Sean Cordes, Assistant Professor, Instruction Services Coordinator, Western Illinois University

Brian Clark, Assistant Professor, Library Faculty Instructor, Western Illinois University

Amy Harris, First-Year Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian, The University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Okay, back to summarizing LOEX sessions. I want to write about Game on (and on) at this particular time as I will be using some of the information (hopefully) to create an interactive tutorial scavenger hunt for our young archaeologists who will be on campus in July. My goal is to follow-up on the “town hall” meeting of July 14 – the introduction to the camp where we set the stage and present different perspectives on the stadium vs cultural preservation debate – and have students come to Research & Rhetoric (R&R) class the following day prepared with some historical information on the Seneca in the Genesee Valley. If all works as planned, students will learn how to use our OPAC, find books and maps in the library, use newspaper indexes and microfilm machines to find primary documents, and sufficiently search the web for other relevant information. If anyone knows off hand of any great digitized collections on the Seneca (Iroquois) in NYS, please forward those links on. I can always do the background work, but it will save a lot more time to have ready-made recommended sites.

So, Game on (and on) . . .

In this session, three speakers presented the value of virtual gaming to teach ACRL IL standards. Amy Harris (UNCG) co-created the Information Literacy Game with Scott Rice (Appalachian State University), and Cordes and Clark followed-up on Amy’s demonstration of the IL Game with their own iteration. The original goal of game creation was to extend learning beyond the one-shot session and the games are primarily intended for students at the first-year level.

Amy gave a good demonstration of her game, and I could explain the in’s and out’s here but it may be best to just try to game out for yourself. Here are a few easy tips related to the game for a faster read on how it applies to ACRL’s IL standards:

Color coding and icons are used for the type of questions students will be asked:

  • · green=searching databases
  • · blue=citing sources (MLA and APA) & avoiding plagiarism
  • · red=wildcard
  • · purple=books
  • · light bulbs=website evaluation
  • · !=gameboard piece (move forward, bckward, skip, etc.)
  • · ?=information about the game

Students move around the game board and answer questions, working against the clock. They can work independently or with others. The game is driven either by keyboard strokes or with a mouse.

The beauty of what Harris and Rice have constructed is that the game is easily adaptable for any other library who are free to “make it their own” with downloadable sound and visuals and library-specific questions and directions. The system is designed for the non-techie so just about anyone can adapt the game. The Information Literacy Game has become so popular that 2300 rounds were played within the last 2 years and it will appear first on a Google list with the search phrase “information literacy games.”

Cordes and Clark stepped in next to discuss how they adapted the game to make it unique to Western Illinois University (WIU) and to demonstrate how easy it is to do so. A few modifications that were made at WIU:

  • · Addition of questions related to media, visual, and multicultural literacies
  • · Employment of AT&T 21st century literacies. Start w/question, identify & collect information, evaluate, make sense, reflect & refine, using information and assess
  • · Transformation of as many 2D objects into 3D as possible (i.e., bullets were updated)
  • · Change of color and graphics (i.e, college logo) to brand the game as one belonging to WIU (be sure to cover all related pages as well as the top level website)
  • · Addition of more colorful graphics (i.e., MS clipart) laid over originals
  • · Change of title to represent library’s newly modified game
  • · Implemented sorry! and roll on! when students answer incorrectly. Reasons are always given for why the answer is wrong so that student continue to learn, even from their mistakes.
  • · Game emulates Trivial Pursuit where students try to collect one of each color on the board

A few tips for those wanting to transform the IL Game:

  • · Become friends w/bgame.css (Dreamweaver properties provide new styles to choose from)
  • · <div class=”game” id=”main”> very important since not everything is provided in the game files (I’ll have to actually try to modify the game to know what all of this means)
  • · – for $15, download as many clipart images as possible in a week (many 3D images to choose from)

o choose icons that students will relate to

o re-use icons as much as possible. They are helpful for the game but can be used in many other projects.

The session ended with a live demonstration of Clark and Cordes’ game. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to easily find a link to the game, and there haven’t been any links added to the LOEX 2008 site.

