Ellen Kintz was in town between her travels to Mexico and California and we were able to meet this morning to discuss possibilities of presenting at a Lilly Conference. We’re convinced these days that we must present where the faculty are. Librarians are already on board with collaborative endeavors. Finding willing and enthusiastic faculty to partner with always seems to be the toughest challenge. But we’re gaining some steam . . .

Along with the wonderful compliment given by Michelle at SUNY Oswego, I heard from a librarian at Suffolk County Community College today who has been collaborating with an ESL professor and presenting the partnership at conferences (the most recent at LOEX 2008) and through publications (look for a chapter from Bealle & Cash-McConnell titled “A Construcivist Approach to Instructional Technology and Assessment in ESL Course Design” in the upcoming Neal-Schuman publication, Using Technology to Teach Information Literacy (2008). In Bealle’s own words, “the presentation with your anthro students (regarding Mayan research – SUNYLA Cortland, May 2004 – I believe) helped me realize the potential of librarian-faculty collaborations.” So, successful collaborations are being formed whether by librarian or faculty initiation. The more faculty we can engage in very powerful teaching partnerships, the more effective student learning can be, especially within the context of our ever-increasing digital world.

I have already discussed Ellen’s and my vision of a triangular model of collaboration (student-librarian-faculty) in this blog, but I’d like to add a fourth stakeholder to the mix – a technology expert. Without the inclusion of Milne Library‘s Technology Instructor, Steve Dresbach, students’ mastery of research skills and content would sit flat on its own. Steve has been involved in Ellen’s classes from day one, although separated from the librarian’s participation in the learning process. Much like I teach a number of research-based sessions in Ellen’s classes, Steve leads at least one technology session per course, which is then followed up by one-on-one or group consultations. The final product that students create is impressive.

Although the philosophy of learning content through research skills that is then delivered via technological projects (Powerpoint slide shows and InDesign posters thus far) has always been key to Ellen Kintz’ courses, there has never been much direct collaboration between the technology expert and the librarian . . . until now. This morning , Steve joined Ellen’s and my meeting to discuss a proposal to Lilly. The goal is to share with a faculty audience the model of content-to-research-to-content-to-final presentation (content appears twice since students must start with a little knowledge on a topic before effectively expanding upon that content through the research process) with the students actively engaged throughout the entire process. It is through the partnership of three faculty/staff members and the students that we are able to transform our students into scholars who are highly capable of presenting on a professional level.

Since we cannot be sure if this fall’s version of ANTH 229: Ethnography and Film will be Ellen’s last course taught (post-retirement), the plan is to film as much of the semester’s classes as possible and develop a documentary that clearly highlights each stakeholder’s role in the educational process. If our proposal is accepted by Lilly, we can use clips from the documentary and direct comments from student interviews regarding their impressions of the learning experience. Rather than bringing just one student to present with us (which is always a big plus, but expensive), the video can illustrate multiple student perspectives on all that they have learned through the ANTH experience.

Advertisements