Research Agenda Conversations: Anne-Marie Deitering


Anne-Marie Deitering


Anne-Marie DeiteringAnne-Marie Deitering is the Franklin A. McEdward Professor for Undergraduate Learning Initiatives at Oregon State University Libraries. She is also in the middle of a 3-year term as Head of the Libraries’ Teaching and Engagement Department. At OSU, she serves on the university’s Curriculum Council, works closely with the composition program, and is a founding member of the university’s U-Engage (first-year seminar) program. She loves to do in-depth, qualitative investigations of student research behavior and curiosity and is increasingly fascinated by the interplay between the affective and cognitive dimensions of learning. She thinks on these topics often and writes about them (occasionally) on her blog, Info-Fetishist. She is also found on Twitter @amlibrarian.


1) In your opinion has library information literacy instruction developed its own theoretical basis and methodologies? If not, should it?

For one, I don’t think of information literacy instruction as a discipline or field of study separate from the rest of information science. The LIS research that most heavily influences my teaching doesn’t come from a separate “information literacy instruction” place. It comes from studies in information behavior and information practice, from everyday life and workplace studies, and more. With some notable exceptions, such as the work of Holliday and Rogers, I am drawn less to work about “how do I teach about using information” and more to research about “how do people use information” or “how does using information affect people’s lives.” So a theoretical or methodological basis for information literacy instruction alone doesn’t really make sense to me.

Here’s where I’m coming from. When I was doing my first master’s degree – a master’s in history – we of course studied the discipline historically. And one of the conversations I remember was about how the types of projects and methodologies one could use to get a PhD in the field had changed. In the past, they would say, you could get a dissertation for editing an important person’s papers. The reason was simple – because the profession needed  those edited collections to flourish. A professionally edited collection of Abraham Lincoln’s or Benjamin Franklin’s papers made it possible for scholars at small schools, for undergraduates, etc. to work with primary sources.

Now, I personally have doubts about whether this need has gone away, but the basic philosophy – that what constitutes valuable scholarship in a field should at least partly be determined by what the people in the field need to do the work – is still how I think about these questions. And I don’t think we’ve done a great job in academic librarianship of figuring out what we need or what would be useful, but this is where it gets complicated. Because it goes beyond a lack of agreement about theory or method – I don’t think we really have a shared idea of how research can and should inform us to start from. Many – though not all – of the people I know who have strong or clear ideas about this are bringing them from prior experience in the disciplines.

And it’s further complicated by the fact that when we talk about “doing the work,” we’re not always talking about doing more research. What does the practice community need to do the work? Is that the same as what the discipline needs? Is that a real distinction? It seems to me that what we need may not be what other fields need – and our standards and expectations for research should reflect that. I dug a little more into this in a blog post last year.

2) What for you are the most interesting current developments in library information literacy instruction research?

Anne-Marie: I’ve been so immersed in some specific projects – one on autoethnography and one on curiosity – and I tend to get kind of hyper-focused when I’m thinking. So I haven’t been reading very broadly lately. One fairly current thing I have found myself pulling off the shelf over and over again this year has been Maria Accardi’s Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction from Library Juice Press.

I’ve been consistently excited though about the work that my colleagues have been doing – over the last few years, several of us have been exploring qualitative methods more deeply, and we have some really interesting projects going on. Stefanie Buck did a photo-elicitation project with a group of distance learners, deepening our understanding of what their learning environments are like in a really cool way. And Uta Hussong-Christian is currently working on a fascinating study where she captured the information left on library whiteboards to build a picture of how our library study spaces are being used.

The application of critical theories to library and information science is certainly one of the most visible current developments in research and much of this work has sparked a lot of thinking for me. Out of this broader conversation, my colleague Kelly McElroy is co-editing a book on critical pedagogy with Nicole Pagowsky that I am very excited to see.


3) You have stated that the goal of reflective thinking is to identify and question the assumptions that are at the core of our practice. How has your own experience with reflective thinking informed how you teach and work with undergraduates? How has it informed your approach to research and scholarly collaboration?

