ALPS December Meeting: Lightning Talk Notes

This year’s meeting’s theme is “Technology and the academic librarian: emerging, merging, and changing the game”. I didn’t take notes on everything, but all the presentations will be recorded and available with slides (if applicable) later on. Continue reading “ALPS December Meeting: Lightning Talk Notes”

Ryerson Faculty Conference: Notes on Engaging Every Online Student

The Challenges and Lessons of Creating Accessible Course Materials

Ryerson Faculty Conference: Opening Keynote Notes

Teaching and Learning in Socio-technical Networks

Transition to new technology can be hard, but while it can be difficult to learn new technology, there are some positive sides e.g. story of his father getting immediate help when having a heart attack. Continue reading “Ryerson Faculty Conference: Opening Keynote Notes”

Notes on Building the Information Literate University

Bill Johnston & Sheila Webber

Information Literacy

It’s big and complex. A lot has been done and researched, but not put together.

The information literate person is an information culture needs a broader, more creative and critical information and media education, not only to enjoy the economic benefits of digitally based infrastructures, but to fully engage either the social, political, and creative dimension of the developing information culture of the 21st century.

Hoping to lead to wise and ethical use of information.

Information Literacy as Discipline

  • professional associations and journals
  • international community
  • academic departments
  • graduate students
  • id with the discipline
  • distinctive language
  • knowledge and research base

Continuing to use the term, because it’s used at the international level. In essence, doesn’t really matter what term we use if we can connect the different areas. Partly, because there is no real alternative term. What you need to keep in mind is that the meaning may change depending on the context (work, subject, country), and users will express different needs.

Information Literate University

This includes graduates, academic peers elsewhere and wider society, but more specifically include:

  • Info Literate Curriculum (in curriculum, as discipline)
  • Info Literate students
  • Info Literate Research
  • Info Literate staff & managers
  • Staff development for IL
  • Management for IL (strategy, policy, resourcing, infrastructure, knowledge & research)

To move towards such a university, need to think about what forces can bring about this change, including:

  • whole course redesign
  • strategy for education (in institutional plan)
  • specific student learning environments
  • theoretically informed case studies

Institutional Strategies

A chance for opportunity spotting. For example, cross disciplinary research, and cross organization research. Another example is engaging students through thinking about how to integrate learning instead of just one off workshops, and using tools to enrich learning. Information literacy might be the discipline of the librarians (as faculty). Zones of action might include workshop model of educational development for librarians with subject/university focus with themes of assessment and online learning objects.

Mainstreaming IL

Many ways to to engaging academic staff.

  • pre-empt negativity
  • identify downside of not shifting
  • identify lecturers who have refixed the rate (combining staff time, etc.; transmissive vs. constructivist)
  • develop scenarios for refixing the rate

Teaching-Learning Environment

Student spending more time engaged in:

  • acitivites designed for deep processing of info
  • developing knowledge of reliable sources
  • etc.

Need to think about:

  • specific pedagogic approach
  • a

  • infrastructure such as classroom setups
  • e-learning: process of; focus on approach, not learning objects

Conclusions

  • Think BIG
  • Associate IL eith global themes, educational achievement, and institutional success
  • teach, learn, research, and communicate through IL
  • Challenge doubters and convince supporters

Workshop Notes

In the afternoon, we worked in groups to come up with different strategies to mainstream information literacy.

Aims and Strategies

  • Research a core group at every level and convince faculty of the value
  • Have students understand that the information they are looking for is available at the library
  • Education of the faculty
  • Building relationships with faculty
    • sharing successful stories and strategies
    • become more embedded: courses, research
    • building enough of a relationship to do a course redesign
  • maintain face to face contact
  • ensure programmatically implemented
  • testing critical student thinking
  • e-textbooks
  • audit course outlines and develop IL arguments or zones of intervention, then include statement
  • IL becoming component of the institutional teaching methodologies, sneaking it in
  • subject related divisions within OCUL which don’t exist
  • student survey on student info seeking and help behaviour
  • co-teaching

