Digital Age Management and Leadership: Five Critical Steps to Integrating Digital Age Techniques into the Workplace

I will be attending … will you?

Digital Age Management and Leadership: Five Critical Steps to Integrating Digital Age Techniques into the Workplace (April 7, 1-2pm Central Time)

Featuring

Dr. Julie Todaro is dean of the 11 campus libraries at Austin Community College, serving over 40,000 students. She is an author and frequent presenter at state and national conferences. She is past president of both the Texas Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Topics include

Managing and leading in library and information settings today requires:

  • Different techniques to address change in general;
  • Techniques for identifying change specific to organizations and workers;
  • Timing considerations for faster moving work and umbrella organization settings;
  • Using contemporary visuals for illustrating issues;
  • Finding unique data for articulating value;
  • And, persuasive content to match techniques to target populations.

This free one-hour webinar offers specific ideas and techniques for managers and leaders as well as a handout with extensive web links of content and examples.
More information may be found at www.txla.org/Digital-Age-Management

The Library eBook Situation is Appalling

Publishers have been heavily resistant about selling their catalog of eBooks to libraries in the US and Canada. It took years of lobbying from the American Library Association and companies such as 3M and Overdrive to finally sway them over…Major publishers and publishing associations seem to fear that libraries could circulate ebooks to thousands of readers, decimating their profits. 

Read the whole article here. Also see the ALA State of America’s Libraries report.

What has your experience been with ebooks, whether at your institution or your favorite public library?

 

 

Hit the Links: E-reading on the rise

Did you know there are more libraries than there are McDonald’s? And more than half of Americans have an active library card. It seems to me only people that don’t use libraries think no one uses them.

Three in ten Americans read an e-book last year, says Pew report from January. Half own a tablet or e-reader. Print books still dominate reading, though.

You’ve heard of Netflix, you might’ve heard of Freegal, and now there’s Hoopla, a Netflix-like service that streams digital content to library patrons. Have you used it yet?

If it’s an e-book, why can’t everyone use it at once? Here’s a primer on helping non-librarians understand the complex relationship between libraries and electronic content.

Small academic libraries rise: “Library directors at 66 liberal arts colleges on Friday called…to reject licensing agreements with publishers that impose restrictions on how ebooks can be accessed and shared.”

And remember to take a break from negotiating licenses to celebrate National Library Week, April 13th through 19th. How is your library celebrating?

Making social media work for you

You’re probably heard the advice to promote yourself on social media. That sounds an awful lot like work!

But what if I told you that getting ahead in your career could be a delightful side effect of having fun on social media?

I’ve had incredible conversations with people I’ve never met IRL. When you share your passions online, you’ll find a whole community of like-minded individuals – and one of them might just help you get ahead!

Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, says that Twitter is your friend, and shares a story of someone that landed a job through Tweets.

She suggests live tweeting events – which is FUN! – and also gives you visibility in connection with the event you’re Tweeting at. Be sure to use hashtags!

She also recommends not being shy – Twitter is wide open and you can talk to anyone!

US News has a piece on using social media to improve your career. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account – you should definitely create one. LinkedIn has some interesting special interest discussion forums and you can apply for jobs directly through the site. You can also research the next step for your career by looking at how others have progressed.

Their top advice is to be yourself – and to participate in discussions! It’s fun to debate issues with other people online.

This About.com page has a lot of great resources for more in-depth information on how to use individual social media services to improve your online presence.

My advice? Get out there, conquer the learning curve of a new social media site, and remember to have FUN! Great things will follow.

End Plagiarism Now: Let’s Ctrl-X the Essay

I read an Annie’s Mailbox advice column featuring a parent’s letter complaining about plagiarism charges leveled against her student:

The teacher ran the paper through one of the commercially available online programs designed to catch plagiarism, and part of one sentence popped up. She insists he copied the sentence from some book published in the 1950s and expects him to cite his source.

The parent argues that she walked the student through every step of the essay writing process and that no plagiarism occurred – that it’s mere coincidence that part of one sentence just happened to match the 1950s book.

Annie’s response:

[Y]ou need to be practical. If teachers use these online programs to check for plagiarized phrases, it makes sense for students to double-check their papers the same way.

Annie gave some solid advice: use the same tool as your teacher to make sure you don’t get pegged for plagiarism.

There’s gotta be a better way!

Clearly college students have a culture all of their own, and educators aren’t going to be able to change that without student buy-in.

But why can’t we be more creative in the assignments we give students?

