July 2011 Archives

Teaching that Sticks! Workshop & Donuts

Date: Thursday, August 11, 2011
Time: 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Location: STSS 432B

Want a bit of inspiration for your instruction for fall semester?  Join consultants from the Center for Teaching and Learning for a workshop on approaches to teaching for long-term learning. Based on Dan and Chip Heath's bestselling book, Made to Stick, we will begin with the premise that real learning involves not just memory and understanding but also transformation. We'll discuss the Heaths' strategy for presenting ideas that stick and generate ways to apply it in your instruction. You'll leave with immediately usable ideas to refine your instruction sessions.

Designing Exhibits with Impact

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2011
Time: 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Location: Andersen Library 120

What does it take to make a really compelling exhibit--from a small display case to a large room? Exhibits can be great instructional and outreach tools and whether you've done many exhibits or considering your first one the task can be challenging. This hands-on workshop will explore the conceptual phases of refining an idea, identifying your audience, and selecting content to the practical considerations of mounting an exhibit. Presented by Archives and Special Collections staff, Darren Terpstra, Stephanie Crowe, and Ryan Bean. 

Register at: https://webapps-prd.oit.umn.edu/training/courseDetail.jsp?course=LB0302
I had to share this graphic--too clever!


Also Sarah Houghton-Jan shared her experience teaching a Google + class: http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/

Do we try it this fall...? Who is game? Wait...should have posted this in Google+....sigh...

2 job descriptions...

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I saw two interesting job ads recently (no I am not looking :)

Multidisciplinary Instruction Librarian - NYU (http://library.nyu.edu/about/jobs.html)

I was struck both by the slightly odd job titles and by elements of the job descriptions. I highlighted the following phrases below that stood out to me. I was struck about how these positions continue to combine and mesh what might have been distinct positions in a previous generation...and how much they integrate the teaching/learning role of librarians with other duties-yet also aren't subject specific liaisons. 

...develop a framework for transitioning upper-division undergraduates from basic research skills to discipline-specific library research methods.

...The role involves program and curriculum development, implementation and assessment; a significant teaching load; and outreach and promotion to faculty and students using multiple avenues of communication.

...Librarians play a key role in the educational mission of NYU by establishing strong relationships with faculty and students, and connecting them to the services, content, and tools that meet their research, teaching, and learning needs.

...seeks a creative, user-centered, and energetic individual to design and implement innovations in the delivery of library services via our online environment.   Emphasis will be on content development and evaluation of the Library's public services web presence and its programmatic tie to our virtual reference environment.

...Promotes the Library's virtual learning environment in support of teaching, learning, and research. Specific duties include authoring and editing web content related to services, collections, and libraries; providing staff training and documentation; and analyzing online user behavior in terms of advancing our virtual reference service.

...If you are interested in joining a team focused on delivering robust virtual learning environments, we invite you to apply for this position.

What do you think?

As a follow-up from the wonderful Universal Design workshop sponsored by the Diversity and Information Literacy Collaborative I just stumbled across this interesting video about Dyslexie, a typeface that has decreased reading errors for dyslectics.  You can read more about their project out of the University of Twente at: http://www.studiostudio.nl/en/project-dyslexie/

Renske de Leeuw's thesis explaining the research and conclusions can be found at: http://essay.utwente.nl/60474/1/MA_thesis_R_Leeuw.pdf

More research into typeface is needed as just one component for universal design, however I think it has many implications for libraries from the printing process, instructional handouts, tutorial and web design to marketing efforts. 

RefWorks in Brief

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Did you see that RefWorks 2.0 was in the Brief..great way to get the word out of this change. Have you communicated this to your faculty? 


Design Thinking

Perhaps the most critical challenge facing most institutions will be to develop the capacity for change; to remove the constraints that prevent institutions from responding to the needs of the rapidly changing societies; to remove unnecessary process and administrative structures to question existing premises and arrangements and to challenge, excite, and embolden all members of the campus community to embark on what I believe will be a great adventure (Duderstadt, 1999).

What can design thinking offer to higher education? In a word, change. Not just change for the sake of creating change or trying the latest fad, but thoughtful change for the higher education institution that wants to position itself to better withstand the challenges presented by both old and new competitors. Change not just for technology's sake, but change based on better understanding students and putting into a place a mechanism for institution-wide innovation (Bell, 2010).

Higher education in the 21st century faces unprecedented challenges (Duderstadt, 1999). The convergence of three forces: globalization, the emergence of the knowledge society, and the accelerating nature of social and technological change, represent a new paradigm of knowledge production (Moravec, 2008).  This new paradigm requires colleges and universities to be innovative leaders charged with successfully propelling learners into our knowledge-driven future. If cultivating innovation and supporting institutional change is the charge of the university in the 21st century this is problematic because institutional inertia has traditionally plagued these efforts (Trower, 2008; Hanna, 2000).  