In 2002, Kevin Kumashiro wrote an article called “Against Repetitions,” which I think gets at this really beautifully. In this piece, he was trying to understand why educators who are committed to social justice sometimes unintentionally reinforce systems of oppression in the classroom. He draws the idea of “repetitions” from Judith Butler. Repetitions happen when certain ideas, practices or identities are repeatedly privileged, and others are repeatedly marginalized. These repeated experiences can make us feel comfortable, like we belong and know what to expect. And so we resist change that disrupts them.

Kumashiro argues that some ideas about what it means to teach and to learn are so entrenched in our schools that even people who are committed to disrupting harmful repetitions in other contexts will resist anti-oppressive change in the classroom, and he further argues that this happens in large part because these teaching and learning focused repetitions go unquestioned and unexamined.

To me, that’s where the power of critical reflection is. I am pretty good at “doing school.” There are a lot of things that I like and that I’m good at that have historically and currently been rewarded in the classroom (and also in traditional research and scholarship). As Kumashiro points out, this means that these traditional, repeated practices are comfortable and easy for me. And I am good enough at building a case to be able to convince myself that these things are just what good learning looks like. But I am committed to the idea that we need to disrupt repetitions that exclude and harm – which means that I need to push back at these traditional practices. Even (or especially) when that means leaving a zone that is comfortable.

In teaching this has meant lots of changes from the simple (more group work in my credit class) to the complex (what does it mean to bring feelings and affect into the classroom). In research, it’s helped me open up to new forms of research and new methods – like autoethnography.

4) You’ll be co-editing a book for ACRL Publications that will explore autoethnography as a research method in LIS. What do you think autoethnography has to offer librarians?

This question might be trouble – I’m in the throes of working out the answer to this question RIGHT NOW for the book and pretty far in the weeds.

First, a quick definition: autoethnography is a method that pushes the researcher to reflect deeply on their own experience, to analyze it, and to connect it to a broader, bigger theoretical or cultural picture. Basically, it’s qualitative, ethnographic research where the same person conducts and is the subject of the research. If you want to know more about it, there’s LOTS more on this blog post about the book project.

I think that critical, rigorous, reflective methods like autoethnography offer a lot to librarians. One of the things that first drew me to the method was the idea that this kind of research could help us hear diverse voices and understand experiences that are drowned out in aggregations of data or discussions of universal themes. I still think that is important. Recently, I’ve also been digging into the idea that reflecting and analyzing experience and connecting it to something broader could be a way to get at, capture, and share some of that practice knowledge I described above, knowledge that can’t be separated from lived experience.

5) What advice would you give to librarians who are trying to formulate their own research agenda?

This is a hard one because I frequently doubt my own research agenda, but maybe that’s the most important thing. Realize that we all feel these feelings when it comes to research, at least sometimes.

Related, research isn’t just about finding answers. It’s okay to feel at the end like you just have more questions. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it or that you have nothing to say. Good research, useful research is often good and useful because it generates new questions.

If you have the external or administrative support you need, you may also need to give yourself time and permission to read, engage, converse, and think. This isn’t time wasted or self-indulgence, even if you really, really enjoy it! For me, the biggest barrier to doing research usually isn’t finding the time to do it. When I feel the most blocked and the most like I don’t have anything to say, I can almost always track it back to a lack of reading/ thinking/talking time. The image of the solitary genius scholar persists, but for most of us, research is intensely and extremely social. It’s that engagement – with other people, with the literature – that sparks the questions in the first place, and the new questions we need to keep moving forward.


Selected Publications

Rempel, Hannah Gascho, Stefanie Buck, and Anne-Marie Deitering. 2013. “Examining Student Research Choices and Processes in a Disintermediated Searching Environment.” portal: Libraries & the Academy 13 (4): 363–384.

Deitering, Anne-Marie, and Kate Gronemyer. 2011. “Beyond Peer-Reviewed Articles: Using Blogs to Enrich Students’ Understanding of Scholarly Work.” portal: Libraries & the Academy 11 (1): 489–503.

Deitering, A.-M., & Rempel, H. G. 2011. “Share and Share Alike: Barriers and Solutions to Tutorial Creation and Management.” Communications in Information Literacy 5 (2): 102–116. http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php?journal=cil&page=article&op=viewArticle&path%5B%5D=v5i2p102.

