Immersion – day 3

So less, content but more time to reflect and process what we have learned.

We had some time to really think and rewrite our Learning outcomes. Which was harder than I thought it would be, not because of the new formula, but because my view of teaching has changed so much. What were the 3 core concepts that I wanted students to really know at the end of an hour? But once I pared that down (my original scenario had 6 or 7 outcomes) I was able to get them written pretty quickly. Two of them are sort of skills and one is more of a knowledge, but they are all measurable.

The presentation portion went pretty well, my voice and energy are good, which I think is partly natural and partly a product of early theater education. The big comment I could improve on is I should stop having my notes, I don’t really need them. This made sense to me because looking at my notes during the presentation was causing vocal filler explosions every time I did it. Just switching between talking and reading was enough to distract me from my train of thought and force an um.

Last full day today. We are talking about leadership with the program track people and teaching with technology which should also be fun.


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Immersion – day 2

Well we started out day two with learning outcomes, which has sort of been my wheel house for the past year or so, and should continue to be part of my life For-eve-er.

1. I need to write outcomes for EVERY IL session.
2. I need to negotiate with professors in terms of what we want the students to be able to at the end of the session
3. Only 2-3 outcomes can be adequately taught in a 50 minute session

The big ah-ha for me was a new formula for learning outcomes, you start with a Bloom’s Taxonomy verb, describing what you want students to be able to do, which was familiar to me. The new thing is that you add an “in order to” statement that gets at the overall reason for a student to learn the behavior. So, for example, a new learning outcome should look like this: Evaluate websites for quality in order to distinguish authoritative web-based sources.

I love the in order to statement because it adds another dimension and explains why the skill or behavior is important, which many people like to know.

Learning Styles

This session was fascinating. I was a little discombobulated at first because I had a rally hard time answering one of the questions on the survey, and my answers to that question put me in a quadrant that I didn’t feel fit me. I was initially in the Assimilator quadrant, but VERY close to the line of Convergers. There is definitely an Assimilator aspect to my personality, but I feel more pulled to the Converger side of things because I need to do and discuss in order to truly understand.

So once I figured myself out, we got to learn about how everybody else learned wich was rapeally interesting. It gave me some insight into my colleagues and why it is easier for me to relate to some than to others. The person I work the most with is, I would guess, an accommodator. Both accommodators and Convergers like to do things so we have that aspect in common and thus work well together.

Most of all I learned that there are ways to engage all learning styles in the class room, and I need to adapt my style to appeal to all the learning styles.

Learning Theory

In this session we discussed three major learning theories: behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism

I feel like I need to read so much more on each of these, because we got a great introduction, but I want and need to know so much more.

Things I noticed

1. My style of teaching to this point has been a mix of behaviorism and cognitivism. Modeling behaviors, call and response and a focus on processes and procedures
2. Cognitivism and constructivism appeal to me because I like processes and I like experiences as learning
3. I would like to include more discovery based learning in my sessions

Active Learning

This session served to reinforce things we had learned in the previous two session while getting us to thing about how different active learning techniques can be modulated to appeal to all learning styles.

It was an exercise that dealt with real world examples, which helped me see how the ideas could be translated for use in a real classroom.

Side note: I would love to listen in on an Immersion planning session, the organizers have set up a beautiful structure that speaks to and engages all of the learners in the room, and that underlying structure is really interesting in itself.

Great day, I think I learned a million things

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Immersion thoughts – day 1

Well, I got through day one, and I had pretty good time. So much to think about and absorb.

The major ah-ha realization I’ve had so far is that, many times, the circumstances of my instruction sessions in the past have not allowed me to really teach information literacy concepts. I’ve been stuck in bibliographic instruction mode. But! I have some ideas to change that. I want to work with students through their research assignments, starting where they would probably start, with google, going through information evaluation and then working up to library resources. Sort of modeling the information collecting process, beginning with their comfort zone.

Other things I’ve heard have reinforced beliefs that I had before. That IL does not belong solely to the library, it belongs in all disciplines to all faculty. Outcomes based learning gives purpose to teaching, but they don’t infringe on academic freedom. Many different ways to approach each outcome.

Also, I want to work in a working environment like IDEO.

Other interesting things, I have started to see the method behind some of the behaviors and activities my colleagues and my boss. I can see how they can create activities that pull ideas out, and then they are able to select the best ones and edit them to make them better. I love when underlying structure is revealed, so it was fun for me to discover these techniques.

Still processing being an authentic teacher and the faces of information literacy. I tend to be progress or processed based, so I’m still seeing the faces as progressive, which, maybe they are… But, I’m still having trouble viewing them as separate views of information literacy. I guess emotional aspects are more difficult for me to process…. The Delphi method made a lot of sense to me right away, 7 faces is a little harder.

