Some assignments from previous semesters were difficult for students on several levels. One professor had assured students that 16th century primary documents would be easily found and retrieved via interlibrary loan. This was not a willful misdirection, but rather a misunderstanding that the faculty member had as to what might be available to students in terms of primary documents. Many times students are assigned projects requiring a certain level of skill with technology. The students may spend more time learning the new technology, for example video editing, than actually mastering the content.Offering this workshop allowed librarians, instructional technologists and faculty to share specific strategies for improving both the assignments given and the service level needed to support the educational program
Beau Weston is a respected member of the faculty. The librarians and instructional technologists had knowledge of some innovative assignments that Beau had developed and felt that he would be a good presenter for the workshop and would draw other faculty members. Jennifer Muzyka is always one of the first faculty members to try out a new technology. She is very interested in engaging her students in the learning process and is a very animated speaker as well. We wanted to make sure that more than one discipline was represented at the workshop. Many of our history professors require research projects, but we felt that Jennifer and Beau would provide an interesting mix of ideas and disciplines.
I used Diigo, a tool I will mention briefly later in the presentation, to highlight the areas of our website that we covered in the workshop. We designed this workshop differently than we would design a workshop for students. We erroneously thought that most faculty members would have some basic knowledge of our staff, services and resources. What we found was that most faculty members have a favorite website or database that they frequent for nearly all of their own work and in developing assignments for their students. What worked well was that faculty were able to get an idea of what we would offer to students in terms of research instruction and also a more representative idea of what databases might be useful or used by their students.
One question asked by a faculty member during our workshop presentation was “Do all students receive this type of instruction upon entering Centre College”. The answer to that question is “No”, which was a surprise to most of the faculty. The faculty members in attendance had assumed that there was a course (or tow) in which library and technology instruction was embedded and thus that students already knew how to navigate and use the information and technology required of them for assignments. This has been a great starting point for a few of the faculty members in terms of discussing information fluency and how best to incorporate this into the program of study at Centre College.
Primary Sources, Statistical information and Citation Styles and Guides are some of the most used sections of our website. As reference librarians, we find that these three topics comprise a good number of the questions we receive from students at the reference desk.
The library staff maintain a library blog and a twitter feed. Lesley Jackson has also developed some guides using delicious. Diigo was offered as part of the workshop as it is a collaborative tool that we felt might appeal to faculty members. Meebo chat reference is a relatively new service we have been offering to members of the Centre Community.
Diigo is not a resource that we would normally include in our library instruction for students, but one which we felt might be useful for faculty members and upper level students.
The Center for Teaching and Learning is one of the busiest offices on our campus. The CTL is responsible for supporting all academic technology at Centre and maintains and supports the learning management system, which just recently switched over from WEBCT to Moodle. This office also videotapes campus events and provides instructional technology for both faculty and students.Students often come to the Center for Teaching and Learning in a panic, and at the last minute needing help with a technology based assignment. Part of the focus of this workshop was to help faculty to be more deliberate and thoughtful when constructing assignments.
The Instructional Technologists developed a great presentation on Google Sites. An entire workshop could be developed on this topic as well. Several faculty members have used a website as the final project for their class and this can be used very effectively to present information from a class. Once again, it is important to consider how students will learn how to design a website and if this is the most effective way to present the content from a particular course.Voicethread is a free resource! It is also easily manipulated and fun to use. There are many applications for this product, but a user is limited to three projects that can be designed and stored in Voicethread. If Voicethread ever disappears, so does the student project as there is no archival process available, other than storage within the medium.
Voicethread is not limited to academic use. I used it to develop a photo album, with annotations and voiceovers, for my son’s senior prom pictures. It was fun to share this album with family and friends.
It was helpful for librarians and instructional technologists to hear faculty members discuss what topics and research assignments they were working on with students. Faculty members gained some insight into how helpful it is to include librarians and instructional technologists early on in planning for a research project. Librarians can let a faculty member know what resources on a particular topic are available for students and faculty.
Student Research Redefined Faculty/Librarian/Instructional Technologist Collaborative Workshop
Reasons for offering the collaborative workshop Introduce faculty to services Discuss effective assignment design Marketing
Thinking beyond the Research Paper Beau Weston-Sociology Professor Engaged the participants in an activity geared at showing different aptitudes of students. Talked about an assignment that requires students to design a website. Jennifer Muzyka-Chemistry Professor Required her students to take a learning styles test in her class. Assigned a pet molecule project to each student.
Library Resources Brief discussion of Website Discuss Online Catalogue Reserve-search by professor or Course New Books Suggest a purchase-not for divisional purchases Renewals Databases General Databases Databases by Subject
Library Resources (cont.) How Do I Find Information on… Primary Sources in History Statistical Information Citing Sources Subject Guides Specific Databases Science Direct JSTOR Academic Search Premier Lexis Nexis
Diigo Allows you to archive your bookmarks and access them from anywhere. Sticky notes and highlighting features are included. Share your bookmarked and highlighted websites with others. Search for content of interest to you that others have highlighted.
Center for Teaching and Learning Discussion of Pedagogy and Technology Does the technology enhance the content? Do students know how to use the technology that will be required for the project? How will students learn how to use the technology for the project?
Center for Teaching and Learning Presentation of some technologies that could be used to enhance or guide instruction. Google sites VoiceThread
What is Voicethread? Voicethread is a free application that will allow you to add narration, text and comments to images, videos, documents or presentations. Participants can comment via phone, text or microphone. Applications: Language courses, collaborative presentations, internship presentations, and assignments for courses in the Humanities.
Example of a Voicethread application http://cdn.voicethread.com/#home.b409.i3129
Limitations of Voicethread Only three projects may be stored in Voicethread, per user. Will the project be available at a later date, for example if Voicethread is no longer available?
What worked. Librarians and technologists gave faculty an overview of some challenges that students face when presented with an assignment. An overview of services was helpful as many faculty members were unaware of some of the resources available. Just getting these three groups in the same room allowed for some relationship building.
What would we do differently? Be more prepared for faculty questions about some of the databases. Perhaps solicit before the workshop some specific questions we might address. Cover less information. Some of the faculty seemed to experience information overload and we ran out of time.
What are some ways you are connecting with the faculty on your campus?