Day 1 (pre-conference) was a bit breathless, figuring out how to get from here to there…here and there all being within McCormick Place. Eat as much as you want. You can’t gain weight with all this walking.
A few logistics: Bus #3 south from upper Michigan worked just fine. Took about 20 minutes and stops right at the McC Pl. entrance. But that wasn’t at rush hour. If you want to check the schedule, try RTA Chicago. I took the shuttle back and that worked fine, too. So far, so good. Except: what in the name of architecture is going on at Soldier Field? Looks like the old building is being attacked by a Cuisenart or some other piece of kitchen equipment.
I attended ACRL’s Instructional Design pre-conference session. The keynote speaker, Jim Russell, Professor Emeritus of Educational Technology at Purdue clearly has done this a few times. He was crisp yet relaxed, funny, but made germane points. His big take-home: practice with feedback…the more immediate the feedback the better.
In the session, the speakers talked about the importance of having objectives for any lesson, information literacy or otherwise. Russell’s example objective: “Given a unicycle and a flat, smooth surface, the student will be able to ride the unicycle 50 yards without falling off.” He said most professors do the “sage on a stage” thing and lecture. Good profs show DVDs of someone learning to ride a unicycle. The best profs bring in a unicycle and let students try it.
To assess a lesson, Russell said, too often instructors miss the point and do things like a paper and pencil test on the history of spokes. The right assessment: riding the unicycle. “Practice with feedback” where the feedback is instantaneous: you either ride or fall. He said authentic assessment is not rote memorization. It is practical use of the information learned.
He described the simplest instruction model he knows. Three steps: Objectives, Activities, Assessment. Each can loop back into the other two.
In response to a question, Russell estimated 3-6 hours of preparation goes into each hour of well-designed instruction. Another question: how can you have practice with feedback if you only have an hour? Answer: you can work with the subject faculty and have them administer the practice and assessment parts of the lesson, based on your instruction. Yes, but what if the instructor says “fine,” but actually provides faulty or no follow-through?
Each attendee was assigned two of the four break-out sessions. I heard Nancy Dewald’s (Penn State) session on Design and Development. She walked us through aspects of the ADDIE model of instructional design: analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation. (http://ed.isu/edu/addie/) She reiterated the importance of objectives, gave examples of ADDIE in the context of Bloom’s taxonomy (Google Bloom’s taxonomy—too many to mention).
Dewald urged looking at Designing effective instruction by G.R. Morrison, S.M. Ross, and J.E. Kemp (John Wiley & Sons, 2004, 4th ed.). Then I had to duck out for Placement Center stuff.
In Emily Okada’s (Indiana Univ.) afternoon session on Curriculum Assessment, getting faculty to buy into information literacy instruction was one large theme. “Talk like they talk,” she said. Let them know what’s in it for them. Explain how you can help their students meet expectations and let the faculty think it was their idea. Woo them. Use “cookie diplomacy.” Find out what their personal research needs are and give them some ideas for enhancing their research using IL skills. That way they’ll have a more visceral understanding of why it’s important for their students to have IL skills.
In the overall wrap-up, it sounded like people wanted more specific examples. Here’s some ideas mentioned by participants in Okada’s session:
* Keep a list of what assignments caused problems and how those problems were manifested.
* Organize a Lunch with Your Librarian for all new faculty newer staff.
* Have joint office hours with the subject faculty (hmmm, would any agree to this?)
* One library evaluated students over three years of their college education. Some got IL skills; some did not. Those who did had much higher skills.
We talked about keeping up the conference listserv so people could post questions, advice, what worked for them….Speakers, left to right: Scott Walter (Univ. of Kansas), Nancy Dewald (Penn State), Sarah Crest (Towson Univ.)
Later, at the NMRT Meet & Greet in the Homewood Suites Hotel near upper Michigan, my NMRT mentor and others assured me that I could never do everything I had listed on my own personal schedule for the conference. Whew! Afterward, went out for a walk, bumped into someone I’d talked with at the Meet & Greet, and went to the Star of Siam…finally. Good Thai food for very reasonable. We talked and talked about books, the pleasures of digital libraries, and a whole lot more. Aha—so these serendipitous meetings with like-minded people are another reason for coming to ALA.
Eyes drooping, very late. No time for tastefully arranging/HTMLing or cropping photos. I’m just plopping them in.