3Ts: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology and Transliteracy
Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY
March 25, 2011

As budgets continue to shrink and the number of online or blended classes continues to grow, the need for instructors who are comfortable with the wide array of digital learning tools becomes of paramount importance. From the writings of Donald E. Hanna and associates1, we are reminded that “the challenge is not simply to incorporate learning technologies into current institutional approaches, but rather to change our fundamental views about effective teaching and learning and to use technology to do so.” Keeping this in mind, the 3 T’s conference aims to explore issues surrounding the intersections between teaching, instructional technologies and the growing number of literacies all students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.

1. Hanna, Donald E. Associates, Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition: Choices and Challenges, Atwood Publishing, 2000, p.61.

As one of the primary goals of the 3Ts planning committee, we are offering a discounted “buddy” registration fee to encourage cross-disciplinary discussion among our participants.

What constitutes a “buddy”? Buddies are created by a pair of attendees (registering at the same time) who are complementary and/or collaborating professionals (i.e., teaching faculty and a librarian, a librarian and an instructional designer, two teaching faculty from different disciplines).

SUNY Registration Fee $20.00; Non-SUNY Registration Fee $30.00
SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $15.00; Non-SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $25.00

What is Transliteracy? For conference information visit:
http://threetees.weebly.com

Co-Sponsored by SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL)
SUNY Center for Professional Development
SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching & Technology (FACT2)

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Are you interested in teaching, technology and transliteracy?

Do you use your students’ fluency across media, modes, and disciplines to their and your advantage?

Are you using technology to extend learning in the classroom (physical or virtual)?

Are you experienced in successfully blending technology into your teaching?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, the conference planning committee for The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy wants YOU to consider submitting a proposal (now closed).

Co-sponsored by SUNY FACT2 and the SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL), The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy is a one-day conference focused on placing pedagogical theory at the foundation of seamless, engaging and productive teaching practice when infusing various technologies into the classroom experience. Educators, Faculty, Instructional Designers, and Librarians hailing from K-12 and higher education institutions will gather in Johnstown, NY at Fulton-Montgomery Community College on March 25, 2011 to share their successes, challenges and overall understanding of the theory to practice connection.

Don’t miss out on your chance to spotlight your classroom ingenuity and achievements!

Proposals should address the following questions:

  • How have you drawn upon student transliteracy to support learning?
  • How have underlying principles and theories guided your inclusion of a specific technology or technologies in the classroom?
  • How did teaching and technology work collaboratively to improve both technological literacy and learning?

As proposals undergo a peer-reviewed process, emphasis on the following are highly encouraged:

  • Connecting theory to practice as discussed and modeled through your presentation delivery
  • Collaborative projects/lesson plans that could include (but are not limited to) cross-disciplinary teaching, faculty/librarian partnerships, K-12/college experiences

Proposals can include any meaningful integration of technology and teaching used to support the growing number of literacies students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.  Possible tracks and technologies might include:

Literacies Technologies
  • Information literacy
  • Visual literacy
  • Digital literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Cultural literacy
  • Critical literacy
  • Open Source Technologies
  • Web 2.0 Technology
  • Social Networking (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Ning)
  • Mobile Technology (Mobile apps, texting)
  • Classroom Technologies (Smartboards)
  • Collaborative Technology (Wikis)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Vcasts)

Conference sessions will consist of 30 minutes speaking/workshop time with 15 minutes allocated for Q&A.

The deadline for proposals has passed.

Presenters will be notified by November 15, 2010 if their proposal has been accepted.

Presenters will receive free registration for the conference and will have the opportunity to publish their work in the conference’s online proceedings.

For further questions, contact:

Kim Davies-Hoffman
Reference/Instruction Librarian
SUNY Geneseo
kdhoffman@geneseo.edu
(585) 245-5046 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

While not strictly tied to collaborative teaching efforts, a recent planning session with my Collection Development colleague for a staff retreat focused on faculty outreach has prompted me to brainstorm the many ways in which I connect with professors.  I wrote them all down so as not to forget, but at tomorrow’s retreat, all of the librarians will brainstorm their own ways of collaborating.  We are sure to generate a long and very rich list.

