The Curriculum, videos by R. David Lankes, and more is available here:
Download the handout: SJSU-SLIS-SalzburgCurriculum_Flyer-2
The Curriculum, videos by R. David Lankes, and more is available here:
Download the handout: SJSU-SLIS-SalzburgCurriculum_Flyer-2
Beautiful Connections: Questions in Distance Education
Distance Education SIG
Convener: Nora Bird, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The session will explore new research by three presenters on the connection opportunities that extend beyond the virtual classroom. Presenters will explore walled gardens, communities of practice, and ego- centric analysis of connectedness.
Presenters: Michael Stephens, San Jose State University; Kyle Jones, University of Wisconsin at Madison; Jennifer Branch, Joanne de Groot, and Kandise Salerno, University of Alberta; and Fatih Oguz and Nancy Poole, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the connections I make in a digital world. The main purpose for the reflection was to fulfil a MIS assessment on Online Personal Learning Networks [OPLN] in Dr. Michael Stephens Fall 2012 Transformative Learning & Technology Literacies class. I think that Richardson and Mancabelli’s description of an OPLN as a unique learning environment where ‘we learn what we want or need to learn using the vast resources and people online’ is fitting (2011, p.3). This method of informal learning complements traditional learning and helps us to function better in all aspects of our daily life: at home with family and at work.
What excited me most about creating an OPLN was that I had to figure out what information I needed and where this was going to come from. This was a personal journey that only I could take; I set the direction and the path to follow. I also had to think about how I would curate what I found. Organising the information into one space or place had its benefits: ease of curation, portability and accessibility spring to mind immediately. The end result is more than simply an assessment; it is a practical tool that I can use throughout my career as an academic librarian.
Diving head first into the ocean of information that is ‘the internet’ works for some folk, though I needed something more structured or defined to begin with. As my OPLN was unique to me, I asked myself two questions:
I used the first question to form my goals statement highlighting my main information needs for both groups as below:
Professionally, in my role as a teaching librarian at a New Zealand University, it was important for me to keep informed about:
With my studies, and particularly in relation to my research project, it was important for me to keep informed about:
In categorising my main information needs, the scope of my resources falls broadly into the following four areas:
Having defined my resources, the next step was to start collecting relevant information. I needed a discovery tool and, though I hadn’t quite realised at the time, I had been using one religiously for the past few months.
My discovery tool of choice: Twitter
It still amuses me, even now, that the majority of information resources that appear on my OPLN were sourced from one tool: Twitter. Yes, Twitter. This would be my answer to the ‘who, what, and where’ question I raised earlier.
I had created a Twitter account in 2009 and my activity between then and mid-2012 consisted of a whopping 40-ish tweets. In hindsight, my use of Twitter and my knowledge of its capabilities were pretty, well, pitiful. In the early stages of the LIBR 281-14 programme, each student was encouraged to create a Twitter account (if they didn’t already have one) and use it as part of the class engagement. We were encouraged to share links to relevant or interesting articles, webpages, and anything else we could find. Within two months of starting the programme, I had tweeted more times than in the previous 3 years! I am thankful we were encouraged to use Twitter as an information discovery tool. It wasn’t until I began putting my OPLN together that I truly understood its value in my personal learning.
What I love most about Twitter is its ability to filter information*. On the suggestion of a work colleague I monitored twitter feeds using first, Tweetdeck, and then secondly, Hootsuite (I actually preferred the first as the interface was more to my liking even though they look similar). Once I found people to follow, and by people I mean librarians, fellow MIS students and educators, I started to get a ‘feel’ for how information is best dispersed through this platform. For me, Twitter is like an index to the internet and is a simple way to conduct an environmental scan on a topic of interest with, dare I say it, minimal effort on my part. Naturally, I had to read any tweets and click through links for myself to see if the information suited my needs. The hard part though, finding the information in the first place, was done by those I followed: brilliant individuals passionate about their interests and wanting to share them with the world.
Interestingly, since using Twitter I’ve noticed it is used in more and more places. I used it myself as an engagement tool within my presentation slides at the LIANZA 2012 Conference. This morning I followed live ‘tweets’ from attendees at the Ascilite2012 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand (about 190km away) using the hashtag search: #ascilite2012. When my classmates post useful links I can find these by searching #transtech. Just moments ago I received this tweet as I was writing:
The link took me to another Ascilite2012 attendee’s collection of notes on ‘Web 2.0 Pedagogy: Mobile Social Media’ and included a number of links to related websites and educator blogs – wow! While it would be great to attend this conference in person, Twitter is definitely my ‘next best thing’.
