Tag Archives: User Education

Do You Practise What You Preach?

Piano badgeRecent training sessions that I’ve received and given, have prompted me to ask myself whether I actually practise what I preach.  (Most of the time, I do …)  I pitched a session at the second Glasgow Library Camp today, which provoked quite a lot of discussion.

  • I began by describing the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Teaching Artist Course (in the Short Course form that it adopted last session), which took place 12 Feb – 28 May 2014.  Do I count as an Artist? Yes, I think I do. I may not teach performance at work, but I am a church organist and choir director.
  • Why I did it?  To gain theory about pedagogy, teaching and learning, current best practice …
  • There was a wide variety of recommended readings, and a mixture of virtual and physical meetings.
  • The idea of reflective practice featured very prominently.  Therefore, from the beginning, we had to keep a blog.  This is it; I’ve continued to post on it since the course ended.
  • Outcomes: we had to produce written assignments; an E-Portfolio (one of the tabs above); and a Bibliography.  Mine is in my E-Portfolio, but there’s also a web version as a separate tab.
  • I recently gave my first distance learning user education session to PGCert students.  I had half an hour on a Thursday evening, and had to get used to using a headset and webcam with Adobe Connect.
  • I talked about our library service, holdings, e-resources, and good academic practice.  Bearing in mind I hadn’t got long in which to cover the topic, I briefly covered referencing, avoiding plagiarism, keeping a bibliography, and annotating it for one’s own benefit. Bibliographic software. Mendeley, Zotero, Endnote, Word.
  • Remembering the Teaching Artist course, I sought feedback afterwards, so I could reflect upon how it went, what went well and not-so-well, and what I’d do another time. Talking about reflective practice over coffee, we asked ourselves the question I asked LibCamp delegates today: Do we reflect adequately on what we do? Do you?
  • For myself, I certainly do keep a bibliography, use bibliographical software, and Diigo for useful websites.  To be fairDo you practise what you preach image for libcamp pitch 001 (800x582), I do a lot of writing, so it’s particularly important for me.  And this blog is still a place where I can reflect on what I do, whether as a librarian, a researcher or a musician.

This blogpost was a ‘pitch’ at Library Camp Glasgow 2014, which took place on Saturday 8th November.

Diigo and Me Image for LibCamp Pitch 001 (800x582)I also did a quick-fire rant (Minute of Madness) about the extreme usefulness of Diigo.  Since we were a power-point free zone, I made a low-tech poster for each presentation. So this was the Diigo one!

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I wrote an article once …

Actually, I’ve written at least a couple of dozen articles and published my thesis as a book, but this weekend I decided to write an article for submission to the Scottish Journal of Performance.  I started roughing it out yesterday, and sat down to work at it properly, late this afternoon.  Suddenly, a light went on.  Hang on, hadn’t I written an article about library ‘user education’ once before? Sure enough, there it was in my CV: ‘But how do I tell them?’, in the librarianship journal, Personnel Training and Education 8.3 (1991).  I was fascinated to discover that not only had it been cited in a lengthy Australian study, but I was even quoted as observing, 23 years ago!, the lack of pedagogical theory in librarianship writings on user education!

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Judith Peacock, From Trainers to Educators: Librarians and the challenge of change (1999)

Emboldened by my early success, I’m now feeling much more optimistic about the paper I’m working on today.  Today’s effort is so very obviously better – I can tell that my writing has matured – although, after 23 years, I shouldn’t really be surprised.

However, this is interesting:  Peacock quotes me noting the absence of something that I’ve only just, THIS YEAR, had the opportunity to make good.  The wheel comes full circle, you could say!  Except that, in one sense, it’s like looking down the other end of a telescope.  23 years ago, it was six years since my postgraduate diploma at library school, four since I’d reluctantly abandoned the PhD that I’d set aside during my librarianship training, and electronic resources consisted largely of databases for scientists and lawyers.  Now, having completed a PhD on a totally different subject, and gained Fellowship in my professional body (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), I’m in the mature years of my career.  E-resources are for everyone, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to do the Teaching Artist short credit-rated course that occasioned the writing of this blog.  In the article I’ve been writing,I’m addressing the same subject again.  But it’s like standing outside the Conservatoire knowing the land was once occupied by tenements.  Same territory, but completely different environment!