Category Archives: General

Creativity

One of the most constructive articles about creativity in the educational context that I’ve seen in a long time, this came to my attention in a recent email.  First published in 2011, the edited article article appeared online three years ago.  Into my bibliography it goes, whether or not the PGCert portfolio is complete – professional development is continual, after all!

Veronica Harris, ‘So you want to be creative‘, in the Australian online magazine, Teacher. (14 June 2014)

Three roles – or is it four?

Four days a week, I’m an academic librarian.  One day, I’m a postdoctoral researcher.  In August, the emphasis will shift slightly to three and a half days and one and a half, for the duration of my AHRC network funding grant.

A couple of days ago I realised my SCONUL Focus article was now in print, describing how my three roles in librarianship, research and pedagogy serve one another.  I find it quite easy writing about process, and I’ve often been asked to write or speak about this kind of thing.   In fact, my PGCert project also had a focus on process: I was contemplating the best ways to support distance learners in their information needs and skills development, and although the project gave me insight into how social scientists conduct educational research, and conducting the survey and interviews was an unexpected eye-opener, at the end of the day I was writing not only about my research findings, but about process, ie, the best ways to support learners.

However, it’s more challenging and perhaps more satisfying to write engagingly and accessibly about my musicological research, because it goes deeper into my specialism.  I have several pieces of writing submitted and awaiting publication at the moment, but what’s missing is something actually on the drawing-board, being written right now.  That’s largely because I was completing the PGCert portfolio.  Librarianship happens four days a week, research a fifth, and the PGCert had to fit around family life and my spare time.   Which didn’t, to be truthful, leave any spare time for writing!

However, I remembered the other day that I gave a paper earlier this year for which I have not yet sought a published home.   Maybe, just maybe I ought to dig it out and see what needs to be done to turn it into a proper paper for submission.

Librarianship, research, pedagogy … and author.  Well, after my annual leave, anyway!

 

Blending Librarianship With Research and Pedagogy (SCONUL Focus 69, 56-59)

SCONUL is the Standing Conference of National and University Librarians.  SCONUL Focus online is an open access publication.  Vol.69 is dedicated to articles by librarians engaged in various aspects of research.  My line-manager suggested I should contribute something – this is it.
Karen McAulay, ‘Blending Librarianship with Research and Pedagogy‘, SCONUL 69, 56-59 (July 2017)
ABSTRACT: I contend that the combination of librarianship with research is beneficial both on a personal level and to the library and institution, but that the addition of a third element – pedagogy – brings even stronger benefits.

Cite This For Me (the new RefMe) doesn’t Do It For Me

To my extreme chagrin, the bibliographic software, RefMe (which I never did like, but many other folk have eagerly embraced) has now become Cite This For Me.  Your account can be carried across, but it’s useless unless you pay to be a Premium member, and there seem to be other glitches too.  I had a quick moan about it on Whittaker Live, our library blog, so I’ll just post the link to that blogpost here, to save time saying it all again.

Suffice to say, I shall now have to update any teaching materials that mentioned RefMe.  Any references to the new Cite This For Me are likely to be ascerbic, to say the least.

AND I shall have to check any mentions in my project documentation.  Aw, shucks!

(Cringe) I sound like a ClassicFM announcer!

period-481478_640I lost a bit of speed on my PGCert project during my husband’s birthday week – it was a “big” birthday and was celebrated accordingly.  With guests staying, I didn’t even attempt to do any project work.

Last weekend, therefore, I was resolved to push ahead.  On Friday evening, I transcribed my conversations with ‘Interviewee A’ and ‘Interviewee B’, so that I would only have one more to transcribe after the third interview.  (Rather alarmingly, I sound like a Classic FM announcer – this came as a bit of a shock!  Not that I don’t like listening to them, but I had no idea that my accent and tone might sound similar.  Gulp.)  However, family life and unexpected calamities got in the way for the rest of the weekend, so I haven’t done any more writing for the final report.