Cordes and Clark plan to take the idea of IL gaming one step further and develop a complete game arcade. They caution, however, that librarians pick and choose games very carefully, giving considerable thought to what students will really learn from the game(s). If librarians can successfully prove that students are indeed learning from the interactive tools, this could be a very powerful sell to faculty.

Currently, there is another game based on a mouse trap that involves critical thinking & problem solving. Based on answers provided by students, a path is drawn, and the goal is to reach the designated final destination. Definitely worth seeking out online.

In the end, I’m not sure if a game board activity is right for what I have in mind for our middle school students. I have been thinking about diving into Camtasia or Captivate, and a colleague has also informed me of Jing. I talked with a librarian from SUNY Plattsburgh at the SUNYLA Conference who has created tutorials in Camtasia and I’m not so sure I have the time for the required learning curve. So much to do, so little time. Perhaps my end goals for this scavenger hunt are a little lofty given my time constraints. We’ll see.


Yay, the LOEX powerpoints are finally online! Susan Norman and I presented “Summer Sleuths in the Library” (name eventually changed to “The Multicultural Classroom: Plan, Build, Renew – Librarian as Constructivist Architect”) at this year’s LOEX conference in Oak Brook, Illinois. We had a small audience but those who attended really seemed excited about our summer camp program. Here are the powerpoints – one that works better in Office 2007 (although the video doesn’t not seem to be loading, at least not on my slow laptop) and the other that’s better suited for Office 2003. The handout consists of acronyms used in our presentation and a bibliography. The slides obviously cannot represent all that we discussed in our presentation, but the video fills in a lot of gaps. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message.

If you cannot easily get to the video, look for it at

I am thrilled to report that the entire ppt is playing in our library’s lobby on one of the large plasma screens. Hopefully, it will attract the attention of prospective students and their families while on campus tours and of the few students, staff, faculty, and community members using the library this summer. The adventure of the summer camp will begin again on July 14.

Ellen Kintz and her sister were in the library today.  Linda left for home today and Ellen is off to Mexico next week.  I showed her the French publication and she suggests we write it up in our campus e-publication geared toward faculty.  I shall do that.  It won’t be but a few lines and it will bring to light the work that Ellen, I and various ANTH students have been doing.  Geesh, if I’m going to write this up, I could also write up the presentations we’ve done with Tom recently and I could write about the LOEX presentation with Susan.  And I could even write up something about this blog.  If LOEX highlighted anything in my mind, it’s that we at Milne Library rarely publish all the great things going on in this library, especially as it relates to the greater campus community.  We definitely tend to present at conferences, but no publications.  Our Director could write an entire book on what he’s been able to accomplish within his 12 or so years at SUNY Geneseo.  But no time for writing.  We must carve out time to write and publish.  Otherwise, we’ll remain the best kept secret in upstate NY.  🙂

I just performed a Google search to see if the LOEX presentation that Ellen Kintz, Katie Lamie, and I provided in 2005 was online.  Instead of seeing the ppt slideshow and handouts I had hoped to find, I found this French publication.  Look at the bottom of page 3 (Quelques exemples) and you’ll see the fifth footnote with details of that reference on page 4.  In general, the author writes that at LOEX 2005, a group of three presented a lively session 1) regarding the link between disciplines and information literacy and 2) surrounding our collaboration, not only between faculty and librarian, but one that equally includes students.  The article goes on, in detail, to describe our session.  How cool to read about our work in French!  Not to mention that our session was one to be highlighted.  Very exciting!

Rebecca Payne, Reference/Instruction Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sheila Stoeckel, Associate Academic Librarian, Campus Library & Information Literacy Instruction Office, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Slides and handouts available at LOEX 2008

This was a session that attracted me from the get-go, especially at a time when I was considering applying for our Head of Instruction and Reference position. But just because I am not currently going through that hiring process doesn’t mean that I cannot positively influence the activities that go on between teaching librarians at Milne Library.

The premise of this LOEX session was to introduce a collaborative pilot project between instruction librarians at UW Madison. With so many different libraries on campus, librarians who do not immediately work with one another- due to geographical distance and/or priorities of the different libraries – were interested in working more collectively while enhancing their performance in the classroom. Prior instruction-related activities included monthly forums across the different libraries, an annual retreat, and an annual banquet. Due to a glaring absence of formal one-on-one instructor assessment, the partnership pilot became a successful means of gaining peer feedback in an unobtrusive and non-threatening way. The presenters made it clear that the results of any of the formed partnerships have not been used at a higher level (i.e., for term renewal, continuing appointment, or promotion). That was never the goal.

