LOEX 2017: Call for Breakout Session Proposals

LOEX 2017: Call for Breakout Session Proposals
Growing Stronger Together: Diversity and Community in Information Literacy

45th Annual LOEX Conference
May 11-13, 2017
Lexington, Kentucky

You are invited to Lexington for LOEX 2017 to showcase your innovations in library instruction. We are excited to see how librarians across the country are best meeting the wide variety of challenges and opportunities facing instruction librarians.

This year’s LOEX tracks are:
* Pedagogy: Reaping and Sowing Transformative Teaching
* Technology: Saddling Up
* Leadership: Taking the Reins
* Assessment: The Lay of the Land
* Collaboration: Never Ride Alone
* Innovations and Failures: Roots of Our Success

Proposals for 50-minute long presentations and interactive workshops can be submitted only through the online submission form and must be received by Friday, November 18, 2016. The primary contact for the proposal will receive a message indicating receipt of the proposal when it is submitted and will be notified if the proposal has been accepted for presentation by Monday, January 9, 2017.

For more details, please visit http://www.loexconference.org/breakoutproposals.html

Need to provide quick, task-based instruction? Do it with GIFs!

We know that our library users greatly appreciate the Library’s video tutorials. Tutorials allow users to learn research skills on demand, independent of time or geography. These tutorials can also be used to shorten a librarian’s instruction time in the classroom, leaving time for more active learning activities. However, designing, creating, and publishing tutorials can be very time-and-labor intensive. GIFs are an easy-to-create, low-maintenance alternative to video tutorials while still providing visually dynamic instructional content.

What is a GIF?

“GIF” stands for “graphics interchange format.” Released 29 years ago, the GIF provided a way for content developers to share compressed color animations that slow modems could load easily. Early website developers used GIFs to break up content-heavy websites or illustrate that their site was still in progress.

Early GIFs letting users know websites were still being developed

As the internet evolved, so did GIFs. Now, GIFs permeate many forms of digital communication. From text messages to email to social media, GIFs provide a (mostly humorous) way for people to express themselves.

Trudeau awkward handshake GIF
When everyone wants to shake your hand at once

GIFs as Library Instruction

Librarians have started to explore how GIFs might be an alternative instructional media. Using GIFs to display short, task-based activities can communicate step-based instruction more succinctly than images or text. Additionally GIFs can loop repeatedly, allowing users to continuously reference instruction.

Take for example, Sarah’s library guide for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She wanted a way to communicate how scholars can limit their searches by region in Factiva. Narrowing by region is a seemingly quick process for librarians, but explaining the multiple steps and Factiva’s interface to first-time users can be difficult and confusing. Using a GIF, Sarah could show to process of limiting newspaper searches by region while keeping her LibGuide clean.

Factiva GIF
Limit by region in Factiva

Creating GIFs

GIF creators often fall into two categories: software and web apps. For high-quality GIF options, using software will be the most effective solution. Sarah’s GIF was created by making a screencast in Screenflow, and then producing the GIF in Adobe Photoshop.

However, if you don’t have this software and still want to make a quick GIF, try recording your screen with Screencast-o-Matic and uploading/editing the GIF in GIPHY. This is how I made the GIF embedded in the library news story “Unrequired Reading at the Library.”

FInding Class of 2000 Books GIF
Searching for leisure reading in the library

Notice that Screencast-o-matic automatically highlights your mouse cursor, which can be hard to find in smaller images.

Other GIF maker options are a Chrome extension or MakeaGIf.com.

If you have any questions or need help making GIFs, please ask Julie or Kaitlin.

Resources

Aleman, Karla and Porter, Toccara (2016, April 21). 10-Second Demos: Boiling Asynchronous Online Instruction Down to the Essentials with GIF Graphics. Retrieved from: http://research.moreheadstate.edu/c.php?g=242750&p=1614356.

Suhr, K. (2014, October 22). Using animated GIF images for library instruction. Retrieved from: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/using-animated-gif-images-for-library-instruction/

Creating Accessible and Inclusive Handouts

Jennifer Turner and Jessica Schomberg have written an interested article regarding how to create readable, inclusive, and usable documents for library instruction. Using theories from Universal Design for Learning and Gestalt and plain language principles, the authors provide clear suggestions on how to make the most out of your handout. Check it on on In the Library with the Lead Pipe, or review the TL;DR version on the Chronicle for Higher Education’s Prof Hacker blog.