Students copy and paste for two reasons, in my unscientific opinion: First, because it’s easy, and by pre-emptively running it through something like Turnitin.com, they can get away with it. Second, they plagiarize because their creative online activities generally center on re-using or re-appropriating someone else’s content – and fresh content is extremely accessible. They’re spending their free time connected to the internet and they’re doing amazing and hilarious things (just see Tumblr f0r good [and bad] evidence of this. But when it’s good, it’s gooooood).

I think the current education system enables plagiarism by continuing to emphasize essays as the default demonstration of content mastery. This is an assignment format that is extremely susceptible to becoming copy-and-paste masterpieces. Students have always plagiarized – it’s just much easier now. So let’s let students put their online creative urges to academic use by coming up with new ways of assessing their mastery of course content.

How about more presentations – but NOT with PowerPoint? Have you tried Glogs or VoiceThread? How about more group work with deliverables that mirrors what they’ll have to do in professional jobs? How about letting students come up with their own ways to show you they understand the course, without rigidly forcing them to produce 1000 words on the subject?

Let’s make assignments more interactive and more reflective of the culture that students and professional workers actually live in. Good writing skills are very important. But so is getting students engaged in the material they’re supposed to be studying. I bet, like me, you do your best work on subjects and mediums that are most engaging for you.

What do you think? Got any creative ideas for tackling the culture of plagiarism?

Turning the Tables: Library as Publisher

Makerspaces, 3D printing, publishing on demand.

Current trends in libraries revolve around the library as a space of creation, not “passive” consumption.

Academic libraries are getting into the game by becoming journal publishers, partnering with other campus units to produce original publications. Open access journals are a hot new product.

But is this merely an attempt for libraries to justify their existence?

Wanna Write a Good One? Library as Publisher, by James LaRue

A late-2011 report from ARL’s Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition stated that slightly more than half of all ARL member libraries were either developing or already had publishing services.

About three-quarters of the programs publish between one and six journals, the majority of which are only distributed electronically and are less than three-years old. About half of the programs publish conference proceedings, technical reports, or monographs; most often electronically, but with some print-on-demand distribution.

Ohio State University launched their publishing services in response to faculty demand.

Over and over again, librarians told me something like, “faculty came to us and said, ‘I need a publisher and the library is the obvious place on campus to provide this service.’”

Impressed and interested in getting your library on board? Columbia University Libraries put together a Library Publishing Toolkit to help you get started.

Over 50 academic libraries banded together to form the Library Publishing Coalition to support libraries in this endeavour. Library Journal interviewed one of LPC’s founders to learn more about what’s pushing libraries into the publishing business.

American Libraries magazine supports library publishing services as a way to fight back against the Big Six publishers. The magazine also offers tips on recruiting authors to the effort.

Many, many libraries are in the unfortunate position of having to justify their existence. Is offering publishing services just another move to stay relevant? Would you offer publishing in your library?

Flip Your Classroom

What does your library instruction session look like? Most academic library instruction sessions are a one-shot deal: usually an hour, hour and a half at the most, to give college students a quick crash course in basic research skills.

Your time with students is so limited. How do you know if they “got it” with little-to-no hands-on time? There might be a better way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many instructors, in libraries and out, are trying a “flipped classroom” model to make the most of their time with students:

A flipped classroom inverts the traditional educational model so that the content is delivered outside of class, while class time is spent on activities normally considered “homework.” For example, students may access instructional material through videos, podcasts or online tutorials before the class meeting. Then during class time, students work on activities which force them to apply what they have learned. (ala.org)

I spend a lot of time in my instruction sessions demonstrating database use and citation shortcuts. If I’m lucky, there’s time at the end for students to do some searching on their own. Why not have students watch my lecture/do tutorials on their own time, and then dedicate class to hands-on practice?

Now, this teaching model does mean a potentially greater time investment for the instructor. For one-shot library workshops, the library instructor has to work closely with the class instructor to make sure students are prepared beforehand. Also, the library has to prep the tutorials and screencasts for students to watch, and has to maintain these materials to keep them current.

But the dividends can be great! Imagine doing no lecturing during the class-time you have with students, and being able to work one-on-one or in groups to help students “get it.” Something to think about as we move into a new school year!

Check out the original post “Keep Up With…Flipped Classrooms” over at ALA. More resources below!

Google Reader dies today. Don’t lose your favorite feeds!

If you use Google Reader and you haven’t switched, you’re down to the wire! The Google service ends today. But fear not – I offer up a collection of links with alternatives below!

