Sunday, February 6, 2011

Teaching Reflection 4

I ended up doing my presentation on the Characteristics of Heroes. I based it on a thesis I did three years ago. I knew that I only had seven minutes to do the presentation, so I was not able to put everything in there. However, when I thought about it, this one was easier to do in the time I had. The other idea, cutting the Iliad based on Plato, would have taken too much time and I think it will be better for an instruction session rather than a presentation.

I did a lot of preparation for this presentation. I really had to be realistic about the time and in the end I think that the simpler version I ended up with because of the time was better than if I would have done something a little more complex. I also took the time and opportunity to use new presentation software. At first, I was not going to use visuals at all, but I found that I really wanted to use visuals (pictures) to help the class understand what and whom I was talking about. I used Prezi for the first time. I really took the time to structure the presentation in a way that would have very little words and just enough visuals.

I also tried to make the presentation have humor. I used simple anecdotes about the Greek heroes as examples to connect the characteristic to something they might remember. I used pictures that were funny or were familiar, like Brad Pitt as Achilles. I also put a punch line at the end. I used Harry Potter as a quick ending example of the characteristics for a recap and to make the presentation funny. I also stated a point that Harry Potter is not a Hero in order to make the audience think, as well as make the presentation memorable. It definitely was my opinion, but I knew most did not agree with it, so I added it to spice things up.

I repeatedly practiced the presentation, timing myself and using the Prezi. I think the presentation flowed well because of the Prezi, as well as my preparation and the cutting out of the information that the audience did not need. I spent a lot of time talking and thinking about the presentation. I believe I did well and met the goals I set out for myself:
1) Practice
2) Good flow of Presentation- both with the software and the information presented
3) Engage Audience
4) Add Humor (Try Humor)
5) Do not rely on the Slides
6) Use Prezi for the first time
7) Make visual and interesting
8) Hit Timing
9) Provide recaps and repeat self

However, there are things, upon reflection, that I would like to improve. I also know I will be getting feedback later, so I can also look at those things I can improve.
1) I thought I could improve the transitions. I think they might not have moved as well as I would have hoped.
2) I think I could have slowed down and calmed down a little more
3) Be confident in my practice. I knew I had it and I did not have to look at the slides at all. But I did a little.

My reflection on the second part of the class is that active learning and lecture-based learning have their uses and their places. I especially like a combination of the two. I know that I have had many classes that have combined them. I have found them to be some of the best classes I have had. However, I know that I am more of an active learner, but I know that others are not. I learned that there are many ways that you can use active learning, from the simple to the not so simple.

I will have to do more thinking about what I want to include as an activity, but I think I am going to take parts of the Iliad and have the groups talk about them and the Plato cuts together, then to report on what would be cut and what that would do to the poem. I want them to think about what people say about education and if that is really the way to go.

Finally, I had a Reference Assistant meeting today. I found that Carrie is really great at presenting and lecturing. She took the active approach. It was fun and really made me think about how I can give instruction at the reference desk. I want to model myself after her. I really want to add humor and find ways to engage the audience in the learning. I have found that students will meet you if you try and get them engaged even a little. I also found:
1) Make lists are useful for remembering and recall
2) Be enthusiastic
3) Have a plan and be ready
All of these we have already talked about in the class. Now I am really taking a notice and I hope I can actively include them in my upcoming session.

Burgan, M. (2006). In defense of lecturing. Change Magazine, 38(6), 5.

Grassian, E. S., & Kaplowitz, J. R. (2009). Information literacy instruction: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Newal-Schuman. Chapter 6 [read p.94-108].

Keyser, M.W. (2000). Active learning and cooperative learning: understanding the difference and using both styles effectively. Research Strategies 17(1), 35-44.

Ridgeway, T. (1989). Integrating active learning techniques into the one-hour bibliographic instruction lecture. Coping with information illiteracy: bibliographic instruction for the information age: papers presented at the Seventeenth National LOEX Library Instruction Conference, Ann Arbor, MI.

Rosenbaum, H. (2000). Teaching electronic commerce: Problem-based learning in a virtual economy. Journal of Informatics Education and Research 2(2), 45-58.

