WILU/York 2007 logo

36th Annual Conference - York University - Toronto ON - May 16-18, 2007

Location Codes

  • SSB: Schulich School of Business
  • ACW: Accolade West

Workshops - May 16th

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Teaching on the Edge of Chaos (SSB N105)

Bryan Miyagishima | Robert Hautala

Though most instruction librarians are well-acquainted with phrases like "guide on the side" and "student-centered learning," most instruction sessions nevertheless remain an exercise in teacher control. A background in traditional lesson design prepares teachers to provide a stereotypical sequence of instruction and activities. For most beginning teachers, instruction is born from control -- over content and student behavior and performance. This allows instructors to specify objectives, cover content material, and ensure that students perform at a desired level. If control is maintained, teachers perceive this as a successful technique and may continue to use these methods even as they become veterans. This approach, however, sometimes comes at a cost - of student engagement (particularly those students who have previously received library instruction); and creativity -- exercising other methods, possibilities, and angles to achieve a similar outcome.

The opposite instructional tack is that of chaos -- offering students the opportunity to use any means that meets the parameters of a given task or assignment. While this approach may lead to greater student engagement and creativity, it comes at the potential cost of student misconduct and not meeting instructional outcomes or standards.

Many veteran teachers, however, are able to teach on the edge of chaos; they are able let students explore all angles from which to tackle tasks and problems, while being able to direct them towards meeting desired outcomes. While offering students many different choices in their learning, they are still able to hold them accountable to high performance standards.

How can we let go more and more within our classes, letting students direct more of their own learning while still maintaining control over behavior and learning outcomes? The "dynamic systems" model of providing choices and complexity in our learner tasks, reinforcing performance standards, and de-emphasizing demonstration and instruction is one approach by which instructors can safely bring controlled chaos into their sessions. The dynamic systems model views the learner as one part of other interacting systems, including the learning environment and tasks. In this model, instructors are able to manipulate the learning environment and/or the tasks to effect changes in student performance. Choice is mandatory; students are required to explore various means to accomplish a task. But, the instructor remains safely in charge of both the choices and the performance objectives and standards. Group instruction and demonstration is not provided; instead, the instructor spends a greater amount of time working with individuals as they accomplish their task.

How do we bring chaos safely into our classes? How much chaos can we tolerate in our teaching? How do we redirect chaos into student learning? In this workshop, participants will explore the principles behind dynamic systems, and the benefits and disadvantages of this approach vs. more traditional instructional models. They will use these principles to design library instruction for both single sessions and course-long collaborations. And, participants will come away with strategies for how to safely inject more "chaos" into their own instruction, within the constraints of their experience and teaching styles.

Keeping Up! Web Feeds for Information Literate Librarians (ACW 203)

Lorie Kloda | Genevieve Gore

This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the world of feeds, RSS and blogs for keeping current. The workshop is aimed at librarians interested in using this emerging technology to keep up-to-date with research, innovation, and practice. The topics of information literacy, and teaching and learning will be used as examples of domains for keeping current. Different strategies for using feeds to this end will be explored, including subscribing to blogs, alerts, and publication table of contents. The format of the workshop will be an interactive session of hands-on activities designed to introduce participants to feed readers and the subscription process. The workshop will be punctuated with short theoretical presentations about current awareness and demonstration of activities. There will also be discussions about the relative merits of feeds for keeping current, as well as instructional strategies for introducing feeds and RSS technology as a component of information literacy instruction. By the end of the workshop, participants will have not only learned about the utility of feed technology for current awareness and information literacy, but will have created a free account to an online feed reader and subscribed to content on information literacy and teaching and learning. The workshop will not include instruction on creating or maintaining a blog, but on using RSS and Atom technology for keeping up-to-date. A brief demonstration of RSS and Atom-enabled content creation will be included to foster understanding of the process. Participants will also have the opportunity to create alerts using specialty search engines (e.g., LISZen), a directory of professional literature (e.g., E-LIS) and a bibliographic database (e.g., Library & Information Sciences & Technology Abstracts). The goal of this workshop is to promote both current awareness in the information professional's areas of interest and advanced information literacy skills. Information literacy includes the abilities to manage information and keep up-to-date in a particular discipline both of which are attainable through the use of feeds. This workshop is based on a previous workshop offered to McGill University Librarians and Library staff. Fifty individuals participated in the workshop, which was offered repeatedly during the spring of 2006. Many provided feedback on the design and content of the session. The workshop to be offered to WILU delegates will be an adaptation of this professional development activity with a specific focus on keeping current on issues relating to information literacy and teaching and learning for information professionals. An accompanying workbook with step-by-step instructions as well as lists of relevant content will be provided.

Information Literacy in Institutional Assessment: A Case Study (SSB N106)

Francine Egger-Sider | Cecilia Macheski | Alexandra Rojas | Charles Keyes

Does your institution succeed in producing information literate graduates? How do you know? Information literacy is a core competency needed to function in an increasingly knowledge-based society, economy, and globalized world. The need for institutions of higher learning to produce graduates who can contribute to and function in knowledge-based economies in a meaningful way is critical. This workshop will introduce the process, the rubric, and the challenges of implementing meaningful information literacy outcomes assessment. Participants will engage in hands-on norming of range-finders, confront assessment issues, among them how to assure validity and consistency of results and how to train faculty raters. The workshop will feature a rubric developed to test information literacy competencies, range-finders developed to train raters of student work to use the rubric, and implications for professional development of faculty interested in infusing information literacy skills-development into their courses.

LaGuardia Community College, in Long Island City, NY, has an enrollment of some 13,000 matriculated students (FTEs), an active Adult and Continuing Education program serving about 20,000 students, and three affiliated high schools. It forms part of the publicly-funded City University of New York, a consortium of 19 community colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate and professional schools.

In 2002, LaGuardia developed an outcomes assessment plan to meet a mandate set by its accrediting agency, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Having identified seven core competencies that all LaGuardia graduates should possess, the College has been systematically developing tools, procedures, and professional development opportunities to make implementation of the outcomes assessment plan a reality. Rubrics have already been developed for critical literacy and for oral communication. The rubrics are designed to evaluate student work across the disciplines and across students' careers at the College, using e-Portfolios as a vehicle. A section of each students e-Portfolio contains academic work deposited there for the purpose of subsequent assessment.

Beginning in 2004, a committee of library and discipline faculty members has been collaborating on development of a rubric to test student performance in the core competency of Research and Information Literacy. Based on the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education published in 2000 by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the rubric contains learning outcomes, 6 levels of competency, and provides criteria and adjectives for distinguishing each level.

The committee also selected range-finders, student work that represent a perfect 6, a perfect 5, etc. A year-long professional development seminar for faculty on Building Information Literacy in the Disciplines is being held for the first time this academic year; the rubric and range-finders are important tools for seminar participants who receive training in there use.

After this workshop, participants will be able to begin the development of rubrics to assess information literacy at their institution and address strategies for faculty development.