Lifelong Learning, but not a Library Post

Image of black and brown metal fabric scissors resting on top of assorted swatches of fabric

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

One of my intentions is to write a little more often here, and although I tend to keep this blog as a work journal more for my own benefit, I was smart not to do any specific branding, so I feel safe straying from time to time.

My husband and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage on January 3rd. We chose to get married the first Saturday in January to mark our new start in a new year. My husband’s birthday is also the 6th, the official last day of Christmas, so we’re all about stretching the holiday season to the last drop, it seems. During the first week of January, one of our traditions is making a list of shared goals and individual goals and intentions. We just finished our kitchen remodel in December, so, this year, we have some smaller home improvement goals. We need to install a new fence, add rock to our front yard and backyard, paint some rooms, and finish personalizing our house. We’ve been homeowners for nearly six years, and I’ve really enjoyed making it ours.

In the spirit of (home)making, one of my personal goals is to learn how to use a sewing machine. I want to the freedom to make curtains, table runners, and pillow covers using fabric I actually like versus hunting forever or just settling. This is a big deal for me because I am terrible at sticking to hobbies. (I actually got motivated to do this from a HuffPost article. Number 7, which is “Learn something new,” stopped me in my tracks: “What have you always been interested in learning but felt either too busy or fearful to prioritize? That’s what you should focus on.”) I registered for a sewing class through our local community college’s community education classes. I’m really looking forward to it, though I will most likely have to miss the third class due to a conference.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do? I’d love to hear.

#GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is upon us! I’ve written about organizations worthy of donation before, and I wanted to mention some of these again, as well as other organizations/groups in my work and home communities that are worthy of your consideration.

Libraries

Earlier this month, my fellow community members voted to renew the 1/8 cent sales tax for the Stanislaus County Library system’s 13 branches. It will go up for renewal again in 12 years. The volunteers behind the Save Stanislaus Libraries campaign worked tirelessly to get the word out, and Measure S was passed with over 80 percent approval.

Say Yes to S yard sign

I encourage you to donate to your local library foundations and friends group or consider donating to EveryLibrary to help other communities’ libraries that are on the ballot.

Now, I haven’t talked to anyone about this yet, but I really want to take part in ALA and REFORMA’s new Adopt a Library program for the Caribbean. If you have a willing organization, this may be a good project to take on!

Colleges & Universities

Going to college was a big deal for me. I recently attended a reception as an alumni of the Rogers Scholars award, which has been in place at my alma mater since 1991. The students’ stories really resonated with me.

Rogers Scholars Luncheon & Reunion invitation

A couple of years ago, the plant my dad worked at closed down, so he took an early retirement. Up until my dad retired, both of my parents were cannery workers. As in they operated machinery. My dad was a dryer operator, and my mom runs a machine that covers fruit cups with plastic film. My mom is an immigrant from Mexico who received little education; she went up to the equivalent of the eighth grade. Growing up, I knew I needed to go to college to have more options than my parents, but I was so stressed out about the cost, I opted to go to school locally. I was able to finish school with zero debt by living at home and receiving scholarships and grants.

I know what a difference scholarships can make in a student’s life, which is why I give to my undergraduate alma mater’s One Purpose campaign. When I worked at Merced College, I also made monthly contributions, and now I give to student scholarships at UC Merced. I also need to start making donations to San José State University, my graduate alma mater, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). A very generous HSF donor contributed $11k to my graduate education, and I had also received a scholarship from HSF as an undergraduate. I feel passionately about investing in young people. I hope you’ll consider donating to your alma mater or a local college or university.

Information Sources

I also contribute to my local NPR station, Capital Public Radio; Creative Commons; and the Internet Archive. However, I also want to contribute to Wikipedia. I just love these sources that much. Do you donate to any information sources?

Faith-Based Organizations

When I worked at the Stanislaus County Library, I discovered our town’s local World Relief office, which works to house refugees. A volunteer was showing an Ethiopian man around the library, and I thought it was awesome.  (Bonus: If you’re interested in libraries and refugees, check out Libraries Serve Refugees.)

Hometown Gems

This could get long, folks, but I also wanted to share that a few years ago, a friend and her husband had a wedding anniversary party at our town’s historic State Theater, and, as gifts, we made donations to the theater. A friend of mine recently got married, and, in lieu of gifts, he and his wife chose two organizations where friends and family could donate in their honor–Merced County Courthouse Museum and the Humane Society of Stanislaus County. If you’re in Modesto, consider giving to the McHenry Museum. What are some hometown gems you can’t live without?

Do you have #GivingTuesday plans? I know not everyone is in the place to give, but if you can, do!

Instruction Brown Bag Sessions

One neat thing we do at the UC Merced Library is meet during a lunch hour to discuss information literacy and research instruction. We have an internal LibGuide for these sessions. Over the summer, we met after the Library Instruction West 2016 conference to share about sessions we attended as my colleagues and I tried to attend different sessions from each other. I shared two sessions I attended at LIW 2016 during the first brown bag (you can read about everything I attended at LIW 2016 here). We had our second instruction brown bag lunch in mid-August. Here is a summary of the sessions my colleagues attended at LIW 2016.

Foothills to Fourteeners: Preparing Students for Research in the Real World

This session referred to Problem Based Learning (PBL) and the ARCS Model of Motivational Design.

The ARCS Model can help encourage student motivation. A refers to attention, stimulating and sustaining learners’ interests. R refers to relevance, meeting the needs and goals of learners to effect a positive change. C refers to confidence, helping learners believe they will succeed and can control their success. S refers to satisfaction, reinforcing the accomplishment with internal or external awards. Chapter 3 of John Keller’s (2010) Motivational Design for Learning and Performance: The Arcs Model Approach provides strategies for how to approach each area.

