Tomorrow is my last day at SoTL and it is truly a bittersweet feeling. I have had the honor and privilege of working at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning during the entire span of my graduate career. My role within SoTL has evolved and I have had a lot of fun getting to know everyone back in the open office. The entire staff has been so supportive: from brainstorming projects that could be implemented by someone with a MLS/MIS background, to funding me to attend a conference, and even supporting and mentoring me during the job hunt. I feel extremely lucky to know so many colleagues who are in a different field than I, but share a passion for teaching, learning, and education. Tomorrow we will be going over final revisions for the SoTL Network manuscript and I will wrap up my contributions for the SoTL Perceptions paper. Luckily, I will still be able to work with Shannon and CITL in new ways; I recently accepted the Visiting Science Library at IU. Thank you to George Rehrey and Lisa Kurz for introducing me to the world of SoTL. A very special thanks to Shannon Sipes for creating and including me on a variety of projects and offering support in so many ways. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Clinton McKay at OVPUE for mentoring me and guiding me through the SoTL Database. I would not be where I am today without the support of so many.
After submitting the initial draft of the article Building a social network around SoTL through digital space, we were waiting to see what kind of revisions we would need to make before resubmitting the paper. Of course, there’s always the possibility that a journal is not interested in publishing your article at all; luckily for us, this was not the case. We had three reviewers and they each included comments about the strengths and weaknesses in the paper. Overall, to the topic of including more voices to expand SoTL was well received. However, the diverse voices and writing styles from all three writers throughout the article were distracting and in cohesive. We thought each voice emphasized how three people came together to accomplish a goal, but we decided to have one of the collaborators edit the manuscript, so it appears as one voice and style. Other than a few stylistic changes, the content was sound, and the reviewers were optimistic about our findings. We have decided to provide more data via web-analytics to reflect change in traffic from updating our website and adding the database. I will be working on conducting another literature search for best practices to support SoTL work and what other digital SoTL initiatives look like. We are hoping to have the manuscript updated and sent by next week.
Lauren Hays is the Instructional and Research Librarian and Co-Director of the Center for Games and Learning at MidAmerica Nazarene University and I had the pleasure of talking to her after she presented at ICED. Lauren is particularly interested in how a librarian’s identity shapes whether or not they consider themselves an educator or not. With this perception, some librarians may not consider themselves educators and therefore would not conduct SoTL research. However, many librarians do teach or instruct students. Given my own involvement and interest in librarianship and SoTL, I wanted to chat with Lauren to see what kinds of projects she was working on or if there was any opportunity to work together.
During the course of the talk, we discussed how I would like to participate on a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) with SoTL if I will still be at IU working as a librarian. She thought the idea of an FLC designed for teaching undergraduate students how to conduct research was an exciting idea. Specifically, incorporating information literacy concepts throughout each step would allow students to grasp this knowledge in a practical, useful way.
Lauren also mentioned areas within the Scholarship that could use additional research, such as the gap in Information Literacy in Psychology-what it looks like and how can we teach it within that context? She thought these were important questions to consider and she also mentioned getting involved on a faculty development committee. Her role as a librarian on a faculty development committee has been a symbiotic relationship for both faculty developers as well as the librarian. Talking with Lauren was very helpful and I hope I can continue this conversation and collaboration once I have a better grasp on the future.
In addition to the Collaborative Technologies manuscript, my boss and I are also working on a draft about the role of SoTL at a Research One university. We were interested to read about how perceptions or involvement in SoTL can change based on rank (tenure or non-tenure track) and discipline. We used qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data from a survey as well as two focus group interviews. Our general findings illustrate that many conversations are not happening between colleagues about SoTL work. Tenure track faculty typically have more time after receiving tenure to focus on other interests, which may or may not include teaching and learning. Most of the participants have expressed interest in SoTL work, but lack of resources (time, support, researchers, etc.) prevent research from happening. From our literature review so far, we realize that there is limited information about what SoTL looks like at a large, research university; researching and writing this manuscript allows other institutions to look at our results and in turn think about their own SoTL programs function. I really enjoyed the process and work required before writing the paper. Formulating research questions, working with Shannon on focus group interviews, and analyzing the results were activities I practiced in the isolation in the classroom, but getting to practice in a practical, useful setting was exciting. We are hoping to have a draft ready to submit before my internship is up.
After returning from the ICED conference, my head is full of ideas and topics to explore. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had exchanged contact information with a few people from the conference who wished to learn more about the SoTL database. Many were eager to hear about the details pertaining to the database: how information is collected, in what ways the database functions as a Community of Practice (CoP), and how the database will be updated; attending the conference helped refresh all of the steps it took for me to accomplish creating the database. This refresher is helpful because after I returned, I was tasked with the duty of creating a manual for entering bibliographic information within the Web Content Management System (WCMS) for the next graduate assistant within SoTL. I thought about all of the technical pieces that must be included with each entry, as well as short cuts, and tips or tricks to help ensure that information input is both thorough and in sync with previous entries. I thought about how design manuals and workflow information are important documents to consider when thinking about the larger operations. In the Systems Analysis course I took in the spring, it became apparent how clear documentation can help ensure data and tasks are performed appropriately.
