Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm not sure how much I will be posting here from now on. Instead, I will be focusing my energies on developing that one. I think we've only scratched the surface on the potential of games as instructional tools in libraries. I can't wait to attend some of the sessions on this at ACRL on this, nor can I wait to see what other schools do with these.
Monday, February 23, 2009
This year I told the students how much previous students liked that resource, so many of them went straight to it. They loved it even more. One group had to be told to go use some electronic resources because they were so involved in the print encyclopedia. It was wonderful. It was like having a celebrity endorsement.
Today I taught two English composition courses. We did the spy game and it went very well. For the first time, I coupled the game with a clicker review at the end. Almost the entire class got every single question right, and a majority of them reported that this was a fun way to learn about the library.
Furthermore, one student that I had worked with one-on-one the previous week, came up to tell me how much she had learned about the library from our meeting. She was raving about the resources and the elevator. She seemed very excited about her topic and research, which absolutely thrilled me.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The other was a variation of the historical photo "big game" that I've been mulling over all year. But instead of playing it physically on campus with undergrads running around taking pictures of what things look like now (it'd be a great program, I just don't know if they're that interested), you send it out in the alumni newsletter. Just ask them what it is or where it is, and offer a prize to the first five people who respond with the correct answer. Something school-related like a school t-shirt would be a good, inexpensive prize.
I might ask my director about this, she's been working on engaging alumni with news and materials from our college archives.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Michael Herrmann of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., writes:
As not only a bookseller but a booklover, I can see why e-books would be priced lower than real books. Not only do you not have printing, storing and distribution costs at the producer's end, but you also do not have a permanent artifact at the consumer's end. That is to say, e-books are not collectible. They are ephemeral. There is no guarantee that they will be readable or retrievable in two, 10, 50 years. They have less value than a real book. So perhaps they should cost less...
If Amazon succeeds in diverting publishers' creative energy into the e-book category, there will be incredible disruption in publishing and in retail. While there is a place for e-books in ephemeral categories and in textbooks, they will never amount to more than 10% of the market. As a technology and as a cultural artifact they are inferior to the printed book. The public will realize that, and e-book sales will eventually find their natural level, beyond all the hype...
I can't imagine I will ever spend $400 on an e-book reader if I will not be recovering my money by cheaper e-books. Many, many book-lovers will never have that kind of money for anything but necessities. And when a person spends all of that money on the reader, it is likely to break or will become unusable after five or six years. Whereas if you collect your favorite books in a physical format, you can pass them on to your children and your children's children... provided they were well-constructed.
Of course just because books don't have to physically be made, the intellectual work behind them and the technology to distribute them does cost money. I still have a hard time believing that ends up costing the company the same, though.
I am all for electronic journals, newsletters, newspapers, and e-books have their place in reference and technology fields, but I cannot envision a world without physical books that were meant to be read from cover-to-cover.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
My double-life as librarian-actress will be over after tonight. I have had so much fun working on this production, which I am very proud to have my small part in. I love all of the people I have worked with, and have enjoyed another venue for getting to know a few students a little better. Working closely with students is one of my favorite things in the world.
On the other hand, I think I have learned once and for all that I am not a person who is capable of working two jobs without my work suffering for it. I have been considering a second, very part-time job, and thought maybe I could handle it this summer. However, I am not one of those people with endless amounts of energy to draw from. I have concentrated very hard this week on taking care of myself so that I could be at my best in two places. As much fun as this play has been, I will be happy to go to work on Monday being able to focus all of my energies onto the things that need to be done before I can leave for Seattle, and putting my all into the two classes I will be teaching this week.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'm a more than a little boggled by all of the issues involved. The first is can we afford it at our little school? Most vendors consider a "small school" to be 5,000 FTE, and even a school that size has a much bigger budget than us at about 1,300. Some reference resources are a one-time fee with annual maintenance fees, and some are flat-out annual fees like a regular database. Some allow you to select individual titles, some are whole collections. How any of them work with Reference Universe will be important to us deciding whether or not to get them at all.
I really love reference books and am always so happy when I take the time to look at them. I think all libraries are watching students skip the reference step and go straight for Web sites, books, and articles. Some libraries report more use of electronic reference resources, and if students are more likely to use those, then they are definitely worth pursuing.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This happened to me once before and it scared me off donating for a decade. That's bad, because I'm O- and that's the most useful blood type.
I'm not going to be scared off of donating again, which is all based on the difference in how it was handled. Whereas the last time they missed the vein, the person just continued to jiggle it around until I started bleeding, then abandoned me on the table for 15 minutes, by which time I had been busting out of the bag for about 8 of those minutes and ready to pass out on the table. My entire arm swelled and turned blue and green all the way up to my shoulder, and I couldn't lift anything with that arm for a week.