Gronemyer, Kate, and Anne-Marie Deitering. 2009. “’I Don’t Think It’s Harder, Just that It’s Different’: Librarians’ Attitudes about Instruction in the Virtual Reference Environment.” Reference Services Review 37 (4): 421–434. doi:10.1108/00907320911007029.

Deitering, Anne-Marie, and Sara Jameson. 2008. “Step by Step through the Scholarly Conversation: A Collaborative Library/Writing Faculty Project to Embed Information Literacy and Promote Critical Thinking in First Year Composition at Oregon State University.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1/2): 57–79. doi:10.1080/10691310802176830.

Deitering, Anne-Marie, and Rachel Bridgewater. 2007. “Stop Reinventing the Wheel: Using Wikis for Professional Knowledge Sharing.” Journal of Web Librarianship 1 (1): 27-44. doi:10.1300/J502v01n01_03.

McMillen, Paula, and Anne-Marie Deitering. 2007. “Complex Questions, Evolving Answers: Creating a Multidimensional Assessment Strategy to Build Support for the “Teaching Library.” Public Services Quarterly 3 (1/2): 57–82. doi:10.1300/J295v03n01_04.


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Research Agenda Conversations: Wendy Holliday


Wendy Holliday


Wendy HollidayWendy Holliday is Head of Teaching, Learning, and Research Services at Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. She leads a team of librarians in designing, delivering, and assessing the library’s portfolio of support for student learning and success and faculty research excellence. She served as Coordinator of Library Instruction at Utah State University between 2004 and 2013. Her research and practice focuses on student experiences of information literacy and learning, collaboration with faculty, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and curriculum issues in higher education and general education. Prior to becoming a librarian, she was the Hopi Tribal Archivist and a historian. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching both history and information literacy at the college level. She holds an MLS from the University of Illinois and a PhD in history from New York University.


1) In your opinion has library information literacy instruction developed its own theoretical basis and methodologies? If not, should it?

Narrowly defined, I don’t think that IL instruction has developed its own theoretical basis or methodologies, and I don’t think it necessarily should. However, I think there is also plenty of potential for teaching librarians to contribute original and rigorous work on teaching and learning that is valuable to all kinds of librarians and teachers!

I think IL instruction as a practice takes place in the nexus of several teaching and research traditions, and should draw heavily on those influences. These include information theories (information behavior, information seeking and use, human-computer interaction, etc.) and educational theories. All of these research traditions have a lot to offer librarians, educators, and other researchers who want to investigate issues, questions, and “problems” in information literacy instruction practice. As in education research more broadly, we can borrow from several traditions, including ethnography, action research, and discourse analysis, and we will be the richer for it. The tradition that I have increasingly found most fruitful is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Again, this is a field that borrows heavily from both disciplinary expertise and educational research. And I like the emphasis on trying to figure something out about practical problems in the classroom (broadly defined), in a rigorous way, and then sharing our learning with a wider community.

2) What for you are the most interesting current developments in library information literacy instruction research?

The stuff that continually grabs me and makes me think more deeply about my own practice are studies that link information literacy to learning more broadly. The work of Mandy Lupton, Christine Bruce, Annemaree Lloyd, and Louise Limberg, for example, has consistently focused on the connection between using information and learning something (e.g., becoming an expert practitioner, solving problems in a particular domain, contributing to a more democratic society, etc.). I think their theoretical and empirically-based work has opened up my thinking about the purpose and value of information literacy, and how it is more than just efficiently locating information with tools provided by the library. I don’t think that we can teach students that there is some perfect search strategy or algorithm that will yield the perfect set of results to help them succeed in their assignment or larger contexts. We all have to get into the information itself, and think about questions of value(s) and purpose. I also think some of the work that is coming out of rhetoric and composition right now continues to be provocative and valuable for information literacy. I think that teaching information literacy from a rhetorical stance, with the focus on using information for and with purpose, can help advance both our research and our practice. I just started reading Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies and I am intrigued by just the first few pages.

3) In “Talking about Information Literacy” (2013), you write that one goal of your research is to begin a conversation between librarians and instructors of writing about the practice of teaching research-based writing.  How would you open this conversation?  How do you approach collaboration with faculty? 

