Newish information professionals and fearless risk-taking

What does big, bold, fearless, barrier breaking information professional practice look like (not this)?

Ross Harvey curmudgeon-ing?

Ross Harvey queried the value of new professionals groups, particularly in Melbourne, stating “we don’t want in our information professions people, whether ‘new’ or not, who continue to need the props that supportive environments provide”. Really? We don’t want as colleagues people who need supportive environments?  What an odd thought.

I wonder whether Ross’ query arises from the contrasts in his sources.

  1. On the one hand Ross seems to prefer a (UK-based, and relevant here) notion where a ‘new professional’ is one either (a) still in, or (b) recently finished course, or (c) in first post;
  2. So he is apparently bothered by his perceptions of a recent ‘proliferation’ of ‘new professional’ groups in Melbourne; apparently (from the above-quoted statement) because they may be serving/supporting people beyond such early situations—yet if Ross is thinking of the group newCardigan, as commenter Hugh surmises, then he has misapprehended that group’s purpose (think more new=fresh-thinking rather than new=young); and
  3. And Ross’s perception of what our profession *does* need is quoted from a report “Re-envisioning the MLS” prepared for a USA audience–where the professional status applies only to postgraduates.  In Australia one may start an information profession with an undergraduate degree in LIS.
What does big, bold, fearless, barrier breaking information professional practice look like (not this)?
CC-BY-NC image by Jon Lucas of Daniel Ilabaca performing handstand on a balcony rail from Flickr (not big, bold, fearless, barrier-breaking information professional practice?)

When my convention-bending is limited to vocabulary

So tell me–because I’m clearly not a bold, fearless, risk-taking, god-send to the profession who would, without support, obviously know –from whom does Ross expect the (un-propped) big, bold, fearless, barrier-breaking activity?  And, what does such activity look like?  On the one hand it seems like he is saying anyone beyond their first post should be kicking up an (unsupported) storm rather than collaboratively networking.

Yet the plea seems as directed to we ‘true’ new professionals, and if so I wonder: how is an Australian *new* information ‘professional’, ie one still in, or just out of their course (which in Australia may be a first undergraduate) going to be in a space/state of knowledge & power (particularly if they lack as yet a position) where they might “go ‘big’; break down disciplinary, social, and professional barriers”?

Perhaps, Ross might be bothered by the co-existence of “newCardigan“–started (I believe) by mostly mid/early-mid-career librarian-flock information professionals eager to connect with other-flock information professionals without the restrictions of flock-bound professional associations; and “GLAMR new professionals“–created within the archive-flock ASA.

While both bear the word “new” – they’re using it differently (new-thinking .v. newly-minted), have different structures (one monthly parties with only the support of colleagues; one unknown frequency with the support of an association), and probably have different goals, except when occasionally their goals of breaking down disciplinary, social and professional barriers intersects with (for one potentially including, and the other directed specifically at) new professionals.

Hey, I wonder if those groups might be interested in whatever b&f-b3u3 things it is that Ross wants to see?

Mind-bubbling, “Mind-blowing”

My mind is bubbling from reading Eveline Houtman’s thoroughly enjoyable article, “Mind-blowing”: fostering self-regulated learning in information literacy instruction, in Communications in Information Literacy 9(1).  This post shares a few thought-bubbles.

My own teaching of research skills has (so far) been one-to-one.  If classes ever appear in my path, I am eager to apply some of the successful strategies I read about.  I picked up a few ideas from Houtman’s sharing of what worked and did not for her classes.  As an unschooler, I see self-regulation as the soul of learning, so it is encouraging to find librarians trying to nurture it.

At the same time, in the current climate, I started wondering whether/how those ideas might be incorporated into online delivery of research skills training/education.

Reflect for self-regulation

One big take-away from this article is the value Houtman found from wrapping* her classes in reflective activities to harness ‘why?’ and ‘so what?’ for self-regulated learning.  Discussing with others why getting started is or isn’t hardest for us may be engaging in a class setting, but can similar effects be generated by an activity within an online tutorial (which is usually taken solo)?

  • Agree/disagree could be polled
  • Rather than a poll for ‘why’ perhaps an open answer could be followed up with a summary of other (earlier) students’ responses.

The first class “Getting Started” of Houtman’s series seems to have the most positive impact from its reflective wrapping activity.  Yet as Houtman recognised, class content (Kulthau’s model of information search process) specifically includes recognition of feelings throughout the process and thus extends emotive reflection throughout.  Is there any way one might include an interactive emotion-exploring element within a library’s online tutorial?

Design for purpose**

Feeling that the reflective wrapper for her Finding Scholarly Sources class appeared to fall flat, Houtman wondered if it was “a case of too much reflection”. Perhaps. Or, I wonder if the end-of-class exercise “go back to opening scenario and reflect on what you would now do differently” is constructive given that a search involves a spiralling process of doing things differently.

Unfortunately, I am uncertain of role of the scenario and end-task for the purpose of the class.  What do students need to do differently? Why a scenario that posits a last-minute rush to find scholarly sources? Documenting one’s search process seems to have been this class’ self-regulation activity. Would it help for students to once again identify how they *feel* during the process?

Sources, for courses, or purposes?

