shared was a video about global warming. Then the class selects a question to focus on and uses this as a basis of generating keywords and a search strategy. This could work really well in any of our classes at LCC, but especially Writing 121 and 122. I look forward to trying it. In the past, I have given the students a question to research and come up with search terms for, but this way is much more interesting and interactive.

Also, they assign each group to find books, articles, websites, etc. with no instruction about how to find these resources through the library. Then when students are presenting, they add to each group's presentation if library resources are not mentioned. They build on what students already know and add new information.

During the discussion, a member of the audience mentioned that she uses Google documents for group brainstorming of keywords. I was so excited to hear this because I have been searching for some online way to brainstorm together. I checked it out and in Google Docs there is a link to Share in the upper right hand corner, so you could add the link to your "online whiteboard" to your teaching blog for students to easily get to.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Break the Ice, Build Momentum - LOEX2010

One of my favorite sessions, Break the Ice, Build the Momentum: Successful Strategies for beginning a library Instruction Session, presented by Carrie Donovan and Rachel Slough of Indiana University, was high energy, interactive, caused us (the attendees) to think and to think playfully!

While the presenters did provide a long bibliography of professional reading on the topic, they spent the majority of their time getting us to think creatively about the value of a warm-up activity and how to go about creating our own. They asked, for instance, "can you create a warm-up activity out of a teachable moment?"

Carrie and Rachel had us interacting in groups on several occasions, but the time I enjoyed most was where we had to design a warm-up activity based on a student "persona" and a particular class assignment. After some brainstorming our group happened upon a brilliant idea for our class with Karlie, a first-year student who has had a basic introduction to the library during freshman orientation, but beyond that, has little knowledge of the libraries' resources or services. Her research experience includes term papers for her high school classes and searching online to satisfy her own personal (e.g. non-academic) information needs. Karlie's introductory writing/composition course is expected to turn in a final paper that is a comparative analysis of two films of her choosing. So, for the warm-up we decided that each student would try to come up with a famous quote from a film and then the could read, or act it out for the class (or the instructor could too!) and everyone has to try to guess what film it's from, or who the actor is, and does anyone know who directed that movie. You could then relate how all those layers of information relate to the world of academic research.

Maybe not a perfect warm-up, but the idea is to quickly grab the students attention, get them thinking about something that they connect with, then stealthily add in (add value) to what they already know about finding information. All the ideas generated at the conference session will eventually be posted to a LOEX librarywarmups wiki.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Let's get going!

C'mon people... post some LOEX insights! I want, nay need, to comment!

Otherwise, it's just going to be Kim and Rachel commenting on Kim and Rachel... and really, who wants that?


p.s. Hop to it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For this I needed an hour long session?

Lest you think I'm bellyaching, let me cut to the chase: I did need an hour long session!

Working Together for Students' Success: Collaboration among Faculty, the Library, and the Office of Learning Support Services - long title but worthy topic, don't you think? Of course. And as I sat in that little tiny room listening to Irene Ke of the University of Houston, I thought to myself, "Well I for one am all for it!" And I felt a little smug about it too. "Yes, I share the viewpoint of the speaker!" I nodded knowingly as she described her interactions with faculty; I laughed with the rest when she said she was too embarrassed to tell an instructor that he talked to much.

But at about the half way mark, I realized that I have created this total fantasy library world in my head. Because really, what collaboration do I do? And what do I do to foster collaboration? Not much, friends and colleagues, not much.

All is not lost... for myself OR for you, Dear Colleagues. Some of you are great at collaboration with faculty, but for the rest of us who just want to get started:

  • Mingle at school functions-introduce yourself! Luncheons, forums, etc.
  • Be able to explain clearly what you and the library can do for that instructor's class
  • Market your colleagues- maybe they're a better fit!
  • Meet a likely collaborator? Go to coffee or even lunch together! (They have to eat at some point!)
  • Follow up - don't let weeks go by without contacting a potential collaborator!

For this, I needed an hour long session.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Greetings LOEX 2010 Conference attendees and fellow library staff!

If you know that you will need to teach what you are learning, you will learn it better from the start – Dr. Brian Coppola, U of M Professor of Chemistry.

How true! I know this certainly applies to me – case in point – the process I went through to learn about the nursing department’s evidence-based literature approach to research last year. I knew it was necessary for me to learn and understand PICO’s, levels of research, systematic reviews, etc. in order to teach nursing faculty and students, and librarians.

Dr. Coppola suggested having students generate the content and use rubrics to review others work. Also, have students explain how they came up with the answers. Have I done this? I’d like to say yes, but in reality I may have done a variation in past library instruction sessions.

As I was listening to this speaker I began thinking about how I might try this in my instruction sessions. I thought about using this approach in WRIT 122 with the topic of “vetted articles”. I might have students read about this topic and prepare to teach their co-students. To take it a step further, students could record their ideas as a podcast and we could post a representative podcast in the WRIT Libguides or on our library website.

This concept is applicable to both student and staff training, and library instruction. What do you think?

Conference attendees please contribute a post for at least two sessions you attended and include ideas that you might experiment with in future instruction sessions. Also, please be sure to respond to at least two other posts. Thanks, Kim

Great Conference!