Teaching Reflection 3

The readings for this week were all about presentation skills. One of my favorites was the PowerPoint on using PowerPoint for presentations. I also enjoyed the videos from class on great presenters like Steve Jobs and why, as well as the ten tips for presenting. All gave advise that I have heard and have experienced before. The change was taking an active role and really thinking about using the advise for my upcoming presentation. Here are the things that stood out:

1) Practice, Practice, Practice. I have practiced presentations in the past and have found them to go well. However, I don’t usually make it a habit. I am going to take the two presentation/instruction session this semester to actively make a habit out of practicing. That also goes for my other class and the presentations I have to make in them. I am also going to practice with the visual aids, like PowerPoint, not just practice the material. I want to make sure that I do not rely on the Slides. I want to make the presentation without looking at the Slides at all. I will not write down everything I am going to say, but I will know what I am going to say.

2) Humor. I know that I have wanted to practice using humor in my presentations/instruction sessions. I definitely want to try that during class and see how it goes.

3) The presentation process. Outline for audience, use visuals, make it simple, leave them wanting. I unusually put in thought about my presentations. However, I am going to try and put more thought into the presentations. I am going to give it a flow like Steve Jobs. I also want to try an incorporate the surprises or the visuals that will keep the audience engaged (like how he came out with a manila envelope to present the Mac Book Air and how thin it was). Repeating or having a theme is also important and I want to make sure I stay on topic. I also need to work on my transitions (that goes with the flow of the presentation).

I am still working on what I am going to talk about in my presentation and what I am going to teach in my session. However, I have narrowed it down to Characteristics of Heroes and how to cut the Iliad based on Plato’s republic chapter’s 2 and 3.

Grassian, E. S., & Kaplowitz, J. R. (2009). Information literacy instruction: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Newal-Schuman. Chapter 12.

Knowledge documentation and job aids.

Techniques (2006, November/December). Leadership matters, 10-11.

Lifehacker. Five ways to not suck at Power Point.

Teaching Reflection 2

The three readings for this week’s class all reinforced the fact that teaching or creating a teaching session is a design process. The things that you have to think about are the users, their needs, the tasks that you need to get through to fit those needs and the users, and to have goals and objectives for the outcome. The instruction session has to have a context. The context will let you know, as a teacher or presenter, how much information and where that session should go as far as what level of skills are you going to give to the users.

For example, if I was just going to do a presentation (which I will in a few weeks), then I do not need to get the audience to reach the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I want them to reach the level of understanding (second level) not the highest level where they would be able to do a project or create something based on my presentation. Presentations are generally shorter than a class session. There is not enough time to get the audience to that level unless it is one in s series of presentations or the people in the room are experts that already understand what you are presenting. However, in these cases you will either get to the point where the audience will be able to create something or the experts are just there for the information in order to question or incorporate in their research. These are different contexts and expectations.

Treating an instruction session or a presentation like a design process put me in a place where I was familiar. I am use to and know the design process well through my classes and work. The hardest part was the learning objectives. Learning objectives are a little different than objectives in general, when we are talking about designing something tangible. I found that the use of verbs was important. I had to make sure that I also was more specific on what the objectives were. When creating objectives, you really have to think about the needs and task analysis. The objectives have to be broken down just like a task analysis, into its simplest parts. Once I understand that and take down objectives, I have to look at them and be realistic with the context. The time I have and the users (learners) could limit, change, or expand on my objectives. For example, if I was teaching a class at the graduate level for Political Science and I knew most of the students came in with a B.A. in Political Science, then one of my objectives would not include teaching them to understand the basic concepts and theories of Political Science.

The final thing I learned was that you have to have an outline. Once you have an idea of what you might teach, what the user’s prior knowledge might be, and the context in which you are going to teach, then you can create an outline. I know that the outline will change as I start planning and designing the instruction session, but I will have a start and I will know what I will have to work on in order to teach what I am planning to teach. I will know if the time and what I want to teach is realistic. I will also start to think about how I am going to teach the session: paper v electronic, interactive v lecture, etc.