Key Levers

  • new strategic plan and new administration
  • related committees in teaching, curriculum, and info literacy
  • dealing with funding changes due to university specialization declarations
  • collaborations cross-university
  • integration of tutorials, tools, and services into environment e.g. Course Management Systems
  • making use of existing communications and marketing avenues e.g. Taking advantage of assessment to get support from upper administration
  • AACSB (accreditation)
  • program/course proposals
  • program review
  • online courses/e-learning
  • copyright
  • faculty meetings
  • conferences

Partners

  • faculty liaisons and subject experts
  • library “champions”
  • other university departments e.g. Writing centre
  • librarians at other universities
  • Student services
  • Academic support
  • Teaching co
  • quality assurance framework
  • OCUL

Connecting It All

The key points to be taken forward.
Sustaining

  • Teaching chairs (R)
  • Teaching & Learning commons (Y)

Growing

  • growing learning commons to include topics of academic integrity
  • building on tri-mentoring to find out what info literacy skills employers are looking for (R)
  • meta-level points for engaging faculty in importance of IL e.g. Info society, ethical issues
  • getting upper admin buy-in and budget
  • opportunities for embedding and assessment

Initiating

  • R-Y partnership to talk about success & challenges specific to subject areas building on informal network
  • writing IL modules for courses that can be collaborative and shared
  • syllabus audit looking for IL opportunities
  • IL committee

Partnering

  • college (workshops, drop-in)
  • career centre
  • learning skills
  • tri-mentoring
  • other librarians in same subject
  • accreditation bodies: building on industry expectations
  • within the university: faculty liaisons

Developing library staff

  • more intensive opportunity to discuss these issues with outcomes of program documents or policies, etc. beyond just a one day workshop
  • retreat
  • instruction peer assessment
  • communication: key messages & how to convey them
  • time and training for IL
  • reexamine what IL should or can look like

Ryerson Faculty Conference Keynote #2: Getting Students Engaged

Presenter: Dr. Arne Kislenko

Everyone does things differently and there is a huge subjective component to teaching. What’s presented is also not necessarily based on theories of teaching, but based on overarching principles garnered from experience.

1. Enjoy the Teaching

Teaching is the greatest job in the world. This is the most important place to start, that students understand that you like your job, that they see your enthusiasm. Faculty can actually influence people’s lives, which is a great honour. However, some teachers don’t show up, cut classes, lecture right from a textbook, substitute with technology, which does not allow the development of a personal connection. You need to be there, students need to want to come to class.

It’s worrisome that many universities seem to be diminishing the role of teaching by putting the pursuit of research above all else. However, teaching reinforces research and through teaching we actually communicate with our students.

2. The Active Citizen

We have to teaching from the perspective that students in our classrooms are trying to become citizens in the full sense of the word. We should teach research, writing, critical thinking, objective analysis, to care and take an active role in the world. We should impart some broad consideration of the world.

If someone is apathetic about everything, they are a lost cause. Students should see their education as more than 3-4 years here with a job at the end. They should graduate with a sense of ability to think critically, engage in analysis, direct thoughts about search, and care a little bit about the world, especially since they want to work in this world.

Not only do students need to be engaged, they need to be made engaging with a broad perspective, not just the classes they take. They should be questioned about how they are going to move forward in the working world.

Many students though feel unchallenged and many instructors are fine with them just getting by.

3. High Standards

Respect them as adults with responsibilities and obligations instead of coddling them as children. Have high standards, communicate that to students, and they may aspire to them.

Aside. Draw Connections

We should leave students guessing what we think, and we should welcome them as participants and journeymen.

4. Extracurricular Activities

Be prepared to deliver to our students more than just in the classroom. e.g. alternative spring break – overseas working with NGOs, international discussions

This is the best way to enrich the educational experience, and increase personal growth for students.

Ryerson Faculty Conference Keynote: Can Statistics Help Us Understand Student Engagement?

Presenter

  • Christopher Evans

National Survey of Student Engagement

While statistics don’t tell the whole story, it shows student perceptions, which are important because those are passed onto other current students and prospective students.