I’ve actually found that theoretical and research-based approaches can help open this conversation. So I’ve used my article, the Citation Project, and other research on writing and IL to begin talking about where our students struggle in the process of what we call “research-based” writing. This can help break down some of the assumptions that some faculty have about students information and thinking skills. When faculty see the Citation Project result that most students are citing from the first three pages of a source, I see this recognition, “Well of course that’s what they are doing!” They are finding sources that match assignment requirements and then just plucking sentences from them. From this realization, we can begin a conversation about assignments and learning activities that shift attention away from just finding and concentrate on critical reading and evaluating information from a rhetorical stance (does this help me explain, argue, illustrate? etc.). I am also very careful with the words I choose when talking to faculty. I almost never use the word “source” but use information, knowledge, evidence. Faculty don’t always get the word choice (and I don’t lecture them about it), but it sometime shifts the conversation in productive ways, to get them out of the habit of thinking that what librarians teach is “finding good sources.”

4) You identify higher education curricular reform as a professional and research interest.  Could you tell us about your work in this area?

My current thinking on this is really about how we use the existing structure of an institutional or program curriculum to create a more integrated experience of information literacy. Most universities have general education programs, degree/major requirements, etc. Some of these programs even have clearly defined learning goals or outcomes. So, how can we use those requirements, structures, and pathways to provide opportunities for students to develop, practice, and refine information literacy practices, rather than trying to shoehorn IL into random moments of opportunity? So I don’t necessarily have the idea of a “better” higher education curriculum, in terms of what to cover and require and how to structure it. But I think that librarians can play a leadership role in helping faculty and our institutions see how the pieces fit (or don’t) together. Often, faculty (for good and practical reasons) tend to focus only on their course(s) in isolation. If they could see the connection between what they teach and what is going on in the class before or the class after (or even next to), then they might be able to focus on the connections, on what really matters in their course and for the students over the long term.

I’m a huge fan of metaphor as a way to think through these issues, and I read a recent piece in Hybrid Pedagogy that uses a web metaphor (http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/learning-as-weaving/). I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of curriculum, especially in terms of how students experience curriculum. I suspect that a lot of students don’t see the pattern, and nodes on a web might be an effective way to help them (and us) make connections. So in terms of research, I am interested in learning more about how students experience connection, or lack of connection, in their curricula. I’m not sure where this might go, in terms of research yet, but I am looking at some of the practical experiments that places like Southern Utah University are doing with their general education, for example, to structure more web–like learning (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/11/06/general-education-gets-makeover-utah-university-combining-full-year-one-course) and with ideas about “flipping the curriculum” to help students build knowledge more inductively (https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions-community-college-dean/different-vision-bachelor%E2%80%99s-degree).

5) What advice would you give to librarians who are trying to formulate their own research agenda?

My first bit of advice is to make sure that research is addressing something that matters to you. I have a healthy respect for “pure” research and knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but most of us don’t have that kind of luxury or purpose. Especially for teaching librarians, I think that research should address problems. Is there something in your class, program, students’ work, etc. that is troubling you in some way? Is there something that you’d like to figure out in order to improve some part of your practice? That’s why I think the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is a useful framework and community of practice. So, for example, the “Talking about Information Literacy” project emerged out of a series of regular coffee meetings that I had with my colleague, Jim Rogers. We kept wondering, from our separate vantage points, why students used their information sources in such a shallow way in their writing. One day (after literally years of talking about this), we decided: Let’s go watch a writing class for a whole semester and see if we can figure this out. And an observational study was born. And I still think about what we saw in that class, and what students, librarians, and instructors shared with us. It enlivens my practice to this day. So think about those nagging curiosities, those questions about why something is or isn’t happening, and then think about what kind of research or inquiry might yield at least some answers. Make that your agenda so that it is animated by purpose.


Selected Publications

Holliday, Wendy, Betty Dance, Erin Davis, Britt Fagerheim, Anne Hedrich, Kacy Lundstrom, and Pamela Martin. 2015.  “An Information Literacy Snapshot: Authentic Assessment across the Curriculum.” College and Research Libraries 76 (2): 170-187. doi:10.5860/crl.76.2.170.

