When a Tweet Provokes Thought

I’ve just found this tweet in my feed, and it set me thinking.  The person who posted it (Cristina Costa, at the University of Strathclyde) has been at a Scottish information literacy event.  I was aware of it through following Twitter, but didn’t hear about it in time to consider attending.

The image attached is a circle divided into four quadrants:-

  • Develop Skills – Educators, Skills and Confidence
  • Improve Access – Learners,  Access [??]
  • Empower – Leaders, Drive Innovation
  • Enhance – Curriculum and Assessment

So, in my rather unique position as simultaneously academic librarian, postdoc researcher and PGCert student, where do I fit in?  Today, I was talking to third year undergraduates about online resources, referencing and bibliographic referencing software.  We didn’t go into any details about how exactly RefMe,  Mendeley or Zotero work – in an hour to cover all the above, it was enough to mention that they all do roughly the same thing, and are worth considering.  In a sense, it was ME developing my skills as an educator (1), at the same time as I was improving the learners’ access (2) by informing them about what was available and how best to exploit it.

Their regular course-leader was sharing the seminar with me, so I like to think that sharing knowledge about the library’s online resource provision was empowering my colleague (3), whether by providing reminders about facilities or imparting new knowledge.  That, naturally enough, would (hopefully!) enhance the curriculum (4), and the assessment of student projects will in due course also demonstrate just how much they used the information we had given them (4 again).  However, I am not involved in the final assessments, so on this occasion I just have to hope that what I shared will prove worthwhile.

AN ASIDE, ABOUT REFME

On the subject of RefMe, I should mention that although we looked into the institutional, enhanced version, the cost was too high, so students will have to make do with individual free access.  RefMe does have impressive capabilities, and is easy to use.  I haven’t embraced it fully myself, because really, one needs only one bibliographic referencing tool, and I have Mendeley on every single device I ever use.

However, I downloaded RefMe to my android phone earlier this week.  I wanted at least to be able to demonstrate it to students.  Disappointingly, it wouldn’t scan ISBNs, wouldn’t retrieve details of books that I was pretty sure should have been retrieved, and although I’ve emailed the RefMe helpdesk, they haven’t responded yet.  I hope there will be an easy, obvious answer, because I hesitate to recommend it to students if there’s an android glitch that isn’t being talked about.  Meanwhile, I’ve uninstalled it, and await a reply!  I’ve also tweeted a query. No reply to that, either.

I downloaded a research paper about RefMe, a couple of months ago. Sat down to read it properly just now, and – well, yes, I had already added it to my Mendeley bibliography. (Shh, don’t tell RefMe!)  But it’s impressive, it really is.  The accuracy rate is hugely better than asking students to do their referencing manually using sample templates.  Here’s the report.

Hakim, Yaz El et al, 2016, The impact of RefME on the student experience. Online. https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/719144/Time_Saver_Whitepaper.pdf (Accessed 2016.11.20)

 

 

But I’m still waiting for my reply as to why I can’t scan barcodes or search for items on my Android. So I’m still wondering whether I ought to recommend it to Android users!  Frustrating.

 

 

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