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Learning Outcomes in Reference Services and Library Tours

I am conducting some research into what other academic libraries are doing in regards to assessing learning outcomes/objectives during library tours and reference transactions as part of a larger Information Literacy project. This post is intended to be a sort of literature review that will help me to synthesize what I’ve found so far. I hope to gain some insight into current practices during this exercise.

Library Tours
University of Hawaii, Manoa

The first reference to Library Tours and Learning Outcomes I found was a document posted by the University of Hawaii, Manoa, called Ye Olde School Library Tour. This is a basic library tour with a Pirate-themed “treasure hunt”/scavenger hunt that also serves as an assessment of learning outcomes from the tour. ACRL Standards addressed are Standard 2: Student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently and Standard 5: Student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and used information ethically and legally. More specifically, the students learn to locate periodicals and books on the shelves and to ask a reference librarian for help for Standard 2, and they learn how to gain access to the library computers using their student eIDs and passwords for Standard 5.

I like the themed scavenger hunt, it is very similar in content to our current library assignment for Developmental Reading. I think the theme might add an element of fun to a basic assignment that might draw some students in who, otherwise, might be disengaged from the activity. It seems like an activity such as this would require a lot of attention by the reference librarian on duty, but that is the case with the current assignments.  I think that we could address Standard 2 to an extent with a library tour/assignment such as this, but because we do not require log-ins for computer access, we could not address Standard 5 as they did.

Mars Hill College, North Carolina
On an note, unrelated to IL, Mars Hill College has one of the neatest websites that I’ve ever seen. Mars Hill library also does a tour with a “treasure hunt”. During the tour, the students are introduced to the game, they get a tour of the library and the library website, and they are shown how to search for books in the library catalog. The treasure hunt activity requires students to use the catalog to locate materials and to have knowledge of library policies. Stated learning objectives are:

1.Meet a librarian and feel comfortable asking questions
2. Know the library layout, webpage and policies
3. Be able to search the catalog and find books and ebooks

The stated objective mainly fall under Standard 2 of the ACRL IL Standards which is to be able to Access information efficiently. I think that perhaps, in a library tour, Standard 2 is the only standard that can be addressed. MHC evaluates student learning using a take home assignment that is turned in to the course instructor.

MacEwan University, Canada
MacEwan has a more traditional physical library tour, but they do lay out their learning objectives. Students will:

1. Become familiar with the library space
2. know where the library service points are
3. Know how the collection is arranged.

All of these objectives fall with in Standard 2, as they would all help students to access information. Assessment measures are not discussed.

We do not currently conduct traditional physical library tours, unless they are combined with a library instruction session. I wonder if a basic tour during in-person orientation for new students would help students feel more comfortable about using the library. I believe that many of the orientations happen during intersession, so disruption would be minimal…

SLOs at the Reference Desk
Cuyamaca College, California
Cuyamaca College Library lays out 5 student learning outcomes for instruction at the reference desk and in library class sessions.  They are:

1. Students will be able to construct an effective search strategy using keywords.
2. Students will be able to select appropriate resources from the catalog and databases.
3. Students will be able to evaluate a source for “reliability, validity, authority and point of view”.
4. Students will be able to demonstrate usage of library resources.
5. Students will be able to  identify library services.

SLOs 1, 2 and 5 seem to address ACRL Standard 2: Access, while SLO 3 addresses Standard 3: Evaluate and SLO 5 addresses Standard 4: Use.

The best part about Cuyamaca’s SLO’s is that they have an interesting way to evaluate them at the reference desk; a short survey that the librarian hands to the student after the reference question has been answered, and another survey that the librarian fills out about that student. The survey asks about three types of assistance, help with search, help with differentiating resources and help evaluating resources. For each type of assistance, the student is asked if the contact with the librarian was helpful/useful to them. The librarian then fills out a similar survey, evaluating perceived learning. I think this a very interesting way to evaluate reference, and it could provide some very useful information about teaching at the reference desk.

Berkeley City College
Berkeley CC also lays out five SLOs for students after a reference interview. They should be able to:

1. Identify a topic
2. Modify the topic to an appropriate focus
3. Identify keywords for the topic
4. Understand the value and difference between various information sources
5. Access information.

These SLOs correspond with ACRL Standard 1: Know and Standard 2: Access.

Berkeley CC also has a survey for students, after they have completed a reference interview. The Berkeley survey is for students only and it is much longer than the Cuyamaca survey, 13 questions as opposed to 3. Not all the questions on the survey are directly focused on the reference interview. I think that a long survey like this would prevent many students from filling it out, but the information collected would be beneficial. I would focus the survey specifically on the learning objectives, as they did with the Cuyamaca survey.