Lundstrom, Kacy, Anne R. Diekema, Heather Leary, Sheri Haderlie, and Wendy Holliday.  2015.  “Teaching and Learning Information Synthesis: An Intervention and Rubric Based Assessment.” Communications in Information Literacy 9 (1): 60-82.
http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php?journal=cil&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=v9i1p60.

Holliday, Wendy, and Jim Rogers. 2013. “Talking about Information Literacy: The Mediating Role of Discourse in a College Writing Classroom.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 13 (3): 257-271.

Diekema, Anne R., Wendy Holliday, and Heather Leary. 2011. “Re-framing Information Literacy: Problem-based Learning as Informed Learning.” Library & Information Science Research 33 (4): 261-268. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2011.02.002.

Duncan, Jennifer, and Wendy Holliday. 2008. “The Role of Information Architecture in Designing a Third-Generation Library Web Site.” College & Research Libraries 69 (4): 301-318. doi:10.5860/crl.69.4.301.


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December 2015 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

December 2015 Site of the Month:  Understanding Plagiarism Tutorial
Interview with:  Larraby Fellows
Interviewer:  Rebecca Maniates

Project description:  Understanding Plagiarism is an interactive tutorial that focuses on familiarizing students and faculty with examples of unintentional plagiarism.  The tutorial covers common student pitfalls such as self-plagiarism, understanding what common knowledge is, using personal opinion, and navigating fair use.

The full interview is available at http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/december-2015-site-of-the-month/

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

Look for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Jodie Borgerding and Bill Marino
Co-chairs, ACRL IS PRIMO Committee

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Tania Alekson

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning. Nominate yourself or someone great!

Name: Tania AleksonTA

Institution: Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia

Job Title: Student Experience Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 11

What is your favorite movie based on a book? The Maltese Falcon and Trainspotting

Where do you do your best thinking? At a bar, as long as it’s got character.

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

Draw a map of information – it gets them thinking about a range of options and ladders into a discussion of the various categories and authority of sources.

It’s an ice-breaker activity which gets them thinking consciously about information and its sources and gets them working together as a small group. When they sit down at the table to start the session, there’s a large piece of paper and markers. Once we begin the class, I ask them to draw a “map of information” and let them decide what that means. Most often they draw a concept map, listing various types of resources and also search environments. They usually don’t distinguish between the two at this point.

We follow up the activity by categorizing the kinds of information they’ve listed – again, leaving the groupings open to interpretation by the group.

I also ask them at this point to identify which items on their map represent actual information and which are places they can seek out information/resources.

When we come back to the whole class, they can share the various resources they’ve come up with and the search environments where they can be found. This ice-breaker can segue into a discussion or activity about academic authority and/or scope when deciding which resources they want to include in an assignment.

Tell us about your favorite teaching tools (e.g. cool apps, clickers, etc.).

I’ve been using Poll Everywhere a lot this term – I love it for pre-assessment confidence checks (On a scale of 1-5…), choosing learning outcomes for the class (Of these skills, which do you need to learn more about?) and emotional check-ins (In one word, how does “research” make you feel?). I’ve also used it to brainstorm keywords.

What’s your teaching philosophy? Active students learn.

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Fill out the IS Newsletter Survey!

In an effort to make the IS newsletter more vibrant and relevant to ACRL Instruction Section members, the co-editors, Angelica Delgado and Jill Hallam-Miller, are seeking candid feedback from both readers and non-readers through a 4-question survey. We encourage you to answer these questions with all honesty. We would like to know BOTH what we’re doing right as editors, and what we’re doing wrong.

You can access the survey at http://goo.gl/forms/YZmY7l2qBW through January 22nd.

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Volunteer for an Instruction Section committee!

The ACRL committee volunteer form for section and division-level appointments (including appointments to the ACRL Instruction Section) is now open! 

Please visit http://www.ala.org/acrl/membership/volunteer/volunteer (or see below) for a link to the form. The deadline to volunteer is February 15, 2016, for appointments that begin July 1, 2016.

