I spent a beautiful spring day at a one-day workshop in Brockport, NY today. The focus: how libraries and librarians integrate themselves into campus culture using a LMS. Many good sessions although after spending three days at the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference, today’s workshops just flew by. I could have actually sat through a few more presentations. But a little at a time is a good thing. I was happy that the venue was so close to home. The keynote speakers came from Penn State and I was immediately reminded of speakers from CIL, also from Penn State, and they presented on similar topics. The modules/tutorials/library course guides (however you want to call it) sound fantastic. And Penn State uses ANGEL, which is great since Geneseo is on the same system. For librarians not familiar with and/or adept at HTML, the PA librarians have figured out a way to get the necessary resources into the professors’ and students’ hands in the online environment. What sounded like the perfect system became very confusing as it was never explained, until later, that the templates Penn State uses have been customized in-house. Luckily, they are very willing to share the templates and have suggested this to ANGEL, but were rebuffed since “no one else was expressing a need for such resources.” If other librarians and IT depts were aware of these capabilities, there would be many of us clamoring to avoid reinventing the wheel. I will definitely have to contact the higher-ups to make my recommendation.

Other interesting sessions included the use and/or development of tutorials, using Captivate, Camtasia, and other software programs. This gives me the idea of creating an interactive tutorial/scavenger hunt for the DIG students this summer. Not only can I make the hunt come alive and make it interesting and fun for our middle school students, I can be teaching them basic research skills in the process – something that during the two week camp, I may not have time to do. I may need to enlist the help from a few librarians to create the tutorial that I envision. Student assistants may be out of the question at this point since they are so swamped with final projects and exams.

The last light bulb that popped up over my head today pertains to the situation of E-reserves. With the implementation of ANGEL, the library’s e-res system as we know it will fade away at the end of this semester. Currently, the LOR (learning object repository) for course reserves looks like a mess, and without library intervention, I’m not so sure that professors will be as diligent about cleaning out their reserves list at the end of each semester. I have already run into the problem of outdated material in an ANTH course I worked with this semester. The only syllabi I could find within the ANTH course, using ANGEL, were 2-3 years old. And the list of resources within the list were unweilding. So, my thought . . . I will see what dept meetings I can visit before the end of the semester and suggest to faculty that rather than hassle with adding articles and books to their course reserve list (time consuming to find the sources, create the PDFs, link them and then figure out whether the documentation falls within copyright parameters), I can check to see if the library has access to the materials and, if so, recommend a brief session and/or online tutorial (probably the better idea, which should be an attractive choice to busy professors worried about time constraints for delivering their course content) demonstrating to students how to access these chosen resources. Once they have the skill, it will be practiced many times over throughout the semester, cementing this process into their minds. With any luck, students in these courses will no longer come to the reference desk asking questions about how to know if the library owns such and such journal/article/book. Because course readings will be part of a student’s final grade for the semester, it will be to their benefit to perfect the skill of knowing how to access particular, pre-designated materials. Without accessing the required source, they cannot do the reading, which in turn prevents them from coming to class prepared to discuss their homework reading assignment. This may later affect their performance on course exams. I have already been utilizing such a strategy in Ellen’s courses (ANTH) and I haven’t heard of any problems from the students. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

The additional benefits of meeting with academic departments before the semester is up is to remind the professors of new and existing resources in the library that they may want to consider and experiment with over the summer. Scopus seemed to be hugely popular with the science faculty, but they were the only ones to attend the demonstration earlier this week. Scopus is a great tool for the Social Sciences as well. The alterior motive, of course, is to remind the departments with whom I work that I am at their service, during the summer and certainly in the fall semester.

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