Learning 2.0: Blogging, Reflecting, Fusion

Like Mary, I also was not really sure what to do with these readings. Perhaps this is one of those “apprentice becomes a master” moments where we learn our learning about learning (via the Fontichiaro article) was actually a form of learning in itself and was learned by others before us. The truth was inside ourselves the whole time.

There were some parts of the Library 2.0 article which did not resonate particularly with me. For example, a computer which never gets turned on because no one knows the password is emblematic of far larger problems than just some computer illiteracy. But I also thought the idea of graduated learning through blogging or other reflection might actually have some real use in my later iterations as a librarian. For instance, I think it would be a great addition to an information literacy class with a technology focus. I am imagining something like a research journal but also including reflections upon technology as well.

As I was reading, my thoughts also turned to current state of computer fluency among faculty of many academic departments including the one I currently work in. For these users (who often do not know about library initiatives like the faculty exploratory) online modules and reflections might be an excellent way to make lasting impact on their learning.

Overall, I have enjoyed the blogging in this class. I never found it overwhelming to spend some time thinking through concepts and looking for application among my own professional work. I actually have often wished some of my other classes were implement blogging activities. I also enjoyed the cohort idea. Being a second year, I tend to interact with the same people all the time. Being in a cohort gave me some intellectual exposure to people outside my smaller circle.

I also liked the Fushion article because it emphasized learning over heirarchy. A teacher who was not a master teacher could nonetheless be an expert in some way. This resonated well with my own way of looking at the world. When you realize there is always something people can teach you, the world is a much more exciting place.

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Tweet Deck and PLNs

I also really like the idea of Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). As a soon-to-be librarian, learning from peers has been a large part of my existence. I have benefited from the PLNs of SI students, co-workers at the Clark and the Kresge, even patrons and internet comrads. It is like nice to know once I leave the protective bubble that is SI, there will be people who can function in this role.

I’m already involved in some PLNs. I’m a member of ALA BRASS and am on a committee focused on reference marketing called “Just Ask!”. We’ve met once via webinar and it was an awkward but fascinating experience. I also am the BRASS student award recipient this year and am traveling to ALA Conference to become more involved. I am also going to SLA this year as part of the Business & Finance Division. I’m very excited about this because B&F is much more corporate-focused than BRASS, and I am interested interacting more with private sector business librarians to see what sort of stuff they do. The webinar I watched was B&F webinar about benchmarking for corporations, and it peaked my interest in the business side of business. I’m hoping to become more involved there as well.

I can remember the first time I stepped into a BRASS discussion last ALA Annual. I’d seen business librarians in one to fours before. Having a full room of excited, passionate business librarians was a whole together different story. It was very heartening to find people that were into the same nerdy things I was into.  There were people in library land who also wanted to find the perfect marketing report or complain about database inaccuracies about ReferenceUSA. It affect me as librarian for the better.

This last week’s class was about also about how to use twitter better. I found it really useful but for the past couple of months I have only been using twitter from the main page and have found it to be a little underwhelming in features and overwhelming in sheer amounts of tweets. I installed TweetDeck during class and really thought it helps with some of the overloaded. I liked being able to add filters. That way I could throw all my orgs (SAA, ALA, local libraries) into one filter. I also liked the idea of scheduling tweets. Scheduling tweets seems like a great way of cutting down on some of the involved with tweeting (one of my main concerns).

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Blogging about Tweeting? This is so Meta

I got twitter last January because quasi-con had a hashtag and I wanted to be able to participate in that part of the event. That sort of tweeting was very simple. You just said you just saw, what you just heard, what you wanted to hear. Everyone was at the event and also tweeting. The tweets become a really great deliverable from the event and I even used them to make storify about the event.

This type of tweeting was very different. People posted articles with complex ideas in them. I wanted to respond fully to them, but the 140 character limit really dragged me down. For instance, Ryan posted a link to an article looking at privatization of libraries. At ALA Annual last year, I had the opportunity to have lunch with an LSSI librarian. The librarian has been in the field for 20 years, had been laid off and had gotten another job as an LSSI librarian. All her ALA friends treated her like she had contracted some fatal disease, but she didn’t see any different between what she had done previously and what did now. And I had to agree the job was similar, but I had to disagree about what the job meant.

