The librarian as lecturer : experiences on the other side of the fence. Authors: Josh Clark, Hugh Murphy

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Presentation for the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC 2010), March 29th - 31st 2010, Limerick, Ireland

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  • Overview.
  • Genesis of the course
  • Genesis of the course!
  • UCD Library as Web 2.0 innovator!
  • UCD Library experimentation with Web 2.0 tools to enhance library services
  • This brings us to UCD’s School of Information & Library Studies (SILS)….small School, etc. Only about 8 lecturing staff (not all full-time), and a plethora (10+) of occasional lecturers This cohort consists of Library staff and others – WE EXPLAINED WHAT WE MEANT BY “ADDED LIBRARIAN”
  • Collaboration with SILS – a large number of occasional lecturers employed by the School Hugh already teaching a cataloguing & classification course for a number of years SILS involvement with Library’s foray into Second Life – some lectures held in the Library’s Second Life building by the Head of School at the time She approached library with an idea for a course on Web 2.0 tools
  • Course designed for Second Stage students (2 nd & 3 rd years), to be counted towards a Bachelor of Social Science degree. **Could also be taken as an elective – so potentially anyone from any background could take the course. This has implications! Course designed over summer and ran in the first semester 2008-09, with a roster of 20 students (of which only half showed up most of the time!) Significantly modified and expanded for the next academic year, rebranded as a “Web 2.0” course and ran again with 45 students signed up (of which 85-90% attended every class)!
  • As an elective course, students could potentially come from any subject area. This means that skill levels and pre-knowledge of Web 2.0 varied widely. International students – language barrier, misunderstanding of assignements, etc. Makes for lots of student queries throughout the course! TIME-INTENSIVE Interactivity & collaboration was on the agenda. Not always panned out in reality however.
  • Course breakdown week by week
  • Explanation of Ning social networking tool, etc.
  • Ning is a social networking site where you can build your own. Students were sent invitations to join and all course correspondence was driven through this channel. Each student had their own profile, etc.
  • -Each class session had an assignment, which the students completed in their blog. Blogs were marked twice during the semester. They also had to complete a midterm essay (question provided by us), and had a final class test (exam) which consisted of a MCQ and an essay (choice between 2 questions). -Some class sessions included work to be done by students during class (e.g., wikis & online productivity tools), some were more straight lecture (theory and semantic web sessions)
  • Traditionally, higher education courses tend towards the lecturer filling a vessel (student) with knowledge This course tried to include some aspects of Web 2.0 – interaction, collaborative work (varied from session to session), using the new tools to manage the course, etc.
  • The same paradigm at the end of the day?
  • There is a different approach, as this is an ongoing taught class with different responsibilities – it’s not a component of a larger course – it IS the course! It will help inform IL sessions on keeping current, citing and referencing, identifying plagiarism, verifying accuracy and truth in information
  • Information literacy meets Web 2.0 – a new definition of the model is needed? 7 Pillars of IL via SCONUL. Which pillars were explored here? Pillars 2, 5 and 7
  • This slide (a still from the film “The Road” – post-apocalyptic survival!) represents the path and ordeal (sometimes!) of the science liaison librarian….It can be a tough slog, especially for a maths and physics liaison librarian trying to convince sometimes dubious Schools of the importance of IL!
  • Contribution mutually beneficial – SILS gains students, broadens offering of modules in this area. Librarians gain valuable teaching skills to inform future IL sessions, advertise the Library and its services Librarians develop teaching skills, gain a “lecturer’s perspective” and realise the difficulty they have in managing time, many modules etc. Can recognise and try to prevent plagiarism, instill in the students the skills to investigate and verify authority of some Web 2.0 tools…
  • Skills as a lecturer different to librarian giving IL sessions – in some ways yes!! Administrative duties are time consuming to say the least Fielding student queries on all aspects of the course Marking takes up time Creating exam also daunting Support from Library management crucial – e.g., when course duties creep into work time Support from SILS also crucial, of course!
  • Nature of class required a learning space with computers. Very difficult to find the right venue for the number of students attending (45). Computer lab setting too noisy, not really a proper classroom! Currently campus IT infrastructure too rigid and conventional for this type of course, generally speaking…
  • 1 Library staff person chosen as an team administrator for the course (Josh) SILS module coordinator Judith Wusteman This involves fielding student queries - e.g., absences, problems with blogs, links, Ning profiles, students with special needs, etc. etc.! Also…. compiling and checking assignment grades, coordinating course final exam, *classroom issues*
  • The goal regarding student assessment was creating assignments that more or less reflected Web 2.0 philosophy – here we opted for a combination (blog post assignments combined with traditional essays and in-class exam) Library teaching staff had varying levels of marking experience – how to achieve a consistent standard with 8 different graders?
  • Library seen as a partner rather than strictly a support Stronger relationship with SILS Library profile enhanced, hopefully leading to greater IL involvement Informs future IL sessions, whether once-off sessions, or embedded in the curriculum – greater understanding of student needs On a strictly personal level perhaps, the fact that we got paid as occasional lectures doesn’t hurt, also acknowledges our worth and what we can bring to the table to enhance School programme offerings
  • Library seen as a partner rather than strictly a support Library profile enhanced, hopefully leading to greater IL involvement Informs future IL sessions, whether once-off sessions, or embedded in the curriculum – greater understanding of student needs On a strictly personal level perhaps, the fact that we got paid as occasional lecturers doesn’t hurt, also acknowledges our worth and what we can bring to the table to enhance School programme offerings
  • Student feedback – didn’t get much really
  • Approach to teaching this course was different from teaching IL sessions in that it was perhaps felt that this mattered more to students, for obvious reasons. Marking student assignments and exams was definitely a challenge. Overall a very good experience, if a bit stressful!
  • Thanks and acknowledgements
  • The librarian as lecturer : experiences on the other side of the fence. Authors: Josh Clark, Hugh Murphy

