Thursday, April 29, 2010

What I Did During Spring Semester

It has been pretty evident that the second semester of my doctoral program has kept me quiet on the social media front, including this blog. What little spare time I had this semester was focused on two pretty intense courses. In the theory seminar, I read and commented on the learning theories of a few dozen authors (Bruner, Rogers, Vygotsky, Skinner, and so forth). Some students in the program affectionately call this course the "Book of the Week Club." As I look at the shelf filled with this semester's books, this is not an exaggeration.

This semester's other class focused on research foundations for the field. One of the final projects was a major literature review which could ideally become part of a dissertation proposal. Initially I had planned to write about the use of synchronous electronic communication in an in-person classroom (text messaging, chatting, Twittering, or other backchannel communication as part of the class), but I found few research studies which analyzed the impact (or not) of these technologies on learning. I did uncover some skepticism about the effectiveness of these tools if you consider cognitive load theory and the ability to multitask effectively. As an occasional backchannel participant at a conference, I sometimes find myself distracted from the speaker as I follow and participate in the online discussion. So it is an interesting question--would the use of these tools in the in-person classroom help a student learn (through ease of asking questions, community building, finding additional links and information, etc.) or would it pose as a distraction?

I ended up writing about the use of audience response systems in the in person classroom (aka clickers). This is more of an old-school technology, generally presented asynchronously to the lecture, and the choices are fairly limited (A, B, C, or D for example). There is however a wealth of research literature out there on this technology: 3.7 pounds worth if you are curious. These systems are evolving to offer more options beyond objective measures, and the keypad notion is gradually being replaced with smartphone or laptop applications. I see a lot of opportunities with using these systems in the future, even in the library instruction environment.

That brings me to what I'll be doing this summer--writing a literature review examining the use of interactive technologies in library instruction. I'll also be working on an internship project to update my English LibGuide and related tutorials using instructional design methodology. Hopefully you'll be hearing more from me over the summer, but I suspect these projects along with everything else will keep me pretty busy.

So what's with the photos in this post? The research seminar met in a model classroom, so we were treated to various elementary school science projects, dioramas, and posters throughout the semester. The neatly printed signs around the room were amusing: "This is a door." After some of our hefty discussions, it was good to be reminded.

New Computer Service Desk in the Hub

This semester Kentucky Trade Computer Services launched their campus location as the official computer service provider for UK students. Conveniently located inside the computer lab in the Hub, they offer computer repairs, upgrades, data recovery, and other related services.

Many commons environments offer hardware services, and I'm glad we were able to add this valuable service to the Hub. Complimenting the services available from the IT help desk, the Hub really is a one-stop shop for student technology assistance.

Check out their website for more information on the services they offer.

New IT Help Desk

Earlier this month, a new IT help desk opened on campus to meet the needs of north campus students. Located in the student center, the help desk occupies a former travel office (note the groovy bar stools). I think it's terrific that IT continues to move its help desk services to where the students are, and this place should be hopping during the lunchtime rush.

Around the same time, IT also launched a new Tech Tips guide for students.

What an Opportunity!

Here's a chance to lead the planning and management of an outstanding commons environment: NCSU is looking for a Director of Learning Commons Services. This is the place with the seriously cool website, the great furniture, the purple carpet and polka-dotted accents, not to mention the place that checks out all kinds of technology. I typically don't post job ads, but I couldn't resist this one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Academic Learning Spaces Conference

The Florida State University Libraries and Panhandle Library Network are sponsoring a conference of interest: Academic Learning Spaces: Invention, (Re)Invention, and Innovation on June 7-8, 2010 in Tallahassee, FL. The conference will feature discussions facilitated by Crit Stewart, as well as an assessment workshop, presentations, and poster sessions. See the conference website for full details. This looks like one that commons aficionados won't want to miss!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Call for Papers for SLA Academic's Journal

I am so delighted that the SLA Academic division is seeking articles for its inaugural issue of its open access, peer reviewed journal: Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division.

For more information, check out this post for details.

UK Fan Reactions to NCAA Championship

All 28 whiteboards plus the student message board in the Hub featured pro-UK/anti-Duke sentiments this morning. Most were quite silly and had us cracking up. I guess Butler gained about 24,000 fans they didn't even know they had.

It was a great year for all of us. UK, thank you for such an unforgettable season!