Flatley book reviewproject


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Book review project for Dr. Nicholson's eLearning class at Bloomsburg University

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Flatley book reviewproject

  1. 1. Book Review Project Bob Flatley Academic Librarianship by Design: A Blended Guide to the Tools and Techniques Steven J. Bell and John D. Shank, 2007 American Library Association 978-0-8389-0939-3 Summary: 1. Describe the overall theme or topic of the book. This book is about integrating the library into the teaching and learning process in higher education and enhancing collaboration with faculty through the application of design thinking. The book is arranged in three sections. In the first section (Chapters 1- 4), the authors provide an introduction to design thinking and how it can be applied to the field of academic librarianship. The second section (Chapters 5-7) provides practical applications for integrating design thinking into academic librarianship. Specifics include strategies for integrating the library into the university's learning management system, a model for effective faculty-librarian instructional partnerships, using Low Threshold Applications to collaborate with faculty, and using digital learning materials to integrate the library into the teaching and learning process. Chapter 8 includes information on participating in the online blended librarian community and Chapter 9 (the final chapter) discusses demographic, social, and technology trends that are impacting libraries. The authors close with strategies for meeting these trends using design thinking. 2. Summarize the major points of each of the chapters. (List all the chapters and summarize with 2 to 3 sentences per chapter) 1
  2. 2. Chapter 1: Where it All Begins: Blended Librarianship This chapter lays out the concept of blended librarianship and ends with examples of blended librarians. In a nutshell a blended librarian is a librarian who applies instructional design thinking to improving library services and resources in an effort to facilitate the academic success of faculty and students. Chapter 2: The Blended Librarian in Action: Applying Design Thinking to Academic Librarianship How to go about integrating instructional design and technology skills into librarian work is the focus of this chapter. Librarians need to be able to put themselves in the place of the students and faculty they serve. They need to be willing to work through a series of gradual changes in developing new services or resources. And, a commitment to assessing how well the service or resource is meeting the needs of the user is vital. The chapter closes with a couple excellent case studies highlighting the successful use of design thinking in two libraries. Chapter 3: ADDIE: Putting the Design in Academic Librarianship by Design This chapter introduces the theory and practice of instructional design with a focus on the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). This process employed by instructional designers is very time intensive. They then introduce BLAAM (Blended Librarians Adapted ADDIE Model) that condenses ADDIE for librarians needs. The steps involved are assess user needs, establish clear measurable objectives, draft a plan, deliver the instructional product, and measure objectives. Chapter 4: What’s in it for Them? Furthering Campus Collaboration through Design Thinking The authors review the importance of WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) philosophy in developing collaborative relationships with busy faculty members. Faculty historically have not seen a central role for librarians in the teaching/learning process. Techniques to open more collaboration are reviewed, they include promoting new instructional technologies that help faculty save time and do things more efficiently, connecting faculty with the resources they need, and demonstrating how to integrate technology into classroom learning management systems. The chapter closes with four case studies illustrating successful faculty-librarian collaborations. Chapter 5: Applying Blended Librarianship to Information Literacy through Course Management Systems 2
  3. 3. The focus of this chapter is on how librarians can integrate themselves into a university’s CMS using the A_FLIP (Administrative, Faculty, and Librarians Instructional Partnership) model. This integration is crucial as courseware is increasingly becoming the standard tool for connecting students and faculty to course documents and information. Historically librarians have been excluded from the CMS. The A_FLIP model seeks to “flip” this dynamic through two approaches: system level and course level integration. The system level approach involves librarians working with CMS administrators to create a standard, broad-based library presence in the CMS (e.g. adding a library button or tab to the CMS). The course level involves librarians working with faculty to directly integrate library resources into a particular course (e.g. adding course specific pathfinders and resources). The authors review the positives and negatives of each approach and conclude with a case study on successful course-level integration. Chapter 6: Low Threshold Applications: Helping Faculty Focus on New Technology The authors make the case for using LTAs (low threshold applications) as tools to connect faculty to library technology. LTA refers to technology or technology applications that can be mastered quickly and easily enabling faculty to painlessly integrate new instructional technologies into the teaching and learning process. Essentially it is a simply designed and formatted tutorial. The development of LTAs for library-related technologies is a fairly new endeavor, an example would be the creation of a guide showing faculty how to use RSS to stay abreast of current news. The chapter closes with how to create LTAs for library resources. Chapter 7: Digital Learning Materials: Enhancing the Instructional Role of Librarians The authors begin this chapter by touching on the debate surrounding digital learning materials and providing a definition, simply stated they define a DLM as “any interactive web-based digital resource that is used for instruction” (p. 119). DLMs can enhance the learning process through active learning, giving prompt feedback, increasing the time a student spends on the task, and respecting diverse ways of learning. Librarians can play a critical role both in the creation, discovery, and use of DLMs that will benefit the teaching and learning environment at their institution. Chapter 8: The Blended Librarians Online Learning Community: Learning and Practicing Academic Librarianship by Design This chapter discusses the blended learning online community started by the authors. There are two components to it. The LearningTimes Library Online Community, an online community that allows members to interact both in a synchronous and asynchronous environment, and the Blended Librarians Web Portal, a more traditional web presence. The LearningTimes venue allows members to share images and bios; participate in live webcasts; view archived webcasts; do instant messaging and text chat; 3