Houtman seemed dissatisfied with the impact of reflection activities in both classes about sources.  Is there perhaps a conflict between what students must do for assignments, and what might be most productive for development of their critical thinking? Wiser librarians than I have explored that theme.  When Houtman mentioned students seeming unaware that critical thinking is an “overarching goal” for their study, I thought “Show me the money”.

Half-way through the article I was bubbling with intent to comment that the answer might arise through focusing on context.  Houtman was on to that by the end of the article (based on observing students being more engaged when discussing the idea of context). I hope to see a future article sharing how she reworked the classes.

Online resources vary in their approach to teaching about sources–from pushing ‘scholarly’ to exploring context & purpose. Is that contrast accurate? Would it be possible to compare student engagement and learning resulting from otherwise equivalent tutorials that take such different approaches?

What you call it matters

Houtman noted that graduates were attracted to her workshop series when it was titled “Essential Research Skills” instead of “Core Library Skills” (and not advertised as pitched to undergraduates).  Graduates’ presence was noted to have affected the dynamic of classes. Yet Houtman did not characterise that effect, which led her team to consider separating audiences for future series.  I also wonder whether students from different levels offered different feedback, particularly as to the relevance and pitch of the classes.


*Houtman eventually sees reflection as more central than wrapping.
**I love that Houtman’s concludes with intent to clarify the purpose of her classes and “be more explicit about the ‘so what'”.

Girl blowing bubbles" by Taken byfir0002 | Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons
Girl blowing bubbles” by fir0002 | Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

Activities in online resources to model self-regulated learning

Results from a rough search show early interest in how activities to model self-regulated learning could be incorporated into online resources. Loch and McLoughlin (2011) seemed to be talking (hypothetically) about incorporating the activities within screencasts. Rowe and Rafferty (2013) looked at post-viewing quizzes in the LMS.

But as yet no post-implementation testing.  Points of curiosity: can activities be added for positive impact, without irritating students?

Those readings:

Loch, B., & McLoughlin, C. (2011). An instructional design model for screencasting: Engaging students in self-regulated learning. Changing Demands, Changing Directions. Proceedings Ascilite Hobart, 816–821.
Rowe, F. A., & Rafferty, J. A. (2013). Instructional design interventions for supporting self-regulated learning: enhancing academic outcomes in postsecondary e-learning environments. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(4), 590–601.

Take the Wikipedia Adventure? #newCardigans

Listen to Wikipedia

your mission, should you choose to accept it…

#newCardigans, colleagues, friends, family… is to take the Wikipedia Adventure.

Start the Wikipedia Adventure, learn to edit in under an hour
Start the Wikipedia Adventure, a guided journey through editing Wikipedia

Even if you’ve already started editing Wikipedia, I’m curious whether you think the Adventure is something you’d recommend?  I’ve edited in minor ways a few times since 2012, so I still have a lot to learn and did even within the first mission.

Screenshot celebrating my first mission success and invitation to Mission 2
Screenshot of progress to Mission 2

Please comment if/when you have started/completed one of the missions (either below, or on my User talk page).

What journey brought you here?

Do you remember we talked about how the journey is as/more important than the destination?

My journey to this post:

A long-term interest in Wikipedia(+)Libraries

From Google calendar reminder to email something or other

where I was reminded that the Wikipedia Library is looking for volunteers

Wikipedia Library Calls for Volunteers
Learning what Wikipedia Library volunteers do

wondering about current coordinators

starting with Ocaasi, where I found the Adventure

undertook a mission, became excited, started to share

and after many, many diversions* over the last four hours,

finally, finish this post with a recommendation that you:

Listen to Wikipedia

Live, or here is a snippet:

*please ask me about them.

Listen to Wikipedia

What value is a librarian’s portfolio?

During my studies, many articles and one of our subjects (INF305) urged LIS students to gather a portfolio.  Imagine impressing prospective employers with a display of one’s achievements–makes the goal seem desirable. Yet, I was neither the first nor the last to be dubious.

Yet do many librarian roles really produce tangible evidence of the most significant qualities sought?

Perhaps one of the things I might write about soon is why this topic has renewed relevance for me. For now (for Draft Box: Zero), just a few scraps of notes:

  • What I produce in my current work is catalogue records, evaluations, excel sheets formulae and macros, procedures.  None of these are visually pretty (though some of us appreciate them aesthetically).
  • Samples of such products mightcollectable, however one wonders:
    • Has anyone included catalogue records, Excel formulae/macros, or procedures in their portfolios?
    • Has anyone been influenced by portfolio material to employ a librarian?
  • I am also still wondering if such artefacts would offer a significant indicator of my work’s quality?

In March this year, as reported by Sarah Keil, of four responding employers of librarians (in the United States), only two indicated interest (and that conditional) in applicant portfolios. Meanwhile, on Reddit, hirers for government, public and unspecified libraries were uninterested; one in three hirers for academic libraries *was* interested, while the other two did not look for them but would not object to seeing something; and one person believed she was taken on in part to a technology position because of her portfolio. So I am curious what kinds (if any) of tangibles do Australian employers of librarians like to see?

And in a different direction, has anyone in any non-visual line of work structured an online portfolio with WordPress?