My reflections for this week are on that fact that I need to approach a teaching session or presentation like a design process. I need to think about learning objectives in specific and smaller units. Finally, I need to have an outline after my initial analysis, that will most likely change as I go, but will give me a place to start and to plan.

BCIT Learning and Teaching Centre. Writing learning outcomes.

Morrison, G. R., Ross, M. S., & Kemp, J. E. (2004). Designing effective instruction. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons. Chapters 4, & 5.

Luongo, N. Bloom's taxonomy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

S573: Teaching Reflection 1

We are asked in my S573: Education of Information Users to reflect upon our teaching styles, likes, dislikes, etc. I thought it would be helpful to reflect on these things here on my blog. I can then use it later to make my teaching statement and to reflect upon the events of this semester. Here are my thoughts from the first class:

We read a short article for class by Buskist (2002) called Ten Common Mistakes TAs (and Veterans) Make. After looking at the ten common mistakes, we were asked to think about our favorite teachers in the past and what made them great teachers (kind of a opposite of this list). I have to say that when I think of my favorite teachers, I think of people who are enthusiastic about the topic, can incorporate humor and storytelling to help you remember the material, challenge you to do better or learn more about the topic, will let the students lead the discussion but still bring the class back to what the teacher wants them to learn for that day (organized).

I would want to be this teacher. However, so of it takes a while to learn and others are hard. I would not know where to begin to bring humor into the class. I would probably have to know the subject very well first. So thinking right now about nothing in particular does not help. We are challenged in this class to teach a couple of classes and to see the class as a way to try out anything. I think I will try to add humor where I can to help the class remember what they are learning. I also want to make sure that I give off confidence and enthusiasm.

I have been throwing around ideas of what I will teach. I am not sure yet. I have been thinking about delicious of diigo, swing, and Jing. I would say that I have more enthusiasm for these things. I also have goodreads. I think the first one should be something technology oriented. I do not know about the other one yet. I also need to think about the activity and how I want to organize the class for the big teaching project. I have to think about what I want to try. I know a few and maybe these next weeks will help me think about it.

As a side note, my class reminded me, and maybe I will do something with this, about the Net Gen and Don Tapscott (I have the youtube videos in my blog from my internship). Don has a lot to say about how the generation is learning and using technology these days. Maybe I can do a class on that and experiment with his ideas and test the accuracy with an activity.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Internship @ Berea College: Day 59-60 (Entry 59 and 60)

I have reviewed the goals and projects with Julia. After we have talked and I knew where she wanted the projects to go here are my notes for the past couple of days.
The road thus far...

Review of Goals:
1)Give my time and experience to the Library in order to help during a time of financial and staffing hardship.

I have it from Julia that I have helped her to get to where she wanted to be at this time of year. She did not and has not had anyone that was able to work through the projects that I have done this summer. They have been on her desk and my work with them has made it possible to move with the changes that are coming to the campus this year.

I have also been able to help or take on tasks that she needed done, but did not have the time to do. I have used my experience in my course work and jobs to help Julia with instruction for the Fall. I have also been able to help with finding problems and brainstorming fixes (strategies) for these projects. I have gotten them to the point where someone or a team can come in and implement the changes or could design the change. I will go into more detail as I talk about the projects below.

Goal 1: Met!

2)Improve on professional experience.

I have had to work closely with Julia, Charlotte, and a few other people on the projects that I have been working on this summer. I have been able to improve on my team work skills and work with people that I know and people that I have never worked with before. I have been able to communicate my ideas and discuss other ideas with all of them.

I have been able to juggle and manage about five projects (with many other components) throughout the summer. I know that I could do that because of juggling school work and some other project in other jobs. But doing it this summer, with hardly any supervision, made it different. I was able to make my own deadlines and work out times when I would work on them. I was able to set up meetings to give my ideas and what I had been working on. I was able to take responsibility for getting them to the point that Julia needed them to get to. I also learned how to let go of projects and when I should let them go. I think I have a better grasp on dealing with projects and where I can get them to on my own now.