  4. 4. and meet in a virtual room. The Blended Librarians Web Portal includes basic information about blended librarianship, FAQs, announcements, information on joining the Online Community, and various links to different tools and resources. Chapter 9: Evolving through Design Thinking: New Roles for Academic Librarians The final chapter looks at three significant trends effecting libraries and how blended librarians can respond to them. They refer to the first trend as the “simplicity- complexity conundrum” - students are familiar with simple Internet search systems and are often overwhelmed by the complexity of using library resources and hence tend to avoid them. The second related trend they call “the age of the user experience” – this refers to the fact that users measure the value of online resources by how simple they are to use. Their expectations are often set by simple search systems like Google and Yahoo. The third trend they call “the age of peer production” – this trend looks at the world of Web 2.0 where content is created by web site users not web site owners. The second half of the chapter shows how blended librarians can respond to these trends by applying the principles in the book. Reflection: 3. What new insights or perspectives did you gain from the book? Viewing library science as library design, getting away from the notion that design refers to buildings and infrastructure and instead focusing on designing experiences that enhance a users’ learning experience. Looking at faculty collaboration from the angle of “What is in it for them?” I have always thought that faculty would naturally want to collaborate with librarians because we all have the same goal in mind: information literate students who are able to do good research. The book gave me the new insight that faculty don’t view librarians as major partners in this process. Most are simply too busy and pulled in too many directions to give serious thought to faculty-librarian collaboration. The book taught me that the way to go about building that relationship is by looking at ways that librarians can help faculty make the most efficient use of their time through the use of LTAs, instructional tools and technology. Integrating library resources and services into the university’s CMS is of vital importance. I was always aware that this is something we should be doing but the book convinced me that it should be a top priority. This is where students and faculty are connecting and this is where the library needs to be as well. Developing LTAs (low threshold applications) for promoting the use of library electronic resources as instructional technologies makes perfect sense. The idea is that faculty view electronic library resources in the same light that they view an instructional video, 4
  5. 5. PowerPoint presentation, or webcast of a subject expert as tools that they can use to help students achieve desired learning outcomes. Librarians would develop LTAs with this purpose in mind highlighting the ease and convenience of using library resources to find credible sources versus the web. Despite a modest learning curve faculty would reap the incredible benefits of using library electronic resources including many hours saved of instruction and research time, completed student projects that use credible resources (not just web sites), and increased faculty and student productivity. Participating in the blended library online community will be empowering. It will be good to connect with other librarians of like-mind for support, sharing, and ideas. The free webcasts will be a benefit to me to compliment what I am learning in the MSIT program. The book brought me to the clear realization that our profession needs to embrace change and be change leaders in order to remain viable to the 21 st century student. The authors point out some dire research e.g. 70% of faculty and 98% of students go to an Internet search engine first when beginning their research, studies have shown that students find library resources too confusing and complex, and faculty do not view librarians as partners in the educational process…Talk about a wake up call! I think this book really did it for me. Of course I have been aware of these trends – that’s one of the main reasons I am in the MSIT program but this book laid it all out in a very concise direct way. What I loved about the book is that it’s full of hope – they point out that the core values of librarianship are as valid today as they were one hundred years ago – we just need to change our focus, focusing on creating library experiences that show students and faculty how indispensible the library is to their teaching and learning process at the university. To think of myself as a blended librarian instead of simply a librarian because what I do every day, as the authors point out, is a blend of library work, technology, and instructional design. 4. What are 5 of your favorite quotes from the book? Why were they so significant to you? “A design thinker will blend skills from a mix of disciplines.” (p. 23) My Thoughts: I can really relate to this quote. It resonates with the profession of librarianship. Librarianship by its very nature draws from a mix of disciplines. We are called on to be computer technicians, public servants, programmers, researchers, scholars, lecturers, etc. That’s why I feel librarians are naturally good design people. "Recall that design thinking is a thoughtful questioning process that is used to give shape to services and instructional products. For example, before creating an information literacy tutorial, how often do librarians determine if their user community learns well through online instruction products...Is the process of developing a tutorial 5