Following are the thoughts that I’ve come up with.  I will try to combine similar activities so that this list doesn’t become too cumbersome.

Instructional efforts

  • Successful teaching collaborations (Anthropology, First-year Writing Seminar, Foreign Languages, Political Science, Psychology, RYSAG, Sociology) have led other professors to engage in similar instructional efforts
  • Successful teaching collaborations have led to greater opportunities for myself and for those with whom I teach (i.e., RYSAG)
  • Conference presentations incorporating librarian and professor (and sometimes student representatives) have led to faculty interest in similar teaching collaborations, at SUNY Geneseo and elsewhere
  • Attendance and participation at departmental meetings helps initiate interest in what librarians can do for professors in the classroom and for students outside of the classroom (i.e., research consultations)
  • Attempts at establishing formal librarian-professor meetings or get-togethers (i.e., Librarian-Faculty Learning Community)
  • Assisting professors with their curricular material that have a focus on information literacy skills (i.e., proofreading a student survey centered on issues of plagiarism)
  • Providing introductions of what the library instruction staff can do for various campus groups (i.e., new faculty, First-Year Writing Seminar professors, teaching assistants)
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on different instructional projects in which librarians are involved
  • Engaging in campus-wide activities that focus on pedagogy (i.e., Teaching and Learning Center workshops)
  • Involvement in teaching activities that expand beyond the library (i.e., RYSAG) has allowed me to make connections across campus and outside of the academic environment (i.e., high school teachers)
  • E-mail contact with professors to suggest one-shot classroom instruction over individual research consultations for every student in a course or to clarify tricky questions that a professor has added to a research assignment
  • Working on professional development opportunities that incorporate librarians (and teachers) from all different educational settings

Collection building

  • Meetings that involve collection development librarian, subject specialty librarian, department chair and departmental representative to the library to discuss such things as budget allocations, electronic resources suitable for the subject discipline in question and subject areas covered through print resources
  • Making personal recommendations for sources to professors based on what I know of their research and curricular interests
  • Assisting with suggestions for course texts
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on issues of weeding, purchasing, new collection initiatives, etc.
  • Advertising and administering regional access cards so professors can borrow from local college/library collections
  • Inviting professors to provide input and/or train in orientations to various electronic resources

Faculty research

  • Answering reference questions for faculty, whether in person, on the phone, via e-mail, etc.
  • Offering research consultations to faculty members; not just to students
  • Meeting professors and their research assistants to provide instruction on various tools as well as strategies for tackling the necessary research question/project
  • Providing instruction for student research can many times lead to professors learning of new strategies and resources for their own research
  • Informal conversations can lead to new ideas for faculty research endeavors

Campus-wide engagement

  • Involving oneself in College Senate
  • Choosing relevant Senate subcommittees in which to participate
  • Chairing a Senate subcommittee
  • Running for/serving on other campus-wide committee participation
  • Working on library committees that demand a teaching faculty representative
  • Attending campus functions

Finally, I think that not enough can be said for informal, social interactions with faculty colleagues, on or off-campus.  These serendipitous connections can truly lead to great things, the very least being a newly formed friendship.

I am anxious to hear of other ways that my local colleagues interact with professors and would certainly like to extend the conversation to anyone else reading this blog.  How do you most frequently connect with faculty on campus/at school?

It is amazing how my mind bounces around to so many different ideas, all somewhat related however.  I will try and make some kind of sense and congruence to my thoughts . . .