However,  I attempted a quick summary of some of the issues that arose, since I shall need to incorporate them into my report at some stage soon.  (Another 421 words – pathetic, considering the lengths I sometimes write!)  I won’t go into too much detail in this posting, however; my thoughts need to be refined and interpolated into the writing I’ve already done, so it would be inappropriate to write at length here.  Furthermore, I hadn’t yet done the third and last interview, which will also need transcribing and analysing.

  • My first two interviewees’ comments often reflected their status as part-time, mature distance-learners.
  • Sometimes, learners realise that their difficulties are actually connected with a previously undiagnosed problem, such as dyslexia.
  • The help of library staff is much appreciated.
  • Being able to find instructional tools/apps easily comes through as a common thread; as well as providing a range of tools, the library needs to ensure that they can easily be found.
  • Another issue raised, was that of interactive learning tools for learning how to do referencing; this ties in with questionnaire responses asking for more details about  learning how to use the online bibliographic referencing tools that are now freely available.

Although five questionnaire respondents expressed willingness to be interviewed, I only actually had three responses when I followed up the willing volunteers, so I decided to accept that there will only be three interviews.  Time is pressing, and I need to start writing up all the various components required in my portfolio!

If I wanted animation in a webcast

LIGHTEN UP!

One of the responses to my survey suggested lightening up my “learning experience” webcasts with video, cartoons etc.  This is an interesting challenge – animations and cartoons are not in my librarian/postdoctoral researcher/info skills trainer skillset.  So, I thought, surely there must be a place where I can download gifs, so I can use them sparingly to engage my library-user audience.

THE EXPERIMENT

But where? I started with Giphy.  Supposing I was going to do the referencing and citation webcast again with some animation included.  What would I need?  Cue for some keyword searching.  How would Giphy handle terms like this?  I would want my gifs to have a uniformity of style, for preference, and I’d want them to inform or at least illustrate appropriately

Library (this is from UCL Institute of Education). The poor chap makes me feel stressed just  watching him!  I could use the same gif to illustrate Studying.  It’s animated, but I don’t personally feel it adds very much to the kind of presentation I’m aiming for.

giphy (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information (this experiment really is so time-consuming!)

giphy (3).gif

Bibliography (I’m struggling here) – and this is hardly going to raise a smile!

giphy (4)

  • Harvard style – not a good search term! Try Harvard style referencing.  Harvard referencing? Harvard citation? No.  Referencing? Nope!

Citation. Actually, this gif – which came up as one of the most relevant – is ironically more relevant than it seems.  There aren’t any gifs which represent bibliographic referencing or citation in any way, lighthearted or otherwise.  giphy (5).gif

Bibliographic software.  It seems I can have ‘software’, but not the bibliographic kind. Better than nothing, I guess!  On the other hand, oh yes, HALLELUJAH! I can have a Mendeley gif.  Biased, but perfect!

Now let’s try the webcast about using e-books and e-journals.

Electronic resources   giphy

E-book – I found a nice animation, but it doesn’t exactly convey the message I’m aiming for!  giphy (8)

  • E-journal, Electronic journal? Not a chance of a suitable gif!

Shibboleth (two results, absolutely no connection with e-resources) / authentication.  I simply have to share this – it’s so very daft! but there’s nothing relevant:-  giphy (9)

CONCLUSION

It takes a very long time to source gifs that are even remotely appropriate, so maybe I need to keep looking.  I possess a lot of dogged determination, but if I was aiming for, say, even six animated screencasts, then it would take me arguably more working time than I can afford.

There is, of course, one more thing to try.  I can ask the community on Twitter and ResearchGate.  Here goes!

TOMORROW’S EXPERIMENT: GOOGLE IMAGES

Googling images using Google tools to select animations, might be useful.  I’ve just tried it for ‘library education’ with hopeful results.  But I’m not doing any more right now!