That sort of ambivalent, complicated interaction doesn’t lend itself well to twitter. I could just tweet back to Ryan that I didn’t agree, but it was more than that. I believed in someway the article was true, in other ways not.

In terms of other struggles I had with twitter, I found it very hard to find “my library people” on twitter, meaning Business Librarians. I tried following several Business Librarians I know, but even then it was hard to know which academic librarians were actual business librarians. I found the twitter search interface to be very not useful for any type of searching, but I also acknowledge that those librarians might not be there. I know from experience that Business Librarians as a group have a much larger presence on LinkedIn (it is the business facebook after all) so perhaps I may find more people to follow if I had used that interface.

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Distance for Whom? Webinars

I was struck by our discussion of distance learning during our class Monday.  Well, I would have struck, if I had been paying attention fully.

At the time of our discussion, I was talking to another student in the class on GChat about the discussion, writing a paper, emailing my boss, researching potential Webinar topics and also monitoring my facebook for new notifications.

SI students live within an arm-length of a computer at all times. I think this must have gotten worse when we moved to the North Quad space, where even our cell-phones don’t work, creating email and the internet as a sort of total communication.

This has in some way I think drastically changed the way we as a group learn. Much of my learning has become a strange blend of asynchronous  and synchronous learning. I sit in one class and I learn for another; I write emails, I draft reports, I do research and yes, I do blog-posts. I multi-task.

I once had a class where we had our group project meetings for that class during lecture. We all got into the same Gchat circle, creating agendas and to-do lists, and drafted reports. It saved us probably collectively 40 hours of meeting outside of the class. All while we were supposed to be paying attention to for all purposes was a very informative, interesting lecture.

We spoke at length critically about online learning. We spoke about the emotional impact of distance. We spoke about the issues of technology, time-zones and expectations. Admittedly, I have never taken an online class. But haven’t all of my classes at SI in some way been online? I am online all the time, my brain distant in another class literally working on something or looking at something else. How much more, quantitatively, am I “there” than an online student taking the same class?

Admittedly, I think I’m worse than most. But not by much. I think it’s too easy to say that a online student is “distant” whereas a residential student is not. In terms of expectations, there is increasing distance and asynchronous interaction throughout our academic lives.

I’m not saying I believe we should all take online classes. As I said in class, my coursework I feel is one small part of a larger, perhaps monastic experience I have had at SI, a sort of total immersion. But I think we should first look around at our laptops before we volunteer ourselves as the non-distant ones.

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Week 10 Reading Reflection

How People Learn – Chapter 7: Effective Teaching

I personally have never taken a physics class in my life, but these chapters always make me want to because of all the fun things they get to learn about! This was a very fun chapter because they mention all sort of mind-blowing things that people do in their fields.  Also the gist seemed to be that all sorts of valid and interesting things are being taught in all sorts of ways. The examples prized experimentation and risk. I didn’t like this because they were all success stories. The thing about risk is that it often doesn’t go well. Where’s the really valid thing that just failed the first time because you didn’t have the variables right?

Online Webinars! Interactive Learning Where Our Users Are: The Future of Embedded Librarianship by Susan E. Montgomery

I felt like this article really showed me why good user experience research is important. Sure, college students are spend a lot more time online. But what does that mean to librarians? What sort of habits are librarians interested in? What sort of behaviors are they doing? Are they satisfied with those behaviors? What types of things can we test and get feedback on?

That being said, I am a big believer in services for long distance patrons. I recently got into a long argument with another Business Librarian over whether Webinars were a fad. He seemed to be of the opinion (as many librarians in business do) that the only valid interactions are face-to-face. After much arguing, it became obvious that some of issues with him feeling that way was the inadequacy of current Webinar technology to really adequately encapsulate what a librarian does one-on-one with a patron. The technology can often create a barrier which people (especially business people who are very into handshakes and look-you-in-the-eye interactions) have trouble overcoming. I think it will interesting to see how this plays out in the long run. Once again in business librarianship, evening programs as well are very common, we after small business librarians have closed. How do we create a library experience that valid and true?