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has been working on building its online presence in many different ways, using a variety of voices. My role as a graduate assistant with library and information science knowledge, was to create a dynamic, searchable database for SoTL work completed by faculty and professors at Indiana University Bloomington. The faculty developer and media specialist within the teaching and learning center worked on a number of digital strategies, including: a SoTL blog series, a web redesign, and creating social media presence. We decided that these implementations could serve as a guide or example for other teaching and learning centers who might be experiencing the same issues with web traffic. Shannon Sipes, the faculty developer, worked on creating the outline and structure of the manuscript. Matt Barton (media specialist) and I worked on our respective parts within the manuscript. Working on this manuscript not only gave me the experience to work with others in different areas, but it also allowed me to practice writing for a professional publication and audience. I am eager to see how the manuscript is received and if it will be one step closer to being published.
The big day is finally here! I woke up early and went down to the lobby to set up my poster. From 8 to 9:30 am I was able to discuss with many people around the world about my work on creating a searchable, dynamic database for SoTL at IU. The spectrum of responses was really interesting to me-on one end, people were like “we love our librarians! We partner with them all the time!” and others mentioned that they never thought to work with librarians. I explained my unique situation: that I am a library and information science graduate student studying at a university where there is also a Teaching and Learning center. Many expressed interest in working with ILS students, but their schools do not have a library or information science program within the school. Many passersby scanned the QR code or snapped pictures. I exchanged business cards and contact information with a few people who were interested in continuing the conversation. Overall, my poster and database were well-received. I realize there are a lot of opportunities for Information and Library students to organize and represent this particular form of scholarship. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one comprehensive database that stores the types of SoTL work from all over, which would be extremely helpful for faculty developers, scholars, and faculty.
After the poster session, my boss and I attended one more session, listened to the final keynote session, and jumped in a Lyft back to the airport. Minus a three-hour delay, our trip was smooth flying back home.
I was hoping to wake up early and attend an early workshop, but the stress of traveling and getting ready for the conference must’ve worn me out. However, I did attend a session about inclusivity; this particular session discussed how our identities can impact our work. Specifically, identities surrounding our academic backgrounds, job position, career path, and personal identity that can provide opportunities of power or disadvantage. I was able to chat with a lady from Australia, and two men (one from England and the other from Italy) who expressed their own identities and how that is reflected in their work; they were really interested in hearing my perspective as a graduate student.
My favorite session was a concurrent style where four presenters discussed their projects. In this particular session, there were 2 academic librarians (one from the US and the other from Sweden), a faculty developer who paired with an academic librarian for a class, and a faculty developer who discussed using a rubric. This session was really enlightening for me to see how academic librarians can collaborate with faculty developers and other institutional units to accomplish a variety of goals. I thought Lauren Hays dissertation about the involvement and perception of SoTL based on librarian’s identities made a lot of sense, although her results weren’t that surprising (e.g. many librarians don’t see themselves as “teachers” even though part of their job is to teach instructional lessons or courses); I think in the rigorous, well-defined world of universities, there are titles and roles that designate what someone does or does not do. I hope I can challenge this thinking if I continue my career within an academic institute.
Finally, we had dinner at the Aquarium in Atlanta. It was gorgeous! The ballroom had windows of glass that peered into the aquariums and sea creatures would nonchalantly pass by as we ate hors d’oeuvres and drank cocktails. It was such a magical experience and I really enjoyed the conversations I had at dinner.
The official conference proceedings began with a panel of keynote speakers. The four speakers came from all over the world, including: Canada, the United States, Singapore, and Sweden. Each speaker focused on one segment within the conferences theme, which was “Institutional Change: Voices, Identities, Power, and Outcomes.” I really appreciated the quote that Joy Mighty, one of the speakers, made about inclusivity. She stated, “no decisions about us, without us” meaning that all voices and identities should have a seat at the table when it comes to policies, programming, and other decision-making processes. Another speaker touched on how identity can influence the amount of power or lack-there-of some people or units may have; he challenged faculty and education developers to think of their identity as a strength and to use their abilities to benefit a wide variety of people.
After the keynote session and lunch, I decided to attend a breakout session about supporting effective mentors of undergraduate research. This session provided very practical guides for incorporating undergraduate student researchers, which is one of the initiatives put forth in IU’s strategic planning. I will continue to think about how this frame work could be included in areas that librarians touch. The next session I attended was about inclusivity. The presenter started the session by introducing herself and the various identities that she carries. She described how our identities consisting of academic backgrounds, job position, career path, and personal identity can provide opportunities for powerful change or disadvantage. She also included real-life prompts that allowed participants to think through how they would handle certain situations through the lens of their own personal identities. Overall, I would consider the first day of the conference a success; although the conference is not for librarians, the theme is overarching and transferable to all disciplines. I am excited to see what tomorrow brings.
The flight to Atlanta was a breeze. I had to deal with the awkwardness that ensues when traveling with a giant poster tube, but other than that it was smooth flying. We arrived in Atlanta around 1 p.m. and after a hotel mix-up and two taxis later, we arrived at the correct destination. Shannon and I checked in at the hotel and conference. I looked through the program and tried to pick which sessions I wanted to attend. ICED has concurrent sessions, which lumps similar topics into a one-and-a-half-hour chunk of time. To my delight, there was a session all about academic librarianship, which included the dissertation of Lauren Hays. It also included three other presenters whose topics ranged from information literacy to inquiry-based learning. After unpacking and taking a look at the conference program, Shannon and I decided to stretch our legs and go across the street to the mall. We walked for a bit and grabbed dinner before calling it a night.