Appointment to IS committees is competitive, but I want to find a spot for as many of you as possible. The more information you give me about your interests in the application form, the better I’ll be able to match you to just the right spot in IS. If you have any questions about volunteering for an ACRL Instruction Section Committee, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at jennifer.knievel@colorado.edu.

Thanks!
Jennifer Knievel
Instruction Section Vice-Chair / Chair-Elect

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Volunteer for division or section committees

Are you looking for ways to expand your professional network and contribute to ACRL? Committee volunteers help shape ACRL by advancing its strategic plan and influencing the direction of academic and research librarianship. Serving on a committee is one of the best ways to become involved and make an impact on the profession. If you’d like to become more engaged, ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect Irene M.H. Herold invites you to volunteer to serve on a 2016–17 division or section committee.

The link to the volunteer form is included at the end of this page.

Rewards of volunteering

Volunteers benefit by:

  • Building ties with academic and research librarians around the country,
  • enhancing their leadership abilities through consensus building and project management,
  • sharing their experience with colleagues,
  • developing new expertise or updating knowledge in a current specialization, and
  • advancing the work of the association and the profession.

Volunteer requirements

Certain criteria must be met in order to serve on an ACRL committee. Volunteers must:

  • be a member of ALA and ACRL for the duration of the appointment,
  • be willing and able to participate in the activities of the committee, support its mission or concern, and carry out assignments in a timely manner, and
  • submit an electronic appointment acceptance form.

Appointment Process

Most of these appointments are made in the spring for terms beginning immediately after the ALA Annual Conference.

Division Committees: The Appointments Committee recommends to the president-elect of ACRL the names of members who might be suitable to fill the vacancies. The vice-president/president-elect makes the final appointments for the committees. 

Editorial or Publication Advisory Boards: The editors or chairs of editorial or publication advisory boards recommend to the Publications Coordinating Committee individuals to fill vacancies. The Publications Coordinating Committee is responsible for approving appointment recommendations and the vice-president/president-elect extends the appointment offer.

Sections: Section vice-chairs appoint the members of section committees.

Deadline

The online volunteer form must be completed by February 15, 2016, for consideration for 2016-17 appointments.  Most terms begin July 1, 2016.

Questions

For more information, please refer to Volunteer & Appointment Process and Member Service on ACRL Committees.

Questions about division-level appointments may be directed to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Erin L. Ellis, Assistant Dean, Research and Learning Division, University of Kansas, E-mail: eellis@ku.edu

Questions about section appointments may be directed to the vice-chair of each section. Full contact information is available from the section landing page.

Questions about the form may be directed to Allison Payne at apayne@ala.org or Megan Griffin at mgriffin@ala.org.

Volunteer Now

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2016 IS Midwinter Virtual Discussion Forum

What does it take for academic libraries to align their existing instruction programs with the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education? Can the Framework serve as an operating philosophy amid the diminishing role of the older ACRL Standards? Listen and share as the ACRL IS Discussion Group Steering Committee presents:

Aligning to the Framework: An assessment of practices

Discussion Conveners: Kenya Flash, Diversity Resident Librarian, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Kelly Tilton, Instruction Librarian, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

January 26, 2016 | 2:00pm – 3:30pm Central Time
via WebEX

Join the conversation and register now, as space is limited.

Learn more about the session by reading the discussion digest.

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November 2015 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

November 2015 Site of the Month: Plagiarism 101

Interview with: Allison Hosier
Interviewer: Carolyn Seaman

Project Description: Plagiarism 101 is a tutorial that covers the basics of plagiarism, including what it is, what the consequences are, and how to avoid it, in three separate sections that can be viewed separately or as a whole. At the end of each section, students are prompted to answer a multiple-choice “Check Your Knowledge” question in order to proceed. Students who answer correctly are given a choice to continue to the next section or exit the tutorial, while students who answer incorrectly are taken through a brief review. At the end of the review, students who would like further clarification have the option of choosing a longer review in which the incorrect answers are explained more thoroughly. With this design, students who are already knowledgeable about the subject can navigate to sections that are of interest and do not have to sit through review information that may not be relevant to them while students who need more information have opportunities for learning more.