The program itself consists of librarian volunteers who share the goal of enhanced performance in the classroom, whether that be in the form of lesson planning, pacing of a library session, creation of hands-on activities including assessment tools, public speaking, or encouragement of student discussion. The program is flexible, self-directed (any one pair of teaching librarians can design a unique partnership that work specifically for them), supportive, self-reflective, and a system of equals (no “mentoring” is involved). Pairs are formed based on common interests or by pure motivation of wanting to get to know other librarians on campus. Based on the desired outcomes of each pair, activities can include self-reflection of the teaching process, peer observation and discussion. Specific observation methods to be used include scripting, verbatim logs, and a checklist of behaviors (created collaboratively by the pair or by the instructor to be observed – encompassing such things as the number of “um’s” spoken, addressing students’ questions directly, providing eye contact, etc.). Throughout the pilot project, participants would flip flop from the role of instructor and the role of facilitator (who would encourage reflection, observe his/her partner’s teaching, and provide constructive feedback). The number of times partners met was determined by their schedules and workload. If in-person meetings could not established, partners were free to call, e-mail, text, etc. but the preferred method of “meeting,” as stated by participants, is definitely face-to-face. Audience members were shown two versions of a videotaped “meeting” and were asked what they thought “worked” and what didn’t work.

What works:

* Deciding on behaviors to observe (or other goals laid out by the instructor) before the instruction takes place
* A planned meeting, soon after the instruction has taken place, where each partner has devoted time to talk and listen
* Equal partners sitting down and sharing an objective and productive conversation
* The observer begins conversation by asking the instructor how he/she thought the library session went
* Focus only on the aspects that the instructor has asked the observer to witness and provide feedback on
* Sharing student comments made in the classroom that the instructor would never hear while in the midst of teaching (student praise, student “a-ha” moments, student confusion, etc.)
* Combine positive comments with aspects that could be improved upon
* Quantifiable evidence as marked down on behavior worksheet (e.g. a checkmark for every time “um” was uttered)
* Support constructive criticism or praise with observed evidence

What doesn’t work:

* Having one person standing while the other sits – creates a model of hierarchy
* Coming across as the expert rather than an equal – the project was not intended to be a mentorship no matter what the difference in age or level of experience shared between two participants in a pair
* Not allowing for shared conversation
* Not addressing the specific requests of the instructor to be observed
* Criticism (not necessarily constructive) provided without any observable evidence to back it up

Benefits to Librarian Instructional Partnerships:

* Written reports by instructor and observer allows for accountability, self-reflection, and a sharing & learning tool for other librarians on campus
* Only 10 hours of a librarian’s time was spent during the semester. This included the initial orientation to the pilot project and meetings between partners. Classroom time was not factored in since the instructor would be teaching the class in question regardless of the assessment project.
* Participants stated that the program was “fun,” allowed for time and discussion focused on teaching, provided each librarian with specific and directed feedback, built rapport among colleagues, and encouraged an exchange of ideas and teaching techniques
* Allowed librarians to set goals for themselves and targets upon which they could improve
* The project can extend itself to other departments in the library – i.e., Reference, Circulation, Student Assistants
* The positive outcomes of the program is spreading across campus (KDH – perhaps academic depts can use this approach, but even more pertinent to the instruction program at Milne Library, maybe librarians and their faculty partners can work out a similar approach)

Drawbacks (and advice) to Librarian Instructional Partnerships:

* Coordination of schedules was sometimes difficult, mainly due to unavoidable circumstances
* Potential for those who would most benefit from the constructive criticism to not participate
* Pairs work better because more time and attention can be focused in a one-to-one partnership
* Videotaping of instruction sessions (see Argentieri, Davies, Farrell, Liles) can help enhance the program, if participants are receptive to the idea (KDH – videotaping along with web 2.0 could allow such a program to expand to campus-to-campus library partnerships)