Wednesday, July 10, 2013

EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Institute

I recently participated in the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Institute. EDUCAUSE is an organization for folks in IT in higher education, so of the 60 or so participants I was one of three librarians.

While the examples used to illustrate points were related to learning and information technologies, the Institute as a whole focused on leadership. It ran pretty much non-stop from Monday noon to Friday noon. During the day we attended lecture/workshops that ran between 30 minutes to 2 hours. In the evening we worked on a small group project (8-9 people). The group chose/developed a made up institution and scenario where your group was responsible for pitching the implementation of a new learning technology to university administration. I'd be happy to discuss the format further if you have questions just let me know.

Overall, I felt this was a great learning opportunity that provide both immediate takeaways and lessons that will require lots of reflection and practice in the coming months/years. Some immediate takeaways on effective presentations were:
  • It will be boring unless you take active steps to avoid causing boredom
  • You must do something emotionally relevant every 10 minutes or you will lose them
  • PowerPoint is not evil, it has cognitive style that you have to resist
  • Stop the bullets, lists are not interesting, we don’t pay attention to boring stuff
  • Present your ideas in visual ways (more compelling and will stay with them)
  • Slides and presentation should be complimentary, slides should be useless without you
  • Educate your voice: conversational, amount of relaxation, contributing to the effectiveness
It stipulates that everyone can and should take part in leadership. Instead of the traditional model where everyone falls behind one larger than life leader, leaderful practice teaches a new path to effective leadership where a successful leader builds a team of concurrent, collective, collaborative and compassionate leaders all working together towards a common goal. These tenets are known as the Four Cs:
  • First, the idea of concurrency stipulates that there can be more than one leader and that by willingly sharing power multiple leaders inspire teams to work together thus increasing organizational effectiveness.
  • Second, leaderful practice is also collective. Since an organization can have multiple leaders, no one person is solely responsible for mobilizing others and decision making. The work is shared and ultimately more is accomplished.
  • Third, collaborative leaders encourage open dialog where everyone feels they can contribute and is equally sensitive to the opinions of others. Strength in numbers occurs when everyone sees their role contributing to the co-creation of an organization.
  • Lastly, leaderful practice requires compassion. Compassionate leaders value every member of the team because of, not in spite of, their diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. All opinions are solicited and those that differ from the current thought process are encouraged
It was an intense and valuable week. Again, let me know if you would like to hear more. ~Carrie

ALA Chicago 2013

As always, ALA had many sessions to attend, with many of them being at the same time. I went to a lot of talks. Below were my 3 favorites:

1. Annual Reference Research forum:
Presents 3 original research articles that were published this year. I found the first speaker's research very interesting.
Research Guides Usability Study- Angela Pashia & Andrew Walsh University of West Georgia
    • Has a Libguides for every subject offers a major in
      • Great for librarians- but would like students to use them too…they don’t. How to improve this.
        • What is frustrating the students?
        • When are they leaving the guides and googling it?
        • How to improve the design to get them to use it- did usability tests first & then focus groups
      Usability studies- 4 freshmen, 2 soph, 2 juniors, 1 senior, 1 grad student= 10 users; $5 gc to starbucks, pulled them in “off the street” on the fly. On average each one was about 10 minutes. Varied on how long it took them to complete the 3 tasks.
      • Fairly novice group with familiarity with resources
      • Used free CamStudio- screen capture software
      • Gave them tasks to complete- how would they find articles on education from the education libguide, how would they get help from a librarian from a libguide, how would they get back to the same libguide from the library’s homepage.
      • Made it clear, it was not a test on them but a test on the library
      Common issues:
      • They were using the libguides search box to look for articles- remove this box. Librarians like it, but it is confusing students.
      • Difficulty understanding the role of libguides in the research process; didn’t see the value added
      • Wasn’t sure what to click on when saw the list of databases- clicked on the more info link instead of the actual database link to get to it.
      • Trouble getting to a specific guide from the library homepage
      • Don’t see the tabs, Want more emphasis on the tabs.
  • Focus groups
    • Based on usability results, limited fgs to juniors and seniors. =who would need the libguides for subject specific research
    • What do the labels mean to them?- i.e. background information vs. encyclopedias. They wanted encyclopedias. Finding sources vs. finding articles, etc.
    • They loved the VCU rg homepage. (listed as best of in libguides) plus sign for all disciplines that open to subdisciplines.= systems librarian is going to model new homepage after this.
    • Future: Doing more focus groups with grad students
  • Google analytics: Libguides search data.Config special google anyaltics report.“goal completion” set up for search results page.Tracks this as an event and gives you the keywords in the URL string!
2. Conversation Starters: Achievement unlocked: Motivating and assessing user learning with digital badges 
3.  Two separate talks on "making" and "maker spaces." Cory Doctorow & Mark Frauenfelder
  • Decline of making and DIY 1970-2000. Cheaper to buy new than to fix. Change in popular mechanics mag covers. Went from things you can make yourself to skyscrapers and brain implants.
  • Rise of DIY subculture. 
  • 2000-2013 we are in a making rebirth, modern making movement; Make magazine established in 2005;
  • "Networked Making"- you don't start with a project that you read about in a magazine and try to build it. Instead if you an idea for something new. Look it up online and find someone who did it figure out the remaining in online forums, communities etc. 
  • Maker fairs- playful side of making; Pinterest was created at a Maker Fair