  6. 6. informed by what works best to solve the students' learning gap, or is the tutorial simply a technology solution to the librarian's own lack of time or ability to integrate instruction into the classroom learning process?" (p. 42) My Thoughts: Wow, right on! I have been so guilty of doing this i.e. just coming up with a lesson because it meets my needs and the professor’s needs, not necessarily the students’ need. I think the problem rests in time and lack of background in instructional design. In fact, Bell and Shank point out a few paragraphs later that “true instructional design process is time consuming.” I have become aware from reading this book that the bulk of work for any successful learning project is the “behind the scenes” planning and design work not the actual building of the learning experience. “As blended librarians we…advocate that academic librarians should themselves be acquiring instructional design and technology skills.” (p. 70) My Thoughts: I second that motion! The philosophy laid out in this book is the reason I enrolled in Bloomsburg University’s MSIT program. I am very aware that librarians need to embrace instructional technology, design, and information technology skills if we want to remain viable and relevant to the 21st century college student. The focus of the library has changed from being a collector, organizer, and warehouse of information to providing students with the tools, experiences, and skills they need to be able to navigate our high-tech information-based society. “…academic librarians must shift away from their traditional perception of electronic library resources as search and retrieval systems and instead recognize and promote them to faculty as educational and instructional technologies.” My Thoughts: Wow, what a challenging shift that will be! I have always viewed library databases in the traditional sense as search and retrieve tools. This shift needs to happen. Truly library resources are instructional tools. There is a definite learning curve involved for students (and faculty) to get the best matches for their research. Library databases are educational tools; they are the backbone of the research process. “As a profession, rather than arguing how things got to be too complex or overwhelming, academic librarians must contemplate how we can use design thinking to establish a manageable balance between simplicity and complexity.” (p. 152) My Thoughts: This is a debate we are constantly having at various meetings at the library were I work. We have a group of traditionalists who follow the philosophy that students should have to learn the complexities of doing library research step by step, that we should not “dumb down” the research process. The other camp (which I am part of) advocates the philosophy of “give them what they want.” Students are familiar with using simple search tools like Google and we should make every effort at the library to simplify access to library resources or they will go elsewhere. It was very enlightening to me to see that Bell and Shank espouse a middle road advocating that librarians need to develop tools and experiences that connect students with library resources that best meet their needs whether they are complex or simple to use. 6
  7. 7. Application 5. How can you use or apply the information presented in the book? This book presents a lot of useful information that I can put to use immediately in the work that I currently do (I am an academic librarian at a midsized public institution). They include: Shifting my thinking of the library, its resources, and services towards design thinking i.e. how can I create library experiences that will meet the educational needs and outcomes of our students and faculty Using the ADDIE model to develop more effective learning experiences for student and faculty users of the library Following the advice the authors give for developing collaborative relationships with faculty focusing using the “What is in it for them” approach Developing relationships with campus instructional technologists and the department of information technology Developing LTAs highlighting the ease and convenience of using library electronic resources to facilitate the successful completion of desired learning outcomes in courses Working with the University’s LMS Coordinator, the Dean of Library Services and my fellow faculty librarians to implement the system-wide approach to integrating the library into the University’s new course management system, Desire2Learn Working with a faculty in one of my liaison departments to pilot the course-wide approach to integrating library resources in a specific course in Desire2Learn Responding to the trends the authors outline in the final chapter with design thinking Judgments 6. How well is the material presented and how can it be improved? Overall the content is very well presented. Each chapter opened with a relevant quote and was followed by learning objectives for the chapter. Sections were clearly offset with bold text, and appropriate graphics, charts, and diagrams were incorporated in the text. They made their points clearly and backed up their assertions with research where appropriate. The chapters closed with a summary, topics for discussion, and a useful list of additional resources. The authors incorporated a lot of practical examples and provided case studies that illustrated how their concepts and ideas have been applied in real life. Suggestions for improvement: 7
  8. 8. More informal writing style – the authors employ a dry, academic style. Clark and Mayer point out the importance of a conversational style in our textbook. I think this could have been more effectively employed in the text More visuals – although the authors do employ visuals throughout the text I think more could have been included Larger text and more white space – the text is small and compact I often used a folded piece of paper or my finger to keep track of where I was reading More case examples – although they include some several chapters did not have any case examples More web resources – most of the resources were traditional article and book sources 7. What information did you find the most useful? Why? The most useful information I found in the book was the absolute necessity for academic librarians to shift the focus of our profession from managing library services and resources to being active participants in the learning and teaching process. This can be accomplished through blended librarianship – the concept of blending traditional library work with information technology, instructional technology, and design thinking with the purpose of designing meaning library experiences for students and faculty that support their educational goals. As the 2002 report from the Association of College and Research Libraries succinctly puts it, librarians "must demonstrate to the campus community that the library remains central to the academic effort.” The authors respond by saying "what better way to do that than by collaborating with faculty to ...integrate library technologies and resources into the teaching and learning process?" (p. 100). I am in complete agreement! 8. What information did you find the least useful? Why? I did not find the chapter on digital learning materials (DLMs) particularly useful. The authors used a lot of the chapter explaining what they are and the benefits of using them. Much of the discussion I felt was self-evident. It also included a long discussion on strategies for searching for DLMs and included a number of recommended sites for DLMs. The authors are addressing librarians in the book who have excellent searching and retrieval skills. I think a better use of this chapter would have been a discussion on the different kinds of DLMs, how to use them, and how to create them. Resources The Blended Librarian Portal - http://blendedlibrarian.org/ 8