In contrast, yesterday the woman who stuck me quickly tightened the band at the top of my arm to control the pain, and quickly but very calmly got the best technician there, who was able to quickly adjust the needle without additional pain, all the while telling me silly jokes to get me to breathe. I don't blame the first woman, I've got little veins that are a nightmare to find. She apologized, but calmly and not so much so I lost confidence in her ability. The group checked in on me often and I was done in a mere 6.5 minutes.
As I went home, my arm still in a bit of pain but nothing I thought was serious, I reflected on this experience. I am very happy with the way the situation was dealt with and understanding of the mistake. I appreciated her willingness to stop and get the help she needed, and their calm but caring attitude they showed me during my discomfort.
While I don't think mistakes in librarianship can cause anyone physical pain, we can cause confusion and panic if we give misleading or unclear information, or if something was misplaced or we didn't check that our Web site was working properly. I tend to panic when a student points something like this out, and some other librarians don't seem to care. I think next time something like this happens, I will do my best to care as much as I already do, yet remain as calm as the technicians did yesterday. I think this attitude will be the one that most likely causes the student to want to come back to the library.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
They want more computers, food, more resources, more quiet, less quiet, group study rooms, and longer hours.
I'm going to have to remind myself that there's no room for emotions in assessment. But that's hard. And it's hard not to just shrug and say "sorry, we can't do anything about this," when perhaps we could do something with some creative thinking.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I do not see the problem of adopting another school's policy if it is well-written. I printed out many policies in order to aid the examination of our own. I do not understand how supposed "plagiarism experts" can't simply add the statement "adopted from Indiana University" in small text at the bottom.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
And on another note... Please encourage every student with the faintest spark of interest to take advantage of study abroad programs, and to make friends from all over the world! It's an experience they will always look back on, and an important event that will shape the type of person they become. They will probably never again have an opportunity to be placed in such a social atmosphere as they do in high school or college. It will make them reflect on themselves and on our country in ways they could never do otherwise, and see the world in a whole new light. We really need more people to see the world from a more-informed perspective. Please, get the word out!!!
Monday, January 26, 2009
My husband told his classes today that if this survey wasn't successful, I wouldn't be happy, which would mean he wouldn't be happy. So they'd better do it.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I have been excited this week that Reference Universe has indeed improved their widget feature. I created a Reference Portal that is one of our Web site's most popular pages, with the Reference Universe widget right in the middle. I put in the new code and after fixing some random spaces in their code that made half of my page disappear. Once I had corrected that, I checked it. It seemed to be working from on campus, so I deleted the old code that worked on campus but would send users into randomly selected collections if they tried to use it off-campus. My mentor checked it from her home (I still don't have Internet at home, but should be getting it soon), and found the EZ Proxy working, but it wasn't limiting to only the books in our collection. She checked it again on campus last night only to find it does the same thing on campus. I hadn't realize that when I checked it. That is a big deal.
My director is presenting at ALA on Sunday and I would like for this to be working by then so she doesn't have to add any disclaimers into her speech. They are supposedly looking into it. In the meantime, I'm not sure what I should do as a temporary fix.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
That's a good response to my post earlier today.
I got assigned to the committee I wanted, which is Student Support Services. I sit on the Student Affairs committee on campus and work with other support services offices around campus. So it's something I'm very interested in.
Furthermore, I was asked to co-chair the committee. I am flattered as I'm used to not being eligible for such stuff, or having the faculty forget that librarians are also faculty. I may be wishing I wasn't co-chair in the future, but I'm thrilled at the moment!
I wanted more involvement, and I'm certainly getting it.
Speaking of plagiarism, we had our first freshman comp class today. We're breaking the class up into four groups, each group gets a plagiarism scenario. They talk about what should be done and the issues involved. It went very well, and so did the voting for best group. We discussed Wikipedia in the context of whether or not you could take material from an un-copyrighted, free online source like Wikipedia, when a student wanted to argue its reliability. Then I stumbled on this YouTube video (one of a series of spoofs off the same German movie clip):
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I love the position of librarians, at least here, to do stuff like this. If I were a professor, I'd have to invite a whole class, or a club. I guess there are lines to openly having favorite students, but I'm still more free as a librarian. I know the students really enjoy a home-cooked meal, and I enjoy their company.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I have written about this before, but it has come up again. Working in academia is like living on a military base. It is so transient, both among the student population, your co-workers, and contacts you have at nearby schools.
So my New Year's resolution should be: I need to reach out to people I like before they leave.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I feel this is a real compliment to my intelligence, so I have to brag about it a little. I'm supposed to be collecting faculty comments for my annual review, but I don't know how you'd capture that.
