Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Power of Google

Google yourself often.  You never know what you might find.  I did this yesterday and found a blog post about a presentation that I had made in Vancouver at SLA 2014.  What a treat!  Although it is a bit like Twitter, I am always a bit scared to look...

Here is the link to the post:

What I think is really neat about this blog is that she does what I do when I attend a conference - I summarize my experiences in my blog.  Great to see that I am not alone! 

Seeking Inspiration

So two weeks ago I was inspired by a workshop that I attended to create a creative commons license for my blog.  This week I was inspired by Open Access Week thus creating a ORCiD profile and adding the ID to my email signature.  And here it is:

Using ORCiD was incredibly easy and allows you to identify yourself as the author of your works.  You can link author id's from other sources such as Scopus.

So when you increase your visibility online, your readership should follow, right?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Creative Commons

I attended a very thorough copyright and teaching session yesterday and in honour of the upcoming open access week, I have been inspired to add a creative commons license to my blog.  Actually I am not sure why I haven't done this before.

CC license: Cite the author and the source, but feel welcome to read and use the information that I share (non-commercially of course).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

what a difference a day makes

Last Friday, I had the (self-declared) worse class ever.  I had looked over the notes for the previous class from last fall and thought they looked a bit boring .  I decided that I would use the same format but integrate several active learning techniques throughout the instruction.  I was prepared to have some fun.

Wrong!  The class refused to participate and I mean refuse.  I would pause for 7 seconds.  I paused for 15 seconds.  I made eye contact with the students, cracked a couple of jokes about participating in library instruction and nothing.  I was done early.  I was flustered and I couldn't think of what else I should talk about as they were obviously not interested in learning about the library.

The next class that I taught was yesterday.  I was more prepared than Friday (for fear of repeating events) but I relied on the same format.  This class participated from the moment I walked into the class.  We were chatting before the professor arrived.  They answered my questions, contributed their own thoughts and we discussed the benefits of several different search methods.  I had fun!  Lots of fun!  This is the type of class that I excel at teaching.

So what did I learn?
  1. I need to have a more detailed conversation with the professors every year.  I need to ensure that the students have been given their research assignment in advance of my class.  Together, we need to discuss what are the learning outcomes for the class and share feedback from the previous year's class.
  2. I need to be a bit more assertive when asking for answers.  The Health Science folks pick people at random to answer questions.  I have never done this, but I need to start.
  3. I will start preparing a back up plans for situations when the students are not participating
  4. And finally, I think I will begin each class with the statement "I have two classes prepared.  One that will be delightful but requires you to participate.  You will learn a lot and will likely be very engaged in the materials that I have to share.  The other will be completely boring and will require nothing on your part."  Well, perhaps not that exactly - but something like that!


Yesterday I asked for some sample search terms from my class in Biological Engineering.  My plan was to use their term as a thesaurus search in Engineering Village.  One student suggested 'cherry stoner'.  We tried that with no luck.  I asked the student if there was another term that he thought we could use.  We then tried 'cherry pitter' instead which was equally unsuccessful. 

Try, try again -  I thought we could search more broadly first and then move to more specific results after so we tried pitter and then stoner.  Context is everything in a search.  I hadn't intended on looking up information for the term stoner, but was very relieved that we were searching in Engineering Village and not in Google. 

It became the perfect opportunity to talk to the students about the benefits of using a highly specialized database.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

and then this happened

I had a lesson in 'thinking on your feet' yesterday.  I was asked to provide a library orientation session for new students in a graduate program.  The professor asked me to follow the outline that I used last year - which caused me to assume that I would again have an hour for more presentation. 

Looking at the notes, I thought my previous session looked a bit boring, so I thought I would try and integrate a couple of active learning techniques as well as an ice-breaker activity.  I worked away at the content and thought that I had a really neat lesson planned for the class.

I arrive at the class and the professor states that he has some comments to make first and then it will be my turn.  I should have at least 20 minutes.

Yikes!  I planned how I could adapt the session while he gave his presentation.

I made a quick joke about my abbreviated session and then delivered key pieces of information that I thought they would require.  I wasn't able to add any active learning techniques to the class, but there was a lot of thoughtful questions at the end.  The energy in the room (including mine) led me to believe the session was well received.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014