Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Back in the Saddle

It's true what they say: if you don't build in time to write, the writing won't get done. An entire semester has come and gone since my last post and I had little time for reflection and discussion. But, like any good optimist, I'm committed to keeping this blog somewhat updated as a record of my professional growth and interests. So, a fresh year means a fresh attempt.

Some of the things I've been working one the past few months, which will get their individual posts or a series of them:

1. I'm continuing to explore the implementation of Open Educational Resources on my college campus. My pilot Open Textbook program went flat, but I am doing a presentation at a conference in June on OERs in higher education. I have a stack of updated readings and studies, which I will process here on the blog to help formulate my ideas.

2. I had the opportunity to travel overseas and set up a university library in January. That will turn into a series of posts, because it was an amazing, three week whirlwind of barcoding, cataloging, policy making, website building, and training. The short moral of the story is: libraries are the coolest.

3. My coworker and I continue to work on a streamlined approach to library instruction. I made some small changes in my approach to certain classes to reflect some of what I learned in my ALA class last spring, and it was very rewarding. We also just want to create more cohesiveness in what we do here on campus.

4. I'm part of a book club this semester with some information literacy folks. We are reading two new ACRL publications and discussing them:

Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information  (By Troy Swanson and Heather Jagman, ACRL, 2015)
Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians (by Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure and Gayle Schaub, ACRL, 2015

Until next time!

riding the bronco

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Flirting with Disaster

Disaster planning has got to be one of the most uninspiring aspects of library and archives work. I suppose its for the same reason many people have trouble making a will: nothing bad will happen and we'll all live forever. And yet, as most recently Hurricane Katrina or the ongoing conflict in the Middle East has shown us, disasters come in the form of natural and man-made, and they affect lives and cultural assets. Unfortunately, it often takes an emergency to push organizations toward creating plans that keep those emergencies from turning into a disaster. I was glad to hear about a long-overdue announcement from Boston Public Library regarding the updating of their disaster plan. It is of utmost important for institutions to make this kind of planning a priority and to publicize it when they do, in order to lead other institutions to do the same.

So what does this have to do with pictures of windmills? earlier this summer, I attended a disaster planning workshop on Cape Cod, which I was not looking forward to. But I was so surprised and learned to much that I thought I ought to share it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Let's Get Real: Practical Ideas for Teaching Infolit

Teaching is not for the weak, we know that for sure. Teaching something as abstract as information literacy gets even more complicated. How do you teach students navigation skills, evaluation skills, copyright and plagiarism traps and have fun all at the same time? It's no easy task. And often, students respond with:

Final Project: Library Learnin'

While I have accurately outlined my thought process and application of #IDE15ALA in my four weeks of blogging for this course, we are charged with synthesizing all of our learning into one conclusive post. What follows is full outline of my course in

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Educational Technology: Motivating Students and Enhancing Learning

Educational technology is such a rabbit-hole. There are thousands of blogs, websites, TED talks, and journal articles about ways to integrate tech into your teaching environment. At the same time, there are thousands of teachers- of all grades- who bemoan the short attention span of students, who battle with personal tech in class, and who advocate for simpler teaching.

Librarians are more cutting edge than they typically think they are when it comes to being early adopters of new technology. In spite of our clunky ILSes, or perhaps because of them, libraries have pushed url-link resolvers, proxy server authentication, and web-asset management forward for years and years. The downside to that is that we tend to think students benefit only from our management of the technology instead of teaching them more about how things work and allowing students to really be in control of the tech.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Learning Theory and Student Motivation

Back when I took education courses, I admit I found the theory of teaching incredibly interesting. That's not too surprising, since I had a History BA; that discipline exists to ask questions and critique the status quo, and to look at the meaning of ideas. What I really enjoyed was the variety of learning theories and how really, a good teacher applies numerous theories throughout her day in the classroom in order to keep students engaged in different parts of their brains. When we look at Bloom's Taxonomy, it is so temping to make every lesson's goal land on the higher tiers; a lesson isn't sophisticated enough if it doesn't employ higher order thinking. But the reality is, some skills and thinking just need to be recall, like adding, subtracting, and spelling.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Integration and Alignment (aka: finishing my assignment)

My previous post got me through question 1 of our assignment, forcing me to review my situational factors and how they integrate with my course goals. The rest of the questions stumped me, so I skipped ahead and moved through the worksheet that actually designs the course and gets down to the nitty gritty. I thought I would hate it. Turns out, the designers of THIS course knew what they were doing, because the worksheet was meaningful, applicable, and involved higher level thinking about the details of my learning module. I think part of my issue is that I am building from scratch, so thinking about learning activities, assignments and assessments was incredibly necessary, and in reality, takes a lot of time and intentional thought.  It was overwhelming to break down a library session into manageable pieces because I tend to think of it as a giant pie, instead of all the ingredients separately.