Going back to the point at hand – I now have my information sources. The next step was to find a tool for curation.
My curation tool of choice: Netvibes
I learned about Symbaloo from a classmate’s blog and I was really impressed with the look and feel it had. I experimented with the design online and whilst the interface looked great, I already had an idea of how I wanted my OPLN to look. In my mind it would look similar in format to Tweetdeck but would need to encapsulate all types of information, preferably as live feeds. As luck would have it, Netvibes was mentioned in another classmate’s blog so I gave that a try. I haven’t looked back since.
There are many of wonderful features in Netvibes. First of all, it’s free. Second, it provides enough functionality (for me at least) to successfully curate the types of information sources I wanted to share: websites, blogs, twitter feeds and follows (no surprises there!), videos and links to journal and newspaper articles.
Netvibes allows you to curate your own private and public dashboards and I expect my public OPLN will continually evolve around my topics of interest at any given time. For the new librarian or information professional, the power of connected learning through the development and curation of your own OPLN is empowering. You won’t know what you don’t know until you come across it and an OPLN can help you find things you didn’t even realise you were interested in.
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful to Dr. Michael Stephens, to my LIBR 281-14 classmates, and to the many individuals who have participated in my online personal learning network.
*IMHO educators and librarians are the best at collecting, filtering and disseminating valuable information in 140 characters or less.
Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press
Tracy Maniapoto is an Information Services Librarian at Massey University Library in Palmerston North, New Zealand and a distance student studying towards her MIS at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Tracy’s interests include mobile technologies, academic libraries and utilising Twitter to grow her PLN! You can follow her on Twitter @libr4ry_girl
Today, I’m enjoying reading the above post from the good folks at Darien Library. This is one of many posts that shares what everyone is reading in the Reader’s Advisors group. The human voice that comes through is pleasant and conversational. This may be something to roll into my courses – practical experience being the human voice of the library!
SLIS Student Research Journal is a peer-reviewed publication of San José State University School of Library and Information Science that promotes graduate scholarship and intellectual inquiry in the fields of library and information science, archives and records management, and museum studies.
For more information: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/slissrj/ LIS Educators – please share this info with your students, including the policies for submissions, etc: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/slissrj/policies.html
My essay “Beyond the Walled Garden: LIS Students in an Era of Participatory Culture” is in the newest issue: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1067&context=slissrj Here’s a brief excerpt of that article:
It makes me happy to see students, especially those who have taken my classes, lauded in the professional networks for their contributions. When an author has commented on a student’s blog post or a notable library figure “retweets” a student’s Twitter post, these actions prove that everyone can be a part of the discussion. Value is present from all who participate. The notion that only professional librarians’ opinions matter, for example, loses strength as everyone contributes. The contributions of original research by graduate students can also be part of the ongoing, scholarly conversation within our field. A strong foundation in research methods prepares students – and not just those interested in academic libraries – for performing user studies, analysis of survey data, and other inquiries. Consider, for example, the wide range of backgrounds LIS students bring to their graduate education. Many who are embarking on second careers may have insights and ideas that might benefit the greater community. Offering a mechanism for sharing and feedback, such as SRJ, gets their voices into the mix as soon as possible.
Recent MLIS graduates are gravitating to different fields than their predecessors. According to theLibrary Journal survey, respondents are working at “software and Internet companies, practicing information architecture, user interface analysis and design, and software engineering…and in medical centers and pharmaceutical companies, law firms and corporations.”
But the survey also states that graduates are accepting “lower salaries and part-time hours as retail clerks, baristas, and office assistants in order to pay the bills.”
While my motives for entering library school may be anathema to many librarians, students with my background are becoming hard to ignore.
It’s safe to say that library students are beginning to branch out—by force or by choice.
But my impression is that library and information schools don’t know how to properly court prospective “information”-oriented candidates or appeal to my colleagues in the interactive field.
How can this situation be remedied? If a library school were to consult a marketing agency such as the one I work for, we’d undoubtedly recommend a media campaign to “re-position” their message and “re-brand” their image.
