Hurrah! The spring semester is over. This one was a bit crazier than usual, with chairing a search committee (first-year instruction librarian) and coordinating two independent studies by MLS students along with the usual mix of work. And the semester ended with a blur.
ENT 300 instructor Noah Reynolds consulting with one of our students
Two weeks ago my friend Lisa Louis and I finished writing our LOEX proceedings article, and then we had to finish planning our presentation. That week I also had a long meeting to co-grade final presentations in ENT 300 and offer my grades on the research sources used in the final reports. I also entertained final consultations from other assorted business school classes (you know, the frantic, last-minute kind), and submitted a proposal (still a mini-syllabus–crazy) for ACRL with an old friend from WFU and a new one from Oregon. And I hosted another RUSA Entrepreneurship Pilot Interest Group webinar, this one on social entrepreneurship featuring my buddy Lydia Towery from Charlotte/Mecklenburg Public, who did a great job by the way.
UNC System President Spellings (left) and UNCG Provost Dana Dunn as our round table discussion began
Then last week began with another short presentation for UNC System President Spellings on Export Odyssey (this one here at UNCG at least); on Tuesday I finished grading the final reports in my ENT/GEO/LIS/MKT 530 class and submitted final grades on Wednesday. So by last Thursday, when I flew to Pittsburgh for LOEX, I was mentally fatigued! Did I get my head cleared up while there? Read on!
Off to LOEX
Westin Hotel (far left) in Pittsburgh
This was the second LOEX I attended. It remains one of the best organized and most thoughtfully planned conferences around. For example, there is only one plenary speech. Yes! Hallelujah. Instead, the emphasis is on break-out programs, with short breaks between. The acceptance rate for program submissions was 35% (68 out of 190), just a bit higher than ACRL’s. Poster sessions by students, one round of lightning talks, and one round of roundtable discussions provide a little variety. There is no exhibit hall and despite the lack of vendors, the registration fee wasn’t too expensive (much cheaper than my last conference, ack!) Breakfasts and lunches were included, and all but one of those meals were good.
Attendance was capped in the low 400’s. We met in the Westin in the Central Business District, next to the Convention Center, but all LOEX activities occurred on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the hotel.
Now having praised the set-up of LOEX, I need to admit to getting more out of the conference two years ago. Some of the programs last week failed to involve the audience in a significant fashion. A couple of programs cruised right through their time limits, forcing the LOEX volunteer to stop the program so that the next presenters could get set up. In one of those cases, the main advertised audience participation event never happened. I (and others attendees too, I learned) expected teaching librarians to do a better job with audience participation and time management.
The Three Sisters with the Alcoa Building and the baseball stadium beyond
But in all fairness maybe my metal fatigue had something to do with this, and also the usual mild disconnect between the most common types and situations of library instruction compared to that of business research instruction. Two years ago the business librarians at LOEX talked about this disconnect a little after our lunch.
By the end of the month, many of the LOEX slides and handouts will be posted at
http://www.loexconference.org/sessions.html. Here are my notes from sessions.
Rhetorical Reinventions: Rethinking Research Processes and Information Practices to Deepen our Pedagogy [SlideShare]
Donna Witek (Public Services Librarian & Associate Professor) @ University of Scranton, Mary J. Snyder Broussard (Instructional Services Librarian & Coordinator of Reference and Web Services) @ Lycoming College and Joel M. Burkholder (Reference & Instruction Librarian) @ Penn State York
(Proof I was there, and friends from NC too.) High-energy speakers, much appreciated for the first program slot of the morning. The first half of the slides deal with some opening audience participation, although we only discussed “Do you get enough sleep”. Jump to #18 to get into the background readings and 27 for practical applications. Much emphasis on research as a recursive process and plenty of jargon, example “reading the database” based on narrative theory (23) but one of the speakers also used tinker toys to help explain schema theory. Good start to the conference.