Thanks to my director, I am able to stay home today and catch up on the professional literature and spend some time writing on my blog.  My major goals for today have been somewhat shifted but I try to remain as focused as possible.  The first article I have read comes as a nice surprise.  “Faculty-Librarian Collaboration,” written by Hollander, Herbert, and Stieglitz DePalma (APS Observer, March 2004, 17(3)), comes from the perspective of a Psychology professor; not a librarian.  What a refreshing change!  The article was written in first person by Sharon Hollander (last documented as working at Georgian Court University), who states being initially weary of what the Library could provide her and her students.  From the very first library instruction session, she was reacquainted with all that librarians have to offer and she was sold from that moment on.  As she mentions, I think it’s important that professors see, with their own eyes, the real lack of information/research skills that today’s college students possess.  In many cases, like anything else that comes easy to us, professors rely on the idea that since they know how to conduct sound research (and that it’s relatively easy to do), their students must already know this too.  But as we know, the Library of today is much different than the Library of just 10-15 years ago.  As Hollander puts it, the Library has “morphed into a more comprehensive institution, the ‘teaching library’.”  With so many choices for where to find information these days, and having to sift out the reliable from the unreliable, it’s no wonder students get lost in the sea of information.  It’s always gratifying when professors tell us that even they learned something new in a library instruction session geared to their students.

Sharon Hollander asks a few beginning questions in the article, ending most importantly with the question, “why is faculty-librarian collaboration worthwhile?”  I’d be interested in posing this question to our library blog to see if any professors answer, providing a bit of free PR for what we do at our library.

I would further like to pose the question that Hollander highlights about the obstacles faculty see facing them when using the library and/or collaborating with a librarian.  The reasons she cites sound way too familiar.

What follows in the article are some really key pieces of advice to professors on how to begin working closely and collaboratively with an instruction librarian.  Start small by incorporating a library-based assignment into the syllabus or requiring students to ask the reference librarian for something specific.  Think of librarians as teachers and realize that the BI sessions of yesterday (one-shot, general and unrelated to the actual work students are being asked to do) have become much more tailored to the discipline and specific subject(s) of a particular course.  Use librarians for independent research projects, for assistance with topic selection for research papers, in term paper clinics, for education on specialized databases and other information resources, for help with grant writing assignments and computer-based projects, and for their subject expertise, where applicable.

This last point reminds me (not that I’m a subject expert by any means in Anthropology) that I have been able to offer more of a multidisciplinary approach to the anthropology students I see in class.  When disciplines such as Anthropology and Sociology cover so many different subject areas, it comes natural to me to research topics within the discipline through many varying subject-specific databases.  Many research topics within either field can be found under the perspectives of psychology, medicine, geography, history, business, etc. keeping the theoretical basis, however, grounded in the original discipline (i.e., anthropology, sociology).

Hollander completes her words of wisdom by discussing the use of librarians on a grander scale – campus-wide collaborative teaching – and by recommending continuous assessment of how the faculty-librarian collaboration is working.  As she writes, and as I have illustrated in this blog, “not everything works the first time, and some things never work.”  “This is not an easy process” but certainly the benefits of faculty-librarian collaboration outweigh the fear of risk-taking, the continuous process of evaluating and tweaking, and the release of control or the idea that a professor must teach independently to be seen as fully competent and/or successful (especially for new or non-tenured teachers).

Although I gained no new information from this first article within a series of future summaries, I am pleased to have begun this project on such a high note.  Unless we are already working collaboratively with a professor/teacher, rarely would we hear the glowing comments and outright recommendation for collaboration to other teachers from a professor.  One thing that Ellen and I have realized is that we can no longer “preach to the choir” of instruction librarians of the tremendous benefits gained from a close working relationship.  It’s the faculty who need to begin to see the advantages and propel themselves into similar collaborations.  Without their motivation, buy-in and commitment, a collaborative initiative can fall flat.

Classes for the fall semester begin in just over a week! When did the summer pass me by???? Meeting with Ellen Kintz (ANTH) yesterday has helped me to start thinking towards library instruction sessions. I’ll also meet with RM (taking over as ANTH Dept. chair) on Monday to discuss the continuation of the ANTH-Library collaboration. To prepare myself for the meeting, Ellen and I talked about what we feel are the benefits of the work that has been accomplished between us over the past 5 (!!!) years.

