information literacy

Notes on "Hacking the Learner Experience"

Hacking the Learner Experience: Techniques & Strategies for Connecting with Your Instructional Ecosystem
Brian Mathews, Associate Dean, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Andy Burkhardt, Emerging Technologies Librarian, Champlain College, Burlington, VT
Lauren Pressley, Associate Director of Learning and Outreach, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

  • The presenters had mapped out class-by-class what students need to learn from each course.
  • “Threshold concept”: New way of thinking; without this “portal,” student learning cannot progress. The threshold concept is:
    • Transformative
    • Irreversible
    • Integrative
    • Bounded
    • Troublesome (difficult concepts)
  • Taxonomies:
    • “Blooms”: Pyramid learning invented by Benjamin Bloom. The items lower in this pyramid are easier to teach than the items higher.
    • Perry’s taxonomy: 9 stages that students progress through in college:
      • 1st year: Students are very receptive to authority figures and believe they all know the answer
      • 2nd & 3rd years: Contextual relativism; everyone has a right to his or her own opinions
      • 4th year: Commit within the contextual relativism approach
    • Kolb taxonomy: “Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the world”:
      • Assimilators
      • Convergers
      • Accomodators
      • Divergers
  • We need to understand who our students are & where they are in the pyramid.
  • Our instruction has to be learner-centric; not content-centric. We should teach not just tools, tips & tricks, but attitudes & habits of mind. We should not just help on specific assignments, but help our students to succeed overall in their college career.
  • We should also be question-centric; not answer-centric.
  • Poll students:
    • Where do you get your information from?
    • What do you want it to do?
    • How do you search?
  •  We need to teach habits of mind. This serves students much longer than showing them how to search a database.
  • We need to create skilled questioners.
  • Instructors should become co-learners. Inquiry-based learning is a shift in perspective. We need to give up some of our power to empower our students.
  • Students are afraid to fail. This leads to the feeling of incompetence & disrupts learning. Acknowledging this difficulty could stop this vicious circle from happening. The importance of learning by failing is HUGE.
  • Things that work:
    • Gamification of learning
    • Real world experience
    • Maker spaces

Notes on "Creating a Culture of Assessment"

Creating a Culture of Assessment: Determinants of Success
Presenters: Meredith Farkas, Head of Instructional Services, Portland State University, Portland, OR, Lisa Hinchliffe, Coordinator of Instruction and Information Literacy Services, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL & Amy Harris Houk, Information Literacy Program Coordinator and Reference Librarian, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

  • Assessment of library services – particularly Instruction – should be the norm; it should be a regular part of our practice
  • Assessment is done for improvement first and foremost; not just for accountability & accreditation
  • It should be user-focused
  • All staff involved in assessment need to be learning- and curiosity-focused
  • All data retrieved should be used in decision-making
  • Library assessment is intended to improve student learning & allows us to become better teachers
  • It also helps us advocate for the library and grow our instruction program; it demonstrates the library’s value within the campus community
  • We should be holding ourselves to the same standards as other academic departments
  • We need to align faculty culture, institutional structures & leadership for change
  • Assessment requires a real change in staff thinking. The ideal internal culture needed by staff should have the following assets:
    • Trusting
    • Positive/Optimistic
    • Adaptive
    • Open communication
    • Staff feel safe experimenting
    • User-focused
    • Learning culture
    • Tolerance for the unknown/ambiguity
  • There should be both leadership from above (admins/supervisors), as well as commitment from below (other library staff)
  • Leaders need to lead by example by using data that’s collected
  • Staff should feel empowered, receive training, and know that assessment results will not be used against them
  • The presenters of this panel conducted a survey of 1,604 library directors. 672 (42%) of them responded. This survey asked the directors or heads of their library’s instruction department questions related to assessment in their library. These are the results:
    • 59% of respondents said that their institution had a culture of assessment
    • 40% said that their institution does NOT have a culture of assessment
    • 84% of respondents stated that their campus has an assessment initiative
    • 54% of respondents said that their library has no clear expectations of assessment
    • Only 59% of libraries say that they have learning outcomes
    • 59% of libraries say they do not have an assessment plan
    • 54% of respondents say that there is a shared understanding of the purpose of assessment within their library
  • These findings showed that if there is a campus-wide assessment initiative, the library is far more likely to have a culture of assessment
  • Organizing an on-going committee for assessment is a very good idea
  • These findings also showed that the libraries that did not have a culture of assessment tended to not be user-focused
  • These issues hinder a culture of assessment:
    • Lack of staffing
    • Lack of time
    • Lack of library administration leadership/support
    • Lack of expertise and access to training
    • Institution does not prioritize assessment
  • Without an institutional commitment to assessment, it’s difficult for the library to develop a culture of assessment
  • Institutions accredited by SACS are more likely to have a culture of assessment due to SACS requirements (87% of libraries)
  • We need to have a clear understanding of & expectations for assessment
  • Their article on this should be published soon
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