Mentoring Teaching Librarians: A Discussion of Possibilities, Pitfalls, and Best Practices in Supporting New Instruction Colleagues in Your Library
Steve Cramer (Business Librarian) @ UNC Greensboro and Lisa Louis (Head of Research & Instruction) @ Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
I’ll summarize our program in a separate blog post once our slides are online at the LOEX site. Lisa is working on adding ideas and comments from the participants to our slides. She was good about taking notes from the brainstorming and discussion activities.
How to Make Information Literacy Real: Reimagining Library Instruction to Prepare Today’s Business Students for the Workforce
Cara Cadena (Business Liaison Librarian) and Beth Martin (Head of Professional Programs/ Economics Liaison) @ Grand Valley State University
GVSU is a fast-growing school in West Michigan (my hometown area) whose librarians have become really active in the last ten years or so on the professional scene. It has a newish business campus in downtown Grand Rapids, where LOEX met two years ago. Martin began working at this campus in 2013, Cadena in 2014. The business school doesn’t have its own library, and the general library is not too close to the school. And they don’t have access to a typical computer classroom. So as you might have guessed by now, Cara and Beth talked a lot about outreach to faculty and students.
Cara Cadena and Beth Martin (at podium): Business librarians represent!
It sounded like they are doing one-shots so far. They discussed the need to frame information literacy as “workforce readiness” based on published surveys of HR managers.
Beth discussed an assignment she created in which students research think tanks and conduct a CRAP test. Cara discussed being embedded in Blackboard for two international business classes taught in the hybrid format. She created resources in the CMS and made announcements every two weeks. She led a workshop to evaluate sources used in infographics. The professor for these classes noticed improvements in the students’ work. Cara is now assessing references used by the students.
There were a few business librarians in the room, but we didn’t really have time for discussions.
Growing Your Instruction as the World Becomes Smaller: International Students and the Academic Library
Susan Avery (Instructional Services Librarian) and Kirsten Feist (Instructional Services Specialist) @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Avery and Feist actually brought a box of clickers along for us to use. To help us empathize with the needs of international/ESL students, they presented us with an EBSCO record for a Spanish-language journal and asked us to read it. (A few folks could, but not most of us.) They discussed the need to use multiple modes of presenting information. Suggestions:
- Use videos, infographics, and written instructions
- Avoid jargon
- Be careful when using metaphors and analogies
- Use testimonials from international students on successful interactions with the library
- Discuss academic integrity without assuming previous knowledge.
You Can Go Your Own Way: Rethinking Credit-Bearing Courses in Light of the Framework [Drive]
Amanda Foster (Instruction Librarian) and Kyle Denlinger (eLearning Librarian) @ Wake Forest University
Amanda and Kyle are friends from Z. Smith Reynolds Library (where my wife works). They discussed different attempts to incorporate the frames into ZSR’s popular 1.5 credit LIB 100 class. The library provides 14 sections a semester, with Joy Gambill (also present) and Amanda teaching most of them.
Kyle discussed how the library was the campus trailblazer for online classes, a teaching format that WFU had avoided until very recently. He described working on the online development and framework development simultaneously. To avoid “death by discussion board”, Kyle had the students use the Voice Thread tool which worked well for his small (capped) class size of 12 students; in addition to fostering online discussion, the voice comments enabled him to get to know his students quite well. He used medium.com as the writing tool. Kyle reported that building the class around the research process worked well. The class was more interesting to teach, and student thoughts on the process became deeper. A downside was the high time commitment to provide feedback to the students.
Amanda discussed incorporating the framework into a traditional classroom format. Students build a sort of family tree (see around slide 19) to illustrate scholarship as conversation. This leads to a synthesis matrix assignment followed by a literature review. Her students also have to edit Wikipedia, partly to prove that scholarly communication is not merely a concern for academics.
Amanda and Kyle practiced good time management, ending their slides with about 10 minutes left for questions and answers. A good ending to the first day of the conference.
For another take on credit info-lit courses, see right below.
That evening, Lisa and I hiked down to the Point, enjoyed dinner at Market Square, and admired many of the impressive government buildings along or near Forbes Street, including H.H. Richardson’s wonderful courthouse, whose courtyard we snuck into at dusk (an amused security guard came out to chat with us about the building).