  • Pre-tests show that students are grossly unaware and unprepared to evaluate and use scholarly resources
  • With embedded library instruction, students dramatically increase their scholarly skills – research and information literacy must be directly related to course requirements and projects, introduced very early in the targeted semester, and practiced throughout the semester in short modules (used as a vehicle for course content and student research)
  • Practice makes perfect and students need to be graded on their library literacy and scholarly work
  • Instruction from one course crosses over into other courses and dramatically improves students’ scholarly work (transferable skills)
  • The strongest and most enthusiastic ANTH students ended up with jobs in the library (student reference assistants and CTAs), further improving their skills, as well as their friends’ through mentoring and informal training
  • Students become more skilled and quicker at their research, improving critical thinking skills – students have reported completing their research projects at an advanced level and faster
  • Students become empowered as critical thinkers about information on the web, as well as in articles and books – they become more aware of the scholars in their field and begin to identify themselves as active scholars rather than passive students
  • Faculty-librarian collaboration and brainstorming improves the process and the product
  • Collaboration between faculty, librarian, and students creates a dynamic learning community with contributions from all ( i.e. FAMSI identified by a student; the Khipu Database Project, Tuskegee Syphilis Project via NPR and PBS and HIV/AIDS in Brazil video identified by faculty and/or librarian)

I’ll need to gather up some data to bring with me to our Monday meeting. Not that RM needs any convincing of the positive results a collaboration can bring (otherwise she wouldn’t be meeting with me), but Ellen has been such a force in pushing this working relationship along, gaining steam with every new year, so the new relationship with Ellen out of the equation will need to grow on its own.

My colleague, Bonnie, just gave me a bit of good professional news (as opposed to her good personal news!).  A biology professor has apparently picked up on the good work that has been happening between teaching faculty and librarians at SUNY Geneseo and she would like to work toward a similar approach for one of her classes.  Furthermore, a chemistry professor who has been present many times when the librarians share information on the faculty-librarian collaborations is asking Bonnie for more library instruction sessions this semester.  I’ve been recently wondering if I should continue to push for the Faculty Learning Community focused on F-L collaborations, but it does seem like the more conversation, sharing and modeling that happens, the more professors are listening and suggesting partnerships.  This is fantastic news!

So, my next step in the short run . . . I have printed out a number of recent articles about faculty-librarian collaborations and I would like to report in on the data, with possible thoughts of my own.  This is a goal I have had since starting this blog, but finding the time has been a challenge.  Just trying to write something every once in a while has been a challenge.  And there’s so much to say!  I will continue to invite guest writers to share their collaborations as well.

This will be a quick post since the clock is ticking before I head out into a new storm that has been wreaking havoc in Buffalo and Rochester.  But before I forget to share one of the best compliments I’ve ever received . . .

I was part of a panel presentation last Thursday at the SUNYLA Conference in Potsdam, NY focused on assessment of teaching and learning in the library classroom. As the last presenter on the panel, I quickly ran over my allotted 15 minutes and we moved into Q&A.  A librarian from SUNY Oswego wanted to tell me that a theater professor from her campus attended a talk that I presented with an Anthropology student back in March.  The professor returned to campus determined to get a similar collaborative teaching approach started.  I look forward to working with the Oswego librarian-faculty team, in conjunction with Ellen Kintz, before the fall semester begins.

Michelle encouraged me to continue sharing the positive results and benefits of my work with Anthropology (and other areas), especially to teaching faculty, because “it’s making a difference.”  Wow, four of the sweetest words a librarian can hear.  It’s making a difference.

It looks like I’ll need to seek out more faculty-heavy conferences and workshops to present at.  I know that there is a prominent Teaching and Learning Conference called Lilly.  I should start there first.  Any other ideas on where to reach faculty at their conferences?

It looks like I missed the boat on applying for the Liberal Studies Graduate program at Empire State College.  The deadline is June 1 and there is no way that I can get my material together in time.  Oh well.  This will be my push to work on the application, essays, and gather recommendation letters in time for the spring semester deadline.  The delay will also allow me to look into tuition waivers and figure out what specific topic I would work on in the field of Cultural Anthropology.  I could even incorporate something with an educational focus and kill two birds with one stone.  Hmmm, the world is my oyster.  I can choose any topic I want!  And the spring semester is typically slower than fall so this will help me to ease into taking on an extra class or two.  I still have no idea how ESC cobbles classes together with the vast amount of subject areas one could study.  I once wrote an e-mail inquiring and got no response back.  😦  Doesn’t bode well for ESC.