I have been able to take my skills and experience, and use them to help out a particular department of the library. While doing so, I have learned more about instruction, a department that did not know as much about until now. Especially while talking to Julia and doing the readings. I know I can take that experience of learning and how to learn and use it in any department of the library where I end up working in the future (even if I do not have a plan of where).

I have added to my experience of working in different environments and with different people (work styles). I have enjoyed working with the fluid style that Julia has. I hope I can get to work with people like her in the future. I have gotten a better perspective on what kind of environment and people I want to work with in the future.

Goal 2: Met!

Review of Projects:

1. BANC/RPS

I have been able to take the data and put them in forms (graphs) so that others will understand them. I have analyzed the data, identified problems (gaps in student understanding) that instruction can fix, and brainstormed the strategies and technology that can be used to address them. Julia and I have identified clicker technology which will be used in instruction. I am going to implement a part of it and have it read for Aug. 19th and her meeting with the faculty.

My work with the RPS data has given Anne (the director) the knowledge and courage to get the ball rolling with taking the RPS survey out to the whole college. It will be included as a general studies pre- and post- test for the Fall. It will be required and there will be more data for the years to come. Before, it only had 6% take it and it was not being pushed by hardly anyone. Now, the importance and problems of what the students are not learning is understood by the people that can get it pushed.

The BANC tutorial revision did and did not happen. I was able to help Julia with ideas for changing questions and rethinking sections. However, a change in the ILS this summer prevented us from taking the ideas and making a deliverable redesign. Otherwise, Julia can take the information and step forward with it in the future.

Task 1: Met!

2. Library Website/Tour

Charlotte and I have been successful in coming up with a paper prototype that can be taken to the web team and made into an online version. Due to staffing and time, it may not happen until the Fall, but the design is there. We also have made a statement of purpose and flow chart to go along with the prototype and notes. Charlotte and Julia will be able to explain the vision to the web team based on this information. Charlotte and I could also write an article in the future if we get the time. We found that there is little publish on making online tours for libraries.

To make the new tour (BOLT), we were able to take the old tour, as well as the literature and other library tours, to design ours. I was able to use my course work to plan the design and work in collaboration with someone that I have never worked with before. I was also able to take a skill that is personal and use it to take pictures in a creative way for the library website and the tour.

Julia and I have been looking at the layout and policies for the (library) website redesign from the web team. We have been looking into how the website should look. I have been able to bring my course work into the discussion in order to explain the process and the techniques for continuing the design with the layout in mind. I plan to have a working plan and process ready for Julia at the end of my internship so that she can lead the meetings for the redesign of the library website in the Fall.

Task 2: Almost Complete!

3. Cloud Computing

I was able to take on this task with Julia. We trouble-shooted and discussed what the users of the library computers needed to be able to do with them. This came on the heals of an upgrade to the library computers. Some new computers were placed in the library for testing. More are coming and we wanted to make sure the image was right for our users. The new computers and their image will be used in the library as a test for when they replace other computers around the campus.

I was able to take my technical background and my course work for this task. I was able to articulate and discuss what the users might want and translate what can be done with the technology. I was also able to sit in on the meeting discussing the changes that needed to be made to the image. I was able to help translate what the library wanted and what could be done with the technology.

Task 3: Met!

4. AIKCU Conference

Due to staffing shortage, I was able to take Julia's place at the AIKCU conference. I was able to build on my professional experience by going to another professional conference where I learned about how libraries and IT people are working together to help students at their colleges. It was great to take some of the ideas, like some web 2.0 widgets, and bring them back to Julia. I was also able to have a great discussion with her about the communication and where she sees the interaction among IT people, librarians, and faculty going (has been).

Task 4: Met!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Internship @ Berea College: Day 58 (Entry 58)

I am coming up on my presentation for my internship. Here are some thoughts about the road so far.

As I come to a close on my internship (another two week to go), I have had to deal with frustration. I have not experienced stress during my internship. It has been like a vacation for me. However, I do have to prepare myself for my presentation and for the close of my time here in Berea.

I have had to experience letting go of projects in many different ways throughout my college and work career. I have had projects at work where they started, where stopped because of a decision from higher ups, picked up again because of higher ups, and then stopped again. I have had to deal with big, important projects at work where I have a deadline and they need to get done, complete.