At the core of the discussion is how leaders will transform their institutions to respond to an ever-changing educational landscape. Design thinking offers a new lens for higher education leaders to embrace innovative solutions to rapidly evolving problems.

What is design thinking?

"Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for success." -- Tim Brown, IDEO president and CEO.  

How does design thinking work?

The best way to explain design thinking is by demonstrating the process.  In this video, "The Deep Dive", the design firm IDEO uses design thinking to re-imagine the shopping cart. 

What are the steps in the process?

1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test

Has design thinking been used in higher education?

-In 2005, Stanford launched the d.school to provide students from across campus an opportunity to learn design thinking.  Their certificate program focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial projects focused on creating innovations for the public good (Stanford d.school Website, 2011).

-Arizona State University recently used design thinking to re-imagine its role as a public university in the 21st century.  ASU President Michael Crow began the transformation process by asking, "do we replicate what exists, or do we design what we need?" (Krishnan, 2010).  After a period of generating ideas, ASU launched a "New American University" project guided by eight design aspirations: 1) leverage our place, 2) transform society, 3) value entrepreneurship, 4) conduct use-inspired research, 5) enable student success, 6) fuse intellectual discipline, 7) be socially embedded, and 8) engage globally (Arizona State University Website, 2010).

Where can I learn more about design thinking?

Standford d.School Design Thinking Philosophy

Standford Hasso Plattner School of Design 2010 Bootcamp Bootleg.

IDEO Design Thinking For Educators Toolkit.

IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit and Field Guide.


Bell, S. (2010). "Design Thinking" and Higher Education. Inside Higher Ed, http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/03/02/bell. 

Duderstadt, J. J. (1999). Can Colleges and Universities Survive in the Information Age?. In R. N. Katz (Ed.), Dancing with the Devil: Information Technology and the New Competition in Higher Education (pp. 1-25). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hanna, D. E. (2000). Higher Education In An Era of Digital Competition: Choices and Challenges (p. 362). Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.

Krishnan, R. T. (2010). Deisgn Thinking in Higher Education. EduTech For Leaders in Higher Education.

Moravec, J. W. (2008). A New Paradigm of Knowledge Production in Higher Education. On the Horizon, 16(3), 123-136. 

Trowler, P. (2008). Cultures and Change in Higher Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Last week I went to the American Society for Engineering Education (Engineering Libraries Division!) Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.


This year's docket was heavy with Information Literacy-themed sessions.  The event was blogged by ELD Member Christine Drew.  So if you're interested to learn more what trends the Engineering Librarians are thinking about you can check it out at http://asee-eld.blogspot.com/.

A session that stuck out to me was this 7a.m. session, "Information Literacy Programs For FIrst Year Engineering Programs" (There were 7 a.m. sessions everyday)

Many of the presenters discussed "meeting students where they're at" in researching...instead of forcing them into "Library Resources" straight from the beginning.  The presenters from Wyoming mentioned using Google's Wonderwheel to help students brainstorm keywords (the results were only so-so).  And one speaker from the University of Toronto said something that was really catchy...he said (and I may be slightly paraphrasing)

"It's not about using credible sources, it's about using sources credibly."

I liked that.

You might also be interested in the multi-level plagiarism game that the University of Florida is developing for it's graduate students.  In that same session you can also learn more about the work that U of M Librarian, Jan Fransen has been doing building tutorials geared specifically to grad students in her departments.

So even though it was an "engineering librarian" conference I think there's stuff that could be taken and learned from in other disciplines as well. If you're interested in learning more I'd be happy to talk to you in more detail about the sessions I saw.

As an added bonus here's a picture of a giant sulfur pile in Vancouver's harbour:


That's a lot of sulfur!  I don't know why it's there...but I couldn't stop taking pictures of it!

 I was excited to discover the NWP, or National Writing Project, recently. The University of Minnesota's Center for Writing is one of 200 local sites participating in the project, as the Minnesota Writing Project.


About Us

Unique in breadth and scale, the NWP is a network of sites anchored at colleges and universities and serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, early childhood through university. We provide professional development, develop resources, generate research, and act on knowledge to improve the teaching of writing and learning in schools and communities.

Our Mission

The National Writing Project focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners.

Our Vision

Writing in its many forms is the signature means of communication in the 21st century. The NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.

What a great idea!


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This page is an archive of entries from July 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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