It can be challenging to stimulate students’ interest in learning, and I think it’s perhaps more challenge for research instruction because students tend to be over-confident in their research abilities when arriving to a session. I found the ARCS model really useful to pinpoint the areas where I can focus my efforts to increase motivation in my teaching. In our discussion about how to apply ARCS, we all agreed that getting and sustaining students’ attention is the hardest part. I struggle with this, too, because, usually, I am really focused on getting the housekeeping bits out of the way, including objectives for the lesson. One of my colleagues shared that one “hook” she uses is a cute video about how picking a topic is research (I have used the video before, but not, specifically, as a hook). Generally, our instruction is tied to specific course assignments and requirements, so it’s pretty targeted, though I do try to  indicate that what they are learning is relevant for research in and out of school. Confidence is a little more challenging because, generally, we are only seeing students one time, but we do reinforce during hands-on practice and iterate that research takes practice for everyone. during A strategy to help measure satisfaction might be to use Padlet to ask students what they are hoping to learn at the beginning of a session and then going back to see if the things students listed were met.

As a result of this discussion, we will be using an exit slip for our instruction this semester that seeks to gain feedback about attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. We will have the option to use our other exit slip for those who wish to measure some other things. After this term, we’re going to analyze the results. I’m really looking forward to seeing how focusing on these areas can improve my teaching.

Digital Research Notebook: A Simple Tool for Reflective Learning at Scale

The UCLA Library developed the Digital Research Notebook as a way to move beyond one-shot instruction (the one-shot plus language by Char Booth). The Google Doc is a “combination of video tutorials and reflective writing prompts, [which] guides student[s] through the research process. The notebook can be assigned on its own, as a pre-assignment for a one-shot session, or as the backbone of a credit course or research consultation.” The notebooks are useful for librarians to actually be able to see student work.

Outside of the Academic Garden: Lifelong Learning for Engineers

Mary DeJong and Wendy Holliday reported their findings from surveys and interviews conducted with graduates of Northern Arizona University who had majored in engineering. Those surveyed discussed what tools they use to find information, what information needs they have, and how they approach various research projects. Check out the link to the presentation slides to learn more about their findings. I think the results hold lots of implications for librarians who teach information literacy for engineering students. There may be something you can create with engineering faculty that would be helpful for students.

Graduate School Part 2?

So I am thinking even more seriously about applying to graduate school for a second Master’s degree. I got my MLIS in December 2011, and for the last couple of years, I have been looking at various instructional design and learning design technology Master’s programs. The impetus was when I took SJSU’s MOOC, the Hyperlinked Library in Fall 2013, though I was only able to do half of the modules, and User Experience through SJSU’s iSchool Open Classes in Summer 2014. I also took Introduction to Teaching Online through @One in Fall 2015.

The MLIS and M.S. in ID go really well together (see Bell’s “MLD: Masters in Library Design, Not Science” and Bertot, Sarin, and Percell’s “Re-Envisioning the MLS: Findings, Issues, and Considerations“). If anything, I am really interested in a certificate option, but then my brain says, well, you could have a whole second graduate degree with just five or so more classes. I have researched and talked to various people about this, and I’m a little bummed I waited so long, but I think I am ready to dive and apply! I have a little more motivation with some upcoming changes in my work life.

To jump start my desire to get into ID, I am taking a MOOC, Instructional Design Service Course: Gain Experience for Good, which starts in February.  This one appeals to me because it’s free, the time commitment is only 2-3 hours a week (way less than the class I did this past fall), and it also deals with OER and adult learners. Many points here!

RUSA, the Reference and User Services Association, is offering Introduction to Instructional Design for Librarians from Mon., Feb. 8th to Sun., March 20th. It costs $175 for ALA members, which I am. If you’re a RUSA member, it’s $130. If you’re a student, it’s $100. It’s a great deal, but there are live chats every Monday at 5 pm.

Sadly, I missed Digital Pedagogy’s the MOOC MOOC: Instructional Design announcement. It started on Mon., Jan. 25th and it ends on Fri., Feb. 12th. However, it looks like you could probably jump in. All the readings are listed!

Library Juice also offers ID, UX, and information literacy related courses. My only reasoning for not wanting to fork over $175-$250 for each of these is that I would rather spend money and time on credit-bearing courses from a university because I am interested in a second Master’s degree. I have no qualms related to MOOCs or paid independent classes or workshops for professional development; it’s just that my needs and interests are different.  The following are some classes scheduled to begin in February, March, and April.

Concepts of User-Centered Design This class started on Mon., Feb 1st, but you can register through the first week.

Online Instructional Design and Delivery

Introduction to Accessibility and Universal Design in Libraries

I also got a list of suggested readings from a listserv.

Michael Allen has several excellent titles regarding instructional design.

Articulate’s Rapid eLearning Blog

Booth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, effective learning: Instructional literacy for library educators. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Brown, A., & Green, T. D.  (2016). The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.Note from someone: Clark & Mayer book E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, though having a few fundamental flaws, is still pretty good. I’d say about 60-75% of the information is quite good. So worth reading. There is now a 4th ed.

Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2015). The systematic design of instruction (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Dirksen, J. (2012). Design for how people learn. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Heinich, R. (Ed.). (1996). Instructional media and technologies for learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.

Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor, and Francis.

Mayer, R. E. (2012). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Note from someone: a little problematic regarding best practices.

Morrison, G.R., Ross, S.M., Kalman, H.K., & Kemp, J.E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology

Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons.

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This is obviously not a thorough list. Please share resources.

If you’ve taken the plunge into instructional design in your job or are working on/already have a second Master’s degree in ID post-MLIS, do let me know.  I’d love to hear about your work and experiences.