Everything’s Coming Together

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving so I gave myself the week off from blogging. Aside from being sick a few weeks ago, this was the longest break I’ve had from the library since I started working. I enjoyed having some time to reflect on everything, although my holiday didn’t quite go as planned. My parents came from NY for the holiday and stated off staying with my aunt who lives about an hour and a half from here. The night they arrived my Mom fell in their driveway and broke both of her wrists. We had planned to do some cultural & touristy stuff in Charlotte over the break but instead we spent the weekend at home to make things easier on my Mom. We still had a good time, and an excellent meal on Thanksgiving. If anyone has advice or suggestions on living with two broken wrists I’d appreciate the input! My parents are back in NY now, and hopefully once my Mom gets casts (sometime this week or next) things will be easier for her. I wish I could help her out more, but time off is something I’m not planning to use until I’ve been here longer!

I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing online training over the last few weeks, and it’s been a good experience to tie in with the reading I’ve been doing. I finished the Hybrid Learning book, and also read Cybrarian Extraordinare. I just started reading Web-Based Instruction: A Guide for Libraries. My main goals at work right now are to migrate all of our current website content to LibGuides, and to redesign the library portion of the ACA Basic Skills classes that we teach every semester. These tasks are both about using technology in a library setting, and the latter focuses on the instruction piece. I’ve done some tutorial style trainings on our catalog system; attended some live webinars on LibGuides & Articulate,  and attended an in person session on campus about using Blackboard IM. I also taught two workshops on Plagiarism & Citations last week. The combination of this reading and experience has been very thought provoking, and I’m looking forward to redesigning the ACA class.

I really love the Articulate software, but I’m not sure if we have the budget to support buying a copy right now. It seems like an awesome way to create tutorials and quizzes. I’m still not getting how the software will work with Blackboard or even just embedded on our site to track student grades, and this is something I’ll need to figure out if we are able to purchase the software. My Dean and I met with the head of the ACA program today and had a good discussion about where we each see the library portion of instruction going in the future. I’m trying to use this week and next to do as much research into web based instruction as I can before I set out to redo the course. I know the first step is to rewrite the learning outcomes as these are the basis for the entire instruction, but I’d like to gather some more ideas first.

Teaching the two Plagiarism & Citations workshops last week was a lot of fun for me. It was nice to focus on a topic rather than on library resources, and I got a much better turnout than anyone expected. Between the 2 sessions I had over 40 students. I know they all got extra credit for attending, but I had 2 students stay to ask questions and I’ve had 4 of them come find me in the week since the workshop to ask for help. I’d call that a success! I started by playing the first minute or so of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanillai Ice followed by “Under Pressure” by Queen. I think this helped engage the students right away, and also communicated that they could be relaxed and not scared of me or the library. I used a Powerpoint (a little boring, but effective when showing how to cite!) to go through what plagiarism is, our school’s Academic Honesty policy, how to avoid plagiarism, the basics of citations, resources, and tips. I finished with a game from Lycoming College called the “Plagiarism Game”. The game has goblins that pop up and ask questions. I had the students all stand up and wouldn’t let them sit unless they raised their hand and answered a question. They all seemed shell shocked and a little peeved at first but they seemed to get into it after we started. One thing I try to make a point to do in all my instruction so far is to keep it light, use humor, and not be afraid to admit things are cheesy or that I use Google sometimes or that I know learning about plagiarism isn’t the most exciting topic. I think it all comes down to making connections with the students so they know I’m just a normal person that isn’t to be feared.

I’m going to one of our local high schools tomorrow to do the workshop with a class of students in a program we have that lets high school students take college level courses during their regular school day. I taught at the same school with our other librarian during my first month, and I’m looking forward to doing it again now that I’ve had more practice. I am glad to have the LibGuides project happening at the same time because web design is soothing to me and it’s nice to have something else to focus on to let everything I’m reading & researching digest.

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