In my course work and in my jobs, I have also had to deal with what I am feeling now. I have projects that only get to a certain stopping point. I do not have the time, skills, or go ahead to take the project any further. For example, in systems analysis and design, I had a project where my team had to take a problem in a company and find solutions that they could implement. It was a lot of work and we handed the solutions to them. However, we do not have a hand in implementing or even knowing if they will take our advice.

I have a holistic view of projects. I like to see the whole picture. However, I cannot always complete the whole project. I have had to learn with my course work and though my jobs about letting projects go for many reasons: the plug has been pulled, we are only going to a certain point, someone else has the skills to finish ans I am needed elsewhere. This internship has given me a continuing experience with this.

All the projects that I have been managing for these past months are now to the point where a person with the skill or the person who has the job to implement the ideas is suppose to take them. At first, when I was thinking of my progress with my projects for this internship, I felt I had not finished them. Now, I know that I have not "finished" them, but got them to the point that Julia expected and I needed to get them to so that Julia, Charlotte, or someone else could run with.

I have learned that I may be alone while working on a specific part of a project, but most projects are part of a whole team and others will most likely get their hands on it because I will never have all the skills to take a project from start to finish. I love that I have the skill and can be a big part of all the projects I have worked on this summer. I do not relish having to give them up. But I trust these people to take them and do something with them.

The biggest professional lesson I have learned from this internship has been to let go. I am not expected to have all the answers. I am not expected to have all the skill. I am not expected to take a project from start to finish. And that is okay. I can be a big part of a project. I can be involved. I can keep giving advice and letting people know my thoughts. I am capable of getting a project where it needs to be for someone to step in and take it over. I am capable of letting people know my thoughts and process so they can take it over and know where I have been.

All these years of working with projects have gotten me to this point. I will continue to work on letting projects go, but I will always try to do as much as I can. I just have to change my perspective so that I know I have done all that I can.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Internship @ Berea College: Day 56-57 (Entry 56-57)

I finished the abstracts for the virtual tour section of my professional readings. Here is the tread for these readings:

User-centered design and purpose are the two main points and important factors in making virtual tours.

Making a virtual tour in a user-centered design fashion keeps the users in mind. All questions about the look, the navigation, the technology, and how to map the virtual tour to fit the concepts of "map" and "tour" come back to the user. The purpose also comes back to the user. In addition, questions about what to include for content and what directions to take for the design come back to the purpose.

Both work together to help create the design of a virtual tour. For example, one tour was made for international students (Downing, Arthur, and Leo Robert Klein. (2001). A multilingual virtual tour for international student: The web-based library at Baruch College opens doors. College & Research Libraries News, 62(5), 500-502.). The purpose was to make a tour that would help orient international students with the library, as well as attract future international students.

Once the user and purpose are clear, the design process can begin. We had to make decisions and come back to our users many times in the process of designing the virtual tour. Making sure that we knew who the users were and what the purpose was made it easier to focus on what needed to happen with the design.

The purpose of the tour is to act as a navigation tool, as well as an instructional tool for the library. Students are the primary users. Deciding to include a pop up link for the stacks section of the map fit well with our purpose. We wanted to make sure the students could navigate to the book they wanted or would be able to learn/browse call number sections. Therefore, several decisions were made: (1) include the Dewey breakdown in the description and a link the the Dewey pdf, (2) separate each stack into the general sections (like 200s for religion), (3) include a pop up for each section that will allow people to keep their place on the stacks page, as well as get a closer view of that section with the call numbers for each row in the section so the person would know which row their book was in or what rows a specific call number was needed for browsing.

The purpose and user-centered design are the foundation for the design. Both can be edited throughout the process after more discussion. However, it is a part of the design process that take a while and needs to be done right or it will hurt the design in the long run. They are the two pieces of information that inform the design. You cannot start coding without knowing what the design is suppose to do and look like. Everyone needs to be on the same page in order for the design to work together, and these two points will make sure everyone is talking and thinking mostly the same thing when it comes to the design.