Gamifying Library Instruction: A Case Study

The Library Research Round Table (LRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) recently awarded Eamon Tewell and Katelyn Angell the Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research for the article, “Far from a Trivial Pursuit: Assessing the effectiveness of games in information literacy instruction.” The study finds that students who played online games improved significantly more from pre-test to post-test than students who received a lecture in library instruction.

The games used by Tewell and Angell are openly available: Doing Research (from University of Illinois at Chicago) and Citation Tic Tac Toe (from James Madison University).

Flipping the Classroom

As Resident Librarian for Online Learning, I am interested in finding new ways to integrate technology into the library classroom. One technique, popularized in 2011, is the concept of the flipped classroom. A flipped classroom is a strategy to deliver instructional content outside of the classroom. Classroom time is devoted to discussion, activity, and collaborative learning. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures or carry out research at home and engage in concepts through activities and discussion in the classroom.

Why should you flip?

A flipped classroom’s most highlighted benefits are student-directed learning and an active classroom. Because the course materials are online, students control how they learn: they can pause or rewind videos, retake tutorials, and re-listen to lectures on their own time. Then, in the classroom, students have the opportunity to apply the concept in real-time assignments. The instructor serves as a “guide on the side,” ready to step in and help the students when they encounter problems.

So how does this look in library instruction?

A librarian interested in teaching a flipped one-shot will need to work closely with the instructor. The flip requires that students come to class prepared, so the librarian and the instructor will need to discuss how the instructional materials will be provided to the students.

Next, the librarian should consider what objectives they want covered and how that information will be conveyed. Although sometimes these items need to be created from scratch, we are actively trying to develop online tutorials and libguides that can be used for flipped classrooms.

Finally, think about how time in the classroom will be used. One of the most popular uses of the flipped model has students conducting research on their topics as the librarian acts as consultant or problem-solver. However, flipping the classroom can be any kind of collaborative, student-led work. For example, in one of her library instruction sessions, Sarah Wenzel implemented an exercise where students worked together to create an annotated bibliography.

Flipping means work (but you have friends)

As with any curriculum design, there are inherent challenges. Instructor buy-in is paramount to a flipped workshop’s success. If the instructor doesn’t ask that students engage with the prepared material before class, the students will be unprepared.

Additionally, creating the instructional videos or materials for a flipped class can be tedious. While we have a collection of material, sometimes a class will have a unique twist or unusual element that needs to be addressed.

If you wish to learn more about how to flip your classroom, or have new materials developed for a flipped experience, however, you have a couple of great resources (Julie and I!) who would be happy to help.

Further Reading

Seven Things You Should Read About Flipped Classrooms (Educause)

Flipping the Classroom: How Online Resources Enable Pedagogical Innovation (University of Chicago Divinity School)

Creating Digital Media LibGuide (University of Chicago Libraries)

Librarian Burnout

According to Tim and Zahra Baird, two librarians writing in LIScareer.com, the very nature of library work predisposes us to burnout.  A normal library workday can be described as a continuous round of interruptions.  When demands for our services (including reference questions and reader’s advisory) roll in, we must refocus ourselves to find the answers and set aside whatever else we have been working on.  These constant breaks in our day interrupt the flow of our concentration and make it hard for us to complete our tasks.  The repetitive nature of library work induces monotony; boredom can easily set in by doing things over and over again, making us prime candidates for burnout.

When you’re burned out in your job, you can feel exhausted, ineffective, unenthusiastic, and isolated from your colleagues. It can greatly depreciate work performance and workplace morale.

Maria Accardi, author of Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction, has created a new blog called Librarian Burnout as a place for fellow academic librarians to commiserate in burnout stories and share creative ways to combat burnout in librarianship. The blog has a certain tint for library instruction (teaching the same one-shot can get tiresome), however, there are considerations for all types of burnout in different roles of librarianship. It’s still a relatively new blog, so there are only a few posts to read, but I encourage you all to take a look! Maybe even post a story yourself.