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.
- RefMe becomes Cite This For Me (but doesn’t Work For Me (Whittaker Live blogpost)
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!
I 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!
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.
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.
Information (this experiment really is so time-consuming!)
Bibliography (I’m struggling here) – and this is hardly going to raise a smile!
- 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.
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.
E-book – I found a nice animation, but it doesn’t exactly convey the message I’m aiming for!
- 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:-
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!
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals – my professional organisation and to which I’ve been elected a Fellow – has a group specifically dedicated to Information Literacy, so there’s plenty on the CILIP website that is worth my attention! For example:-
A CILIP Special Interest Group which encourages debate and the exchange of knowledge in all aspects of Information Literacy.
The Information Literacy Group is pleased to announce a forthcoming workshop called “Play, Games and … What’s happening with World Book Night this year?
22 Aug 2016 – The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (the Association of …. Teaching Information Literacy Reframed – book cover … “
I thought I’d glance through my Diigo and Mendeley accounts to track recent serendipitous reading. Here goes! These all reflect my professional preoccupations, not surprisingly – information literacy, online learning, point-of-need ‘learning experiences’ – whether a podcast, blog, screencast or whatever – learning styles, distance learners …
- CILIP Information Literacy Group: a forthcoming event in Aston (2017-07-12) that comes too late for my project, but maybe I might come across a similar one in Scotland some day:- ‘Supporting online learners, what works? A discussion of innovative methods in providing distance learners with information literacy and library skills.’ An Aston University Library Teachmeet. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/supporting-online-learners-what-works-a-discussion-of-innovative-methods-in-providing-distance-tickets-33991143425?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=order_confirmation_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemailordconf
- Earp, Jo, Classroom layout – what does the research say? (Teacher Magazine), 2017-03-16 [Australia] https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/article/classroom-layout-what-does-the-research-say My annotation:- About collaborative learning spaces, in schools. A couple of times, Earp cites an earlier scholarly article:- Fernandes, A. C., Huang, J., & Rinaldo, V. (2011). Does where a student sits really matter? The impact of seating locations on student classroom learning. International Journal of Applied Educational Studies, 10(1), 66-77. Perhaps not surprisingly, seating arrangements contribute to different environments – in rows, to paying attention and not much interaction. In groups for collaboration and engagement in an activity. Other factors, eg draughts, daylight/overhead lighting, even seating position in a classroom where pupils sit in rows, can have an effect. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I generally have no say in room arrangement, and only limited opportunities to encourage collaborative group work.
- Amy Mollett, Cheryl Brumley, Chris Gilson and Sierra Williams, By producing podcasts you can reach wider audiences, occupy your niche and create new items of research (London School of Economics blog), 2017-05-16 http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/05/16/by-producing-podcasts-you-can-reach-wider-audiences-occupy-your-niche-and-create-new-items-of-research/ – My annotation:- a podcast is basically ‘on-demand audio’, and enjoyed a renaissance with a radio podcast, Serial, itself a spin-off from an American radio programme, This American Life. Everyone has a mobile phone so potentially large audience. Here’s a summary of reasons why to podcast research:- Now, I sometimes worry that I’m too prone to be negative. I don’t see myself as negative so much as just tending to spot where things might go wrong/ not be an ideal fit. However, whilst I can see the value of an audio podcast for my research, I can’t see it working well when I’m teaching students how to access an online resource, construct a citation, or practice search skills. I need the visual element. Moreover, some of the comments in my project survey quite specifically ask for more visual formats, cartoons, video, webcasts, etc. The authors cite ‘what writer Chris Anderson calls the “long tail”, with a plethora of novice and niche podcasts sitting at the tail end of digital audio offerings.’ So, we’re looking at podcasts as having a place in a diversity of audio formats, and reaching out to new audiences. There was also mention of the podcast interview as a form of research in itself, an interesting idea but not applicable in the present context.
- Pun, Raymond and Meggan Houlihan, Game On: Gamification in the Library (Credo Reference Blog, 2017-02-19) http://blog.credoreference.com/2017/02/game-on-tips-tools-to-make-instruction-more-engaging – My annotation:- I often read about activities like these – quite complex, and involving quite a lot of preparation – and reflect that it would be difficult to construct a game that could be included in a 15 minute presentation in our usual live delivery context – a lecture theatre or seminar room. Firstly, I can’t set assignments. I couldn’t imagine students willingly doing a collaborative project using Googledocs, uploading answers and photos, all in the name of gaining information literacy skills. Secondly, I have a much wider remit than the author of the article, who is responsible for first year student engagement, whilst I am responsible for the information needs of any musicians in the entire institution, and anyone else who needs my assistance. And thirdly, I still recall the year when I was persuaded to set up a library quiz using QR codes, all tucked into copies of textbooks on the library shelves. When it came to it, I wasn’t left enough time to get the students to upload QR code readers to their phones, so by the time we got to the library, no-one was able to access the QR codes to make a start on the treasure-hunt. Am I being negative, or realistic?! And yet, I don’t deny that these are innovative and modern ways of tackling longstanding problems.
