I attended the afternoon session of Electronic Pedagogy presented by Dr. Dave Yearwood on September 24, 2010. Dr. Yearwood is an Associate Professor and chair of the University of North Dakota’s Technology department. Some of the important ideas I gained during the presentation include:

  • Learn by doing. Don’t get too caught up in the technology when using it to create instructional modules and tools. Jump in with idea and try it and see what happens. You won’t learn unless you experiment and allow yourself time to make mistakes.
  • Your creations do not have to be perfect. They can be unpolished, rough around the edges, and they can still be useful to students. Created less-produced tutorials for content that will change rapidly and more polished tutorials for content that will endure over time.
  • Use technology prepare students for class time. Use class time for discussion or other activities that don’t work as well in an asynchronous environment. You don’t have much class time, so use that time wisely. Any lectures or information you can provide your students with electronically will buy you extra time with them in class.
  • Before you start creating an online tutorial, map out what you are going to do. When you map it out in advance, you can focus on using the technology well rather than the content while you are creating the module.
  • Create a variety of instructional resources for your students. Use audio, screen captures, and video. Try to combine audio with visual. For example, capture audio of you discussing the information on the syllabus and pair it with a screen capture or video tutorial of you highlighting important pieces of information in it.

Breaking the Ice, Building the Momentum: Successful Strategies for Beginning a Library Instruction Session

Presenters: Carrie Donovan and Rachel Slough, Indiana University Bloomington

Summary: This session was about starting a library session with an active learning activity to increase student engagement and get them energized. My favorite idea was to play the game “Telephone” to illustrate why it is important to trace information trails and explain how information can change depending on the source and time it is accessed. Great way to illustrate problems with Wikipedia.

Merging rational thought with creative thought

Research Study

Is active learning good in the first 5 minutes?

First 5 minutes, you will learn the most

Traditional approach – these are my learning outcomes and then talking to teach them

Library Instruction Cookbook – lesson plans for active learning

- loss of control
- early burn-out
- too forced or juvenile
- time
- cheese-factor

Evaluating the culture of the class before they come – are they used to discussion and engagement activities?

- enthusiasm contagious
- fun
- pedagogically sound approach

- catching students’ attention

- use clickers in first 5 minutes
- do informal poll/ ask silly questions

-  told riddles or brain tease (don’t tell answer until the end)
 - challenge/unexpected things will happen

Regret the air – news stories not checking their sources (good example of importance)

Clips of Office and 30 Rock dealing with Wikipedia

Colbert’s Wikiality

Current news story that is really relevant – chat roulette – turn into a teachable moment

Getting class to think about audience

Librarians with tattoos – elicits conversation

Connecting with what students already know

Make things into the library relevant

Don’t quote me

Investigate what’s in the box

Spanning the University to Improve Information Literacy e-Instruction

Presenters: Lindsay Miller, Rob Withers, and Eric Resnis, Miami University

Summary: This session was a little disappointing to me because I thought it would more specifically address using online tools to teach info literacy. Instead it was about a campus-wide collaborative project to create online modules to teach students about academic integrity. 

De-emphasized distance ed and online learning

Education about academic integrity
Miami e-Scholar Module

1 to 2 hours
Common framework

Development Team: all librarians

Slow clunky, navigation problems

Series of readings on 5 topics
Self-assessment exercises
Final quiz (must get 15 of 18 questions)
Email certificate of completion

19 students worked with student-led teams
Want and needed student feedback

Minimize the wordiness
Gave feedback

Resistance to mandatory
Overlap with other tutorials
Branding was important

Integrity Quickstart (IQ)
- complement to e-Scholar
- partnered with IT and Student Affairs

Common Craft – In real language

Non-linear, integrates video
Prezi.com – free product, very visual, navigation tool

No grade or mechanism to see if student visited the page

A Librarian and a Hashtag: Embedded Virtually in a Classroom via Twitter

Presenter: Ellen Hampton Filgo, Baylor University

Summary: Presenter experimented with using Twitter as an instructional/learning tool in a small class. Proved to be a great experience – allowed her to be virtually embedded in a live class during the class meeting times and to provide resources to students in a “just in time” manner to students when their interest was ignited. Also, allowed her to form a much stronger connection to the students (she became “our librarian” to them) and to be involve with their research processes from the start.

Other In-Class Experiments with Twitter:

  • Monica Rankin – UT Dallas – used Twitter during lecture class
  • Cole Camplese – Twitter backchannel at Penn State

Her experiment – use Twitter in a smaller class and involve a librarian in the process

  • Worked with Dr. W. Gardner Campbell, director of Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Used in New Media Studies class
  •   9 students all honors students
  • Intro to new media – using media tools to help learn Required to blog, tag in deliscious, participate in class discussion via Twitter Motherblog

How she managed the project

  • tied everything together Used Tweetdeck -
  • monitored group and hashtag 
  • created a Twitter group – to group as a class
  • instructor asked the students to greet the Librarian in every class
  • sent links to the class as they met - books in catalog – websites, wikipedia – basically related to the author being discussed – google scholar citations
  • explained library resources – explained twitter (RT, @ replies)
  • included some just for fun Tweets
  • invitations to come to ref desk
  • students attended a social media conference at the college – saw a small a model of broadcast tweeting – when it hit home how Tweeting works


  • model what you want your students to do
  • Librarian Jazz – improvisational – join in with the discussion without adding the wrong note -
  • make connections between class and the students own personal knowledge Blogging
  • she made great connection with students -
  • experience enhanced by posting to class blog- posted about library resources – getting at student’s research process a lot earlier – send resources even earlier in the process

Student responses

  • very positive
  • Asked for help in other classes
  • Students very comfortable with asking librarian for help
  • referred to her as “our librarian”
  • Informal survey – good feedback – students more aware of library resources “including librarians themselves”
  • Still gets questions through Twitter and Facebook

Best Practices

  • Use a hashtag
  • Archive class tweets (Library of Congress)  – TwapperKeeper (can’t do it after the fact)
  • Use a URL shortener that uses statistics
  • Considerations: What about “Tweckling”? – heckling the librarian or other participants
  • Need to consider how you will set things up
  • Can just do one class session – time consuming

Points to Consider:

  • Is Twitter just a distraction?
  • modeling good behavior – laptop is more than just notetaking, can learn with
  • Great for both large and small experiences
  • Are certain classes better suited?
  • Not sure yet Future Directions – blogging a lot more – good interaction, more opportunity for interaction
  • how do you scale up?

How to initiate this experience:

  • follow tweets/blogs of students Find profs who use twitter professionally or personally
  • Integrate Twitter into embedded librarian program New media, journalism, educational technology
  • She did follow students and they were required to follow her
  • Students were allowed to lock down account for privacy

Additional tools

  • Tweetmenot – can mute users  discussions
  • Yammer – internal network connected to particular domain
  • Edmoto – educational network
  • Twitter HotSeat – use institutional account

xeturahwoodley Xeturah Woodley is the Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Central New Mexico Community College where she has been teaching for 14 years. She teaches online classes, has develops a program to train faculty to teach online, and boasts a retention rate of 85% or higher for online education. Here are some of her strategies for teaches distance students:

1. Connect with Student before the class begins. Woodley calls her students on the phone to make sure they are ready for class.

2. Give clear directions on what they need to do to prepare for the first day of class. Make sure they are engaged from day one.

3. Respond to student inquiries within 24 hours. (Tell them you will always get back to them within 48 hours for some cushion room and tell them the times when you are not available, i.e. weekends).

4. Put all expectations in a syllabus and go over it in detail. Teach students to have back up plans and get them from them in writing – so you can ask them why they didn’t use their back up plan if they try to make excuses. Have resources immediately available to students if they do need help.

5. Admit your mistakes – Woodley gives extra credit to students if she messes up. This keeps her students logging in to check up on her and gets them more engaged in the class.

6. Put words of wisdom from former students on the front page.

7. Give students assignments that require them to login. The more they login, the more engaged, the better they do in the class.

8. Provide consistent feedback.

9. Create opportunities for building community.

Photo by carbonnyc, flickr cc

Photo by carbonnyc, flickr cc

The first two Conference Papers I attended at ACRL 2009 concerned gaming’s influence on teaching information literacy.