Making the Case for Credit Courses: Results from a Study on Student Perceptions of a Required Library Research Course
Lyda Ellis (Head of Instructional Services & Associate Professor) and Dr. Brian Iannacchione (Assistant Professor) @ University of Northern Colorado
Lyda teaches a 1-credit research class required for the UNC criminal justice major. She and Professor Iannacchione surveyed the students on perceptions of this class.
The SLOs for the class are pretty standard for a short info lit course, I think, but do include something like “participate in scholarly discourse within the discipline.” The emphasis is how to write research papers and cite sources in APA. The professor really liked the APA component in the class — he emphasized that several times. I actually have mixed feelings about the APA emphasis, since citation styles for most college graduates have no value to life-long learning. And shouldn’t both the standards and frames be focused on life-long learning?
In the student surveys, most of the seniors wished they had taken the class earlier. The department is working on (if I remember correctly) making sure that students take this class as sophomores or juniors. Three students said that “the online class should be cancelled.” That eventually happened, which pleased the librarians who had to teach the online sections. Lyda compared the large (and getting larger) class sizes they have to deal with to the WFU online sections (see above).
The students most valued the APA citations work, followed by how to retrieve articles.
Into the Gauntlet: Letting Students Teach One Another
Jessica Crossfield McIntosh (Reference Services Coordinator & Assistant Professor) and Amy Parsons (Metadata Librarian & Associate Professor) @ Otterbein University
Seeing the slides again would help me write this summary. Many of the slides had color contrasts too subtle for a projector to handle. The librarians identified 4 or 5 strategies to get students to teach one another in class, but we only discussed think-pair-share. For those of us who mostly work with student teams creating an experimental project – not individuals writing the lame research paper – having small groups talk to each other and sharing their findings is pretty much required to be a good teacher. (The “jigsaw classroom” and “project based learning” were other strategies listed for getting students to teach one another.)
Otterbein is north of Columbus, Ohio. It has 3000 students and an 11 to 1 student/ faculty ratio. The library offers freshmen and 2nd-year information literacy courses. The librarians discussed the origins of peer learning (Harvard science professor named Mazur) and how having students report back to the class also helps with their public speaking skills. Challenges include getting students to brainstorm, writing frames-based questions, and getting students to take their time.
A Sample Is a Tactic: Hip Hop Pedagogy in the Library Classroom [Prezi]
Craig Arthur (Instruction Librarian) and Alyssa Archer (Instruction Librarian) @ Radford University
Craig (with turntables) and Alyssa
Craig was an intern at UNCG, but I had no idea he was into hip hop and DJing! I’m an old fan of old school and turntablism (if you have some of the Alexander Street Press streaming music collections, see if you have access to the amazing “Return of the DJ” compilations put out by the Bomb Hip Hop label.) But Craig actually knows how to work the wheels of steel and has an up-to-date knowledge of the music, including the modern and popular stuff. Alas, we never talked about music in our time together in the UNCG library.
Anyway, Craig and Alyssa discussed how they use sampling as metaphors for research, writing, and citing. There is significant published literature on this. Craig actually had his turntables set up for this talk for live demonstrations, as he does in class. But equally importantly, he and Alyssa had planned in much discussion with the audience (“excellent audience engagement for a change”, I found in my iPad notes). Alyssa also worked the sample metaphor into the framework, ex. “Information has value” regarding composing credits and royalties.
Yes, they did address cultural appropriation and race regarding use of hip hop pedagogy.
A unique and well-designed session.
After lunch I toured the Andy Warhol museum. Then in late afternoon, Lisa and I hiked over the 16th Street Bridge, past the huge, original Heinz plant and through the Troy Hill neighborhood to visit the old Eberhardt and Ober Brewery (founded in 1848), now the Penn Brewery.
Troy Hill neighborhood and Eberhardt and Ober Brewery from my LOEX hotel room (across the river, beyond the Heinz plant)
Here is the brewery (zoomed in — sorry about the dirty window)
Later we walked back to the business district via the old Dutchtown (really Deutschtown) neighborhood. Monday morning, back at work, and my mental fatigue was gone.
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