    1. 1. The Librarian as Lecturer:Experiences on the other side of the fenceLILAC 2010Josh ClarkHugh MurphyUCD Library, University College Dublin UCD Library Leabharlann UCD
    2. 2. overview
    3. 3. what did we teach?IS20090 Web 2.0 and Social Media: AnIntroduction(Originally known as “etoys”)introduced in academic year2008-2009repeated for 2009-2010
    4. 4. Genesis
    5. 5. Genesis
    6. 6. UCD Library as Innovator Instant messaging Life Second
    7. 7. UCD Library as Innovator• UCD Library experimentation with Web 2.0 tools to enhance library services• Many library staff involved in various projects over the years• Staff knowledge of and familiarity with the tools• Acknowledged by SILS
    8. 8. genesis of the course• History of collaboration• Cataloguing & classification courses already taught by librarian• Second Life collaboration• Head of School approached Library to design & teach a Web 2.0 module
    9. 9. genesis of the course• New course created specifically with Library staff in mind• Designed for 2nd & 3rd year UG students• Initial course offered, Autumn 2008• Recommenced with modifications, Autumn 2009
    10. 10. nature of the course• An “elective” (implications!)• Disparate student demographic• Continual assessment and exam• Designed to be interactive & hands-on (Web 2ish / non traditional)
    11. 11. course breakdownweek 1 – introduction week 9 – productivity toolsweek 2 – social networks week 10 – social impactweek 3 – blogs week 11 – future & theweek 4 – RSS Semantic Web)week 5 – wikis week 12 – final exam!week 6 – podcastsweek 7 – virtual worldsweek 8 – online video
    12. 12. nature of the course• “practice what we preach” - used Ning instead of traditional VLE• Broad array of topics, broad staff involvement• Solely administered by Library staff – “team approach”
    13. 13. wisdom of crowds…
    14. 14. assessment summary• Assignments given at each class session• Students completed assignments as blog postings• Varying levels of interaction in each class (attendance & participation graded)
    15. 15. Horses for (SILS) courses… More traditional Less traditional• one to many • some to some• lecturer as teacher • lecturer as facilitator?• tends towards • tends toward didactic immersive • has specific ICT• can be taught requirements almost anywhere • students from any• all students of discipline, any level Information Science, etc
    16. 16. …or same old song?• Still trying to convey information!• Still assessed via some sort of examination• Arguably paradigm is not completely different
    17. 17. does it inform information literacy teaching? • Different approach • Gain greater knowledge of how students use Web 2.0 to conduct their research • One enhances the other
    18. 18. does it inform information literacy teaching? • Different approachInfo rma tio sympathy for academics b 2.0 • Gain n lite r acy We t ools • Skill sets overlap • One enhances the other
    19. 19. does it inform information literacy teaching?
    20. 20. librarians do it better?• Contribution is mutually beneficial• Librarians bring certain skills to the table• Librarians develop certain skills• practice makes perfect
    21. 21. Evaluation, or lessons learned A serious challenge…! – developing new skills – administrative duties – answering (constant) student queries – marking – exams – course needs 360° support Gain sympathy for academics
    22. 22. challenges: learning space• Location not ideal for collaborative & practical learning• Technical issues! (IT)• Highlighted the need for innovative learning spaces on campus
    23. 23. challenges: administration!Administration – One Library staff administrator – Involves many different, unfamiliar duties – And…a myriad of other duties as well
    24. 24. other challengesAssignments & Grading – Q: Work has to reflect Web 2.0 philosophy? A: Sometimes! – Varying levels of marking experience – 8 lecturers: consistency a challenge
    25. 25. risks• Administrative role: time-intensive and daunting• Full-blown lecturer role not “traditionally” a librarian’s remit?
    26. 26. rewards• Further recognition by School(s)• Boosts Library profile• Enhances IL skills – greater understanding of student needs & ways of gathering/interacting with information• Pay?!
    27. 27. student feedback – the Good “I found a lot of very interesting information in [the course readings] and I was often reading with my mouth wide open in amazement. I would not have read the information about these topics myself, so I was happy to find such current information about the contemporary web and also social issues in an university module... I will remember this module as one of the brightest experiences from all my academic life here at UCD. Thank you very much.”
    28. 28. student feedback – the Good “I would like to thank you and other lecturers for giving me a chance to learn about Web 2.0. It was not something I would be able to learn back in Korea and it surely made a memorable experience in my exchange year here at UCD.”
    29. 29. conclusion• A learning experience!• LOTS of work & time• A departure from IL teaching – more important to student?• Librarian perspective on Web 2.0 tools – a beneficial aspect of the course
    30. 30. …and thanks also to the other members of the librarian lecturing team!Caleb Derven – Systems LibrarianRos Pan – Head of Electronic Strategy & Innovation THANKS!James Molloy – Assistant Librarian, Reader ServicesCathal MacCauley – former Head of Reader ServicesDiarmuid Stokes – Liaison Librarian, Vet Medicine,etc.Shane McLoughlin – SILS PhD candidate

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