2014 Information Literacy Summit Keynote (post by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson)

On April 25th, we held our 13th annual Information Literacy Summit in Illinois. This event is a partnership between Moraine Valley Community College Library and DePaul University Libraries. We are excited to share the keynote address on metaliteracy, information literacy, MOOCs, and threshold concepts featuring Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey.

Changing Models, Changing Emphases: The Evolution of Information Literacy featuring Trudi Jacobson & Tom Mackey

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Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book,Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

Using the New IL Framework to Set a Research Agenda by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

[I have posted on the new (draft) Information Literacy Framework from ACRL here, and you can also read the thoughts of others here.]

As we approach the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas (in June) where our task force will unveil a more complete draft, I wanted to offer some thoughts on how this Framework connects to undergrads with a special nod toward my community college colleagues. (I do not speak for the Task Force in this post.)

As the Task Force has acknowledged, we are basing our work on the groundbreaking work of Lori Townsend, Korey Burnetti, and Amy R. Hofer who almost single-handedly have pushed our profession into a new way of thinking about information literacy (see Townsend, L., Brunetti, K., & Hofer, A. R. (2011). Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 11, 3, 853-869). The new Information Literacy Framework is built around a series of threshold concept that define a line between the expert and the novice. When the novice crosses these thresholds, the novice moves toward becoming an expert.

To me, it is very important for those of us working with first-year students to understand that many of our students will not cross these thresholds in the first year. For those of us in community colleges, we must recognize that many of our students may not cross these thresholds while they are attending our institutions. They may cross these thresholds as upperclassman after they transfer or maybe after they have entered the workforce. However, this does not mean that these thresholds do not apply to us or are not useful to those of us working with first and second-year students. It is our job to assess where our students are in reaching these thresholds and then to find ways in our curriculum to increase their ability to move forward.

I have heard from several community college librarians who are concerned that the new Framework does not connect to our career programs (vocational certificates). While I understand the concern, I do not agree, and I wanted to offer my perspective (not speaking for the Task Force).

To take an example, the most common concern is that the threshold concept “Scholarship is a Conversation” does not connect to these career programs. I would argue that there many areas of discourse around the careers/professions offered by community colleges. These areas look much like scholarly discourse in many ways. They deal with theory, ethics, technology, and general approaches to what counts as knowledge within the respective professions. Professions as wide ranging as welding (yes, there are welding journals), nursing, automotive, massage therapy, polysomnography, respiratory therapy, and others have professional literatures where ideas are exchanged, new approaches are developed, and old approaches are invalidated. All areas of professional study have a level of discourse–a conversation–that makes meaning for the profession. The threshold concept “Scholarship is a Conversation” refers to the scholarship around traditional academic disciplines as well as the scholarship around all career programs.

I think all of the thresholds in the new Framework can be equally applied to career programs. Each vocational program has a living literature, professional ethics, and core theories upon which the profession rests. It is up to those of us who work to build information literacy skills within career students to adapt these concepts to meet their programmatic needs.

Additionally, I have heard from some librarians that the new Framework is not applicable to one-shot sessions. I would argue that one-shot sessions work to build underlying (often searching) skills in students. It doesn’t really matter whether we are using the existing IL standards or the new Framework, the one-shot session is a very small piece of the larger information literacy picture. Even under the existing standards,  I do not recall anyone thinking that a student would be “information literate” after a one-shot session. I am excited about the Task Force’s work because the new Framework is an attempt to define information literacy with greater depth beyond the information-literacy-as-searching definition which often underlies much of the teaching we do in one-shot sessions. Information literacy is more than searching.

The new Framework is an opportunity to offer a definition of information literacy with more depth and meaning to the communities we serve. Once the new Framework is completed and approved by the ACRL board, our work is not done. As a profession, we have the opportunity to define a research agenda around the new Framework. I would be interested to read research into the following:

1. Are there other threshold concepts not included in this Framework?
2. How well do the proposed threshold concepts hold up when tested in the field?
3. What are the steps that faculty members and librarians must take to move new students toward these thresholds?
4. Do students tend to cross these thresholds at different times?
5. How do we adapt professional and/or disciplinary IL standards into new Frameworks based on threshold concepts?

As librarians, our “discipline” works between traditional disciplines/career fields. But, we should recognize that our discipline swansonphotostill needs a research agenda that builds theory and makes our profession more effective. To me, information literacy is at the core of what we do and our research agenda should be built upon it. The new Framework presents a chance to move our research forward.

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Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book,Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

Graphic Novel Symposium — #comicculture by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

GN CardImage

We are very excited about our upcoming Graphic Novel Symposium, which will be in September of 2014. Check out our website, http://www.morainevalley.edu/comicculture. We are aiming to create an academic event that can be utilized by our faculty members in the arts and humanities (and maybe other areas of the curriculum).  We’ll be featuring faculty lectures, local comic shops, a gaming event, and a cosplay event.

We’ve been working on the marketing for this ,  and we recruited one one of our awesome catalogers, Brenda Lozano, as our model for our images. Yes, it’s true. When Brenda is not cataloging our electronic resources and helping to write our metadata standards, she is modeling.  You can see the results of this shoot at our downloads page.  Also, check out this short video about the photo shoot.

Behind the Scenes: Graphic Novel Symposium Photo Shoot

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Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book,Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

#hyperlibMOOC in Office Hours – Offering MOOC again in Spring 2015

My new column is up at Library Journal, all about our research concerning The Hyperlinked Library MOOC. Also, I’m very happy to announce we’ll be teaching a revised and updated version of the #hyperlibMOOC in Spring 2015.

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/04/opinion/michael-stephens/lessons-from-hyperlibmooc-office-hours/

LIBRARIAN’S ROLES

Kyle and I wrote a paper for the proceedings of the 16th Distance Library Services Conference this month in Denver based on this post-MOOC survey question: “Reflecting on your MOOC experience, what roles do you think librarians might play within MOOCs?” The identified roles include:

  • Guide Rarely in the library, working on the go, from home or third place, or amid the MOOC community served, the librarian gives learners what they want and need, with an arsenal of technological tools.
  • Access Provider Building, curating, and sharing resources to help learners wherever they may be, without the confines and barriers we’re accustomed to. This librarian works with authors, scholars, and other content providers to make resources available as openly as possible. Contracts may include “MOOC clauses” for open access.
  • Creator Librarians create large-scale, small-scale, or “just right” formalized courses for their constituents across a wide spectrum of topics and varying degrees of focus.
  • Instructor New platforms and methods of offering learning can extend how librarians instruct those they serve. These new environments will encourage librarians to capture and curate more knowledge and package it for anywhere, anytime learning.

LESSONS LEARNED

As travel and conference budgets continue to shrink, I hope there will be more opportunities for open, sweeping, global learning such as ­#hyperlibMOOC. Going forward, an LIS professional might continue to use such platforms to keep current with emerging ideas and issues in librarianship as well as specific subjects of interest. The library advocacy MOOC taught by Wendy Newman at the faculty of information, University of Toronto, currently running, also focuses on a timely and important area of librarianship. I look forward to a rich set of communities offering lifelong learning for LIS professionals. As for #hyperlibMOOC, we’ll be updating and refining the model and offering it again in spring 2015. I hope you’ll join us.

#hyperlibMOOC: Thanks Distance Library Services Conference!

dlscGreetings from Denver! I’m here to present this paper from our #hyperlibMOOC research:

Stephens, M. & Jones, K. M. L.  (2014, April). “Emerging Roles: Key Insights from Librarians in a Massive Open Online Course” proceedings of 16th Distance Library Services Conference, Denver, April 2014.

The slides are here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/StephensJonesDistanceLibraryServicesConf.pdf

Other Resources:

Lessons from #hyperlibMOOC: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/04/opinion/michael-stephens/lessons-from-hyperlibmooc-office-hours/

A Genius Idea?: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/opinion/michael-stephens/a-genius-idea-office-hours/

Learning Everywhere: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/04/opinion/michael-stephens/learning-everywhere-office-hours/

Learning to Learn: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/06/opinion/michael-stephens/learning-to-learn-office-hours/

Infinite Learning: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/10/opinion/michael-stephens/infinite-learning-office-hours/

#hyperlibMOOC Research: http://tametheweb.com/hyperlibmooc-research/

Your Curriculum is Not About 3D Printers or Zombies By TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio. While there, I had the opportunity to talk with Justin Hoenke (among many folks) who is also a contributor to this blog. We discussed his work at the Chattanooga Public Library and, specifically about the use of their 3D printer. Listening to him talk, it really struck me that at the basic level Justin does not really care about the 3D printer. The 3D printer is all well and good, but the thing that he is really after is the learning, the creativity, that the printer enables. Justin told me, “if libraries want to get into the maker movement, they don’t really need a 3D printer. They really just need a roll of duct tape and some raw materials to use in building” (this quote was given to me over drinks so please take it as more representative of his larger points as opposed to an exact quote). It was clear to me that Justin was not really a technologist, even if he uses technology to do his work. He gets excited about the things that people can do with the technology (even if the technology is a roll of duct tape).

This year my library received two awards for our campus-wide zombie game . We received the Proquest Innovation in Libraries Award from ACRL  and the Innovation of the Year Award from our own campus. I mention these awards partly because of a character flaw where I like to show off. But I also bring these up because our library’s zombie game is comparable to Justin’s 3D printer. We didn’t organize our game because we wanted to play a game. We did it because we wanted to organize a learning event that enriched the curriculum in a unique way that no other campus department could. We could pull together IT support and student activities while still making the event curricular giving faculty a tool to use to create assignments. Faculty members from across the curriculum created assignments so that their students could participate. This included microbiology, nursing, statistics, massage therapy, criminal justice, writing, speech, and others.

It wasn’t too long ago when it was trendy for administrators within higher education to merge the library with IT departments. Obviously, every institution has their own reasons and goals when they reorganize, but this move always concerned me a little bit. I always have felt that moving libraries outside of the academic division sort of missed what libraries are all about. Moving libraries to IT emphasizes their role as learning infrastructure and DE-emphasizes their role in learning. And I have always thought that the whole point was learning. Perhaps, David Lankes makes the best point in The Atlas of New Librarianship. He notes that librarians can no longer think simply about service communities, but that librarians must focus on the learning needs of those service communities. It’s about curriculum.

So, what’s your curriculum? Your curriculum is simply the learning needs of community. Your curriculum ties together resources, events, swansonphotospace, classes, technology, and other services aimed at learning. Your curriculum recasts the purpose of your library away from stuff, away from content. Your curriculum doesn’t just bring you face-to-face with your community. Your curriculum brings you face-to-face with your learners. And, most importantly, your curriculum is not about 3D printers or zombie games.

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Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book,Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

People, Libraries & Technology – A Weblog by Michael Stephens