Gaming Research to Inform Library Instruction

The first, We’re Not Playing Around: Gaming Literate Librarians = Information Literate Students featured panelists from Washington State University and the University of Washington-Tacoma and focused on the way in which gaming has influenced the way in which students learn and how an understanding of this learning can be leveraged to provide effective information literacy instruction.

Theories about evaluating games for information and media literacy value:

  • We can evaluate games using tools we already have in place
  • Sometimes it’s worth setting the content aside and examining the structure of the game
  • Just like reading a text over again to look for multiple meanings, it’s worth playing a game several times to look for multiple meanings
  • Games have outcomes, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and criteria

Observations about leveraging gaming skill to understand student learning:

  • Gaming environments often revolve around collaboration and apprenticeship – this generation of students increasingly expect not to work alone and are acustomed to working with and learning from their peers – they have the cultural expectation that they can ask and gain help from others
  • Gamers often understand and appreciate the benefits of teamwork
  • In the gamining environment, there is no central authority (this ties into Gail Bush’s Keynote at the Info Lit Summit)
  • The average length of time to answer a question in a virtual game is 32 seconds (not necessarily accurate – but if wrong, usually quickly corrected by other responders) (again this ties into Bush’s theory of accuracy being traded for efficiency)
  • Peers enjoy displaying their knowledge and assisting others (may lend itself to student-built resources moderated by librarians)
  • Games have conventions, just like websites and databases
  • Games teach through scaffolding – offering only a few options, just enough to get to the next level
  • Games teach an understanding (and sometimes even a documentation) of the process

General stats:

97% of 12-18 year olds play games; 63% of college students are regular gamers; difference between genders not significant, but their experience of games differ

Leveraging Game Playing Skills to Teach Information Literacy

A librarians and game design students from Champlain University presented Percolating the Power of Play in which they discussed collaborative efforts between their librarians and students in their Emergent Media Center to design and create two computer games specifically intended to teach information literacy.

Info literacy is an important part of Champlain’s core curriculum and the librarians see every student every semester all four years of their college career. Their goal in creating these games was to set up a series of goals but give students the liberty to achieve goals in their own way and to support lifelong learning that extends beyond the classroom walls

To connect games to information literacy, they employed a narrative model of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and a model of the information search process. The two student developers discussed the games they had created:

1. Searchlight – has narrative story of a girl at a lighthouse at night searching for information, metaphorical resources are represented by islands, and the game is created to challenge both novice and advanced students

2. Dustin King in Locked and Literate – player is given assignments in the form of a question; must evaluate electronic databases, websites, and printed material; player must asses information in order to keep going

They also discussed how simple games can be created to promote information literacy. In one class, a librarian asks students to describe a Coke can she brings into class. This teaches brainstorming keywords, gets students to think critically about a common everyday object, and fuses fun with information literacy and provides a positive first time connection to the librarian.

Photo by Faeryan, Flickr CC

Photo by Faeryan, Flickr CC

At ACRL 2009, I attended a session by University of Wyoming librarians called “Widening the Net: A research-based collaboration to foster success among at-risk learners”. They were reporting on a survey they conducting concerning the reading skills of their students.

Here are some ideas I took away from the session:

- Studies have shown a decline in the reading abilities of college students

- At risk-readers have had less practice, have fewer meta-cognitive strategies, and are less able contextualize the information they read

- Many students lack any kind of reading strategies

- At UofW, Information Literacy is a required part of the core curriculum and the first-year composition course; librarians meet with students between 3 and 5 times during their first year.

- U of W conducting a study of students evaluating their own reading skills

- Some of the findings: most of them rated themselves as average or below average readers; students do not read in library or social spaces – mostly read at home; 74% say they read news online and 63% read wikipedia or online reference articles; 71% read less than 10 emails a day and 65% read less than 10 social networking post a day

- Students are not even reading online as much as originally suspect, most spent less than 3 hours reading a day online

- Students strongly prefered reading print vs. online

- Librarians need to provide explicit instruction on reading strategies; promote social reading goals and habits; ensure printability of online material

Som suggestions/ideas from audience:

  • Glendale Community College has gotten a tool to scan text and read it aloud to students both with disabilities and those with different learning styles – could help at-risk readers
  • Deego (sp?) is a site that creates post-it notes for websites


At the “Enriching Learning Environments Through Technology” Conference, ECC Economics Professor Leticia Starkov gave a wonderful presentation called, “Enhancing the Learning Process with Internet in the Classroom”. Starkov discussed how her ability to bring in up-to-date information into the classroom has improved dramatically because of the internet. She uses data, news articles, and audio files that she gathers from the web to ground her instruction in current events that have relevance to her students. In addition, she has engaged students by having them research and provide internet sources and has used the internet to gather class data and share that data with other classes and instructors outside of ECC.

