Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How do you get an idea to catch on, to become viral?

I've been asking this question as I consider how to promote innovation and the adoption of new approaches in facilitating information skill development across the Library and wider University.

Over the past two years I have not forgotten about this blog; those who know me will understand that I'm all for maximising web 2.0 and social networking in learning; I'm just not one to join in; and I have found plenty else to distract myself with. Excuses aside.

In reflecting on this perplexing question I've decided to make an effort, to maximise the channels available and to provide more regular updates. Hence, I hope to share some of the highlights of my recent activities over the next entries. So, if you're reading this post, let me know, even share your thoughts on promoting ideas.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Considering our students

Here is a video that was recorded at LIANZA 2008 conference: Poropitia: Outside the Box. Liz Wilkinson from Learning Services at Auckland University Library outlines an information literacy package "Te Punga" that uses online graphic novels and simulations to introduce students to the library catalogue. Her approach to addressing student learning styles and enagement is well worth considering.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Globalisation & The Information Age

Here is a video that is well worth reflecting on as we move forward into another academic year. The first post in this blog for 2008 was of the video “A vision of students today” which considered students modes of study. This video takes a broader view of the global education and technology market.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sharing research and best practice

The Library will be well represented at the upcoming the Spotlight on Tertiary Teaching and Learning Colloquium with nine entries involving Information and Education services staff. The Colloquium is organised by the Education Development Centre, Otago Polytechnic and the Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago and will run on 19th and 20th November at St. David Lecture Theatre Complex.

The Colloquium is designed to promote and share research and best practice in tertiary teaching and learning. It is an opportunity to celebrate teaching and to foster cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary connections amongst tertiary teachers in the Southern Region (Southland and Otago). With the support of Ako Aotearoa registration for University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic staff is free of charge.

The themes of the Colloquium include:

• Focus on the learners' experiences;
• The first year of tertiary study;
• Teaching for diversity;
• Designing curricula for engagement;
• Developing communities of practice;
• Learning in the work environment.

The Library entries include:

• Blogs and wikis in learning: sharing the experience
Facilitator: Ms. Judith Clark
Panelists: Mr. Anton Angelo.
Ms. Charlotte Brown,
Dr. Erika Pearson
Dr. Noel Waite,

The panel will share the varying experiences of the student, librarian, teacher and course administrator in utilizing Web 2.0 technologies to engage the student in their learning experience.

• Weaving their own basked of knowledge / Kate Thompson and Rosemary Kardos. A collaboration between (former) Health Sciences Reference Librarian and a First Year Programme Convenor in developing an induction activity to orientate new students.

• Embedding the Librarian in the student space. / Paul Barham and Richard German. The Hunter Centre Librarian project.

• Reflective blogs: mobilising the blogosphere for research community development / Neal Barber. Participation in the Digital Information Literacy project leading to opportunities for library communication and the development of online reflective journals in student assessment.

• Collaboration and curricular design to engage first year Physical Education students / Judy Fisher. A collaboration focusing on engaging and motivating first year students while embedding information literacy skills within curricular design and assessment.

• Integrating the Library in the student space / Thelma Fisher. A demonstration of ways in which the Library has used a presence in Blackboard to foster and enhance teaching and learning.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Teaching and Learning Operational Programme 2009-2012

The strategic direction for the University of Otago Library
Teaching and Learning Operational Programme 2009-2012

With the massification of higher education, changes in scholarly communication, student engagement and information seeking behaviours the traditional teaching paradigm is struggling to meet students’ needs (Barone 2003, van der Meer & Scott 2008). Tertiary learning support is developing towards more collaborative, networked and self directed learning, operating through maximising information and communication technologies (Tenofsky 2005, Wing 2006, Brophy 2007).

In consideration of this, and after consultation with Faculty Librarians it is our recommendation that the Library primarily focus upon the University’s strategic direction and realign its teaching and learning programme to;
• operate in a collaborative and consultative environment,
• be equitable,
• systemic,
• and sustainable
(Dewey 2004, Johnson 2004, Lindstrom 2006, Peacock 2006).

Strategic direction
1. Goal: A collaborative and consultative information skills programme
Foster an information skills programme that maximises collaboration and is built on consultation.

• a) Actively collaborate within and across all areas of the Library.

• b) Actively collaborate with HEDC, ITS, Distance Learning and Graduate Studies to maximise students’ learning outcomes through supporting existing programmes and developing new blended initiatives.