The Embedded Librarian Online or Face-to-Face: American University’s Experiences

This article kind of made extra excited because one of the examples was a Business Librarian and I never get to talk about business librarianship in this class or pretty much any other at SI. Well I do but it’s never so on topic! That being said, the idea about befriending patrons on Facebook definitely struck me as a little odd. It felt a little bit like saying that we would be better imbedded librarians if we held office hours under people’s beds. Sure usage would be up, but it would be creepy! I did love the Snow Day example for an instruction session (I can imagine the groaning students when they hear school isn’t canceled after all). What a great captive audience.

I also liked the imbedded librarianship physical model.  This idea personally has always terrified me, being very into the library as a temple of learning. I like library spaces and leaving them makes me feel a little like a sell-out. But I do see the use in this design, especially for more specialized fields like health librarianship.

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Libraries as Incubator and Third Spaces, Librarians as Patriot Act Warriors, Thesis-Dreamers and Policy Experts

If I were to name our workshop set, I would give it the name “bunch of  rabble-rousers”. Taken as a group, it would seem that librarians are hacking everything from the Google Privacy Policy to the Patriot Act. It was very fun and reminded me of segments of Quasi-Con both in terms of the “the future of libraries” theme and innovative ideas being thrown around by passionate library folk (shameless plug for our hack library school post). If you know me, you know I love it when librarians get together and talk frankly and proactively and optimistically.

Though exhaustively hot and cramped in the room, we nonetheless soldiered on to great ideas. This is the stuff I really like. I looooooved Esti & Laura‘s talk about introducing patrons to ebook publisher issues. I think they had some really real ways of looking at the problem and some solutions people have thought up. I also like Leigh & Rebecca’s discussion of libraries as “third space” because I thought it led to some interesting look at library space and how to accommodate different types of users with different community needs.

There was also some good old fashioned informative talks. Terence & Sherry’s talk about the Patriot Act was very interesting and also informative (I had no idea that same provision applied to businesses). “Google’s New Privacy Policy: 5 Things You Should Know” from Kelly and Meggan told me more about the Google policy in 20 minutes than weeks of reading the internet by myself. Finally, Ashley & Mary’s workshop – academic writing for college freshmen – was an interesting take on how to introduce the thesis as part of a larger workshop set.

My group, “Ethical Considerations of Libraries as Maker-Spaces/Content-Creation Hubs” went relatively well (though I should test of my URLs before class next time). It was full of experimentation on our part in terms of structure so it was interesting to see how it went. The Pre-Survey helped in identifying the need to explain the ideas, though I think perhaps the idea is still nebulous for some at the end. I think it  would have been perfect if we had had perhaps another 10 minutes for discussion.

Overall, I really liked the one-shot workshop set and process. I enjoyed hearing what people were excited about, their thoughts on interesting professional development subjects, and what sort of ways they found for engaging participants. Definitely some things I’m going to steal!

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Ethics in Librarianship- the Right to Disclosure?

I have been intrigued this week by Mary and Liz’s post about our in class discussion over the inflated cost of Ebooks. The theme seems to be whether the Public needs to be aware of how much the supposed “free” books of the lending library cost and when one copy is drastically different than the first.

This of course at first seems like a ridiculous idea, as have we not made a profession out of taking things of great value and lending them to the masses? Is it not our job, as shrewd customers ourselves, to pressure, to hassle, to bargain? Have we become so ineffective we can’t even control the industry we have literally kept alive for years? At first I took the traditional stance of buy-it-all-until-the-money-stop flow. In the words of library etiquette:

On February 2, acquisitions librarians will emerge from their offices with a printout of the library’s budget. If they see their shadows, there will be six more weeks of book ordering. If they don’t, new book orders will go into a queue for the next budget cycle.

This was sort of the way I saw acquisitions: give the patrons what they want until there’s no money left. But I’ve been persuaded otherwise, at least in part. The situation behind the curtain has gotten too ridiculous. The rules no longer make sense. So perhaps it is time to tell the Public, at least in part, the cost of e-books. Perhaps this conversation will lead to a greater overall dialogue about the many antiquated process still being practiced by librarians in terms of acquisitions, such as the lack of disclosure over how public funds are spent, pricing information and perhaps even deeper vendor sharing.

To be “open” (both meanings intended) is better than to be “free”.

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