I've been obsessed with developing my plagiarism game. Here is the first room of the game: http://www.lycoming.edu/library/instruction/plagiarismgame.html
If you click on the blue flying fairy (it can take a few clicks to catch him), it asks you a question. If you get that question right, the fairy disappears. The score box doesn't update yet, though.
I drew the next room (the library), but you can't get to it yet. I'm working on drawing the fourth room, which will be the dorm foyer. They look very good and students and co-workers seem to be getting excited about it. Though I really should be working on prepping for LibQual and adding Turabian to my citation tutorial. Sigh.
Does it annoy anyone else that there's an assumption that as a librarian, you will be at both ALA's every year? The posts on liserservs and the mail you get doesn't suggest "If you're there..." it is "when you arrive..." My experience is that I got as much from driving down to Philly just to see the vendors last year than I got at attending the actual ALA conference the previous summer. I know I didn't make the best use of my time (as a conference novice), but when I compare it to my experience at CiL...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
So far, the only thing you can do is make the fridge pop open. I intend to put something in the fridge, but I don't know what yet.
The premise of the game is that little plagiarism gremlins/goblins have invaded the campus and are stealing or polluting people's brains. Only you can stop it.
It will have a series of rooms to go through with activities in each one. Some of these activities will just be for fun, others will be about plagiarism. I can't think of how to get away from the quiz-like activities, but if I wrap them up in killing goblins, then maybe it will be more fun than a straight-out quiz.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I love that these conferences allow us to see people we share so much in common with, whom we love dearly, but who live all over the country. In some cases we run into grad-school aquaintences and get to know them better. I am sooo excited for the content of the conference, and to present my poster, but I think what I'm looking forward to most is seeing friends. And hey, we talk about what we do at our respective libraries, so even that is educational!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
- Blatent plagiarism (buying paper, etc.)
- Recycling a paper written for a previous class without permission
- Using Web information without citing
- Disorganized notes/poor citation/making up source information
They can discuss it for a few minutes to think of what they would do, then each student can vote for the best solution, details on this will need to be worked out. Wining groups will get either a small amount of extra credit points, or small gift certificates to the campus cafe (they go NUTS for $1 certificates!).
We've had two English professors say they're interested.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I had to read this for our weekly meeting coming up, though the meeting isn't until next week. I'm a little disappointed, but I'm finding that's usual for articles written on gaming and instruction. I'm finding much better information from books.
This article is all over the place, mixing the value of professor-librarian collaboration, with the value of integrating Web 2.0 tools to enhance classroom learning, with the value of educational game-like activities to learn research skills. The Web 2.0 part includes mostly having students contribute to wikis and blogs. They mention having attended the SUNY Conference on Instructional Technologies, which I'm interseted in looking into.
The games had nothing to do with technology and were active learning techniques with the game aspect being having teams vote for the best results. The games were as follows:
- The Dead Mathematicians Hall of Fame: Students got in groups and researched a famous person in the field of logic. They had to write an acceptance speach from that person's point of view, which required some research. The class voted on the best.
- Grateful Dead Scientists Game: The students had to research a famous scientist and create a course that person might have taught. The votes come in the form of registrations for courses the students would like to take.
- History of the Times Game: Students use the New York Times Historical Backfile to find an interesting story or ad, then vote on best results.
Other things I want to look into are Jenny Levine's "gamer ethos" in her article from Library Technology, and Friedman and Booth's "cultures of play."
Oh, and BTW, Lone Ranger should be capitalized.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
We did our whirlwind tour of the south to visit our two sets of parents who raised us, and also visited my husband's birth mother and father, and their respective families.
When we got back, there was a nice pile of mail waiting for us. Before Thanksgiving, I had written to my sophomore English teacher to thank her for having drilled good research and citation skills into us. I got the following reply tucked into a Christmas card... it almost makes me as happy to know my thanks was appreciated as to get thanks as a teacher, if that makes any sense:
Thank you so much for the note you sent to me. It came at the right time. Beginning research with my sophmores and wordering if I can "do this again". How kind of you to remember me and that I what I taught you "a few years ago" stayed with you and that you found it to be valuable.
In your note you said that the students don't get it - well, they still don't get it here in high school. I'm not sure who or if it will be taught once I retire [...].
Currently I am teaching all tenth rade academic English classes and two lower level junior classes. I am thrilled that you are teaching research at the college level. Got a chuckle out of your reference to the MLA Handbook as Satan's bible. I am sure that some of my sophomores share your belief.
Again, thanks so much for the correspondence; it means a great deal to me. Wishing you and your husband a Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous 2009.