• c) Actively collaborate with academic staff to embed information skills into students’ learning wherever there is the capacity.

• d) Actively consult with student and academic bodies.

2. Goal: An equitable information skills programme for ALL students
The delivery of information skills to be available to all students regardless of the mode of study, their location or their discipline, drawing on principles of universal design.

• a) Information skills resources to be available in a variety of formats suitable for face to face, remote and online delivery.

• b) Information skills resources to accommodate differences in disciplines and levels of development.

• c) Information skills resources to be available to all students.

3. Goal: A systemic information skills programme
Information skills resources to be evidence based, and activities to be best practice.

• a) Align information skills activities with academic programme goals and course objectives and the University’s Teaching and Learning plan.

• b) Align information skills programme with ANZIIL standards.

• c) Identify and adopt evidence based best practices.

• d) Develop an evaluative framework to meet key performance indicators and maximise learning outcomes.

4. Goal: A sustainable information skills programme
Maintain an information skills programme to maximise the University’s research programmes.

• a) Develop online information skills training across all levels, targeting academic programmes across all disciplines.

• b) Maximise generic teaching to support undergraduate orientation and course assessment.

• c) Strategically target embedding information skill development into research papers, honours and graduate studies programmes fostering a collaborative research culture.

• d) Develop and maximise the use of re-useable customized online and face to face training resources that are stored within an open learning object repository.


Barone, C A. (2003) The changing landscape and the new academy. EDUCAUSE Review. 38, 40-47.

Brophy, P. (2007) Communicating the library: librarians and faculty in dialogue. Library Management, 28, 515-523.

Dewey, B. I (2004) The embedded librarian: strategic campus collaborations. Resource Sharing and Information Networks, 17, 5-18.

Johnson, J. (2004) A best practice approach to flexible and inclusive teaching:
applying the universal design framework. Retrieved September 16 2008, from http://www.anu.edu/disabilities/DEAN/UDArticle.html

Lindstrom, J. (2006) Faculty-librarian collaboration to achieve integration of information literacy. Reference and User Services Quarterly. 46, 18-23.

Peacock, J. A. (2006) THINK Systemically, ACT Strategically: Sustainable development of information literacy in the broader context of students' learning. In Proceedings IATUL 2006: Embedding Libraries in Learning and Research CD only, Faculdade de Engenharia Universidade do Porto, Portugal.

Tenofsky, D. (2005) Teaching to the whole student: building best practices for collaboration between libraries and student services. Research Strategies, 20, 284-299.

Van der Meer, J. and Scott, C. (2008) Shifting the balance in first-year learning support: from staff instruction to peer learning primacy. in press.

Wang, L. (2006) Information literacy courses : a shift from teacher centred to a collaborative learning environment. Paper presented at 4th International Lifelong Learning Conference : Partners, Pathways, and Pedagogies, 13-16 June, 2006, Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia, 350-354.

Image: (Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Allemania, Einzelblatt, Szene: Henricus de Allemania vor seinen Schülern, Voltolina, Laurentius de demonstrating student engagement in the 14th Century)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The use of the Blog as a communication tool is increasing both in discussion and through output from staff at the University of Otago Library.

The active blogging that I’m currently aware of include:

A library assistant is recording his reflections on his involvement and learning in a Digital Information Literacy project

Staff at the Education Library are recording their progress in developing an orientation programme for first year College of Education students

The Remote Services Librarian is experimenting with a blog as a tool to foster a networked community for distance students

A Librarian involved in a project modeling the roving librarian in a learning commons where a new medical curriculum maintains a closed blog to record his experiences

A team involved in training library staff in web 2.0 utilise a blog as a demonstration tool

Following a visit from a Librarian from Auckland there has been some consideration and discussion of the role of the blog as a complement to the library newsletter, and as a regular informative update to faculty.

Examples on the range of uses of blogs in academic libraries are listed here

I have also been aware of how this blog has been evolving with some staff reminding me that I had not posted for some time. While other work pressures have kept me busy, I’ve also been concerned that I post something timely and actually worth sharing. Considering this there are some useful tips on ways to improve blogs in this post by Chris Brogan.

What is interesting is that since my last post Google analytics
have recorded over 212 hits from 129 people in 22 countries despite no new content being added. (Over half of these are new visitors.)

Blog on...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Learning Initiatives and Second Life

Second Life (SL) continues to offer many learning opportunities well beyond our real every day interactions and environments. Whether it involves the chance to experiment, explore or experience interactions beyond our suppressed personal limitations like any E learning SL value is added.

