This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Submitted by Dolores Fidishun, Ed. D.
Faculty of the Future 2016, Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA: This is an excellent conference, particularly for academic librarians. School and public librarians could also benefit from attendance, especially youth services librarians. There were several sessions specifically for, or by, librarians but all of the others were very applicable to libraries and learning as well as helping librarians understand how faculty are teaching so they can integrate libraries into the greater institution.
This is a one day conference so you get a lot of content in that day. There were a number of excellent choices for each session so it was often difficult to decide which to go to because they were all interesting. There is also good networking at lunch and the reception. Several librarians sat together at lunch and we had a good amount of time to share ideas and reflect on what we learned. I would highly recommend this conference!
Below are highlights from some of the sessions I attended. Note that in addition to this report, my tweets, as well as others from the Conference, can be found by searching #ftof2016. My twitter name is @dfidishun.
Learning from Multiple Representations: College Students’ Struggles and Instructional Practices that can Support Learning (Keynote)
presented by Dr. Peggy Van Meter, Associate Professor of Education and Professor-in-Charge, Educational Psychology program, Penn State University
Dr. Van Meter discussed the connections in student learning between text and diagrams or illustrations. This has a direct relationship to learning in libraries as so much of what we teach has to do with the visual representation of searching. In fact, when we teach Boolean searching in any database, students are constantly going back and forth and referring to textural results as they look at what is essentially a diagram of their search above it.
Dr. Van Meter stressed that students who make efforts to connect between text and diagrams understand the information better. Faculty should explain what students should be looking for in text and diagrams because telling the students to be aware of content of diagrams has some effect on their ability to learn. So, drawing from her presentation, as we work with students in our libraries, we should make students aware that the visualizations are important. We need to use tasks to stimulate students thinking about visualizations. We should make students aware that what they type into the box in a Boolean search (from a visual perspective) results in what they see as search results, and we should design activities to stimulate the kinds of thinking that we want students to use.
Using Popular Culture to Teach in Varied Disciplines
presented by John Cleary, Raritan Valley Community College
This session discussed the use of popular culture in teaching. It was interesting because I often try to use current topics or things that are trending when I use examples in my teaching. In addition, it gave me a glimpse of how faculty in other disciplines are using this material. It also provided ideas about how to track and find resources so that I, or faculty I am working with, have more ideas about how to locate and clear copyright, etc. for use of these materials. Although Dr. Cleary was the facilitator for this session, it was an interactive discussion. We not only heard his ideas and information but those of others in the session.
Dr. Cleary had a great idea. He says he keeps a journal of popular culture references he hears from students and the context. This not only keeps him up-to-date but also gives him new ideas about ways to use materials. One faculty member talked about the musical.ly app and how she uses it to keep up with current music. We discussed the explosion of popular culture resources and how hard is to keep up. In addition, students many not know some of the pop culture we grew up with that we assume everyone knows. I suggested that participants take a look at the Benoit College Mindset list to get a snapshot of what students remember or consider normal in their lives. Another faculty member said one way to keep things on task is to ask individual students to look up something on Google etc. that someone brought up. Librarians can use this example and expand it to database and resources searchers.
Embed and Inspire: Bringing Tutors from the Margins to the Front of the Classroom
Martha Brozyna, Suzanne Hickey, Shereen Ramadan and Bryan Payor, Passaic County Community College
This session was important because we interact with our College’s tutors and have even had some stationed in the Library. Among the topics the presenters discussed was the social impact of tutoring skills so you end up mentoring tutors with unintended skills. Tutoring can also give students a place to hang out in a positive way. They also pointed out that the added benefit for tutors is that it helps them get better in their classes because what they are teaching reinforces skills they learned in past classes.
Playing Triple-A Ball with Faculty: Advocacy, Access, Authority in Library Liaison Activity
Angela Camack, Mercer County Community College
Camack discussed how liaison activities get you out from under the library bubble. This was a great concept because it flips your thinking from “we want to tell them what the library can do for them” to “what do they need from the library?” She spoke about the advantages of networking with faculty and suggested that you try to get onto the Curriculum Committee. You want to make them see librarians as part of the team. She also encourages people to have a Library Committee. A very important reminder was to keep in touch with adjuncts as they sometimes get lost in the shuffle and don’t know what the Library can offer.
As you can see, each session I attended had good meaning for Librarians. The conference gave me time to think more broadly about both my own library instruction and how the Library and librarians can be more integral to the school. I appreciated the opportunity to attend this conference.