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.