So, during the Lifelong Learning conference in Yeppoon, I was delighted to be standing next to Sheila Webber, aka Sheila Yoshikawa, a leader within SL on both Information Literacy and Integrated Learning. How could I not resist engaging! Her conference presentation on SL touched a chord with a few and left more listening for some meaning; I took advantage to communicate, learn, reaffirm and reframe.

The search for meaning with SL transcends many settings and experiences. This surprises me especially when this search comes for within our leading Library lights. So, it was timely to see EDUCAUSE Learning Initiatives have just released a common sense guide in the 7 things you should know about series.

It is certain that you don't have to enter SL to understand its potential.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Emerging search engines; feeding the counter narratives

With tensions rising around Google's current domination over "free" online information access there are some alternatives emerging:

Cuil (pronounced COOL), a search engine directly challenging Google, is indexing the web across 120 billion sites and offering content-based relevance methods, with complete user privacy is also providing a rich display of results with organising features, such as tabs to clarify subjects, images to identify topics and search refining suggestions to help guide the user to the information they need.

Intelways provides an online search service through a comprehensive set of search channels organised into different categories. It locates content in different formats and media types for multiple interests and topics, by retrieving results from multiple search engines and online providers.

Silobreaker is an online search service for news and current events. It pulls together content on global issues, science, technology and business from over 10,000 news, blog, research and multimedia sources. It focuses on finding and connecting related data then presents a tapestry of graphical, visual and textual links to assist the user to identify connections, trends and topics or to navigate deeper into the most relevant information for to suit their information need.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Integrate and Create

Dr Lana W. Jackman is an extremely capable warm generous charismatic and experienced activist. Since I participated in her keynote at the Life Long Learning conference she has been resonating in my reflections on many levels.
The main emphasis of her keynote was to encourage participants to engage in boundary crossing with other agents and organisations to also operate to promote the goals of Information Literacy. (I will post some of the strategies I’ve been developing to boundary cross later.) More to the point during her presentation she shared this slide.

Acknowledging the stages of integrate and create in the ICT literacy skills struck a resounding chord with me. I realised that these are two stages that need to considered in the Research cycle that I have been developing, see post 3rd April 2008. It is now so obvious to me that the information selected and located also needs to be integrated with existing knowledge to then create a new understanding that is then communicated.

This is particularly important as so many of the students I have been working with are required to utilise multimedia in their assessment (read: learning). In creating and contributing to new knowledge they are often looking for information, images and ideas that are not constrained by ownership and copyright. Content that holds Creative Commons licenses operate to offer a rich resource, particularly when their “re-creations” are to be re-compartmentalised, broadcasted, exhibited, or performed (read: integrated and created).

This has led me to share with them a feature of Google that is tucked away within the advanced search help feature under the unassuming and loaded heading Usage rights. This offers a search limit option across the range of Creative Commons licenses. From where they can then obtain resources to then ethically integrate, create and communicate new understandings.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Collaboration to enhance research

The University of Otago is collaborating with the National Library of New Zealand on a pilot project to promote student skills and use of New Zealand's digital resources.

The aim of the project is threefold: to work collaboratively, to raise awareness and use of digital resources, and to increase student skills in using search engines and databases. To achieve this The National Library has produced a web page with links to databases and information on searching, as well as pocket guides and posters.

To promote the launch of this project and interest in the web page there is the opportunity for sudents to win an iPod Touch (TM) and a trip to Wellington to work with librarians on the winner's choice of research.

The web site can be accessed at http://www.natlib.govt.nz/smarter and includes links to resources around the New Zealand and tutorials from the National Library and the University of Otago OIL modules.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reflecting on searching

During a presentation at the Life Long Learning conference in Yeppoon I was very impressed by the work of Syliva Edwards from QUT. In her research to understand student online information seeking behaviour she has developed and applied the e-learning tool Reflective Online Searching Skills (ROSS).

ROSS intends to push the boundary of online information literacy programs by guiding learners to know, reflect, and practice information literacy concepts through the use of case studies or problem based learning.

She outlines her research at the website http://www.netlenses.fit.qut.edu.au/

Here she applies some powerful metaphors in understanding students experience as:

looking for a needle in a haystack
finding a way through a maze
using the tools as a filter
panning for gold.

Each concept operates to move towards a more positive approach to the task.