Many (including myself) have discovered multimedia careers by way of graphic design, copywriting, business strategy and computer programming–without formal training as “information professionals.”
Something has to change to keep library schools successfully recruiting students-and for students to remain hopeful about their future. If students think there aren’t any jobs waiting for them on the other side of their academic trek, MLIS programs face extinction.
While no one becomes a librarian for the money, no one thinks they’re going to end up without any long-term job prospects when they graduate either.
At this critical juncture in both library science and information technology, it’s incumbent on MLIS programs to not only offer classes, but also develop a solid curriculum (and encourage a non-traditional career path) for the next class of graduating librarians.
Do not miss this post at In the Library with a Lead Pipe:
Some questions from the essay:
Should library schools admit fewer students? Is the admissions process sufficiently selective? Are library school curricula and graduation requirements too similar or too distinct? Are they providing their students with the skills they need in order to get hired and do useful work? Should there be licensing exams for librarians? What data would we need to collect in order to come up with useful answers to these questions?
Here’s another snippet – please go read the whole thing and comment…
I thought this would be the easy part of this essay. With the help of a Presidential Task Force on Library Education, ALA’s Committee on Accreditation updated its Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies in 2008 and released a statement of Core Competencies in Librarianship in 2009; it also released a revised second edition of its Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures in 2011. As is demonstrated in aLibrary Journal article by Norman Oder on the Presidential Task Force on Library Educationand in the Committee on Accreditation’s own Standards Review blog, many within the information professions take the accreditation process seriously, and there can be significant debates surrounding accreditation policy.
ALA’s Office of Accreditation helps to vet applicants for the External Review Panelist pool, and also supports the accreditation process by maintaining a directory of currently accredited programs, as well as a list of all programs accredited since 1925. However, no one at ALA officially knows how many students graduate each year from the programs it accredits. When I asked for this information, I was directed to ALISE, the Association for Library and Information Science Education, which produces an annual Statistical Report.
The ALISE reports, which are compiled from questionnaires submitted annually by each accredited program, provide a great deal of data and analysis. However, I discovered a few problems when I tried to make use of ALISE data for this project:
How cool is this recent ad for the position of Program Officer, Digital Media & Learning at the MacArthur Foundation?: (bolding is mine)
Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:
The Program Officer role requires graduate training and experience as a researcher or designer, with a strong grasp of research and theoretical literature relating to learning, adolescent development and new media, and practical, “on-the-ground” experience with youth, in libraries and museums or schools. He or she must be familiar with significant thought leaders and national organizations in relevant fields, and to be a respectful, collaborative colleague who can build bridges and actively engage diverse staff members, designers, entrepreneurs, youth practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in productive, vigorous debate. The Program Officer must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to function as part of an interdisciplinary team, and to work across disciplines and sectors in a rigorous environment of thoughtful intellectual exchange.
Excellent analytical and communications skills, including writing, presentations and public speaking, are required. Other essential skills include: effective interpersonal relations and an ability to organize and convey problems and issues clearly and succinctly; an ease with and openness to people who hold diverse views; and a good sense of organization and talent for managing multiple tasks with significant initiative. The Program Officer should be self-confident, collegial, and diplomatic, and have an appreciation of the role of a grantmaking institution. Computer literacy is a prerequisite for consideration, including a high level of comfort with “do-it-yourself media.”
It seems to me an LIS grad who specialized in the areas of learning, emerging technologies and research might be well-suited for the position. The emphasis on learning would have to go way beyond “User Instruction” style classes to a broader view though. Is this possible to do within the curriculum of our current LIS programs? How much customization can be expected.
This ad would make for an interesting discussion in curriculum planning sessions.
For my interview at SJSU and for my recent Trends & tech talks, I’m framing the discussion around the four thematic areas above. The slides from my Trends talk at New Jersey Library Association expand on the areas – I cannot believe I haven’t posted them:
I will be using this framework as I prep for my Participatory Service classes this fall.
I am thoroughly enjoying this issue of Library Technology Reports by Kyle M. L. Jones and Polly Alida-Farrington. Read the first chapter here to get a taste of the useful, practical and engaging work. Kenley Neufeld and I have an interview in the issue concerning WordPress as an LMS for course management. There’s also an extended version here and a TechSource post about the early stages of the project here.
The guest sections include an excellent article on utilizing WP to enhance the user experience by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson.