acrl northwest 2006 – day two

Panel: Using New Technologies for Teaching
Dr. Shaun Huston, Western Oregon University
Anne-Marie Dietering, Oregon State University
Elizabeth Breakstone, University of Oregon

Huston:

  • Uses blogs in the classroom: Teaches students how to write in multiple ways by providing informal writing opportunities that incorporate group feedback and interaction, as opposed to paper journals. Also teaches students how to write in an online environment, particularly for those who come from the other side of the digital divide.
  • Key concerns:
    • Platform: Go to IT department? No, they don’t have it now, so use something else. Now uses TypePad and LiveJournal, both of which are no cost to the student (has own subscription to TypePad).
    • Assignments: Structured assignments so that the students are logging in and participating regularly, rather than dumping the content in all at once.
    • Introduction to blogging: Had to instruct students on how to set up accounts and use the blog tools – does this in the first class.
    • Use campus blogging tools v. outside tools? TypePad allows for more customization and limiting to specific users for privacy. LiveJournal doesn’t allow for this as much and it’s in the hands of the students to set it up properly.
  • Blog use varies depending on the class and the students. Some are interact more in person than on the blog, and vice versa.
  • Based on the study he and Dietering did, students seem more comfortable with expressing themselves in the informal environment of a blog than they are in the classroom.
  • Blogs seem more intentional than email lists. You have to actually go to it to participate. And it’s more dynamic than a bulletin board. He uses the blog in team-taught classes to post assignments from the syllabus.
  • Categories and recent comments lists allow for non-linear interaction.
  • Social bookmarking: Set up an account for a specific class for course readings and information related to assignments to help understand the material.
  • Not sure if students are using each other’s bookmarks or if they are just contributing their own. Required students to cite a source from the bookmarks list in their paper.
  • del.icio.us is not screen-reader friendly, so take care if you have visually impaired students.

Dietering

  • Writing 121 – only required composition course at OSU, and librarians get a week of that for information literacy
  • Want to teach research as a learning process. Research as a conversation: eavesdropping to entering to engaging and back to eavesdropping on a different conversation. Students are not used to the eavesdropping/information gathering part.
  • Needed assignments that modeled exploratory research process at the beginning before coming to the library for more advanced processes. Works closely with the TA on developing topics.
  • Delivers assignments through Blackboard (meh).
  • Initial assignments involved doing broad exploratory searches, but the students didn’t know how to do that and were looking for specific items for their papers. Instead, they send them to reference sources online, so they sent them to Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Many students ended up using Wikipedia instead, so the librarians worked on a guide to doing exploratory research in Wikipedia. As it turns out, Wikipedia was more useful for new researchers because it is easier to find topics and has better navigation.
  • The assignment sends the students to the discussion and history pages so they can see the petty discussions and how the page is constructed over time.
  • Wikipedia will win because it has navigation and hyperlinks. Easy to go from broad topics to what the student is really interested in.
  • Assignment asks the student to note something they learned and something they need to explore. The assignment also has the student evaluate the history page and who has been editing the entry.
  • Students don’t use Wikipedia in their paper. It becomes background information.
  • “We can’t use Wikipedia because it’s terrible. I know because I write on it.” – the Resistance
  • Students learn how to evaluate the authority of sources.
  • Go to YouTube and search for wikiality

Breakstone (and channeling Annie Zeidman-Karpinski)

  • Podcast: Oral history project on the Willamette
    • Download files to listen to while at certain points along the river
    • Website included a map of the places
  • Advantage of wikis in the library: different people can use it on different computers/platforms; ideal for posting updates without having to funnel through one tech person
  • Ref desk wiki: keep track of resources for class projects
  • IM at UO – launched last spring
    • Staffed by whomever is on the desk (librarians and/or students)
    • Uses Trillian – tried GAIM, but it kept breaking
    • IM screen names included on Ask a Librarian page (should also have status indicators, but they don’t at this point)
    • Created Hello My Name is kind of stickers and put them on the public PCs to publicize the screen names.
  • Have seen a dramatic increase in use this term.
  • Future issues
    • Training use for logs – how to improve ref student instruction
    • Privacy and records retention policy (could remove identifying information for archiving the chats)
    • Centralization v. specialization
  • IM etiquette allows for gaps in conversation, which is good for desks that have only one person staffing them.
  • Could set up to forward to libref email account when logged off.

Group Discussion – all of the presenters

How do you decide what 2.0 tools to use?
When you have a need, you’ll use it.
How do you teach students how to do formal writing along with informal assignments?
Blogging in conjunction with formal assignments in writing-intensive courses hopefully will teach them the difference.
If they write more, the will become more familiar with it.
Writing on a blog is a public space, so even if you are using the vernacular, you have to learn how to construct and argument.
What role do librarians have in bridging the digital divide?
WSU-Vancouver offers workshops for their students.
Find faculty who are interested in teaching technology, or at least are interested in expanding instruction beyond the classroom.
How do we harness the knowledge of students to instruct other students on technology?
student IT helpdesk
Classmates are sometimes reluctant to help each other with technology if they aren’t completely comfortable with it.
Do people IM from in the library?
Yes! Don’t want to get up and go to the refdesk b/c computers/space are a high commodity.
It can also be useful for IMing with colleagues in the building rather than calling or running around.
Make sure your policy allows them to IM in the library.
What about our catalogs? Where do they fit in?
LibraryThing has interesting implications for traditional ILS systems
NC State front-end to ILS – Andrew Pace’s snazzy coding covering up ugly Sirsi
Evergreen open source ILS from Georgia