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#ALA11 Saturday

Saturday morning I started with Seriously Social: Leveraging Social Media.  The program started out as pretty basic introduction to Twitter and Facebook, which was a little weird for me, considering that I was tweeting and checking Facebook during the session. But I’m glad that I stuck around, because, once we got past the basics, our presenters had some really good tips for libraries using social media.

The first big tip, which I suppose should have been obvious to me, but for some reason wasn’t, is: Follow your followers on Twitter. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that before? When you follow your followers, you get to see what they are saying about you, and interact with them in positive ways.

The other big tip was about negative comments. The presenters suggested that you should not delete negative comments, instead you should correct misinformation, when possible, and let the person know that you are aware of their concerns. Deleting negative comments, will only lead to accusations of censorship. The exceptions to this rule are personal attacks, crude language or off-topic posts (such as advertising). I do wonder if it might not be difficult to convince other librarians to not remove negative comments, since the gut reaction would likely be to remove the comment and respond in a less public forum.

I was excited to hear that many libraries find themselves answering reference questions on Facebook and Twitter. I just think that is an awesome way to get the word out about the research services that libraries offer. I can’t wait until our library Facebook is up and going.

Another nifty thing they discussed is all the analytics you can get from Facebook Pages. You can compare all sorts of interesting statistics about your page. So cool, if you are into statistics and data and such, which I am.

Finally they discussed promotion, which is necessary, if you want any followers or interaction with patrons. I think we could do bookmarks, signs and a link on the website, as well as, having librarians and library staff mention it to students during fact-to-face interactions.

After the social media session, I headed to my ACRL Membership Retention Committee meeting, which is a sub-committee of the Membership Relations Committee. This was my favorite activity/session of the conference. Let me just say that I love my committee. I’ve been on other ALA committees before, but none have required very much of me, which was disappointing. But the MRC has lots of action items on the work plan every year. This year will be no different.

The project that I’m most excited about is creating a web space for new ACRL members. It will likely contain information covered in the conference session ACRL 101, which was basically an introduction to the structure and practices of ACRL. Other information that may be included in the space would be, in my view, links to the various mentoring programs, resume review service, and other career resources, activities of NMRT and/or the Young Librarians Task Force and possibly and interactive space or something. I’m very excited about this project, even though it will probably be a lot of work. I think it is just the sort of thing that would have been helpful to me, when I was starting out with ACRL.

We are also going to investigate what types of correspondence are sent to new members, current members and those who have lapsed. Hopefully, we will have some recommendations on how to craft correspondence that immediately draws new members in, keeps current members involved, and draws lapsed members back into getting involved. This might involve refocusing correspondence so that it highlights the value of ACRL and the opportunities for involvement (since committee appointments no longer have conference attendance requirements). Finally, we are going to look at sending special information to those attending their first conference, maybe tips and tricks or something.

There was one more action item, but I don’t have my notes with me, so I’ll have to fill it in later. Anyway, I’m eager to get started on the committee work for the year. I feel like we can really do something to help out librarians who are new to ACRL.

The last session I went to on Saturday was Hot Topics in Community College Libraries. I had been to HT: CCL at other conferences and really enjoyed it. In fact, before I started working for ACC I went to one and decided that community colleges would be a great place to work if the occasion should arise. This particular Hot Topics was interesting, but the discussion was arranged differently than it had been in the past: a large group discussion, as opposed to smaller table discussions. I prefer smaller table discussions because there is more occasion for discussion and interactions, but the discussion was pretty good. Sometimes it is nice to hear from people who have the same problems you do (space, noise control, quick expansion, etc.). Noise control has been a big issue at my library, because we are basically one big room. One librarian suggested using a white noise machine between louder areas and quieter areas, which may be something we can look into.

HT: CCL was one of the groups that discussed LibGuides at length. I hadn’t realized that they were such a new thing, but lots of CC libraries are using them to supplement their IL programs and embedding them in course management software like Blackboard or Moodle. I think it would be a good idea to embed our subject guides into Blackboard, we have them for many subjects. Or, perhaps eventually, we could create course specific guides, which I believe some of our librarians are already doing to some extent.

Saturday night I went to the Tweet-up which was lovely and awkward, as meeting new people always is. I got to meet some of the library people that I’d been following for several years, nice to put a face to the names.  I think Saturday was my favorite ALA day.