I also recommend exploration of the non linear flash animation video http://www.netlenses.fit.qut.edu.au/graphics/hintro.jsp

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Open source visual mapping tool

I've been looking for a good open source tool to map a network analysis to no avail.

So any suggestions welcomed.

I have found however, this great mind mapping tool.

Text 2 mindmap

There is a lot of potential here for the visual learner

Monday, May 19, 2008

What's a PLE?

I was asked this question yesterday and realised it is a good time to share Graham Attwell entertaining rant in scoping a definition for Personal Learning Environments.

If you like his style then I'd also recommend checking out his Blog, Pontydysgu : the bridge to learning where he covers issues like open-source, open-content, open-standards, e-learning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A background to Information Literacy at the University of Otago

Here are some links to papers that present a background to Information Literacy at the University of Otago.

Hegerty, Bronwyn et al(2007) Final Online Information Literacy project report

Proctor, Lesley and Wartho, Ricard M (2004) Embedding information literacy in the sociology program at the University of Otago Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 36, 153-168

Wartho, Richard M. (2004) The Three Tiers of Information Literacy: A model for developing lifelong learning at a tertiary institution. Paper prepared for the International Lifelong Learning Conference, Yeppoon, Australia, 13-16 June 2004.

Turner, Kat and Fisher, Thelma (2002) A Collaborative Quest - Building Information Literacy Initiatives at the University of Otago. Paper prepared for TTA Information Literacy Sub-Committee Seminar, Rotorua, 26-27 September 2002.

Wooliscroft, Michael J. (1997) From Library User Education to Information Literacy: some issues arising in this evolutionary process Paper prepared for COMLA Workshops, Gabarone, Botswana, July 1997.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Need a tool to jazz up teaching Boolean algorithmic search strategies?

Then try Boolify: refer http://www.boolify.org/

Boolify aims to make it easier for students to understand their search by illustrating the logic of their search, and then showing them how each change to their search instantly changes their results.

The help section explains how complex statements can be built.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Research cycle

This year i've been starting each research skills workshops by displaying this model of the research cycle.

I'm asking the participants to reflect upon the research process in stages and to consider where they need to specifically develop their skills.

I then encourage them to set a learning goal for the session based on which skill(s) they wish to develop. These are shared with the group and throgh the session I make sure that I specifically address each goal.

I often go back to the model throughout the session. Near the end of the session we reconsider each goal to see if these have been met. If, for what ever reason, they have not been met then new learning goals and strategies are set to be worked on beyond the workshop. So far the feedback has been nothing but positive.

The model and process is adapted from the work of Lesley Ngatai featured in her article, "Beyond Searching: Information Literacy for Postgraduate Engineering".

Erika Pearson has suggested that I develop this model further by applying hypertext links at each stage to then link to a variety of tools and resources.

So, really it's a work in progress. Any comments or ideas would be welcomed.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Teaching and learning

Here is a 10 min video featuring Otago's Tertiary Teaching Excellence award winners 2006-2007.

click to view

This is hosted by Otago's UniTube project

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've been training some new staff at the reference desk and have referred them to this reading.

Green, Samuel Swett. “Personal Relations Between Librarians and Readers.” Library Journal, v. 1 (October 1876): 74-81

Click here to read the full text

So much is still so relevant today.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another vision of students today

Many thanks to Greg Dawes for directing me to this video.

Another must see...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Social Networking Tutorials

"Learn More" is a series of self-paced discovery entries for library staff interested in venturing out on the social web. Learn More has been developed by Steve Campion, the system trainer at a large public library system in the Pacific Northwest, USA.

Each post is meant as a short introduction to a different social website, tool, or concept. It might not be ground-breaking information to veteran readers of the blogosphere, but the writer hopes that each brief summary will act as a gentle nudge for newcomers to social networking.

The tutorials are very simple and written in a conversational style that make them accessible.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Engaging students

Kerry Howells at the University of Tasmania has been undertaking research on student engagement.

She acknowledges that students bring varying and conflicting agendas with them to the learning session. She has evidence that if students are shown gratitude for attending then engagement improves.

To access her paper delivered at the HERDSA 2004 conference on the role of gratitude in higher education click here

Thank you for taking the time to read this ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A vision of students today

This video was created by Anthropology students at Kansas State University in 2007. It evolved from a brainstorming exercise, thinking about how students learn, what they need to learn for their future, and how the current educational system fits in.

To what extent do the students in this video reflect the Otago student’s profile?