The full interview is available at http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/november-2015-site-of-the-month/

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

Look for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Jodie Borgerding and Bill Marino
Co-chairs, ACRL IS PRIMO Committee

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October 2015 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

October 2015 Site of the Month:
Navigate: UWF Libraries Research Tutorials
Interview with: Britt McGowan
Interviewer: Danielle Skaggs

Project Description: The UWF Libraries tutorials were in need of updating and also new topic needs had emerged. I (Britt) was able to identify 34 tutorial topics that covered aspects of the five ACRL standards and ones that also met institution needs (Library Orientation & Research Application in the 21st Century Workplace). On the tutorials page, these are grouped into sections by standard or institution need: “Starting Your Research” (Standard One), “Finding Sources” (Two), “Evaluating Sources” (Three), “Using Sources Effectively” (Four), and “Using Sources Ethically” (Five); for institution need, “Library Orientation,” “Types of Assignments,” “Additional Resources/Tools.” Receiving university funds, the library was able to hire Joshua Vossler, an instructional designer and librarian, to create the videos. Together, we worked collaboratively on student learning outcomes, quizzes, and scripts for the videos and gathered input from students and librarians along the way. This project took a full school year, and roll out began in Fall 2014. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

The full interview is available at http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/october-2015-site-of-the-month/

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

Look for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Jodie Borgerding and Bill Marino
Co-chairs, ACRL IS PRIMO Committee

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Megan Hodge

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning. Nominate yourself or someone great!

Name: Megan HodgeMegan Hodge

Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University

Job Title: Teaching & Learning Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 3 in higher ed, 4 including my time student-teaching as an undergrad.

Are you a dogs or cats fan?

I’ve got nothing against dogs, but cats all the way. I love that they’re completely autonomous beings who don’t feel any obligation to do what humans ask of them.

What’s your favorite season?

Fall. The students are back and fill the campus with energy. Plus: the smell of woodsmoke, brightly colored trees, and sweaters; what’s not to love?

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

Students usually get a kick out of playing Password/Taboo to help them ‘think outside the box’ in terms of keyword generation. To play, ask for a student volunteer; I’ve found that it helps to offer candy as a bribe, as they’re often shy about volunteering until after the first round. The volunteer stands at the front of the classroom facing away from the board. Write a word on board (for example:  vehicle, USA, happiness). Other students shout out single words (this is important–no leading phrases!) that describe or are related to the word on the board in order to help the student at the front guess what the word is. It’s most helpful to go through 2-3 rounds. After all the words have been guessed, discuss as a class: Why did you choose these words? Any themes (types, descriptors, etc.)? Explain how students can go through this same process when thinking of additional terms for their keywords.

What class do you teach the most and how do you keep it fresh?

VCU has a couple FYE-type courses for which my department teaches 100-150+ one-shots each semester. I love to include pop culture references in my instruction,
like meme-themed slidedecks (see some examples at http://www.slideshare.net/mlhodge) or referencing trending hashtags like #thedress or #tbt. For one thing, changing these out throughout or at the beginning of every semester ensures that my examples are fresh to me as well as to the students. More importantly, though, is their unexpectedness: students generally don’t expect librarians to be whipping out things like memes. In their (fascinating! check it out!) book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath discuss how useful the surprise factor is in helping people remember what it is you’re telling them–a good thing for any instructor to keep in mind.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

1. Take the first couple minutes of class to prime your students for what to expect. In their coursework, K-12 teachers learn about the ‘anticipatory set,’ a question or exercise that piques student interest in the lesson and establishes a rapport between class and instructor. These couple minutes are especially important for one-shot instructors as they’re the one opportunity to convince students that the instructor is worth listening to. If the lesson will involve active learning, it can be especially helpful to have the anticipatory set involve an activity (such as writing questions on sticky notes and sticking them to the board) that will alert the students at the beginning of class that their involvement will be expected throughout the class. This can help prevent a lack of participation later on in the session.

2. Take the time to reflect on each class you teach. Especially in the beginning, when you’re trying lots of new things at once, it can be helpful to record what worked and what didn’t, and to speculate on reasons and solutions, which will improve your teaching in the future. Char Booth’s Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning has some effective strategies for this.

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