If you have no idea what Google Reader is – it might be time for you to read up on feed aggregators! If you visit a lot of sites daily just to see what’s new – you might want to switch to an aggregator, which will collect all of your sites’ updates for you in one place. Aggregators put all your new blog posts and news articles in one page for easy viewing. (Or, anything with an RSS feed, at least, like this blog! ; ) Here’s an overview of RSS feeds for newbies.

From Lifehacker:

Google Reader Is Shutting Down; Here Are the Best Alternatives

Gizmodo:

10 Google Reader Alternatives That Will Ease Your RSS Pain

Redmond Pie:

Top 5 Google Reader Alternatives | Redmond Pie

Microsoft Outlook can also collect new posts for you. Here are instructions on

How to add RSS feeds to Outlook

What are blogs, anyway?

Blogs are a great way to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in Library Land and beyond! Here’s some blogs I recommend following:

Ask A ManagerAll of your work and job searching questions answered!

Rapid e-Learning Blog: Designing online courses? All the tips you need! (From Articulate.com)

iLibrarian Blog from OEDb.org: Lots of tech tips for library-types!

And, of course, you should follow this blog! ; )

What blogs do you follow?

Learning Badges: A solution to growing library instruction programs?

Let’s face it: academic libraries are only going to continue having to do more with less. As print circulation drops, use of  online library resources (hopefully) rises – but how is your library meeting the challenge of teaching students to use online resources efficiently? I would guess that most instruction librarians are already on teaching overload! The solution may lie in online classes – but not the for-credit, instructor-led classes that you’re used to!

badges

The future of information literacy instruction may, instead, lie in learning badges! Many college and university libraries are turning to “gamification” or short, online modules, that teach students specific info lit skills and reward students with colorful, virtual “badges” that the students can collect and show off. Purdue University seems to be at the forefront of developing academic library badges. Take a look at U of A librarian Nicole Pagowsky’s review of Purdue’s beta badge program.

Done well, learning badges look like some of those developed at University of California, Davis, for the sustainable agriculture program. Earned badges allow students to show the world what they’ve learned. “Each badge would allow the employer to click through to more detailed levels of evidence and explanation—documents, assessment results, hyperlinks, video, and more.” Badges are fully explained and hopefully transferrable to use outside of academia.

In fact, learning badges have the potential to transform records of academic learning as we know it today:

Compared with the new open badge systems, the standard college transcript looks like a sad and archaic thing. Its considerable value is not based on the information it provides, which is paltry. What does a letter grade in a course often described only by the combination of a generic department label and an arbitrary number (e.g. Econ 302) really mean? Nobody knows, which is why accredited colleges often don’t trust that information for the purposes of credit transfer, even when it comes from other accredited colleges.

What do you think? Do you see potential for learning badges at your institution?

Project Information Literacy

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How do college students start their research? Most academic library employees know the quick answer: Google and Wikipedia! But there’s more to the story. How do college students move through the research process in the digital age, and why do they approach it as they do?

Project Information Literacy‘s (PIL) mission is to reveal the answers to this question. PIL is a nonprofit that is partnered with University of Washington’s i-School. Their goal is to re-shape research skills curriculum to help students as they are, not as we wish they would be.

PIL has already completed six major studies since 2008 in an attempt to “to investigate how they find, evaluate, and use information for their course work and for addressing issues that arise in their everyday lives.”

One of their findings is that while students’ lives are dramatically different in this age of technology, many college professors stick to old-fashioned teaching methods:

Despite the seismic changes in the way that information is now created and delivered, 83% of instructors’ handouts for research assignments PIL analyzed in 2010 called for the standard research paper. Few handouts asked students to present findings using other formats, including multimedia and oral presentations.

PIL also studies how students’ research skills carry over into their personal lives and post-graduate jobs. Even classically “information-literate” students still struggle in the workplace. In a column from late-2012 over on Inside Higher Ed, one librarian summarizes a key report from PIL documenting the struggles of recent college grads:

What they hadn’t learned was how to deal with questions that didn’t have an answer that could be found in a text, whether online or in print. Their work assignments lacked the structure and instructions that college assignments had, their deadlines were tighter, and the stakes were higher. They felt their jobs were at risk. One key need graduates identified was finding mentors and informants. As one focus group participant put it, “the biggest hurdle for me was getting used to talking to strangers” (19).

Even with the prevalence of social networking, students might still need to work on their social skills to help themselves get ahead in life!

Check out this overview of PIL that features super-hip music: