Excellent IL instruction article by Eric Frierson: Making it their idea

Learning Model

Thanks to colleague Miriam Rigby for pointing out this article in In the Library With the Lead Pipe, by Eric Frierson.  Frierson discusses learning theory (including Piaget!) in an accessible, realistic, down-to-earth way that’s sadly kind of rare.  And he has good ideas for teaching better IL classes to undergraduates.

Modeling instructional activities after the way people learn is vital for making learning experiences that ‘stick.’ Typical library instruction involves copious amounts of “click here, then click here, and once you’re there, click here.” There’s little discovery or invention of core information literacy concepts. Students are told how to use information resources, told how to use citation styles, and told the consequences of unethical use of information. How can we make discovery of information literacy concepts more… scientific? Can students invent information literacy concepts on their own, given a scenario and a librarian as a guide?

I mostly teach graduate courses, and I’m leery of trying some of the ideas suggested here for working with undergrads (role play, scenario setting, etc.)…but maybe I shouldn’t be?

Mashing Congress article now up in Dttp: Documents to the People

I’m very happy to be able to link to “Mashing Congress,” the article that Jesse Silva and I wrote for Dttp:  Documents to the People, detailing our wiki mash-up tool for Congressional research.  (ALA login required, rassenfrassen.)

If you’re not interested in Congressional research (and who isn’t?) I think this is still an interesting application for wikis and screencasts.  Basically, we used a wiki framework to open screencast tutorials simultaneously with live database windows for learners to practice their skills in.  No frames, no clicking back and forth between windows.  A little bit of scrolling may be required, depending on your monitor size.  But generally speaking, a more immediate and elegant way to provide active learning opportunities (read:  hands-on practice) and feedback for your tutorial users.

Thanks, Jesse!  And thanks, DttP!

ALA Drive-by

Anaheim is sunny and bright, and I’m heading into the Exhibits hall.  But first I wanted to link to Anne-Marie’s blog post listing our preconference materials.  The preconference was great–we had overflow attendance and a terrific group of engaged, interested, thoughtful participants.  And as always, my fabulous co-presenters gave me much food for thought.  Every time we talk about online instruction and 2.0 public services, I feel like I “get” it a little more, and my paradigm shifts just a few more inches in the right direction.  Added bonus:  Rachel’s copyright advocacy sermon.  Accept no substitutes!

OLA/WLA 2008

Lately I’ve been busy getting ready to present a preconference at the 2008 Oregon Library Association/Washington Library Association Joint Conference next week.  I’m co-presenting with rock star librarians Rachel Bridgewater and Anne-Marie Deitering, on the topic “Tutorials 2.0: Developing a toolkit for user-oriented online library instruction.”

It’s shaping up to be a great day-long session of discussion, brainstorming, hands-on practice, and general play with the 2.0 world.  I hope to see some of you there!

Captivate woes

Captivate users, help me out!  We recently decided to change our default screen resolution for online tutorials from 800 x 600 to 1024 x 768.  However, the template we’ve been using all this time has a fixed screen capture size for 800 x 600.  When we use it at the new resolution, it only grabs a small chunk of the screen.

Can screen capture sizes be edited after they’ve been used once?  I seem to recall that they can’t, although I honestly don’t see why a template file shouldn’t be editable like this.  Maybe I’m missing something?

And out of interest’s sake, has anyone else created a template from scratch?  I.e., not saved a movie as a template, but created a graphic template in Flash or Fireworks or another tool, and saved or exported it as a .cptl?

Congressional research tutorials in Internet Scout Report

Wow, it’s been a banner week! Earlier this week these tutorials were listed on Intute, and now they’ve made it into the latest issue of the Internet Scout Report. If you’re not familiar with the Scout Report, here’s their basic “About Us” info:

Since 1994, the Scout Project has focused on developing better tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata.

Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, and part of the University’s College of Letters and Sciences, Scout has access to highly educated content specialists and a world-class array of computer science and library resources. Our eclectic staff blends academics and professionals from Library Science and Computer Science, along with graduate and undergraduate students studying the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Thanks very much to Scout for the mention–and thanks to the colleague who already saw this and sent us a suggestion for improving the tutorials!