- Rempel, Hannah Gascho and Anne-Marie Deitering, Sparking Curiosity – Librarians’ Role in Encouraging Exploration – In the Library with the Lead Pipe (blogpost), 2017-02-22 http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/sparking-curiosity – My annotation:- about information literacy, students selecting topics, referencing, writing style. This is written in the context of American first year students selecting a research topic for their rhetoric and composition class. However, our students don’t have a written ‘composition’ component (think essay, not music) and don’t study rhetoric. The paper is interesting and well-written, but doesn’t really sit comfortably alongside the kind of learning expected of our students, or the kind of information skills teaching expected of the librarians.
- Screencast-o-matic – recommended by our learning technologist, whom I consulted when one of my survey respondents said that the links were very big to download. My annotation:- Fred suggested that another time, he could render the videos into “best quality”, average, and small-size file, so users would have a choice. Another respondent asked for more technically complex videos than I had produced, so I sought advice to help me make a better product next time. Despite my feeling that a powerpoint-with-commentary would be technically straightforward and much more informative than a podcast, it seems that some readers have more demanding requirements – they wanted to see my face simultaneously; they wanted cartoons or animation; and they wanted screencasts of search techniques or using bibliographic software. All good suggestions for future “learning experiences”, so this link should prove very useful:- Help Tutorials: http://help.screencast-o-matic.com/
- Tech skills are seriously lacking in universities – take it from the IT guy | Higher Education Network | The Guardian 2017-05-26 (By an anonymous learning technologist, includes concept of gamification.) My annotation:- I think I would need to collaborate with our learning technologist, and I’d first need to work out one particular problem that would lend itself to experimental gamification. (A game about using bibliographical referencing tools? I’d have a ball, but the mind boggles when it comes to getting the students to join in collaboratively in a game-like way.) The author is right about there only being pockets of interest in technical solutions. I like the summary at the end of this article, especially the very last sentence:-
“Alongside the reading list, how about a list of games to play? I have not yet thought of a subject that could not be taught through games. Instead of an essay submitted in Microsoft Word, how about an Adobe Spark digital multimedia story? When degree programmes are being developed, how about having a technology adviser present from the start?
“Get technology at the heart of every programme specification, and get students and lecturers using it every day. Only then will skills truly develop.”
- Weale, Sally, Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles, say scientists (The Guardian. Teaching. 2016-03-13) https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/13/teachers-neuromyth-learning-styles-scientists-neuroscience-education?CMP=twt_gu My annotation:- If learning styles are a myth – and they might well be – then the concept is deeply embedded into many teachers’ and learners’ psyches now. I note that from the responses to my survey, with learners stating that they learn best if they imbue information a particular way or in a particular medium. In a sense, we can’t argue with individual preferences. However, I’ve always thought that we probably all benefit from a blend of different learning experiences, depending on the topic, setting and circumstances. It is a little alarming, if learning styles have become a ‘neuromyth’ – pop psychology, if you like.
June 2017 sees me working towards completion of my PGCert project (Postgraduate Certificate, Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education), and towards the commencement of my AHRC-funded networking project, Claimed from Stationers’ Hall.
I’m setting things in place for the postdoctoral project, but I’m hopefully going to have the PGCert written and submitted before the postdoc network kicks off.
The PGCert Project
For long enough, I’ve been focused first on getting my practice-based project research proposal written and accepted, and then getting it through the ethical approval process. Between those two milestones, I devised my project questionnaire and two ‘interventions’ – experimental mini online tutorials that I would share with my chosen project cohort, asking them targeted questions to elicit their reactions to my efforts.
Finally, I was able to get the project under way. I shared the questionnaire several times. I set a deadline of the end of May, to allow myself time to evaluate the questionnaire responses. Finally this week, with the deadline past, I was able to start my analysis. I had 18 sets of responses, and decided that would do.
Some of my questions were multiple choice (eg, Did this help? Yes or no.) Others offered the opportunity to give free-text answers. When it came to analysis, the multiple choice questions were easily turned into pie charts, whilst the free-text ones lent themselves to textual analysis. Having sorted the answers into rough categories, I even managed to make some more pie charts. (My study was more like a pie-shop this morning!)
I also need to submit a Journal Summary (1000 words) with PDP, detailing where my learning development has changed with regards to ‘Pedagogy, Research, Scholarship [and] Professional Practice‘ – and I need to refer to key journal entries in that regard. The PDP shouldn’t go past 3 A4 pages.
- And complete the UKPSF Checklist