  • 1st + 4th year students, 4200+ at this university
  • from 146 countries

Commute

  • live with parents 69%
  • commute to campus 95%
  • >10 hrs/week commuting 38%

Student Employment

  • on campus 13.6%
  • off 54.7%
  • work 68.3%
  • work >10 hrs/week 45.3%

Campus Life

  • participate co-curricular 40%
  • attend campus events < 50%
  • < 10 hr/week (outside of class) 68%

Academic Life

  • significant time studying 79%
  • prepare >10hr/week for class 61%
  • unprepared for class 35%

Satisfaction with Education

  • good/excellent 79%
  • would attend again 81%
  • faculty available/helpful/sympathetic 66%
  • faculty make students aware of research activities by applying their research to teaching 62%

This last point is valuable experience for students and gives a little window to faculty life, which allows students to get to know faculty a little better.

Sense of Community

  • in class 56% – faculty crucial to student’s feeling at home at Ryerson
  • academic program 46%
  • study groups 29%
  • none 12% – realistically, no matter what, some students won’t feel at home, will never be zero

Contributions to Engagement

  • presentation 39%
  • project that integrated ideas from different sources 86%
  • worked with other student during class 46%
  • worked with classmates outside of class 70%
  • discussed ideas with faculty outside class 56%
  • received prompt written/oral feedback 50%

All instructors feel that they give prompt feedback, but perception might be skewed somewhat. For example, an instructor might return a quiz the next class, but when midterms are returned a week later, students may think faculty are being lazy. Faculty activities become important for student perception of engagement as well.

  • participated in community based project 34%
  • practicum/intership/co-op/etc 30%
  • worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework 38%
  • capstone/thesis/senior project (4th only) 23%
  • worked on research project with faculty member outside of program requirements 8% – skewed to lower side, because includes 1st and 4th year students

Obstacles

  • work/financial 83%
  • family
  • health/disability

What would Improve Learning Experience

These were very generic answers.

  • quality of instruction 34%
  • increase contact 21%
  • improve quality of academic support 24%
  • more opportunities to undertake research with faculty 25%
  • reduce class size 13% – large classes aren’t a big deal, but the subject matter and how it is presented

Teaching Chairs Report – Faculty Concerns

  • most common presentation forms: lecture, seminar/method course, lab/studio
  • motivating students 89%
  • evaluating students’ learning 65%
  • understanding learning differences 53%
  • understanding how students develop intellectually 59%
Faculty Express Concern About
  • students attitudes and behaviour – class attendance, participation
  • administrative and logistical challenges – scheduling, large class sizes

Faculty feel large class sizes are a problem, but students don’t.

What does the data tell us about engagement?

NSSE data gives us hints about academic and social interaction

  • academic integration: perception of faculty interest, academic resources, academic preparation
  • social integration: student’s perception of his/her ties to the post-secondary institution, which include extend to which student is involved in institution-related activities, perception of faculty and staff attitude, institutional sensitivity, institution events

Some faculty portray a kind of remote veneer that keeps them at arm’s length, which makes them unapproachable.

The data tells the what, but not the how or why, and only about student perception.

Levels of Engagement

While the NSSE focus on two types of levels of engagement, the data doesn’t give us much insight into any of the others.

  • mentoring – highlevel, multi-variant interaction (NSSE focus)
  • personal
  • functional interaction – contact for particular, institutional purposes (NSSE focus)
  • incidental
  • disengagement

Benefits of Increasing Faculty Student Engagement

  • higher grades
  • improved student confidence
  • increases student perception of being valued
  • increases persistence in higher education

Faculty may find it a bit of a balancing act for sure, but asking about a student concern at the time may help to save time later, should situation grow worse.

How to Increase Engagement

One slice does not fit all – some suggestions will not be for you.

  • provide opportunities for students to write = dialogue
  • attend student events, esp those at are purposeful (e.g. student colloquium)
  • encourage students to attend offices hours, and keep encouraging
  • have projects that encourage collaboration and continued feedback
  • pay close attention to student interactions – if socailly isolated, struggling
  • have faculty model their methods of engaging students to each other – some faculty members are known to be oustanding teachers and have the skills with engaging students, we can learn from them