Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reviewing DLS Conference Proposals

Wrapped up reviewing 119 conference proposals for the 2014 Distance Library Services Conference today!  How fun to look through the many great proposals and get a glimpse at what my librarian colleagues around the country/world are doing!  I am honored to be part of the DLS Conference Program Advisory Board and can't wait for the conference in Denver, April 23-25, 2014.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ACRL e-Learning Course: On the Road to Information Literacy Success: Putting Students in the "Drivers' Seat" (April 22 - May 10, 2013)

I decided to take advantage of this ACRL online short course to help me focus for a few weeks on Information Literacy and assessment. It was great having specific readings and assignments to help me target those topics for a few weeks. The class was broken out into three areas:
1) Pairing Active Learning with ACRL Standards & Learning Outcomes
2) Assessment & Using Assessment to Create Changes in Your Teaching
3) Learning & Teaching Styles.
I used the opportunity to reflect on activity under consideration for our First Year Seminar course. It was helpful to have to think through the lesson plan step-by-step and consider potential risks along with the assessment aspect. I'm definitely walking away with something I can use and build on.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ARLD Day 2013 -- April 26, 2013

The 2013 ARLD theme was Changing Collections: Advocating for Our Future. The keynote speaker, Jenica Rogers, Director of Libraries at the State University of New York at Potsdam, spoke directly to that topic. Her experience with ACS was the platform for the discussion, but not the point of it. The economics of collection building need to change was a thrust of her talk, as well as the idea that as librarians we need to participate and be active with our industry partners (i.e., publishers, vendors) to alter the models to fit our needs and realities. She kept coming  back to the idea that as librarians we need to think about what we want to do as professionals and why we do what we do.

The first breakout session  I attended was lead by John T. Butler, Associate University Librarian for Data & Technology at the University of Minnesota. He was introducing the Digital Public Library of America, and specifically Minnesota's Digital Library as part of that work. He described this venture as an "unprecedented aggregation of free content" and reiterated the DPGA is a metadata repository,not a content repository. It's designed to be a reflection of what is in libraries across the country, and is all about accessibility to content vs. housing it. Definitely want to keep an eye on this:

Flipping the Classroom: Checking for Flops, lead by librarians from Macalester College, rounded out the morning sessions. They talked through their use of Google apps, part of their assessment plan, and a citation tracking assignment they used in library instruction.  I liked that they established "success criteria" as targets for assessing some specific information literacy skills (e.g., 90% of student groups completing an in-class activity during FYS will be satisfactory or better on a rubric). They also talked about another assessment tool (Research Practices Survey) they give to their students; I believe it was usually on a 3-year rotation.

Session three was focused on using the tools in Google Drive. I have been using aspects of Google Drive for a number of years as a collaboration tool with colleagues, but this presentation talked about how to use it with students. I learned that some colleges/universities  in MN are "Google App" schools meaning they use the Google Drive suite of tools instead of Microsoft Office, so students all have a Google account and are familiar with the tools. I liked the idea of using it for a research consultation. The example was if someone asked for assistance on a certain topic, the librarian could do some research ahead of time and put some search terms, results, etc. in a spreadsheet and use that as a teaching tool during the research consultation. It was also allow the students the opportunity to "take" that spreadsheet and add to it. They also talked about using the Google Form option instead of SurveyMonkey.

The final session of the day was the "Lighting Round" where six different topics were presented in short segments: Adding VideoGames to your Library? - ; Leveraging Library Resources: Accessibility in Your Online Learning Management System - idea of creating a more-focused Library widget to offer faculty to use in D2L ; Highlighting Undergraduate Work Online - UofM, Morris, is starting an undergraduate online journal to highlight student work (BePress Digital Commons is what they are using for the institutional repository) love this idea! ; Into the Bright Sunshine of Human Rights: Accessing the Legacy of Hubert H. Humphrey Through Digitization - talked through the process used to digitize text files of HHH ; Reference Collections: Do Libraries Need Them? - UofM, Duluth needed to create space so worked through a process to evaluate their Reference Collection and ultimately reduced their Reference Collection by 57%; Personal Archiving - they mentioned that the Library of Congress has a good starting site for exploring personal archiving.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ACRL 2013 - April 10-13, 2013 - Indianapolis, IN