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#ALA 2011 Friday

I guess I’ll start my write-up of  ALA 2011 with some general trends that I noticed:

1. Social Media – this came up time and again, even in sessions that weren’t ostensibly about social media

2. Lots of anxiety about the role libraries and librarians will play in the future

3. E-books – like social media, e-books came up in nearly every session I went to

4. Libguides – I have been using Libguides for some time, so I was surprised to see that it was sort of a new, hot topic with many librarians


We arrived in New Orleans at about 7:30am, due to an awful night’s sleep in Baton Rouge the night before. Because we arrived so early, I decided to go the Unconference. I had heard glowing things about unconferences in the past: lots of good discussion, lots of new ideas exchanged. I have to say that I was a little disappointed by this specific Unconference however. Attendance was sparse, 15 – 20 people, and the moderators had been asked to help out at the very last minute. Overall, it had the feeling of a program that was under promoted. All of which, is not to say that I didn’t get some very good ideas from the program, because I did glean a few.

I was really inspired by a High School librarian, who had some very interesting things to say about students and technology. She contested a view that I had held, which was that students, in general, like to keep their social lives online (read Facebook) separate from their school/academic work. In her view, students that have grown up with the internet, do not feel the need to separate different aspects of their lives online, and thus are more likely to engage in interaction with teachers, librarians and other students on Facebook. She also expressed frustration with how schools limit kids’ access to technology by limiting cell phone use. It was pointed out that for many students, their only access to the internet is through their phones, so mobile apps become more and more important. I will say that the HS librarian came from a very affluent area, so her views on students and technology may be shaped by that, to some extent, but her ideas were very compelling none the less.

There was also a great discussion about using videos to demonstrate search techniques and other IL related ideas. Several librarians said that they felt that videos were more successful when they were short and only covered one specific action. It was also mentioned that students were more engaged by videos that featured their peers as actors. There seem to be many web tools available that will allow you to record screen captures and face shots at the same time, so it may be relatively easy to make short videos featuring students. It is something that I would like to look in to for our students, I thing it would be particularly useful for distance students.

And, of course, we talked about e-books, and how disturbing it is to go from owning content to leasing digital information. The conversion to e-books will be good for textbook affordability and keeping reference materials up to date, but there is the ongoing risk of lost data and lose of access due to costs.

After the morning session at the Unconference, we had lunch, checked into our hotel, and then I headed over to the Opening Session with keynote speaker Dan Savage. I have to admit that I went to the opening session exclusively to see Dan Savage, but I found the rest of the program to be interesting. I had never been to any of the big ALA-wide sessions, so it was interesting to see how the organization works. Dan Savage told the story of the foundation of his “It Gets Better” project, and he explained how libraries have a role in helping LGBT youth by being safe places they can come to get information, if they feel unsafe looking for that information at home.  His speech was moving and funny, like he always is. It was really great to see him in person, and it reminded me that I need to get an Ally sticker for my office door.

After the opening session, we went to ALA Play, which was a meet-up with video games, board games, graphic novels and cosplay. We had a pretty good time playing foursqure (the game from elementary school with the ball), watching other people play Rock Band, and Hey! free graphic novels.  Then we headed back to the hotel to crash.

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Library Intro During Orientation

After a period of my work life where I feel like I was just going through the motions, whilst racking my brain for a project or idea that I could throw my energy behind, I was recently reminded that I have long been interested in catching students as the first enter college and making them pay attention to the library (Hey, You! PAY ATTENTION!). The event that will give me access to these new students? Orientation.

My institution has recently make orientation mandatory for all incoming students with no credit hours. (Yay!  For captive audiences.) There are face-to-face orientation sessions, as well as, an online program. Initially, I was thinking about doing live, librarian presentations at the face-to-face orientations, but now I’m considering a short (5-6 min) library introduction video, which could be used for in-person and online orientations. All this is still very preliminary. At this point, I have only sent out a few feeler e-mails to find out what we are currently doing for orientation, but I’m hoping this can be a major project that I can work on. I would love to get some student involvement, maybe from the film and drama departments, if this ever gets past the idea-in-my-brain phase.

In the mean time, I’m researching other library orientation videos and materials. There are quite a few videos on YouTube, ranging from the straight-forward to the very creative.  I think I would like to have some sort of narrative about a student using the library’s services to get a specific task accomplished.  I would also love to make it in the style of an old film strip (i.e. the Talk Like a Pirate video), but I’m not sure that younger students would understand the reference.

I realize this would be a major undertaking, but I actually think it is a good first step in coalition building that will be helpful when I try to accomplish another big idea I have… Which is to have all incoming students take an IL pre-test, in the hopes of establishing a baseline to measure institutional success in conveying information use and management skills. I know, big dreams.

For now, baby steps.

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