It was inspiring to see an instructor helping her students gain information literacy skills and apply those skills to their learning. I commented that a librarian can play a helpful role in aiding an instructor in  integrating internet resources into their instruction. Sometimes I think instructors may not realize how helpful librarian collaboration can be in projects like this. For example, Starkov mentioned that when she asks students to submit their own links to economic data online, many of them come up with links to inaccurate or questionable information. This would be a great point for a librarian to step in and teach students how to evaluate websites and think critically about their information source.

The potential for librarian-faculty on activities such as this is really exciting to me. The question is how do we make more faculty aware of how librarians can help them to create and facilitate activities such as this. After the session ended, two faculty members came up to me and asked how they could collaborate with the library. Starkov gave me a perfect opportunity to promote our services, and I think I’ll keep looking for opportunities in campus-wide forums to remind faculty that we are there to help them too.

Photo by by terri_brown, Flickr CC

Barry Dahl, photo by by terri_brown, Flickr CC

I attended two wonderful presentations by Barry Dahl at the Enriching Learning Environments Through Technology conference hosted by ECC on March 6th. Dahl is the Vice President of Technology and the e-Campus at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and is also on the Board of Directors for the Instructional Technology Council.

The two presentations I attended were “Teaching with Technology: Myths and Realities” and “e-Learning Myth Busters: Is Conventional Wisdom Wrong?”. Beyond the great content of each of the talks, I was really impressed with his method for presenting and teaching the information he covered. In both sessions he used clickers (very powerful clickers too – according to Dahl, they were about $30 a piece and responses would be detected as long as you were in the same “zip code” as the receiver) to encourage participation and engage the audience. He asked some practice questions to get everyone comfortable using the technology and also some questions which helped gage who was in the room (Faculty, Staff, Administrators) and what their experience was using different forms of technology. 
Most notably,  he ingrated clicker participation with the ideas he was presenting. His talks were composed of a series of ideas, thoughts, and rumors he had heard regarding his topic. He first presented the idea and then polled the audience with the clickers as to whether they believed it was a “myth” or a “reality”. For example, one of the thoughts he presented was “Wikipedia is practically worthless for academic purposes”. At the conference, 18% of the participants said this was a reality and 82% said it was a myth. He then went on to express his own thoughts on the topic (Wikipedia does have value) and present evidence to back this up. As the presentation proceeds, he collects the data from polling that can be used to inform future presentations. He often shared with us whether our polling results were similar or different to that which he had gathered conducting this talk with other audiences.
As he was presenting, I couldn’t help but consider how useful his style of presentation would be in library instruction. It was be interesting to ask students questions like “Google has everything I need to do college-level research” or “NoodleTools can be used to create an accurate Work Cited/Bibliography page”. I found the interactive format kept me extremely engaged in the presentation. It’s fun to see how your ideas and opinions measure up to those around you and there is instant gratification from giving voice to an opinion and then immediately discussing whether or not it is true. It opened up interesting dialogues that I think would translate well while teaching information literacy.
Briefly, I wanted to point out an idea of Dahl’s that was echoed a lot while I was at the ACRL conference.  There is a basic assumption floating around that so-called “Digital Natives” have a natural ingrained competancy when it comes to technology. Dahl, along with several librarians at ACRL challenge this assumption with the idea that Gen Xers are more confident with technology than they are competant. They are less technologically savvy than we think and usually are good at using a limited number of technologies somewhat well. As we introduce new technologies into their learning environments, it is important to keep this in mind.
The actual slides used during Dahl’s presentation of “Teaching with Technology: Myths and Realities” are available here.

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