SUNYLA Conference Session M


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Blogging Your Way to Information Literacy
by Greg Bobish (Albany)

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SUNYLA Conference Session M

  1. 1. Blogging your way to information literacy Greg Bobish (University at Albany) - SUNYLA Conference – May 14, 2007
  2. 2. Background A blog was designed for UNL 205, our one-credit Information Literacy course The course meets 7 times, once a week for 2 hours The blog was used for in-class exercises, homework assignments, and general communication
  3. 3. Project Beginnings: Last year I attended several presentations about blogs and wikis, and became interested in trying it out I focus much of my energy on User Education, so it seemed logical to do that here too. Student engagement is something I’ve been struggling with, so maybe this would work.
  4. 4. I had started creating the blog at, but was made aware of the opportunity to use our libraries’ Movable Type account There were a few advantages to this <ul><li>Availability of local expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Customization </li></ul><ul><li>Being part of a library-wide initiative </li></ul>Technicalities
  5. 5. Technicalities (part 2) 1. Local expertise – I could ask our tech people and get a quick response when something odd happened 2. Customization – you can either use canned templates, or you can get into the code and have lots of control 3. Library-wide initiative – there are many people at UAlbany using blogs for various reasons, and we are able to share questions/solutions
  6. 6. So, here’s what it ended up looking like Now that I had a class blog, how would I use it?
  7. 7. I needed to set some goals: Generate online and in-class discussion
  8. 8. I needed to set some goals: Get them thinking about real-world info lit connections
  9. 9. I needed to set some goals: Reach students where they are (online)
  10. 10. I needed to set some goals: Provide easy contact point and course materials access
  11. 11. What did I do? Homework assignments: Students were required to post 3 comments over 7 classes This ensured that everyone participated, and that they had processed some of the topics
  12. 12. Discussion generators Various information ethics issues All-in-one devices / The end of completed publications Comments on the course
  13. 13. Discussion generators In-class exercises Surveys Strange experiments
  14. 14. They can comment to any post, and I get an email – so if they lose my email address, it’s ok Meebo widget – they can IM me directly from the blog Sample IM conversation Reaching them where they are
  15. 15. Additional bonus – easy emergency or last-minute communication channel Reaching them where they are
  16. 16. Syllabus is posted to blog Weekly assignments are posted immediately before class, with links to worksheet files Links to relevant library webpages are posted near the top Access to course materials
  17. 17. Did they really use it?
  18. 18. Pros and Cons
  19. 19. Cons Set up time – fast with defaults, slower if you want more customization Takes time to create meaningful assignments, but that’s always the case Technical difficulties, but these have been minimal, and easily resolved
  20. 20. Pros Discussions/Student contributions – better quantitatively and qualitatively Significant increase in student contact time Cuts down on “I lost the syllabus”, etc. Creates a link to outside world, they can comment, post links – more give/take Easy to make changes/corrections on the spot – no waiting for server updates
  21. 21. Conclusion Questions?