     The Imagine, Innovate, Inspire focus of this national conference hits the nail on the head! I came away invigorated with new ideas and affirmation for some initiatives I'm working on.  All of the sessions I attended were in either the Assessment or Teaching & Learning track. Thursday began with “The one-Shot Mixtape: Lessons for Planning, Delivering, and Integrating Instruction.”  This presentation was based on the article “Notes from the Field: 10 Short Lessons on One-Shot Instruction” in Communications in Information Literacy 6(1). This session confirmed that information literacy is a campus issue, not a library issue; something we are in the heart of at SMSU. This article is a must-read.
     “Making IL Relevant: Creating Engaging IL Experiences for Students” was a well-done presentation that focused on the collaboration between librarians and a Public Health faculty member. The faculty member kicked off the presentation, and together the panel (which included 2 librarians, the faculty member, and a student) walked through the library sessions, their purpose, and the assessment measures used. This started as a grant that incentivized the faculty to collaborate with the library on an information literacy initiative. Something we could try using Endowed Funds?
     Three contributed papers made up the next session: “Melding the Nitty Gritty of Critical Thinking and Information Literacy into English Developmental and Composition Classes,” “Information Literacy as a Formative Force,” and “The Almost Experts: Capstone Students and the Research Process.”  I took away a nugget from each 20-minute presentation!
     “Inspiring Our Newest Students: The Role of the Library in the First Year Experience” rounded out day 1 of the conference. Many ideas were shared by the presenters, as well as via the audience. Some ideas we already have in place (such as the ever-popular fortune cookies), but many more we could explore. Lack of staffing is our biggest hurdle to implementing some of the great ideas shared at this session. Reference to the University of Minnesota study about the impact of library use on GPA and retention was made throughout the presentation.
     While assessment was discussed in some of the sessions I attended on Thursday, Friday morning brought me to my first assessment-focused session: “Creating a Culture of Assessment: Determinants of Success.”  Not that we need another committee, but the idea of having an “Information Literacy Council” with representatives from around the campus appealed to me. As noted earlier, IL isn’t a Library-focused topic, but rather a college one, and more stakeholders should be intimately involved in the discussion about how to incorporate, assess, etc., IL competencies throughout the curriculum.
     The three tools highlighted in “Methods Behind the Instructional Madness: Assessing and Enhancing Learning Through Portfolios, Mapping, and Rubrics” provided options for librarians conducting assessment. This presentation fostered many great ideas for better utilization of our IL rubric!  I will definitely spend some time reviewing this presentation.
     Due to the tremendous number and variety of sessions, I only attended one roundtable at the conference and it was about “Teaching Summon: The Impact of Discovery Services on Library Instruction.” The moderator provided a selected bibliography to refer back to, and the discussion was a lively one with some at the table already using a discovery tool while others saw it on the horizon.  One of the positives shared by the moderator was that not having to teach the individual mechanics of each database allowed for the librarian to talk about the content of results relatively quickly (i.e., source evaluation, scholarly vs. popular, etc.).  There seemed to be consensus at the table that upper division students continued to need targeted instruction on subject-specific databases, and that a discovery tool wouldn’t always suffice for discipline research.
     The second set of contributed papers I attended was  “How is This Different From Critical Thinking?: The Risks and Rewards of Deepening Faculty Involvement in an Information Literacy Rubric,” Becoming an Assessment Leader: Collaborating for Campus Wide Information Literacy Assessment,” and “Just-in-Time Instruction, Regular Reflection, and Integrated Assessment: A Sustainable Model for Student Growth.” Each group spoke for 20 minutes, and provided lots of “food for thought” as we continue to tackle a campus-wide IL initiative.
     Poster sessions were interspersed throughout Thursday and Friday. The depth and breadth of the poster sessions was truly amazing. There is so much research being done in libraries throughout the country; it is inspiring.  I have many handouts and links I need to go back and explore!
     “The Flipped Classroom in the Library: Integrating Formal and Informal Learning Spaces” kicked off my Saturday morning. Much talk about the need for the Library to be a partner and collaborate with other entities on campus was interspersed throughout the presentation. The focus was on space utilization more so than library instruction, but the endeavor brought an active learning space into the libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
     Apparently I saved the best for last, as the final session I attended was my favorite: “Building an Instruction Arsenal: Using Standardized Elements to Streamline Class Planning and Ease Student Learning Assessment Across the Curriculum.” This one hit home as it aligns with what we are working to implement with our library instruction sessions. Their work in scaffolding and establishing student learning outcomes parallels our intentions here. Whew!  Nice to hear about their success and see we’re on a good track!
     The conference ended with Keynote Speaker Maria Hinojosa who was inspiring through her passion, her stories, and her work. She has a great message about humanity and reminded us to “see each other.”
Next ACRL Conference is scheduled for March 25-28, 2015, in Portland, Oregon...hope to be there!

Monday, April 8, 2013

MnPALS Reference/Instruction WorkDay - April 5, 2013

The Reference/Instruction work day started with a copyright refresher and open question/answer session with Gary Hunter, MnSCU's System Director for Intellectual Property. He walked through the basics of copyright, provided examples of application, and answered questions from the audience. Flowcharts and checklists were provided to help serve as guides when copyright questions arise.

Led by Perry Madden and Al Rykhus from PALS, session two was a demonstration and open discussion about MnPALS Plus Version 2. This will be the live version of MnPALS plus this summer. Some adjustments need to be made yet, but it is functioning and ready for use.

The first afternoon session I attended was a Web Scale Discovery presentation by Jennifer DeJonghe and Michelle Filkins from Metro State. They highlighted how their internal usability testing lead to the decision to pursue a discovery tool. They are new to implementation, but anticipate being able to alter BI sessions by having more time to focus on "higher level" skills such as search refinement, content and sources (e.g., scholarly vs. popular), source evaluation, choosing keywords, etc.  Their presentation also focused on the idea of serendipity being useful for students as they search. in the discovery tool where "all" disciplines are being searched at once, students will encounter connections for their topic they might not have considered.  They anticipate no longer teaching the catalog as a stand-alone tool, but teaching primarily the Discovery tool. Emphasis will be on critical thinking and evaluation. They anticipate using Subject Guides for more advanced classes where students need to be directed to specific databases.

A panel discussion about Online Library Instruction rounded out the day. Ideas such as using a webinar tool like Adobe Connect was introduced, along with a variety of ways librarians have embedded themselves into courses. Embedding video clips into online classes, updating subject guides and emailing them directly to faculty to have them link in their courses, and going the extra mile to ensure distance students had their login information were discussed. Getting involved in a new faculty session was described as a great way to let new faculty know about library services. Learning objects from PRIMO and MERLOT were also demonstrated.